11/9/2000

Someone sent me an email tonight in which one of my previous entries was mentioned. It reminded me that I hadn't updated this "diary" of a sort for well over a month. Well, I apologize to the legions of Danarchy fans who have most likely been feverishly checking this page daily, looking for an update.

I guess I should begin by catching you up on the last couple of months. My friend in Pennsylvania cancelled our plans a third and final time. It wasn't even worth trying to reschedule again as the last attempt would have been the last weekend that Cedar Point was open this year. I'll hit it next year. I also heard rumors that there is now a bigger, faster roller coaster than their flagship Millennium Force. I haven't checked around on the web to confirm, but I'm told it's in Japan. I guess that's another compelling reason for me to visit Japan sometime in my life. My friend in Pennsylvania cancelled on me (nearly literally) at the last minute. Frantically, I subscribed to the Pittsburgh goth mailing list which wouldn't let me post until I'd been subscribed for at least 24-48 hours (which did no good since I was flying out the next morning, a mere 12 hours later) and in a last-ditch attempt I tried the Pittsburgh goth channel in IRC. Unfortunately, I found nothing but a bunch of giggling buffoons who were briefly convinced that I was a LARP'er and then failed to give me any useful advice on things to do. Since it didn't look good for company in Pittsburgh for the weekend and since amusement parks are best enjoyed with company, I put my ticket on hold. At least it's not a total wash.

However since I didn't have to pay for the rental car or a hotel room in Ohio that left me plenty of money to spend frivolously on my Halloween costume. I'd been picking the brain of a friend on Ed's Room on how to make custom costume parts. He's worked in the special effects industry before and has made some damn fine costumes for MiniCon and CONvergence. He usually wins the best workmanship award, but usually the best of show goes to a group who puts on a better show. Anyway, armed with a list of websites with tips and phone numbers of some local suppliers I began work on my costume.

I still had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be. My original idea was to be a character from Tron. Unfortunately I decided that the 2 1/2 weeks remaining before Halloween wouldn't be enough for me to get do a full-body mold of myself, make a fiberglass cast of the mold, sculpt a decent costume in clay, and then build what would be needed to vacuum-form plastic parts. I also had thought of doing it with off-the-shelf sports gear like football pads and bicycle helmets, but I was really excited to make my own costume parts so I thought I'd just make some molds and figure it out as I went. At first I thought I'd try an arm. I found a place locally to buy some dental alginate. I bought a few pounds of it and as I was too impatient to wait for a friend to come over so I tried the first time myself. You can see the results of it here. I learned some important lessons on my first attempt. The first was to make absolutely sure that I have paper towels handy when making a mold of my arm. I used my left hand to smear vaseline all over my right hand and forearm and then it suddenly occurred to me that it would be difficult to get back into the house. At least it gave me a use for the newspapers they keep delivering to my house every Sunday despite that I've told them every time they've called that I have no interest in receiving any newspapers. Even with that, I managed to slicken my fence latch and several of my house's doorknobs. The second lesson was to use either regular-set alginate or cold water with quick-set alginate. The mixture of warm water with the quick-set alginate I bought rendered it completely unusable. The stuff set up before I could even finish mixing it!

Anyway, a few days later I bought some more alginate (this time I bought regular-set!) and as Christian and Ursula were both free, they came over as well to play with costume stuff and make some molds. We all made some molds of our teeth and of my right hand. This time things went almost perfectly and we all had a lot of fun. We all also went out and saw "The Ladies' Man." I should probably feel some trepidation about disclosing this shocking and unpleasant revelation. I'm sure I'm in danger of losing respect from some of my readers, but hey, that's fine. The previews were actually pretty funny and we saved some money by seeing a matinee show. I also provided a fun way of killing some time while the Ultracal-30 plaster used for our teeth molds set. Overall I'd call the day a smashing success and with plenty of pictures taken as evidence. As you might have guessed, pictures are available.

Christian gave me some cheesecloth that he had spare from one of his earlier projects to use in making some DIY plaster bandages (a good way of saving money). Christian and Ursula were going to come over another night to help me make a face (or head) mold, but the same night were also supposed to go to Christian's mom's house to retrieve the car Christian was buying from his sister (among other things). Christian thought they'd be back by around 8:00, but by 8:30 they hadn't called me. I wasn't too surprised. I figured something like that would happen. It's easy to lose track of time talking to one's mother (or just driving around when one suddenly has the freedom of a car after years without one). On a whim I tried calling Dylan to see if he'd come over to help me. He had an errand to run, but said he'd be free provided we could be done by around midnight. I assured him we would and went outside to make some basic preperations. Dylan showed up a short while later and we got to work. I'm sorry there are no pictures, but it was extremely messy and without a third person to handle the camera it just wouldn't have been feasible. Due to time constraints we opted to only mold the face. I threw on my swim cap (in lieu of a bald cap) and helped to mix up the initial blob of alginate for the face. However I took too long getting situated and the first bunch set before it could be used. Dylan mixed the second batch up while I lounged on the floor. Then he started to apply it. As you know from the expressions on my face in the pictures and movies that I find alginate to be disgusting when used internally. Molding my face was a good way to find out that it's just as repugnant used externally. Luckily I'm not even in the slightest bit claustrophobic, because as the alginate dries it feels as if it is shrinking on the face (it is, really).

