#LifeUnderTheDoom, Day 22: Cosplay And Compromise

FACTS (the largest geek convention in the Benelux) was last weekend, and I had a whole scheme worked out with Experiment No.7 and a couple other co-conspirators to get me there, in cosplay, without my parents knowing. It was a lot of ado, so it’s probably good to know that it wasn’t for nothing; the con was absolutely awesome and worth every cent/minute I spent on it. I can also report that my costume didn’t fall apart for the entirety of the event, so that’s a success as well… Photos will follow as soon as I get them uploaded.

A couple problems arose though, and they had nothing to do with me, my parents, or my cosplay. Experiment No.7 unexpectedly caught sight of an old acquaintance of his, namely the notorious Exhibit K., the ex-girlfriend who was the catalyst for his self-destructive behavior before we met. She was manning one of the booths on the con, and when No.7 saw her I almost feared the worst, aka total mental breakdown. After a moment of panic he managed to man up and throw it over his shoulder though, which was a surprise as unexpected as it was pleasant.
The uncomfortable feeling remained however, not in the least because one of the couples in our shared friend-group (who was also on the con) is pretty much a break-up waiting to happen. They had a long-distance relationship, but it went sour because they only saw each other every few months. With both of them there for the con, you can imagine it got a little bit awkward at times. I didn’t notice it much at the time (too busy gawking at things I couldn’t afford and having my picture taken with epic cosplayers) but in retrospect I can tell the situation was rather strained between them. No.7 is usually far more receptive to this kind of things than I am, so I’m sure he noticed.
There were a couple more small incidents (they usually ended with No.7 pouting for one reason or another), and together with the above, it made our great day out end in a bit of a false note.

No.7 thinks we don’t see each other often enough, and that I am more distant lately. Personally I think he feels threatened because it’s starting to look like I might finally be getting my shit together despite my diagnosis/prognosis, while he is still diploma-, job-, and qualification-less, almost three years after our stint in psychiatry. I’m not sure how I can help assuage this sense of threat, because in essence it’s true. At least, I think so.
He has nothing to fear though; so far he perfectly fulfills my needs as an amazing sex partner, amusing party companion, indulgent “nonsense therapist”, and all-around bestie. Not to mention, he is pretty. Given all that, I think I can deal with him being immature and unemployed. Life is all about compromise, isn’t it? I appreciate him for his strengths and forgive him his flaws, and I can only hope he does the same for me.

On another, highly painful and unpleasant note: I have pericoronitis. One of my wisdom teeth never broke through completely, and now I have an abscess under the flap of gum that still half covers the tooth. Half of my jaw is visibly swollen, I can’t properly open and close my mouth, even swallowing hurts, and they can’t drain the abscess unless I want a strep throat infection within a week after. All I can do now is suffer, hold a cold compress to my jaw, and hope the antibiotics will kick in soon. *sigh* Life’s tough.

Doom22Also: Day 22 Under The Doom! Last week I didn’t manage to cross off a lot of things from my weekly list of Doom, but I think the successful con and cosplay make up for that. It was a good week, with lots of interesting things happening.

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Hermès Diamond Whip Necklace

This is the Hermès “Fouet” necklace, a platinum whip set with a mind-boggling 3669 diamonds, designed by Pierre Hardy. It probably costs more than all the money I will ever possess in my life, but that’s of no importance. It is glorious.

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When You Realize Your Friend Resembles A Homicidal Robot

Remember my scientist friend V? I wrote about her here and here. Despite all my intentions to remain friends with her, I still broke contact eventually. Not because anything had changed about our situation, but rather because nothing ever changed at all. Maintaining our friendship was deeply exhausting, and the emotionally manipulative, immature way she treated me was actually kind of toxic. When the joy of one-upping her with kindness wore off, all what was left was that toxicity. It was an intriguing experiment, but I am happy it’s over.

tumblr_inline_mos0909KHW1qz4rgpWhy am I writing about her again? Well… lately I was going through some Portal stuff, and the more I saw and recalled of the game’s antagonist GlaDOS, a sort-of-evil AI obsessed with science, the more I felt like this was familiar to me. And suddenly I realized that V. was basically a human GlaDOS. I mean, seriously. Reading through our online conversations, the resemblance was uncanny. High intelligence, “science is all that matters” attitude, obsessive need to control everything, emotional manipulation of every living thing around her, self-loathing and insecurity hidden underneath the world’s largest ego, constant, paranoid fear of betrayal, inability to trust anyone, need to experiment and test every single hypothesis*…

*(Have I told you V. once ended up in the hospital because she was testing how long a human being can remain at maximum productivity without rest? And yes, that was how she put it.)

