Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Links: August 29

Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch before Saturday Night Live.

Mashup of the songs Sunrise and Get Lucky. [link]

One or two Dune art themed Tumblrs I could understand, but there's enough to have a top 10 list? [link]

Braille sprung from an attempt to make a method for letting soldiers read in the dark. [link]

In Vietnam, the Ace of Spades was a psychological weapon. [link]

Winners and honorary mentions of the 2014 Bulwer Lytton horrible writing awards. [link]

The first Air Force One.

I wanna see this weapon fired. [link]

The real meaning of the pot calling the kettle black. [link]

Returning Star Wars to it's original version - A fan project.

A man talking about being shoved through the bottom of a river. [link]

Statements by Nick Offerman.

New games for the old Commodore 64. [link]

What airlines owe you when they strand you or your luggage. [link]

Koko the gorilla mourns the passing of Robin Williams. [link]

The only Pro-choice argument you'll ever need. [link]

ISIS slaughters Zoroastrians because one of them refused demands to convert to Islam. [link]

There's a great solar eclipse coming in 2017. [link]

Having the sex talk with a 9 year old. [link]

Seaworld's most rewarding and traumatic job. [link]

Norman Rockwell's reference photos. [link]

Bank of America's many court settlements and why I closed all my credit cards with them. [link]

Baby elephant learning to stand.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gandolf goes dark

We're sitting out on the front porch. I'm working on a project and Gandolf is just chillin'. A little kid up the street starts crying "dAAAdee DAaaDee DaaADY daaaaady DAAADDY..." and on like that for a couple of minutes. Finally, Gandolf says,
That's right, I put your daddy in a blender. AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
When Gandolf goes dark she goes fast and really dark.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scar Makeup

It's October 31 and you've just been invited to a Halloween party. Unfortunately, the closest thing you have to a costume is your Batman T-shirt. I have a quick fix for you. Find a local stage makeup store and get a bottle of Mehron Rigid Collodion.
The bottle I saw online was different. This is the same stuff, though.
What you do with this stuff depends on how you want the scar to look. I wanted a simple slash down the face that looks like it happened many years ago. OK, I wanted to try it without getting into coloring and stuff. Same thing. What you see in the picture below is six layers of Rigid Collodion.

The stuff dries pretty fast, so it won't take long to get this done.
The first layer doesn't make much impact, but you can feel your skin is kinda stiff and moves differently than it did. And there's a shiny line running down your face.
The second layer, once dry, leaves a dent running down your face.
The third layer starts to look like a gouge. Layers 4-6 make it deeper.
I added layers 7-9 to the bottom of the scar after I took this picture and it make it a touch deeper. I was working from the top down so I had a full brush at the top and less full at the bottom. So there was some touching up to do.

Right there, you have a Halloween costume that took 10-15 min to do. If you want to make it more involved you could add makeup a few shades paler than your skin to lighten it up for an older scar. Or some red to make it look fresh.
If you put it on before you put the scar makeup on then the makeup will be protected and may look more real. Put some powder on it to take off the shine.

I saw some video where someone put on about thirty layers. I'm not sure their scar was much better than mine. Can't find it now, of course.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Links: August 22

George Takei talking about his time in an Internment Camp. [link]

How the sun sees you.

Outbreak tracker. [link]

Self assembling robot swarms.

The Wright Brothers (and sister) and some of their later models. [link]

Computer maps a model's face and projects onto it even as she moves. [link]

Bird deaths due to solar tower being investigated. []
Yes, this is the solar tower featured in Fallout: New Vegas.

Viking ship found by Mississippi River. [link]
Declared winners of 990 Hide and Seek Championship.

