Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BeastWares: The Wardrobe of Whimsy

It is Wednesday and you know what that means. Bam! New episode:

I wanted to take a little extra time today to speak in particular about the BeastWares Kickstarter that I mention in this vlog. I cannot tell you how much I love these people. 

I first stumbled across them when I was doing work for Crave Local as their Style Pirate. I approached Phoenix Zoellick (BeastWares owner and creator) about doing an interview and product review when I was in San Francisco and she graciously accepted my offer.

But it became very clear that while BeastWares was COMPLETELY my style personified, it was a bit too wild and crazy awesome for the audience that CL was aiming for. Instead, I decided to help in a way that would be far more beneficial, talk about her and her company directly with you fabulous people. This clothing is sturdy, well made and beautiful. Perfect for adding a bit of whimsy to your wardrobe.

The following is transcribed from my original interview with her in mid-January of this year. If you follow my blog, you can probably guess by the month why everything halted and got put on pause for a bit. 

However, now I can be of more help because I have a platform of my own AND they are advertising their crazy awesome kickstarter.

Kiri: How did this all start?

Pheonix: I was doing illustration and products around that. I was doing shows--alternative press expo and Bizarre bazaar. So I had prints and postcards and greeting cards and t-shirts and all that kind of stuff when you like make art and stick it on things. I did that for about a year or two while I was still working and then I did some of the hats for a holiday show just on a whim. I honestly don't remember why. I think I was in a fabric store and found the fur and was like, "I wanna make hats!" So I made like twenty of them for this Christmas show and sold them all... and was like "Huh... that was fun." And it just sort of clicked. I love art and illustration but I think I was having trouble understanding who I was as a brand in that genre. You can have talent but to make a living you have to be able to sell it and to sell it you have to be able to know what it is that you're selling. Who you are and who the brand is and who your customers are--you really have to know that. 
I'm kinda schizophrenic with art. I can't sit still enough to make what I can see as a cohesive brand. But when I started coming back to the clothing it just clicked.

K: Why BeastWares?

P: It was one of those things where you sort of wish that you could go back in time and think about it a little better? Cause the name’s fine but if I’d realized I was naming an entire company I probably would have thought about it longer? Or, I dunno, named it some complete nonsense word that means absolutely nothing? But at the time my friend and I had a bunker studio together and were calling it The Beast Parlor and it was just sort of a thing we were doing. And I was making all of the monster hats at the time and I needed something to call them so I thought—“Ah! They’re the beast wares.” But then I started expanding it into all the other clothes and now I have a whole clothing line that’s sort of grown out of a name that started as a joke.

K: So how long have you been doing this?

P: Two years.

K: Wow, so you've done all this in only two years?

P: Mmhm. I was managing a restaurant and I quit my job to do this full time in fall of 2010. Then I fucked off to Hawaii and lived on like a yoga commune for a couple months. [Laughs] I was decided I was going to do art full time and I had been working so hard for so long to save up enough money to do that. So I decided that I was going to live rent free and do work-trade in Hawaii before diving into work full time again.

K: I read that you started in Illustration because they didn't let you in to the fashion department?

P: Well, I don’t actually know if they wouldn't have let me in—I didn't actually apply for it, they just really discouraged it because I didn't know how to sew—well, I knew how to sew, I just didn't know how to sew that well.

K: So you took up to illustration instead of fashion--can you talk a bit about your background with that?

P: I went to New York City straight out of high school… which I’m not sure I’d recommend. It wasn’t actually the school so much, it’s just… I wasn’t used to living with anybody? And we were basically living in a small one bedroom apartment… with four girls. So you’re just all on top of each other.  One of them was an indie film star—she was in “Welcome to the Dollhouse”. One of them was super anorexic—two of them had some kind of eating disorder. It was just such a strange place to be. It was a good experience but I only stayed there a year.

I had this idea about art school being this Utopian meeting of the minds because I was so weird in high school… I thought it was going to be like a musical—I thought it was going to be Fame. Just singing and bonding all the time. And it wasn’t, it was a bunch of angry kids who didn’t really want to do the work and so that was just weird.

So I only stayed in New York for a year and then I did the “I don’t know what I’m doing” thing for a couple of years and moved around. Got this idea in my head that I’d go to a real university with a big campus. And then I decided that was a bad idea. And I ended up going back to art school two years later--in Maine of all places. Which turned out to be a great place. You sort of forget that it’s up there. It’s great.

K: Did you continue illustration there?

P: Yeah, they did not have an illustration program at the time but they were building one. My class was actually the first illustration graduating class. I got to be on the search community that found our Department Head and got to be really involved in just building the program. It was like six people in my major’s graduating class. It was a really great experience.
I sort of wonder where I’d be if I’d actually gone to school for fashion but on the other hand it’s been really good for me to have that background. I have all of these rounded skills: Drawing, branding, graphic design—that gives me a much more commercial brand sense that I don’t know if I’d have if I’d gone into pure fashion.

K: Do you incorporate your illustration skills into your designs? How does that fuel you on your current path?

P: In the most practical sense, I do all of my own design art. Logo stuff and business cards and everything. So that’s nice that I don’t have to hire anybody. But aesthetically—I’m not doing anything with screen printing at the moment—I’d like to eventually do screen-printed leggings—there’s definitely a similar sense of humor from that that I use when designing clothes.

K: I feel like the fashion industry needs a bit more of that.

P: Yeah, takes itself a bit too seriously.

