The Funnies

My dad posted a joke on my Facebook wall the other day.

It was one of those jokes where you could see the punchline coming from many, many, many miles away…

An Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German, an Indian, several Americans (including a Hawaiian and an Alaskan), an Argentinean, a Dane, an Australian, a Slovak, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian, a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, a Uzbek, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uruguayan, a Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a Venezuelan, an Iranian, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Estonian, a Syrian, a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook Islander, a Tajikistani, a Samoan, an Armenian, an Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahaman, a Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a Cambodian, a Qatari, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, a Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an Italian, a Norwegian and 2 Africans
walk into a very fine restaurant.

“I’m sorry,” says the maître d’, after scrutinizing the group…

“You can’t come in here without a Thai.”

I just… Well, yeah.

shirlyv

I dressed up. In public. With other weird and wonderful people.

This momentous occasion was called Supanova and OMG IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.

Picture, if you will, a 35 year-old newly converted convention groupie squealing like a school girl who’s just seen a penis for the first time.

Yeah.

That’s me.

And you still can’t get the grin off my face for love nor money.

I’ve been to a convention before and to be honest I wasn’t that taken with it – though that might have had something to do with the organisation of the event itself and the general people it attracted. I wasn’t really sold.

Then a friend of mine said “Come to America to DragonCon!” (another blog on that later) so I thought I’d get some practice in for that as well as geeking out with some other friends at a local con first. And of course my friends knew about my steampunk outfit and insisted that I wear it.  Considering how much I loved wearing it the first time for Anya’s wedding, I was more than happy to wear it a second time – so long as they dressed up too.

Yes, there is always a caveat with me.

It wasn’t without some trepidation that I drove myself into Ascot Vale a couple weeks back – and not without some difficulty, too – do you have any idea how tricky it is driving in a corset? I had to reposition all my mirrors because suddenly I was sitting up very, very straight. But anyway, yes… trepidation, self-consciousness, etc, etc, etc. I was feeling all the Bad Things™.

I need not have bothered feeling shy or out of place once I got there.

The first people to walk by me were Capt’n Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones and a Xena (Warrior Princess) in full regalia.

Renlish.com - Steampunk Friends

Me and Sandy in our steampunkiness. My theme was explorer/collector and she was a tinkerer.

Supanova was like something I had never experienced before. It was a place where people could revel in their fandoms, be their favourite characters and stretch their creative muscle. My efforts (and my mother’s efforts) with my own costume paled in comparison to some of the others who were there.

Alas and alack, I didn’t have my camera with me (sort of forgot in the excitement of everything) and so I don’t have any pictures but but a few that were taken of me by other folk. But these links will give you a good idea of the costumes and creations that were wandering around en masse throughout the day…

Slippery Photography – SupaNova 2014.

OzGeeks Supanova 2014 gallery.

Reg Kg’s Supanova Flickr set.

Anyhoo, aside from all the costume fun and madness, there was much shopping to be done. And boy did I shop. Foolishly I’d only taken about $40 with me to the con because; “Pfft, what am I going to buy?”

Huge mistake.

So after an ATM was located, about $250 made a lovely whooshing noise right out of my bank account. I don’t mind though, I got some beautiful artwork from a bunch of Australian artists – everything from a book of dragons by Emerson Ward to a beautiful Doctor Who print done in Mucha style created by Striped Designs and a fantastic print of Ash from Army of Darkness by Adam Nichols.

The huge draw cards for Supanova (and other conventions like it) are the appearances of the stars of the various geek and cult shows, past and present, that turn up to do panels/talks, autographs and signings. It’s all very cool and exciting. Sadly though, I am a book geek and not really a TV geek (unless you count Firefly or Game of Thrones or Big Bang Theory), so when it comes to meeting authors, I am extremely fangirly.

So imagine my shock – and subsequent joy – when one of Sandy’s friends said that Traci Harding was at Supanova.

Ahem. Guess which fangirl did NOT read her convention guide?

I knew Jim Butcher (of Dresden Files fame) was going to be there and I had been looking forward to meeting him but I had no idea Traci was going to be there too. I very nearly went into conniptions. Traci Harding was probably one of my favourite authors when I was in my last year of high school and all through uni and my early working days. Her books got a little weird for me after a while though I’ve since rediscovered a love for them – just in time for the release of the Ancient Future omnibus to be released.

So, yes… This happened:

Renlish.com - Traci Harding

Me. And Traci Harding. AHHHHHHHHHHH!

She was adorable and so nice. And my mother will not forgive me for not taking her along – never mind the fact that she was in Canberra that weekend!

Anyway, shortly after my run-in with my ultimate fandom, a girl from one of the publishing house stalls called Sandy and I over and asked if our costumes were Steampunk.

I am fairly certain the look on my face said; “I mean, really? You have to ask?”