What happens when cops wear cameras. [link]

Don Pardo, the Saturday Night Live announcer passed away Monday at age 96. [link]

Where Americans have moved, if they move, in the last century. [link
Starting removal of the John Hancock Building's west antenna. Just a bit of vertigo for you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


One of the things I'm having problems with in my makeup skills is smoothing the tissue. If I have to build up my tissue to build a welt or a claw or attach something to myself or just try to turn a lump of cotton back into something like skin I need to be able to smooth it out so it doesn't look like I'm masking a horrible rash. Generally, I'm making it look like I've got much bigger problems than a rash, but I want the rash gone. To practice, I decided to recreate something I saw online a few years ago that required attaching a zipper to my face. Here's the results.

I attached the zipper with spirit gum. I found out that I need to work on doing that, too.
I put a layer of latex on the zipper and face to help secure things and stick down edges.
The next layer held some tissue paper in place to try to build some tissue right away. But the tissue paper wrinkles no matter how hard I fight it.
The third layer of latex coated the tissue paper to hold it down.
The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth layers of latex were to build up the surface and smooth the transition from zipper fabric to face. Each layer takes forever to dry. If I'm doing 20 layers I need a life cast of my head to build it on before I transfer to myself.
I stopped there because it was getting late and I'd been working on this for 5-6 hours.
The red makeup was put on between layers 6 and 7 because I had time to kill. A bit of black was blended into the edges and a bit of white blended in on the tip of my nose and chin trying to make it look like there was some bone nearing the surface.
The flesh tone was applied after layer 8 was dry enough. I put some powder on first to make the latex a bit less sticky. The flesh coloring is just what seemed closest to my skin in my beginners kit.

I think I may put the next thing on a piece of glass and build it up there before transferring it to my face. That way I can build it up over several days. Maybe another zipper and I can work on making a Slitheen forehead zipper.

The removed zipper looks kinda dirty. My face makeup is still kinda creepy, though. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Links: August 15

Pictures of the abandoned Cincinnati subway tunnels. [link]

Matrix action sequence with 8-bit game audio.

There's a gun on the ISS and the Russians control it. [link]

"Muppet Thor" a short comic story. [link]

Authors coming to the Library of Congress Book Fest later this month. [link]

Doctors talk about their most oblivious patients. [link]

Quotes from Discworld books. [link]
The last one I've quoted here once or twice around Christmas.

A bunch of close calls.

Getting rid of lesbians in the Army could cause problems. [link]

Rate of un-vaccinated by state. [link]

Tennessee drug tests welfare applicants. So far only 1 out of 800 have tested positive. [link]

The evolution of scissors. [link]

Fetuses really are tumors. [link]
So we might get to the sci-fi world of all babies coming from vats because it's healthier for both fetus and woman. 

Frozen steak vs thawed steaks.

Robin Williams was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's. [link]

Ambient sci-fi sounds. [link]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Movie PreReview: Avengers 2 - Age of Ultron

I was in the comic book store the other day and found the Age of Ultron graphic novel.  It's not an old storyline. The original comics came out in early 2013 which makes me wonder if the whole thing was written with the movie in mind. Then I have to slap down my own doubts when I see that the comic is not an Avengers comic. It spans much of the Marvel Universe. Major rewrites would have to be done since they can't use Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, or the X-Men in the Avengers movie. From what I've heard, they're even having to change who originally built Ultron from Hank Pym to Tony Stark since the Ant Man movie won't be coming out until after Avengers 2.

In the comics, Ultron is an AI created by Hank Pym (Ant Man) who various Marvel heroes, but mainly The Avengers, have been fighting since the late '60s. Destroyed again and again, he keeps coming back in new bodies. In this storyline, the body of a Spaceknight (not necessarily ROM's Spaceknights) is unearthed and Ultron wakes up inside it. He manages to elude the heroes. The comic then skips ahead to about six months after the Earth, the whole Earth, was attacked simultaneously and conquered in about eight and a half minutes. Most of the heroes are dead. Wolverine (X-Men) and Susan Storm Richards (Fantastic Four) go back in time and kill Hank Pym. When they return home they find that without Hank's help and without Ultron's creation, a robot Avenger named Vision, some key battles went poorly and the world is on the brink of being destroyed by the winner of the Asgard/Latveria (Thor/Dr Doom) War. So they have to go back and not-kill Hank Pym and figure out how to fix things.

