Friday, June 26, 2009

In which much rambling and parentheses occur

Good morning.  It's gonna be a long day, I'm afraid. Farrah Fawcett is dead, Michael Jackson is dead, and it's like bits of my youth are slipping away.  Apparently others feel the same judging my the meloncholy tweets and blog posts this morning.

To top it off, I was up at 3 a.m. after having a terrible nightmare (I have nightmares all the time - in fact I never 'dream' at all, I just have nightmares. I have the occasional one about the children [as I did this morning - Fiver was lost in a huge convention center-like place and Bodog and I were running everywhere among the crowds of strangers, calling his name] and those always leave me wide awake and jumpy.  It takes several hours to get over the uneasy feeling. So I'm blogging!  yay!)

Anyway, in persuit of my new Steampunk / Dieselpunk adventures, I've been collecting ephemera for possible art projects; old machines and watches for same (or, ohh, maybe jewelry!) and gleefully taking them apart (to my detriment. Managed to slash two fingers open AND bleed all over my dining room table and a watch movement yesterday.  It did feel v. Sylar-ish, though, which was cool.  Mmmm, Sylar ... )

Where was I?

Oh, anyway, I also found some excellent brushes and vectors for Graphic Designs (assuming I can come up with some) to try out on t-shirts.

Here's my Steampunk Gal:

Victorian steampunk space girl with train from Evil Genius Tees

Jules Verne and H. G. Wells would be proud.  This vintage Victorian equestrienne, who is hurrying her horse along to catch the train, sports a nifty retro space helmet and ray gun. Cool!  I had a lot of fun doing this one.

Here's the Victorian steampunk space girl on one of Zazzle's gorgeous, colourful mugs:

Evil Genius Tees goes steampunk! Vintage horsewoman with retro space helmet and ray gun.
Hopefully I'll be able to come up with - and have the time to do - more steampunk soon.
Right. Enough with the pimping. How is your morning going?  I know a lot of you do Etsy; how much of a pain in the backside is it?  Jewelry makers, what do you suggest I use to stick together diverse materials like plastic and metal?  I'm inordinately excited at the prospect of getting to use epoxy, lol!  My next blog post will probably have me reporting that I glued my cut fingers together. *rolls eyes*

Bookmark and Share
posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:31 am   0 comments

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Steampunk -vs- Dieselpunk?

So I have a new obsession ...

No, no, it's not a bloke, and so, no, Zachary Quinto's incredibly hot place in my heart has not been usurped.

Zachary Quinto as Spock in the new Star Trek here on Thrifty Mom Dot Com      Thrifty Mom lusts after Zachary Quinto as Sylar from Heroes

Actually it's about writing. Yes, I know, this is my Mommy Blog, but it's also my personal blog so I get to bore you with share with you any miscellaneous stuffs that come up in my life.

I've written all my life, since I learnt how to write. My dream is to write novels (this has always been what I wanted to be, a novellist ... well, that and a jockey, but at 170lbs and 5'8" I've finally given that one up, LOL).

I have just recently returned to working on my fiction, have been enjoying it, and most of all have been delighted to share my passion with some close friends (If you are a reader or a writer please join me at my mate, Barb's, forum)*

I'm a Sci Fi sort of gal and of the 5 or so serious potential novels I have in my drawer, 2 are thrillers set in space, a third is fantasy with horror overtones, one is a ghost story, etc, etc, you get the picture.  Well, whilst researching something science fiction-y, I came across the word "steampunk". I'd seen it on Twitter at some point in reference to fashion (I think) and it turns out that there is a whole steampunk lifestyle, a subculture - writing, fashion, decor, films, hairstyle, music, and on and on. How COOL!

