On Being In a Good Place

Counting Blessings

They say that you never know what you had until it’s gone.

I say that sometimes the best times to appreciate the good things are when things are going well; your appreciation of things is untainted by any temporary misery, and it’s just – i dunno – healty?

On top of having a wonderful family and some great friends, other things seem to be picking up as well! Figtography, while not world-famous, seems to be getting decent traffic. Now that I have a digital camera and a fantastic blog theme that displays my EXIF data, posting photos is a breeze! I have to say that I’m very happy with the site, and the only thing that really needs to be improved is perhaps the volume of photos contained within!

Another fantastic thing that’s going on right now is my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Toronto Thumbs. When Shaun left the site to go to The Electric Playground, I was completely certain that I was going to destroy the site; I am not anywhere nearly as savvy as Shaun is when it comes to web design, and I’m certainly not a better writer. As the year has progressed, though, so has my writing skill and editing (in my opinion, anyway); numbers are slowly climbing, and we even gained a link from one of the gods of gaming, Jordan Mechner! With more fans every week, and respect from the people we cover, Toronto Thumbs is definitely something to be proud of.

There are a lot of things going on right now (besides the three big items listed above); the upshot is that with all of these activities, time for maintaining this blog has to be cut short. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though. Writing for the sake of writing always seems to produce crap; I would rather put a lot of thought and take some time to write something than just write because I think I have to.

Shout outs to everyone who believes in me!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Being an outcast as a kid, Halloween has always been an awesome day to me. The chance to disguise myself as something else certainly had appeal, if only to keep people off my back for a day.

My problem was two-fold. On one hand, I didn’t really have a lot of money to spend on costumes. On the other, even if I did, I really enjoyed trying to make my own costumes.

Given that my monetary status was low, the resources I had access to were somewhat limited. Not to mention, I was a bit of a procrastinator. For example…

The Cop

I got the brilliant idea one year of being a cop. I had a fake badge that was pinned on a hat, and a gun. With these two things alone, I figured I would be the best cop ever…

The dorkiest cop ever.
Click to enlarge…

Looking back I wonder what the hell I was thinking. It was bad enough that I wore what was clearly an Adidas running top. Not only that, but wearing green sneakers and folded jeans was probably also not a good idea.

To top it all off, my sunglasses were so big they could have protected my face were I to go into welding.

A lot of my childhood costumes were like this. I just chalk it up to the fact that I didn’t think things through. Of course, this seemed to carry into adulthood.

The Crow

The Crow was one of my staple costumes after high school. I saw the movie and thought it was an awesome concept. Not to mention I had a long black wig and the makeup and clothing were relatively easy to do…

The original Crow (left) and my version (right).
Click to enlarge…

Obviously my version was nowhere near as cool as the movie version. I lacked the cool threads (a ripped t-shirt over another shirt really removes the imposing nature of the character), and the make up was not as good as it could have been.

Score another defeat thanks to waiting for the last minute.

Indiana Jones

Indy is one of my all-time favourite movie characters, mostly because he feels like he could be a real person. One would think that this would make it easier to put together a costume that would do him justice.

This is not always so…

The original Indy (left) and my versions (middle, right).
Click to enlarge…

Out of all of the costumes I had created up to that point, Indiana Jones was the best. The first year I dressed up as Indy, though, I couldn’t find a bullwhip. I even went to a bunch of sex shops to no avail.

So that year (the middle photo), I used a shock cord and tie-wraps to approximate the whip. It didn’t really work out.

Later on, I ended up securing a nice 10′ whip to hang on my belt, which really helped.

The real problem with the costume, though, was the fact that the palette was all wrong. The saving grace, of course, was that it was universally off.

Kakashi Hatake

Kakashi is another character that I think is awesome. If you don’t watch Naruto, you won’t know who he is.

It’s enough to say, though, that he’s probably one of my favourite characters of all time in any media.

The challenge with this costume was that the character is animated. Translating cartoons to real-world costumes is not always the easiest thing to do. Since my friend Shaun had invited me to a costume party, I gave it my best shot. Shaun is insanely good at making costumes, so I had to meet the standards he sets…

The original Kakashi (left, middle) and my version (right).
Click to enlarge…

I think I did a pretty good job.

This time I didn’t procrastinate. I designed the costume using some official pieces of clothing, and a lot of searching around Chinatown for parts that would be a close match. For the record, I didn’t actually get the contact lens for my left eye. I just photoshopped it in. But I spent most of the night with my head protector over my left eye anyway.

Kunai are illegal in Canada, so I made the blades out of bristol board using a design courtesy of this kid. The rest of the kunai were made using various parts from Home Depot.

Special shout-outs go to Chris, who went as Maito Gai, and Kelly who went as Chiyo.

The original Kakashi (left), Gai (middle) and Chuiyo (Right).
Click to enlarge…

Here are our versions…

Our Naruto characters. Gai, Chiyo and Kakashi.
Click to enlarge…

It was a great party. And it felt great to actually make a decent costume for a change.