K: Which is odd because frankly, I don’t think most college students do.

P: Exactly, I think that’s why you go to college for it. What high school at this point still does fine sewing classes? You don’t even really do Home Ec anymore. My high school, we didn't have Home Ec—we had some kind of cooking class but no sewing. I mean… it was Boulder (Colorado) which is like “We’re very progressive, this would have been too embarrassing. It’s too domestic! No, no, we’re very forward thinking here.”
So yeah, my step-mom knew how to sew so I knew SOME sewing. She, you know, helped me with my prom dress etc but we went to go tour colleges and they were extremely discouraging if you didn't already know how to sew really well.

K: So you self taught then from there on out, I’m assuming?

P: Yeah. I took one class at the community college we have here but uh… it wasn't great. I think they have some other classes that I’d like to take but their schedule is kinda… You know, I have the internet. This would have been infinitely harder if I had to do this all on my own 10-15 years ago. Now it’s like, “Okay, I want to make this kind of article of clothing” and I can research… everything. There’s a million tutorials.
So when I try something new it takes so much longer because I have to figure it out and screw it up 10 or 20 times, right?
I brought in my first pair of pants and my teacher said they were good and I told her it was like my 3rd or 4th pair since I’d tweaked the design so many times. And she got on my case because she said I needed to use a muslin for that… but I can’t really use muslin for stretch pants.
So it’s just something I have to do, I have to mess it up a bit to get it right and then those just end up existing in some other form [Arm warmers etc].

K: Where do you get your fabric?

P: I order it all online. Just rolls and rolls of fabric. We’ve got a couple suppliers that are all based in New York. So I just buy rolls of spandex from there. And our “fur” from places in San Francisco.

K: And you sew this all yourself?

P: Yes. I have one seam-stress in San Francisco who helps me out with some of the hats. Thinking about possibly hiring another one. It’s difficult because I can’t promote as much or grow as much because I do have to sew so much of it myself. Completely kind of ties my hands for a lot of things. And I’m willing to relinquish some control but I’m very picky about it. You need to be absolutely neurotic to work with me. And make sure this is a really high quality because that’s what we do. So it’s tricky. So there are two routes I can go, I can outsource to a sewing house which pieces it all together for you—they do everything and it’s great but it also costs a lot of money but I think I’m a little more drawn to the possibly more difficult way of doing it. Hiring individuals—because I like that kind of local grass roots feeling. I like knowing who the people are, being able to talk to them… I like growing slowly and organically that way. So that’s sort of the path we’re taking now.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Giant Headache

So normally this post would have been sooner--normally it would be full of wit and whimsy and puppies and gods know what else--but I woke up this morning feeling like hell warmed over--which I guess it would have to freeze first and then thaw for that? Either way it sounds unpleasant.
I am feeling absolutely unpleasant.


Why? Firstly because I'm a girl and at some point during our design someone screwed up and decided that pain was a mandatory activity that would be engaged in at least once a month.

Secondly because I'm nursing a baby migraine. Which makes it sound like I'm trying to nurture into a strong strapping healthy migraine and that wasn't my intention at all.

Ugh, you get the idea.

I'm really wary of just popping pills however to get rid of this (most of the time because it doesn't work) so I try to go the home remedy route if I can and save the drugs for when its time to break out the big guns. These all have worked for me in the past, or at least seemed to work which is good enough for me as long as the pain stops and I'm not full o' chemicals.

1. Ginger tea (or boiled slices of ginger preferably) and honey: I really do not care for the taste of ginger but this remedy does wonders for both headaches and abdominal pain (so long as it's a cramp and not a knife wound).

2. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory (and one of my favorite spices). Since hot liquids tend to help best--add a little cinnamon. I like to drink hot cider.

3. Peppermint Oil Footbath: I was super skeptical when I tried this one--it seemed just a wee far fetched. But oddly enough the hot water draws your blood to your feet which relieves the pressure from your head. The peppermint acts as aromatherapy and the smell encourages muscles to relax.

4. Yoga: The last thing you want to do when you feel crappy is move--but a lot of the holding poses in yoga help get the blood flowing in your body.

5. Butterbur Extract: This sounds like it's straight out of Harry Potter but this herb can be found at your grocery store in the supplement/vitamin aisle. These have often helped with some of my more killer migraines so they get my thumbs up.

6. Pressure points: With the thumb and index finger of one hand pinch the flesh between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. This should slowly start to relieve a tension headache.

Monday, July 29, 2013

If there was any doubt...

After last week's Happy Thought, I need to make absolutely clear. And that's that my parents--my family is amazing. Thus the following:

Dear Mom,

We may not agree on everything--but that's okay. I'm very happy with how I was raised, even if I don't subscribe to a religion now that I'm older. I certainly don't bear you or dad any ill for that, regardless what my feelings towards the church may be. You raised me to be kind, caring, compassionate--to always believe in something bigger than myself and to forgive always one more time. You are the best I could ever hope for, ask for, dream for. I love you with all of my heart. 

You have nothing to apologize to me for. Ever. The hard times I went through were necessary and I came out on top. I will never leave you. If I ever feel that lost again, I will always reach out to you for help if I need it. You have always been a rock for me to hold onto when I feel like I'm drowning. 

Thank you for always wanting the best for me. Thank you for making me independent. Thank you for being my friend. 



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday

So late last night I released our first behind the scenes video for Funeral Potatoes:

And for this week's Happy Thought, I wanted to talk a bit more about that.

