bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:35pm on 02/01/2013 under , , , , , ,

I tend to feel like I don’t make enough or do enough creative work. Compared to the output I used to do, I don’t. I try to remind myself that it’s okay! I work a fulfilling, creative job and sleep more and am pretty much happy. But it bums me out, especially since so many folks I know are constantly pumping out notable, awesome work. So when I sat down with my Flickr archive for this year (because Flickr has been my memory bank for years now), I didn’t expect much. This was the year I stopped doing focus months, I mean, how much could I have done?

Turns out? A decent amount.

January
Focus month: Branding Ma-Mé. I built and did the branding work for a friend’s site. It was super fun and I got paid for it! I like making other people’s ideas because I just like making stuff more than thinking of what to make.

Non-focus things made:
• I painted a painting that I then slid behind a bookcase, because I couldn’t throw it away, but why keep it?
• A TARDIS piñata for a dear friend. This has been re-Pinned on Pinterest about a million times.
Tardis piñata

 

February
Focus month: Airbrush! I have an airbrush and love it, but spent this month really learning it.

Non-focus things made:
Rebuilt arbour in yard.
• Murder-wall anniversary present for Chase.
Anniversary present, murder wall

 

March
Focus month: Mending & old work. Cleaned a bunch of stuff, got rid of a bunch of stuff, a really great feeling.

Non-focus things made:
• I did get a wig that is now my web avatar wig. God, I love this fake hair.
• Wrote a short-short.
Finished serialising the first draft of The Audacity Gambit.

 

April
Focus month: Chase’s show production, in which I showed you nothing.

Non-focus things made:
• Nothin. But I did start using Instagram.
Found my balloons and pump.

 

May
Focus month: Embroidery. Which was fun, but not a lot produced.

Non-focus things made:
• Taught myself eggshell veneer.
First try ay eggshell veneer, not terrible.

 

June
Focus Month: Another writing month. Editing The Audacity Gambit and working on the second book!

Non-focus things made:
• Made a sky bison costume for a cat.
• Shot a cover for TAG’s Draft 2 Lulu print.
Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover

 

July
Focus month: Animatic. Which got extended, due to summer fun.

Non-focus things made:
Swatched my insane nail polish collection.
• Helped manage my workplace’s move to a new place.
• Made Chase a hell of a cake for his birthday.
Chase's petit fours cake, with the colours and pillars he picked out.

 

August
Focus month: Animatic, still. Which didn’t end how I expected. I decided to stop doing focus months.

Non-focus things made:
• Research for a friend’s Halloween costume.
• Ridiculous Adventure Time/Breaking Bad drawing.
• Modified a department store ball-jointed doll into a dryad.
Dryad Doll outside

 

September
•We bought a car, wtf.
Built rig for San’s cape from Princess Mononoke.
• Wrote lots of TAG book 2
Emily and the hare from book two.

 

October
• Got my first hand tattoos
• Made Princess Mononoke costume.
There. Done with San's cape and hood. Ended up going for attatching hood permanently. #fb

 

November
• Worked on a thing I hope to show you guys soon.
• Made a ridiculous cake
Surf cake

 

December
• Shot photos of cats in both old west and Avedon’s In the American West styles as presents.
Christmas Kitty: Avedon edit Bailey

 

So, a decent amount of things, I think? And through all of it, trying to keep my nails sick.

 

Not a bad 2012, let’s hope for more in 2013!

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 06:00pm on 29/12/2011 under , , ,

Folks, you’re gong to need to indulge me. Having finished the edits of The Audacity Gambit, I need to decompress and talk some process.

At the start of this year, when I started this focus thing, my focus was writing—specifically, getting some significant headway into a book. The longest finished piece I think I’ve ever written was a little over 4,000 words long and itself a product of that focus month. One of the standard definitions of a novel is 40,000 words—ten times that.

But I had an idea that I wanted to mangle out that long. Your regular idea, born of several obsessions and personal themes. It wasn’t like I hadn’t written things of total length. There was that weekly webcomic I had for what? Two and a half years? I could finish a story (let’s ignore Anise and Slow Build here), I wasn’t going to let word count stop me.

