Tag Archive: Batman

The Mystery Project

We all know I’m crazy, right?

Here’s just one example – NaNoWriMo started on November 1st. About a week before NaNoWriMo started I was cruising through the swaps over on Swap-Bot – just looking – when I noticed an unusual swap called “Geeky Crafts!”

So of course I clicked on it to read the description.

The swap was this – we had to send a handmade item to our partner that reflected one of their geeky passions. I wasn’t really planning on signing up for a swap, but as I was really intrigued by it, I signed up.

For a major project.

Six days before NaNoWriMo started.

Again, crazy.

After partners were assigned I scrolled through my partner’s profile looking for ideas, and discovered that my partner Shadowspun likes Batman.

Who doesn't?

Among the many crafts listed on her profile, my partner mentioned that while she does appliqué she has never understood patchwork. So I got to thinking about patchwork, and Batman, and crafting, and doing doodles, until I thought of something interesting.

I did a pixel drawing of the Batman logo and thought – Hey, I could make that out of fabric and turn it into a tote bag!

So I sat down and figured out how big I needed the squares to be, how much fabric I would need of each color, that sort of thing.

Bring forth the math!

I wanted it to look like a charm quilt, with a lot of different shades, so I bought four shades of black and three yellows.

Ooh, fancy.

I had settled on 1-inch squares, with added seam allowance each one was 1 1/2 inches. The piece was 17 X 19 so I had to cut out 323 tiny little squares.

That's a lot of tiny little squares.

And you just know anytime I try to do something like this, I end up with lots of “help”.

The very helpful Simon.

The extremely helpful Firefly.

And my ever-vigilant sewing buddy, Fearless.

Pretty much every other step was “Remove cat(s) from crafting surface.” This was especially fun when it came to laying out all the pieces – Fearless with her mile-long feathery tail was lots of fun.

Hence the reason for the spray bottle at the top right.

The basic idea is simple – sew together in pairs, then quartets, then groups of eight, etc … larger and larger until all the tiny little pieces are sewn together in the right order.


Progress halfway through, it's already much smaller than when all the blocks were laid out individually.

One of the cut squares on top of the finished piece.

Voila! The finished logo.

Of course, once the logo was finished, I still had to make the tote bag. That part was pretty fast, since I’ve made dozens of tote bags, but it still took a while.

It looked much better once the border was on. You can't really tell because the colors are a bit washed out, but the yellow is made of patchwork pieces of the yellow.

I did a bit of quilting to the logo so it would be stable if it got washed – all the seam allowances made it pretty stiff so I just used a piece of plain white muslin instead of using any batting –  and sewed a bag and liner.

For the lining I used a sparkly bat Halloween print.

The finished bag, modeled by Mother Dearest.

SOme of the seams didn’t line up perfectly and if I had more time I would have torn the stitching out a couple of times and redone it, but I was on a tight schedule and didn’t really have time for do-overs. It galls me to send out something that is less than perfect, but my partner left me a wonderful note that she loves the bag, all the more so because she doesn’t do any patchwork so it isn’t something she would ever have done, so I guess it was okay. I can still see every wonky line though.

It was a hell of a lot of work, and if I had known how long it would take I might have chosen something else to make, but it turned out so good I didn’t want to send it. I have plans to make another for myself once NaNoWriMo is over.


One Hundred Posts!

This post marks my one hundredth post!


That’s about ninety-eight posts more than I thought I would last.

And what shall I talk about on this momentous occasion?

Well, for the past week or so I have been keeping an eye on the widget that tracks the keywords used by people who have found my site. Most have been some variation “hyper dental peeling stick” and the review of the tooth whitener has been consistently at the top of my hits list since it posted. There are a lot of people out there who are very curious about that thing. It has been insanely popular. The Forbidden Fruit series has been moderately popular, but nothing like the tooth-cleaner.

Also extremely popular are the infamous Batman Panties, which also show up on an almost daily basis.

