Frankenshirt

My first attempt at revamping a mens shirt. Always a good idea to use a shirt of really nice fabric and color for an experiment, right?

Couldn’t find any examples on-line to rehash a loose fitted shirt to a fitted shirt. Makes sense, since a fitted shirt has the armpit placed much higher up, which results in the need for more width than a non-fitted shirt typically will offer.

That’s how Frankenshirt happend, using the arm scythe of a shirt, the bodice part of a dress and free styling the bottom half of the shirt, again to match fit the available fabric. Feeling master of my universe, I decided to let the darts of the bodice just end open, to get a sort of emperor dress style.

Then came the sleeves. I didn’t want to take the cuffs apart, so I had to cut the sleeve head and trim down the sleeve width from a semi constructed sleeve. I though I used the sleeve head pattern that went with the arm scythe pattern, but I had way too much fabric. Enter the pleats. This, of course, resulted in somewhat puffed sleeves. Like princess style puff sleeves. This is becoming one royal design!

I had some fun with the collar. Decided to go mandarin style by simply removing the collar and closing up the collar stand. The result is not quite mandarin, but I kinda like it.

Anyway, the result. Could be worse I guess, but not really what I was going for. Or my style. But I’ll take it for a test drive and see if it grows on me. Or I might just pop a seam stretching too far. Who knows, life’s a gamble :).

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Things that go bump

Cycling in Brisbane, it’s quite the adventure. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at this research paper to cycling injuries in Australia. Of course you are required by law to wear your helmet. Safety first, right?! Instead of making a helmet obligatory, how about getting some bike lanes, like, everywhere (Feb 2015)! And while we’re at it, let’s change the rules and regulations as well, since “Achieving high levels of safe cycling begins with acknowledging that cycling is a legitimate form of transport” (Sept 2011). And then we don’t mean “higher fines for dodgy cyclists“. NSW, I’m talking to you (Jan, 2106).

But Australia says it wants to change. The national bicycling council aims to double the number of cyclists between 2011 and 2016, inspiring all with this H.G. Wells quote: “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.” But double a few is still only a few cyclists. In 2001 nearly 20% of the Danes cycled to work, while only 1.2 % of the Aussies were so inclined. The report does mention a lot of good points, but unfortunately doesn’t touch the topic of regulations. Which is a pity, especially since this comes from a national council. The update from 2013 shows promising progress and good intentions, but the financial numbers show that investing in safe cycling is no priority. Australia invested $4.83 per capita on Cycling Infrastructure in 2012-13. This is only 0.61% of the total transport expenditure. And that while bold spending makes all the difference  and most Australians want the government to spend more on biking and walking facilities, according to this report.

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In my research for this post, I found a lot of information online. However, the average Joe will only consume information that is brought to him. Like Pedal Brisbane, an exhibition and event celebrating and promoting cycling in Brisbane through photography, film, talks and initiatives associated with cycling in a fun, positive way (promoFacebook). It started in 2013, I visited it 2014 and in 2015 they teamed up with APPC to become Bicycle Fringe Festival, together with the Bicycles Welcome Here Festival, presenting Brisbane as a bicycle friendly city. Instead of creating more bicycle lanes or other such novel ideas, they made another promo  – don’t bother watching this, unless you like to hear random people saying “Bicycles welcome here” for a couple of minutes. Really people, that’s not helping. Festivals like these give me the impression that Australia is not taking this seriously, but maybe I’m underestimating the bad rep cycling has with most Aussies?

There are other initiatives, like Space for cycling in Brisbane, which contacts individual council members to get bicycle lanes higher priority on the local political agenda. This leads to friendly posts in my Facebook timeline, and I hope it will lead to actual change as well.

Clearly I don’t have the answers, but I’d hope Australia can learn from other countries, like The Netherlands and Denmark in the 70’s. In the meantime I will at least contribute by reporting pot holes with Brisbane City Council. I’ve reported on the crack that brought me down and got a response that they’ve received my report. We’ll see…

And I will cycle to work of course!

Edit: with the upcoming elections, the group Space4CyclingBrisbane has made this excellent video.

Gaming brings people together

Turns out you can play a game of Pathfinder with 3 party members in one room and the DM and the other party member in a room 16,200 kilometres away (or 12,750 if you just go straight through the whole thing).

