Saturday, December 31, 2011

Geeky Christmas Tree!

As any true geek, I let my geekyness bleed into as many place in my life as I can. This includes my Christmas decorations. Or rather just my Christmas tree, because as a young-ish single woman, I don’t have a lot of motivation to decorate for Christmas. I mean, most years, I’m not even here. And my cats like to eat and knock over all my stuff, especially items new to their environment, so decorations are just asking for trouble.

But even with the feline danger, I just can’t resist a getting a tree. I just get a small tree, so the cats can’t climb it. They limit their destruction to knocking off the low hanging ornaments and drinking the water out of the stand.1

And as I said, I deck my tree with as many nerdy things as I can find. As long as I can find a way to attach them to my tree. I say things, because we don’t usually buy actual ornaments in my family. We buy other things, like keychains and the like, and then jerry-rig them into ornaments.2 But even so, I don't have a whole ton of ornaments. I should fix that.3

Complete with LED lights!

So here’s my tree, in all it’s glory! But you can’t see the awesomenss of each individual ornament, so we’re gonna do a run down of all the Geekiest ornmants on my tree. In no particular order.4

I don’t care what the Official Nintendo Docs say. It’s a Wiimote.

First up, is a Wiimote keychain that my very first team lead brought back from E3,5 or GDC,6 or something. I won it by rolling a D20 and getting the highest roll. So not only is it a geeky thing, from a geeky place, I got it in a pretty geeky manner as well. It’s like Triply Geeky!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t put keychains on your tree.

Next up is a soot sprite from the Miyazaki films. I’m going to say it’s from Spirited Away. Mostly cause that’s my favorite film of his. I got it in Akihabara on my trip to Japan. So that’s pretty nerdy. You’d think that traveling to Japan would seem like a bigger deal, but it turns out that you’re not really an Anime fan unless you’ve been to Japan. I’m not really joking. Just to go any anime convention. You’ll never find a larger collection of poor high school and college students who have managed to travel abroad a first world country. I have no idea how most of them afforded it. I only went after I had had a real job for over two years.

Major points if you know what this is, even if you don’t know why I’d put it on a tree.

Now, I don’t always buy my ornaments. Sometimes I make them. This wasn’t really intended to be an ornament, but when we were punching holes in our finished products, I realised that it would make a perfect ornament, so I punched my hole in the middle on top, instead of on a corner. So now that I told you all that, do you know what it is? That’s ok, it’s pretty random, really. It’s my test piece from my Carbon Fiber class that I took at Tech Shop.7

The largest, and realest ornament.

Now, not everything has a location or creation story. Sometimes I just buy geeky things. Like this DS9 ornament. Now, I can’t remember when,where or why I bought it, other than it was before 2001, and I love Star Trek. Maybe it was on sale, maybe a family member got it for me for Christmas. Maybe I got it for a family member for Christmas, cause it was something that I liked.8 Either way, it recently ended back up in my possession.9

The coolest part of the DS9 ornament, is that it came with three ships. Unfortunately, none of them are to scale. Either with each other, or the spacestation, but you can put them on the hooks at the top of the pylons, to simulate docking. I just put them on their own hooks, and placed them on my tree as separate pieces. I don’t have a ton of ornaments, so I need to space them out.

DS9 got so much cooler when they got this ship.

I should probably put Voyager on the back side of the tree or something,
but then no one would see it to get the joke.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the Enterprise E...

I do love my Star Trek ornament fleet, but I’ve got plenty of other awesome things to show you.

Anything can be an ornament. You just have to put it on a tree.
This was a mint tin. And it’s not the only one that ended up on my tree.

The Hero of Hyrul! Man, I love Zelda. And by love Zelda, I mean the Zelda games. Because I actually love Link. Cause I’m a girl. And not a lesbian. A friend of mine gave this to me as a part of the wrapping of my Christmas present one year. I immediately decided I needed to turn it into an ornament.

This is supposed to be a pin.

This is from when my parents and I went to the last shuttle launch of the Discovery space shuttle. It was a pretty amazing experience. Obviously, I’d seen the shuttles take off dozens of times on TV and in movies, etc, but when you see it yourself, it all becomes real. We see so many fantastical things on film these days, that I think it’s a bit hard to realise the magnitude of what you’re watching unless you see them in real life. I don’t think space travel was really real in my head until I saw that Shuttle take off. And now they’re all retired... At least I got to have a piece of that history when it was available to have.

And this is a car antenna ball.

Speaking of NASA, I picked this up when I interned at JPL my first summer in College. It sounds a lot cooler than it was. I lived at an observatory, and I wrote a SQL database to interface with a program written in IRAF.10 I think the coolest part of that internship was being able to tell people for the rest of my life that I interned at NASA.

I bet you can’t guess what this is, or what it’s original purpose was.

So, speaking of space travel, do you know what this is? It’s the StarTours Vehicle! Now, I don’t know if Star Tours is still cool, because they changed it in the last year, and I haven’t been back to Disneyland since it’s changed, but it was my favorite ride when we went to Disneyworld in 2000. So when I went to Disneyland with my family last year, I had to pick up something that was star-tours based. Even though we only went on the ride once. If I’d realized that they were closing it, I’d have probably gone more. I’m terrified that they’ve put too much of the new movies in the updated version... And the new movies are terrible... Oh, and that’s a toy car type thing. It’s got wheels and crud.

This is supposed to be an ornament. But I totally made it myself.

And finally, my masterpiece. I made this for an ornament contest at my first game studio job. I worked on it for like three days straight, and I was so proud. And then I was basically the only entry. So I practically won by default. Not that I really won anything. But I still think this is pretty epic. The N64 controller even has the Z button, you just can’t see it, cause it’s glued onto the wreath of controller wire.

So that’s my Geeky Christmas Tree! It's pretty Geeky, but it could be geekier. I should get some more ornaments, or souvenirs from cons or something. You can never have too geeky a tree. I just wish my cats would stop knocking stuff off. I don't like it when my ornaments make unscheduled travel plans...

Oh no! She’s entering Warp! Not so close to the tree! Think of the cats!