What is surprising is how popular the photograph I took of a package of goat penis has been. The search term “goat penis” routinely shows up in my top ten search terms. Not just penis, but goat penis. I have no idea what people searching for goat penises think of my site, but it would be nice to hear from you!

I can’t help but think that there is very little overlap between the dental cleaning stick, superhero underwear, and goat genitalia. There must be some very confused people out there.

And just because …



(Notice – I’m on vacation this week, so I may or may not be able to do a full post every day. Depends on how busy I get doing other stuff.)



My nephew, whom I shall call GhostBoy, is visiting for a few days. I love having him here because I very rarely get a chance to spend time with him, so I asked him if he would like to play LEGO Batman and he said “I guess.” Not a ringing endorsement but hey, I’ll take it.  This is what happened;

I get the game set up and give him the Wiimote (I only have one) and ask if he wants to continue the game I’ve been playing or start a new one.

“Can I just run around and smash stuff?”

“There’s a Free Play mode, but I’ve only unlocked a few levels. You might want to play the missions first so you can learn how everything works. They go pretty fast.”

“I can figure it out.”

I get him to the first mission where things are pretty easy and  as soon as the game starts he starts in with the questions.

“How do I walk?”

“Use the toggle.”

“I can’t use the stuff. How do I use the stuff?”

“What stuff? You’ve only been playing for two minutes.”

“The Batman stuff.”

“If you did the mission it would tell you how to use the stuff.”

Bad guys arrive and begin punching him. He starts violently jerking the Wiimote around.

“It’s not letting me hit them!”

“You have to press the buttons.”

He continues jerking the Wiimote around.

“It’s not working!”

“Press the buttons.”

He finally figures out how to hit things and use the grappling gun and Batarang. I give him plenty of pointers and he manages to get the end of the level. Upon returning to the Batcave (the main menu area) he gets a text on his cell. (I think it was the third one in the fifteen minutes it took him to get through the level.) I decide to go get my clothes out of the dryer. I come back and he’s in a completely different part of the game.

“Hey, did you know there was a plane and a boat in the cave that you can ride in?”

“Yeah, but I haven’t gotten to those areas of the game yet.”

He starts a mission I haven’t done and immediately begins having some trouble.

“What do I do?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t gotten this far.”

“What do I do now?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t gotten this far.”

He gets a call on his cell and gives me the Wiimote so he can go into the other room and talk to whomever it is. I fiddle around a bit before he comes back and starts playing again. He gets frustrated after a few minutes and gives me the Wiimote again.


“Are you giving up?”


He leaves, presumably to do more texting, I shrug and go back to the Batcave and see if I can improve my score on the awesome chase game from the first chapter.

The moral of this tale – Always do the tutorial if you’ve never played a game before. And I should probably get another Wiimote so I can play with him next time.

Behold the Knight

It is no surprise to anyone that I loves me some cartoons, but I’ve never really been a fan of anime. My first love is Western animation; I watched a little Sailor Moon in high school, but that was about the extent of my exposure. I have since watched a few, but nothing really grabbed my attention; for someone accustomed to the twenty-odd minute chunks of action-packed stories, sitting through an hour of tedious dubbed dialogue followed by five minutes of stunning acrobatics left me dizzy.

And then 2008 rolled around and Batman: Gotham Knight was released.

Oh, my.

It is very similar to the Batman: the Animated Series that I grew up with and still like to watch and caress and whisper sweet nothings to. (Don’t judge me!), but it is also radically different.

Set outside the canon of the DCAU, it is an animated feature broken down into six distinct segments. While each segment weaves into a coherent story, one borrowing from another, the styles are very, very different, and for good reason. In what I would call an innovative and risky move, each segment is directed by a different director and animated by a different anime studio. The only constants are the voice actors (most notably Kevin Conroy (squeee!), who returns as the Caped Crusader) and certain story elements.

And it works.