I went to High School in Spokane, Washington, which if you've heard me talk about it before, was never very high in my esteem as a place to live.

Spokane is one of those places where they killed or drove out all of the Native Americans and then named the city after them. And while this is pretty much America's story in general,  Caucasian population is dominant to the point where you start to worry you may have wandered into a settlement of surprisingly friendly neo-nazis.

Seattle is really just a hop over the Snoqualmie pass but it was far enough from my parents that I felt I could carve out some kind of independent existence (ignoring that they were still my primary source of funding) but close enough that if I was really in any trouble, they could be there in a matter of hours.

This also separated me from any friends who stayed behind in Spokane and of course anyone who mosied off to another area for college. This left me with two friends from my original group in the same city and neither went to my school.

Cornish was hard, I won't lie--it took up 14+ hours of my day and even more if I had rehearsal. Not having a friend on the inside was really starting to wear on me.

One friend was just as busy as I was and going to UW we didn't see a lot of each other... and the other...

The other decided we would no longer be friends and eventually sent me on a spiral that had me questioning my value and worth as a person.

Around this time I was also experiencing a severe crisis of faith--I had been lovingly raised in a religion which, now that I was older, seemed sexist, racist, homophobic and hypocritical. I was pretty sure, if there was in fact a god of some kind up there, she/he was far more benevolent than any of this church's teachings would have me believe.

So, needless to say, I was not in a good place. To be more blunt, it was the first and only time I'd seriously considered self-harm.

And then, thankfully, my luck changed. And really not a moment too soon.

Melanie was genuine and wanted nothing from me other than friendship. And the thing is, she wasn't the only friend I made around that time. 

I also met Mike and Lyz, who became a second family, who deserve a Happy Thought Thursday all their own, and who were also a huge part of pulling me out of that ditch. Unfortunately, they lived in Renton and it would be a while before we could hang out consistently.

Since Melanie went to the same school, we were in the trenches together so-to-speak. And thankfully from Sophmore year onward, we even had the same classes together (Cornish puts you into sections where you share the same core classes with the same 10-13 people). She was the constant companion at my side and kept the stress and emotional strain from classes from pushing me back down into that ditch.

She was the Sam to my Frodo in that respect... and also the Merry to my Pippin in others.

My best friend and happy thought. Thank you, Mel.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wit & Whimsy ???: Trolling Crows and Rampant Accents!

Another road trip! This time we're off to film!

Foot notes:

Since filming this, they have announced that winners will be announced on August 2nd. I know, long wait time!

Funeral Potatoes on Amazon:

Behind the Scenes video coming soon! Aiming for tomorrow, no later than Friday!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting Bent Out Of Shape On Gender Stereotypes

So we're going to keep this short and sweet today but I wanted to share a small slice of serious pie with you.

Lately I've been stumbling across a few videos from (mostly female) vloggers claiming that they are "bad women" because of various reasons.

Let me clarify this a bit because I realize this could sound like something sexual and that's not what any of us mean at all.

What they are saying is that they do not fit into the "female stereotype" and apparently this makes them a bad example of the female gender and this honestly breaks my heart just a bit.

"I never have perfect nails," one said.

Another cited loving video games (which I don't think should ever be considered a gender-specific quality) as to why she made a bad woman.

I occasionally see this confusion of "rejecting gender stereotypes" with "rejecting gender" in men but society tends to put this weird stress on not admitting when you aren't "manly".

Yet there is also this bizarre prestige in admitting you aren't a "girly girl". Like being a part of that gender is wrong or undesirable.

Both genders get kind of screwed over in this weird battle for identity vs your gender identity...

So I'm going to state this as stupidly plain as I can.

First, there is more to gender than the two cookie-cutter ideas we have carved out.

Second--and most importantly--the only thing that makes you one gender or the other--is it's what you identify as. 

That's it.

And there is no wrong or right answer.

You can be a man who likes decorating--this does not make you less of a man.

You can be a woman who loves sports or only shaves her legs once every five months. You are still a woman.

You could even be born as one gender but identify as the other--what you were born as does not change who you are now.

You're you. You're something to be proud of.

Unless you're an asshole. Then you may want to work on being a bit kinder to those around you.

But seriously. Kick stereotypes in the teeth and don't let them ever feel like less than what you are.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh, hey Monday

So you know how I talked about how important hydration is during big projects, especially filming?

Let's just say it's a good thing I carpooled because I would not have been able to drive myself home Sunday night. I was... stupid tired. Like... "Check her breath, she's acting drunk" level tired.

On the upside, we were able to film an entire scene and I'm really looking forward to see how this project is going to turn out.

And on the note of projects...

I briefly mentioned the Kickstarter project I'm a part of but it's probably important I talk a little bit more about that.

So! The Indie Guide to Indie Publishing is this book a few of us are putting together that is going to include multiple facets about Independent publishing from authors who have already tripped and fell along the way as they discovered what worked and what didn't.

If you're curious about how to go about it--we talk about it. We've got authors, designers, even voice actors (Hi there) contributing to this project so we can talk about everything from cover design to audiobooks. Independent Publishing is a LOT of work. But we're here to help you through it. I'll be talking about this a lot more now that voting for Geek & Sundry is over...

And speaking of voting...


Seriously, guys.


