Thursday, May 31, 2012

Attention Whovians!

Good news everyone.  I've found him.  The Master.  It's been some time (and a regeneration, as well) since we saw him having a wee bit of fisticuffs with our friend the Doctor, but I think I'm onto his scent...or, well...his sound.  And I'll tell you where he is lurking, but first a vaguely related example (that is potentially the most interesting part of this blog post.)

I have a bit of a background in music and a bit of a background in poetry, but mostly I have a passion for both.  A recurring rhythm here, a parallel syllabic pattern there, I want to find them.  I can't help but find them.  I love them.  Occasionally, the artist even put them there on purpose.  Which brings me to my vaguely related example:

We begin with the very first rhythm from the very first song of the wonderful musical In the Heights, by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Just listen to the first 10 seconds or so.

If you happened to accidentally listen to the song through to the end, I won't blame you.  The syncopated rhythm throws you into the show.  Its intoxicating.  It has a Latin feel to it, because it is a Latin rhythm. To my ears (having not taken Music Theory, I admit) it is the core Latin rhythm.  Three against two.  Simple.  Wonderful.  Welcome to Washington Heights.

Now, let's move on to another musical.  The beautiful, the classic, West Side Story.  Laurents, Bernstein, and Sondheim.  Not the beginning of the show, but the beginning of a song.  Another song that pulls us into the folds of a specific group of people. Turn that volume up at about 2:05 and listen for the percussion.
Ha!  Coincidence?  Let's just say that Miranda made clear his affections for Sondheim in his Tony Award acceptance speech.  I mean, come on.  There is absolutely no way this wasn't a beautiful sort of tribute by Miranda.  I love it.  A little bit of repeated rhythm tells an entire story. I love finding things like this.

I even love finding things that are completely unintentional and unrelated, and that is how I found the Master.  This morning.  While watching previews before my second viewing of the Avengers.  In the Prometheus trailer.  It'll hit you at about 15 seconds.

Now...was the composer of this score a Whovian at heart?  Possibly.  But I doubt it influenced his steady stream of four beats.  I myself couldn't help but hear a certain pattern and think of Doctor Who.
That probably says more about me than it does about Prometheus or Marc Streitenfeld.  Of course, I'd like to think it also says something about the power of a simple repeated rhythm.  Or a repeated simple rhythm.

Any patterns out there that you can't seem to escape?  Let me know.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rusty Metal Part 2

I’ve already posted my first rusty metal project so it’s about time to share part 2!
Here’s how this project began. I was just about finished with the tree frame when introduced to a store in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego called Architectural Salvage.  The basic premise of the store is to sell all those discarded treasures found in old homes. Everything from vintage doorknobs, to antique wooden doors, to lamps, spindles, skeleton keys…. Pretty much if it’s old and/or strange, it may find its way into this store. So there a friend and I were, wandering around issuing “oohs” and “aahs” and maybe a “wtf is THAT?” or two… when I spotted it: my peacock frame.

The project all started the same way, only this time I was sanding off flat black paint rather than dirty and rust.  I wanted to get a similar look to the tree frame so I could arrange them together on my wall. Perhaps in a series of three, but that’s another day’s project…

At first I just took a little of the paint off. Better to be cautious! I used the sandpaper exclusively and stuck with sanding just the ridges.

Eventually I decided it wasn’t shiny enough. I do love shiny. And besides, it wouldn’t match the tree frame unless it showed a little more leg… er I mean metal.

Ooh look at that! So shiny and clear coated… and check out that luan! Ok, so I skipped a few steps here. Brevity and all that…

I decided the sunset motif wasn’t going to work, so I chose some more peacock like acrylics. A deep blue, green, purple, and a nice shiny gold. I then wired it together the same way I did with the trees.
The peacock may be finished, but the story isn’t over! It bothered me ever since I worked on the tree frame that I didn’t know what it is I had. Where did these metal frames come from? What did they go to? Some kind of grate? Window? Vent?  I googled every iteration of the words rusty-metal-frame-architectural-salvage-antique-vent-grate, etc, to no avail. WHAT ARE THEY!? Sometimes, when I get stuck on something, I obsess until I figure it out. And finally, after haunting etsy for a few weeks, I found it: the same peacock frame! Only here they were advertising it as an inset for a wooden garden gate. AHA! I’ve got you metal peacocky frame! You’re from a gate! That explains the little tabs on the frame as well. Finally, I know what it is so perhaps I’ll be able to find more in the future. Yay!