After just a few minutes the alginate had set on my face (with two small nostrils so that I could breathe). Dylan set to making up some plaster bandages. Within a couple of minutes he was ready to start applying them. It's important to use plaster bandages to reinforce the alginate when molding the face. Without them it is likely to lose its shape and produce a distorted mold. About 10 minutes later, my alginate-coated face had a second layer made of plaster bandages. Either they took a little longer than the alginate to set or I was getting tired of molding my face completely motionless. Either way, it was set before it became a major inconvenience. It suddenly occurred to me that I needed something in which to set the mold while the plaster filling solidified. I left Dylan holding the mold while I ran inside and retrieved my smaller aquarium. I knew those aquariums would be handy for something when I found them in the hall of my old building. In the bottom is a bunch of light gravel so it was pretty easy to make a passable dent for the face mold. With that done, the mold was filled with plaster and left overnight to dry.

I forgot to mention. I had decided what I wanted to be for Halloween. I wanted to be a guy getting torn apart by hooks (sort of like in Hellraiser). While waiting for Christian i'd begun construction of my hooks and chains. I couldn't find any truly decent hooks at Home Depot, but I did at least find some fairly sharp hooks. They, however, had screws on the ends which needed to be removed. Using a weird hacksaw thing that came with a toolset I was given once I cut the heads off of 8 of them in about a half hour. I then soldered them onto some chains. The resulting hooks were pretty neat-looking. I was more than satisfied. I have a picture which I'll post later. Dylan said he'd be able to saw the other 6 hooks down in about a minute at work and took them with.

The next day was the day of the first of the two Halloween parties I'd decided to grace with my presence. I was really looking forward to it. My ex-neighbor, Lisa, was throwing it and she always throws really fun parties to which most of St. Paul's "heavy metal" (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) crowd shows up. I took off from work a little early and set to building up the latex on my mold. I also shaved a couple of patches of skin and began layering on the less toxic liquid latex. After the first piece was done and the second was started it was time for a trip to Aimee and Dylan's to retrieve the hooks Dylan had cut for me. It had taken about as long as he anticipated to cut them at work. I went home and started some more work on my costume. The liquid latex took a lot longer than expected to apply and the 242 Latex was drying slowly so it wasn't even really usable the first night. I decided to skip any facial hooks because it was getting late (11:30) and the facial pieces I'd made with 242 latex weren't even close to ready. I went out to my garage and made up some fake blood with corn syrup and red food coloring. I used the advice on one site which called for some yellow food coloring as well. Do not do this if you make your own fake blood! I barely put in any yellow at all, but all of my first batch of fake blood wound up looking orange! Anyway, it also occurred to me that I had no mirror in the garage with which to apply the blood so I carefully went into the house where I applied it. The fake blood was not a lot of fun to wear, but it was fully edible. It stays tacky pretty much forever and it likes to stick to anything that comes in contact with it. Yuck. Even so, with the chains in place it looked good enough.

I arrived at Lisa's party at about 1:00, I think. There were about 70-100 people there which wasn't even nearly as many people as were there during the peak hours for the party (when the bands were playing). I guess the apartment was pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder with people and more were spilling into the hallway. I really only talked to people at the party that I already knew, but enjoyed it anyway. I found out one of the guys at the building was not only into movies similar to what I enjoy, but also had some pretty good taste in music. It's too bad we didn't talk more when I lived there. However I got his # and he loaned me a copy of Nekromantik 2 to watch so we'll probably trade some movies in the near future. Lisa was looking really cool in her costume (a witch) and we agreed to hang out sometime in the vague (but near) future.

The next day was another day of costume-making. I went to Target and bought a mirror for my garage and some other minor supplies. I got an early start on putting on my latex and the facial pieces I'd made the night before were pretty much ready. In the end, the costume could have turned out better, but I learned a lot and I had a lot of fun doing it.

By around 9 or 10 I was ready to go to Aimee and Dylan's party which is the party I'd most been looking forward to attending. As expected, it kicked some major butt. I brought some watermelon liquor that was only $2 per bottle and which had tasted OK when I took a tiny sip. Drinking more, however, proved that it tasted more like watermelon-flavored turpentine so I decided I needed a mixer. My friend, Sharon, who had come as Red Riding Hood needed some flowers so we walked to the little grocery store just down the road from the party. Unfortunately it was closed when we got there so we walked to my car and I drove to Rainbow where I received numerous compliments on my costume and I got some banana-orange-strawberry juice and some pine-orange-strawberry juice for mixing drinks and Sharon found some acceptable flowers. We got back to the party and I had a couple of small drinks, but not enough to really even get a buzz which turned out to be a good thing because a server went down at work and I was on-call. At around 2:00 I went into work, without my badge (in my jacket pocket) and coated in fake blood and chains/hooks. The somewhat dubious security guard let me into the building and called the individual who'd paged me who said it was OK to let me in. About 40 minutes later, having determined that the server was dead, and having taken it out of the rotation in its city I went back to the party.