1 My cats like to drink water from anywhere other than their water dish, including, but not limited to, my water glass, the shower, watercolor water, and, of course, the Christmas Tree stand.
2 You’ll notice that I have only one purchased ornament set in this whole article.
3 I have nothing from Portal, Doctor Who, or any fan convention that I've attended. If those things are as important as I claim they are, they definitely should be represented on my tree!
4 Seriously, how I’m supposed to rank-compare Star Wars to Star Trek, much less either of those to NASA?
5 Electonics Entertainment Expo
6 Game Develops Conference
7 The most amazing place on Earth. Google it if you don’t believe me.
8 We do this too often in my family. My Mom always gets my Dad things for Christmas that she wants for herself.
9 Because I wanted to write this post, and I asked my parents to bring it with when they came to visit me recently.
10 If you have even heard of this language, without googling it, I’m sorry.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Red Cross, Crossed Out

Now I know this is old news1, but I it takes me forever to write up these articles, so just pretend it’s still the first week of Dec 2011. If you haven’t heard2, the Red Cross is making a stink about the fact that War Video Games are not enforcing the Geneva Convention against the players of these games. POWs can be shot without consequence, civilians can be tortured, personal property destroyed in search of Rupees. Basically, you can do things in these games that would land you in some sort of war tribunal if you tried to do them on a real battle field.

Now, of course the Internet has labeled this as Ridiculous, and the comments sections are ablaze with rebuttals like "pixels aren’t real", and "shouldn’t you be spending your time worrying about actual wars and war crimes?" But these are far too reasonable and rational arguments. I think that a completely ridiculous claim warrants an equally ridiculous response.

And so I say "Red Cross, you don’t even exist in video games, because that is what you wanted! So it’s you fault that there’s no one around to enforce the Geneova Convention! I mean Geneva.3"

Now I think there needs to be a bit of an explanation of how the Red Cross doesn’t exist in video games. I’m not talking about some alternate reality thing, or anything like that, I’m referring the debacle of about 5 years ago when Canadian Red Cross threw a fit and threatened to sue any new video game that used the actual symbol of the Red Cross for any purpose.

Now regardless of the legality of this claim, or the fact that video games had been using it for fifteen or twenty years without a peep from any branch of the red cross, or that the Canadian anything has no power over the rest of the world, video game companies took them seriously.

How do I know? Well, I used to make video games for a living. And when I did, I had the opportunity to work on the best selling classic Petz Vet4 for the GBA. Now, despite having been sold under the prestigious Petz animal games franchise, the GBA version was merely a translated version of a Japanese game called, actually, I have no idea, cause it was in Japanese.

So many memoriez...

Now despite not having some crucial files needed for the completion of this game5, I was able to finish this project.6 At the end, the testers would always have a list of things that I had to put in the game, or take out, that weren’t even there in the first place, and I would proceed to tell them what I thought of them and their ridiculous rules that the original game didn’t have to follow, so why did I have to put this in now, it’s only three years later, so why do I need to put in these extra screens??7

So one day this tester, who name I don’t remember, but I actually kinda liked, came and told me that the other testing house said that the third and final unlockable outfit for the main character had red crosses on it, and we had to take them out. I was a little upset, because this was one of the missing art pieces, and it supposedly showed up in another section of art that I had not tackled yet, and I wasn’t looking to reconstructing and cramming art in yet another part of the game. So before I went into full panic mode, I decided to make sure that there really was a problem. So I used my mad programmer skillz and checked the tile banks8 on that screen, and I was able to prove that they were not, in fact, red crosses, but puppy paws.

Do those look like red crosses to you?

Now I tell this story not to highlight my mad programming prowess9, but to illustrate that Ubisoft would have been unwilling to publish a game in which the third unlockable outfit had red crosses on a pink uniform.10 This was a vet game, for kids, where you treated sick animals and made them feel better by playing innocuous minigames.11 And this was game was shovel-ware at it’s finest. I’m pretty sure the Japanese company sold their original version for $50 and a sandwich on their way out of business.12 And probably paid Sensory Sweep13 enough money to feed me pizza for the two months that I spent smashing English text in it with a hammer.14

Seriously, I think the 37 people that commented on this video are the only people who even bought and played this game. I doubt the red cross in Canada or New Zealand or anywhere would have noticed if this slipped through, or even minded for that matter. It’s a live-saving game! Not those mad-crazy shooters where you blow people’s head off. But Ubisoft wasn’t going to risk it. And if Ubisoft didn’t want to risk angering the red cross with too many cute, cared for pixel puppies, I think we can say that the Red Cross threatened themselves right out of all video games.

And I don’t know how you’re supposed to enforce a real treaty for real people in a virtual world, when you demanded that your life saving influence be removed from these video games. So Red Cross, it’s your fault that all those pixels are being harmed needlessly. If you had just let your symbols remain on those health packs, you could have argued that you exist in those video games, and that thusly your pixel counterpart had just as much obligation to enforce the treaty as you do for real people. But you can’t. Because the Canadian Red Cross whined you all out of existence.

1 i.e. it’s been longer than a week since it was on Kotaku.
2 Or more likely forgot.
3 That joke came from an honest to goodness typo.
4 You know it’s awesome, cause of the ‘z’.
5 Including, but not limited to half of the art, and all the assembly macro definition files.
6 And I will totally tell that story, which is full of awesome, as long as Ubisoft promises not to sue me.
7 I know it’s not their fault, but I’ve gotta get mad at someone for changing the rules. And I can’t yell at Nintendo with impunity. Sorry testers.
8 Mad props if you know what a tile bank is.
9 Although that is a bonus.
10 You’d have to actually play this game for hours to find the unlockable...
11 No, I don’t get it either.
12 No matter how much we asked, we could never get support from the original developers, and as I said, we were missing some very crucial files.
13 May it rest in pieces.
14 That’s exactly what it felt like.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Encounter at Dragon*Con

So we’re picking up the story on Day 1 of Dragon*Con. If you don’t know how we got here, and care about the space-time continuum, go back and read Part 1. In the words of River Song: Spoilers!

For those who are just joining us now, and did not heed my words of warning, I am running on empty after an all-nighter and several preceding days of four hours of sleep a night, but the Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher Cosplay is done, and it’s accurate, down to the details.

The first day of the con, I’m exhausted, but also excited. I’ve never been to Dragon*Con, and I’ve never really met a celebrity, or even been in the same room with one.1 For the last few weeks, I’ve been getting really nervous about the concept of meeting Wil. I’m not used to caring what other people think, much less a famous person. But this is different. I’m about to meet Wil Wheaton, King of the Nerds. The lack of sleep is messing with my head, and I start to worry.

