Sunday, July 29, 2012


Making changes can be a scary process, but I think I am finally ready to start the process of unifying and linking my sites and identity through a common user name and actually work towards making this my primary occupation.  By "this" I mean the combination of the blog and my Etsy Shop (currently under construction, but it should go public by next weekend). I want to marry my love of crafting with my geeky passions and my need to write (a menage a trois of sorts) in order to move forward and support myself financially.

In accordance with this I will start delving deeper into the world of finances, code, and self promotion.  Hopefully the look of the blog will improve  and a unified online identity will start to create a positive traffic flow between sites.

Wish You Were There

Yesterday, B&D Comics celebrated 30 years of being in business with glorious festivities including costumes, authors, artists, and a zombie extra from The Walking Dead.  I reprised my role as Supergirl and joined Sailormood, the Baroness, Darth Vader, a Ghostbuster and Dan from Street Fighter as the group of kooky people outside the store.  As you can imagine we attracted quite a bit of attention from passing traffic.

I forgot how creative cos-players are by their nature.  When you create your own costume from scratch or from odds and ends that you collected into a comprehensive costume you are taking part in a very creative endeavor.  Even donning a pre-made costume (which there is nothing wrong with) allows you to creatively assume another identity.

The celebration was a fantastic success for the store.  There were people in and out all day; including a great many kids picking up comics for the first time.  I can't wait until the end of next month when International Read Comics in Public Day is celebrated with a Geek Mob.  I am so psyched.  James wants to put together a costume for it and I want to work on my Lady Riddler costume.

Geeky Crochet

I don't have much craft stuff to share right now.  Well, actually, I have been up to quite a bit of geeky crafting recently, but I decided to limit what I share today.  I am still exhausted from 6 hours of being Supergirl yesterday and then entertaining a friend today.  In honor the 30th Anniversary Celebration I went on a spree of designing and creating Superhero wristers.

Hulk, Captain Glory, Spider-man 2099, Captain America, and Iron Man
There are more designs in the works.  I am nearly done with the Black Widow wristers and I am taking suggestions for new designs into consideration from any interested source.  That said, after I finish the Black Widow wristers I will be taking a small break while I finish my mom's sweater.

The sweater is sooooooo close to completion it hurts a little.  I need to finish the sleeves and put the edging on the body and then it will all be over.  As much as I want a handmade sweater of my own, I don't think that I will be embarking on another sweater for quite a while.  It started off pretty fast, but then sweater fatigue set in and I am having trouble powering through it.  I am not sure if it will be done for the start of the new school year or not, but here's hoping the Olympics will give me the television time to power through.

Post at you later,

Super Hooker

PS. If you are a graphic designer I have an idea for a logo that I want created and I would love to discuss ideas with someone that has more know how than myself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Black Widow

So let’s start with the real life spider experience I always hoped I would skip. We have a bin that sits on the back patio for no real purpose, but it does collect rain and needs to be flipped periodically to prevent problems associated with standing water in either the main tub or the backs of the handles. It was in an effort to dump the water out of the back of the handles that I hooked my toe under the handle and flipped the bin to find a suspicious looking spider chilling mere inches away from where my toe had just been. I stooped down and sure enough there was a bright red hourglass staring up at me from the underside of the spider’s abdomen.

Honestly, my first instinct was not to take a picture, but to trap and kill ASAP. This got delayed because James did not want me to approach “that poisonous spawn of Satan” (an epitaph applied to all spiders) until he called an exterminator for advice, but they were closed. By the time I thought to take a picture, the Widow had flipped herself over and I wasn’t sticking my hands under her. So, we trapped her under a cup that we didn’t mind throwing away and anchored the cup with a rock to prevent accidental release by the wind or neighborhood animal. We borrowed a can of spider spray from our landlords and applied the spray to the water at the bottom of the bin and we waited until we had a dead widow.
She is dead in this picture!

Geeky Crochet

Leaving the world of real life poisonous spiders, let us take a trip into the crafty world of geeky crochet inspired by Spider-man.
Just for size reference, he's about an inch tall.

For my mini crochet Spider-man, I used a scaled down version of a free owlpattern. By scaled down I mean I used size 10 cotton crochet thread and a size 7/1.5 mm hook. I didn’t alter the pattern itself, except to lose the tail shaping. In order to do this I crocheted a row of double-crochet all the way around before decreasing in order to create a more stable base. For the arms I crocheted into the sides of the body and created a mound of stitches in approximately the right shape. I used white and black sewing thread to embroider the eyes and webbing.