I quickly discovered that many of me very fave films/books EVAR were steampunk or a similar genre that I had yet to define. In searching for the definition, I realised that MANY people on the 'net either aren't aware of or are misapplying the word steampunk

Steampunk (in film or books) is generally set in a past time (often Victorian England) but one where some technological advances have occured earlier than they really did. For example: computers in the 1800s. The technology is portrayed as being constructed of period materials, wood, brass, etc, and is often run on the power of the time (in this case steam, thus the name).

From Wikipedia: "Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical computers (such as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine); these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or with a presumption of functionality."

Popular examples of steampunk works are: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Wild Wild West.

Opening image from the Tv show Wild Wild West here on Thrifty mom Dot Com

When I read about steampunk my first thought was: "so what's the opposite of Steampunk?", when you have a work set in the future but with retro technology? Some of my all-time fave films and books EVAR make use of this theme. What is it?  It has to have a name.  That name, my friends, is dieselpunk:

Dieselpunk from Wikipedia, again: "Several devices which are affiliated to the genre are generally linked to 1920s architecture, such as the introduction of the skyscraper, along with the automobile and aeroplane, and diesel as the prime resource for fuel. The genre also borrows influences from the 1950's, such as postmodernism and the googie design. The dieselpunk world is a post-Atomic dystopian world that is still stuck in the 1950s (a post-WWII environment) and is usually cast in the future capitalist-run world that relies on the nuclear values of an isolationist America. Its main source of influence would be from George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four along with Fritz Lang's 1927 film, Metropolis. Aspects of the Futurist art movement are also relevant to the development of the genre relating to dieselpunk"

The list of books and film in this genre is long so I'll just list the changed-my-life, wildly favourite ones: War of the Worlds, 1984, Brazil, Tim Burton's Batman, V for Vendetta, and the film that fascinated my early childhood mind: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Jonathan Pryce as Sam Lowrey in Brazil here on Thrifty Mom Dot Com

There's also Post Apocolyptic Dieselpunk, "(an) anarchistic world where there is no future or remnant of the past other than ruins and the left-over machines of mankind. The Apocalypse is usually blamed on a horrendous consequence of nuclear war or another terrible global disaster such as extreme climate change. This idea usually employs the elements of big, oily, smokey, rusty, machinery and the savage, tribal, neo-primitive, anarchic civilisation. "

Examples: Dr Strangelove, Mad Max, Waterworld.  I'll also add another one of my film-loves: 12 Monkeys. Terry Gilliam totally has the genre nailed.

Bruce Willis as James Cole in a great dieselpunk gadget scene from 12 Monkeys. Thrifty Mom loves Terry Gilliam films!


So what am I going to do with all this info and obsession? Well, I might want to write a book set appropriately. Bodog and I had an exhilerating knock-down drag-out argument and thoughtful discussion on the concept and he insists that there must be a reason to use it.  My argumant is why can't romances, mysteries, and dramas happen in the dieselpunk / steampunk setting?

I guess it all boils down to my doing it and seeing how it turns out.  Perhaps it's all a visual thing. perhaps what I really love is the incredibly rich scenery and devices and gadgets. Hmm, maybe what will fulfill me is visually artistic rather than the written word.

Whatever it is, I am totally stoked about it.  It's an amazingly satisfying feeling to have loved something so long and then discovered that it had a name and a whole community of folks who love it too!

Wish me luck on my Dieselpunk adventures!  I'll keep you apprised.

*This is 'mate' as in 'my friend' in case you just wandered by and are not aware of my Anglophiliac tendencies. Though I adore Barb and would totally do her.

Bookmark and Share
posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:03 am   7 comments

Proximity to fast food does not make kids fat

Despite what the government-as-nanny folks want us to believe, apparently, living in proximity to fast food makes no difference in the weight of children:

"Living near a fast-food outlet doesn't make children fat, nor does living near a supermarket stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables make them thin, new research shows.

The study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers examined a decade of data on more than 60,000 children aged 3 to 18. They compared the children's weights before and after fast-food outlets or supermarkets opened near their homes. The study found that living near a fast-food outlet had little effect on weight gain and living near a supermarket wasn't associated with lower weight."

