Some shameless self-promotion and FUN!

It's a little Tuesday promotional bid if you'll permit it.  It'll be fun, you'll see!

Let me point you in the direction of my makeup portfolio website.  See the left hand side of this site?  See the 'Palette' link?  That's it!  But I'll give you a direct link here too:  You can have a look through some of the things I've been working on.

Are you interested in hearing my friend and brilliant designer Nikki Ewing from Dark Knits Boutique speak?  Are you interested in hearing me (your friend and pretty great makeup artist, if I daresay so myself) speak?  Well you are in luck!  We are hosting a panel at the upcoming Edmonton Expo called 'The Full Cosplay Experience: From Top Hat to Tip Toe'.  Normally it's really not okay to take photos (or words) from people's sites but in this case I'm giving you my direct permission to share this poster around.  If you're in the Edmonton area on September 27th, buy a ticket to the Expo and come meet us!

I'll keep you posted on other exciting projects as they come up. 

Thank you all for your support in visiting, in reading, in supporting, and in just being out there rocking the awesome.


- Corinne Simpson


Pick of the Week – September 1-7, 2014

I have a confession to make: I don't like Mickey Mouse. Or Donald Duck. Or Goofy.  Or any of the Disney stable of cartoon characters really.  I like many of their classic animated films, but I wouldn't call any of them favorites.  Of the "modern classics," such as The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, only Aladdin has any re-watch factor for me, and that is solely due to Robin Williams' performance as the Genie.

My taste in Disney’s animated films (And I am not counting anything from Pixar in this) leans toward some of their less appreciated ones: Robin Hood, The Great Mouse Detective, Lilo & Stitch, and this week's pick, The Emperor's New Groove.  Nathan brought up the film on Thursday in THIS post, and the mere mention of it made me smile.  And when I told Corinne that I was planning to make it this week's pick, she immediately launched into several great lines from the movie.  The Emperor's New Groove may not be the best known Disney animated film, but those of us who like it, REALLY like it.

The plot of the film, which involves a bratty, self-absorbed emperor (voice by David Spade) learning to be less of a jerk, isn’t all that remarkable, but the joy of The Emperor’s New Groove comes from the performances and, most of all, the humor.  I would go so far as to say that it is the funniest Disney animated film I have ever seen, and I will include the Pixar films in that assessment.  The Emperor’s New Groove is about as close to the feel of a Warner Brothers cartoon as Disney ever gets.  Some sequences wouldn’t feel out of place in an episode of Animaniacs, which is about the highest compliment I can give. 

While David Spade (whose work I don’t normally enjoy) and John Goodman do solid work as the two leads, the movie is completely stolen by Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton as Yzma and Kronk, the films villains.  Kitt especially sounds like she’s having a ball playing the role of the evil sorceress, and Warburton’s Kronk is the perfect not-too-bright henchman.

After you’ve seen the movie (and pondered the mystery of why they even have that lever), do a little research on the long, painful process of the film’s creation.  Originally, Groove was slated to be an epic tale called Kingdom of the Sun from the same director as The Lion King and with eight songs written and performed by Sting.  The ordeal is chronicled in the documentary The Sweatbox, made by Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler.  Disney, which owns the rights, has never released the documentary on DVD or online (I can’t imagine why), but it might be floating around out there somewhere.

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter

Preventing Progress from Marching Over Me

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.  Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.  Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.          – Douglas Adams

I visited Portland, Oregon a couple of weeks ago (Fantastic city, if you can ever make a trip.  I did learn, though, that between Powell’s books and all of the amazing food options, I’d be very broke and very, very fat if I lived there), and while there we went to see a dinosaur exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Unlike a lot of young boys, I never had much interest in dinosaurs.  Of course, when I was young, I didn’t have interest in much of anything that didn’t involve Star Wars.  I knew some of the basic kinds (Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, and so on), but nothing about the ancient creatures sparked my imagination.  Jurassic Park in 1993 was really the first time that I gave dinosaurs much thought, and even then the movie hit me with some ideas that sounded…well…wrong.  There’s a theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds?  Seriously?  I thought they were giant lizards.

At the dinosaur exhibit, I learned that the Brontosaurus name has gone out of fashion.  Apparently it’s an Apatosaurus now.  More jarringly, though, the dinosaur-as-bird-ancestor theory has gotten a lot more fossil evidence to back it up.  In fact…

Yes, that smaller T-Rex is covered in proto-feathers.  Although it seemed more like fur to me.  Nature’s perfect predator is now the world’s angriest Muppet.

