9.14.2018

Strankenstein's Zombie Prom 2018

So...I have to talk about Strankenstein's Zombie Prom.

I had actually heard about the event several years ago, but didn't have a date...and also probably had to work, knowing me.  Now I not only had a date, but he was the self-proclaimed "zombie king" (haha, no really, his email name says that...) so Allyn and I decided to go.  The creators of the event have been doing this particular event for a long time and it's for a great cause--juvenile diabetes research.  Since I had my Legionary costume, I had the bright (you'll get it in a second) idea to be a Glowing One.

 
In the Fallout universe, zombies are called ghouls, and some are sentient while the more "zombie" like are called 'feral' in-game.  Glowing Ones are particularly interesting because they are feral (except one aptly named Jason Bright) and they absorb a large amount of radiation which actually heals them and any other nearby ghouls, so they're quite powerful and interesting to look at.  The biggest factor relating to chances of becoming a ghoul or Glowing One is simply exposure to radiation, and once in New Vegas I kind of sort of accidentally nuked a whole Legion settlement (whoops!) and arrived on the shore of the island to find a horde of Glowing One Centurions charging at me.  I promptly died.  But I thought they looked AMAZING with that Legionary armor and their zombie flesh. I've been fascinated with the idea ever since, and lo and behold, I had the costume, so it just made sense.  I even made a doodle in anticipation of the occasion. 

 
ps--are you following my art instagram? YOU SHOULD!! @haifisch_art

We started brainstorming for how to pull this off (and there were a lot of things we didn't get to do due to time constraints, which makes me desperately wish there was a do-over.)  Sometimes I despise working midnight to noon on Saturday because it kills my mood and any creativity I would've had.  I knew I wanted to go full bald cap, which excited Allyn not only because he'd get to learn a new technique but also I'm pretty sure he has a thing for the Vin Diesel look.  UV paint was applied on top of the regular body paint and it looked REALLY cool under a black light, which I sadly didn't take any photos of.  We did some eye socket sculpting and not much else, but according to everyone it looked really cool.  I just wish we would have had more time, but I can't complain about how I looked with the time constraint given.

 
One cool thing is that the makeup and costume combined really gave off a voodoo look, which was unintentional but awesome.  The 'face' on my mask is a symbol for death anyway, so it works for a zombie priestess.  Allyn's Slink costume was perfect, not only because I can imagine Julian Slink DEFINITELY going to a zombie prom and stirring up trouble, but also because his style looks very Papa Legba or Baron Samedi.  We matched, and happened to look quite Louisana-style-zombie in the process. We also gave Allyn some fake blood to make him look a bit closer to Julian in the scene where he murders a potential job interviewee.


And the coolest part about that? Blood Drive's official Instagram reposted a photo of him!


Unfortunately, the above was one of the only photos I took of him--his contacts and the blood REALLY brought Slink to life in a way that was almost supernatural.  I swear Allyn and I would make terrible full-time bloggers because we NEVER remember to take a lot of photos at any event we go to.  It's a dilemma because I want them to look back on and I enjoy showing off our cool escapades, especially for Ender when he gets older and thinks we're boring slobs, but I also hate seeing people walk around with phones and cameras glued to their eyeballs, so I make a point of NOT overdoing it on the social media aspect of outings.  Like I say, we'd fail as bloggers.

I will say this, I was VERY impressed with the venue, setup, and all the work that was put into this event.  I almost wish we would have hired a babysitter for poor Ender--he was sick and was not feeling any of it--so most of our time was spent attending to him.  But there was a live band, which I usually hate because live bands and cover bands tend to sound like nails on a chalkboard, but these guys sounded FANTASTIC.   Very talented! There were booths and spooky decor and a great dining setup and everything your heart could desire, all at Ogden's beautiful and historic Union Station.  I really loathe driving to Ogden but sometimes it's worth it.  This was one of those times.  Like I mentioned the event is for a great cause and I am so happy we went.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE.