A dear friend of mine had recently finished her first book and another has been serialising theirs for a while, so there was encouragement that it could be done. I could so do this, however daunting. In the three-ish years since I finished that comic, my outlining process had changed significantly. Back then it was constantly evolving outlines, sub-outlines, plotted timelines and so forth, each more detailed down to the script. For this story I made the loosest outline possible. I barely knew how it’d end (and don’t worry, spoiler-fearers, what you see below is an old version, not the outline I ended up using for the end).

But I got a big chunk of it written in January, enough to put in the can and start updating once my lovely first reader had edited it. And once I had a title.

It was the title that really pushed back the first update. I hate naming things, because there is a stupid amount of weight involved in a name. Since I was focusing on tropes, I rabbit-holed TVTropes, looking for some one thing to click in my head. I couldn’t tell you how exactly I decided on “The Audacity Gambit”, but I do know that I love the idea of audaciousness. There’s a sense of foolhardiness to it when applied to bravery.

So, it was named and began updating and I started again that weird cycle I’d set aside years before—of building up and depleting an update queue, then building it back up—a flurry of behind the scenes attempts to not fail an invisible audience who in theory expected a regular schedule. I serialised it as I wrote because I’ve learned over the years that promising the internet regular updates is enough to shame me into keeping up a working pace. It also meant I’d get intermittent feedback from folks who have opinions I value. It’s encouraging for me to have that while I’m writing.

I wanted to finish the damn thing by the end of the year. And I handwrote the last line in early December (the majority of the first draft has been written by hand since the summer). Not too long later I typed up the last chapter and passed it on to my first reader. It’s all queued up and will run until March 11, 2012. Less than a year of weekly updates, but not a bad little run.

I look forward to not thinking about Audacity Gambit for a couple of months. Then I can read the thing from start to finish and run another series of edits. I don’t know what all I’m doing with it once it’s all done, but something written and edited in pieces like this needs another inspection as a whole.

Here’s where The Audacity gambit was written:

  • On the MAX light rail, when I commuted from the suburbs into the city for work.
  • During the second half of C.O.P.S. classes, since I didn’t always want to attend a critique class.
  • In two coffee shops, Tiny’s SE and Press Club. I finished the thing at Press Club (and drafted this post there, even).
  • During my smoke breaks at work.
  • At the laundromat (which is where I am typing up this post). I actually don’t know what I’ll do while I wait for my laundry now.

 

This is probably boring, as most introspective looks at process are, but I’m still coming down. I wrote a book guys! At 38,000+ words it isn’t technically a novel, but who cares. I am warning you, expect a nerdy, meandering look at themes and junk that I had to look up in the future.

Anyway, why don’t you (if you haven’t yet) try reading The Audacity Gambit? It updates Sundays at 9pm and all the entries are linked to here.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 10:16pm on 02/04/2011 under , , , , ,

This month is my birthday month, so the focus is going to be something I am so all about: nails.

Sometime between 2006-ish, when I was still scared of the makeup aisle and spent evenings pretending I wasn’t following white rabbit hyperlinks about drag, false lashes, makeup and hair falls to the summer of 2009 when I started painting my nails about once a week (though I didn’t start doing it regularly each week for a while), I got over it. “It” being my gender presentation and self-perception. Which is so complicated and all I want to do is explain why getting my nails did is so important to me. Like, Jo’s hair in Little Women important. It’s the thing I’m vain about.

Nails did: 10/11/10

Anyway. I like bling. I like shiny things and the LA look and the crumbs of makeup that I still carried from the mandatory girl-kit of my late teens included a pair of silver false lashes. This month is about nails, not lashes, I know, stay with me. Lashes and nail polish both are something that complete a character, when you’re acting or in an editorial. They’re more decidedly costume and they can be fabulous. And I figured out I could do fabulous. That wasn’t girly, when I still cared about if something was girly, it was just fancy.