6,059 votes? How freakishly flattered and honored am I to have that much support from all of you? I wasn't even prepared to have tiers go that far. Let's look over what was achieved:

Downloadable version of these songs
Dragonborn (Skyrim)
The Steward of Gondor (LOTR)
Vlog the Impossible Vlog (Geek and Sundry Contest Tribute)
I Dreamed a Dream of Firefly (Firefly tribute)

A new song (w/ download) and a follow Friday for top 3 promoters on twitter (@ImpInMyHead, @TheTruePlatPat, @MaxDyckhoff).

I Dreamed a Dream of Firefly music video for Youtube (I'm in conversation w/ some folks about logistics--including a soundbooth!)

A theatrical short based around ideas polled from twitter

An audio release of "The Lily and The Tiger" (I'm also recording some audio stuff for another author so once that is done, this will be released)

A MUSICAL theatrical short based around ideas polled from twitter

A Thoughts From Places video

A Day in the Life video in the style of a point and click adventure.

An Original Song

So! You will notice that there are lots of videos listed here. LOTS of videos. So I will be working through these and they will be making appearances as episodes (or parts of episodes) of Wit & Whimsy! The decision on this kinda came down to I realized that if I am chosen to join the G&S clan (announcements made on Aug. 2nd), I will be putting too much on my plate and I want to make sure you guys get what I promised you. And since all of these kinda fit under the general feel of Wit & Whimsy (though not Kiriosity), I figured why not?

You will notice, however, that there are some things missing from this list--because after all, we got to over 6,000 and I only listed tiers up to 4,000.

I've been plotting on showing you some behind the scenes kind of things from Funeral Potatoes (which we started filming this weekend) and there has been some talk about also doing a Queen of Hearts video somewhere down the line... 

But what do you think? We've got 4 tiers (or the equivalent thereof) that should be filled--what would you be interested in seeing?

Also due to the craziness of this weekend, while there will be a video (possibly 2 videos) this week, there will be no official chapter until next week. But there is going to be content and hopefully that alone will appease you.

Love you all!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Weekend As It Applies To Lara

So this weekend we're headed down to Oregon to start filming Funeral Potatoes!

It's super exciting. Or at least, I'm excited. We're only able to shoot one scene before my co-star is off to help people in Morocco (because she's amazing and saintly and makes me feel like I kick puppies. She's also going to be the most amazing doctor in the world. Just saying).

But that works because we're doing a scene that happens a year before every other scene so it will work rather perfectly when we pick up filming again in a couple months.

Anyway. The road ahead (quite literally in some respects) means road-tripping, tourism and a long day at a film shoot. All of these are kind of pitfalls for unhealthy habits.

I am so bad at snacking on things I shouldn't when in the car! It used to be the only time I ate fast food. Now I tend to avoid fast food all together (other than Starbucks--if that counts--because I need coffee on the road). If you're like me, your body already goes kinda wonky on processing things when you're in a car for a long amount of time--eating junk just makes that ten times worse. I recommend getting some grapes if you can--really easy to munch, can be crunchy (especially if you freeze them!) to satisfy that craving and are mostly water.

Speaking of water: Hydrate! I don't know what it is about car trips but I always get dehydrated. I'll be skipping any sugary drinks or sodas--I find I feel way less gross after being in the car if I've stuck to pretty natural snacks.

I've mentioned the dreaded nutritional menu before but don't ruin your vacation by doing nothing but calorie counting. Just make sure you know what's going into your meals when you eat out. You'd be surprised what something that seems like it should be fairly simple and good can be (depending how it's prepared).

Plus nothing ruins being in a new place like your stomach giving you guff because you ate too much or something that you shouldn't. I myself have often fallen victim to food baby syndrome. Oof. Nap time.

Film Shoots and Other Stressful Projects
There is a reason "Craft Services" exists. When you're on your feet doing something like a shoot or rehearsal, you can completely forget the simple things--like the fact that you didn't eat or you haven't had a glass of water in 5 hours.

So when you're tackling a big project, regardless what it is, make sure you take care of you. Yes, deadlines, making your mark, giving a good performance etc whatever--all important. But none of that is going to matter if you run yourself into the ground.

So be good to yourself this weekend, no matter what you're up to.

Remember to vote:

I'll be pestering all weekend since they extended voting through Monday. Basically just keep voting daily until it stops letting you? <3

I released a new video thanks to your awesome votes. A bonus video--wasn't even on my list!

This weekend I'll be filming some behind the scenes action for next Wednesday. We'll see where we are then. =)

You guys are amazing. I'll yak at ya on twitter, other than that, have a great weekend and we'll catch up on Monday.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday

So... Only one of these today and it's because I really want to highlight this because this ended up being a huge happy thought for me. During this whole crazy campaign thing, I received this email (from the fellow who does all the awesome campaign pics I RT) and I asked permission if I could share with all of you.

You know the old saying "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life"?  Well that's what this was. Loved doing this for you.  I enjoyed putting all these campaign/promo pics together.  It was a no-brainer backing you for this.

Like I've mentioned before, ECCC became a really special time for me.  More special than I had hoped.  I went over to enjoy my first comicon and introduced myself to Seattle to see if I wanted to move there.  My decision to move became cemented while bombing around Seattle before and after each con day.  My enjoyment at the con was just as great; being around all the things I enjoy.

My secondary reason for going was to see if I could get my creative spark back.  Being surrounded by so many unique people did that in more ways than I thought.  Silly as it might seem to some; catching you, Blythe, Jeff and Rissy at your show was part of that spark. 

So I’m always going to say thanks to you guys for that.