I found a lucky penny the same day I made him, so he sits on top of it.

The Amazing Spider-man Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-man starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Watson is loosely based on the Ultimate Spider-man comics; an alternate storyline from the main series, Amazing Spider-man. [To learn more about the history of Spider-man jump to the next section where I geek out and break down some highlights of Spider-man’s publication history.] Really what it means is Sony needed to make another Spider-man movie before the movie rights reverted back to Marvel, but they also saw an excuse for reinventing Spider-man for the movies. Unfortunately it is debatable as to whether or not they truly succeeded with this project.

For starters, the villain looked a bit hokey. I mean, the Lizard looked like a big, scaly green version of Lord Voldemort. He has no snout and his mouth opens so wide he looks as if he constantly has a giant happy grin on his face. I will, however, concede that Rhys Ifans absolutely sold me on his portrayal of Dr. Curt Conners. I believed the human aspect of the character, but the absurd look of the Lizard takes away from the action.

From the Movie

From the Comic

Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, had the opposite problem. He is fantastic as a wise-cracking Spider-man, much like in the comics, but he is rather weak as the teenager, Peter Parker. Garfield got too caught up In portraying a nervous and troubled teen to remember that being Spider-man has a way of building confidence and strength in both personas. Not to mention the complete lack of respect he showed to Aunt Mae (Sally Field), his recently widowed surrogate mother. I didn’t feel that this Peter Parker truly felt impacted by his uncle’s death at all! He kept the hours he wanted to keep and came home with mysterious injuries just to push Aunt Mae further away in his search for the truth about his biological parents. I’m sorry his parents left him in an effort to save his life and then died, but where was the emotion tied to losing the man who raised him?

Emma Watson, though, did an all around great job at Gwen Stacey. She was sweet, stubborn, empathetic, and very capable. Gwen was no damsel in distress who needed the hero to save her from the villain; in fact she was integral in helping Spider-man succeed in his mission. It was just a pity that the character seemed to fade out of the movie so often.

Overall, the movie was okay. The acting was hit or miss and the writing didn’t help. There were a lot of important developments that were completely glossed over. Somehow, Peter Parker moves from thinking of costume ideas and tinkering with malfunctioning web-shooters to having a fully tailored uniform (not that he can seem to keep the mask on) and what appear to be fully digitized web-shooters. Not an Amazing movie by far, it was instead lack luster and Average at best.

Spider-man; A Brief History of the Comics

Spider-man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 in Aug 1962; which introduced his back story and the theme of “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” Spider-man appeared in several comic book series, but the first and longest lasting is The Amazing Spider-man. As a teenage hero having to learn the ropes on his own Peter Parker proved to be a highly relatable character as he balanced the agonies of being a normal teenager with the growing pains of becoming a super hero. But, Peter Parker also grew up with his audience. He experiences love, and loss such as the famous death of Gwen Stacey. He gets married to Mary Jane, and they experience the ups and downs of married life exasperated for better and worse by Peter’s dual personae’s.

From 1984-1988 Spider-man loses his traditional costume and takes on a black costume with a white spider design referred to as Black Suit Spider-man. Fans objected to the costume change, favoring the iconic red and blue costume. The writers eventually “revealed” that the costume was really an alien symbiote which Spider-man was able to reject after a difficult struggle. The symbiote returns later as Venom, after finding a new host.

In 1992 Marvel launched the Marvel 2099 line to explore one possible future for the Marvel Universe. The 2099 Universe was set amidst a dystopian America governed by corrupt mega-corporations and included a large number of steam punk elements. In this future the superheroes we know and love are faded memories and relegated to legends only half believed and worshipped by zealots. Spider-man 2099 was one of the first three titles launched and was written, for the most part, by Peter David (who also wrote Supergirl for years and is one of my favorite comic writers).