Damn, does it work.

Best of all – multiple Batmen.

Pictured: Batman

Also Batman

Actual Batman

Yet more Batman.

I count nine Batmen, each one different. The first segment alone, told in reverse from the viewpoint of three kids, each with their own version of Batman (and the real one shows up, of course) has four.

It is not for kids; Gotham Knight is only the second animated Batman movie to receive a PG-13 rating, mostly for blood and violence (this is  Batman) and it is quite bloody but I did not find it overly so.

The overall story is meant to bridge the gap between  Batman Begins  and The Dark Knight and does a very good job. Both movies are referenced, but if you haven’t seen them yet you can still enjoy this film. I quite enjoyed it, but I’m a touch biased.

Boy Toys

Not long ago my nieces were over and, as usual, wandering around my rooms looking at stuff.

“What’s this?”

“It’s sharp, don’t touch it.”

“What’s this?”

“Animal crackers.”

“Can I have some?”

“No, we’re having dinner in a few minutes.”

“What’s this?”

“A teakettle.”

“What’s this?”

“A cat.”

“What’s this?”

“Another cat.”

“What’s this?”

“That’s the same box of animal crackers. And no, you can’t have one.”

“What’s this?”

“Welding goggles and a Santa hat.”

“Can I wear them?”

"Sure, why not?"

“Why do you have boy toys?”

“I said no cookies … Wait, what?”

:points to Kid Flash Happy Meal toy:

“You have boy toys.”

“I have lots of toys and I’m a girl, doesn’t that make them girl toys?”

:niece rolls eyes at me and gives me the patented All Adults Are Idiots Look:


I’ve never been a very “girly” girl, I like many things stereotypically thought of as “boy stuff”. Robots, superhero cartoons, Batman …Lots of stuff.

I am all about the stuff.

I went to McDonald’s just last weekend and was faced with the same question when I ordered my Happy Meal (Don’t you dare judge me, I’m a grown woman who can order whatever she damn well pleases!) the rather bored cashier asked if I wanted the girl toy or the boy toy.

I told her “boy” because I didn’t want to get into a semantic argument with a minimum wage food service worker through a poorly maintained  speaker, but it nettled me.

Why do I have to invent a fictional son to get the toy I want? I wanted Batman, dammit!

Can’t you just ask “Batman or (whatever lame non-Batman toy they had)?” instead? And on my receipt it was listed as “TRUCK TOY”. The hell is that supposed to mean? That boys have a monopoly on playing with trucks?

What would it have said if I had gotten the girl toy? “FAIRY FLOWER PRINCESS TOY”?

For the record, if a meal comes with Batman AND The Flash, it truly is a happy meal. And an awesome one.

On the plus side, I did get Batman and The Flash! (as well as the Sportsmaster, although I was less excited about that.)

And it kinda looks like Batman is waving at me.

There is a double standard in the world.

I am, of course, talking about the wild world of panty shopping.

These things, in case you aren't familar with them.

Not long ago I was in Wal-Mart with my parents (because I’m cool like that) And was looking through the various underthings available when I thought of something.

I’m a grown woman, looking through bras, fingering the cups and such.

If I were a pervert or some kind of fetishist, no one would ever know.

Because I’m a woman.

And it’s not because I was where the women’s underbits were; I could have been in the men’s section, or the children’s section, and people would assume I’m shopping for a husband or child. I browsed in the men’s section and there was some pretty neat underwear over there, I wouldn’t mind having a pair of Batman undies. You just don’t find that sort of thing in the women’s section.

I could make these look GOOD.

They would never know if I was some sort of social deviant, but would assume I was on a perfectly normal errand.

My father, a somewhat scruffy man with a beard and large glasses, would be labeled a pervert if he had been alone in the lingerie section, even if he was on a perfectly legitimate errand.

Ditto for the children’s section. With no actual child present, a lone man browsing through the Tinkerbelle panties would be labeled some sort of child molester, even if only in the minds of those who saw them.