Still think it's funny that I flew all that way to find out about a comedy improv troupe that ended up being about two hours away from where I live.  It was my appreciation for that re-sparking that led to my making Dorkj√∂lnir for the guys and then the goggles for you. 

Hope those have held up for you, by the way.

It was also your creation of Happy Thought Thursday that was part of my inspiration for my starting (and naming) Museday Tuesday.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do in digital art.  It was thanks to doing and learning from all those Museday Tuesdays that helped me figure out how to do those campaign pics.  It was funny going "oh, that'd work. That drove me nuts figuring that out."  Not sure if it was inspiration or just from doing all my other pieces but the campaign pics just seemed to roll out pretty effortlessly.

Some of the folks that I follow via social media are, for the most part, people I’ve met or seen in person.  Some of those folks are Team Unicorn FTW, Damsels of Dorkington, Bonnie Burton, Wil Wheaton and you.  The one thing all these specific people have in common was not just me meeting them at ECCC but what they bring to what they do; a unique perspective, energy, creativity and positivity.

So how could I offer that kind of support when you do all that?

Like I said, this was a no-brainer.

Even if we don’t end up crossing paths again, I’d like to become friends.  In part because of what came of ECCC but also in part of the quality of person you are. 

Thanks again and I look forward to getting the word out for round two.

Go get’em, pixie.

~ Joshua

I am a wise fool.

This letter brought such a ridiculous smile to my face, I can't even tell you. Helping inspire people to do what they want/to go be creative/go out into the world? I can't think of a higher honor. Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for having support and as corny as it may sound--thank you for believing in me.

Let's go make this world even more awesome.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wit & Whimsy Chapter 6: Character Development

Technology was not on my side today/last night. I finally finished editing and started the render around 1am in the morning and toddled off to bed.

When I awoke, Jane (my big laptop, yes named after the AI from Ender's Game) looked as if she had freshly restarted. I panicked, checked... and found that while the video had rendered, it was missing the last two minutes. All hail forced restarts thanks to automatic updates.


So at 6am in the morning I had to re-finish the ending and re-render because apparently last night Jane  restarted and only rendered half the video. And for some reason Premiere had no recent auto-save.
So I put the half-rendered video in and added the missing clips as rapidly as I could. This was all fine and good except in the rush, I pulled down the line that controls the opacity of the clip just a smidge on one of the cuts and didn't realize. 

If you aren't familiar with Premiere there is a yellow line that goes straight through the clip in the timeline bar--you use this to adjust the opacity of the clip, it helps with overlay and fading etc etc. HOWEVER, when you are moving the clip along the timeline, it is SUPER EASY to pull this one way or the other and not notice. If you use Premiere, a good trick for this is before you do any effects (color correction, etc), select all, right click and select "Remove All Effects". This will reset any yellow lines that strayed during the organization process.

While nearing the end of rendering, Jane kept saying "Only 4 more minutes!" like I was an impatient date waiting for my partner to stop primping.

25 minutes later...

If you didn't see me shout it from the rooftops yesterday, Geek & Sundry is extending the voting time through Monday. So I will still be urging folks to vote and promoting the video this weekend. Thank you so much for sticking with me this far. 

We've unlocked prizes up until 3,000 votes at this point--which is awesome. We've been staying in the top 3 which is mind-blowingly fantastic. You guys have seriously been rocking it and I couldn't be more grateful.

Remember, VOTE, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE! If you want to participate in more than what's going on over at Youtube, there is a Geek & Sundry Forum Topic talking it all up.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Multi-tasking Must Be A Compulsion

I can't seem to manage to do only one thing at a time...

So you know how I'm doing this whole vlogging thing and I'm running around like a mad woman?

(Btw, don't forget to vote: We have been ROCKING this, and been constantly in the top 3--that's all YOU GUYS. So thank you!)

Weeeell... I'm also helping out with this awesome book on Self-Publishing and we're rocking the Kickstarter world.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Sleep and other things I wish I'd done.

So... I'm not going to talk about why getting a good night's rest is important... because frankly that just seems  hypocritical at this point as I'm running on less than 2 hours of sleep which were interrupted by some weird jumpy nightmares (apparently when you're sleep deprived/force yourself to stay awake for too long, this is a common side-effect).

But I finished the video I needed to get done for a Kickstarter project against a thousand technical errors (seriously, what gives, laptop?) AND I even managed to record a video response to Amy' Dallen's talking comics #3 where she asked people to make their own rendition of the Superman song.

I still owe you guys a new downloadable song but this seemed more important at the time because Amy was very sad face that no one had responded yet.

So this weekend I've got more work to do... BUT I will be taking a break for this if you want to tune in as well.

Oof, brain dead.

I know weekends are kind of when the internet typically quiets down but if you could remember to vote I would be ever so grateful!

Submission from @ImpInMyHead on twitter, hands down my favorite "Vote for Kiri" sign:

Stay shiny, make sure you take care of yourselves (I'll try to take my own advice!).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Thought Thursday!

Ah, my favorite day of the week! Well, at least as far as blog posts go. The week is almost over (For you M-F folks anyway)!

"Our greatest desire is to live a life worth living"
-Bruce Lee

That is what keeps me motivated to chasing towards what makes me happy. Knowing that I could live for myself or my own ambitions...or I can pass along what little tips and motivation I can, knowing that that one day where I take a chance can make all the difference to someone's world.
We are, in turn, our own happiness.
We often regret more the things we never set out to do than the things we actually did. Go out and chase your happiness. After all, what's the worst that can happen?