I literally dipped my finger into painting my nails. I used to use a little mobile internet thing and grew out the nail on my index finger a bit so I didn’t have to use the stylus. The rest of my nails I kept very short. I started painting just the longer nail, for strength and because it was fancy.  Sometimes I would do them up a little more for events.

I done did my nails

Early summer 2009 Chase and I were in a new apartment, a place with no memory of former roommates, I was figuring some stuff out myself and part of that was a style direction that sort of wove the sunshine fashion of 1980s Miami with the rather sick street looks of LA. I found a blog called The Boobs (now over at The Boobs LA) that would post image dumps of hella nails did, with 3D pieces and sick bling. A couple months later, I was already starting to amass a collection of polish. It helps that Chase is a total enabler.

08/24/09

And now, almost two years later, I’ve been doing my nails every week. I’ve grown them out crazy long on my non-dominant hand, learned to square a femme habit with the rest of me and fallen in love with the tiny canvases that adorn my hands. I have dozens of nail polish colours, an airbrush and a legit obsession. My nails may now be trimmed down now for boxing, but they’re still fab.

So. This month I’m focusing just on the thing that I think I love the most. I want to do at least four different sets of art nails on acrylic tips and get shots of them, like extreme versions of ones I’ve done for friends.

I have a nerdy thing I do where I screenshot nails in a film and then try to replicate them. I’ve already done Ginger’s nails in Casino and I’ve got a file of stills of Nomi’s nails in Showgirls that I need to delve into. Any tips as to other notable movie nails would be awesome.

Other than that it’s kind of up in the air. It’s gonna rock. Local friends who’ve been wanting their nails did should shoot me a line for surely.

Now for the kind of impressive grid o’ nails did from my Flickr:

Earliest nails
Older nails
The latest nails

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 09:01am on 30/03/2011 under , , , ,

Don’t worry, there’ll be a post on how awesome my new apartment is and what I’ve sewn for it.  But I owe somebody a story, and surprisingly I haven’t written this out before, so here we go.

I like makeup. It’s costuming for the face. When I was little I loved playing with the disco-era palettes of my mom’s eyeshadow, tiny trial-size lipsticks, bright paints in tiny containers. It was costume, the finishing touch of playing pretend.

In middle school I was told I should start wearing makeup—foundation, coverup, that sort of thing. I don’t remember when and it doesn’t matter, but after that makeup was something I had to do because I was a girl. Like the inevitable training bra, I wasn’t going to escape these female milestones.

Some point later, for Christmas, I unwrapped an angle brush and two palettes of eyeshadow. One was blues and greys, one was black. I had levelled up. It still wasn’t awesome, since it was something I had to do, but it was more fun than the rest of it. It was colour and drama. Not just coverup.

I was dutiful, but I was not the girliest kid. I resisted plucking my eyebrows until my late teens, because oh my gawd the effort of hair maintenance is absurd. And I was busy discovering this thing called rock and roll, working in the darkroom, or recording Lone Gunmen episodes on super long play. I also spent time in the library, browsing the 700s (the Arts). That’s where I found Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces. It’s one of the best makeup introductory books I’ve found, and there’s a bit on sculpting eyebrows that explained everything so simply I finally tried it. I didn’t have to thin them, just refine their natural shape!

There was a short-term, weird, hyper female spurt after high school that was the result of getting to redefine myself while still trying to remain within social bounds— which can be glossed over here, because for various reasons I don’t really remember it and all it did was further reinforce where I went next. Because girly stuff for me has always been drag. It’s pretend, like my social skills. A thing I do because I want to or feel like the situation calls for it. Which—please note—is how I feel about it now, not how I approached it then. Back then I was holding on to the girl stuff the same way I was still carrying around my expired driver’s permit, I didn’t know what to do with it, but it was sort of like something people are supposed to have. So I kept it.

Anyway. Time wore on. I started working theatre tech instead of being on stage. I watched the art buildings at night and built up a machismo with my dudely art friends. I stopped using makeup. It was in part because I didn’t have time. But I had the excuse not to do it now. I was in the theatre basement, sorting dusty heaps of set pieces, or mucking about on ladders or staying up late throwing paint on canvas. Makeup, like clothes that weren’t meant to get dirty, was a senseless effort. It was wonderful.