So to ease into this whole new celebrity experience, I decide to go to the Guild panel, but not in costume. Wil is actually more awesome in person, if that’s even possible.2 So I’m feeling better, but still nervous. I find out that Wil’s done a blog post with his schedule. I’m excited to see that he’s got such a large chuck of time today in the Walk of Fame, where you can get autographs, and he’s even doing pictures. But then I read his comment about his Wesley Crusher panel, and my heart sinks. I was really looking forward to that panel. I start to over-think things, and worry that Wil might not be as excited about my costume as I am. Oh, did I mention that sleep deprivation makes me crazy?

So I’m even more terrified now, but I decide to go to Wil’s signings anyways. I finish hemming my cuffs and put on my layers of padding and shaping and attempted my cross-gender makeup.3 After finishing up my transformation, I zip up my spacesuit and walk to the convention with my friend. I’m not getting any recognition as I walk to the convention, and it isn’t making me feel any better about the situation. No one even comments on my costume when I finally make it to the Wil Wheaton autograph line. Which is really long. So long, that we have to go and wait outside as they take in smaller groups.

So after about 45 minutes, we finally move into the main line that is inside the Walk of Fame with Wil. Since I’m so short, Wil has no chance of seeing me early. I can barely see him myself. I don’t know how he’s going to react, and I don’t know what to say to him. Finally, the couple in front of me walks away, and I walk up to the table.

Wil: "hi"
Megan: "hi"

And then I see it hit him. His eyes go really big.

I’m barely able to contain my excitement.

Wil: "OMG YOU'RE WESLEY F###ING CRUSHER!!! OMG, OMG, dude, you’re amazing! this is amazing!!"

As I back up and show it off, Wil is just saying “OMG, OMG this is amazing” over and over again, and I can see him register each detail in turn. If anyone knows what this costume is supposed to look like, it’s him. I’ve done all the weird seaming and stitching. That stupid giant arrow pointing to my crotch, the weird waist flaps, the piping and sweater section on the shoulders, the silver communicator, it’s all there.

Wil: “Wow, this is amazing, this is so amazing!! I have to get a picture of this, my wife will never believe it! You've even got the Mother F###ing bouffant!!”

I didn’t know this was his pose until I saw this picture.

Wil walks around the table, and comes to stand next to me. I put down all my stuff and try and look as Wesley as possible. My friend is snapping photos as fast as he can, and fortunately, Wil's assistant person is having trouble with Wil’s smartphone, leading to us having more time for more pictures. I was just trying to focus on being as professional as possible and not touch Wil.4

Back to me freaking out.

He comes back around and sits down again.

Megan: “I've been staring at pictures of you for the last three months, trying to get all the details right. I even brought an iPad as a prop.”
Wil: “Of course you did!”

I think the whole iPad as a PADD is hilarious, and I’m glad that Wil agrees.

Wil: “Now is this the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever worn?”

I dance around a bit verbally, cause as I explained in Part 1, it was, and I fixed it, and I know that “yes” is the right answer, and I don’t know how long I’ll have to explain what and why I did. Is there a timer somewhere? Is something going to buzz and I’m going to have overstayed my welcome? So I condense down my explanation to "kinda”.

Wil exclaims "Then it's accurate!"

I hand him my Wesley crusher action figured that I found at the Fanime swap meet for $1, I only bought this because I figured I had to bring something for him to sign. Again, I wasn’t sure how these celebrity things worked. I had to find something as I didn’t exactly have a lot of trek merchandise.5

Who’s the coolest nerd now, Sheldon.

Megan: “So I brought this for you to sign, but just for the lolz."
Wil: "Sure, what's your name?"
Megan: "Megan. And I was also wondering if I could get one of these," I say, pointing to the pictures of him as Wesley in the very uniform I'm wearing. This seemed to be a much more pertinent thing for him to sign.
Wil: "Of course!"

It's offical.
I'm Amazing!

Megan: “I’ve been really nervous about seeing you...”
Wil: "Why? You've done something amazing!"
Megan: “Well, I tend to psych myself out a lot...”
Wil: "Look, I've been doing this for 23 years and I've never seen anything like this. You're the first, and you're the best. You are amazing."6

I just keep saying thank you, cause I don't know what else to say. I settle on confirming the photo op later. I want a nice photo with Wil.

Megan: “Now you’re doing photos later today, correct?”
Wil: “Yeah, I am, are you coming?” He asks, genuinely excited by the thought.
Megan: “Yes”
Wil: “Awesome, I'm making Froggie give me one."7
Megan: “Ok, then I’ll see you later.”

That meeting couldn’t have gone any better. He went completely crazy over me. All the tired-crazy is gone, and replaced with what-in-the-world-just-happened-crazy.

I go over to the Star Trek panel, and my friend takes a few photos of me next to the TARDIS, claiming this would probably fulfill someone's fan fiction desires, and I think it’s kinda funny, so I go with it.

Maybe Wesley is a Time Lord. He did run off with the Traveler.

I’m not in the trek panel for very long, I had to leave early for photos, and I need to play the line game before I’ll actually get to the part where I get my picture with Wil.8 In some of these lines, I’m actually getting recognized. Maybe it’s cause I’m still riding high off my encounter of less than an hour ago, and my happy smugness is making me look more Wesley-ish. After finally ending up in the line for just Wil Wheaton pictures, they start sending us through like a conveyor belt. As I approach, Wil's face lights up again, and pointing excitedly at me, he exclaims to the photographer, "See! I told you!!" I’m so glad he’s so happy to see me again. We both stand and look stoic for the camera.

I love this picture of him. He looks so smug and regal and happy all at the same time. I couldn’t ask for a better picture.

Then the photographer said "Now Wil step out". I was confused, but just stood there, looking as Wesley as I could. The camera man then took a picture of JUST me. As it was happening, my brain was trying to piece together what had just happened. Wil had talked to the photographer before, and told him that when I arrived, he wanted a picture of just me. Wil Wheaton, WIL WHEATON, asked a professional photographer for a picture of me….. of ME!!!!!! Now if that doesn’t make you feel special, I don’t know what wil, I mean will.