It was so striking that for a moment I wondered if she had been doing it on purpose, emulating this character’s behavior to see what it would do to the people around her… If this were the case, I sincerely applaud her for her dedication. It’s doubtful though.

I somehow don’t know if I should find it hilarious that I knew a person with such an extremely caricatural personality, or rather sad that such a person exists outside of video games. I think I’m just gonna stick with being disappointed that I only realized this uncanny resemblance after breaking contact. It would have made for a more interesting (and potentially amusing) experiment…

For those of you familiar with Portal: if she was GlaDOS… does that make me Chell? Or rather Doug Rattmann? (Or Wheatley, god forbid… Dammit, I might have been Wheatley to her. That’s just sad.)
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#Cosplay: Hysteria Alice Dress, Part II

FACTS is this weekend, and thankfully… my costume is (sort-of) done! Hysteria Alice has been quite the undertaking, but I think I managed to complete the costume to the best of my current ability. You can read more about how I started this costume here.

For those in need of reminding, Hysteria Alice is this character:

Hysteria_Alice What started as an ugly thrift store wedding dress went through quite the evolution…

Dress Evolution 2

I made those accessories that would end up attached to the dress (more specifically, the Hollow Yves skull bow and the Pluto pendant) from air-dry clay, which I then painted and varnished.

Ribbet collage-2

Attaching the Hollow Yves skull (which was, despite my efforts to actually hollow it out a bit, rather heavy) to the bow I made from leftover fabric, posed a bit of a problem at first. It required a whole construct of push buttons and ribbon and even a random ball of fabric to keep it attached and upright… but I think I managed. Somewhat. Behold, the back of the dress:

Back Of Dress

This also works as an illustration to the fact that I absolutely suck at making bows. I shudder at how uneven it is; thankfully it’s on my ass so I don’t have to look at it while wearing the costume. I also didn’t make the clasps that should go on the back of the dress. I’d pay almost 5 euros per clasp if I bought them in my local fabric store, and I’d need about 5… and I didn’t think perfecting a costume detail that hardly anyone would have remembered from the game was worth an investment of 25 euros. There. I’m an avaricious (and generally poor) student cosplayer.

Then, I also attached the pendant to the fabric choker/collar…

Foto op 9-10-14 om 19.49

I guess I underestimated how heavy my dollarstore-bought air-dry clay would be. The pendant actually does look good in real life though. Also, this picture illustrates my meager hand-hemming skills when it comes to curves. *sigh*

And then, at last… we have at last gotten to the part where I show you what all this looks like together…

Bloody Dress

For those of you familiar with the character (or those who checked the reference pics in my first post): yes, the stockings are wrong. I needed horizontal stripes. Unfortunately, not a single store in my hometown carries adult-size, horizontally striped black and white stockings. So, unless I wanted to sew my own tights from a bazillion of striped baby socks, I needed to repurpose the ones I already owned. Alas, shit happens.

I am actually pretty proud of what I managed to do, given my resources… Hysteria Alice has been done often enough for there to be reference material, and though it’s easy to tell that this is far from the best costume out there… it is also far from the worst. So go me, I guess!

I will be posting about my Vorpal Blade efforts later this week. Also, after the weekend you will hopefully get some FACTS pictures from me… unless of course I manage to look bad in all of them. Which is, sadly enough, not all that unlikely, as I am notoriously non-photogenic. Fingers crossed!

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Wretched War – The Dream Is Dead

Hirst1 Hirst2 Hirst3 10075002135_929c5319c7_z10967560173_8e53985207 anatomische les 030

This is “Wretched War – The Dream Is Dead”, a work of art by Damian Hirst. It’s probably one of my favorite works of art, ever. (And as an Art Historian, I can assure you that I have seen and studied a LOT of art. Trust me.) I know that it might come across as pretentious to name Damian Hirst as a favorite artist, but I do. Can’t help it, especially this piece. It may have something to do with the fact that this is a shiny life-size sculpture of a half-dissected, beheaded, pregnant woman, thus combining some of my favorite things in one image. (Not that I’m that partial to pregnancy, but it added to the whole.)

