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Posts Tagged ‘Whedon’

Having a preschooler inevitably ends up meaning that when the said small person finds something s/he loves, the parents get sucked into watching it repeatedly or listening to it repeatedly or reading it repeatedly. So, I very carefully choose the things to which I introduce Monster. A few months ago, I sneakily snuck Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog onto the old iPhone we let him play with. Last week, he discovered it and …let’s just say, if there’s going to be obsession in my house, it might as well be from the Whedonverse.

In the afternoon, Monster started running around with one of his Star Wars blasters (which DOES look like the freeze/death ray) saying, “I’m Dr Horrible!” How can a Geeky Mom refuse that? No. Really? She can’t. When he asked for his swimming goggles, I had a brilliant idea.

First I found these:

These are the goggles from his construction worker costume. Hey, goggles for a 3 year old are goggles.

Then, I found two toilet paper rolls and used duct tape to attach them to the goggles thusly:

After attaching the toilet paper rolls, I covered the whole thing in duct tape to make it silver.

And we had the beginnings of a Dr. Horrible costume for the three year old.

However, Dr. Horrible doesn’t wander around with a Captain America shirt. Also, we have ConnectiCon, the local comic/video game/geek central convention coming up. Monster has several costumes. I’m going in costume. What fun are cons if you don’t cosplay? This year though…THIS year…there will be live performances of Firefly/Buffy/Dr Horrible. HOW awesome would it be for him to dress as Dr. Horrible and WATCH IT LIVE? I KNOW, RIGHT?

Thus began the search for the costume. Now, I am a LAZY person. So. Very. Lazy. I would rather purchase something like this any.day. However, after three hours of searching and several search terms (Dr Horrible, led to Mad Scientist – which has an adult costume but no kid version – led to dentist led to smock led to chef coat), none of the options appealed to me. I know, he’s a little kid. What does he know? Well…this is a kid who told his grandparents that a Harry Potter doll was a DOLL not an ACTION FIGURE because the knees didn’t move. So. Yeah. It’s got to be similar enough to look right to be worthy of his attention.

So…I started thinking, I’d need to learn to sew. But WAIT! Mentioning this on Facebook brought up a comment that I could just use iron on hem tape. What?! What was that? NO SEWING? Well, THIS I can do. And, so I did.

Materials:

Hem tape

Fabric (he’s a kid, I chose the $6.97/yd white cotton cloth at WalMart)

Velcro

Buttons

Glue ( I told you, I do NOT sew…not even buttons…)

First of all, I’d like to thank the nice lady in the fabric department at WalMart. She noted, based on the picture, that for a kid’s costume, I could easily just fold the fabric in half, tape it down the sides, and VOILA! costume. Well, it took me a few days to get what she meant entirely, but it made sense as soon as I saw the fabric up against Monster.

1) I laid the kid flat on my bed and traced his outline. This probably accounts for a lot of the issues I have with the final product…I obviously didn’t leave enough ease. Also, one arm is shorter than the other. See how that title says “Uncrafty”? Uh huh. If you’ve got the time, effort, and energy to go a-measuring, force be with you and do it. I’m too tired, lazy and…did I mention lazy?

2) I assembled all the goods. I laid the hem tape along all the edges to seam it up. Following the directions was easy. Note to self: next time add about 3 extra inches to the outline made on the fabric to account for what gets lost. D’oh.

Also, those armpits ended up being a little scrunched up in the end. Upside is, they’re kind of hidden.

3) Now come some of the details. At the neckline, I cut an extra slice so that there would be ease to fit it over the kid’s head. His noggin’ is pretty small, but still, it seemed a good idea. The goal was to make a flap so that I could attach Velcro on either side so that it would close up. This actually worked out pretty well. I laid out a piece of fabric the length of the extra cut. I cut it wide enough that I could put two pieces of tape in the middle and then fold over pieces from the top and bottom. Sadly, I did not photograph this portion of the crafting show. Imagine a piece of fabric shaped as a rectangle, with two strips of hem tape in the center and two flaps to fold up onto those strips. There you have what I did. Once attached, it looks like this:

4) The collar. Dr. Horrible’s collar is sort of a mandarin collar. This was the tricky part. What I ended up doing was cutting a piece of fabric in a rectangle. Then I used some of the hem tape along the edge, like this:

I folded the top over and glued it together. Then, because both edges need to be clean and it needs to stand up, I did the same thing again, like this:

From there, I used three pieces along the neckline to attach the front collar. It’s messy looking. I’m sure if I had done this before or thought more about what I was doing at the time and planned better, it wouldn’t be. However, he’s 3. At this point, it’s close enough.

