argurotoxos: a lizard with striking blue and white marks (lizard)
I haven't uploaded any photos in a while.

Photos beneath cut. )
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
Both my parents and I bought a belly dance outfit for my birthday. (I justified my part by paying for it with some of my tax refund.) From my parents I asked for a tribal fusion-style bra and belt set from eBay (I was debating between two different styles and my mom helped me decide). I bought an American Tribal Style student set from Flying Skirts. In the photos below, I've also included a few (new) photos of the cabaret-style bra and belt I bought used on eBay last year, as well as some of my practise wear. I'm very curious which of the three outfits people prefer.

I also experimented on face paint for belly dance last month. I initially intended to go for a more authentic tribal look, but most of my sketches consisted of elements from Sylvia Ji, Thief (especially glyphs), and Jötun Loki (both official and fanart).

Tribal fusion-style outfit photos. )

American Tribal Style (ATS) outfit photos. )

Cabaret-style outfit photos. )

Face paint photos. )
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
It's been so long since I updated that I almost forgot how.

Photos under the cut. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter and Apollo smiling and laughing (Midnighter/Apollo - laugh | by cassshan)
When I went to bed yesterday, I discovered to my surprise that one of my amaryllis had bloomed! One they start growing, they really take off. I was afraid the stem would grow taller than my window.

Photos under cut. )
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
I bought two amaryllis bulbs in the post-Christmas sales. They're on my desk next to the east-facing window in my bedroom. The second one I bought was already growing past the cardboard even without water or sun; I've been surprised how much it's grown just this week. The other bulb, however, hasn't done much. The blooms are supposed to be bright red (first/slow one) and reddish-orange with white lines (second/fast one).

Below are two photos of the amaryllis, plus new photos of my belly dance outfit(s) with commentary.

Photos under cut. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Thief - Artemis)
Today I . . .:

-Had breakfast with a friend and co-worker.

-Stopped at work to visit with another friend and co-worker during her lunch.

-Did some shopping, both Christmas and non.

-Cleaned the bathrooms and repainted my finger and toenails while listening to podcasts (Mormon Expression Voices and the newest Mormon Expositor).

-Washed the towels.

-Cooked some pink lemonade cookies, chicken stuffing, and asparagus.

-Ate and read some fanfic.

-Folded the towels and did the dishes.

-I might bellydance or watch something with my dad before bed.

Somewhat more eventful than my usual days off.

Some photos from the past month. )
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
Our October was warmer than usual, but unfortunately the forecast for today is rain and clouds, wich means few trick-or-treaters.

Since the weather was better yesterday, my dad dressed up then as the Phantom (from the Phantom of the Opera) and rode his bike around playing Halloween music. (He's modified his bike a lot this year, including multiple speakers, lights, and cameras.) I can't remember the last time my dad dressed up, so this was a treat!

I did another Sylvia Ji/beautiful death-type face paint. I had a rough design sketched out based on the patterns and colours in the dress, but improvised a bit while painting. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, especially since I haven't used face paint in over a year. The paint took about two hours from start to finish.

Photos of both under the cut.

Halloween 2013 photos. )
argurotoxos: an elegant half-nude woman standing in green skirts with head facing down and butterflies at her feet (Fée verte)
We've had lovely weather lately, sunny and in the high 60s to low 70s. Only a few of our trees have changed colour.

There's a squirrel family living in our backyard, about three or four in the same tree hole and at least one of them not fully grown. I've seen them tearing off leaves to carry into their home, and their various comings and going.

A few photos behind the cut. )
argurotoxos: a scene from System Shock 2 with a ghost crewmember (System Shock 2 | by plant_boy)
As it turns out, I wrote my eulogy for the wrong vehicle.

It should have been for my dad's truck, a 1981 Ford F-150.



Our mechanic said the problem with my brakes was linked to the anti-lock braking system and fixed with one wire. The fix required disabling the anti-lock brakes, which I've never felt active as long as I've driven it.

My dad's truck, on the other hand, had a leak in the brake system that was deemed not worth fixing, in addition to having a leak in the gas tank that necessitates keeping it only half full. (It still passed state inspection, though!) The truck wasn't driven often, and had higher gas costs, but it could of course transport large items that the the Accords couldn't.

