Sunday, October 31, 2010


With all the costume work, we neglected to get pumpkins. On the way home from the Comic Convention we tried Supervalue, then Sobeys - both of whom were out. Luckily Safeway still had a pair so we were able to get some for the kids to carve, albeit a little more pricey than usual.

We also managed to get a fair amount of decorations out. I fixed the pvc joins on both the Pumpkin Jack scarecrow and the Jack Skellington. With the lights and the cool but nice weather, we had over 50 kids.

D3 went out as the Doctor with his friend and Gee grudgingly wore her Hit-Girl. She had been concerned that no one would know who she was. But a few of the houses recognized her so she felt better about it. We were actually out for quite a while - from a little after 6pm and not back until almost a quarter to 9.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hit-Girl - finished?

I touched up the tubes on the belt with pink paint. I sewed extra buckles on the tactical vest and made a grenade from a plastic easter egg, a pen bit, some twist ties, and a keyring. I put one of the retractable toy knives in the sheath and taped it down to the tactical vest. I stitched some gun holsters out of the canvas apron and am finishing sewing on the belt loops.

I finished assembling the sonic screwdriver. I added a finger light inside with a switch that allows it to be activated from the body and lights up a marble. I'm not sure how well the epoxy will hold the marble, but we'll see. I haven't got around to painting it however the colors aren't too far off on the bottom pieces. The top pieces definitely will need a splash of silver and brass to look more accurate.

What did the kids wear to school today for their Halloween parties? Gee went as a vampire cheerleader and D3 didn't wear a costume. So why the extra work on Hit-Girl and the Doctor? There is still the comic convention this weekend and trick-or-treating on Sunday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hit-Girl - more refinements / Who-driver

I finished up the pink tubes from the Hit-Girl utility belt. I may touch them up with a second coat of paint but, if not, they are done. I finished stitching the tactical vest for her as well. I may still add some rings on it and maybe some small pouches, if I have time tomorrow night. If not, the only thing I need to do is tape on the knife sheath and maybe make a grenade.

We had made two masks - one to tie in the back, and a shorter one to use with elastics. I finished sewing in the elastics in the shorter one today. This should fit better under the wig.

Today, I started on the sonic screwdriver. I had some oversize pens I had bought at Dollarama. I cut various pieces down and epoxied them back together. I used some of the large plastic clothespins for the fins on the top. I even figured out a way to light it using a finger light and a marble. I won't have time to paint it for tomorrow but it should look pretty good anyway. I just hope it holds together through the afternoon party.

So, all-in-all, a bit of fiddly work to do tomorrow, but I'm in a pretty good spot. So far.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hit-Girl - refinements

I fixed the bow tie for D3 - by putting in a hook and eye as well as shortening the elastic. I haven't started of the sonic screwdriver though. That may be a Thursday project.

For Hit-Girl, I made three stops on Monday - looking for supplies. At Value Village I picked up a backpack ($3.99) and Cannon pouch ($1.99). At Princess Auto, I picked up a flashlight/knife holder for $1.99. At Dollarama I picked up a pair of lanyards, 2 dog harnesses, 2 trick knives, and a canvas apron.

Today, I cut out the padded straps from the backpack and switched the hardware for that from the lanyards. I used one of the other straps from the backpack to make loops that would connect to the belt we had picked up from Value Village earlier ($3.99). I cut a piece of the canvas apron to make a connection piece in the back to connect the padded straps to the other strap from the backpack to allow it to be adjusted in the back. Although I will probably stitch it down once it has been adjusted, this will allow it to be altered easily if I need to increase the length.

I also did more work on the pink tubes from her regular belt. I finished wrapping the other two and put the small strips around the ends. I will add loops on the back to attach to her belt tomorrow.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I played basketball in Junior High and in High School. Because of this, and my weak ankles, to this day I still wear high-cut sneakers and like knee-high socks. I even wear executive length dress socks – this way the bare leg doesn’t show when you sit. It’s getting harder and harder to buy sports socks of this length.

When I was working, I would buy the knee high sports socks from the Bay. They had a pair for $8 but they were very nice. I would pick up a few with every paycheque. Then it got harder to find them. Shan had been able to find me some in Montreal before we were married.

There was a sports store from which I used to be able to buy some on our trips to Gencon. Each year I picked up a few packs and that would last me through to the next year. But after our second child, when Gencon moved out of Milwaukee, we stopped making the annual trip.

When we’re in the states, I pop in to the Super Walmart and Super Target and have picked up socks down there with varying success. The tube socks are often only long enough to come up to (or partially on) my calf – which means that they soon fall down off my calf.