I would use the black eyeshadow to line my eyes sometimes, y’know, because it does work to take the edge off the glare of the sun. Like kohl, or the smudges on football players. Totally not femmy.

So I found myself, years later, hovering at the edge of the makeup aisles at Fred Meyer, hoping no one saw me. Why I decided to buy makeup again is a whole ‘nother thing. Let’s just focus on the point here, terribly macho me, not wanting to look at the mascara display because there was a woman in the aisle.

“This is ridiculous.” I am thinking to myself. “You are a female-looking person in a makeup aisle. Nobody will question your presence. Even if you weren’t readable as female, nobody would care. It is Fred Meyer. You are creepier walking up and down past the aisles. You are creeping this poor lady out.”

The woman finally picked her eyeshadow and wandered off. I was free to enter. I knew I wanted blue mascara. That only one brand offered a decent one. I knew what I wanted because I’d been thinking about it for weeks and only got the nerve up to buy it that day. Once I find the right display, I cursed all package designers for tiny lettering and had to stand there, sweating in terror at being caught (doing what? damned if I know), while I try to find “Midnight Blue”. As I grabbed at it, I spotted a coupon fluttering nearby. A free lipstick with any purchase of that brand.

This, I think, tells you a lot about me. Freaked out as I was, I was not going to deny something free. I blindly grabbed at the lipstick, taking the first tube that fell under my flailing hand and booked it to the safety of the dairy department. Where I swaggered a bit, battle won.

It turns out that the colour of lipstick was a perfect nude tone for me. Not that I really have reason to wear it much, I’m not a lipstick person. I realised, when I was putting away my makeup after we moved, that I have an ungodly amount of lipstick for someone who is not a lipstick person. But it’s costume, that finishing touch. And I am glad to have it there when I want it. I also found those two first palettes of eyeshadow, which I threw away. They were over a decade old, um, hella gross. And it’s not like I don’t have a fuck-tonne more shadows to play with.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:49am on 31/12/2010 under , ,

One thing I can acknowledge, despite the persistent strands of self-doubt I am slowly cutting away: I can teach myself any art or craft technique and make something halfway decent with it if I want to. I’m not going to be a genius at it, necessarily, but I can do it. Even back when I was just a painter I was interested in the process, which is most likely why I didn’t stay just a painter for long—and I was doing film photography, emphasis on darkroom work, and theatre and whatever else too, anyway, so moot point, I guess. I totally have a kryptonite though, if it involves electricity (like soft circuit work, even), I can’t do it. That stuff is mostly magic and dragon breath to me.

I like making things, seeing how things are made and cobbling together ways to do it myself. I collect techniques, so if I ever need a certain thing I can do it myself. The problem is, I like all those things I’ve learned to do, but there’s so much more I want to learn and make. Nor is cluttering my brain up with a million how-tos conducive to being able to focus on one thing. Or weaving it all together into something. Because I still get a niggling feeling left over from ancient days that maybe I should be creating a body of work.

So. What better time than a fresh new year to sort that shit out? As long as I can handle it, I’m going to devote one month to a media or process. Here’s a bulleted breakdown:

  • I’m not planning out beforehand which thing to focus on, so the inevitable urge to Do This Other Thing can guide what the next month’s focus will be.
  • If I haven’t devoted a month to it yet, I don’t do it. So even if I get a crazy hankering for process E, but are only up to B, no luck, it’s got to wait.
  • If I have devoted a month to it, it can work itself into what I’m focusing on that month, in moderation. But it can’t be stand alone, the process has got to flow into the current focus.
  • Nails continue as normal, ditto the airbrush, because I use that on my nails. I’d die of shame if I didn’t do my nails every week.
  • Taking snapshots of things I saw or made continues as normal, because that’s like breathing. Doing specific photography projects is not included in this pass. I can devote a month to that.