We entered the contest for "Zombie King and Queen" and WON!  I never win anything.  I think I won 7 dollars on a scratch lottery ticket as a kid and that's it.  I NEVER win!  But we won and we won as a team, and I was and am still blown away by the gorgeous flowers and tiara and plaques that we got to take.  I'll probably post a photo once they're all set up in our newly rearranged bedroom, but wow.  I felt so special even though I was a gross rotten radioactive corpse.  The judges said that they chose us because of the work we put in and how well we worked as a team and I got all choked up because Allyn and I are nothing if not a good creative team.  Creating and making things and showing our love for the gory, weird, gross, beautiful and anything in between is what brought us together in the first place.  It felt so fantastic and humbling to be recognized by others for our passion.

The organizers posted a video highlighting a lot of the event, click below to watch that.  And a huge thanks to everyone who helped--Derik and Niki for helping with Ender, the organizers who put on an amazing event, and most of all Allyn, the newly crowned ZOMBIE KING!


8.18.2018

Legionary Priestess Costume

So much is happening I can't keep up!  But let's talk about my most recent costume.


This isn't the first time I've shown this costume!  It was created for the Wastelander's Ball which I wrote about back in March.  However I never got any good, detailed photos of the costume and I never talked about the creation process, so that's where we'll start today.  Before we get into my costume, I just want to point out my girlish excitement that the official Blood Drive Instagram noticed and re-grammed Allyn's Julian Slink costume.  Talk about a COOL FREAKING MOMENT.



Enough about him let's talk about me.  So, one thing a lot of people don't know is that I dressed up as a female Caesar with my own special flair, for Salt Lake Comic Con back in 2014.  It was a last minute pipe dream that I somehow slobbed together and it wasn't a great fantastic getup, but I really just wanted to dress up and meet some Fallout fans.  I don't think anyone knew who I was and I had just moved back from Sweden so I was very much a loner and didn't talk to anyone or meet up.  The costume was held together with glue and hope, as my skill level was really poor, but I still enjoyed it.  So I guess we can say this costume was the precursor to my Priestess.  When I look back on it, it had so much potential, but my poorness+lack of skill+throwing it together last minute to the Benny Hill theme is what made me stop any further progress or development for years.


I started thinking about an elaborate Legion costume when I knew I was going to take Allyn to the Wastelander's Ball.  It's "formal apocalypse" wear, and I knew I wanted a huge sweeping dramatic skirt and a big headdress.  The Legion is the only faction that can really pull off something like that in New Vegas, so I started making some ideas.  The game mentions priestesses of the Legion and I suppose all of my Nordic/Celtic/Germanic medieval pagan vibes worked their way into this look.  A few drawings later and I had everything in mind.  We bought the supplies and began work in February.

 
The biggest challenge was honestly, my post partum body.  I spent months fluctuating weight, being a bigger weight than I ever have been in my life, hating my body, and on top of that searching for a fluffy ballgown dress.  That was the second biggest challenge, ha! The dress.  I found what I needed at the thrift store, but it was white and needed to be dyed red.  Like, bloody Legion red.  As you can see above, this fabric did NOT take well to the idea of red.  We had a good laugh, a mild panic, and hesitantly decided to try spray paint.

It worked like a charm.  It even gave the dress a weirder, firmer texture that just suits the apocalypse so well, almost like the dress is an old relic that's been burned or charred.  The other big project was the headdress and we played around with ideas of what to put on it; I wanted some type of animal skull but most of the ones in the desert are so dry rotted they crumble when you do anything with them.  We were toying with other ideas when Allyn took out an old creepy metal mask he'd put together long before we met.


It was like the missing gemstone in a temple lock or something, it fit so well.  I was stunned at how I instantly looked very "Legion" with the headdress.  Once the headdress and the main dress were finished, it was smooth sailing.  I painted the cape, we weathered the clothing, and while I slept feverishly in a hotel in Primm, Nevada, Allyn put together the remainder of my codpiece.