As you can see, there's been very little mention of Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury, or Agent Coulson. In fact, it's been almost exclusively heroes yet to be introduced and heroes whose rights are in the hands of other studios. Our Avengers are there, just not major enough to be part of a one paragraph summary. So major rewrites were needed.

Honestly, this is not a must-read graphic novel. It's there for those unwilling to wait until 2015 for the movie. If you get it, you may also want to look for the Age of Ultron Companion. It collects other titles and tells their shorter stories about actions taken to fight back against the initial Ultron invasion.

note: It should be stated that the comics took place while Doctor Octopus's mind was still in the body of Spiderman. I didn't follow the storyline closely, but from what I've seen Doc Ock made for a good hero.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Robin Williams was not on my list of people I expected to die soon. I mean, I don't keep a formal list or anything, but we all have a mental one. He died yesterday at the age of 63.

Comedians tend to make the best dramatic actors. Comedy is hard and timing has to be perfect. If you can do that then you can do drama. Robin Williams was probably the greatest example of that. His stand up career got him Mork and Mindy, but after that he roamed freely among the genres doing whatever caught his fancy. That mindset was reflected in his comedy. One could get motion sickness trying to follow him on one of his improvisational tirades as he lept madly among impressions, voices, and subjects ranging from social, political, historic, religious, and "huh?" Often the challenge was trying to figure out what the reference was as much as where he pulled it out of. Much of the movie Aladdin was made by just letting Williams go off on a tirade and then animating around him.

One of my favorite stories about him is the one Christopher Reeves told.
Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me was Robin Williams...for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.
Robin spent a lot of time after Christopher's accident making him laugh. He did the same for Steven Spielberg during the filming of Schindler's List to help Steven fight off the depression the film brought on.

I was a fan of the original, British version of Whose Line is it Anyway. My friends and I would talk about how awesome it would be if they could get Robin Williams on. In season 3 of the American version, they did just that. And it was awesome. Although, would have sworn that he wore his Mork suspenders.

Watch Robin Williams in Whose Line is it anyway? in Comedy  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Meteor shower

I would have told you sooner, but I was just reminded, myself.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Why you don't date dryads

I took some stagecraft classes in high school, but was never happy with it. We worked with stage makeup that was supposed to work when flooded with light and viewed from mid-audience. So it looked downright comical up close. I'm more interested in stuff that can be viewed from a few feet. Something I can wear on Halloween. Monster makeup. I've watched some videos online over the years and found some interesting techniques that I've never been able to apply. Some stuff I'll need to make a life cast to build. And some simpler stuff.

My house is in OK shape, but needs work. Alas, the work is done in short bursts because it's too humid and stagnant to work seriously for long. And Halloween is in a few months. So I'm working on some makeup techniques to be ready for a costume since it doesn't require moving around and getting overheated.

In these pictures I'm trying a bark making technique I learned at a sci-fi convention a week ago. It involves applying Kleenex-type tissue to my skin using liquid latex, being sure to fold it and give it wrinkles and texture, going over it with more latex, and then painting it. So art class and and YouTube videos are more applicable to what I'm doing than the stage makeup class. This is not to discredit the years to reflect on what was done in that class.

While writing this I've got more latex drying to help make a blister. This will be followed by using cotton to build up some growths.

Friday Links: August 8

All Most Marvel Studios movie Easter Eggs pre-Guardians.