My PERSONAL happy thought for this week would be how well things have been going so early on with the Geek & Sundry contest

You guys. You're my happy thought. Seriously. I would be no where without you.

Oh! And before I forget, I believe I owed you some song downloads:


(I'm hoping to also re-record these now that I have a better handle on my recording equipment. There's a few nitpicky things I'd like to fix, so keep an eye out for those in the future!)


The Steward of Gondor

Vlog the Impossible Vlog

I Dreamed a Dream of Firefly


What is "The Happy Thought" Project?

The ‘Happy Thought’ Project is an on-going collaborative work focused on the little things that make life worthwhile and make us smile. The goal is to create a collection of artwork (photography, drawings, writing) that bring hope and comfort. 

These will be shared every Thursday. 

If no content has been sent, I'll write something up on my own. Thursdays are going to be about sending positive thoughts into the world.

When enough content has been gathered, I would like to bind them into a book and donate whatever proceeds are obtained to the Crisis Clinic.

What Kind Of Things Can I Submit?
I accept drawings, photography, quotes, poems and short stories. 

Drawings and Photos should be accompanied by a small amount of text (whether to explain or add to the picture) and should be something you personally own the rights to.

Poems should not be previously published.

Short stories should be no longer than half a page in a word document and should not be previously published. I use ‘short story’ loosely. This should be a personal story etc.

Quotes may be famous quotes but please credit them appropriately.

Some editing may be done to make sure spelling/punctuation is correct but for the most part I will try to keep all writing in tact as it is sent to me.

I will also take things such as songs if you want to share one that brings a smile to your face etc but sadly this could not be included in the final book project should we ever get that far. 

How Do I Submit Work?
For the time being, please send all Happy Thoughts to

Can I Submit More Than One Thought?


Is This Anonymous or Credited? 

I would like to leave that up to you. 

If you would like to be credited for your thought, I will use only FIRST NAMES for privacy protection.

Please indicate in your email submission if you would like to have your name mentioned. If there is no indication either way, I will assume you wish to remain anonymous.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Avengers Assemble! + Ninjas

It's happened! Today is the day! The second round of the Geek & Sundry Vlog Contest! Commence freak out!

You may be wondering how you can help.

1. Watch Video
2. Vote
3. Tell your friends
4. Repeat steps 2&3 daily on different devices until July 19th at Midnight PDT (So technically July 20th, I guess)

You can also join the Geek & Sundry Discussion going on right now:

You may be wondering, "Okay, well what's in it for me? That's at least 9 minutes of my time today and 5 seconds every day after."

And you're right. So I decided, "Why not do this like Kickstarter?!"

So that's what's going to happen.

Last round, I released four songs:

UNLOCKED: When we hit our first 500, I will release a downloadable version of these songs.

Dragonborn (Skyrim)
The Steward of Gondor (LOTR)
Vlog the Impossible Vlog (Geek and Sundry Contest Tribute)
I Dreamed a Dream of Firefly (Firefly tribute)

UNLOCKED: 1,000 votes, a new song (w/ download) and a follow Friday for top 3 promoters on twitter (@ImpInMyHead, @TheTruePlatPat, @MaxDyckhoff).

UNLOCKED: 1,500 votes,  I Dreamed a Dream of Firefly music video for Youtube

UNLOCKED2,000 votes, A theatrical short based around ideas polled from twitter

UNLOCKED: 2,500 votes, An audio release of "The Lily and The Tiger"

UNLOCKED: 3,000 votes, A MUSICAL theatrical short based around ideas polled from twitter

3,500 votes, A Thoughts From Places video (because who doesn't love John Green? You? Maybe we shouldn't be friends anymore)

4,000 votes, A Day in the Life video in the style of a point and click adventure.

(Gonna add to this as we go)


There were so many things that sadly had to be cut out of this video...  so instead of letting them hit the cutting room floor, we decided to hide them as links in this one! Make sure your annotations are on and remember--you will only be able to find it by hovering your mouse over it.

As of today, there is only 1 hidden video... and I'll even give you a hint: Yarr.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Love You Enough To Tell You When You Suck

So I've talked about Melanie before--she's even appeared in a video or two in the past--but let's recap for the folks who are new here. Melanie is my best friend. My sister from another mister. My heterosexual-life partner.

Got it? Cool. Let's move on.

One of my favorite things about this relationship is while it is deeply rooted in Sam/Frodo-like affection and care, it remains brutally honest.

Let me illustrate with the following scene as closely related from real life as possible:

2010, Melanie and Kiri's apartment. Morning after one of Melanie's shows. Melanie has made coffee.

Melanie: So you liked it?
Kiri: I loved it. You were great.
Melanie: You're not just saying that?
Kiri: Melanie, I love, adore and respect you. I will always tell you when something is shit. [Sips coffee for the first time] Now this? This is shit.

If I respect you, I will never lie because I feel it will "spare your feelings". You deserve honesty and don't need to be coddled. Now I'm not going to be a dick about it--the above conversation happened with that certain verbiage because Melanie have a very particular report that allows us to be that blunt.

But my point is I will tell you if something isn't good or needs improvement because I love you and I know you can do amazing things. So when I say that something is good--that I enjoyed it--you can feel confident in my sincerity.

So why is this important? It's about respect.