It looks amazing and I think it might be my favorite part of the costume.  I do intend to embellish it more in the days to come, but this is a great starting point.  There's a bit of lore here, and the codpiece design was all my idea.  In the older, scrapped Fallout stories, there exists a tribe called the 80's who roam the remains of Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, sometimes on motorcycles.  They're described as vicious and identify their rank based on the signs they wear--of course, the prized blue and red interstate 80 denotes a special member.  I live right next to 80, so it was only fitting that my priestess kept a bit of her home tribe with her after assimilating into the Legion!


From here it's just adding more details and finding a makeup routine I like! But I'm pleased so far, and not only is this bad boy going to be entered into Fanx's cosplay contest this year, but I have a special "version" of it planned for Zombie Prom.......stick around!

 
As usual...Allyn was instrumental in making this costume happen and he's the reason for all the awesome stuff we do together.  It's the best feeling in the world to have someone so talented and creative in your life, and even better when they encourage your own creativity and theirs compliments yours.  His enthusiasm and problem solving skills are infectious and if he were in game, I'd keep him as a companion for the whole main quest! 

8.05.2018

Correcting Tongue and Lip Ties

I've thought about writing this since Ender was small.  I wondered if anyone would care, if it was worth sharing, and so on, even though when I was researching this myself there is precious little information out there about it, so by default I should have thought about sharing to raise awareness.  Anyway, I was going through Ender's old pictures and found a pre-lip-tie-fix photo and it just took me right back to those really hard days, and I thought, what the hell, it's time to share.






Tongue Tie 


So I actually got kind of "lucky" on this.  Allyn was an adult with a tongue tie.  Before I met him, I thought "tongue-tied" was a colorful expression.  But nope, it just means that your tongue doesn't lift properly and is "tied" via skin to your lower jaw.  In the case of a mild lip tie, maybe nothing changes.  In an extreme tongue tie, which Allyn had, things like touching one's tongue to the back of one's teeth is impossible.  This meant no ice cream cone licking for Allyn, for most of his life.  He had the tie corrected in his 20's, and it was painful and a long healing process.



It's interesting that breastfeeding is the new FRENZY CULT and yet not a lot of education is out there about tongue ties and how it affects breastfeeding.  I'd done all my duties and read up on proper latch and blah blah blah boring who cares god I don't miss ANY OF THIS, but when Ender first tried to breastfeed I told the nurse that it hurt really bad and her response was "yep. it hurts. that's life."  I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.  She was awful.  

But I pushed and asked the lactation consultant, who had no clue what I was talking about until I explained it and then said "oh yeah! I knew a woman who had that once and she had to have her tongue cut when she was an adult! Supposedly it's really painful!" UGH THANKS.  The worst part? "You know what helps bruised nipples? Rub a little breastmilk on it!"  I'm sorry, but breast milk is literally fat and sugar.  Do you want me to put cookies on 'em too? Butter them up maybe?  What other bodily fluids should I apply to my contusions? So dumb.  I absolutely hate that breastfeeding is this new pseudo-science-mystic-healing-powers bullshit.  So over it.  Anyway, that was also a bust and I'm getting off track.  She was no help is my point.    

Sooooooooo I pushed again and went to the hospital pediatrician, who I have mixed feelings about.  I'll explain why in a minute.  She was the first person who actually had experience with tongue ties, and after hearing my suspicion, she poked Ender to get him crying (keep in mind he was like 2 days old and I was very sad to see him cry like that.)  The minute he opened his mouth she said he had a severe tongue tie.  I was happy I stood up for myself and my son, but annoyed that I had to ask three separate people and it was me asking instead of the medical professionals during whatever checkups they do, but whatever.  

I didn't know what to expect since Allyn's experience had been so painful and traumatizing.  I guess it isn't so when done on a baby, because Ender didn't bleed, he didn't scream, he was just annoyed at having a little spatula in his mouth to lift his tongue up.  Unlike circumcision, which is a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure, this was a cut on an infant (haha) that I feel like really truly helped him.  Allyn was a little jealous that Ender would get to go through childhood without the trauma of not being able to speak or eat properly.  I was just relieved and thought we'd fixed the problem.


