Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finished Smallville season 10

Another thing to cross off my entertainment to do list.  I do like Smallville.  I don't think Tom Welling makes a very good Superman, but tbh he doesn't become Supes until the final moments of the last episode, so I'm not sure it matters.  Erica Durance makes a fabulous Lois Lane.

Highlights of season 10 are the hen/stag do night and the Booster episodes.  Recommended watching!

I'm not sure if I'm going to re-read Season 11.  We'll see how much spare time I have.

Looking at my entertainment to do list, I think I'm going to be able to do the new readers... reviews but they will have to be shorter reviews than I would normally do.  But, yeah, I can do them!  Bring this on!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Comics review: Convergence week 5

Spoilers ahead (probably).

Convergence 5
I really cannot bring myself to care about this main title.  Skataris and dinosaurs are fun, but it's not necessary to read this to understand the tie-ins.  I suspect that I will be selling this mini.

Convergence: Justice League 2
There's some ridiculous bum and boob images in this.  Ignoring that, this isn't too bad,  It's pretty much a big fight between the League and Flashpoint Aquaman, with a bit of Vulko, ending with Mera killing Flashpoint Aquaman.  I can't imagine anyone not invested in pre 52 continuity enjoying this.  Fortunately, I like the pre 52 world a lot.  These 2 issues are keepers, really just for Supergirls' involvement in them.

Convergence: Superman 2
Just lovely.  Lois has been kidnapped by Flashpoint Kal, but he doesn't mean her harm, and he takes her to Flashpoint's Batman's cave.  Lois goes into labour and Flashpoint Batman (Thomas Wayne, a  doctor) says he can't handle delivering the baby so Clark does it.  Surprisingly, they show the labour as being quite drawn out, and not over in half an hour.  And at the end Lois and Clark and a baby boy.  It's delightful.  This is definitely a keeper.

Convergence: Batman and Robin 2
This appears to be one of the few tie-ins that lets it's heroes be heroes - i.e. not willing to go fight the opposing champion.  Of course it is, it's Batman.  Jason Todd and Damian are in this, and it turns into a father-sons piece.  The art is nice.  I couldn't care about the story.  I'll try and sell this.

Convergence: The Atom 2
I think I'd remember this more fondly if I hadn't watched Smallville's Booster episode last night (with the three Blue Beetles in it).  Which means that I'm getting my blue heroes muddled.  The comic was OK.  I find the Deathstroke vs the Atoms storyline strange, probably because I wasn't reading the pre 52 issues where Deathstroke killed Ryan Choi.  I do like that Ryan has been resurrected, that's a good thing about this event.  I am undecided as to whether I should keep this.

Convergence: The Question 2
This might be called the Question but really it's a Two-face/Renee story, with lots of support by Batwoman and Huntress.  Some of the storytelling through just art (no words) is pretty damn fine.  I highly highly recommend this.  Definitely a keeper.

Convergence: The Titans 2
Roy finds a way to save Lian and his friends, and Lian is the real Lian, and she remains alive at the end.  This resonated.  It's a keeper.

Convergence: Speed Force 2

This has a very flat, cartoony, style of art. It's not what I'm used to, but I can't tell if I think if it's bad, or if it's just different.  Reading it, I have trouble accepting this Flashpoint Wonder Woman.  She's too far away from the Diana I am used to.  Irey seems to have some sort of torso muscles, which is strange, given her age.  I think I thought this issue was nice enough, but it's not really got anything memorable in it.  I liked the first issue though, so I'll probably keep this.

Convergence: Harley Quinn 2
This was fun.  Harley tells Cap'n Carrot she has super fists, scorch vision, canary scream, awesome-portation and a magic hammer stolen from the Gods.  He believes her, because who lies about having super powers?  This plan backfires but it all turns out well in the end, and Harley is reunited with ivy and Selina.  But doesn't go back to her fella.

Convergence: Batgirl 2
Steph and Tim seemed out of character in this.  Tim says that he ignored her for the last year because she was no longer Batgirl. Now she is suited up again, he's interested again.  She gets annoyed at this, but then takes him back.  I prefer to think that Steph has more self respect than that, and that Tim isn't such a dick.  Possibly keeping for nostalgia reasons.

Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle: 2
This was good.  I really like the design of the Hawks, and Black Canary shows up.  The Hawks get defeated and are offered the chance to live in this Gotham, curating their culture.  That's how heroism works.  Then Babs and Dick get hitched and we see the second ever good comic book wedding dress.  The first was Canary's when she married Green Arrow, FYI.  These 2 issues are keepers.

One thing that I realised during this week's comics, is that the fights between champions aren't to the death.  I had assumed they were, but I don't think Telos ever stated that.  He just said one champion must be defeated.

I didn't read many of the divergent previews.  I doubt I'll be getting many of them.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Making a Captain Marvel maternity top

Ever since I saw Carol Danvers new Captain Marvel uniform I've wanted an everyday version of it.  I think the design is sleek, attractive and very wearable.  However, I can't make clothes from scratch.  So as maternity clothes are so bloody dull I decided to customise a basic navy blue t-shirt and put the major elements of Carol's uniform on it.

This is her uniform:
I used images from this Amber Unmasked tutorial and from this cosplay as reference shots.

My t-shirt is a navy blue version of this one from Mothercare's Blooming Marvellous range:

I used yellow material leftover from my Supergirl t-shirt, and bought new red fabric that matched the feel and stretch of the t-shirt.  I also used paper thin enough to trace images from my laptop onto, fabric scissors, pins, a sheet of bonda web, yellow and red thread and a disappearing ink pen. Then I started making it, using this process:

The Star

  • Find a decent image of the star design online.  I used this one from this site.
  • Save the image as a jpeg onto your desktop, zoom in to the size you want and then trace the shape onto paper. Don't piss about trying to work out how to scale up from the original picture size.  This sort of geometric pattern doesn't get fuzzy enough (when enlarged) to be a problem.
  • Straighten up the hand drawn lines with a ruler and make a copy of this star template.
  • Mark the front of your paper template with 'front'.
  • Put your t-shirt on. pin the paper star in place on your t-shirt.
The Gold Bars
  • Still with the t-shirt on, put a pin on the edge of the tee roughly where you want the gold bars to end.
  • Take off the t-shirt (carefully, without impaling yourself), use some more pins to place where you think one double gold stripe should go - check against your reference material to see how the stripes come out of the star.  The pins should look something like this:
  • Put your paper on the tee and trace the rough shape you want.  Just trace the shape of the double stripes, don't split them into two yet.
  • Tidy up the lines with a ruler.   Cut out the bar (write front right on it).  If you flip it over you should have a bar that fits the other side of the star.  Write front left on this.
  • Measure the height of your stripes and cut them in half, horizontally.  My stripes are 4.5cm in height, so I am cut them at the 2.25cm mark.
  • Make a couple of copies of these.
Your templates should resemble this:

The Red Bits

  • Place your paper on the tee, over the blank material above the stripes.  Roughly trace the shape of the top of the tee,  Tidy up your lines on the paper, cut out the template and mark front left or front right on it.  Make copies of this template.
Pin all pieces of the pattern on the t-shirt, so you have something that looks like this:

I'm actually quite proud of figuring out the pattern for this.  However I would invite you to notice that the front left to-be-red piece doesn't quite match the shape of the t-shirt at the top.  This caused a crappy patch job later on.

Cutting out the fabric
  • Get your copies of the star and bare templates.  Flip them over (so the side saying front is facing the material) and place them on the relevant bits of fabric.  Draw round the template with a disappearing ink pen.  Do it this way in case the ink doesn't disappear as well as you thought.  I figure that is the ink doesn't disappear the marks will be on the back anyway. 
  • Remember to cut the shape out of the fabric according to where the stretch is, e.g. widthways or heightways.
  • As this is a maternity tee I wanted the stretch to go horizontally, because I figure as my boobs expand horizontally will be a better fit than vertically and as the stripes are quite short in height, an horizontal stretch also seems sensible.
  • With the star, given that the star isn't asymmetrical (is that the right word?) make sure you've got the points of the star set up right when drawing round it on the fabric. 
  • When you cut out your stripes in the fabric, make them longer than the paper templates - just in case your template isn't long enough (a few millimetres short will cause a problem).  You can always cut them down to length once you've stuck the fabric on.
  • Remember to use fabric not paper scissors to cut out your material.
  • Repeat the above steps with bonda web, but using a pencil instead of the ink pen.
Putting it all on the t-shirt
Line up the bits of paper bonda web strips on the t-shirt, just to make sure it all roughly fits together, a la:

  • Get the star lined up right then everything else with follow.  It's handy having a v necked t-shirt as you know the top point of the star needs to sit right in the lowermost point of the v.
  • Place the bonda web under the yellow star then iron it on, according to bonda web instructions.
  • Do each gold bar one at a time, using the star to line everything up.  It  is fiddly!
  • The star and one bar will look like this (the white stuff is a piece of bonda web):
  • Remember how I said to make the fabric and bonda web pieces longer than that paper templates?  Now you have put the fabric on you can cut it (and the bonda web) to size, making sure they end right at the t-shirt seams.
  • Once the yellow is on put your red paper templates on.  if you are me, you now discover they don't fit right, so make a note on how to change them and cut out more fabric and bonda web as required.
  • Iron the red bits as as for the yellow parts.

You'll end up with this:

Remember how I talked about a patch job?  This is the gap on the left side which I ended up patching with a small bit of extra red:

You can also see the pattern of the tea towel I used to iron the bonda web on with.  A week later you can no longer see this pattern (hooray), but it does make me wonder how effectively the fabric is glued on.

Finishing it off

  • I used the sewing machine to sew around each yellow and red edge (as close to the edge as possible) just to make it a look a bit tidier and less like a 5 year old and been let loose with fabric.
  • On the yellow star, I ended up having to sew some of it backwards, because I forgot that you can swivel the fabric around as much as you'd like to make it sew forwards.  This is why you shouldn't sew when angry.
  • When sewing the red fabric around the t-shirt seam, be careful that you don't sew over the inside seam, like this:
Sewing over the seam means that your stitching on the other side will be wonky, like this:
In my case the fabric ended up bunched up like you can see in the picture, and I had to unpick a section.  This may not have happened quite so badly if the fabric was properly glued, but as you can see the bonda web and/or fabric wasn't all the way to the seam.

You can avoid this bunching happening by lining your fabric up right on your sewing machine and pushing this seam to the right of your needle.

The end result:

Close up from earlier, so you can see how it sits naturally:
For anyone wondering, the pointy bit in my bump is one piece of navel jewellery.  It's not my belly button popping out and it's not a limb.  I'm 28+6 in this picture - too early for that stuff to happen!

Here is a close up of the raggedy bits:
The yellow pieces are raggedy because of the type of fabric.  The stitches will help stop them fraying.  It does look amateurish, but I did wear it out in public today and felt OK in it.  The bonda web has made the red parts really stiff, which makes it sit strangely (see the above two photos), but nevermind.

I am definitely not going to extend the yellow and red around the back of the t-shirt.  This was enough for me, and took me hours.  Probably about 7 hours in total, because I'm slow.  I might try and find some yellow beads to put on the neck line, to mimic the ones on her gloves.

I guess this makes me a member of the Carol Corps.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Comic reviews: Convergence week 4 and lots others

So many comics to write about.  I'll try to keep each review brief.

Justice League 40
I bought this one for the boy band cover and obviously now want to watch Magic Mike, the film it is apparently from.  I did rather like the story too.  Metron is about and meets the anti monitor and all the crises are referenced.  At the end the Amazonian birthed anti-God turns up, which feels less stupid than it did in the WW FCBD story.

Multiversity 2
I think this reestablished the pre 52 Multiversity, with new universes, and established a group of protectors for it, including lady Aquaman.  It also has a panel of Vampire Wondy and Vampire Bats craving coffee.  Which is fun.

Superman 40
This is a very strange comic,  The JL are being written like they are all aged about 18 or 19, or younger.  The plot kind of works, but the way in which it's delivered is weird.  John Romita JR writes and pencils, and the pencils are bloody awful.

X-Men 26
The Krakoa storyline ended.  All but Rachel seem a bit bloodthirsty.  It's a reasonable ending, I suppose.

Bitch Planet 4
I adore this comic and the editorials.  Y'all should read it.