I walked around the rest of the day with a few looks of recognition, only one or two picture requests, and few to no comments. One person remarked “Oh, you’re Wesley, well, at least I liked you when you were on TV.” Honestly, I think the assumed hatred of Wesley is so pervasive that it even dampened the reception of my costume. I think I’ve started to really understand why Wil doesn’t like talking about Wesley. It was so long ago, and there’s so much negative energy around the character that it’s just really not fun to deal with. So I may not have had the kind of reactions from fellow con goers that I've grown used to,9 but Wil Wheaton went completely crazy over me, and honestly, that's the best thing that could have ever happened.


It's even better signed.

As you can see, Wil was nice enough to put up with me a second time, and sign my picture of us for me. I tried to take the opportunity to try explain away some of my crazy, saying I’d been nervous because I was unsure of how he would receive me focusing on Wesley, especially since he had that negative encounter when he arrived. To which Wil said, “You know, there’s a difference between people being a d*ck about it, and celebrating Wesley.”, and I agreed. I gave him my costuming business card. He apparently checked out my Deviant Art page that night, and told me so when I asked a question the next day in his Wesley Crusher panel. I know he was even more exhausted than I was, so it really means a lot to me that he took the time to check it out while still at the con.

So Wil, if you are reading this, you totally made my convention. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. Your panels were awesome and hilarious, and I loved hearing about your process as an actor. Your reaction on Friday was truly more than I could have ever hoped. I won the Wil Wheaton Award of Amazing, and that’s the best award I've ever received.

1 Ok, that’s not quite true. I met Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, the voice of Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, and Richard Epcar, the voice of Batou, but they were at this tiny con of like 300 people, and it was just a much more intimate and less intimidating setting. Also, I met Bob Ballard when I was about 14 when we took him to the airport after he’d given at talk at the university my parents work at, but I was too young to really know what to say. What do you mean you don’t know who Bob Ballard is? He discovered the mid-Atlantic vents and dozens of new species of plants and animals that use a method other than photosynthesis to survive. Also, he found the Titanic.
2 Also, Amy is super nice and a bit shy, which is hilarious to me, considering she plays Tink. Robin is like a more reasonable version of Clara, which is also awesome. Amy, Robin, if you are reading this, this is what I wanted to say to you guys in the Guild Autograph Line, but it was the end of the con, and I was exhausted, and I just forgot everything I was going to say once I got to the front of the line. Sorry.
3 I rarely wear makeup, so doing makeup for my costumes is not something I’m very good at yet.
4 Wil doesn’t touch people at cons because he doesn’t want to get sick, which I totally respect, despite my overwhelming desire to hug the living daylights out of him.
5 After the recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, having this action figure seems much more pertinent as a fan of Wil Wheaton.
6 This was the most important thing he said to me. For him to say he’d never seen anything like this before, and that he was totally blown away was more than I could have ever hoped for. I still remember the genuine tone of his voice when he said this.
7 Froggie is the name of the photographer, apparently.
8 If you’ve never been to a con, there are a lot of lines.
9 I've made some pretty impressive costumes, and yes, it can go to your head.

All Good Things... Must Come From Somewhere

You do care about me! I knew you were cool.

So, the first step once you’ve picked a costume is research. Massive amounts of research.1 If you don’t, you might miss a vital detail. For instance, if you decided to cosplay the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who, you’d need to make sure you are aware of the color of his pocket welts, which for the record, are orange. And if you don’t have orange pocket welts, WELL, you might as well leave that sonic screwdriver at home, because you, my friend, are not the Doctor! In this instance, I am meeting Wil Wheaton. Even though Star Trek was twenty years ago, I’m sure it has been so completely burned into his brain,2 he might actually remember this costume enough to know if I did it right. And the only person I really care about liking this is Wil. Oh, and me, I care if I like it. Oh and everyone else, they should like it too.

So even though this is a pretty simple jumpsuit, I want to make sure I do it right. So I ask The Google for some pictures. After combing through the stack of headshots and an assortment of mildly-related images, I finally find a useful reference for Wesley:

Official picture of listing at Christie’s Auction House.
I should have just spend the two grand and saved myself the headache.
(Yes, I know, it wouldn’t fit me. Shut up.)

So you probably see a grey jumpsuit.

Let me show you what I saw:

Through the Eyes of a Costumer the name of my David Bowie coverband.

Wesley, what is up with your pants?! Why is there a giant arrow pointing to your crotch? That’s not a fly, I know what a fly looks like, and that is not a fly. That is the most unimportant and incredibly awkward stitching that I have ever seen. Seriously, what is the point of that stitching!?!

Unfortunately, there’s not an accompanying back shot. And I need to see the back now. If this is what the front is like, what in the world does the back have in store for me?! We’re going to need to crack open the DVDs for this. Season two is where he gets the jumpsuit, so if we just skip through a few episodes we might find something useful. Ok Wes, stop driving the ship and turn around so I can see your butt.... I mean waistband.

And I though the front was confusing...

…This is worse that I imagined. What are those flaps?? Your Mother lets you out of your room in that thing? Oh wait, she wasn’t around? Did someone tell you this spacesuit was cool? It’s not cool. Bow-ties are cool. This is the weirdest space suit ever. Seriously, this was supposed to be easy! What happened to "just a grey jumpsuit"? I’ve now got a suit with a not-a-fly and the most confusing looking waistband of all time. Not to mention all the inexplicable sweater knit, that is apparently in the cuffs as well as the collar and shoulders.

Don’t Panic. This probably isn’t as hard as it looks. Surely, I’m not the first one to make a highly accurate Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher costume. Someone has always done the hard work for you when you are doing a costume this old. Or not. Internet, you fail me.....

Maybe the Star Trek uniform forums have something that might help me. Nope. Apparently, since Wes doesn’t stick out enough as the only child allowed to run around on the bridge, they’ve got to stuff him in the only monochromatic jumpsuit ever designed for Star Fleet. It’s not even close to the other uniforms. No color blocking, none of the same seam lines. I mean, he doesn’t even get a standard com badge!

Even his communicator is monochromatic.
WHY is EVERYTHING different!?!?

I continue to scour the Internet for any information about the suit. Wil Wheaton blogs a lot and has talked about his time on Star Trek, so maybe he talks about his costumes some. The only story I can find that included mention of his space suit is the story of when he met William Shatner. All I really glean from this is that it’s a very uncomfortable jumpsuit, and he and all the main TNG cast members had to wear muscle suits. Well, that explains Wil’s perfectly smoothed torso, and it gives me yet another thing that I probably have to do to make the costume look right.