My dad is still keeping the truck for now, but had the plates and insurance taken off and transferred onto our replacement car, a 1997 Accord, that we bought less than two months ago.

It was a novel experience being able to listen to my MP3 player and use air conditioning for the one day I drove my mom's car, but the tradeoff of having none of that but a manual transmission is worth it to me, at least for shorter trips. I find I'm always learning new ways to fine-tune my clutching and driving requires more strategy than the basic stop or go of automatic transmissions, not to mention that my moods are readily apparent in how smooth my clutching is. I also miss using the power of downshifting to slow down in automatics.

I still do not anticipate my car lasting to next year, unless it's semi-retired and only driven occasionally like my dad's truck [our driveway is narrow and such that only one car can be taken in or out at a time, so the car parked last is rarely taken out unless intentionally], but it is so good to have it back again for now.
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Loki - upset | by the_last_shadow)
My car finally died. It made it 21 years and about 171,000 miles.



I drove it to and from work today, nothing unusual. My dad took it out to run a quick errand in the afternoon and when he came back he said there was something wrong with the brakes and to take everything out of the car. Even though neither of us feel it's worth it to invest much more money in the car - the air conditioner and radio haven't worked in over a year and the frame is rusted, especially near the rear tires - he's going to bring it to our mechanic tomorrow, if only for curiosity.

We do have a replacement we bought at the end of July specifically to replace my car - a 1997 Accord, almost identical to my mom's - but there are some things that need to be done to it first, including registration, plates, and an oil change.

Even though I stalled the car many, many times while learning to drive, and I had to have it towed at least three times over the past year, I will still miss it. Our of all the cars I've been in, I think the '92 Accord is still one of the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. It's been a good companion. I'm surprised it wasn't the clutch or the winter that killed it -- I expected it to last until mid-December, as it was after that when I had problems last year.

I wasn't going to take my car to New Hampshire this coming weekend, but thought my mom would have mine around to drive! My last vacation, with my mom to Maine in June, we took a rental car as hers was flooded shortly before our departure date. My mom's car was in the shop last week for a fan problem. As soon as hers was done, my dad brought his truck in for a state inspection, and it's still currently at the shop.

In the end, though, I should be - and am - grateful to have a car to drive at all.
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
I recently replaced my corset lacing from 4 yards of 1/3" wide double-faced white satin ribbon with 8 yards of double-faced black satin ribbon. 8 yards is a bit excessive - I could have gone with 6 - but I like having more length. I also changed the lacing style from 'bunny ears' to inverted 'bunny ears', which adds extra support and feels better.

The fabric at the end of one of the boning channels started to rip, and before sewing it up, I took some photos of the spiral steel boning. One of the potential problems with cheaper corsets is the use of inferior and cheaper plastic boning instead of steel, but this corset does indeed use steel. (However, it's all spiral steel with no flat steel.)

Photos and text under cut. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Thor - front)
. . . it's been a while, hasn't it? I'm mostly fine. I hope you are fine as well.

A couple photos under the cut.

Photos. )



Unrelated, I recently read Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville, an adaptation of Þrymskviða [Thrymskvitha), the poem in which Thor must dress up as the goddess Freyja (with Loki as his handmaiden) and reclaim his stolen hammer from the Jǫtunn [giant] Thrym. Coville expands what is only a four or so page poem into about 130 pages and changes the narrator to Thialfi, Thor's human goat boy who entered his service during another adventure (Útgarða-Loki [Utgarda]), but the story remains fun and fast-paced. Despite being aimed at a younger audience, Coville retains a number of Norse names and terms and includes some of the more unusual aspects of Norse mythology, as well as making references to other Norse myths. If there's a downside, both Thor and the Jötnar [Giants] are portrayed as not very bright and the Jötnar aren't as multi-dimensional as in Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants.