Spider-man 2099 featured Miguel O’Hara, a brilliant geneticist, as Spider-man’s secret identity. Miguel was working on a project based on the legends of the original Spider-man with the hopes of a brighter future when a terrible accident happens that causes his own genetic code to be rewritten. Miguel O’Hara has been referred to as the first Latino Spider-man, but I feel that ignores the aspect of this future society where the races have been so melded together that everyone has essentially become the same. The series satirized corporations, with Spider-man constantly clashing with Alchemax, which employs his secret identity and where the events leading up to the accident occur. This is a truly hard hitting series and I love it and recommend it to anyone who thinks that Superhero comics are fluff.

In 2000 Marvel launched their Ultimate Marvel imprint with Ultimate Spider-man. The Ultimate line of Marvel Comics allows writers and readers to explore alternate story lines and ideas, and also let Marvel reset Spider-man back to a teenager. I’m going to gloss over the first 10 years or so and skip ahead to tell you that there were many similarities and differences in those years, Peter Parker dies in the Ultimate Spider-man series, but not before a young African-Latino boy gets bit by a spider, and thus Miles Morales gains the powers to become the next Spider-man.
With the start of Miles Morales as the new Spider-man Marvel also reset the numbering on the comics, something that doesn’t always happen. Miles feels that he must fill the void left by the death of Peter Parker. With his best friend Ganke for support (the only person he has revealed his secret to) and videos of the original Spider-man for training aides, Miles must find where he fits in and battle both his dad’s criminal past and hid dad’s distrust of Superheroes. Miles has some of the same powers that Peter Parker possessed, but he also has some cool new powers such as invisibility. With only twelve issues out so far it is not too late to pick up this comic and I highly recommend it for everyone.

Thanks for sticking with me!
Post at you later,
     Super Hooker

Monday, July 9, 2012

Triple Digits

Weather Update

While we did not lose power during the initial windstorm, Friday June 29 or through the following stormy weekend, a piddly nothing of a thunderstorm took out the power for my entire neighborhood on Thurs July 5th around 4:30pm.  With temperatures in the triple digits for the past week it did not take long for the house to warm up to an uncomfortable degree.  We escaped the house for a few hours while we ran errands and got dinner at Chic-fil-a.  As we returned to the neighborhood there were lights on around the edges of the neighborhood, and we dared to hope.  But, as we turned into the neighborhood it was painfully obvious that we were out of luck.  Other than the flickering of a few brave candles, the neighborhood was dark.

We passed a dark and oddly peaceful night and turned in early.  I don't know how James spent the next day in the house, but I enjoyed the AC at work.  The power was still off when I got home, but returned around 4:30, almost exactly 24 hours later.

On My Hooks

In rebellion of the triple digit heat wave, I barely touched the sleeves of my mom's sweater.  I just couldn't touch that merino wool.  Instead, I worked up a friendly little squid.

I was inspired by the knitted squid pattern that went out in the Lion Brand Newsletter.  Not being a knitter, I decided to improvise and work up a crochet version without a written pattern.  There are definately a few things I would change if/when I tackle another squid, but overall I am very pleased with the resulkt.  Hopefully I will feel a renewed inspiration towards working on the sweater when this heat wave fully breaks.

Happy 4th

Despite the hot weather we had a great 4th of July celebration.  We had friends over to grill which gave me an excuse to cook!  I love planning menus to cook for friends.

You may have seen this video for spiral cut hotdogs on YouTube or Pinterest:
We gave these a try and they were good.  They weren't exciting, but they were good.  I'm just not sure they are worth the effort.  I will grant you that they may have been more worth the effort if we had used more toppings that would have fallen within the spirals.

For dessert I made an apple pie using a new recipe.The blog touted the recipe as "the best recipe for apple pie for those who want an old-fashioned, perfect tasting apple pie with a flaky crust." The recipe makes two pies and it totally delivered. I gave the second pie to my landlords who invited us up to join their celebration.  Let me just say they know how to throw down.

I hope you had a great Independence Day with great friends, great food, and some AC to keep things comfortable.  Next time I post I'll tell you about the Amazing Spiderman and share some related geeky crochet!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And the Wind Blew

I mean really, the wind BLEW!

I'm sure most people, at least in the Eastern US are very much aware of the storm that blew through Friday evening.  It developed quickly and moved fast.  James and I were playing Team Fortress 2 (TF2) when it hit our area.  I had headphones on and didn't hear the commotion outside until James starting yelling at me, "Did you hear those thumps!?" and the lights started flickering.  We looked outside and the wind was crazy and the lightning was eerily beautiful and it was all a little frightening.