I’m at the end of my rope here, so in an effort to gain as much information as I can, I even contact the original costume designer for the second season of TNG.3 She actually responds, but refers me to the person who was actually responsible for creating the costume. He never gets back to me. Not that I blame him. I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone much about a project I did twenty-three years ago.4

So I’m back to gathering stills from the DVDs. The additional images aren’t really helping me. If anything, they are adding to my confusion. I have no idea how the top of the waistband is connected, or not connected, to the rest of the suit. I mean, the side seam doesn’t line up. And it moves...

That side seam so doesn’t line up, which means it’s not connected.
Which means the top is held on by magic.

I’m starting to think that a spacial anomaly has taken up residence around Wes’s waist. It’s as reasonable an explanation as any. So I just have the waistband connect to the suit on the bottom, leaving the top open like a flap, or pocket. I still have no idea if this is even close to right.

Nepoleon or gangster. You decide.

Meanwhile, I’m also trying to figure out Wesley’s hair. I'm all about accuracy, but I’m not cutting my hair. Especially into whatever that style is. So I’m stuck with a wig. For a short style, this is a terrible option, but it’s the only one I have. So I get a men side part styled wig. Now, your average person would just take this, mousse it into position, and call it good. But I’m a crazy person, so I spend twenty hours ripping out and replacing the hairline with a lacefront, and adding in some more wefts to give it more body. This is to make it look more realistic, or at least more like what Wil’s got glued to his head. Once I make it to Atlanta, I douse it in wig mousse, to give it that shiny, helmet-y look and feel. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, the awkwardness of a short styled wig gives the wig away within the first two seconds of looking at me, but you can’t say I didn’t try.

Why am I spending so much time trying to make this look more realistic?
I’m pretty sure this hairstyle defies the laws of physics.

To finish off my accessories, I grab some grey ugg-like boots from Ebay. There are really aren’t any good shots of the shoes on Star Trek,5 so I just get something that looks close. The communicator prop from is great, but I have to repaint the gold circle with Testor’s silver model paint. Because as I've mentioned before, Everything about this costume is apparenlty unique...6 To finish off my look, I ask my friend to loan me his iPad as a PADD. It’s not the same shape, but that’s about the only difference. That and you can’t use an iPad to drive a space ship. Actually, there’s probably an app for that.

Now that I’ve got the wig, boots and badge, it’s time to finish the suit. This is actually a fairly tight fitting jumpsuit, but I am not boy-shaped. So I need to make a padded under-suit to fool people into thinking I am.7 Also, Wil did wear a muscle suit, so I should probably try and emulate that somewhat. I’ve already got a pretty good chest binder that turns my chest from female to buff-looking male, but I also really need to fill in my waist to try and get rid of my girly hips. After a couple hours with my body suit patterns, some quilting batting and stretch polyester lining, and I’ve got a more boy-shape. Or a boy-that-was-forced-to-wear-a-muscle-suit-shape.

Now that all my base layers are in place, I’m ready for my first mock up. I draft it off of numerous old patterns, and then cut and sew it up quickly and try it on. Even without a zipper, this is very uncomfortable. I can’t believe it, Wil was totally right. This is the most uncomforatble thing I've ever worn. Well, I’m my own costumer, so I’m fixing this. Accuracy, smaccuracy, I don’t need to give Wil sympathy pain for a role he played 20 years ago.8

So work, work, work. Pattern, pattern, pattern. Sew, Sew, Sew. Only 36 hours to go, and I’ve still got to go to work the next day. After a bleary day of coding, I come home on Wednesday and pull an all-nighter. And by the end, Wes is nearly done, and he looks pretty awesome. I even take a break to throw a zipper in my companion cube so I can finally take him to a con.9 Come Thursday morning, I stagger out the door with my four bags full of costumes that probably weigh more than I do. After I finally get some sleep on the plane and make it safely to the hotel, I spend a few more hours sewing up the neckline, leaving just the sleeves and the pants for the next day. Fact: 98% of costumes are completed in hotel rooms. The other 2% are completed by costume gnomes while you sleep.

Continued in Part 2 - Encounter at Dragon*Con

1 Note: This only actually applies if you are a crazy-insane costumer, or if you want the company and respect of crazy-insane costumers.
2 Both from the awesomeness and having to answer questions about it for those twenty years.
3 You might wonder why I didn’t contact Wil about this. Well, I wanted it to be a surprise, and I couldn’t come up with a way to ask about the suit in detail without tipping him off.
4 Twenty three years is over half a career ago for most, and nearly a whole lifetime ago for me.
5 Probably cause they couldn’t figure out something futuristic to do to them.
6 Maybe they were trying to remind Wesley that he's not a real officer.
7 Not that kind of padding...
8 I added a dance sleeve that had a build in gusset, and lengthened the torso. A gusset is an extra piece of fabric added to areas, usually under sleeves to allow for more movement, especially in... oh who am I kidding, no one is reading this footnote.
9 I made a custom inflatable balloon to put inside the companion cube. I just needed put a zipper in so that I could easily open and close him up in order to inflate and deflate the balloon. Unfortunately, the balloon still has some holes in it, but it held air long enough for me to hang out for a while at Dragon*Con in Chell & Cube cosplay for the first time.

Meeting Wil Wheaton

This is the story about how Wil Wheaton completely flipped out. And it was amazing.

How did this happen? Well, in a freak time-fiction accident, Wesley Crusher was ripped from his post on the Starship Enterprise and showed up at Dragon*Con 2011. And by that I mean I spent three months carefully constructing the best Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher cosplay ever made, and then went to Dragon*Con to meet Wil Wheaton.

Why in the world did I choose to cosplay a character from twenty years ago that half the Trekkies hate, and that Wil Wheaton himself has confessed he doesn't always care for?1 Well, I love Wesley, I love Wil Wheaton, I love costuming, and my friend was throwing a Star Trek:TNG viewing and costume party2, and I didn’t think that I fit any of the other Star Trek characters very well. Did I mention I love Wil Wheaton?3

So why Acting Ensign and not the Rainbow Sweater?

I hate the rainbow sweater.

Not even Nyan Cat can make this sweater tolerable.

Besides, the Acting Ensign uniform is very iconicly Wesley. He’s the only one that "gets" to wear such a unique uniform. And since I don’t have the body of a sixteen year old boy, if I did Ensign Wesley Crusher in his Starfleet uniform, I’d just end up looking like a gender-confused ensign with really bad hair. And, It’s just a grey jumpsuit, that’s not going to be hard, right?4

So this is a two part story. If you want to find out about all the work I had to go through to make an acurate Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher uniform, and how difficult that actually was, you should start with Part 1. If you don’t care about me, or my hard work, and you just want to hear about Wil Wheaton, just skip to the end, and go to Part 2.

