Friday, May 29, 2015

Countdown to Jurassic World: The Lost ... er, ... World

Last week, I shared why Jurassic Park is so special to me. This week, I'll be live-tweeting the second movie, The Lost World.

I remember going to see The Lost World in the theater, too, though not nearly as vividly as Jurassic Park. What do I remember?

Well, there are a few things, but the first that always comes to mind is the gymnast vs. velociraptor battle scene.

I remember this specifically because I thought it was ridiculous. You know, in a movie about dinosaurs living free on an uninhabited Costa Rican island and then getting shipped to the mainland and running loose in San Diego, THAT part stretched my suspension of disbelief.

The Lost World seems to catch a lot of flak, suffering either from Sequel Syndrome or Assumed Sequel Syndrome, I'm not really sure which. I can't be an impartial judge because I still think The Lost World was AWESOME, and a fantastic follow-up to Jurassic Park. It genuinely excited me because I thought it meant the franchise was viable, that it was bigger than the second-movie slump, and that we could expect Great Things from then on.

And then, well...

That's next week's topic.

I also love The Lost World now as an adult because a lot of what happens in this movie is super relevant to the work I do with wild animals. Like Jurassic Park, it has plenty of casual social commentary. And then, of course, there's the thrill of watching your (then) city get destroyed by a T-Rex on the big screen.

I'll be live-tweeting The Lost World tomorrow, 5/30 at 6:30 PM PST, still using the hashtag #JPLT. Join in, if only because it's really hard to snark alone.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Countdown to Jurassic World: Jurassic Park

Ah, nostalgia.

I get a healthy dose of it every single time I think about the movies of my childhood. In my memory, my childhood events are tied to the movies (and books, but this post is about movies) that came out around that time. Movies are some of the strongest memories I have:

Ariel swimming on-screen in The Little Mermaid, the first movie I ever saw in the theater.

Seeing Titanic in the theater six times in 8th grade. Both because it was the thing to do (us 8th graders put our spent ticket stubs in the clear fronts of our school binders to show how many times we'd been), and because I was into the Titanic disaster before it was cool, so I had to prove myself.

Waiting in line to see the first Lord of the Rings movie, and the first Harry Potter movie. My mom pulled me out of school for both so we could see them the day they came out.

Realizing I was completely in love with adventure somewhere about three seconds into the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

And many, many more. But there's one that stands out, even above all the rest. One movie that genuinely gave me my love of movies.

My dad, when I was 9 years old, took me and my older sister to see Jurassic Park in the theater. I've been a gigantic wuss all my life, so the movie should have scarred me and left me with either years of therapy bills or a strong phobia of dinosaurs. But instead, I have vivid memories of that dark theater, sitting all the way up in the back row (this was before stadium seating, so the view wasn't that great, but my dad wanted to make sure we could leave quickly if we needed to). I remember being scared during the velociraptor and t-rex scenes, but honestly more fascinated than anything else.

Jurassic Park was the first movie to really embrace CGI special effects. Much like Titanic (though more like the disaster, since the movie was still four years away), it was also a great example of the hubris of humanity, and though it went over my head at the time, it had plenty of social and political commentary. Also much like Titanic, it wasn't any one event that led to disaster, but rather a fascinating perfect storm of individual sub-plots that all added up to a spectacular failure.

For all I know, Jurassic Park may have given me my eventual fascination with the Titanic.

On top of that, I'm reasonably certain I can trace my eventual wandering onto the path of zookeeping back to Jurassic Park. Yes, even though it ended poorly for all those zoo workers, I still wanted to do it. Of course I did.

Finally, Jurassic Park seemed like an inevitability in the series of other dino-themed media that, in the 80's and early 90's, also marked my childhood: The Land Before Time, the creatively-named movie Dinosaurs!, and the even less creatively-named TV show Dinosaurs.

In other words, if one movie was an iconic inspiration that shaped me into who I am today, it's Jurassic Park.

