Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Plonk Plonk

Every geek needs a hideout - somewhere to go when they feel like they are the only person in the world who‘s bored of the indeterminable wait until L.J.Smith brings out the final instalment of her Nightworld series (cummon woman… it’s been 12 years), or when none of your friends are excited about this week's developments at CERN. In those moments you need a retreat, somewhere filled with Sci-fi books,  Star Wars toys and tee-shirts with mathematical “comedy” printed on ‘em. For me, that place is Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue - it’s conveniently close to work and I always get chatted up by some geek boy based purely on the fact that they didn’t previously realise that there are girls in the world, or that some of those girls read David Gemmell. So you can imagine my excitement when, this January, I discovered Jasper Fforde was doing a book signing there. I was like a kid who’d just been told Mickey Mouse was coming to visit their tree house.   

It was my first book signing, and I was a little nervous about etiquette, but, hell, if you can’t be socially inept in Nerd-Mecca, where can you be? So I thought, bugger it, I’m going, and I’m going with bells on. Or in my case, socks. Not on my feet, oh no, how boring would that be? - socks in my arms - socks refashioned into Dodo form (It’s a Ffordian thing. You won’t get it unless you’ve read The Eyre Affair… and if you haven’t, why not?)    
So I made Peggotty, to give to Jasper (Mr. Fforde? His Ffordy-ness? Lord Fforde? What’s the decorum when meeting one of your favourite authors?). Peggotty is a version 1.24 Dodo, as sanctioned by the Goliath Corporation, and Peggotty, like most Dodos, loves marshmallows.  
I toddled off to swap a flightless sock bird for an autograph, and even managed to drum up a couple of friends (they’d been trying to hide their inner geek, but I found them out) - arriving, in standard Noodle-fashion, ridiculously early, so having to wander around pretending to be interested in Trudi Canavan’s latest release - normally I can happily kill whole weeks browsing in Forbidden Planet, but I was kinda on edge, so thought I’d heighten that by going to consume caffeine. 
Upon my return I found I was still very near the front of the queue, but without having to face the embarrassing concept of actually being first, so I could observe the behaviour of other fans and tailor my own to match. Now, I have nothing to compare to, but Jasper seemed very charming (although it must be said a bit older than he is in publicity photos - I suppose vanity (or Photoshop) gets to even the best of us) and polite despite my rather awkward and star-struck attempts at interaction. He kindly signing my beloved copy of the Eyre Affair, as well as my shiny new hardback Shades of Grey (which I very highly recommend - it’s his best work to date by far). He admired Peggotty briefly before handing her over to his little girl Tabby (who was there alongside a lady I presumed to be her mummy). Tabby correctly identified Pegotty as ’Dodo,’ so I guessed I wasn’t the first to offer similar gifts -a fact Jasper confirmed, siting one particular life sized Dodo which they had difficulty transporting home. Oh, and (she says, nonchalanty) he then mentioned me - by name - in his blog, with a photo of Peggotty (Check out the 18th Jan entry).
Anyway… why am I posting about this now, when it happened 9 months ago? Well, because this weekend is the Bookcrossing UK Unconvention, and since it’s in Swindon (the real world setting of the Thursday Next novels) we’ve managed to persuade Mr Fforde to come along and do a signing for us - I think he’s just about the biggest ‘name’ author we’ve ever managed to get, and excitement amongst bookcrossers is pretty high so it has been suggested that I make up some instructions for making your own Dodo - I’ll be giving out packs of socks to craft with at the Uncon, but in the mean time a tutorial is going up here in the next couple of days. Oh, and (she says, nonchalanty) jasper mentioned me - by name - in his blog, with a Photo of Peggotty: Check out the 18th Jan entry.
Until then, I better get registering coz I’ve got a lot of books to set free…
Noodle x

how to make your own dodo instructions here

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Old, New, Borrowed n' Blue...

All my friends seem to be getting married, or having children, or buying houses. This is terrifying, given my complete refusal to grow up enough to even think about these things. Currently I have the excuse of working in theatre and being paid peanuts, so I can't afford to grow up... but someday I'm gonna have to face the fact that I'm a proper adult now. I mean, I turn 25 this year - that's officially mid-twenties, which is officially not early-twenties which officially means I can't pretend to be a teenager any more. I'm old. Old people do stuff, they make important life choices and plan for the future.
To be fair, Boy & I did just book a holiday together (Goa, in the beginning of November, if you're interested) - my first proper holiday with a partner... so I am getting there, albeit in teeny tiny baby steps.
Anyway... I'm waffling
All this talk of scary grown-up-ness stems from the fact that one of my buddies from the USA is getting hitched in a couple of weeks - unfortunately the Atlantic Ocean prevents me from attending, but I have sent a couple of sock rabbits as representatives. I'm quite pleased with how they came out, although the pictures don't do them justice. A little touch (suggested by Shiv, my cross-stitchin' partner in craft) I added was to include something borrowed, something blue, something old & something new on the bride doll (The Swarovski beads were 'borrowed' from the props store, her flowers are blue, the lace of her veil is from a vintage dress and the socks used to make her were new). I hope the beautiful bride is pleased with both her bunnies and her new Husband
I'm off to plaster myself in anti-aging cream - but in the mean time I will leave you with these - lyrics from The Last Five Years, one of my favourite musicals, and absolutely my kind of (slightly commitment-phobic) love poem:

Will you share your life with me for the next ten minutes?
For the next ten minutes, we can handle that
We could watch the waves, we could watch the sky
Or just sit and wait as the time ticks by
And if we make it till then
Can I ask you again for another ten?

