Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taking a Break with Legos

This weekend was super extra busy, but not in a fun way. My Boys somehow got fleas (either it being piggybacked on us or a friends who have visited), and it was time to wash and treat the house accordingly. I'm pretty sure we caught it early enough. (Un)Fortunately, my little Dean has a fairly sensitive flea allergy so ANY flea bit will cause him discomfort whereas the other two could care less.

(Dean unhappy at being at the vet)

However, one morning, I decided that I very much needed to take a break from all of the de-flea-ing of our house and break into a Lego pack that I had been given. It was Wonder Woman and given that the new movie is coming out very soon, how could I resist?!?

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that because this a Dimensions set, all of the instructions for assembly were online as part of the Lego game, which I don't own. There were a lot of little pieces...mostly clear...for the invisible jet.

Fortunately for me, I've been playing with Legos a very log time, so I used the photo from the box to put together WW's invisible jet!
Sufficed to say, it was nice being to take a break and have a little bit of fun during an otherwise super busy weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Four Shirts: 3 T-shirt modifications.

Recently, I got 4 crew-neck t-shirts to wear as part of the staff shooter team at Pacifica Archery. I don't like crew-necks, so I decided that some t-shirt modifications were in order, especially since they were all essentially the same exact t-shirt. I wanted a bit more variety.

I decided to keep one crew-neck shirt, as is, but wanted to modify the other three. I wanted to make 2 v-necks and one tank top. There are countless instructions on how to modify t-shirts.

For the first shirt, I wanted a simple V-neck that reused the ribbing. The V cannot be greater than 2 inches or else this technique won't work; the ribbing won't have enough "stretch". The summary of the technique is as follows:
  1. Using a seam ripper, undo the ribbing from the shoulders to the front of the t-shirt.
  2. Measure out less than 2 inches from the middle of the shirt. In the photo below, I measured out 1.5 inches and drew an approximate V from the shoulder to the new spot.
  3. Pin the ribbing back down, careful to ease it into place.
  4. Sew the ribbing into place.

Here are the two shirts -- the original crew neck and the v-neck shirt.

For the second shirt, I wanted a tank-top, so I took one favorite tank tops and laid it over the t-shirt.  I took chalk and drew out lines for the front & back neck as well as the front and back sleeves. These are not symmetrical, so there are four drawing marks.

BEFORE I cut, I also added a 1/2 seam allowance, because I wanted to sew down these edges so it wouldn't unravel.

I pinned my 1/2 inch seam allowance and sewed down the edges.

Here's the finished tank top to wear for those really hot days when doing field archery.

The last shirt is probably the simplest one to make. I wanted a softer neckline. I kept the sleeves as-is.

Using a seam ripper, I removed all of the ribbing, cut a V-neckline (like above), and then sewed it down with a 1/2" seam allowance. This gave me a softer V-neckline than the one with the ribbing.

So, there you go...one shirt, three t-shirt modifications. Now, I'm ready for a summery of archery!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Silicon Valley ComiCon 2017

Silicon Valley ComiCon was in April this year, and we had a chance to go for all three days.

If you recall from my previous blog post on SVCC, there were some issues that SVCC had to contend with last year, and I think they did an outstanding job in fixing many of their issues from last year:
  • Crowd management --- they did a lot better in terms of crowd management. The lines for getting tickets / registration seemed to be better managed. Personally, we got our "badges" ahead of time (so much better than last year), and friends reported that getting their badges went without a hitch.
  • Signage was a lot better this year and with the added functionality of their SVCC app for your mobile, it was easier to find things!
  • Food options were now plentiful. SVCC reserved the local nearby park, closed it off, and had a plethora of food trucks available. This was good for the SVCC crowd, the Science March crowd, and any locals in the area. 
  • Panels -- there were lots and lots of panels this year, and they were easily accessible. The app made them a lot easier to find.
  • Badging in & out --- For whatever reason, SVCC is still enamored with the concept of "badging" in and out of the convention center. (Nearly all tech companies require employees to use a badge to get into their buildings, so I suppose they are emulating that.)
    • They also did a bag check before you could badge into the convention (which I don't remember from last year). At the main entrance, this caused a back-up when trying to enter (with the additional badge check).
    • Badging in/out (especially in the main entrance while trying to leave). Sometimes the scanner/tablet didn't read the badge correctly, which caused further delays. 
    • LUCKILY, there were other small entrances (if you knew where they were) so you could get in/out without the crowd, but by Sunday, you were only able to badge out of those locations.
There were some pretty cool things they did this year.

They had a big tie into the Science March -- they had keynote speakers, provided the aforementioned food trucks, and reserved areas. Not only did them have a lot of STEM/STEAM panels, they had lots of interactive science exhibits for kids to do. They had hands-on exhibits from the SJ Children's Discovery Museum & Libraries, NASA ,and the SJ Computer Museum
The SJ Computer museum was particularly fun because they had a lot of "old school" computers from old Atari 2800s to Apple IIes, projectors, and the first mobile phones 

For all ages, there was an entire area of free arcade games (e.g. Pacman, DigDug, Qbert, Joust, etc) for anyone to play. They also had old school console games -- older SNES, Ataris, and PC games.
And a lending library for a variety of board games!

Of course, there was a slew of panels to attend, ranging from specific STEM/STEAM related d panels (hosted by NASA scientists, the SETI institute) to cosplay to comic book related topics to Star Trek/Star Wars and other media panels. It was all sorts of awesome. There were definitely a few panels that I wanted to attend that were conflicted by others I wanted to see!
The Over 30 Cosplay Panel

Key note panels...boy, were there key note panels. Buzz Aldrin, the whole cast of Star Trek: the Next Generation, SETI institute, Adam Savage, and Tori /Kary from Mythbusters & White Rabbit.

TESTED filmed some of their episodes with a few of their hosts. It was neat to see them work, as well as many of the props they've built.

Overall, it was a vast improvement over last year; we were very happy with how things changed. Of course, there are small things here and there that can be improved upon, but that's true for any convention. We had a blast and are looking forward to next year!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Geeking out in the U.K

Friends of ours recommended that we visit Forbidden Planet, which is just a small chain of stores around London that carry comics, SF/F books, collectibles, games, and other media memorabilia. It's just more massive than any comic book or game store than I've been to in the U.S, and they had a massive range of products. I didn't take any photos (unfortunately), but if you're in the U.K, stop by at least one store.

As part of our trip, we caught our train to Wales at Paddington Station.

And if you're familiar with that name, you might be familiar with a certain bear, named Paddington. Obviously, we had to stop and take a photo of this "little" bear.

We also had to go to Kings Cross Station to catch our early morning train to Scotland. Despite what you might think, this station is pretty modern.

And for those Harry Potter fans, we took some photos at Platform 9 3/4ths. Luckily, because our train was so early, we didn't have to wait in line to take a picture, but unfortunately, this also meant we couldn't go into the huge Harry Potter store right next door.....

We didn't make any special trips to see these "monuments". It was just lucky that we were passing through these locations. However, it did make my little geek heart sing!