This is by far my favourite paragraph: "They were dressing Loki at the same time, but being decked out as a woman didn't bother him at all. If anything, he seemed to enjoy it. But then, according to Gat-Tooth [one of Thor's goats], Loki had once turned himself into a pretty little mare and was the mother of Odin's horse, Sleipnir. So I suppose dressing up as a bridesmaid wasn't such a stretch for him." [p. 51-2]
argurotoxos: Emilie Autumn sitting on the floor (Emilie - floor | by betterthanlegos)
My interest in corsets stems from two things. First, a comment I read years ago that wearing a corset can feel like a giant hug that both improves posture and helps with a lack of physical contact. Second, the musician Emilie Autumn and her Victorian-Industrial style. Emilie often wears white overbust corsets, so that's what I decided to try first.

The corset I chose came from eBay. It was relatively inexpensive, and so is probably not very good (not that I have anything for comparison), but it does at least have steel boning. To my surprise, it also came with a modesty panel, which is a piece of fabric - usually the same as the rest of the corset - that sits behind the back lacing so skin isn't revealed by any gaps.

Now that I've broken the corset in a little, it's somewhat more comfortable, but I never wear it more than two hours a day, or a couple times a week. It seems more difficult to adjust the bottom laces than the top. I also feel the most pressure on the front and upper back. As I'm not interested in waist training, I like the laces snug but not tight. For me, it's more about the aesthetic, physical support, psychological benefits, and simply trying something new.

If I ever get another corset, I think I would go for a somewhat higher-quality black underbust.

Two small photos and brief text behind cut. )
argurotoxos: an elegant half-nude woman standing in green skirts with head facing down and butterflies at her feet (Fée verte)
My maternal grandmother has long been a gardener. For her, I think it is both a joy and a catharsis. My mom occasionally plants flowers, but isn't much into it, and the greatest connection with plants I remember was a project to grow grass in a hydroponics tank in junior high.

After helping my grandmother with her garden during April and May, and watching my best friend's parents work on theirs, I decided to try it out. My mom had a free packet of bachelor button seeds and I bought some dusty millers, with the reasoning that I like both the colour silver and fuzzy plants. I also bought an astible bulb and two seed packets which accidentally had water spilled on them; none of these sprouted. (One of the seed packets wasn't set to bloom until next summer, but I fear - in my very limited knowledge - the water may have ruined them.)

We had a very dry early July. I watered the plants about every other night, which seemed to work for the bachelor buttons, but I think hurt the dusty millers. We've had more steady rain since the end of July and I stopped hand-watering; it's only now that the dusty millers are truly starting to grow.

I'm a bit disappointed with the bachelor buttons. I'm happy they lived enough to bloom (I must not have a black thumb after all!), though the blooms didn't last as long as I'd hoped and they seem rather weepy. (Not enough water?) The area where all these are planted is rather root-ridden, with perhaps 4-5 hours of sunlight a day. I'm sure the soil's not in the best condition, either, and I didn't do anything to it other than throw in some composing dirt I procured from the backyard.

I'd like to plant a perennial in either the bachelor button or dusty miller's space for next year, I think. I've always liked bleeding hearts, and hyacinths have a special emotional meaning to me due to Greek mythology, but I also want something easy to care for that will thrive in this space. My list of other possibles (both annuals and perennials) from internet searching is: coleus, lobelia, impatiens [my grandmother's suggestion], larkspur, snapdragons, cockscomb, English bluebell, lungwort, hellebore, turtlehead chelone, and lamb's ear [I've loved these since I was a kid; they're the plants that feel like velvet]. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them. Same for general gardening tips.

Some photos behind the cut. Not too bad for a beginner, I suppose. It wasn't a negative experience (as I plan to do it again), and a good reason to get outside and develop patience, but I feel I could have done better.

My tiny newbie garden. )
argurotoxos: Cillian Murphy as Kitty from Breakfast on Pluto (Breakfast on Pluto)
Hello, everyone. I'm sorry to have been away so long.

I spent most of April and May in Maine with my maternal grandmother after my grandfather was injured. While helping her out, I was also able to spend time with one of my aunts and take a week to visit my best friend. After roughly three months at either hospital or rehabilitation, my grandfather's now back home and is doing remarkably well.

I do have notes from the trip, but am not sure if I'll post them; I haven't even posted from my Arizona visit with my paternal grandmother (who is still with us and currently in Ohio).

For the time being, you can find a small selection of photos behind the cut that summarise some of my Maine and New Hampshire memories.