You’ll need a bunch of hardware on either end and decent network connections, but with two laptops and a PC on one end and two laptops on the other end you can make it work. Running Inkscape for the map, Teamviewer for the connection and Skype for the social interaction, it all works surprisingly well.

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The first time we tried it, but certainly not the last. Black Skeletons and Champion Skeletal Archers beware!

Perfect Dark

Sometimes the best things about a place are about what’s *not* there – like light pollution. http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html

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Heaven

It’s interesting how close to the skin my sewing experience is to me (no pun intended). Before we left I joked that all I needed to settle in was a fabric store close by. Turns out this is truer than I knew.

Some disappointing experiences at Lincraft and the other options in the CBD left me feeling a bit out of sorts. Apparently fabric á 150 AUD / meter is a thing down here, while tracing paper is not. They buy single patterns and cut them straight out. I should have known, since they do not seem to sell sewing magazines like Burda anywhere. The Needlefruit Sewing Lounge in Paddington seemed promising online, but turned out to be just for sewing courses.

However, the lovely lady there did point me in in the direction of The Fabric Store in Fortitude Valley. This is where I finally felt at home. So much nice fabrics arranged by color and material. Mostly plain instead of busy prints, often really fun but just not me. And next to cottons they have jerseys as well, which is a rare thing in this part of the world. I got a mustard cotton and a beautiful red raw silk for the projects I have in mind, and some tracing fabric (when in Rome…). But I’ll be back for more! They are open on Sundays as well, and they are having a sale at the moment….

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St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Brisbane

It doesn’t quite feel as much like summer without a nice music festival. St. Jerome’s Laneway started out as a Melbourne affair, but has spread to all of the major Australian cities including Brisbane and features a great lineup of promising and established talent with a modern sound.

We got a chance to see Methyl Ethel, Majical Cloudz, Japanese Wallpaper, Diiv, Health, Big Scary, The Internet, Battles, Violent Soho, Grimes, Chvrches and Purity Ring.

It was great getting back (or at least closer) to that old Lowlands vibe (thank the heavens for chips in cups!). From the poppy and booming Grimes to the experimental and attention-demanding Battles. With amazing performances like the drumming in Health, Battles and Big Scary to the promising talent and enthusiasm of young acts like Methyl Ethel. And unlike Lowlands, rain is actually a welcome refresher in the Brisbane weather.

And it’s nice to be able to fit in some personal favorites like Chvrches. More so because they were virtually exploding off of the stage with a performance that takes them from promising indie band to self-assured power act. It’s a rare thing when a concert feels both personal and fun, but also energetic and larger than life.

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What stood out as typically Australian: a smoker’s section (no smoking in the concert tents); no sweets – just deep-fried and BBQ and a bit of ethnic food, but all savory; far less drunkenness, probably because of prohibitive alcohol prices; a distinct lack of weed smells; slightly more polite and generally happy looking audience; horrible Australian fashion sense extending to festival outfits, with many (too?) revealing outfits added on top for women; hotpants are back in full force; Australians clean up after themselves in daylight, but when night falls they make up for it.

Cinematic futurism in games in retrospect – Syria drone footage

The horror of this video is self-evident and though it’s impossible to ignore, it’s not what I wanted to share.

What’s interesting to me is that this montage of drone footage offers a view of an environment that’s reminiscent of video games. Not just because many video games will offer views of devastation and war unlike most of us ever seen in real life. But also because of the camera positions and mobility a drone affords.

In recent years, I sometimes got annoyed at the artificial feel of cinematic sequences in games, because they allowed the camera freedoms that were simply not achievable in reality, not without CGI. They break the suspense of disbelief and certainly don’t work for anything that’s intended to evoke a sense of realism. However, now that sentiment is flipping – some of those cinematic sequences appear simply ‘ahead of their time’, foreshadowing the cinematic acrobatics of drone-borne cameras.

Watching the (very interesting) movie “The Double” (2013) by Richard Ayoade, I got a similar sensation – many camera standpoints and the visual storytelling seem to break away from traditional cinematographic conventions and instead speak the language of the cinematic cut scene in computer games.

Have a watch and let me know what you think, anywhere.