A woman = “Ah, that’s normal, nothing to see there.”

A man = “Pervert. I’m gonna do a search of the sex offenders registry when I get home.”

It just doesn’t seem fair.

Discarded Memories

Thrift stores are inherently odd places.

You are, for all intents and purposes, rummaging through a stranger’s things. They are items that have been discarded for one reason or another; because they no longer fit or have gone out of style, or the original owner tired of them, or sadly because of death or some other tragedy. You don’t know why that particular item is there and you don’t know who used it or wore it before you.

I have a shirt on right now that I bought at a thrift store this weekend. It’s quite comfortable, but I have no idea who wore it before I did. It’s quite possible I’m wearing the shirt of a serial killer, but it’s also just as possible that I’m wearing the shirt of an accountant, or the shirt of a schoolteacher, or even the shirt of Batman.

Okay, it's probably not Batman's shirt. A girl can dream, can't she?

My point is, you don’t think about who ate off those dishes or who sat in that chair or wore those shoes before you bought them. You just check things over to make sure it’s in good condition, take it home, and start using it. Maybe you freshen it up with some new paint, a little Febreeze, and I hope a good cleaning, but you don’t think about who had it before you.

Let’s take, for example, a couch.

Couches are pretty common in thrift stores; it’s easier to donate a couch (or any large piece of furniture) than it is to take one to the dump, and they can vary in age and condition. There’s a nice one over there, not too ugly and within your budget.

This one.   You are very broke.

You get this hypothetical couch home and spritz it a few times, maybe run the vacuum over it, and put it where the old couch (which you donate to the thrift store) used to be. Put some throw pillows on it, drape a blanket over the back, really girl it up.

Now take a good look at your new hypothetical couch. Chances are  someone has thrown up on it. Could have been a person, a pet, or a baby, but you can almost guarantee that something distasteful has happened on that hypothetical couch. Chances are equally good that someone has bled on it;  from a nosebleed, or a paper cut, or a vicious cheese-grater murder.

We've all thought about it.

And that’s not the worse that could have happened; I will not go into specifics, but sitting isn’t the only thing you can do on a hypothetical couch. There is a very good statistical likelihood that some form of bodily fluid has touched that upholstery at some time in its past. You just have no way of knowing.

The same goes for clothes.

I bought this shirt and the one I wore yesterday from the same thrift store at the same time. They are roughly the same size and condition, so it is possible that the same person donated both but it’s not very likely. I don’t know who these people were, if they are alive or dead, what their personal grooming habits were. There’s no way I could, and yet I have pressed to my skin something that spent at least some portion of time pressed against their skin.

It’s a strange sort of secondhand intimacy – I would never walk up to a complete stranger and press my bare skin against them, not without massive amounts of mood-altering substances.

But I have no problem wearing a stranger’s discarded clothing.

I'm part hobo on my mother's side.

I’m not suggesting that people should only buy brand new things and set fire to all their used belongings, that would be incredibly wasteful.

Nor do I suggest you go shopping with a C.S.I. style light to find all traces of the former owners.

That would be ridiculous.

We don’t think about these things because it would drive us crazy.

Well, crazier.

Knowing the intimate history of everything you own would be a monumental task, one your brain just couldn’t handle. So it shunts that information aside as being unimportant. You’re worried about being ambushed by rad-roaches or headcrabs, not who wore your shirt before you. There might be a passing thought about the comfort of your ass as you sit on the hypothetical couch, but that’s about it. Unless you enjoy one of several mental disorders that force you to obsess about such things, you could literally care less.

Screw the bodily fluids, I gotta save Princess Peach!

I suspect it’s something intrinsic to human nature, “This object is mine now, it has no history because I did not own it then.” Humanity as a whole can be a fairly self-centered bastard at times.

It’s one of our most dubious charms.

Rivaled only by our obsession with deep-frying all matter of crap.