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30 August 2015 @ 05:04 pm
I finally found blue jeans that... well, they're not exactly what I want, but they fit me better than anything else I've tried. The problem is that in my size, the darkest color they come in is "dark wash" which already has a bit of a faded look. I wear jeans to work every day unless there's a special meeting or something, so they fade very quickly. As a result, I've acquired a dozen pairs over the years. I don't need to buy more jeans, what I've got is perfectly fine except the color isn't dark enough anymore to pass for "professional" blue jeans (yes, that's actually a thing).

So I bought some Dylon "jeans blue" dye (this is a UK dye, because I've heard it's better quality than the Rit dye available in the US) and tried it on a couple of pairs. Not bad, though it's labor intensive. It allowed me to see what one packet of dye would do, what accessories I needed to mix the dye and dye bath, how to keep the dye from getting everywhere, and what I could do better next time. The main thing is I use a plastic storage bin that I set in my bathtub to prevent heavy staining, plastic bucket and spoon to mix the dye, and thankfully my father has a vast supply of plastic gloves. When dumping out the dye, it does leave a light stain, but after a couple of showers, it's clean.

I've discovered the best color mix for me is two packs of the "jeans blue" and one pack of "black velvet". This gives me a dark indigo color, you don't really see the black color, it just causes the blue to go darker in tone. Works for three pairs of jeans, which is about all I can comfortably fit into the plastic bin to allow for stirring to keep the dye distributed evenly. I use the metal handle off a floor scrubber to do the stirring, so I don't have to bend very much, if at all. I pull up an old chair next to the tub after the dye bath is ready, put the damp jeans in, and sit down and stir for 15 minutes. After that, they have to soak for another 45 minutes, still stirring it every few minutes. The plastic gloves are mostly used during prep when mixing and pouring dye, then I can take them off until the dye treatment is over. Then the gloves go back on, and I pull out a pair of jeans and rinse them under running water, squeeze out the excess, and put them in the rinsed out plastic bucket that I used to mix the dye to carry them one at at time to the washing machine. Wash on a short, warm cycle, then dry as usual.

So far, I haven't had any issues with dye bleeding out, but I'm washing jeans in cold water after the initial dye set in warm water and that's supposed to help. The original two pairs I experimented on are about four months old, and the dye is still holding up well despite it being a weaker mix than I use now. I've done the math, and once I'm done with them all, it will still be less expensive than buying one pair of new jeans. So far I have had one loss, with a dark smear where apparently some of the dye didn't dissolve properly. Not sure if I can strip the color and try again to fix them.

Here's the results... top pair is yet to be dyed, middle pair was done a few months ago, the last pair was done today.
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27 August 2015 @ 09:03 pm
I just posted about finally getting to watch Big Eden this past weekend, and now there's news it will be out with a 15th anniversary BluRay release. Here's the movie trailer.

27 August 2015 @ 03:06 pm

For those worried about trailers for The Martian giving away too much of the movie, the "Ares Live" channel is in-universe behind-the-scenes videos, not clips from the movie. This particular one features Neil deGrasse Tyson doing a special episode of Star Talk about the Ares 3 mission. Note the date mentioned, and that they've "aged" Tyson as a result.
23 August 2015 @ 01:53 pm
I'd heard about this 2000 movie from several places, most recently it was #12 on The Backlot's Top 100 Greatest Gay Movies list. Finally got around to it in my Netflix list. I'm having a serious attack of The Feels right now. Seriously, this is fluffy fanfic that's been filmed.

The premise is pretty simple, with sucessful New York artist Henry Hart returning to Big Eden to care for his ailing grandfather. Then things get complicated, as he learns his high school staight boy crush, Dean, has married, had kids, divorced, and now lives in Big Eden with his parents helping to raise his kids. Henry is still crushing big time, and Dean seems interested, but it just love of his old best friend who his sons now adore, or true love?

Meanwhile, Pike, who now runs the local store/post office/gossip center, had a crush on Henry back in the day, but never said a word. He's not really saying much now, either, as he's apparently painfully shy. When Henry is in need of someone to bring meals out to him and his grandfather because he can't cook, his old art teacher asks Pike for suggestions, and Widow Thayer is nominated cook, and Pike is going to deliver the food. But Pike secretly takes over cooking duties as a way to woo Henry, but doesn't let on that he's the cook, though everyone else has figured it out. Including Henry's grandfather, who he isn't officially out to, but he knows, he just wants Henry to tell him.

