Posts tagged “costume”

Revenge of the nerds

Everywhere I look today I’m finding examples of how nerds (just like me) have phenomenal divergent thinking skills. Creative superpowers, activate!

One Up: Gamers Help Scientists Solve Molecular Puzzle That Could Lead To AIDS Vaccine [] – Experts in one arena (biochemistry) connect with novices, aka experts from another arena (gamers), to solve a challenge they’ve grappled with for 15 years. This is a sweet blend of two of my favorite creativity-inducing activities: expert mind meets novice mind AND forced connections between seemingly dissimilar things.

And last week, FoldIt became more than just a cool idea, or an exercise for scientifically-minded gamers. Scientists have been attempting to decipher a protein called “retroviral protease” for over 15 years, as the protease is one of the key proteins that allows HIV to multiply and replicate itself in living cells. Using FoldIt, gamers were able to identify the structure of the protein – within a matter of 10 days-With the structure of retroviral protease unlocked, scientists can now begin taking the necessary steps to build a drug that could significantly slow the speed at which HIV develops.

Spurlock Penetrates The Nerd Herd In Comic-Con Doc [] – It’s not totally surprising that fantasy and fandom are fantastic catalysts for creativity. Intriguing references to curation as preservation of youth and, consequentially, playful fuel for creative adults.

In a time when zombies, dinosaurs, knights and night-walkers dominate the network lineups and superheroes are the surest way to box office success (hopes are high for Whedon’s megawatt Avengers film, scheduled for release in May 2012), understanding Comic-Con’s creative alchemy has never been more relevant.

The 10 most gadgety Halloween costumes [] – These don’t really hold a candle to the Comic-Con costumery, but some of us have to start somewhere. And for the record, my dream is to one day rock out a fairly authentic Queen Amidala costume.

Stumped about what to dress up as this Halloween? How about your favorite gadget? Don’t think it’s possible? Well then check out these crazy examples. But since there isn’t much time left to make something elaborate, you could always fall back on dressing up like a zombie and carrying around your old VCRs and cassette players. Obsolete gadgets, returned from the grave!

The Robot Costume story

My town of Montara is one of those over-the-top Halloween communities that dot the October landscape. This place goes all out. Years ago, we moved in on the morning of Halloween and that afternoon the new neighbors stopped by to warn us: “Hope you’ve got a LOT of candy!”

Last year I saw this robot, now one of the images I chose for our business cards.

It was only in the last couple of years that we even decided to venture out; this past year we finally made it onto the Montara social register: we were invited to two parties-for-grownups with costumes and alcohol.

The party-for-grownup vibe permeates the whole town

As we reached one of our parties, we saw the abandoned robot costume beside their neighbor’s driveway. It was a glorious costume – the heart-shaped light would flash off and on – but obviously not that comfortable. So we passed by during the aftermath. Fortunately our friends showed us some video footage and the occupied costume was indeed wonderful. Still, the costume with its discarded legs has a special bit of the curious about it.

More Montara at Halloween:

The line for the “Witch’s House” – a long-standing attraction

The town also hosts an increasing number of up-and-coming attractions

Kiddie and grownup flavors of frozen treats on the street

The neighborhood set decorator turns her front yard into a horrifyingly hilarious (or is that hilariously horrifying) scene. We learned about this place off-season when their garage sale featured a disproportionate amount of ghoulish cast-offs.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Austrian phone booths repurposed to charge electric vehicles [] – [Creative monetization of unconsumption.] Now that mobile phones are ubiquitous, public phone booths are fast becoming obsolete. In a bid to find a viable new use for its 13,500 phone booths around the country, Telekom Austria has begun converting them into battery recharging stations for electric cars, scooters and motorbikes. Unveiling its first phone booth-turned-recharging station in front of the company's Vienna headquarters in May, Telekom Austria announced plans to convert an additional 29 phone booths by the end of this year. During the initial trial period, recharging is free. The company eventually plans to charge a single-digit euro sum for the recharging service, with payments to be made via mobile phone.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Adding By Leaving Out: The Power of the Pause [Liz Danzico, interactions magazine] – [We have noted the power of the pause during interviews; Ms. Danzico explores the notion at points further down the design process.] I propose that we’re too impatient with the pause, and as a result, we’re missing out on a great deal. What would happen if, as communicators and designers, we became more comfortable with the pause? Because it turns out we can add by leaving out. The pause has power.
  • [from steve_portigal] Wonder Woman, 69, Has Style and Mythos Makeover [] – “She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941,” Mr. Straczynski wrote. "I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”…The new costume was designed by artist Jim Lee. Given the assignment, “my first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Mr. Lee said. He welcomed the challenge: “When these characters become so branded that you can’t change things, they become ossified.”…The new look ­ with an understated “W” insignia, a midnight blue jacket and a flinty fusion of black tights and boots ­ is darker than the famed swimsuit-style outfit, and aims to be contemporary, functional….In 1968 Wonder Woman lost her powers, dressed mod and practiced martial arts. It took the attention of Gloria Steinem to protest the change, and to help get the Amazon back into her star-spangled duds. Ms. Steinem went on to use Wonder Woman on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine in 1972 with the line “Wonder Woman for President.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