The idea of just focusing on one process or media is so freeing. I could dedicate a whole month to learning something new and feel no guilt that I’m not doing five other techniques. I could do this for longer than a year, probably. But I’ve learned never to go crazy with long term plans, because who knows what Thing will rear its head and complicate matters.

Alright then.

January, FYI, is going to be fiction writing (so, no obsessively researched fashion posts, etc). I have some goals which are none of your business, but I do have previously written stories I’ll be posting once a week in the interim. I’m not going to bore you with my personal realisations regarding submitting work for publication, but nobody liked any of the stories except me and Chase. And since this is my blog, that is enough for me.

Onward.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 02:24pm on 13/10/2010 under , , , , , ,

After the total concert cockblock, we ended up going to Scissor Sisters the next week. It was an amazing show (I did a nail for it) and it answered the question that’s been in the back of my mind for ages, “Would I like clubbing?” Answer: YES. They made us work for the encore, came out with a costume change and right at the climax of the last song the ceiling exploded confetti and it was essentially magic. Drifting down, among the little tissue paper and mylar bits, were three dollar bills (ha) with a q-code on the back that goes to RentBoy.com. Perfection.

There’s been a kick to ramp up creating, making and being, which has been overwhelming but awesome. Chase has added a bunch of amazing stuff to his site. Things that have been sitting in my sketchbook for ages are getting done, like the Black Metal Eyelashes.

Black metal lashes: spikesouttake1

I’m embroidering again, and not being very good about documenting it, the latest big piece has a happy home and lots of snaps of my obsessive detail. The idea of showing my work at these things called “galleries” isn’t as hateful to me as it has been in the past, I’m dipping a toe in cautiously. The kitchen sink creature, in its tiny gross glory, packed itself down to Bloomington, Indiana, to be part of the opening show at Paper Crane Gallery.

I’m at a point where I feel like I can be “this is who I am,” not worrying so much about making others uncomfortable, or keeping things in my head. It is most probs because the people I share my heart with are all terrible, wonderful people who are in concert with me as to when a round of high-fives need to be served. And who totally approve of my leering about in padded bra and soft-packed pants in an attempt to present androgyny as a smorgasbord of choice.

Here’s something I did this week that made me proud:

I commute by bus and lightrail, about 1.5-2 hours, depending. As a small person I have to sometimes remain vigilant about my space. I don’t expect much, just, y’know, the space that I and my bag (slung in front so it doesn’t hit people unawares) take up. Some folks—let’s not call them yuppies, that would be mean—tend to exist only for themselves and will ooze into your standing or seated space with their elbows and bags and coats.

Due to some malfunction, my full train of commuters had to disembark and squeeze onto the next train behind. Which, sighs, but such is commuting life. So we all find space and stand and I luck out with a pole to hold onto instead of a strap, most of which are a little to high for me. Commuters continue to pack on at each stop.

I realise that the man next to me is taking up more space as time goes on, shifting about, resettling his bag so it swings into people, things that are hard to explain if you’ve never commuted on a full train. In short: being a dick. Resting my arm across the top of my bag, I go into my defensive commuting posture. I am not taking up more space, but attempts to take my space result in an elbow to the back. Which, totally happens. And the guy? Does not care. I was little more than a post to rest against. The drone of a bathroom remodel conversation continues.

Staring into space with loathing for my fellow man, I realise the jerk’s bag is open. And I did not spit in it, though I thought about it. Instead, tucking arms in and trying not to fall as the train hit curves, I pulled a pen and paper from my pockets and wrote a note—”Just because you’re white, male and middle class doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the space you take up on public transit.” I folded the note and slipped it into his bag, where it nestled next to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

So I’m learning to be comfortable in my happiness. But I will not be complacent.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 09:54pm on 21/04/2010 under , , , , , ,
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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 06:33pm on 20/01/2010 under , , , ,

Week 1: Back
(If you don’t know, I’m playing along at home with season 7 of Project Runway. Blog here.)

Nails did: 20/01/10

Boobs, not raccoons
(I also sometimes blog at I Like Socks)

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 10:30pm on 02/12/2009 under , , ,
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posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 11:34pm on 18/11/2009 under , , , , ,

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