We went to Bodyworlds 2 this weekend at the Tech Museum; even though it’s been here since September 27th, we kept putting it off until (typically) we realized “Holy crap! It’s only here for another week!” Apparently many others also felt the same way, because in spite of the extended hours * there was a line around the block to get in. We luckily arrived at a good time (when the line was only starting to go ‘round the block) and only had to wait for about an hour, but the show was worth it. Really, really fascinating stuff.

In case you haven’t heard about it or are too lazy to click the link, the show is plastinated bodies. It’s a fantastic fusion of art and science; all the bodies are arranged like sculptures but all illustrating various medical and/or anatomical things. It was very easy to get fascinated by how all the muscles and organs look, and fit together**, and then your focus would be caught by an untrimmed toenail or a bit of body hair, and the fact that these were once real live people would leap to the forefront of your realization once again. The display included a really respectful display about donating one’s body to medical research, and why people do it. So yeah, staring at corpses was the highlight of our weekend. How about you?

Speaking of death, I just found out that George MacDonald Fraser died on January 2nd. He was one of my favourite authors, and I highly, highly, recommend all his books. The Pyrates is in my personal Top Ten Books Of All Time list, and if you know how much I read you know how fierce the competition is. The Flashman series is the only reason I know anything about Victorian history, and the McAuslan trilogy still makes me laugh out loud at every reading, and Mr. American still has the only paragraph I’ve even encountered that actually made me jump in fright when I read it. Rest in peace, Mr. Fraser.

* Eight AM to midnight; apparently there are a few Tzmisce on the board of directors.

** I was just reading about someone who couldn’t sleep at night unless he convinced himself that he had no internal organs at all; that if cut in half, the inside of his body would resemble a potato.

If you saw the news about the Apocalyptic! Torrential! Downpour! around here, don’t worry, we’re fine. The winds were pretty high* and there was rain and because that doesn’t happen very often here, some of the wimpier trees blew over. We don’t live in an isolated area (for this exact reason**) so really it was just another rainstorm for us.*** And as me mum always says, you don’t have to shovel rain.

I got the dress dummy finished over the weekend, using these instructions but I think I got the wrong kind of paper tape and the form ended up looking like a badly-interred mummy. So I put a layer of clear packing tape around it to hold down all the curling-up paper edges, and stuffed it with old bubble wrap and newspaper because the paper tape shell didn’t seem stiff enough. So it’s sort of a ghetto-meets-the-post office effort, but I figure it will do well enough for me to see if I really use the thing. I have to put it on a wider base and adjust the height slightly; right now it’s about a centimeter taller than I am.****

Here it is displaying my (finished! Yay!) Victorian polonaise.

I think I will take a few inches off the arms of the dummy; I wrapped my arms almost to the elbow (thinking that it would be easier to remove any excess later than to try and add extra) and I had my arms slightly out from my sides during the wrapping, and that rather distorts the clothes on it. I also may try to figure out some sort of cover for it, out of a thin jersey knit, just to hide the worst of the taping effort. There’s a 2” PVC pipe frame inside (made with a T-joint) for stability and the arms, neck and bottom are scrap cardboard. So it’s a pretty cheap effort but I think it will be useful for hemming if nothing else. And keeping in the hallway to startle people. Heh.

(title song lyrics are here, by the way. I couldn't find any lyrics about dummies in my head so I had to turn to Google.)

* One bridge was closed completely, and a few more closed to heavy truck traffic, because the gusts were strong enough to push a semi around)

** A friend of ours who lives way up in the hills was stranded in his house by a landslide on the sole access road, which sucks for him but on the other hand, he’s chosen to live way up in the hills. What do you expect?

*** Though there was lightning and thunder! Yay!

**** And slightly too big in the waist and small in the bust; it was a bit of a relief to find out that I’m not quite as cylindrical as the form makes me look.

Bonne AnnĂ©e, all. Wow, for having just had a holiday with absolutely no planned activities, I’m sure tired. It’s amazing how activities just expand to fill the available space. I didn’t touch a keyboard for the entire vacation* and I had a long optimistic list of stuff to get done. I think I managed two items.

This was one; my own version of the HPLHS tentacle stocking. It’s a design-on-the-needles prototype; I have a few improvements in mind for V2.

The other was finally getting my polonaise skirt done, which was two full days of Ruffle Hell. It was straightforward** but tedious. Pictures will appear when I get my dress dummy finished, which was an uncompleted item on the to-do list.

We had several lovely holiday meals, a Christmas dinner at friends’, the Hillfolk’s annual fondue treat, and a spur-of-the-moment New Year's Eve dinner at Crimson, a neighbourhood place that reminds us a bit of Calories. We decided to go out at about 6pm, and found that Crimson had reservations available for 9:15. Unhappily, they mis-estimated the time that people took lingering over dinner, and it’s a very very small place. So we had to wait outside in the cold until 10:20 before we were seated, but the heaters and free champagne took the edge off that.*** And the food was very good, and because we started so late and there were four courses, we were still eating when midnight rolled around and the restaurant (staff and customers) erupted with noisemakers and general hootin’ and hollerin’. It was rather fun, but I apologize to everyone we didn't manage to phone with New Year's greetings.

Random amusing story; I needed to stock up on allergy medicine, since our friends persist in willfully and maliciously owning cats. Chlorotriplon is not sold here (at least not as such; could someone do me a favour and tell me the real active ingredient name?) and Claritin and Alleve don’t do jack for me, so I asked the pharmacist if she knew the American equivalent.

Me: “I’m looking for an allergy medication. It’s called Chlorotriplon in Canada. Have you heard of it? It’s for a cat allergy.”
Pharmacist: “Well, it sounds like it’s X. Do you know the dosage? It comes in 4 mg, 8 mg and 16 mg.”
Me: “Um, no. I just bought it over the counter.”
Pharmacist: “Oh. You’re sure you can’t remember the dosage? Is there anyone you can phone?”
Me: “Uh… I guess I can find out. But it’s over the counter medicine, right?”
Pharmacist: “Well, yes, but I really don’t want to sell it to you if you don’t know the correct dosage.”
Me: (really confused, but thinking maybe there’s a problem with it being used in meth manufacturing or something) “Can't I just get the lowest dosage and see if that works?”
Pharmacist: “I’m really not comfortable with that.”
Me: (going for the sympathy angle) “But I’d really like to take it tonight; I’m going over to a friends’ place and they have cats and I’ll be all sneezy and miserable otherwise…”
Pharmacist: “Oh, it’s for you! I thought you said it was for your cat!”
Me: “Uh. No. For me. I’m the one that’s allergic to cats. Can cats be allergic to cats?”
Pharmacist: “It’s been a long day.”

* I did touch a game controller. R:tAG got me Beautiful Katamari, so of course I had to finish up Katamari Damacy first, and I got R:tAG Godzilla Unleashed, so we had to choose monsters and beat each other up in the ruins of San Francisco. Much fun.

** Except for the Moebius Ruffle Incident, but we will not speak of that. I had bought a ruffling foot and a rolled hem foot for my sewing machine just for this project, and they both ended up being useless. Stupid useless sewing machine feet.

*** Free champagne to drink while we were waiting, then a free bottle when we left as well as extra dessert and appetizers served with profuse apologies. It’s a good place. The chef himself kept popping out to bring more champagne and reassure us that the food was worth waiting for.


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