Part 1 - All Good Things... Must Come from Somewhere

Part 2 - Encounter at Dragon*Con

1 Some would say he hates Wesley. I think "It’s Complicated" might be more accurate.
2 Fun fact: This party still hasn’t happened yet. So far, it’s been all talk, and no dice.
3 And by love I mean revere and respect from an appropriate fan distance.
4 Spoilers: I was wrong...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wedding Numbers

So as a single Mormon1 woman, I’m obsessed with my future wedding.

However, I don’t obsess about the same things that normal women might obsess over. Mostly because I’m a geek.

Yes, I do try and think of what cute ways I could include Portal in my wedding invitations, and I dream of how many hits the you-tube video of my incredibly geeky proposal will have, but there’s something involving numbers that I care about even more.

My wedding date.

I started thinking about this in the spring of 2009. My friend was getting married on 6/6/9, which I thought was pretty cool. So even though I was single, and didn’t really have any prospects,2 I started thinking about cool dates to get married.

And that’s when I realized that 9/9/9 was like the most awesomest date to get married. Cause back in the ancient times of computer programming,3 programs would often use 999 as an escape character. So you’re escaping single-hood! How clever is that!

But I tend to be practical, and even though I really wanted to, I probably wasn’t going to get married on 9/9/9, so I started to think of other cool dates to get married. Initially, I rejected 10/10/10, because it is too close to my birthday. 4 But then it was pointed out to me that in binary 101010=42. If that’s not the most awesomely nerdy wedding date ever, I just don’t know what is. And if I have to explain to you why 42 is cool, well, so long and thanks for all the fish, the world is coming to an end.5

My friend wasn’t the only person I personally know that got married on an interesting day. My cousin got married on 10/20/2010. Again, it’s too close to my birthday, and comeon, 10/10/10!! But, even though it’s hard to argue with the awesomeness of 10/10/10, it was probably all booked up cause even if you don't get the nerdyness, there's been a strong trend towards getting married on n/n/n dates, so I applaud her ingenuity. Plus, extra points for using the first two digits of the year. That’s not easy to do.

Now we have to back up a bit here. Cause the awesome date I’d come up with for 2010 was earlier in the year. 3/21/10. Do you get why it's cool? Now this is going to really separate the nerds from the geeks. I’ll give you a hint, you need to reverse the order of the numbers. Give up? It’s the Fibonacci sequence! Yeah, I know, it’s pretty geeky and weird to like the Fibonacci sequence. But I’ve loved it ever since the days of MathNet.6 It’s pretty awesome all around, and useful, so you should probably like it, too.7

If you remember this, I think we need to get married, just on principle.

But as 2009 drew to a close, it became apparent that I was going to miss this mathematical day. Not to worry, I still had 3/2/11 to fall back on. And it was a more traditional representation of my beloved sequence.8

But now it 10/2011. And we’ve got no more binary dates. Well, 11/11/11, but that’s awful close to Thanksgiving, and 111111=63. That’s not very exciting. And I really doubt that I could find a boyfriend and get him to marry me in less than three weeks. That’s pretty fast, even for Mormons.

You could suggest 12/12/12, but that’s really close to Christmas. Besides, there’s no such thing as 2.

So I was about to despair. What could I look forward to now that all the interesting wedding dates have passed??

But then I remembered, the Fibonacci sequence goes on! And the next bit ends in 13! So 5/8/13 could be a very good date! It’s a bit more obscure, but it could definitely work.

And I completely forgot about Pi Day! The most sacred of all geek holidays. Second only to Talk-like-a-pirate day!9 And what’s even better, is we’ve got a special, extended edition Pi day coming up! 3/14/15! I’ve got plenty of time between then and now to find me a husband who’s willing to plan our wedding around an inane set of numbers.

And if it takes a really long time, we’ve also got 1/1/23, and an extra awesome mole day of 6/02/23.10 But I don’t want to tell you how old I’ll be in 2023...Lets just say, I’ll be well out of singles ward range.11

1 Strike that, this is not limited to my culture.
2 Note: Wanting him back really badly doesn’t count as a prospect.
3 i.e. twenty years ago.
4 And who wants your anniversary to be close to your birthday? Then your lame husband is just going to want to get you one gift for both of them. And we all know the strength of your marriage can be measured by the awesomeness of the gifts your husband gives you for important occasions, and if he tries to double up, then you have to divide the awesomeness by 2, making his job even harder, so really, you're doing him a favor by spreading the gifting times out.
5 Ok, I do hope that there are some non-nerds aka, my family, who might be reading this, and they *might* not know about the answer to life, the universe and everything. But then again, even Siri knows that answer. Go ask her.
6 Duh Dun Duh Dun. Duh Dun Duh Dun Dun.
7 It also didn’t hurt that a guy that I had a crush on in High School thought that my Fibonacci sequence program was pretty innovative for using two variables for calculation instead of three. I thought that twenty line program with the peak of my genius for a lot longer that I should have. The funny things men do to you...
8 And by traditional I mean the way I learned it. Apparently kids these days like to start with 0. It’s hard to keep up with the trends sometimes.
9 I kid. I actually think this holiday is rather silly, and I can’t believe it’s been officially recognized. And by officially recognized, I mean large MMOs give you special drops on that day. Actually, I think that makes Pirate day officially more official than Pi Day. I think I’m going to cry.
10 Instead of 6:02 on 10/23. I think there’d be more Mole day celebrations if we ate moles.
11 Singles wards are special Mormon congregations for single members aged 18-30. Yes, Mormons want their young adults to get married so badly they corral them into their own world and don’t let them out until they are married, or full blown menaces to society.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How To Make A Cube:
Episode VII: That's No Moon... It's a Giant Plushie!!

So you’ve got a pattern, but you don’t know what to do with it. Might I suggest making a companion cube.

Also known as the most awesome cat bed evar.