Let me make one thing super clear (which is probably already clear, but you know, whatever): Insincerity as a means of "sparing someone's feelings" does not work. I don't know where we got this idea--maybe from our parents when they didn't have the heart to tell us cows weren't green when we drew one in kindergarten--but this weird quirk has been causing more problems than it (temporarily) soothes.

Side note: You don't have to tell your children cows aren't green, by all means, ask them about this alternate world, feed their imagination or use that moment to talk about why colors appear the way they do--or how some people can't see every color--or that dogs can't really see any.

There are few things more insulting than being lied to because someone doesn't think you can "handle the truth" about your work/your abilities. 

I don't come easily to dancing--I can follow choreography but it takes me a few more practices than someone who has a natural ability. So if I'm flapping about like a chicken awkwardly and not actually completing the dance step--tell me. Otherwise I'm in for a world of embarrassment come show time.

I'm not saying be a dick about it. Just be honest. "Sparing feelings" now will only damage far more later.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Film Shoots Are Exhausting

Behold possibly one of the biggest understatements ever placed in a blog title.

This isn't really news, I know that. And this weekend was extremely stressful in that technology was completely working against us. But honestly? Totally worked out in the end. I may be tired and sore and thinking my keyboard would make a mighty fine pillow (I'd be wrong) but the weekend ended with a product I'm really proud of and I can't wait to show you.

Voting starts up again on Wednesday so I will definitely be keeping all of you updated.

If you're on FB, you can join in on the official event where I send out reminders etc. Invite whoever, it's a public thing and, as always, please follow Wheaton's law when you post.

How was your weekend? I know a lot of people were able to take a long languid break (heck yeah!). Which is good. My break was almost nothing but filming and editing and shouting expletives at technology until it took pity on me.

In case you missed last week's Wit & Whimsy (Because you were so very busy and awesome), here's the link to that one more time.

All about getting excited about myth and the science that we find now actually supports it on some level.

Since we've all had a long weekend--you either partied or maybe you worked yourself ragged like me--or if you were down at RTX, you're probably recovering from that, poor soul...

Anyway, my point is I'm going to keep it short this morning because we all deserve to have a bit of a muddy-minded Monday morning.

Catch ya tomorrow, you guys are awesome!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lara in Life Lessons

So yesterday I completely failed in the realm of getting up the Happy Thoughts.

I've decided to console myself with the idea you were probably out blowing stuff up and didn't notice. Also, in my experience, recreational demolition/arson/fire is more than enough to suffice for at least five happy thoughts.

And if you weren't able to light a sparkler and delight in the idea that you're probably going to burn yourself, then I apologize.

I didn't get half the things I wanted to done yesterday and the only fireworks I saw was in the distance on my way home from getting groceries for dinner.

So I guess we can both be a little grumpy at the world right now.

And today I'm honestly not going to talk about things a lot because I still have a mountain of work to get done. So what I will say as part of your road to being badass and Tomb Raidy--try to know when you take on too much. Mountain climbing with a pack twice your weight is likely not going to end well.

I'm talking from experience.

Ah well, at least it will all be done soon. Then I'll work harder on... spacing things out. ;D

You guys are fantastic, please stay safe out there this weekend, I'll yak at ya Monday. =D

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

LOOK AT THIS THING I FOUND! Kiri talks about some new discoveries with Silver

It's Wednesday! Wednesday means Vlog day! Or at least as per our current scheduling! Whoo! Are you excited? I'm excited. Note: This is chapter 4, this is not, I repeat NOT my G&S submission for round 2.

It's Chapter 4! So I read this article and got super excited and decided I needed to share its findings with the internet--and at the same time use that as a spring board to sort of examine how mythology and science have weirdly not been too far off from each other.

You know how I mentioned the other day that my submission for G&S was going to likely have a different name this second round so I could differentiate the two if by your will I was chosen in the end? 

Well this chapter is a really good example of the kind of thing that particular facet we will be focusing on in those videos. Getting down and nerdy on geek culture. Finding the facts in our fictions! 

Should I not be chosen, this type of video will continue as one of the many kinds of Wit & Whimsy, just like Look at This Cool Thing I Found!, Serious Pie, and Are you FREAKING kidding me?.

Voting starts on July 10th, I have a really cool video planned for my second submission--I can't wait to show you guys what's to come.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Weekend Pt. 2 + Monday

So after the extremely long road trip, I got home and things were looking pretty good. There were hugs and we were all very happy to see each other. So I'm going to frame this whole thing very carefully. First, I'm going to show you some brief snippets of Riley, my parents' dog.

Why? Because she's freaking adorable and you can watch it if through any of the later bits you feel yourself getting a little down.

Also I'll be uploading another short video of showing my dad how to play Halo. I didn't have a way to capture gameplay but the reactions alone (when compiled together) were pretty funny. We have since learned that first person shooters can make dad a wee anxious. Though he may actually like Borderlands. Though Borderlands isn't really your traditional FPS.

If you want to skip over the serious pie section of this post, scroll down until you see a bolded lettering again.

Okay, so the serious pie part of the weekend started when we went to breakfast Saturday morning.

"How many?"

The waitress was just doing her job but her question rattled us. We froze, looked at each other uncertainly, and the elephant that had been following all of us from room to room for the past 6 months waved hello. 

"Four," my father said.

And we were promptly seated. 

Months ago this would have been where we'd be talking so much we'd forget to look at our menus for at least one pass of "Have you decided yet?" But this time we just stared down at our menus, awkward and quiet... and then looked at our phones.

