Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Real Life Adventures

The Dig

Whenever I clean out my refrigerator, it’s a combination archaeological and anthropological endeavor. It’s not just a deep dig into grocery products past, but a dive into a bygone era, when decisions were made with unremembered logic.

1. Research and evidence must be collected and presented to the Board of the Superego to fund the refrigerator project.

I don’t like cleaning out my fridge.

I don’t like cleaning. I don’t like spraying and wiping down. I don’t like vacuuming. I do like walking around in my bare feet. Those last two things don’t play well together.

Anyway, on this particular occasion, the Board was presented with a gift that needed to be seated within the refrigerator. The only problem was, the item in question (see image) was too tall to live within the confines of the current shelf setup of the refrigerator.

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The Board considered and came to the unanimous conclusion that one shelf shall be removed and I would have to make due with two shelves instead of one rather than actually take the time to clean out the fridge.

After wrestling the shelf out, life continued as normal. Which brings us to the second step of the project.

2. The Board realizes its error

Even if you are only one person, you cannot live with just two shelves in the refrigerator. The time has come. The Board is unanimous. The shelf must be reinstalled at a higher level if we are to operate normally within the universe of the apartment.

They funded an exploratory committee.

Adjusting refrigerator shelves is a delicate and complicated process. One must consider what they intend to place on the shelves before placing them three inches apart. Does the egg carton fit on that narrow space? Yes. Can the string cheese be tetrised in? Yes.

Operation Wire Shelf is a go.

3. The exploratory committee explores

The space that the refrigerator lives in is not large enough to open the door completely. This is normally not a problem, as you don’t really need to open the door the entire way to grab the things you need. But, you do need to open the door the entire way to install shelves.

Through a complicated bit of wrestling, we now have a refrigerator that will open wide enough to allow for the shelf to be replaced. 451

As long as there is no shelf above it.

4. You do what you should have done a long time ago.

You empty the fridge.

The first big find of the excavation was an unopened jar of Welch’s grape jam. The popping metal lid has yet to be unpopped.

I have no idea when I bought this. I also don’t know how long jam lasts, opened or otherwise. And, as I sit here typing this, I’m not even sure Welch’s sells jam in these kinds of containers anymore. How long has this been here?

The second find was a half-empty (half-full?) bottle of Kung Pao sauce. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, it doesn’t really matter, as it expired two years ago. Yes, I had Kung Pao sauce that expired in 2016. I’ve had that longer than one of my cats.

Why did I need Kung Pao sauce? I can’t remember ever using it, even though it is half-empfullty. But, at the time, I must have been very excited for whatever Kung Pao concoction I was making.

Don’t worry. There are cool things, too. Like that bottle of water I got from the Iron Man 3 set.

Last, I found a large jar of ground Kroger brand medium roast coffee.

Ah, I know when I must have bought this. It was a simpler time, when I was unemployed and buying in bulk. It was before I became an adult and bought a grown-up coffee grinder. Poor Kroger brand. You didn’t even bother to give your coffee a fancy name, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Caffeine or Don’t Worry, It Still Brews Up In Tears.

5. Carefully dispose of the evidence.

6. Enjoy your new shelf.

My new shelf does not have very wide clearance, so I have chosen to call it the “Cheese Shelf.” It is where the cheese sits. And, it was worth the effort.

As I sit here, drinking a cup of steaming Kroger Medium, I wonder what my refrigerator would say if it could talk. Maybe something like,

“This Kung Pao sauce has a funk to it that needs to be addressed.”

Or:

“This glass pitcher is completely empty. I refuse to chill it unless it is filled with something.”

And, I’m thankful for my talking refrigerator. Because at least it’s not a SubZero. Those are just so frosty and judgmental.

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Lemonade. Or, perhaps, some sort of lemon salad

It’s weird when life hands you lemons. And you’re like, “Sour yellow fruit.” And everyone says you’re supposed to make lemonade and there’s this big metaphor and it makes you feel better, or, usually, doesn’t.lemons_5836497465

It’s weirder when life hands you lemons and you look around and think, “Well, shit. Turns out that’s the only ingredient I was missing.”

I was recently laid off from my job. They gave me three weeks of warning, which is a fair amount of time and gave me the security of rent for another month, if not car and student loan payments. I made the preemptive call to my parents. Not quite an SOS. Just making sure the channel is open.  Because we see an iceberg coming and we don’t know if we can avoid it. With years of experience in the job market, they have the context to know what to expect.

There was the rush of calculation. How much money do I need to survive? How many years of experience? Am I even good at anything? I had the same job for 6 years and now it’s gone. There’s no paycheck. There’s no clocking in. If I have to move back to Texas…I won’t move back to Texas. I will become homeless before that happens.

In three days, I applied for a California driver’s license and became a Lyft driver, thinking, “It’s something.”

I applied for jobs. Hundreds of jobs. Tons and tons of jobs. Maybe one in a hundred got me an interview.

I didn’t really realize anything was wrong until I met with a rep at a temp agency. I gave him my salary requirements, more than I made at my last job, and he laughed. He literally laughed out loud and said to me, “You’re being robbed.”

It was a sobering moment. I didn’t particularly like or dislike my previous job. It was something I did. It was something I did well. It was something I was paid to do, but I didn’t know I was being robbed.

Then, I got a paycheck from Lyft.

I was being robbed. Driving my car for 10 hours over the course of two days netted me over $200. I can make $20 an hour if I drive smart. Plus, fuel rewards were saving me on every fill-up, I was meeting and talking to interesting people, I was getting to know Los Angeles better than I’ve ever known. Lyft is the best job I’ve ever had.

