Friday, January 26, 2007

Taking it to the next dimension

My obsession with lentographs and dioramas has grown to the point where I really want to make my own.

I have already purchased a 3d camera for the task. Normally they have two lenses, but this one has four. I'm thinking that if a two-lens camera makes things three dimensional, then shouldn't a camera with four lenses take me into the sixth dimension? I tried to do a little research on this topic, but since I can't even grasp the fourth dimension I didn't get very far.

My current quest is for objects to put in the dioramas. I really want a doll like the one shown below. I've been looking on ebay, but so far no luck (I have, however, seen some dolls that are likely to give me nightmares for years to come). Does anyone happen to know the name of this doll?

Also - Gina has now been double-tagged for the six-weird-things meme. I thought about duo-deca-tagging her, but that seemed cruel (120 weird things would mean dredging up memories of things like eating paste, and she's gluten free now).
Oh, and kudos to The Tussler and his six weird things for making me laugh out loud. Don't let his political views frighten you, he's really a very good person.

I shall leave you with a bit more lenticular goodness (and try to imagine the 3d effect that I know you can't see on a computer screen).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

6 Weird Things About Me

I got tagged by Ms. Pagoda for the 6 Weird Things meme, so here goes...

1. Despite having been born and raised in Maine, I took an ESL writing class in college. I'm happy to report that I passed.

2. I can't fall asleep without a pillow over my head. It started when I lived near a club in San Francisco as a defense against the noise generated by the 2:00 a.m. exodus, and now it just feels wrong to have my ears all exposed.

3. I used to want to be a nun. It began with The Trouble With Angels and was perpetuated by Sister Wendy.

4. I love rhyming. The problem is that once I start I have a hard time stopping.

5. I think Steve Buscemi is totally hot.

6. I have never seen Star Wars, Rocky, The Godfather, Jaws, Jurassic Park, or that "show-me-the-money" movie. I have, however, seen Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Teenagers From Outer Space, Cannibal! the Musical, and all of the Beach Party movies.

I shall now tag Mary Jane, Tracy, Yarndemon and The Tussler - and if anyone else wants to join in, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, January 22, 2007

She's No Pinball Wizard
(but she can do The Twist)

I recently decided that I neeeeeeeeed to own a pinball machine. I have always loved the sport (well, it's not any less of a sport than bowling is it?), and I think it would be awesome to be able to play it in the privacy of my own home.
Why do I need privacy, you ask? Because I'm embarrassingly bad at it. I become mesmerized by the flashing lights and boinking sounds, and then I make the flippers flail spasmodically with little regard to the proximity of the ball. Crowds gather to stare and mock. It's very sad.
I'm not sure how I made it this long without realizing that I require my own pinball machine, but once it became clear I got right on the job of finding one. After doing some surfing on eBay I came to the realization that contemporary machines are beyond ugly, in fact they're soul-scarringly hideous. Of course, if someone were to give me one I'd be thrilled beyond belief (my soul has bounced back from far worse sights). But since this is all still in the fantasy stage, I'm going to select something pretty to dream about. That's where the Internet Pinball Machine Database came in. They have some super-fantabulous vintage pinball goodness. It seems to be compendium of virtually all pinball and pinball-like machines ever made, and it supplied me with all of the images shown here. Check these out:

The playfield from Catalina, 1948

The playfield from Lazy-Q, 1953

hong kong
The playfield from Hong Kong, 1952

So they all have amazing graphics, but are you noticing anything else about these?
Anything like, say, lots of GIGANTIC BOOBIES? Well, it gets even better:

Backglass from Judy, 1950. Nice angle.

wonderland middle playfield
The playfield from Wonderland, 1955. Hmmm...I guess Alice has already gone through puberty in this version, and they've also thrown in a buxom brunette. Perhaps it's the Queen of Hearts striding over to show Alice her sovereignty (wink, wink). You might want to also take a look at the text, if one is in a lewd frame of mind it can be quite entertaining. Not that that's my frame of mind. I'm just saying...

And then there's this one that needs no comment:
balls-a-poppin backglass
Backglass from Balls-A-Poppin, 1956.