And the lump in my throat made me remember exactly why I had been putting off going home for a visit since Joel's funeral.
Eventually we worked ourselves out of the awkward silence and were able to carry on with the day fair enough but there was some definitely underlying tension.
And then we tried playing a game that night.
Ever since I was a kid, a family favorite has always been the domino game of "Chicken Foot". If you're not familiar, basically it's a set of dominoes with a combination of numbers going up to 12. There are 12 of each set. So the set of 12s would look like 1|12, 2|12, 3|12 and so forth up until you get 12|12. So lots of combinations with lots of dots.

At the start of the game every player has 7 dominoes and whoever has the highest double (eg 12|12, 11|11, 10|10) puts it down and the round begins. If no one has a double, you have to keep drawing from the pile until someone gets one.
You have to match one side of your domino to the start until all corners have been used. At least that's how we learned it. Apparently the people who were playing the game in the picture are more core than we are. Show offs.

Anyway you can then just match numbers to numbers as shown above. Reason it's called chicken foot is that doubles can be put on their side and force everyone to play that number until 3 dominoes have been placed down (thus making a chicken foot-like shape).

Sorry, explaining that took more effort that I thought it would. But hey, now you know we weren't doing some weird voodoo chicken ritual.

And my sister got uncomfortable and started turning inward on herself and when prodded she finally said, "I don't know if I like this game anymore."

And again we realized we were playing it with just four of us. 

And then we finally talked a bit more about it.

"I get it every time at restaurants, anyone else?"

There was a weak agreement.

We didn't talk about it much after that but there was something about admitting aloud that we were all struggling helped.

And that may be why things went they did on Sunday when I stopped by Joel's grave.

Look at that. Even in death the jerk is cooler than me.

I didn't quite remember the exact location, it was 96+ degrees and I ended up wandering the general area of the graveyard for about 10 minutes.
I was getting frustrated, feeling like I'd never find it and then finally... there it was.

"Hey dummy."

It was the first time I'd seen it in person. When we'd buried him, there had just been a placeholder. I opened a bottle of Mt. Dew (his favorite), poured some into the grass and for the first time since the funeral, I acknowledged the full weight of the situation.

And the next hour would be one of the craziest and undignified manners I have ever acted in a public place. First I cried--well, cried more. When I couldn't find it, I had started to tear up but after actually seeing it I started sobbing. Loudly. Full on wail. No one was immediately around me but I wouldn't be surprised if some other mourner didn't hear me. And if they didn't, they certainly heard what came next.

I... started yelling. A lot. And I may have swore. And by "may have swore" I mean I hope no children were visiting grandma during that hour because I think some true mental scarring would have happened. I'm not sure how much of it was coherent or if someone onlooking might have called the cops. I was pacing and crying and half shouting and half accusing and demanding answers or help because it wasn't fair he got to leave us so absolutely broken because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to handle trying to hold everyone together.

And it was hot and I was a mess and emotionally exhausted and I took a sip of soda and immediately remembered why I don't drink soda (carbonation and I don't do well together) so I spit it out...

And I hit the headstone... because I'd apparently forgotten stone is going to win that fight.

And while I was rubbing the forming bruise on my hand and still leaking profusely from my eyes and nose and talking very irately to him... a car slowly eased by.

Oh good. I was hoping I was going to experience pure unadulterated humiliation today.

I'm pretty sure Joel was laughing somewhere.

So I ended our conversation with "Shut up." And angrily trudged back to my car.

Maybe it was the way it ended, but I didn't feel better after that visit. Or maybe I needed to have a fight and leave angry. I don't know.

It's at least a first step to actually dealing with this rather than repressing until I pop. And that's good.

...whew, okay, that was super heavy.


Happier things that I completely forgot to announce on Monday because I was still trying to get the weekend out of my system.

For those of you who helped vote for me for Geek & Sundry Vlogs and campaigned and were pretty much the most amazing people to have in my corner in the world... WE MADE TOP 30!

We did it, guys, we're hitting the 2nd round! And getting that sorted and filmed is probably going to eat the rest of my week, but that's okay because it's going to be worth it.

Voting starts on the 10th, so I will be going into crazy campaign mode again, but don't worry, it will be over on the 19th and I will do my best to make it interesting and not be spammy.

I feel it also important to point out that it will be looking a little different in round 2. Wit & Whimsy will be continuing on my personal channel (and here) regardless if I make it into the final 10, but I realized that if by some miracle I DO end up being chosen, I want to keep all the legal rights to W&W. I mean, I have the website, I have a channel that I can do whatever my wits or whim declare...

But not to worry because while the name may be different in round 2, the hunger for knowledge and quest for geeky info will still be alive and well.

I love you guys, take care of eachother.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The weekend Pt. 1

So it was disgustingly hot in my apartment last night and it took forever for me to get to sleep... so this is kind of only half of the post I was planning to do--but that's okay, I think it will still be entertaining enough that I can split it into two and still be all good.

This weekend I spent half in Spokane to visit my folks and half in traffic trying to get in and leave Spokane.

...I blame Hoopfest. Also the obscene amount of accidents that were going on.

So, I thought I would share with you what it's like to be on such a road trip with me.

Audio books I nommed along the way:

A Microsoft Life by Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse:

America Again by Stephen Colbert:

Also Man of La Mancha featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell:

Oh! And I released my thank you for 4,000.

A Firefly tribute to the tune of "I dreamed a dream" from Les Miserables.