Princeless the Pirate Princess 4
Fecking wonderful, as ever, and Raven is confirmed queer. Love this,

FCBD offering from the CBLDF
This is a bit too much issue focused for me to really enjoy it. I'll pass it on.

FCBD offering: DC's Divergence
Ridiculous.  Commissioner Gordon is the new Batman in the Batsuit that looks like a Blue Beetle suit.  Lois has told the word Clark's secret.  An Amazonian fucked Darkseid and the child is the anti-God.  What a load of crap.

FCBD offering from Dark Horse
The Fight Club story was quite good.  I haven't bothered reading the other two.

FCBD offering from Boom studios
I've flicked through this and it looks good, but I haven't had the headspace to read it in totality.

Convergence 4
I can't be bothered to flick through this and re-acquaint myself.

Convergence: Shazam 1
One of the best Convergence books so far.  It has that innocence the Marvel family used to have, when they were unashamed at being written for kids.  It's got Sivana and Tawky Tawny but isn't written as a nostalgia trip - it's a genuinely good story and a good addition to Marvel canon.

Convergence: Blue Beetle 1
This is about Captain Shinypants, the Question and Blue Beetle, with a guest appearance by Booster.  Pretty Good, even with Shinypants in it.

Convergence: Crime Syndicate 1
Somehow I liked this.  I normally find the Crime Syndicate really really dull, but this was enjoyable.   Nice art too.

Convergence: Booster Gold 1
Pre 52 Booster meets New 52 Booster and if you like traditional Booster you'll like this issue.  the Legion of Superheroes turn up.  Fights ensue.  This was one of the highlights of this week's comics.

Convergence: Detective Comics 1
Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson from the earth where they are proper adult legacy heroes.  I liked their squabbling an the clear characterisation of all involved.

Convergence: Infinity Inc 1
I'm not clear on the background or history for this, but I quite enjoyed it.

Convergence: Plastic Man 1
I get the Freedom Fighters existing in a world where the Nazis won the war, I don't understand what Plastic Man is doing there.  Was he ever part of that world?  I did enjoy the comic and the Freedom Fighters as a team, so that's a job well done by the creators.

Convergence: World's Finest 1
This I did really enjoy.  It feels like a decent standalone story in it's own right.

Convergence: Action Comics 1
Another good one.  Like World's Finest, it simply works as a story by itself.

Convergence: Justice Society of America 1
This week turned out a bunch of corkers.  This feels like it was created by people with real respect for the JSA era and the main guys in the team.  Good work.

JLA Paradise Lost 1
I got this from the comic shop in Brugges in March, but forgot I'd bought it.  It was pretty good.  It has Zauriel in it trying to stop a fellow angel take over Heaven.

JLA Incarnations 6
Also from the Brugges comic shop.  This is the JLI at it's finest and it much better than the Convergence JLI issue.  The first story is led by Booster and Beetle, and proves why they shouldn't be allowed to roam around unsupervised.  The second story is led by Captain Shinypants when he's on Extreme Justice and just proves that team is rather incompetent.  Worth reading for the JLI story.

Superman Krypton Chronicles 1 and 2
These are really good fun, and a bit batshit.  Plot holes a aplenty but as they aren't meant to be serious, who cares?  Clark is asked by the Daily Planet boss to put together an article on Krypton's history, so Clark has to travel to Kandor with Supergirl, now on the planet Rokyn, to meet with Supergirls parents and learn about Kryptonian history.  It's all a bit unhinged, but it allows the writers to have fun, and so the reader has fun too.  The reasoning for getting Kryptonian's history seems a bit bandwagon jumping though:

Superman Confidential issues
These are a great set of issues, and it's a great run.  Superman stories where he's being heroic from different stages of his life.  It's only 14 issues long and the ones I picked up were written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, who nearly always turn out reliably solid work, with the later issues pencilled by Phil Hester, who I adore.

Superman issues, pre 52 ones
One is a Christmas issue which I recall liking a lot, one is a one year later one that I already had, but forgot about and because it had Supergirl on the cover I bought it again.  She's barely in it.