Now, believe it or not, I didn't intentionally select only Pin-Up Pinball machines. That's just what the majority of the ones from that era seem to look like. Don't get me wrong, these machines are incredible and I do hope to own at least one of my own someday (or be housed in our fabulous gaming wing...the one that I'm sure Davis will build me if I just ask nicely...), but their curvaceous qualities do seem a little excessive.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More View-Master Goodness

Here are some more pictures from my new collection of View-Master reels.
These are all from the Adventures of Sam Sawyer series. Click on the images to make them larger.

The first three are from the underwater adventure Sam Finds A Treasure from 1950. Too bad I don't have one of those talking View-Masters, because I'm quite sure this one is a musical theater extravaganza.

Sam offers coins to his new fish friend Marty in exchange for certain favors.

Gary, Marty's octopus boyfriend, gets very jealous. There is talk of a sword fight.

Marty is in awe after Sam shows them what's under his codpiece. Sam is as giddy as a schoolgirl and leaps in triumph as the music swells. Gary is despondent.

The End

These next ones are from Sam Flies to the Moon, 1950.

"Greetings Earthling. My name is Fisher Price, and my fellow Bulbots and I would like to welcome you to our toybox molten satellite."

"Hey - put that back in your pants. You're making me very angry. "

The Moon Men are vanquished/exhausted. Sam feels rather jaunty. He's not sure if it's due to his recent triumph or if it's the hormone therapy kicking in.

The End

I've been scouring eBay for other Sam Sawyer adventures. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll find the very popular Sam Meets Barbara Streisand and Sam Visits the Bathhouse reels.

Monday, January 15, 2007

View-Master Is Now the Master of Me

I never had a View-Master when I was a kid, and I never particularly wanted one. My friends had them, but the few times I had used them I was unimpressed. The only reel I can clearly remember seeing was of Robin Hood, and looking at it now I can understand why I found it less than compelling, since it featured 1970s-era photographs of badly coifed men in tights. Yes, they were in 3d, but the whole world around me was in 3d (and there was a comforting lack of bestockinged gentlemen sporting pageboys in my immediate vicinity).

When I unwrapped one of my Christmas presents from Davis last month, you can imagine the forced smile that I pasted up when I saw that it contained two View-Master viewers and around 50 reels. great.
I took a look at a couple of the reels in an attempt to feign enthusiasm.
Holy-crap! I had no idea some of them were so cool!

Most of the reels are from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Yes, some of them are boring, but some of them are absolutely incredible. My favorites are the dioramas. They're like these amazing little alternate universes that seem almost real due to the 3d-ity. After seeing these and the diorama-like lentographs I've been collecting, I'm now so obsessed that I want to start making my own little Petulaverses. Turns out my boy knew me better than I knew myself.

I used our slide scanner to capture the images on the reels so I could show them to you, although you'll have to imagine the three dimensional part.
Here are some pictures from the 1963 version of Goldilocks:
(warning: angry bears look very scary)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fumes and Flip-out Follow Flaming Fimo Fiasco

I know everyone is sick of all things Christmas, but I thought I'd share one last related post.
I’m afraid my holiday crafting this year was rather unsuccessful, to put it mildly. I’ve long dreamt of making some ornaments like these ones that have been in the family since I was a kid:

Unfortunately, this is what I managed to create:

The original ornaments have pipe-cleaner arms. I thought I could improve upon that by using Fimo (that plastic-y clay that gets baked in the oven). I spent several hours making arms, and the next day set out to bake them. It seemed silly to heat up the whole oven for something so small, so I decided to use our toaster oven that was tucked away, unused, in the pantry. Unfortunately, it seems that I don’t know how to operate these crazy newfangled devices, and I managed to toast them instead.
I noticed the problem before it was too late, and changed the settings. I must not have changed them enough, though, because the next time I looked I saw flames. And I’m not talking about those measly dripped-cheese-off-of-a-bagel sort that we’ve all caused. These were fairly tall and of the leaping variety. The fates were smiling upon me, because not only do I own a kitchen fire extinguisher, but I actually knew where it was (which is more than I can usually say about my car keys, my hairbrush or whatever sweater I’m looking for).
I actually thought the whole thing was pretty funny. That is until I discovered that miniscule black cinders had made their way onto every exposed surface in our kitchen (and several cupboards were open), My sense of humor was greatly diminished when, several hours later, I was handwashing the fortieth sinkful of dishes. And our house absolutely reeked.
On the plus side, I discovered that death by Fimo cancer was unlikely, since even flaming Fimo is not carcinogenic. Sheesh, if I had known that, I would have saved the detergent and dishpan hands and just waved the dustbuster in the vicinity of our dishes and called it good.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fab Film Friday

Petula Darling is pleased to announce that Fridays (not all Fridays, necessarily.... maybe just a couple....or, you know, only this one) are now dedicated to the promotion of films of the highest cinematographic caliber.