Oh, right, that’s why you’re here. Well, first step would be to procure some fabric.1 I used polar fleece from Joann’s and a local store in Utah. You could use polar fleece, or minky, or felt, depending on the look and feel your want for you cube. Now you probably want to me to tell you the yardage that you’ll need. Unfortunately, I finished the cube a while ago, and I am unsure of my exact yardage, so I am going to attempt to over estimate. I ran out of light grey fabric, and in that time, Joann’s stopped carrying that particular color of polar fleece.2 I would suggest getting 5 yards of light grey and 2.5 yards of dark grey. You should only need about half a yard for the pink hearts, and just about a quarter of a yard of the dark pink for the lines. No, I did not use the same fabric for both pinks...

Do those look like the same color to you?!

If you want your cube to be a bit stiffer and hold it’s shape better, I recommend backing all the the pieces with craft fuse. You can find this in the interfacing section of your local craft store. As long as your local craft store is called “Joann’s”. But I'm sure other places carry it. It's basically just a thick interfacing.3 I would strongly recommend a fuseable interfacing. The craft fuse isn’t going to make your cube stand up on it’s own. However, it will give it more structure where there was none before. It will also help keep the fabric from stretching out.

A small selection of craft fuse pieces.

Now get out the dvds, or netflix, or whatever because you are about to spend the next year cutting out 700+ odd shapes. You will get bored. Try and push through it, cause this is where I kept getting stuck. I made all the patterns quite quickly, and sewing them together took time, but I was able to make steady progress. Cutting out all those pieces seriously felt like it took forever, and it just wasn’t enjoyable. Maybe make a party of it, like when you get your guildies to come and kill a monster with you. Cause this cube is one major monster, and if you’re not careful, you will grind yourself right out of not actually finishing this project. But I believe in you! And no, I won’t cut them out for you.

I wish I could write a function to do this for me...

Now when you cut the fabric, you should definitely cut the pattern pieces with seam allowance. When you cut the craft fuse, you could cut the smaller, original sized piece. This will keep your seams cleaner, and it’s what I did with my cube. However, if I was doing it again, I would interface the whole piece. Which goes against everything I stand for as a seamstress, but this is a piece of furniture, or a large toy, not a garment, so I think it’s ok. Just don’t tell anyone, and they might not take away my sewing licence.4

Ok, I’m going to climb into my TARDIS here and meet you in six months, cause I just can’t wait around while you cut out all those pieces...

My other vehicle is a Honda Accord.

Ok, I’m back! Are you done yet? Awesome! I knew you could do it!

Now we have to sew up all those pieces. I sewed each section in turn. First I sewed up the corners.

A stack of corners. Or maybe a bit of folded space.

Then I sewed up the edges. And the dark grey channels.

Here I’m sewing the channels onto the edges. These pictures are a little timey-wimey.

Then I sewed up the buttons, with the face and stripes.

A companion cube has six hearts, which means he loves you three time more than the Doctor can.
Also he’s three times harder to kill. Minus regeneration.

And finally, I sewed up the dark grey channels to the edges, and the edges to the corners, and the face to the ring of corners and edges. I finally had a full side.

Objects when assembled will be larger than their separate parts appeared.

And this is when I realize exactly how big the cube was, and I wondered what I had just gotten myself into...

But it was too late to turn back. I continued added onto this face, with corners and edges and centers. The centers always went in last. Also, I made sure that the hearts were facing the right way according to the cube model. Also, don’t forget to install a zipper somewhere. I originally just hand-sewed the cube up, but on the second go around, I installed a zipper.5 I did a dark grey invisible zipper, and I put it on the edge between a button and the face. This would be easy to insert when you are constructing a center. I think this is a great place for it, as it’s a long enough seam to take a 22” zipper, and it’s also a pretty hidden place. You can’t see the zipper unless you know it’s there, so I routinely forget where it is. Which is good and bad.

Can you spot the zipper??

For my first go around, I also made some stabilization inserts for the corners. I initially made these out of some extra felt I had, but any material will do, as long as it’s stable, ie. it won’t stretch much. I would not recommend polar fleece for these. These were sew into the seam allowance of the complete cube corners on the completed cube. This helps the corners maintain their shape, and helps the cube maintain an overall more cube shape.

Just sew the tabs into the seam allowance of the corners.

I then stuffed the cube will all manner of foam, and foam-like objects. The majority of what I used what was knock-off lovesac filler. When using this kind of material, always, always, ALWAYS, put it in a bag of some sort. I am still picking this stuff off of my cube since I unstuffed it, and I will never fully get it out of the inside of the cube, no matter how long I, or the cube, live. I also used normal poly-fill for the corners, and I used bean bag pellets to finish it off, because my love sac foam just wasn’t enough, and I was on a time crunch at that point, and this is what I could get a hold of.

Cube is bleeding!!!

Now all this made for a very heavy cube. When we were dragging it around for the video, we were using two furniture dollies and a piece of plywood. And it was still hard. When I was trying to push the cube, I didn’t have to act like it was hard. It was that hard.

But after the video6, I really wanted to take the cube with me to a convention. I thought of trying to have a collapsible structure made of foam and pvc pipes, but my cosplay friend Hylian Jean suggested that I buy a large inflatable cube. Instead of buying one, I just made one out of painter’s plastic and a valve from a broken air mattress. It’s not perfect. It still loses air somehow, and I haven’t found the leak, despite my best efforts. I hope to correct this in the near future. I would only recommend a plastic inside when making a portable cube. The Luv Sac foam is actually a great filler, as long as you plan on moving it about as much as you move a Luv Sac.

If it only stayed this inflated.

But there you have it! In just about a million hours, you will have your own cube! You’d better get started. Time waits for no one! And at the end, a cake appears! 7

Cube and Cake, together at last!

1 Unless you just want to make your cube out of printer paper and tape. ProTip: fabric is much, much cuddlier than paper.
2 ProTip: Buy enough fabric, so you don’t have to try and color match later, cause that is pretty much impossible. I don’t want to admit the about of money and hours I have poured into attempting to do just that.
3 If you don’t know what interfacing is... you might want to wiki that...
4 I could try and explain why you shouldn’t have interfacing in a seam, but honestly it really doesn’t matter, and I’m probably making too big a deal over this... IGNORE ME!!
5 ProTip: Just do this the first time.
6 Same link, but you should probably watch it again. And tell your friends to watch it.
7 As long as you have a super awesome friend who promises to make a cake for you when you finish your cube and throw a party.