The Adventures of Superman Annual 1997
I'm always disappointed by these pulp heroes annuals that don't have a pulp themed story.  Upon reading this it occurred to me that perhaps it's just that I don't know what it meant by 'pulp'.  The letters section was intriguing as everyone was complaining about the blue and red Superman.  It reminded me of all our kvetching about Supes' new solar flare power.  Oops.  Perhaps we should just roll with it...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pregnancy after stilbirth: 27 weeks 6 days

Had a midwife appointment yesterday and she's had my glucose tolerance test (GTT, to test for gestational diabetes) and general blood results back.  I don't have diabetes, I'm not anemic, I don't have antibodies and my blood group hasn't changed.

The urine test showed that I have leukocytes and ketones in my piss, so she thinks I may have a UTI, so I've been ordered to drink tons of water and cranberry juice, and if I get any symptoms (burning when I wee, pain in bladder/pelvic area) to bring in a wee sample for testing.  I have another midwife appointment in a few days (part of my regular weekly ones) so they'll check my pee again then.

She measured my bump and the baby is now at the 95th percentile, when it was at the 10th on the previous 2 scans.  So either it's grown massively over the last week or I have lots of other stuff in there.  Dunno.  The bump measurement is only a guideline, the scans are far more accurate.  Of course I'm now worrying the baby is going be huge and I'm going to get a 4th degree tear.  My midwife said there are lots of reasons why women tear, it's not all about baby size, it's do with their position, speed they come out, my pelvis position, the position I'm in, loads of stuff. She said it's important to listen to the midwife's instructions when in labour - when she says pant, I need to pant, when she says push, I need to push.  No one told me to pant with C but my midwife said that was a different case so I wouldn't have been told to pant.  I have no idea why.  To me his labour was straightforward and easy.  I need to find out why I wasn't told to pant.

I'm getting more scared of labour.  If it's as straightforward and quick as last time, I'll be fine. if it's longer, I'm terrified.  I'm not sure I know how to do this anymore.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 27 weeks 4 days

Today has been difficult.

I had my glucose tolerance test at the hospital which was OK actually.  Lucozade isn't as bad as I thought.  What you do is not eat from midnight the night before, arrive at 9am ish, have a blood sample taken, drink 410 mls of lucozade, an hour later have another blood sample taken, and an hour later have a third blood sample taken.  Then they test your bloods to see how well you are processing sugar and determine whether you have gestational diabetes or not.  Diabetes when pregnant is bad as if it's not controlled and kept an eye on it can at worst kill the baby.  Less horrific scenarios are the baby being much bigger than expected, which could make labour difficult so doctors might recommend a c -section.  If they do, it's helpful to remember that the c-section isn't the problem,  it's a solution that will help preserve the mother's and the baby's health.

While waiting at the hospital I saw a lot of young babies...and pregnant women.... looking happy.. and it pains me.  Saw some other kids on the weekend and that pained me too.  I'm glad there are healthy kids in the world, I wouldn't wish my situation on anyone, but all I wanted today was to cuddle a baby and cry into them, but I can't do that to a stranger's kid, because I'll look like a nutter.  I just want my son.  He'd be about 11 months old now.  I could look up child development month by month by I won't, because that will just hurt.  So that means I don't know what he'd be like about now.

I'm trying to make an appointment with the physio to look at my pelvic girdle pain.

I saw the Avengers Age of Ultron film on the weekend and enjoyed it..then on twitter today people are being pissy about it because of Black Widow's infertility storyline, which you can read about here, including my response.  It seems to me that people complaining about it aren't those who are actually infertile, or those whose bodies have failed their babies, or potential babies.  It strikes me that most people complaining about it want to see Natasha representing all women, whereas it's clear to me that she's not and what we are actually seeing is her perception of herself, where I can completely understand that her sterilisation means that she sees herself as monster.

If you are not infertile, or if you are childless through choice, you don't get to claim that her portrayal hurts women, because it is NOT your fucking story to tell.  Not all stories have to be about you.

I think I'm getting more scared of labour.  Last year, when everything was so fresh, I couldn't give a toss about labour.  It was hard work, it hurt one hell of a lot, but it didn't scare me.  Now I'm getting scared.  It has to be done, and it will hurt, but induction will be different because this one will be live and I don't know how to manage this or what to expect.  I need to talk to my doctors and midwives about it.