After the exhibit, though, what interested me wasn’t so much the dinosaurs but my reaction to the new discoveries.  Mostly, my brain said “No!” 

Come, come, Mr. Scott. Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant.                                  – Admiral James T. Kirk

This increasing inability to accept the world changing around us seems to be a natural human phenomenon as we get older.  The revolutionaries of the 1960s are now watching Fox News and screaming that the whole place is going to Hell. 

That really scares me.  Not the world changing part.  That’s as it should be.  No, I’m more worried that one day I too will be shaking my fist and screeching that everything was better when I was young and that everything now is just wrong Wrong WRONG! 

I am not completely sure how to avoid it.  Certainly thinking through new information and giving it due consideration before rejecting it out of hand is a start.  That takes work and vigilance, though.  Inertia is a powerful force, and mental inertia can be just as powerful, if not more so, than its physical cousin. 

And, as I said earlier, this belief that things were better when we were younger does seem to be part of being human.  High school reunions are a prime example of this.  You spend four years in high school (possibly 3 if you live in a school district that lumps 9th grade in with middle school).  It’s a small fraction of your life, yet every 5 to 10 years you get together with the people you went to high school with to celebrate that time of your life?  Why do we insist that those four years more important than any other? 

All I can do is keep reminding myself that, no matter what new technology or social change comes along, life will continue.  Rock and roll wasn’t the end of human civilization.  Dubstep won’t be either.  I must keep my mind open, be willing to learn new things, and resist my desire for the status quo.  If I can’t handle dinosaurs with feathers now, how am I going to react in 2055 when my grandchild wants to marry a sentient robot?

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter


The Semi-Comprehensive Guide to CSI Fetish Episodes

Why am I even writing an intro?  The title says everything you need to know.  This is a semi-comprehensive guide to every CSI episode that involves or features a fetish. 

You want more.  You want me to unpack that for you.  Okay.

CSI has a storied history - amusingly considering it's a prime time procedural on a major network - of episodes that feature strange and fascinating fetishes.  This is a tradition started when the show was (in my non-humble opinion) far better than it is now and starred the King of Bugs and the Queen of Sass, Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger).  They and their merry band of hot crime solving nerds would encounter all manner of strange things on the graveyard shift in Las Vegas and some of those things would involve fetishes.  These episodes became famous (or infamous depending on if you're aligned with the PTC or not) for their bold examinations of subculture.  Grissom always played the anthropologist: scientifically and endlessly fascinated by the varieties of human behavior and preference.  Catherine always played us: equally fascinated and just as likely to either loft her eyebrows in disbelief or have a personal story somehow related to the proceedings.

I assumed that the internet in its infinite obsessive weirdness would have a catalog of all these CSI kink/fetish episodes season by season because that seems like a listing tailor-made for the internet, no?  But lo and behold, when I went searching (despite the fact that my brain has every episode tidily memorized) I discovered that such a list did not, in fact, exist. 

Clearly I was being called to a higher (or lower depending on your point of view - mom stop reading now) purpose.  And that purpose is this: to compile as near to a comprehensive list as possible of fetishes and kinks explored on CSI and to track which episode features which fetish and what season to find the episode in. 

Here it is, then, internet.  The guide you've been missing for fourteen years.  You're welcome.

(Note: this only deals with CSI: Original Flavor.  Vegas, baby.  If you want a guide to Miami kink, you'll need to *remove glasses* check with Vice.  Yeeeeeeeaaaaaah!)

Your Guide to Kink and Fetish Episodes on CSI

Those of you who are singular in your fascination may be crying out in protest.  "But VampireNomad, this list only has four Lady Heather episodes on it and there are six Lady Heather Episodes in CSI history!  Why aren't they all listed?" 

Look, I love Lady Heather (Melinda Clarke) as much as anyone but you have to know just because she started her CSI life as a dominatrix with a thriving dungeon domain does not mean every single episode she's in directly features a kink or fetish.  I know!  Your mind is blown.  Also she's only Lady Heather for the first five.  In her last appearance (thus far) she's Dr. Kessler.  But fear not, I have your back either way.  Here are all the Lady Heather/Dr. Kessler episodes:

Slaves of Las Vegas (Season 2)
Lady Heather's Box (Season 3)
Pirates of the Third Reich (Season 6)
The Good, the Bad, and the Dominatrix (Season 7)
Leave Out All the Rest (Season 9)
Unleashed (Season 11)

Well kids, I guess I know what you'll all be doing this long weekend, hmmm?  *wink*  Go on, then.  Enjoy.