Which is why, even though it looks campy, and even though I'm half terrified it will be awful (in a bad way), I am so excited for Jurassic World that I just might pee my pants.

I'll be live-tweeting Jurassic Park tomorrow night, May 23rd, at 7:30 PM PST (approximately, I have a job and a baby and would like to eat at some point). Tune in for snark, nostalgia, and some fun zookeeper takes on the whole thing. You can click over to my twitter feed on the right sidebar there or find me as @LTHost.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Rest of the Game of Thrones Dragon Eggs

So way back in January, I posted this awesome little gift I made Husband for Christmas. I got the idea from and made them using the techniques in this tutorial from Accio Lacquer.

And then February happened, and on Valentine's day, so did this:

This one came with a four-step scavenger hunt written in verse a la GONE GIRL. He hated me. I loved it.

In Game of Thrones, this egg is described as "black, black as midnight sea, yet alive with scarlet ripples and swirls". I accomplished this one by painting silver thumb tacks with a base coat of black acrylic paint (to save nail polish). I then painted over it with varying coats and thicknesses of a deep maroon China Glaze (which has lost its label, sorry), the same Nabi Purple Jumbo Glitter as in the Accio Lacquer tutorial (I found mine on Amazon), and then finished roughly 1/5th of the tacks with a black crackle polish for a cool stone effect.

I love this egg. It took the longest out of all of them, and the pictures don't really do it justice, because when you pick it up and turn it, it just sparkles with a whole rainbow of color. Gorgeous.

In March, Husband received yet another mysterious clue for our dating anniversary that led him to this:

This one is described as "a deep green, with burnished bronze flecks that came and went depending on how Dany turned it."

I love the dimension on this one, too, honestly. Both the black and green eggs came out much better than I expected.

For this one, I used varying shades of green acrylic paint on gold thumbtacks, topped with lots of drug store greens and green glitters. The bronze flake is L.A. Girl Rock Star Crowd Surfing, which is on Amazon here. The only challenge with this egg? The styrofoam egg underneath all those tacks was either damaged or badly formed to begin with. I noticed it, but didn't think it would make this big of an impact until the thing was finished. You can see in the second picture there towards the bottom how weirdly some of the tacks are laying as a result. So, if you choose to make your own, my suggestion is to make sure your egg is perfect when you start.

I used a lot more tacks on the two later eggs, which you can actually see in the picture below. They're more densely scaled than the white one. I think they look better, personally, but it was a buttload more work.

They're really satisfying to hold. It's weird, they feel solid and weighty and cool to the touch but warm slowly in your hands. Hard to believe they're styrofoam and thumbtacks. They feel almost exactly like you'd expect a dragon egg to feel.

Here are all three eggs together:

And, sadly, as I initially suspected, they don't all fit in their places in the box. They do fit, just not neatly cradled like I'd hoped. Oh well. Someday I'll re-visit this:

Tiny Daenerys watches over her eggs:

I didn't make Tiny Daenerys. But I think she makes a great crate guardian.

Monday, May 4, 2015

One Year Later: An Anniversary of Guilt

Edited to add: My now-born son is and was fine, thankfully.

Today is one year since my most recent horse accident, by far the worst of the ones I've had (including the one that left me with a permanent limp), on account of being pregnant at the time.

I've been trying to write this for a while. I thought it would help me to share what happened, but it turns out, all writing it out did was make me realize how much I'm not over it.

I still have a lot of unresolved emotions about the whole thing. I wanted to explain myself and the situation and finally try to work out why I'm still so upset but I think I can't for all the same reasons. No matter how many times I re-write it, I sound defensive, because I still carry incredible amounts of guilt. I will never let myself be okay with it. I think I need to not post those longer versions as much as I needed to write them to begin with.

So if you clicked over here from Twitter or somewhere else, I'm sorry this isn't juicy or long. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to post a longer version. I just don't think that day is today.

If you're not too upset, feel free to send a hug or a kind word my way. You may not know exactly why, but I could use it.