Would anyone like to join me in a big ol' "DUH" here?

The restaurants and supermarkets have nothing to do with it. The PARENTS have everything to do with it.  You CAN choose to not go to a fast food joint.

When will folks acknowledge that your child's health is YOUR responsibility?  Parents cannot blame fast food, television, video games, advertisers, or the food industry.  No, you can't! 

YOU are in control of what your baby eats from birth. YOU have the ability to research food ingredients and NOT feed craptastic Frankenfoods like special 'kids meals' (the Kraft Lunchables chicken nuggets has 40g of sugars and a whopping 57g of carbs (!) and has enough hydrogenated soybean oil and corn syrup to bathe in). YOU have the ability to turn off the telly, to pull the plug on the video game.

Kids learn by example, too. Mom, how many of those death-by-carbs '100 calorie snacks' or 'nutrition bars' have you eaten this week?  How often have you and your kid gone out for a nice walk? YOU have the ability to take wee Emmah Ravyn or Noah Brayson to the park or the playground - NO , don't schedule a bloody playdate! Just take him to a nice park and turn him loose!  Preferably one that actually still has cool shit like the merry go round (remember those? Massive 12 feet across metal saucers of fun!  Complete w/ slick rails to cling to!  I got spun off a million times, scraped my knees and elbows and busted my chin!  FUN!)

C'mon, people. Mommy FAIL. When you were pregnant, most likely you watched everything you ate, didn't you?  You took your suppliments, paid attention to your doctor, you even read aloud to your baby in utero, I'll bet.

So why is he slouched on the sofa right now, dangerously overweight, mindlessly playing a video game with one hand and stuffing cheesy poofs into his face with the other?

Bookmark and Share
posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:36 am   1 comments

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jeez, some days ...

Permit me a teensy vent?

So, we had a tremendous thunderstorm yesterday and it's moving toward 102 degrees out there this morning. It's South Carolina. It's hot and bloody humid. Working outside is like slogging through hot water.

So, of course, when I checked the barnyard just as the bubs and I were about to be scurrying into town this a.m. to try to beat the heat, what do I find?

BIG farkin tree down in the feedlot, a smashed flat fence, 6 goats in the chicken pen, and chickens gone to parts unknown.


Bad part is this: I've NO idea how I'm getting that sucker off my fence. My chainsaw locked up a few weeks ago so I can't cut it. My tractor's in the shop so I can't lift it. And my truck won't crank so I can't drag it.

PLUS, due to some *ahem* changes by my (v. bad word here) fulfillment company for my products, my comissions for my graphic designs on those products has been effectively more than halved.  Halved. Less than half of my former income.

I've no idea how I'm going to pay my bills much less get tractors and trucks fixed or replace chainsaws.


Am I gonna have to get out there and try to lever that bastard off my fence myself? Have I been reduced to a mideaval peasant?  Am I my own draft animal?  See the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!*
Ok, ok, it's not that bad. Could be worse. I'll try to take some pics of the Great Tree Removal ... just as soon as I, erm, figure out how I'm going to manage it.
In the meantime, if you see any of my chickens, email me.

* In case you are an uncool person or have lived like a naked, hairy, hermit who's taken a vow of silence, that's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail :

Bookmark and Share
posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 11:56 am   0 comments

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I am NOT an ifaster

I slower?

Heh. No, I just wanted to report on my second attempt at the diet lifestyle (or diet technique) of Intermittant Fasting.

Let me preface this by saying that I totally agree that Intermittant Fasting is a wonderful thing. I think the random fast is v. good for you; it keeps your body on its toes, so to speak, and I don't know about you, but at 30lbs from my goal weight, the concept of missing a meal shouldn't bug me much, lol.  I also firmly believe that our ancestors didn't eat multiple times a day.  They were probably lucky to fill their bellies every other day.  I think that the concept of set mealtimes and multiple daily meals is a fallacy by society - and the intent was social not nutritional!  If more people simply slashed carbs and sugar then ate when they were hungry, obesity would lose it's death grip on America.