And if you in turn agree to the next ten minutes

And the next ten minutes till the morning comes
Then just holding you
Might compel me to
Ask you for more


Down With This Sort of Thing!

I was one of the 20000-odd (some very odd) people who turned up to protest against the Pope on Saturday - a fact which I'm quite proud of because, hey, it's good to stand up for what you believe is right. Or rather, to stand up against what you believe is wrong - and I think Pope Benedict is very, very wrong.
My reasons for this are multiple, but basically it's that I feel he kills hope;  to children abused by priests he kills any hope for justice by covering up the actions of paedophiles, to the people of Africa  he destroys any hope for sexual health by falsely claiming that condoms perpetuate aids, to homosexuals & women he kills any hope of equality by opposing their human rights at every turn, to families worldwide he kills hope for a truly integrated society by encouraging segregated schooling. Plus, as far as I can tell, his election to the primacy killed the hope of many practicing catholics for a pontiff who actually represents and reflects their belief in a modern catholic church. This has all been expressed far more eloquently (and in far greater detail) on numerous websites & blogs, but I'd recommend starting here if you're interested in some of the reason's why this particular Pope is so controversial. I just don't think it's appropriate for our country, with it's poor battered economy, to be spending 20 million pounds for him to visit. I appreciate that taxpayers are paying because it is a state visit - he was invited by the queen, rather than by members of a church. But, well, when I invite my friends to come to my house, I don't expect my housemates to pay for their expenses. It's the same thing.
Oh, and he called me a Nazi, which is clearly a ridiculous thing for anyone to accuse me of - but particularly someone with a background as shady as Ratzinger's. It's a lazy and nonsensical thing to say, in accordance with Godwin's Law. *blows raspberry*
Anyway, I got together with fellow Feet-ers Amy and Sarah, plus a few of their friends to go for a pre-protest lunch a Beetroot, which was a tasty way to fuel ourselves for the march. Then we pulled on our DM's and headed off to Hyde Park.
We were a little concerned upon emerging from the tube to see so many people carrying  little yellow pilgrim packs, but things were friendly enough between the various groups of catholics & protesters, and we made our way to the rallying point in high spirits. Waiting around for the march to begin could of been rather tedious, as the unexpectedly high turn-out meant we were running a little behind schedule - but we were jollied along by a particularly comedic man-with-megaphone, a few of Amy's yummy vegan brownies and a chatter with some delightful fellow-protesters whilst blowing up condom balloons (even giving one away to a small child - with it's Mother's permission of course. It felt quite appropriate to be arming the kid against any roaming priests, but equally odd to be handing a toddler a cock-sock. FYI - the lube makes it nigh on impossible to make condom-balloon-animals, which is clearly a real shame).
Sarah, Adrian, Josh, Amy & I
Once we got underway we had opportunity to appreciate some truly excellent banners and placards (Personal favourites being 'Absitence Makes The Church Grow Fondlers' and 'Kiss my Ring.' Which I fear indicates that i have a highly juvenile sense of humour.) as we strolled down Piccadilly waving at the stander-bys - who were all very supportive and frequently congratulated us. Our little group got a few compliments on the 'pope rosary beads' I'd knocked up, which made me smile - they were very simple as I just used this PDF, printed out + backed onto red card then stuck together with double sided tape to make the paper popes in the photo above, before being hung onto embroidery thread & decorated with beads from a kids art set to make the necklaces you can see us wearing. I was a little disappointed in the lack of en masse chanting (despite a lady near us who was determined to kick-start 'Get your rosaries off my ovaries,' at every opportunity, plus an LGBT group behind us trying to cram 6 extra syllables into 'one two three four... '). I wished I  were better with words so I could come up with some thing good n' quippy, but alas, it seems I am not destined for a career writing jingles.
Unfortunately, I had to abandon the rally half-way through because we had over-ran and I wanted to take the opportunity of a rare Saturday night off work and go on an actual date with my delicious boy - but I fully recommend to watch the videos of speakers, they really are all excellent.
Onwards and upwards - next weekend I'm facing the holy trinity in a Bananagrams Challenge - I reckon I'm a shoe-in to win, given that I'm the only non-fictional participant. Hurrah for me

Friday, 10 September 2010

Alphabet Bunnies & Bamboo Horses

Albert and Billy, the two Alphabet Bunnies, are named in honour of the two human leads in WarCrow WarHorse* - and because that rather handily matches the names of their two little twin boy owners: Aidan and Bryce. 
If only all children were so conveniently named, eh?
[blowingowntrumpet] I must say I'm rather pleased with my new Bunny making technique, it retains much more of a 'Sock' feel because it uses (well, appears to use) the ankle collar... all lies of course, they actually have to be transplanted on artificially, but it looks kinda nifty [/blowingowntrumpet]

*For those who don't know, that's the show I work on at the mo. I say 'human leads' because the real stars are our bamboo horses - here's a trailer, which explains much better than I could

Hot Fudge

One of the many joys of my teenage jaunts to the Edinburgh Fringe (and a more innocent joy than either Gaffa bras or amateur musical theatre) was the Fudge Kitchen. Ah, Fudge Kitchen...
They made (and still do make) the most delicious, delectable, creamy and beautiful fudge. The Edinburgh branch of their fine shop was just a couple of minutes from my theatre... on the route I had to take whilst doing show promotion. And they gave out free samples, making street theatre a much tastier experience (and making the fliers we were  handing out much stickier)

I am very late in discovering this, but they now sell their fudge online. This find is going to make me very fat, but very happy. I blame the Internet for my impending obesity.
While I wait for my first delivery of Strawberry n Cream,  I crafted this little Missy - Fondant.
nom nom nom...
nom nom noodle