Lip Tie



But Ender was still having problems.  I noticed that he had what I called a "turtle lip" and I suspected it was the cause of his bad latching issues.  When he was only a week or two old I took him back to the pediatrician with again, suspicions that he had a lip tie.  A lip tie is bad because it also prevents a good latch, which whether the baby is sucking down from a boob or a bottle, they get extra air, they have reflux, and so on.  They can contribute to later problems as well, although since that was the "survival mode" of motherhood all I was worried about was the eating and latching.  The pediatrician looked and said yes, he had a severe lip tie, BUT (and this is why I have a mixed opinion of her) she was very haughty about correction of lip ties and stated that "maybe a dentist would do it, but would they be doing it for the right reasons?"  Implying that money was the only reason you'd want to remove such a feature.  She urged me to wait it out and see if things "got better" WHICH IS THE WORRRRRRRRST ADVICE to a new mother with severe PPD but whatever lady, I'm sorry the dentist hurt you.

Poor old Ender was having a rough go of it and I got so mad about the doctor visit that I switched pediatricians which is the best choice I could have made.  Ender's new doctor took everything I said seriously, checked his mouth and was stunned at how "glued down" his lip was, and he called in another doctor who had extensive practice with the procedure.  They asked if another pair of doctors could witness the procedure and I said sure, have at it.  It was just the same as the tongue tie; took a few seconds, shed a few tears, and bam, a HUGE problem was fixed.  And almost like he was reading my mind about the gall of the other pediatrician, the doctor said "We'll see if we can look up some codes for this to bill it as cheap as possible since this was medically necessary, at this point."  Guess not every lip tie fixer is in it for the money EH LADY?  I was and am, very, very grateful for these compassionate and understanding men and wish they would have been around for my traumatizing birth and first three weeks, ha!


I don't know how well I have helped Ender medically speaking; I know that he could eat better but still had reflux most of his early days.  I know that we only breastfed for a month and I attribute a lot of that failure to the lip and tongue ties and the idiocy of the medical team "on my side" or whatever, and I know that according to Allyn, growing up with a tongue tie was completely miserable and I've spared Ender years of pain and strife.  I also think it's likely he could have had speech problems with the combination of a "severe" tongue and "severe" lip tie, and now that's one less thing he has to worry about maybe?  When we got home and I saw how full and luscious his lips were without the frenulum holding his lip down I cried because he has my lips and I had no idea before that.  Just have a look at the before and after. (The before is the photo that prompted me to write this entry) 

7.28.2018

Summer in Progress

I can't believe the last update I made was in May.  That's absurd.  Summer just kind of steam-rolled me and I'm still feeling the effects of it as we're maybe halfway through, but I had to give at least a small update and recap.


I had a huge Midsommar party and it was a blast.  I keep meaning to upload photos, but it just hasn't happened.  I'm bummed because I didn't take a ton of photos in the first place, but it's really hard to be an event planner, host, participant and photographer.  It was everything I dreamed it'd be, though! We had all the classics including jordgubbstĂ„rta and the symbolic opening of surströmming (which I thought was going to make Allyn divorce me).

I don't even know what happened all of June.  It just blurred by, and July has been even worse.  I can't go into too much personal detail but something completely unexpected happened--good, but stressful, and when I say stressful I mean the kind of shit that most people don't survive without some kind of mental breakdown.  Luckily, I was already mentally broken down so I have cruised through everything and seemingly FINGERS CROSSED, August looks to be less...intense.


The above photos are from probably my favorite day all summer...I went to Butterfield Canyon with Allyn and Ender.  Our plans to go down the other side were washed away in the rain, so we turned around and came home, but it was so amazing to get out of the city and be in the rain and dirt and trees.  Why don't I do this more often?  It's a form of self-care and it just doesn't happen nearly enough.

I decided in May that I was going to try handwriting in a journal, mostly for Ender, because there are things I want him to know that I just don't care to put on a public blog, and also because that will be something he can continue to keep track of when the nuclear apocalypse inevitably happens.  But I can't seem to find the right journal to do it with.  They're all so small and obnoxious.  Or they're not lined.  Or they're not pretty enough.