In any case, we said yes and she was all, “Do you KNOW Michael Pryor?! He’s all Steampunk too! Can we get a photo of you all together?”

I didn’t know who Michael Pryor was but Sandy, who is a big fan of his, certainly did and she filled me in as we waited to meet him. Steampunk author? OH, HELLS YES.

So then this happened:

Renlish.com - Michael Pryor, Sandy and Me

Michael, Sandy and moi!

He was absolutely delightful and I am definitely looking forward to reading his novels.

It feels great to have a substantial TBR pile again. Books are my happy.

And I’m fairly sure that the girl at the Dymocks stand thought I was insane because I went back about four times to buy books to be signed. Hee.

And of course somewhere in between all of that I also met Jim Butcher (who is windswept and interesting) and a little-known NZ-come-Aussie author by the name of Ged Maybury who was just so cute and adorable in a sad puppy-ish kind of way that I had to buy his book without even knowing anything about it.

Renlish.com - Book Loot!

THE LEWTZ! Many books!
Top: Traci Harding – The Ancient Future
Middle Left: Michael Pryor – The Laws of Magic (Book 1)
Middle Right: Ged Maybury – Into the Storm’s Domain (Book 1)
Bottom: Jim Butcher – Changes (Dresden Files Book 12)

So yes. Supanova. Much fun.

Quietly going to see if I can get to the Sydney one in June…

The Weekly Bindi – Week 2

It’s still “this week”. I don’t really have a schedule for TWB, though I will aim for a Sunday/Monday night posting. It’s the end of the week now, though, but it still counts! Also, I don’t think I mentioned in my intro TWB post but any picture on any device counts. Cats have relatively short lives. If my cat’s going to do something cute I will take a picture with the nearest device able to do so, whether it’s my camera, my phone or my computer. (Which explains this week’s picture.)

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi, Week 2

A calculated move – reaching over to type means that she’ll get a belly-rub along the way.

Since starting her medication and obviously feeling better, Bindi has been slightly less neurotic and way more snuggly, particularly with me. I suspect it’s probably got more to do with the fact that it’s starting to get colder but I’ll take what I can get!

I took her for another blood test at the beginning of the week to see how her thyroid was reading now that she’s been on medication for a month and a half and yay, she’s completely normal. As in middle-of-the-range normal. Like a cat without a thyroid problem. Fortunately her kidneys are still in great shape too – hyperthyroidism in cats can often mask a more serious problem, that being kidney disease. The cat’s system is working so hard and fast to keep going that it actually helps with kidney failure, but once things are working normally, the kidneys can go kerplunkt too.

To be honest, I saw a change within a few days of starting the medication, even though we had been told it usually took at least two months for improvements to be visible. I thought it was my imagination but after two weeks even the Manbeast was asking me if I thought she looked better. She’s all glossy and she doesn’t feel so fragile. She’s even moving better too.

Our next step is to decide whether we want to go the radiation treatment for a permanent cure (or at least a 95% chance of permanent cure) or keep on with the ear gel. The radiation treatment will be around the $1500-1800 mark all up. The ear gel is a daily treatment for the rest of her life at about $100 a month. Both are big costs. I have friends who balk at the idea of spending that much on a cat; they look at me horrified when I tell them that I spent several thousand dollars on her when she was ill a couple of years ago only for her to get better on her own for the most part.

Yeah, there are some who would let nature take it’s course and I understand that. But I want Bindi to live the best possible life she can for as long as she can. In any case, I’ll let you know what we decide in a couple weeks.

The Weekly Bindi – Week 1 (Project 52)

I figured I needed a new project with which to entertain myself and what’s better than tormenting a cat with a camera once a week?

The Weekly Bindi is a Project 52 I’ve decided to start in an effort to record the life of my cat, Bindi. At least once a week for a year.

Bindi is my little tabby cat – originally a big-eared foundling from a country property. I snaffled her and her sister (Dugite) about 13 years ago now under the pretense of doing a good deed and taking them to the Lort Smith to be rehomed. Err… well… they didn’t quite make it.

However I will always maintain that keeping them was ultimately not my decision but the manbeast’s who, in his infinite wisdom, gave them names.

It was a done deal after that.

Anyhoo… fast forward about eleven years and you have one very sick Bindi and one very unemployed Ren. After a vet bill that didn’t leave me with much change out of $3000 OR a diagnosis as to why my cat was suddenly at death’s door, I realised that my little Bindi-puss was not going to live forever, even if she did pull through whatever it was that made her so ill.

Fortunately she survived but two years later she has an extremely sensitive gut and a severe case of hyperthyroidism, the latter of which requires very expensive medication I get to rub into her ears twice a day for the rest of her life. A small price to pay for a little creature who is essentially my little depression dialysis machine. She takes all the sad and turns it into happy. Even the manbeast knows that when I am particularly down I need a Bindi cuddle.