(One of the reasons I still keep my LiveJournal account is for photohosting. After LJ switched to the new Scrapbook system, my albums were in complete disarray -- I lost all the gallery layouts, photos were in the wrong directory or else arranged backwards, and so on. I salvaged what I could, but deleted the rest; this is why photos may be missing from old entries.)

Photos from Maine and New Hampshire, April-May 2012. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Asgard Gate | by the_last_shadow)
I'm only, oh, two weeks late.

In any case, Christmas went well. In hindsight, I chose too many dishes to make -- I started cooking around Thursday and had three hours left to go on Christmas Day, plus we had to throw out a few leftovers that didn't get finished before they went bad -- but I think it went better than last year's Christmas dinner. There was certainly more variety. One thing that surprised me, even though I picked out and read all the recipes, was how strongly flavoured, and often sweet, most of the dishes were. Lots of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, saffron, etc.

Food photos and commentary. )

Since it took us about an hour to eat and another hour or more to clean up (my mom cleaned the kitchen and my dad did the dishes since I'd done all the cooking), we didn't open presents until 5 PM. The most common present was socks. I gave my mom socks, she gave me socks, we both gave my dad socks, etc. Yay socks! We also received quite a lot of food, some of which I used in my recipes (pears, dates, nuts, candy, etc.) and a few books. One of the books was the Star Trek Book of Opposites, a kid's book designed to teach the concept of opposites (happy and sad, hot and cold, etc.) using screencaps from The Original Series, which my mom gave to me and my dad. Some of the pictures chosen were quite clever and my dad and I tried to guess which episode each photo was from.

I was sick for New Year's, but my dad and I finished watching the third season of BBC's Merlin on Netflix. While my parents were at a neighbourhood party, I watched some of the Avengers cartoon, mostly the Thor and Loki-centric episodes. It didn't grab me initially as much as some of DC's cartoons, but I was surprised at some of what was left in from the Norse myths.

More photos, including some from earlier last year that I never posted. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter and Apollo smiling and laughing (Midnighter/Apollo - laugh | by cassshan)
I recently had my hair trimmed for the first time since I began growing it long, which was about two years ago. I also dyed it red, but it's a bit too light for my tastes. Before I dyed it, however, I wanted to get any other cosplays with long blond hair done. I tried redoing Jeanette from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, but didn't like the way it came out, so instead I bring photos of Christine Trelane from Stormwatch. It's a closet cosplay because I only used what I had around; the main item I was missing was a proper vest.

Images. )



Stormwatch #4 preview with commentary. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
Con Report. )

Photos. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
I hope everyone had a good Halloween!

We had many more trick-or-treaters this year than last, at least 40 or 50. Official trick-or-treating hours are 4-8 PM in our area; last year we hardly got anyone after 6:30, but this year people came right up to the end. However, it seemed like not as many houses were decorated.

There didn't seem to be any common outfit theme. I saw two Batmans, an Iron Man, cowgirls, pirates, policemen, zombies, and a number of costumes I didn't recognise. Some of the older teens didn't even bother to dress up, but most did; some of the teen boys used the opportunity to crossdress. The only parent I saw dressed up was Cleopatra. Almost all of the trick-or-treaters were in large groups.

My outfit this year was inspired by artist Sylvia Ji (link to her official website; NSFW due to artistic female nudity), specifically her unnamed 2007 piece (image below cut). The facepaint took me roughly two and a half hours. Drawing curves and making things perfectly symmetrical are not my best skills and I didn't detail the forehead and chin as much as the original art, but I was much more satisfied with it than last Halloween's facepaint. Another half-hour to find the accessories and do my hair.

I think the art style is 'beautiful scary', but my mom found it more scary and thought I might frighten some of the younger trick-or-treaters. A few were scared and/or nervous, but most seemed to think it was cool/unusual and I got quite a few compliments from both kids and parents. The very last trick-or-treater (dressed as the grim reaper) described it as 'sweet but scary'. My mom urged me to find a name for the outfit that wasn't as obscure as 'it's inspired by art by Sylvia Ji (whom none of you likely know)', so, somewhat influenced by Emilie Autumn, I settled with 'Victorian skeleton'. (Perhaps I should have gone with 'a Catrina' instead.)

Photos. )

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argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
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