Big Eden is set in a town even smaller than my own, but I can recognize a lot of the characters. Such as the widow woman determined to play matchmaker, and her target being gay doesn't phase her one bit. Once she realizes his orientation, she complains about her intel, then starts working up a group of potential suitors to attend a party. Big Eden itself is a town that doesn't make a big deal out of characters being gay, but instead work in the background to get everyone a happy ending, sometimes being subtle, sometimes as subtle as a brick. Probably not very true to life, but I will say that in the majority of cases I know of in my small town, it's an open secret who's gay, but it's gauche to talk about it.

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21 August 2015 @ 10:25 pm
So the new series The Muppets will focus on the behind-the-scenes lives of the cast while they're filming a "real" show. It's been billed as a "more adult" version of the older Muppets show, with one promo I've seen ending with Animal saying he'll "do nudity if tasteful". Then I saw a gif set on Tumblr with Miss Piggy ogling Nathan Fillion (not that I blame her), and now I've found that video and a couple of others related to it among several others cross-promoting the new show with current ABC shows. For a little extra background, Kermit and Piggy's on again/off again thing is definitely off.

Nathan Fillion is doing a walk of shame. From Miss Piggy's trailer. My inner 7-year old is appalled. My inner fangirl is laughing her ass off.
20 August 2015 @ 07:57 pm

“While confronting his unfaithful boyfriend, Dusty blacks-out. When he comes to, his boyfriend has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect.”

Gale Harold and Van Hansis in a noir looking gay murder mystery thriller? I’m sold.
20 August 2015 @ 07:49 pm
One year ago today, I had back surgery! On the bright side, I can generally walk and sit without extreme pain, but pain is going to be with me for the rest of my life in the form of sciatica, as well as pain near the incision site that is probably due to scar tissue.

I've been trying to post, but this summer literally overwhelmed my system. In July, we had two youth programs every week, and even though I wasn't the one doing the whole program, it still involved a lot of walking back and forth and standing for longer periods than my back deems acceptable. Tried to deal with the back pain the extra work was causing by taking an opioid they'd given me after surgery. Didn't really help, because both times I tried, I ended up with a horrific migraine. Talked to the neurologist, and apparently opioids are now likely to cause a "rebound migraine" sometimes referred to as medication overuse headache/migraine. Basically, my body has taken in all the meds it can to prevent migraine, and taking an opioid for my back tips the scale over to Migraine Land. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

We had about a week-long "break" in programs, then it was full throttle setting up our annual sale. I can't lift much of anything, but we had plenty of volunteers to haul in boxes and start the rough sort. I mostly just sat at a long table with cards indicating where items should go, and would open a box that had been brought to me by a teen, then deal out those books to the appropriate stack, then the teens would scurry off with a pile to the table where they were supposed to go. Then the adult volunteers would fine tune where things ended up, and I personally sorted all the paperbacks by genre when everything was on the table. Both the setup and sale taxed my system way too much, and it's mental as well as physical. I'm looking at taking a week off for mental health because I actually have vacation time for a change, and I have to use it before the end of September.

In other news, I just read Ernest Cline's Armada. He's also the author of Ready Player One, and both books are pretty much love letters to gaming and pop culture.

In Armada, Zack Lightman is about to graduate from high school, and is bored in math class one day when he spots an alien spacecraft flying outside. It's a very familiar one, from a game called (shock) Armada, and our hero takes it as a sign he's going crazy like his father apparently did shortly before he died when Zack was just a baby. He's learned about his father from all the stuff his mother kept including his jacket with patches earned from sending in Polaroids of high scores (I remember doing that once!), and a bunch of journals, with the last one detailing a conspiracy theory. One thing I really liked here is that while Zack is yet another white male geek, it's also very obvious that his mother has been gaming for years and is a geek in her own right. We later end up with a wide variety of players represented.

Of course it turns out he's not crazy, he really did see an alien ship. Our world leaders have known about an impending alien invasion for decades, and have been using movies and TV to get us used to the idea, and video games are really training systems to eventually have any member of the general public take control of a drone and defend Earth. Turns out Zack's father's conspiracy theory about this very thing was spot on. But why did the aliens not immediately attack years ago with their obviously overwhelming force? Why did they allow humans to capture their tech and give them time to adapt it and have a chance at fighting back? All were plot points that Zack questioned when it was just a game, but when it turns out to be real, he questions it even more, but aliens are about to attack now, so not many are interested in questions.