- Corinne Simpson


Nathan's Laserium: Half-Formed Thoughts in Late August

I was getting ice cubes from our fridge's ice-maker to put in the cooler for our upcoming little vacation. I pressed one of the six or so mysterious buttons on the panel of the ice-maker by accident. Power saver it said. Saving power is good, right? Yay for me!

Michelle pointed out that now the little digital readout said OF OF. "I think you just turned it off."

"No way," I said. "What kind of crazy fridge would have an off button? I think it says zero fahrenheit. See, there's this little power freeze button, I must have hit that by accident too." Being Canadian, fahrenheits have always been these weird inscrutable units that mean absolutely nothing in the real world, kind of like ha'pennies or cubits. So it didn't really seem like much of a stretch to assume that my fridge had a setting where you could power freeze the freezer down to zero fahrenheits. That certainly made more sense than a fridge with an off button.

Vacation was really great.

About a week later we came home and the fridge still said OF OF and also it really was off and all our food was ruined. Hundreds of dollars worth of food.

I still laugh at that part in Emperor's New Groove:

"Pull the lever, Kronk."


"Why do we even have that lever?"

The answer to the question, "Why does my fridge even have that button?" is so that floor models in dealerships can have all the lights but not the power expenditure of actual refrigeration. I did not laugh at that part.




I'm turning 40 shortly- September 11th. I'm doing okay with this fact. What's freaking me out a bit mroe is that my oldest daughter, Pallas, is starting kindergarten next week. How did that happen? She's still so new! She took pre-school out of her dayhome and "graduated" a couple of months ago. I was oddly proud of this feat, nearly tearing up a bit when I walked her home the last day, and even felt a pang of regret that I wouldn't be able to make it to the little graduation ceremony for her. But then I remembered the scene in The Incredibles where Mr. Incredible questions why they are having a similar ceremony for JackJack.  His exact words escape me but they illuminate the entire theme of the movie, which is essentially "Why be mediocre when you can be incredible?"

I'm certainly not saying that Pallas is mediocre, but between you and me, graduating pre-school doesn't really rank as her greatest achievement. She can do all kinds of stuff, like sing the entire soundtrack of Frozen, and name every member of the Sinister Six. She also made up her own superhero once, Owie Badguy. I dressed up as Owie for Halloween since he is so awesome. He punches badguys and makes them say "Owie!"

Did I mention she hasn't even started Kindergarten yet? She's pretty incredible.




I bought Pallas a new book I'd heard of on Twitter, written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by noted comics-letterer-and-penciller Chris Eliopoulos, called 'I Am Amelia Earhart'. As you might expect, it's a book for little girls about how little girls can do anything they bloody well please, even when others say you can't or shouldn't. This is an important lesson I whole-heartedly agree with and have been trying to impart, with some success, to both our daughters. Our youngest, Naia, seems to have this lesson encoded in her DNA or something, but Pallas sometimes needs reminding, and then is able to kick ten tons of ass.

The book was a hit, became our recurring night-night story several days in a row (thankfully and appropriately, it doesn't get into Amelia's ultimate fate). The thing that seems to have impressed Pallas the most about Amelia, however, is that someone made a book about her.

"Dad, when I grow up, I want to be in a book too."

"Oh. Good for you! You know, uh, just do some incredible things like Amelia and someone will probably write a book about you I'm sure."

"Were you ever in a book?"

"No. No, I think it might be too late for me for that."

She actually came back to me a few times and asked me why it was too late for me. I didn't really have a good answer. Well, did I mention I'm turning 40 soon? That's practically death's door.

No it's not. Truthfully, I never really wanted to be IN a book. But I always kind of wanted to be ON a book- my name on the cover I mean.

A nice little kick in the ass from my daughter courtesy of Amelia Earhart.




I wasn't going to write these little anecdotes up unless I could find a uniting theme, and the theme of this mini-essay is themes! Cue theme music here. The discerning reader will note that I didn't really elucidate the theme of Emperor's New Groove, but only because that's one everyone knows, right? Try not to get turned into a llama if you can help it.


- Nathan Waddell