How To Make A Cube:
Episode II: Attack of the Cartesian Plane

So you want to make a pattern from a 3D Model. There are probably several methods for this, but I am going to be doing a direct and very hands on method. This way I can be sure that you’ve got it exactly how you want, without having to learn and wrestle with a new program. Things might be easier if you use something like Paperkura or a CAD program, but I don’t know how to use either. What I do know how to use is graph paper. So we’re going to use that.

First step is to get the cube into a usable .obj form. I’m not going to tell you how to do this. For one, there are many tutorials out there that cover the extraction and conversion of .mdl files from Source games.1 Two, I’ve posted a .obj of the cube on my DA. It’s not textured, so it’s really only useful for making patterns. If you want a textured version, use Google and the Internet to teach yourself how to do it.

It’s like the Matrix, only slower.

Once you’ve got a .obj file, you’re going to need a way to see the values of the vertices. I’ve used a myriad of different 3d programs over the years, but I currently use Silo.2 It’s not too expensive, for a 3d modeling program, and the trial version should give you enough functionality to gather the data we need from this model. Also, it is more intuitive than Blender.3

You can either use sheets of graph paper, or a computer program to plot your data. Since I am not proficient in a CAD program, and drawing programs like GIMP, while serviceable, take forever to plot this data in, we’re going to use graph paper. Just like I did when I made my original patterns.

When you procure your graph paper, make sure it’s marked at 1/10” or 1/5" markings. If you get normal graph paper, that is marked at 1/8" or 1/4" you are going to have to make a lot more calculations and guesses, based of the decimal values of 8ths. This isn’t all that easy, and it isn’t pretty. I know, I used 1/8" graph paper the first time around.4 Also, there are a lot of free graph paper websites out there. The one I used produced graph paper that wasn’t actually spaced correctly, so make sure to measure any Internet graph paper before actually using it.5

So now that we’ve got all of our materials, it’s time to build a cube. Or at least the patterns we’ll need to build a cube. Open up Silo6, and import your .obj cube. Now, you can either center the cube at zero, which is putting the very center of the cube at (0,0,0), or you can center to cube at (20,20,20).

Having the cube at (20,20,20) is nice, because then all your numbers will be positive. Not that it really matters, you certainly leave it at (0,0,0) if you choose. Now you need to pick which face you are going to work off of. I’d recommend orienting the cube so that z is constant, and you are moving in the x/y space. But you don’t have to do this, just make sure that you are plotting your points using the correct coordinate values.

ProTip: Click on this or any other picture for a higher-rez version that it easier to read.

So now you need to plot your points onto your graph paper. Let’s do the large face on the edge as an example. First you need to set up your graph paper. I checked the range of the points on the face that I’m working on, and picked a scaled the worked with that range, and labeled the axes according to that scale. Not all of your pieces will fit on just one normal sheet of graph paper, so you might need to tape a few together in order to have enough space to plot all your data.

Now there are going to be a lot of pictures. Just follow what they say, and in the end you will have two of the twenty pattern pieces you will need to complete this cube. So don’t fall asleep! 7

Now we need to add seam allowance. If you tried to just use this as your pattern, then how would you sew one piece to another?? Answer: Seam allowance! Now standard seam allowance for clothing is 5/8ths of an inch. However, the cube is not clothes, so I’ve done a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This just seemed like a good idea at the time. You can add whatever seam allowance you want when you make your pattern.

That wasn’t so bad! And there’s only only nineteen more to do! Unfortunately, not all patterns are on an plane that allows us to just plot the points on a piece of graph paper. Sometimes we will need to use math. For example, we’ll do the triangle on the edge of the corner.

Now just repeat that for every face. It’s worth noting that I didn’t make a pattern for the long strips that go around the base of the heart button, I just made some calculations and cut strips.8 I also made two strips, one light grey, on dark gray, based on the coloring I observed on the model.

Note the two different colored rings.

I also didn’t worry too much about making deep channels for the pink lines, that you can see from this view. I’m sorry, it would just be too difficult and complicated with a plushie of this size. Also, no one will notice.9 So I just did narrow strips. I did press the seam allowances to the outside instead of each to their own side like I normally would, so they are at least slightly depressed.

Also, the dark grey sections were not cut as one large piece. The side channels were cut separately from the large half-circles. This saved fabric, and made construction easier.10

Now I know I said that programs were harder to use than just graphing everything, however, they are easier for one thing, making circles. Especially big circles. Now you could just jerryrig up a large compass with a bit of string, and in a way that would be easier, but I also wanted to have a good pattern for the heart. Again, you could just sketch that on your circle based on what the looked like, but I am a tad obsessed with things being exactly accurate11 that I wanted to make sure that my heart was as right as possible. So you can use a program, or just draw a large circle on four pieces of paper and sketch a good-looking heart. Then you won’t have to wrestle with gimp to make it print your picture true-to-scale. 12

Now go and finish the rest of those patterns. And then take a nap. Or two or three. Patterning is hard. Once you’re rested, we can move on to constructing the cube.

1 And I don’t want to make one more that will be out of date in six month.
2 My choice of this program has nothing to do with me personally knowing the developer and having received a free copy. Not that that means it's not good. It's actually great. At least for taking data from models. Which is all I used 3d programs for these days.
3Which is so unintuitive I have to relearn the basic controls every time I use it. Sometimes I think that the Open Source movement likes to punish people for using free software by making them so unintuitive, you pay for them in time and brain cells. Which you lose when you smash your head on the desk so hard you pass out. No, I haven’t actually done that. Yet.
4 No, I don't know why. I'm allowed to do stupid thing. Don't judge me. I'm keeping *you* from doing stupid things.
5 I used it for this demo, mostly cause it ment I didn't have to go to the store and buy things. What? I'm a tad lazy. Remeber, we're not judging me cause I'm helpful.
6 Or whatever 3d program you are using. You don't have to be cool if you don't want to.
7 If you one of the two people here for the lolz, just scroll till you see a lot of text again. Talking about making stuff is really dry. And not the funny kind of dry.
8 The pattern would be a long rectangle. ProTip: Rectangles are easier to cut with a quilting ruler and a mat than a paper pattern.
9 Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that. Or read me say that? or.... read my typing... um, you know what I mean...
10 Yes, even I believe in making things easier. Besides, you can kinda see some seam-like coloration where the channels meet the curve. Just check that shot above. In fact, just commit it to memory, we're going to use it again.
11 I'm not always reasonable. Did you forget who you were dealing with?
12 It’s open-source, it knows better than you.