I've seen some reviews say it's a ripoff of The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, etc. Well, yeah, if by "ripoff" you mean a loving homage to the genre, and it references all those films it's supposedly ripping off, because within the storyline of the book, those movies were essentially war propaganda. I've also seen a few saying they didn't like it as well as Ready Player One for this reason, but I think they're missing the point. It's a good read, though I did have an issue with a plot point near the end, and while it does have an ending that's not a big cliffhanger, it's very much open for a sequel. It could use the same characters, or be set further in the future to see exactly how the aftermath of The Big Decision plays out.

And for something completely different, I went to see Magic Mike XXL a few weeks ago, at the second run theater where I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. Back when the theater was built in the 80s, they set up one large theater, two medium, and two small. for MM:FR, we were in the big one, which had been renovated at some point with new seats. For MMXL, we were in a small theater, and there was definitely no renovations made. Armrests and chairs were broken all over the place, to the point where even the small group in our theater had a difficult time finding seats together. At one point, it was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, trying to find something "just right" without a board with screws still in where there used to be an armrest or the chair practically tipping all the way back.

As for the movie itself, I have to say this is more of what I was expecting with the first one. That one ended up more "afterschool special" by showing the dangers of male stripping, with Mike's goal of getting out and running his own business and getting the girl. He does all that, but three years later, his business is just barely getting by, and the girl is gone. So is Matthew McConaughey's Dallas, and Alex Pettyfer's Adam, with a mention of them going on a tour of strip clubs in Europe.

This is a road trip/buddy movie at heart, with a lot more focus on men actually dancing, and one hell of a lovely focus on the women of their audience. I think so much of the cutting away from the dancing in the first one was because only Tatum has actual experience, but I think the actors had a lot of fun and have practiced a lot more for the second movie. There's more involvement of women from the audience onstage, and there's all sizes and colors and no judgement, which was refreshing. I really liked this exchange between Ken (Matt Bomer) and Andre (Donald Glover) who's trying to get into the music business:

Andre: When I started this, I thought I'd, um, I thought I'd hate it. But now, if like the EP blew up tomorrow, I'd probably still do this on the side. Do you see how many girls I meet every day?
Ken: Yes, I saw.
Andre: For free, I don't gotta pay, all I gotta do is sing. And you think about that and these girls have to deal with men in their lives who every day, they don't listen to them. They don't ask them what they want. All we got to do is ask them what they want and when they tell you, it's a beautiful thing, man. We're like healers or something.
Ken: Yes, man!

There's a bare (ha!) minimum of a plot connecting stops along the way to get to a big stripper convention for one last big show together. There are some scenes between some of the guys and women in a much more hands on fashion, and it's a bit amusing to see them reacting more like the movie stereotype of a bunch of giggling girls about it. It's all great big goofy fun, and there's even a few in-jokes about some of the actor's other roles.

I don't think I could ever go into an actual strip club (there's one within driving distance) because my embarrassment factor would kick in before I ever hit the door, but it was fun watching this in a theater of only women, and we felt free to appreciate certain scenes openly. Not sure if they have plans for another one, but it could be easily done.

OK, there's my random LJ catching up post. :)
16 August 2015 @ 11:41 am
I was cleaning out my DVD collection before the library sale (which is thankfully over, yay, ow!), but I had one I couldn't give up for $1. I thought it might be better served by a giveaway to someone of the geeky persuasion. I've got this version of the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica, in R1 format (US/Canada, or those of you with a multiregion player). Yes, it's cheesy as hell, but it was the 70s, the era of cheese. Still quite fun for 7-year old me, so I'm still rather fond of it now. Free to a good home, since I now have a remastered version on BluRay.

So far, I've only managed to watch the theatrical cut of the pilot (slightly different from what aired), which I remember watching in a theater back in the day, and the image quality is good, but that was mastered for widescreen, while the series itself was not. The set I have includes the Full Screen version that aired on TV, plus a widescreen version that I'm afraid to watch because I've seen how badly a full screen version can look when zoomed in to fill the screen if I hit a non-HD channel on Dish, though thankfully I can choose which way to view it by hitting a button. Maybe the folks who did the remaster did a good scan, but I'm not quite sold on that happening for a show pushing 40.

The other two things I have are a bit odd. My friend also did some cleaning out of video stuff, but hers is a collection of VHS tapes that have the entire run of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and The Sentinel. Since the former is finally coming out on DVD, and the latter if finally going to get more than the first season out on DVD, she's willing to let go of them, but I couldn't put them in the library sale. I've been told we can sell anything that was self-recorded, only things that were manufactured. So if someone still has a VCR and wants some 90s era TV (quite possibly with the commercials, which would probably be hysterical), let me know and I'll box them up. Otherwise, they'll secretly end up in the dumpster at work, and she won't have an anxiety attacks about it. :)