Get More: 
Music News

Native Americans bred corn to the form we know today. [link]

Peanut butter turned into diamonds as tech development to make metallic hydrogen continues. [link]

If you don't have a steamer trunk for your spare blankets, try a 55 gallon drum of Chanel. [link]

The first honest resume of a graphic designer. [link]

Frozen mummy is found to have relatives alive today. [link]

After the fraud that led to the Great Depression the Glass-Steagall law stopped that. It's repeal was key in the more recent Great Recession. [link]

An acre is the amount of land it takes a yoke of oxen to plow in one day. [link]

New wireless electricity tech uses sound instead of induction. [link]

Close up (only 130 km away) pictures of a comet. [link]

Video of sharks attacking the probe. [link]

A woman accused of animal cruelty was eaten by her dogs after she died. [link]

Help Grandpa remember about his photos. [link]

Play with a Koosh Ball brain. [link]

Playing a trombone for cows.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Viewing is mandatory for Guardians of the Galaxy. Yep. Absolutely required.

I was skeptical at first. The trailers suck. They don't really inspire you to want to see the movie at all. And nobody would say what the movie was about other than "It's part of the Marvel Universe". Now that I've seen it, I kind of understand why they were keeping mum.

The only things leading into this movie was the appearance of a shadowy silhouette at the end of The Avengers and Asgardians leaving something with a Collector in the end credits of Thor 2. While Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America all got movies to build them up for The Avengers, this movie is to build up the known MacGuffin's frightful power and give us a bit more about a villain whose story lines will both probably climax in Avengers 3. 

But lets talk about the movie itself. In the first five minutes the movie brings the sadness. It's a cheap, manipulative trick, but it's more effective than "killing" Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3 or anything in Thor 2. It bonds you to our leading man more than we ever bonded with Jamie Foxx in Spiderman 2. Then it switches from that to light hearted and amusing and 22 years later. It manages to pretty effectively hold light hearted and amusing for the next 2 hours while still telling a solid story with plenty of action. This movie does what I thought The Fifth Element was going to do right up until they introduced Ruby Rod and screwed it all up. You'll find elements of Star Wars, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Fifth Element, The Avengers, The A-Team, and others while still being it's own movie. 

I'd recommend this movie even if it weren't part of the Marvel Universe. This is a good sci-fi movie even without the rest of the movies that go along with it. They got Glenn Close to do a superhero/sci-fi movie. They must have been doing something right.

If you're following the Marvel Universe movies, this movie is required viewing. If you've not seen any of the super hero movies but like a good sci-fi action flick, you're still going to love this movie.

And... about the clip at the end of the credits...
Remember, Disney now owns Marvel and all the Lucas Films properties.

p.s. - Try to guess who Karen (Amy Pond) Gillan is without checking IMDB.

p.p.s. - This movie gives me hope that they'll do Star Wars right. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday Links: August 1

Pinky and The Brain return for their most hilarious bit ever. [link]
If you click no other links, you need to click this one. 

Congress less popular than Jar Jar Binks. [link]

Ebola infected person was busted out of hospital and went on the run. [link]

She was found and died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. [link]

Virginia's teeth are so bad that health care expansion will mean literally buckets of pulled teeth. [link]

How the NSA defines terms. [link]

"Do you think I asked for a 12 inch pianist?" - The rest of the story. [link]

Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 according to Russia. [link]

Verizon accidentally admits to throttling NetFlix. [link]

"I Accidentally Started a Hoax." [link]

Mary Poppins quits. [link]

Some science fiction for women. [link]

Where's that one character that everyone seems to have, but me? [link]

The first video game song to win a Grammy. [link]

Is that air raid siren a hemi? [link]
Yes. Yes, it is. 

How to make spiders even creepier. [link]

The 32 things you need to know from San Diego Comic Con. [link]

I've wondered if this would work. You've wondered if this would work. Somebody did it. [link]

I SO need a Vader stove. [link]

The cat uprising is coming. [link]

So that's how they milk an almond. [link]

When to buy generic. [link]

Pictures if all the ice on Earth melted. [link]
Edinburgh Castle should be awesome.

Walmart's ice cream sandwich won't melt.

8 century old how-to books that are still useful. [link]

Cocoa bean farmer tastes chocolate for the first time.