The bear that saluted me

I thought this advertising bear in Shinjuku was cool, and so stopped to take a picture. The bear saw me and posed with the typical Asian two-fingered V-gesture. After I took the photo, I did my best gaijin attempt at a bow. The bear returned the bow, and then saluted me.

Without a common language (indeed without a common species) we had an interesting opportunity to share our knowledge of each other’s culture in gestures. And although I rarely salute my friends and family, I understood its intent as a gesture-of-Western-origin.

Japan is quite impenetrable to the outsider, and it’s easy to subsist on a parallel layer, free from the possibility or opportunity for everyday interactions. In our two weeks that moat was crossed less than a dozen times (i.e., the couple in a cafe who smiled and waved at me when I peered in the window and inadvertently triggered the sliding door, letting in some very cold air; the couple who saw us eating Taiyaki (cooked sweet batter filled with bean paste in the sahpe of a fish) and explained what it was, what is was called, and compared camera models) and each time was rewarding in its own small way.

But making this connection with a bear, in the land of kawaii, was briefly and intensely magical.

Please do not pummel the Aristocats

From today’s Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I am a professional costume wearer. By that, I mean I have been an elf, a giraffe, a moose, T-Rex and a character for a major hamburger chain. I am presently a character for a major cereal company. Once I am in costume, I am not allowed to speak.

Adults and older children think nothing of hitting me, kicking me, pulling at parts of my costume, and trying to knock me down. One 12-year-old even tried to “head butt” me while his father looked on and encouraged him!

I am in costume for about an hour or so before I can take breaks. It gets hot and sweaty inside these costumes. I have a limited field of vision and can’t see many of the oncoming attacks. Even if I saw each one, I would not be able to say anything to stop or deflect these random attacks. What I do is have a paid “helper” walk beside me. This is now discouraging such actions by adults and children.

I would ask parents to please remember that there are real people inside these costumes, which are not heavily padded. I feel each and every hit and kick as if I were wearing street clothes. Thanks for printing this. — H.S. IN COLORADO

DEAR H.S.: You have my sympathy, and I am seconding your request. That a parent would encourage such poor behavior incenses me. You should not have had to hire a “bodyguard” to protect you.

I find it interesting, however, that the children who are acting out against you do not regard you as another human being. It seems they have mistaken you for the same kind of cartoon character they see on television — probably too much television — against whom violence is committed with no repercussions. (I’m reminded of the “Mr. Bill” character that was once featured on “Saturday Night Live.”)

One of my assistants, who has occasionally dressed as a chimp in her work as a docent at the L.A. Zoo [Ahem?! I’d suggest that if you’re wearing a chimp costume, you can’t really call yourself a docent! – SP], tells me that this is one of the hazards in your line of work. Call me humorless, but to me, assault and battery are criminal behaviors — and if someone I cared about were subjected to it, I would be very concerned.


Low footprint Halloween

We went to a Halloween costume party yesterday. The invite urged/threatened us to create a costume with an emphasis on recycling, so we put together silly costumes that made use of materials we had around the house. We used a bit of tape and a bit of thread, but it was all stuff that was unused or eventually going into the garbage (as much of it did, today).

Chain taken from an old conference badge. Badge is the reflector from the Ikea “LOCK” light fixture for the headgear, UPC code from empty box of Kong treats.

Found chain with binder rings and shower ring as holster, battery pack with expired batteries and a storage box from wall-mounting hardware.

Guns made from old bathroom faucet valve stems and closet hooks. One screwed right into the other easily.

We took apart an IKEA “Lock” light fixture, and inverted it and stitched it to a baseball cap (with the cap’s button poking through the base’s hole of the same size), then taped the socket upside on top, with the wire connectors as deely-bopper-style endings for the wires.

And the result? Pretty silly!


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