I did buy a small journaling pad and though it's been nice and I've gotten a few good sketches out of it, I've decided I need something bigger.



Follow my instagram art page!   @haifisch_art

Haha, I just noticed these two are both skellyton-ish....well anyway.  The purple haired girl actually comes from a "game" I'm obsessed with...it's called Choices, and it's an app where you do a choose-your-story IT SOUNDS SO LAME! and the stories are definitely geared toward more young-adult fiction, but they had a "scary" book that was just so moody and haunting it reminded me of those days playing Silent Hill 4 or reading Goosebumps and Spooksville...yeah I was super obsessed with scary young adult books, so much so that I'd love to write a few myself.  

The best were these three-story collections called "Fright Time" that I would get from the dollar store....I've always intended to rebuild my collection via the wonder of Amazon.  Another great series was "Shivers" which had SO many great tales, my favorite of which was titled "Night of the Goat Boy."  You laugh now but that thing was terrifying!!! Come to think of it, I think it's time for another Amazon books buy.  A random sidenote is that way back in the early, early days of Facebook I happened to track down M.D. Spenser, the author of the Shivers series and I gushed to him about how much I loved his work and how the books ignited my imagination as a younger kid, and that he was one of my author inspirations.  He was very gracious and encouraged me to write.  Pretty cool. 

Anyway, a bunch of other stuff has happened, I went to two pinup contests, and joined the Battlin' Betties, which seems promising.  Also not documented anywhere on my instagram or Facebook is the fact that since April, I've been doing on and off keto--I LOVE IT.  The "off" part has been mostly due to unfixable circumstances and heavy stress, but goddammit I'm committed, again, and can't wait to get back in ketosis.  To sound cultish for a minute, my aches and pains pretty much disappeared, I had energy in a way I've never had energy before, I had stunning clarity and better moods...and obviously a lot of weight came off.  I'm ready to get back into those feels please! 

In August, we have:

-My birthday
-Hot Air Balloon Festival
-Zombie prom and walk (and I have an AWESOME makeup unveiling!)
-......my birthday
-Salt Flats racing!

For real, I'm trying to keep the "doing" to a minimum because I'm just exhausted.  I've "done" enough in the month of July and I'd just love to sit around for my birth month and enjoy my family.

Here's a Currently:

reading:  A whole lot of Reddit.  Now that I wrote this post I'm getting into buying more young adult horror to traumatize Ender with, and it's going to be amazing.  I still have my two books to read to Allyn on my kindle but that hasn't happened yet :( 


watching After the third person compared me to Lagertha (I still am not sure why) I finally started watching Vikings.  The funny thing is that I listened to Wadruna, who does a lot of their music, yeaaaaaaaaars ago.  It's weird watching a show that has all this weird folky Scandinavian music in it that you've heard a lot.  Anyway, the show really fizzled out after the first two seasons, but those two seasons were phenomenal.  Very artful, incredible acting, and lots of ancient languages including my absolute favorite--Anglo Saxon!  Well done History Channel good job 10/10 in the beginning there.

Other than that?  Just a lot of murder and crime TV.  What else is new? 

thinking about my health.  I'm 30 and I feel 90.  There are so many things I want to do but these changes last if they're implemented slowly and the best place to start is my diet.  I WAS on track there for awhile and then life punched me.  I still am thinking a lot about my health these days.

wondering how to make more money.  Wondering WHY I have to make money.  Hating society.  Feeling stressed.  Wondering if I can make it by digging out a nuclear shelter and just eating platain for the next twenty years until I die.  I really, really hate modern society and I don't care how cynical I sound.  I'm so over it.  I'm so over both Allyn and I having to break our necks with this work-obsessed culture where wealth is something the average American will never achieve.  I'm just sick of it.  Wow this got dark huh?  Always on my mind though, lol.

enjoying Ender.  He is such a good baby.  He's so smart and strong and wonderful.  He hasn't quite gotten attached to me in the way where he loves on me, but he does scream blood-curdling monstrous screams if I walk away from him, so there's that.  I've been going a little nuts on the pinning of baby birthday stuff, so that'll be our next big party for sure.