Because her illness has aged her so much, I don’t want to be caught without pictures of her when she does finally kick the proverbial. Hence the Weekly Bindi.

Renlish.com - Project 52, The Weekly Bindi

Long-suffering puss.

Bead Soup Blog Party, 2014 – The Soup Reveal!

I’ve been meaning to post about this for the last week but life’s been a bit…

meh

Meh. Just meh.

… for a while.

But on the bright side life…

Bright Side of Life

Yes. I totally went there.

I signed up for Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party for 2014. This year is a little different – because of Lori’s poor health she decided that there would be only one day to sign up and one single creation reveal day so there is going to be one massive blog hop coming up in a few weeks. No sweat for me! Loved it last year.

This year I’ve been partnered up with fellow Aussie, Tracy Stillman from Bead Trilogy. Tracy does some pretty nifty work with seedies and we have a favourite bead creator in common, that being Natalie of the wonderful Peruzi who makes the most amazing ceramic and stoneware focals and bead sets. She’s a favourite Australia-wide for those with a leaning into the eclectic style. Tracy features a lot of Natalie’s work so it just made sense that we were both drawn to Peruzi when creating our soups.

This was the soup that I sent Tracy:

Renlish.com - Bead Soup Blog Party 2014

Bead set, connector and toggle by Peruzi, Swarovski crystals in Fire Opal and Padparadscha, and a strand of purple toned Czech crystas=ls.

I went for colour with this year’s soup and picked all the stuff that I loved but wouldn’t necessarily use myself (I’m a blues and greens and neutrals sort of girl). I’ve had the swaros forever but when I realised that they matched the Peruzi beads so perfectly I had to throw them in as well.

Not to be outdone, Tracy sent me a great Peruzi package of her own:

Renlish.com - Bead Soup Blog Party 2014

Peruzi beads and focal.

Yay! Neutrals! I love these. I have no idea what to do with them, I might have to pull out some of my other Peruzis and make one big Peruzi extravaganza. I’m not used to working with such large focals at all so it will be interesting! Fortunately I have some beautiful leather coming from my pal, Annette Piper and I think I’ll continue the neutral colour pallet with some pearls… the only thing that’s throwing me is the gold clasp! I don’t do gold!

But hey, last year I said I didn’t do copper and look what happened.

Hehe. Stay tuned for the reveal on May 3rd.

White noise and pretty jewels.

Honestly, I feel so much better when I am able to create something. Whether it’s a necklace or editing a photograph or doodling on a page. Much of the time when I don’t have a job to do, my thoughts lead me down dangerous, slightly morbid paths. I have a fairly extreme imagination when I am depressed and sometimes it gets the better of me. It’s why whenever I feel bored I start to feel incredibly unsettled. I start thinking about Things™ and I don’t particularly like thinking about Things™. Doing these little crafty bits gives me a focus and allows me to create a beautiful white noise that consists of nothing but pure concentration on the task at hand. And usually by the end I have something nice to show for it.

Anyway, that’s just a long-assed way of explaining that I MADE SOMETHING this weekend.

Renlish.com - Green Orchid

Renlish.com - Green Orchid

And just for shits and giggles, this is something I started throwing together today… and it’s literally still in its “thrown together” state, because that’s how I roll, yo.

Renlish.com - Serene WIP

And I don’t think I ever showed it on the blog but I had my first go at bead embroidery a little while back and the results turned out pretty nice, if you ask me:

Renlish.com - Red Earth

Renlish.com - Red Earth

To be honest, I think my seed bead curiosity has been sated with this first and probably last piece (at least for a while) but I love how it turned out and the stone is pretty fabulous.

And lastly, I’ve signed up again for the Pretty Things Blog Bead Soup Blog Party for 2014! 2013 was lots of fun and my partner for that hop turned out to be a lovely, sweet lady who I got along with very well so I thought I’d put my hand up for the challenge. Can’t wait to see what I get. I’ve already arranged my “blog soup” for my prospective partner.

Warm Tones on a Summer Walk

A short 15 minute or so walk from my house is a little park with some man-made waterways. It’s well established now and is called home and visited by various birds, mostly wild ducks (or ducks gone wild as the case may be) but there’s the odd water fowl, swan and pelican who stay for brief periods of time. The place is simple but a pretty and fairly easy walk, so I took my camera and bad hip for a hobble and took some photos.

Renlish.com - Warm Tones

Top: Bindis (or burrs) in their prettier, flowery form before they drop off and become the bane of cats and dogs everywhere. Left: Swan. This was one of a pair, parents, who had a handful of cygnets. They didn’t let me get very close. Right: Reedy lens flare – my favourite.

Renlish.com - Warm Tones

Top & Bottom: Various views of the waterways. Right: Ducky who was most disappointed I was carrying a camera and not a bag of stale bread.

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