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Showing posts from October, 2019
My roommate owns a sewing machine. I have been kindly given permission to use it pretty much whenever she's not. This machine is a 1977 Sears Kenmore 1625 behemoth that, judging from the weight, has been carved out of a single block of solid steel. His name is Pierre.

Pierre runs quite well for a chunky monstrosity approaching middle age, but apparently he was a secondhand find, and sometime over the past 42 years all of the presser feet that were not attached to the machine have gone AWOL. This is kind of a little bit important, more so after I watched my poor roommate try to put boning into a ball gown bodice by hand.

Presser feet are the little widgets that hold the fabric down onto the feed dogs -- the little tank treads that walk the fabric away from you as you sew -- and the size and shape of them determine what kind of stitches you can use, and what happens when they clamp down on the fabric. You can get all kinds of trick feet that overlock like a serger, fold the edge ove…
My craft projects tend to balloon. The problem is that I know how to do it right, and I hate having to do it wrong.

I need a shawl for flamenco. I have some practice things, but I need a real one to use for shows, on the assumption that if I've been at this long enough to buy real shoes I'm probably going to end up doing it on stage. The customary ones, mantones de manila, are made of embroidered Chinese silk brought in through the Philippines. The nice ones can run north of $300, which is not going to happen. The simple student ones made of acetate and polyester satin are about $100, which I could probably do eventually, but would rather not if I can help it.

I did some math and raw materials would run me $30-35. I can do that, probably. I know where the fabric store is, I know where to get hoops, and I know how to embroider things, technically, although I spend more time darning clothes I don't want to replace than I do decorating things with thread. I decided to splurge…
Brains are weird. I have first-hand experience in this. Weird doesn't always mean bad, however, so occasionally I rummage around the internet trying to figure out if any of the weird things work to my advantage.

If you've ever heard of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), your reaction was likely either, "Hey! It has a name!" or "You people are bizarre." It's a little complicated, but the gist is that it's the exact inverse of that cringe response most people have to nails on a chalkboard: Some sort of stimulus, often but not always auditory, makes you melt into a puddle of goose-pimpled goo. The ASMR community is pretty adamant that it's not sexual, despite the existence of ASMR erotica. (I'm inclined to believe them. I feel like this is less a case of 'the lady doth protest too much' than of just plain ol' Rule 34.) Common triggers include whispering, the rustle of book pages turning, tapping of rain on a hard surface o…
I did at one point promise to try to explain the Eccentric to you all. I just remarked to one of my other friends that he picks up dance partners like the BDSM people pick up play partners. Might as well start there.

In kinkster terms, a "play partner" is someone you get together with and act out your fantasy BDSM scenarios. The relationship is not considered romantic; it's not that kind of intertwined partnership. But to be effective play partners, you do have to click really hard, and be pretty good friends, or your weird little hobby isn't going to work right.

There is an established etiquette for picking up play partners. You have to be respectful, but also very, very straightforward about what you're looking for. You are negotiating unusual boundaries around things that most people find emotionally sensitive. If you have a romantic partner, it is also considered important to be up front about that and be willing to introduce your prospective play partners to…