Unfortunately, I haven’t found any more. It’s been awhile since my last sojourn to Architectural Salvage, but when last there, I decided to buy some different rusty metal… and that will be my next project!

I truly encourage all of you out there in the inter-webs to delve into the world of salvage and restoration. It is a satisfying experience taking something abandoned and beautiful and showcasing it in a new light. Some works from the previous generations deserve to be cherished and restored to their former glory. So what if that’s not what it was originally used for? Time to... upcycle? Oh boy, I hate that term, but it’s kind of appropriate here. Take something old, remake it anew. Make it yours, make it beautiful. Keep on DIYing!


Friday, May 18, 2012

DIY: The Rusty Metal Project

I am an avid DIYer. I firmly believe that a home’s décor should reflect its residents. I never truly understood why people would move in to a new place and go “Well, let’s go to Target/IKEA/Generic Décor Store to buy some schtuff to put up on all these new walls. Nay, I say! Nay! So you have a blank wall? Customize it. Don’t just put up the same red poppy painting that 20,000 other people put up on their kitchen wall! Make something! Put some love into it… and maybe a little blood, sweat, and tears.
So perhaps it’s time to share my most recent obsession: rusty metal. But not just any rusty metal! I spotted this beauty in my parents’ backyard. Anyone who knows our parents and their collection of stuff shouldn’t be shocked that such a thing would not only be found at their place, but that they have no idea what it is or where they got it. I immediately thought “I can make that awesome!” And so they gave it to me. I had it for several months as it just hung out in my garage. I’d see it every time I got home and would thing “Gee, I should really work on that.” Finally, I did. 

For this project, all that’s needed is a wire brush, sandpaper, rags, a dish of water, and a pretty piece of rusty metal. Here we had a mystery metal, super rusty, covered in splotches of random paint, and did I mention REALLY DIRTY? I had found it in my parents’ backyard after all…

Step 1: Dampen the metal and start scrubbing with the wire brush.

Step 2: When dry, sand a little.

Step 3: Clean up! (I used paper towels for a bit before changing to the more eco-friendly/wallet-friendly rag)

Step 4: Once the entire frame is brushed, sanded, and clean, it's time for a nice clear coat. I chose Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel. We use this brand at my work and it has never let me down!

Step 5: Create your background. I didn't really have a plan with this one. I just grabbed some scrap luan and painted a sunset motif with acrylics. 

Step 6: Drill some holes in the luan and wire the board to the frame. This was me improvising here. 

VOILA! Rusty backyard metal turned awesome wall art!

Man my camera sure does suck. But you get the picture... this is a piece I will never regret putting on my walls. Shiny, vibrant, personalized, a unique find turned one of a kind work of art! Next up: 

Check out more images from the Rusty Metal Project here on our new Imgur:  The Twinfo Dump Imgur

Hope you enjoyed my first DIY post! 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers!

 Joss Whedon has been an inspiring writer for decades and yet it wasn’t until a week ago that he came into the public lexicon. Being children of the 90’s, we grew up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and have been fans ever since. I’ve read a lot of glowing reviews about the Avengers, but one thing continues to bother me: just because the general populace has remained largely oblivious to the multitude of great projects produced by Whedon does not mean the Avengers is him finally “making it”. He may now have the biggest blockbuster of all time, but it’s been a long time coming! Now that team Whedon has a few million new members, how about some homework to catch up on some past work? I recommend Buffy, Dollhouse, Firefly and Serenity, and Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog as “infection vectors” to the Whedonverse. Give them some of the love they deserve and you will not be disappointed!
Rant Conclusion: Whedon didn’t just finally get it right, people just finally started paying attention!