To put this into some perspective, weather reports were interrupting just about all the regularly scheduled programming to tell people to stay inside and away from windows.  Well, that's easier said than done.  Every room in our small house has a window that plays a prominent role; including our bathroom where the tree limbs nearly touch the window.  If you want to avoid the windows you can sit in the closet or just take a deep breath and say a little prayer.

The thing, though, that scared us the most was a strange creaking sound that we were hearing outside the bedroom windows.  At first I thought it was the tree leaning into the telephone and cable lines running into the house, but that wasn't it.  Then I thought that the bird feeder strung up to the window awning was going to rip that off the house, but taking it down didn't change anything.  Later, after the wind passed and we could go outside we learned that the wind had blown open the door to the room that houses our water heater and outdoor storage and we were hearing the creaking of the door opening and shutting with the wind.

We were prepared to lose power.  We both had flashlights we carried with us the rest of the evening and we unplugged both computers.  To be completely honest, I was a little excited about the prospect of losing power for the evening.  In hindsight, with what I'm about to tell you about the power situation here, I feel incredibly blessed and lucky that we didn't lose power.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and took a walking tour of the neighborhood to survey the damage.  It was a little insane.

This tree started a chain reaction
It pulled down lines on both sides
It snapped one pole in half and that pole in turn tipped the street light.

The street light is still sitting in the road 36 hours later...

 These are all about 3 streets down from us and block the intersection next to the nearby elementary school. Thank goodness school isn't in session!

Moving on we turned down another street and while we were busy commenting on how lucky it was that there appeared to be no structural or vehicular damage, though we had seen several close calls, we came across this:
The tree limb did some serious damage to the windshield and dented the frame of the car.  Hopefully, they're insurance will cover it!

Approaching from a distance I wondered allowed if we could move the branch out of the road.  James laughed at me, and when we got close enough I couldn't blame him.

As you can see this is one of the close calls!

James also pointed out, that if this was easily moved someone probably would already have moved it.
We were talking to the owner of B&D Comics and discovered that they are without power.  We discussed the storm damage and we all agreed that part of the difference we were noticing is that the area of the neighborhood I live in has a lot of older, larger trees, and the areas less affected had younger, smaller trees.  We cut through the park on our way home to take a look at some of the major trees that fell, luckily they were all contained within the park and didn't damage houses.  The playground was even okay, but the road through the park is blocked by a fallen tree.

James yelled at me for walking under trees before checking to see if there were widow makers hanging in the limbs above.  Then, he almost walked right under one that wasn't more than a foot above his head.  It was fun to give back the chastisement I had already received.

Appalachian power is saying that it may be July 7th before power is restored to our area.  That's a week without power.  There are businesses, such as B&D Comics, that may be without power for a week.  That means, that some businesses may not be able to turn a profit for a week.  Which means, some chains such as Kroger, McDonald's, and Sheetz (to name a few I can attest to) are shifting manpower around the city and the locations that still have power are booming.  We went to McDonald's around 11am today and there business was booming.  We drove by Sheetz, and with all the gas stations without power they're making a killing.  Which is extremely obnoxious because they don't have the best price in town by far.  As for Kroger, the one around the corner from me is without power.  They have a big sign sending you to the next closest Kroger, I'm hoping that they are also able to shift their cold products to other stores to keep it from spoiling and assisting those stores with the increased traffic they are seeing.

The scariest thing about driving through the city is the number of intersections that are without power.  Some of the intersections without power are pretty big intersections, some are awkward even when there are signals, and some are little more than inconvenient. I think most drivers on the road were a little frightened because everyone seemed to be taking the situation seriously and treating the intersections as four way stops.  But it isn't like it is one section of the town without power, it's more like a checkerboard.  Luckily my neighborhood is one of the squares that seems to have retained power, but it does make driving awkward to move from one square that has power into one that doesn't, and then back to power again.

I was kind of hoping that all of downtown was without power because I might have gotten out of work for the next week.  We drove through this morning and I was a little disappointed to see the lights on in my building, so I guess I'll be at work early tomorrow morning.

However, due to an unusually heavy amount of drinking last night, I am experiencing a pretty nasty hangover and I'm going to go back to laying in bed and letting James take care of me.  So take care, stay safe, and I truly, truly hope that you have power this week.