The sculpture is cast in sterling silver, and it isn’t the first cast Hirst made of this mold. If you’ll look up “Wretched War”, or “The Virgin Mother”, you’ll see that those are exactly the same sculpture, cast in other metals. I don’t mind. I like this one best. Not only is it the shiniest (yes, I am that shallow), I also saw this one in real life on an exhibition in The Hague. The exhibition was about anatomy lessons in art and included things like Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp”, skulls and “death masks” of 19th century criminals, Matthew Day Jackson’s “Cadaver Table”, Damian Hirst’s “Fear”, and many more lovely items that made me feel nostalgic about the days of public dissections. It was glorious as a whole, but even surrounded by all that awesomeness, this particular work of Hirst always stayed with me. It’s reminiscent of Günther Von Hagens famous “Body Worlds”, but somehow it’s almost more intriguing…

The exhibition I saw it at has been a while ago already… but I’m now writing a paper on this work and its “siblings”, and I just wanted to share this beautiful thing with you. Enjoy.

PS: In the spirit of preventing legal action, the fourth picture belongs to photographer Leonieke Aalders.

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The Problem With Monogamy

I’m a sexual person. I love sex, and sexual/physical things in general, and I have very little inherent shame when it comes to my body, my sexuality, and the people around me. I have always considered this a good thing, and I still do. Sex is nice, shame is not. However, lately I have found myself in a bit of a situation.

Acts of intimacy (exchanging naked photos, talking freely about sex and sexual interest with each other, touching non-sexually, appreciating each other’s body in a potentially sexual manner, being comfortably naked around each other, etc…) are, to me at least, a very natural part of close relationships, romantic or not. It’s not that I look to make friends with people “I’d do”, it’s more that when a very close friendship grows, a certain intimate tension grows with it. And I have no qualms with responding to that tension. To put it simply, to me physical intimacy isn’t restricted to romantic relationships only.
I will use intimacy to show my appreciation of people, be it esthetically (I think you’re physically attractive), platonic-emotionally (I am truly comfortable with you, I love you as a friend), or romantically (I love you as a partner, I have a romantic emotional connection to you). I have even used it to express my appreciation of someone’s skill at one time. (The Abstract Algebra assistant wasn’t physically attractive, nor was he my friend or partner, but he made the most elegant proofs. I just couldn’t resist him. *sigh*)

This poses a bit of a problem when it comes to conventional monogamy. You can probably tell from the above explanation that I’m not a natural at being monogamous. One one side it is a very strange concept to me, I mean, why should you limit the amount of people you can physically appreciate to just one? There are so many different kinds of love, trust, and respect between people, why should only one of them be eligible for physical intimacy? On the other hand I have come to understand monogamy a lot better by trying to practice it. There is a certain emotional possessiveness that comes with romantic love, and the stronger you relate emotional and physical closeness, the more difficult it becomes to allow your partner to have intimate contact with others than yourself. So, I understand it, even though it’s not an instinctive thing to me.

Me and Experiment No.7 agreed to being monogamous when we started our relationship. For me it was a first time and an experiment, for him it was an absolute requirement. At the time it was quite easy to me; I had just been released from the mental hospital, and most of my close friends had either moved out of the vicinity by that time, or had downright dropped me when I became sick. The monogamy agreement to me was simply “even if you find someone pretty, or pretty smart, you still can’t have sex with them.” And that works, because of all those “intimate impulses”, the esthetic one is the easiest to ignore. My current situation is different. I have a slowly growing friend circle again. I am rebuilding my life and trying to reconnect with society and the people around me.

Maybe something is wrong with me, that friendship is always somewhat physical with me, that sex is such a normal commodity to me, that the stronger I feel for/about someone the more I need this to be expressed intimately/physically… (Oh yeah, I forgot hatesex. Hatesex happens.) I just can’t seem to feel shame about it.

Where does the line lay? I won’t have sex (aka touching of genitals) with anyone other than No.7, because I promised. I tend to keep my word. But everything else is sort of free game for me, and I wondered where the line lays with you people. A bit of perspective would be nice.

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Sur-Real Time… Dali-Inspired Clocks

The art historian in me cringed when I saw these Salvador Dali-inspired melting clocks described as “Art Nouveau”… (Yes. Someone did this. You can check for yourself if you don’t believe me.) Yet woefully attributed to the wrong genre or not, they are still awesome! Bring some surrealism in your house with these beauties…

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Find them here: http://www.theframeworkshop.co.uk/frames-cards-and-gifts/clocks.html (And if you’re on the site anyway… they also have a nice selection of craft materials…)

Now if you happen to have a store and want to buy these clocks wholesale, you can also find them here… http://www.unicornstudioinc.com/

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