Okay, back to the review part of this review! Avengers, right.
America loves superheroes… especially flawed superheroes. Here we have a group of them so fantastically flawed and dysfunctional that they tumble in and out of hilarious internal conflict. How could these scrappy ruffians get their shit together long enough to save the world?! Oh ya, through genius, cunning, strength, and skill… and maybe some witty dialog and the loss of a loved one.
Can I just say that I have always wanted to know what would happen if Thor and Iron Man went mano a mano? I pretty sure I was vibrating in my seat with the occasional “EEEEE” of excitement as that scene in the woods unfolded, a behavior my husband was less than thrilled about in a crowded theater….
And then I laughed so hard I cried when the Hulk did that thing to Loki… you know what I’m talking about. Oh geez. Also, I was expecting Black Widow to be largely ignored because, let's face it, she’s competing for face time with Stark, the Captain, and a freakin’ demi-god. But not only did Scar-Jo (ugh, I hate that I just used that abbreviation but I’m too lazy to google how to spell her last name…) hold her own with the boys, she actually manages to be pretty funny when, let’s call it “guiding”, that flying bad guy via knives to the back. The film was surprisingly balanced and almost completely without that ADHD feel that so many other movies tend to get when having so many lead characters.

Great writing, great humor, great timing (HULK). Overall, I’d give it a 9.89/10 nerdyfangirl points!

And ya, we went out for Shawarma after. If just adds to the experience.

Here’s my attempt to copy my sister at this Haiku stuff:

Avenging evil,
Silly Loki Smashed By Hulk
Save the World. Shawarma. 

Hopefully I'll have one of my DIY projects compiled by some time this week! 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review in Haiku #2

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS)

flight ground boss battle
hand cramp, repeat.  trite lines blur
tame, yet fun gameplay

I'd give the new Kid Icarus 3.9 out of 5 3D stars (with the 3D turned off so I don't get nauseated.) What do you think internet?  Was the new Kid Icarus game worth the wait?  Personally, I'm just passing the time until Kingdom Hearts for the 3DS comes out.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Review in Haiku #1

Cabin in the Woods

meta zombie hand
slashes slashers with wit, gore,
stabby unicorns

What did you think, internet?  I would give Cabin in the Woods five out of five creepy faceless ballerinas.

May the 4th be with you all.


YouTube in Review

I’ve been at this internet thing for awhile now and have formed more than a few lurking habits. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. Today’s title shall be “WTF Did I Just Watch on YouTube for Six Hours Straight?”

1.       Geek and Sundry -  One of my recent obsessions is with the new Geek and Sundry channel on YouTube. I could probably prove my point as to how amazing this project is by the mere mention of the two producers: Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. I know, right? Together they bring us Felicia’s Flog and Wil’s Table Top. Miss Day chooses one activity she’s always wanted to try and then proceeds to explore it in her geeky yet adorably awkward way. Mr. Wheaton’s show takes celebrity guests and has them play a beloved board game to the entertainment of all. I promise it is way funnier than it sounds. ***Warning – may contain gratuitous Trek and DandD references!!!!***

2.       Jenna Marbles – Girls been around for awhile now but she still puts out funny shit all the time. If you haven’t already seen her video “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” then you fail at the internet. 

3.       My Drunk Kitchen – This is my newest reason to binge-watch the tubes. When I ask “WTF did I just watch on YouTube for six hours straight?” the answer yesterday was Miss Harto with the knife in the kitchen. If you like to drink, cook, eat, or more importantly, all of the above at the same time, watch this. Her first attempt was a grilled cheese sandwich sans cheese. Best line ever? “I love cider because it tastes like beer for kids.”

4.       The Piano Guys – Most specifically, Cello Wars (A Star Wars Parody). It’s corny and fantastic. Both of us twins play multiple musical instruments so this brings out our musical geekiness and our love of Star Wars. Watch this dude battle the dark side while playing some badass cello music.

SPEAKING OF STAR WARS (<----check out that segue)

Today is the 4th of May… You know what that means!

Hope you have a nerdy nerdy day!

~The Evil Twin~