Today's masterpiece of the silver screen: Barbarella

Barbarella, released in 1968, is a visionary tale of the future. It features Jane Fonda as a five-star double-rated astr0-navigatrix whose mission is to save earth from destruction. Her skill lies mainly in her ability to change outfits more often than logic should allow.

I can't believe I hadn' t see this movie until just recently - it's so much fun. The costumes are great (well, not exactly "great" in an "I think I'd like to get one of those numbers to wear to the theater" way, more "great" as in "I didn't know fabric could do that"), and it must be said that Jane looks amazing in them. The visuals are incredible - you can't really tell from the preview but the sets and the colors are spectacular.
The storyline? Well, that might be a tad weak (ok, it's pathetic). But it is quite funny - both intentionally and not.
I should mention that this film is likely to present some challenges for those attuned to feminist issues (I won't even try to go into them, there are so many issues here). However, I think most women will end up feeling empowered after seeing it, due to the realization that even without training most of us would make far better astro-navigatrixes than Barbarella. Seriously, it's one of those movies where you can't help but joyously yell, "What are you thinking?!" numerous times at the screen.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Forced Out Of Isolation

I'm not much of a Whoopie-It's-New-Years kind of a gal.
I used to partake of the festivities; going to multiple parties in one night, dodging kisses at midnight from unattractive strangers, throwing up behind dumpsters... All the usual stuff. But despite how fun all that sounds, I was always left with a feeling of disappointment. Since my mid-twenties, my main goal for the holiday has been to make it as unexciting as possible.
This New Year's Eve was no exception. I had big plans to spend the evening doing some corrective haircoloring (Miss Clairol and I had a bit of a tiff earlier in the day), while parked on the couch eating junk food and watching a slew of films.

All was going well. I was dressed like a lumberjack in my I-don't-care-what-crap-gets-on-this-thing flannel, my head was covered in purple slime and topped with a plastic bag, and I was watching In Good Company. I couldn't have been happier.

All that ended when Davis came in and announced that two acquaintances had just arrived. Despite my pleas to tell them it was not a good time and that they should just go away, he gregariously invited them in. I did what any sensible person in my situation would do. I ran and hid in the bathroom. For what seemed like an eternity. Not only was my fine mood dampened (to put it mildly), but I ended up putting an end to my hair remedy about an hour too early.
When I awoke the following day with my still-peachy head of hair, I swore that correctivus- interruptus would not happen again. Davis was away at work (unable to let the marauding hordes in, should they arrive), so I locked the doors, pulled down the shades and donned the purple slime once again, this time while wearing my yellow and red flowered flannel pjs.
Nothing would stop me this time!
I was about half an hour into the coloring session when I heard sort of a clanging. I opted for the time-tested ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away approach. When it happened a couple more times, I readied myself to kick some rabbit butt (who else would be causing such a noise?). However, when I peered out of my studio they were both quietly sitting side by side under the Christmas tree.
The clanging happened again. This time I thought it sounded like it was coming from the basement. I went to the top of the cellar stairs and called out a nervous "Hello?......" When no burglar answered back, I ventured down the stairs wondering what rabid creature was lurking in the depths. This was what I found:

Poor little guy. He was pretty calm about it all, although I think he would have preferred it if I hadn't brought out the camera. It's thought that he fell down the chimney (he's like Santa - only he's rather late and a bird). All of the windows down there were sealed from the outside, and since I couldn't very well send him back out the way he came, I was in a bit of a quandary. Have I mentioned how ridiculous I looked? I finally decided that his well being came before my fears of humiliating myself in front of the neighbors. I tucked my pjs into my rubber boots, put on a long coat and an expendable hat and went out into the yard wielding a drill. I like to think I pulled off the look with a certain panache.
Neighbors and passers-by seemed to instinctively fear me, so I wasn't forced to engage in any chit chat while on my mission of mercy. It took a bit of window wrangling, but the bird was eventually set free. I'm happy to say that it all ended well. Except for my hair, which still looks like crap.

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