Monday, November 30, 2009

Aftermath: The Thanksgiving Trials!

This is what is sad to say and I really shouldn’t.

I’ve been a slack ass all month. No scientific pursuits. No getting out there and enjoying the cool air that is associated with a winter in North East Florida. Minimum geekery.

My major extra curricular has been part of being a Band Booster for my daughters High School Marching Band.

I was invited to a couple of parties and blew those off. In retrospect I should have went but I have a hard time about beating myself up over it. I spent so good quality time with my daughter instead. LOL… she said I should have went!

In the last few weeks I have been getting my superhero geek on. Last year when I joined a gym they asked me what my fitness goals were. I told them I wanted to be a superhero. You know someday I am going to join a gym or health club that well go “COOL! We can do that for you!” instead of “Uhhh….. How about looking better?”

I almost scored Iron Man armor and that would have been bad ass, unfortunately I wasn’t able to pull it off. But what I did do was make a pair of sweats that look like the Iron man suit! Personally I think they are a fabric work of art more that anything else! While I was at it though I made a Dr. Strange hoodie. Dr. Strange is my favorite superhero so I had to do it, but in the process of making the hoodie I was also practicing for when I make the real Dr. Strange costume.

There are a couple of groups that do a lot of charitable events I may hook up with in the future. What is the use of taking on the persona of a superhero if you don’t do anything to honor the source material?

I am also looking at doing a supervillain and a henchman too! Pretty much for the same reason I am doing the superhero.

In Cowford we had our monthly meeting and it was quite good! I posted the details to all of the particulars so I really am not going to go into that here. I love steampunk! I love my crew! I am living for your Christmas party!

Thanksgiving isn’t my best time of year. I spend everyday grateful that I woke up. I have wonderful children and a roof over our heads. I am blessed to have at least three really, really good friends that get me by. I spend all my time acknowledging these facts to the appropriate particulars that I don’t think I should be pressured into believe this is a special time of year. Besides, bad stuff always happens around Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving holiday, I joke about, is the last time one half of my ancestry got along with the other half until my parents met. Yeah, that usually takes a little explaining, but I only joke about it with family so they get it.

I went to dinner at the home of some of my in-laws where I ran in to a “cousin”. I use quotation marks because I am still not sure what his relationship is… I got his mothers number and last night I called her. I am pretty sure I made my cousin-in-laws widow pretty happy. If I did then dealing with familial drama made the entire weekend worth while. I haven’t talked to her since Roberto passed and truly felt like a shit for it. She is one of the most gracious Mami’s I know and a real class act. If feel warm and humble for reconnecting.

Part of my Thanksgiving traditions is digging the tree out of storage and getting it set up the day after. I love Christmas trees! If I could I would leave it up al year. While we are at it I would leave up some of the Hallowe’en decorations up all year long too. I want a room of the house where my Christmas tree sits amongst the tombstones. The fog machine continually churns out… erg… fog. Where the howls of Rudolph the red nosed werewolf punctuate his eerie glow….

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Most Wondrous Hallowe’en!

I joke about it being Hallowe’en all year long for me. As an art form that is compatible for both my aptitude and interests, costuming is something I am most adept with. Not to mention it is fun to play and make-believe.

I do go to a lot of conventions, and I do soak up the adulations of my work, but mostly I enjoy the collective role-play with my groups of like minded and themed kin-of-awesomeness.

Granted, it truly isn’t Hallowe’en all year long. The traditions get shelved for another year to make way for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Children’s costumes are piled in the corner as they get wired on candy delight, and adults barely function from the results copious alcoholic libations, and the stripping of an identity that a costume encourages.

This Hallowe’en in particular was most spectacular! My daughter, a senior in high school, wore my spacesuit to a friend’s party! Her geek and mine resonate on two completely different waveforms so it was a proud moment for me that she wanted to wear one of my creations. She got into the part to as she spent a lot of time laughing and doing this slow exaggerated walk around the house and to the car. Evidently at the party she received mad accolades!

The Cowford Steampunk Society attended a special event at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. On display for this time of year were vintage Hallowe’en artifacts from 1903 to 1911. How very educational! The peoples of this Victorian age put so much in to the holiday!

The Hallowe’en cards were more decorative than our own modern Christmas Cards! The costumes spookier and not surprisingly home spun! Games I had forgotten about, Bobbing for Apples to name one, unheard of these days. In the photographs and the illustrations from the day huge gatherings of community to celebrate this day!

A gentleman and his daughter were on hand to play old 78’s records on a Victrola. Many of the artifacts on hand were ones that he brought from his own collection. Masks made from clay and paper for old Europe, the cards, the 78’s were all his. They even brought reading of old Halloween poetry that was read by Gene, a sophisticated gent and a caretaker of the museum that marked the greatest event of the evening!

There was a vast gathering of people partaking in the festivities, and astonished by the artifacts! To have a crowd on hand minutes after the finish of the Florida-Georgia Game was fantastic! Truth be told from what I saw as I was driving the 30 minutes it took to cover the 10 blocks to the museum was the fans of the game were wearing their own costumes by way of the college colors of the Gators and the Bulldogs. It was fascinating in the anthropological sense to observe this bit of tribalism in urban Florida. Without knowing what lurked in the soul of the stranger you were either marked as a friend, or a foe based solely in the colors of the skin you put on.

I was talking to my friend Jay about this. He is a die hard Gator, being an alumni of that prestigious university, and he agrees that a lot of sports fans are costumers. I may never ever be a goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it doesn’t stop me from wearing the jersey. I saw on a conservative level about 30 people wearing what I believe to be Tim Tebow jerseys and not a single one of them was Tim Tebow!

The thing that made the greatest impact on me though, is all of the writings of the time. Be they the handmade or manufactured cards, the posters, the lobby cards, or even the newspapers all spelled Halloween, Hallowe’en. This made me think about how this grand holiday has been dumbed down and robbed of its elegance. This shall be the last time I ever spell Hallowe’en, Halloween.