I'd like to digress for a moment here to tell a funny story about the party. Christian showed up wearing the scarecrow costume he'd worn for Halloween the year before. Aimee and Dylan had threatened to make anyone who came without a costume wear a toga and were actively enforcing the rule. I appreciate that greatly - a party where the theme is actually followed. Anyway, Aimee jokingly told Christian he had to go stand in the yard and pretend to be a scarecrow for 10 minutes as punishment for wearing the same costume. Christian went out to the front yard and was sitting motionless near the sidewalk when a number of drunken revelers walked past. He didn't move until one of the last people in the group, a drunk college student, punched him in the head. Christian stood up, yelled, and began to administer a severe drubbing to the unsuspecting individual who just stood there taking it as he had no idea what was happening. The girls in the group were screaming and the guys were halfheartedly trying to pull him from their friend as none of them realized that it was a human and not some sort of demon scarecrow (gotta' love that alcohol). When it ws over, the one who had punched Christian said "You shouldn't pretend to be a scarecrow," and Christian responded, "Maybe you shouldn't go around punching the property of others."

Anyway, when I got back to the party Christian was gone (I think), but a naked guy had shown up. Aimee had mentioned beforehand that BJ had come up with a clever way of circumventing the toga rule. I figured it was just a joke, but nope. There was indeed a very naked BJ at the party, but the nudity wasn't really even all that blatant and I barely even noticed it (for the most part). Oddly, though, the party did start to thin out right about the time someone else decided it was a good costume and also got naked. Only one person got that idea, though, and he also wasn't really very in-your-face with it. I got a bunch of pictures while at the party. Sorry, ladies (and creepy old men) I didn't take any pictures of the naked folks. You'll just have to imagine them yourself. Also, Matt sent me some of his pictures of the party which I'll be adding as soon as I get around to fixing some of them up.

I think that just about wraps up Halloween. On to current events. On Ed's Room, Laurie and I have been fighting pretty bitterly for the last few days. Laurie is still convinced that my disdain for her has to do with the fact that she wouldn't date me. I understand why she would think that as we fought a bit about that at the time, but the fact is that for at least a couple of months I was pretty ambivalent about her. I eventually came to the conclusion that my attraction to her had clouded my judgment about her as a person and that she has a lot of qualities that irritate me. I won't bother getting into them here and she's welcome to her opinion on why I don't like her. She's even welcome to go around telling people that while she bitches about what an ass I am. It's no big deal to me - just another misconception I'll have to clear up if the people actually ask me about it. That argument seems to have blown over, however, and it'll probably just be back to mutual sniping for a couple of months.

I think I've found a use for that plane ticket I wasn't able to use as well. At first when I saw the fare on NWA's webpage of $125 to Dallas/Ft. Worth from the Twin Cities I was incredulous. It seemed way too cheap to be real. It was. It's actually for a one-way trip, but $253 for a round-trip is still not bad at all. It's really not bad when I already have a $226 ticket and a bonus from work and my damage deposit from my last apartment coming to me. Also, I know a couple of people in Austin (which is really where I'll spend the vacation) which is only 3 hours from Dallas. That way if one falls through or we have major personality conflicts, I have a different floor on which to crash. All that remains now is to wait until early next week which is the soonest I'll be able to talk to one of the people and figure out which travel dates will work. I'll probably be going later this month, with any luck. It's funny how it all works out. One of the people is a friend of a friend who wrote me out of the blue once thinking I was him (she clicked the mailto link at the bottom of one of my picture pages, thinking it went to him) and the other is a person I know through IRC. The trip will be fun, I think. One of the two has made Austin sound like it'll be a lot of fun. The other just doesn't go out much. Either way, it'll get me out of Minnesota which in itself is positive, but it will also get me out of MN during late November/early December when it's really cold.

I guess the only other thing of interest these days is that I put together a T-shirt press. I got it as a kit from IASCO (have I mentioned that I love that place?). Unfortunately the clamps on the ends of the arms won't fit on my screens, but when I described the parts to Dylan he thought he'd be able to make me working replacements at work. I'll bring one to the UAC meeting on Sunday to get his final verdict. Sometime very soon I should be making my own T-shirts. I have a few really cool designs in mind, but more on that later. It's 2:00 AM now and I think I'm going to respond to a couple of pieces of email and go to bed. Speaking of which I need to update the dream diary a little bit. There are only two new entries, but at least it's something. That will be another night, though, I think.


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