This year, we stopped into Scheels when we were in Fargo. We’ve driven past them on the way to the Space Aliens restaurant for the last several years and always meant to pop in, but this year we did. Wow. It’s a two level sporting goods store, with an electronic firing range and a ferris wheel.

Plus they had the same brand of Wigwam tube socks that I used to buy from Milwaukee. At $17.99 for 7 pairs, I easily picked up two packs to tide me over until the next time we are down there. I was even happier to find out that they rang up at only $15 a pack.

Now I can start phasing out my older, shorter socks and start replenishing my stock of long ones. I am very pleased with this discovery. Even more so as there is a Scheels in both Fargo and Grand Forks – so I should be able to get these for a while.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hit-Girl - Valleycon update

The costume contest was a bit of a muddled affair this year. They didn’t have a marshalling area and didn’t take info beyond name and costume name. They also didn’t have a kids category – which is fine as we had put enough work in it to be judged with the adults.

D3 didn’t want to go in the contest. A few people did recognize his costume though –
'Fezes are cool!' There was even another Eleventh Doctor there, and a pair of other Doctors in the costume contest. But we failed to get a shot of D3 with any of them.

Gee was in the contest. D3 was sure that she was going to win. She had a bit of presentation but mostly just zipped across the stage and was off - as did most of the costumers. This gave me a spot of concern as her costume is a bit obscure and involved. Without being checked in the marshalling, and explanations in the pre-judging, and the minimal presentation, I thought she might get overlooked – especially for the Clone Trooper who both looked great and had good presentation.
Luckily, they called them up again to get another look at them before judging. When the audience called out for Hit-Girl to step forward to pose for some pictures, I figured she might have a decent shot.

When the judging was done, Hit-Girl had indeed won.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hit-Girl update 4

Thursday I did a flurry of work on the staff. I used the screw-joint from a broom to allow it to separate. The pvc pipe I had around the house. I cut it to length and epoxied the screw-joint inside. I added the foam swords to the other ends and wrapped the entire in hockey tape for grip. The tip of the pvc that goes inside the join was colored with a sharpie.

A thinner pvc was used for the belt tubes. I had to dash out and get smaller diameter foam balls for the ends. These were hot glued to the ends and then painted pink. I though about just painting the pvc tubes but ended up using the contact cement to wrap them in vinyl. I didn't manage to finish them for the weekend.
I finished the other two belt pouches, and finished the belt and drew the design on the belt buckle with a sharpie.

The skirt that was a closer style was much too small to use with the pants. Instead we used the larger, more-inaccurately-styled skirt. It did not need to be dyed though.
I finished sewing the eyeholes for the mask, and sewed up a bow tie for D3 out of felt. I also added the tassel to his fez. I sewed the buttons to his pants for his suspenders.

Both costumes still have some work we can do on them, but both are also basically close enough that if we don't do anything else on them, they can be called finished.

Of course I will try to continue to add to them.
I'm going to try to add a tactical vest to the Hit-Girl costume and scratch build a newer model sonic screwdriver.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hit-Girl update 3

Tuesday had been spent popping in and getting more supplies. I hit the Walmart on Ellice looking for a shorter wig, but didn't find one. I did get some snaps and hockey tape.
I popped in to the Spirit Halloween but was unable to find a wig or suitable gloves. They did have a nice fez for only $5 but I refrained from buying it.
Popping in to Value Village did result in more Viewmasters, plus a nice short wig and some passable gloves.
I was able to pick up some black and some purple broadcloth at my new fabric place.

That evening, G and I were at my folks getting the collar finished on the jacket. It was a slight modification to the pattern so it caused my mom some anxiety. Due to the thickness of the layers of vinyl, it had to be sewn on my dad's machine.

This morning I had a message on the machine from my dad. They had finished the jacket and cape and I went over in the afternoon and we worked out the mask. I just have to finish the eyeholes.

On the way there I popped in to Dollarama and picked up some passable kneepads, a small flashlight, and contact and epoxy glues.

I cut the vinyl for the belt and made two pouches and started two others. They are coming out very nice.

Tomorrow we have to check the skirt and dye the smaller one if it fits over the pants. I have to finish the belt, do some belt tubes, and cut the pvc for the staff. I have to assemble and glue the staff and wrap it in the hockey tape. I have to finish the mask, and see what other weapons we can find.
I'm a bit behind on the staff, but on track with everything else.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hit-Girl update 2

A head's up, the Walmarts up here finally have folded away their fabric departments. They had done this in the states a few years ago but they still had fabric up until a few weeks ago up here in Canada. Luckily we had found a new fabric place but they were always a great source of cheap patterns.

When we were at Shan's folks on the weekend, I cut out the pattern pieces to get them ready for my mom to sew. So that was three hours saved today in the sewing.