A 9 to 5 job interview came up and I actually had to weigh the options of accepting a “real job” position over just driving my car whenever I felt like it because the material rewards were balanced.

I mean, when was the last time I had to sit down and think, “What am I doing with my life?” That kind of thing is left to college students who have the luxury of wasting time.

A slow realization has dawned.

Getting laid off may have been the best thing that happened to me.

It’s an interesting feeling to be handed lemons and open the cupboard to find sugar, a juicer, filtered water, and a frosty pitcher staring at me like, “Where you been?”

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Or, maybe the ingredients for some sort of lemon salad. I could really go for a lemon ice right now…


Adventures in Cosplay

It all started with a text.

Joe: Hey, that foam you need to make armor. Can that be any color?

Me: Yeah. You just spray paint over it.

Joe: I have something for you to see.

Someone in our apartment complex had used EVA foam pieces to try to sound proof their walls (they were a music student) and they were throwing out all of their pieces. All of them. I ended up around 30 pieces of foam. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s this stuff.

EVA Foam

You may recognize me from children’s playrooms.

I had been doing some research about armor material for cosplay. I had bought some of this and built a Loki helmet over the course of a weekend. Now, here I was, with a surplus of foam. What to build?

Having fallen in love with the movie Frozen, I decided to make a warrior Elsa costume. Not just Elsa in armor, but Elsa in armor that she forged out of ice herself. It all started with a chestplate design, a slab of ice that she would conjure up.

Chestplate

I carved it out of the foam, experimented with some cutting techniques and there it was. Just as I envisioned. More or less.

It wasn’t until three months later that it got its coat of paint.

And started to look bad ass.

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With that as the center piece, I went to work on the other pieces. Shin guards were supposed to be ice spikes.

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Before

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After

The vambraces followed suit with some snowy accessorizing.

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The collar and shoulderpads were equally snowy.image1What kind of weapon would Elsa wield? A sword? Spiky and destructive.

Of course not. She needs something that makes more logical sense. A hammer. Freeze her enemies, then smash them to pieces.

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The (near) final product.

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One does not simply let it go.

There you have it. Ice warrior Elsa will be debuting at WonderCon in Anaheim in April. See you there.

 

 

 


I Bought a Couch

I bought a Couch.

Note the Dharma Initiative pillow and large cat

Note the Dharma Initiative pillow and large cat

Now, at the risk of the post digressing into “The Many Sofas of Your Lifetime,” let’s rewind and talk about the significance of couch purchasing. Before January of 2015, I only lived with people who already owned couches. My butt is not so discerning. Most couches are all comfortable. The only thing is, none of these couches were MINE. These were the couches of others. The sofas they had chosen. My butt was a guest upon their cushions.

Now, every time someone comes over, they’re butt is my guest.

Another thing about this Couch is the…officiallity of it. While I’m not particularly proud of this, I took some comfort in the fact that I could pack everything I owned into a car and move it. When I first came to LA, it was with everything I could carry. The next move only took three big trips to get everything out. No moving vans. No truck rentals.

But, now, the Couch.

The Couch cannot be shoved into the back of a hatchback. The Couch is the death knell of the notion that I could simply fill up the car and drive back to Texas. If I move again, the Couch will require help. The Couch will require two people to move it. The Couch is practically insistent upon itself, for, if I ever desire to move without hiring someone, I will most likely call on someone who has been a guest-butt on said Couch. For, if I do not have that help, the Couch goes into the garbage (I’m not a fan of used upholstered furniture, and wouldn’t sell it).

The purchase of the Couch is a milestone. And adulthood achievement. So, what comes next? What is the next marker in the adulthood road map? Because it took me 28 years to get to this one, and I would appreciate some kind of time estimate.

Now, I just need to figure out what to name it…


Cosplay Extravaganza update

Finished painting the test piece. We did a base coat of plasti dip so the spray paint would have something to adhere to, added some scrollwork, then spray painted with antique pewter color spray paint.

I used gray plasti dip, so if anything comes through, it's not the worst thing that every happened.

I used gray plasti dip, so if anything comes through, it’s not the worst thing that ever happened.

The finished armor piece

The finished armor piece


Cosplay Extravanganza

I made a deal with myself. If I could get a pro pass to San Diego Comic Con, I would cosplay one out of four days. Well, here I am, with my comic con pro pass, and I need to either put up or shut up.

I already have my costume for this year. I will have a post on that during comic con (so I can gauge people’s reactions; also, I don’t want to ruin the surprise). While working on the details of my costume, I found it quite relaxing and soothing, a great hobby that helps me wind down.

That’s right. I’ve just gone up to the next level of nerd. I’m a cosplay nerd.

So, next year, will be much more detailed and much more work.

I recruited my dad to help and we came up with a plan. The plan is basically EVA foam is magic.

template1We cut out our foam and used wires to secure it. I’m not a fan of using the wires in the future. It leaves divots. We heated the foam with a heat gun. Times vary. The foam is really flimsy and we’re still trying to think of ways to reenforce it.

firstroundAfter it was shaped, I measured for the slits and cut with an X-acto. It really doesn’t take much pressure at all.

detail

I used more of the foam to add some detailing. I used a hot glue gun to adhere the pieces. There’s a little spillage because hot glue’s not the most precise of glue, but you can use the heated tip of the gun to remelt what’s spilled over and smooth it out. The glue does not melt the foam.

This is our test piece. Next, we’re going to try paint methods.

Ultimately, the goal is this.

JAIMIE ALEXANDER

It’s a start.