This is sort of turning into a “cool things we did on the weekend” themed blog, isn’t it? Anyway, that cool thing on the weekend, let me show you it!

We went back up to the same neck o’ the woods as that Firefly Shindig to see a local production of Evil Dead: The Musical. We didn’t sit in the “splatter zone”, which was probably a good idea because the fake blood smelled really gross* plus the theater was set up like a nightclub, with individual tables and chairs and waiters, so the blood would have gotten in our food and drinks. The production was marred a bit by a terrible sound system, but the tunes are really catchy and I'm glad R:tAG was so keen on going (Saturday night was the last show until next January)

In more recent news, R:tAG managed to hurt his back again and is pretty much laid up. Ah, the joys of getting old. It’s very bad timing; there was quite a lot of stuff we wanted to do in the next few days so I hope he can get some physio attention soon and get fixed up. Plus I suppose there’s the whole not-wanting-to-see-a-loved-one-in-pain thing…

* Not like blood. Not like anything organic, really. Plus it was really really pale, so the overall effect was more like a Pepto Bismo fight.

The Unification Day Shindig was a lot of fun; the pictures that I took are here and here's one of me that R:tAG took at home afterward when I realized I didn't have any of me. I made the shirt; I found a Fruity Oaty Bar image on the Web and used that cool iron-on inkjet paper and an old tanktop. Everything else is just scavenged from army surplus and/or my regular wardrobe (these are my everyday goggles, not my fancy Steampunk goggles). I was considering a more elaborate costume, like a Reaver or something, but the venue was a hot 1.5 hour car ride away and elaborate makeup would have slid right off me.

The iPhone camera is not the best quality in low light (should have brought the real camera) but it gives you an idea of some of the costumes. I missed a bunch, because it wasn’t until it was suboptimally dark that I remembered that I really ought to be taking pictures. Dur. I won a prize for my Firefly trivia knowledge so go, me! The location was interesting too; a really out-of-the-way place that I don’t think I’d have ever visited on my own. But the GPS worked really well and kept us from getting lost out in the black.

So having an iPhone is a bit like having a pet; you end up getting all these little accessories for it, not to mention having to feed it more often than you expected. The best app I’ve seen for it so far is Shazam, where you basically hold your iPhone up so it can listen to the music and it tells you what the song is, who it’s by, and gives you an iTunes link to purchase it. Bloody amazing. It worked in a crowded, noisy restaurant, too.

We saw the new Batman movie, and it was really good, though it felt like ten pounds of movie in a five pound bag and (my mind being the burden that it is) I could not get past some of the more egregious violations of physics*, but I thought the acting was excellent. We also saw Tideland which was just as good a movie as The Dark Knight in its own way but really really disturbing. But not for the obvious reasons. Well, OK, a little for the obvious reasons.** Well, OK, a lot for the obvious reasons.*** But also because it really does succeed in presenting these things innocently and sort of beautifully, and then you realize what you’re watching. It was actually filmed in Saskatchewan, near Katepwa, but I don’t imagine it played well there.

* Glass is transparent to light, not sound.

** As soon as the neglected, precocious eight-year old heroine met the Faulknerian man-child, I started the anticipatory cringing.

*** Not to spoil things too much, but Faulkner really is in the same genre as this movie.

Eeeee! We did it! We did it! The future is now, and it’s pretty damned cool. I do think we saved money, all in all, because in the past four or five years we have bought two iPods, one digital camera, and two bog-standard cellphones. That’s all. So now the iPhones have taken the place of all the iPods, Blackberries, cameras and GPS’s that we could have bought. And they’re very, very spiff.

We got them Saturday morning, after the tumult and shouting had died, so I don’t have pictures of the baseball game that we attended on Friday night. It was hardly a squeaker; 9-2 for the Oakland A’s (they were playing the L.A. Angels) but we had really good seats* and one of the friends we went with was an extreme fan who was recording info in code on a big score sheet and everything, so she explained the finer points to us. And there was good food and beer.** And there was a fireworks show afterwards that was awesome! The pyrotechical state-of-the-art has come a long way since I last saw a big show.

And then Saturday was that Relay for Life, which was a good, if tiring, time. I did have my iPhone by then, so I took some pictures and was able to answer people’s idle questions about celebrity gossip and music lyrics! It’s the aspiring know-it-all’s dream technology! And our team raised just over $4,000, I think, both from straight-up donations (thanks, Chad!) and from the sale of various knitted items at the event. Each team had an area on the inside of the relay track where it could set up a booth to sell stuff, tents to rest in, whatever, and the only rule was that all money raised had to go to the Cancer Society. So we sold hats. Here are pictures of our booth, some of the hats, and the final lap at the end of the relay (most of the tents etc. had been taken down but you still can see a few to the right)

Oh, and we saw Hellboy 2 and it was really quite good. I want to go see it again; del Toro creates such… complicated visuals that it takes me a few passes to really appreciate them. Especially in the Troll Market scene, I badly wanted to be able to pause and zoom. I maintain that the animated Hellboy features are just as good as the first Hellboy live-action movie, but for this story, I don’t think that that simple Samurai Jack style of animation (as much as I like it) would work as well. Maybe it’s just a question of which I saw first, but del Toro’s rich visuals are really successful in making this other, parallel world believably present but different.*** Anyway, even apart from the spectacle, the story and acting were solid. Like Miyazaki’s stories, there wasn’t really a “bad” guy, just people doing what they think is right. Two thumbs up.

* So good that I was a bit nervous about being killed by a pop fly ball. It could happen!

** Good, expensive food and beer. I guess the baseball people have realized what the movie theatre people realized a while ago; you don’t make money on tickets, you make money on the concession and souvenirs.

*** If del Toro did a version of Neverwhere, I think my head would explode with glee.

Well, we had a nice weekend despite the heat. I got the majority of R:tAG’s Victorian vest done with the themed fabric, and it looks all right though of course I can now think of at least two things that I should have done differently*. It just needs the buttons put on. So I think we’re set for GenCon, costuming-wise. We didn’t do anything special for either Canada Day or Independence Day, though, apart from laze around the house, eat, putter with hobbies, and listen to the sirens.**

But speaking of getting out of the house, there’s a GBACG event coming up on July 19th that I’m quite looking forward to; it’s the Unification Day Shindig, a Firefly-themed party. It should be interesting; the GBACG usually does more historical events, which of course are easier to dress up for. Not easier in terms of the actual effort required, but easier in terms of there being a “correct” look. Firefly provides a lot more… possibilities.

It’s supposed to get stinkin’ hot again this weekend, and I’ll be doing that Relay walk thing (you remember, the one to which you could donate?) but not during the hottest part of the day. At least, I hope it won’t be during the hottest part of the day; I don’t actually remember which shifts I signed up for. We’re also going to a baseball game of some sort which will be a personal first for me; I don’t believe I’ve ever been to a live baseball game before. I’m told they serve beer, though, so how bad can it be?

* Paid more attention to where the fabric pattern falls, and made a muslin first. The neck-line doesn’t fit very well; it’s like they drafted the size XL to just have more width at the side seams, without considering the fact that large gentlemen usually have larger necks also. I am not proficient with redrafting patterns, but I think next time I might try making the large instead of the XL but adding the extra width at the centre back and front sides.

** Not near as many as I’d expected, even though random neighbourhood fireworks were a pretty constant feature of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. I guess people wanted to use up their purchases.


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