I also want to reiterate that while I obviously adore tweaking my own dieting attempts (just like I love adjusting my appearence with peircings, henna tattoos, and odd haircolours), I don't ever change my basic WOE.  I believe that low carb is the only way to be healthy and I adore my Lacto-Paleo lifestyle.

All that being said, I wanted to try the Intermittant Fasting because I only eat once a day, anyway.  (When you don't eat bread, cake, cookies, crackers, pitas, cereal, potatoes, sugar, bagels, soda, candybars, etc, etc, *gag* then, folks, you don't get hungry!)  The basic set up of IF is either doing 24 hour fasts a couple of times a week, or doing daily fasts - for example, the one I like: 18 hours fasting then an 6 hour 'eating' window. (There are many more variations that I won't go in to.)

The immediate problem I faced with IF was that, while I only eat once a day, between 11 and 2, my day is book-ended by two of my fave non Paleo indulgences: coffee with heavy cream in the morning, and alcohol at night.

I had already steeled my resolve and decided to cut down my alcohol intake (I've reduced it by over half and am terribly proud of myself!) but when I want a cocktail, I want to be able to have one, and that would negate my fast for that day (if my 6 hour window included the morning coffee, it's be, say, 5am to 11am, then fast the rest of the day).

So what to do?  Well my solution was to drink my morning coffee black and train myself to eat my one meal later. That made my eating window 2pm to 8pm.

It wasn't hard. Well, pushing back my eating time wasn't hard. Neither was the actual 18 hour fast. No biggie.

So what was the problem?

Problem was, I wasn't happy.

See, the thing that I love most about the Low-carb / primal / Paleo way is that I am never hungry.  I get peckish around noon, eat whatever strikes my fancy that is fatty, meaty, cheesy, or of the crunchy veg variety and I'm stuffed full like a snake. I stay satisfied and satiated for the rest of the day.

With the IF I was, duh, fasting and so, despite still eating the one meal that I normally ate - and just a few hours later - I got ravenously hungry about 11am.  As a former food addict who weighed over 300lbs and who ate all day and consumed food simply because it was there, I have a LONG history of obsessing about food. Well those 3 hours between onset of hunger and the beginning of my eating window were a nightmare. I could get nothing done. I couldn't concentrate. I also tended to overeat once I reached 2pm.

Strangely, though, it wasn't all this that made me decide the IF wasn't for me. It was my coffee, of all things.

Like most working people and moms, I have a pretty rigid morning schedule. I get up at 4a.m. every day, start my coffee, put on a load of laundry, fold a basketfull and put it away, perhaps hang up a load I did late the night before. I do any dishes left over, do some of my strength training, check my email and Twitter, all of this while my coffee brews.

Then I sit down at the computer to actually work and do so with a steaming mug of half caff coffee w/ heavy cream.  I love the taste, it's a nice morning indulgence, plus it wakes me up (yes, I can do all the aformentioned whilst half-asleep, LOL). At 7am every day I get up from working and make a full breakfast for my family, so I have a limited window.

Drinking my coffee black was throwing off my groove as Kuzco would say. I hate black coffee. I tried various teas and other drinks, but it was an even worse experience.  Sure it was something I could have overcome with effort, but, again, I wasn't happy. And unhappy Blue made for NO work and snarling Morning Mommy.

Oh, and bizarrely, I gained several pounds whilst experimenting with fasting.

So I decided that while IF is a marvellous paleo/primal tool, it's not for me.  I like my routine, it works for me, I'm not hungry, plus I can lose weight pretty much effortlessly while doing it.

Have you tried Intermittant Fasting? What version do you do? How has it worked for you?

Bookmark and Share
posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:38 am   7 comments