We got the pants sewed and most of the jacket put together. It's looking really nice at this point. There were a few issues with sewing the thickness of the vinyl, and the modification to the collar but it seems to be coming together nicely. We will need to finish up tomorrow night.
I even managed to sew together a passable fez on my second attempt. My first attempt is now proudly owned by my niece.

I still have to get some broadcloth for the cape and mask, some snaps for the collar/cape and pouches, as well as get a shorter wig. That's my goal for tomorrow.
I'd also like to start the pouches and do more work on the staff.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hit-Girl costume - status update

I'm woefully behind where I should be for this one. The main problem being that, even though we are three weeks out from Halloween, we also have events next weekend and the weekend afterward. With Thanksgiving being this weekend, it could be tight. I am off next week so I can devote some solid time to finishing this.

I popped into Dollarama last night and picked up some more supplies. I bought some black rubber gloves (not accurate but will do in a pinch), two foam sword (for staff), a broom (for staff), some styrofoam balls (possibly for belt tubes), some pink paint (for belt tubes), and some tiny plastic skull (unrelated to this costume).
I also found some bits that I can use to make a sonic screwdriver, if it comes to it.

We need to pop into Walmart tonight and get some black and purple broadcloth (for cape and mask), and maybe some thread. I'll try to pick up another wig as well. I had bought the longer one figuring I could use it to make it thicker but will try to get the smaller one so that I don't have to try to cut it. I can always use the longer one to upgrade it if I have time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Books read 2010 - July to Sept

Codex Space Wolf (5th Edition) by Phil Kelly
Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
Codex Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe with Jervis Johnson & Andy Chambers
Codex Dark Angels (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson
Codex Assassins (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe
Canada Moves West: an Omnibus by Pierre Berton
Hacker Culture by Douglas Thomas

A War of Gifts – An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card
Going Downtown: a history of Winnipeg’s Portage Avenue by Russ Gourluck
Treasure Box by Orson Scott Card
Codex Space Marines (3rd edition) by Andy Chambers, Jervis Johnson & Gavin Thorpe
Masters of Deception – the Gang that Ruled Cyberspace by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quittner
The Official Battlestar Galactica Scrapbook by James Neyland
Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich
Mafiaboy: how I cracked the Internet and why it’s still broken by Michael Calce with Craig Silverman
The Simpsons – An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved

Codex Catachans (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers & Gavin Thorpe
Codex Eldar (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe
The All Star Companion edited by Roy Thomas
Codex Dark Angels (3rd Edition) 2nd Edition by Jervis Johnson
Codex Imperial Guard (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson and Gavin Thorpe
Codex Dark Eldar (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson & Gavin Thorpe
Codex Balck Templars (4th Edition) by Graham McNeill
The All Star Companion volume two edited by Roy Thomas
Star Wars the Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Road trip - Russell and Gladstone

While coming back from Yorkton back in June we also stopped at Russell and got a picture with Arthur the bull. Notice the gold medal around his neck to celebrate Jon Montgomery's Gold win in the Skeleton in the 2010 Olympics.

The kids discover that Arthur is definately a bull - not a cow.

We also pulled over in Gladstone and got a picture take with 'Happy Rock'.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buying in bits

I’m loving the ability to buy bits of figures. It’s easy and cheap to buy from GC-Minis. But I’ve gotten some models cheaper by buying in bits. It’s more work to keep at it trying to win all the pieces but, with a few sets, I don’t need all the bits for multiple models.

A Deff Dread from GC-Minis is the low price of $41.65 compared to the regular price of $59.50 from GW. My first one in bits cost me $21.53. My second one was $17.87. With another $11.14 in bits and the extra pieces from the other two, I can build a third.

My Stompa cost me $54.03 and my Battlewagon was $25.54 (compared to $52.15 at GC-Minis).

An Ork Truck from GC-Minis would be $27.65 and regularly $39.50 from GW. My first truck was $21.22, my second one was $15.06, and the third only $12.83.

Even if you factor in the exchange rate (GC-Minis are in Canadian and the bits are in US) and the shipping, that’s still some crazy good savings. It means I can buy more stuff sooner.

Then it’s just a matter of putting it together and painting it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Missing – music player – notes

I’d been mentioning that it would seem to be a simple program to create music on your computer. Simple enough to include as a free program – like solitaire, or mine sweeper. The old Apple IIs had one tone – that you could modify the duration and frequency of – and that was over 25 years ago. There should be a simple program to allow you to choose notes and let you play simple tunes. I’m not talking ‘ode to joy’ or anything, but you should be able to make a simple ‘jingle bells’ or something.

Maybe there’s one in there somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.