4) I glued buttons along the Velcro and at the side of the collar. They look like this:

After thinking about it, I might just leave the collar on the front of the costume. It’s hot here this week and using the iron in the unairconditioned kitchen is…not the most pleasant. However, I still have to attach a pocket at some point probably…maybe…

So, how does it look? Well, this picture is before the Velcro close it up nicely and before the buttons but…the preschooler seems happy enough.

Yeah, that’s a happy face. Mostly. It’s also the intense Dr. Horrible face. Which triples as the “Please stop taking my picture mama” face.

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What is consciousness? What is self? Are people hardware to be programmed? Can technology replace humanness?

Joss Whedon’s latest creation, Dollhouse, aired its final episode last Friday. Tears were shed. At least, I shed me some tears. Dollhouse, in short, is about a corporation that wipes people’s memories, making them into “dolls” and then gives them new identities for each assignment that they have to go on.  Each doll has a history – a past that s/he would like to erase for five years. At the end of the five year contract, each doll’s personality is returned and the doll is handsomely remunerated.

However, the true heart of this show were the greater questions above. What aspects of personhood remain with us, regardless of our memories, thoughts, or knowledge? Whedon answers this question beautifully by showing how two dolls connect, or as it is called in the show, “couple”. Coupling is considered, within the Dollhouse, to be an error in hardware. However, it leads to the idea that there are human qualities that cannot be erased.

At the very bottom of all of this, the viewer begins to question what it means to be human. For example, we consider ourselves to be based on our pasts, our memories, the experiences that create “who we are.” What were to happen if all of that were erased? Clearly, when your self is on what looks more or less like an 8-track, you exist somewhere. Self, allegedly, can exist beyond the body. Self becomes a pattern of thoughts and behaviors. Self does not require that body and mind be together in order to exist. In fact, self appears to be entirely unlinked from the physical in many ways.

Technology, not even the large corporation Rossum who funds and develops it, is the Big Bad of this series. Technology can take away our human qualities. It can remove them. We can be molded into mindless, emotionless nothings through technology. We can have our selves erased, stored, and returned on a whim. This theme actually has greater reach in today’s world than even a sense of self does.

The expansion of the internet seems a far distance from having your mind’s hard drive wiped clean. However, is it a small step in the direction of having lived experience be erased. Although social networking sites help to facilitate friendships and keep connections intact, they can also start to create shallow social interactions that appear real. For example, if someone posts a status, a “friend” may assume that the status is somehow at the essence of the poster. If status updates have a general theme, it is because the poster has  an image s/he wants to create. That does not mean that the “friends” know that person. As technology becomes a greater location of social gathering, it also changes how people see themselves. It changes the lived experience for many. In fact, for those who use it, it changes the lived experience for all.

danah boyd discusses how teens utilize social networking sites as a way to “meet up”, in the same way that many pre-internet youth used malls. Sure, kids still go to the mall to hang out. However, most often during the week they are connecting via social networking sites. They are changing the way that they interact. Social interactions are becoming, with this new medium, progressively more digitized. By removing the old-fashioned lived experience, young people are changing the way that they create their sense of self.

This changing sense of self arising out of the use of technology means that we need to re-evaluate what we think our “essence” is. Today, we need to determine how to create a sense of self in a changing world. Allowing our lives to be based on bits and pieces of data dehumanizes us. We need to continue to make those connections that keep us from being nothing more than dolls. We need to couple – to make human connections in a world where technology increasingly reigns. We need to remain people and not dolls.

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