Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cast of Sound of Music to Appear on Oprah TOMORROW!

For those of you who don't consistently watch Oprah (myself included), I do want to announce to you musical theater fans that the cast of The Sound of Music will be the special guests on her show tomorrow! After the trip to Australia, this is likely my favorite part of Oprah's final season.

Andrews fawns over Plummer from afar... Who wouldn't? Rawr!

Of course, you may be thinking, Big woop! What's so special about that? I'll tell you what: for the first time since 1965, the children will perform as they did in the film! I'm not sure if Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews will sing - after all Andrews hasn't been able to really sing since her voice node surgery fiasco back in '97... Anyway, I just thought you musical theater/film aficionados would be interested to hear that! Don't miss it! I shan't.

If Julie Andrews can't make you smile, you're made of stone.

Interesting story about Julie Andrews and this movie: "The Sound of Music" and "My Fair Lady" both came out in the same award season. Andrews played Eliza Doolittle on Broadway opposite Rex Harrison. She was ousted in favor of Hepburn for God knows what reason. "My Fair Lady" stole most of the Oscars that year, including best picture. Audrey Hepburn received a big fat nothing. On the other hand, Andrews (who in turn replaced Broadway's Mary Martin in the role of Maria) was nominated for Best Actress and won a Golden Globe in the same category. I'm not trying to pick sides here, both ladies are practically perfect in their own right, but nothing good comes from trying to switch out genres between actresses like this. [Thanks to TJ at the The TJ Times for reminding me that it was "Mary Poppins" that came out in the same year as "My Fair Lady" and for which Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress, not the "Sound of Music", as I stated above.]

More tomorrow!
Nostalgically Yours

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I Don't Understand this Obsession With Men and Their Balls...

No, this not a post about rude jokes through the ages - a new episode of "Sex and the Austin Girl" has just gone up on Babelgum! This week: Sports!

I'd also like to take a second to thank the folks over at The Jane Austen Addict Website for publishing my review on their Press Page! It's quite an honor to be published on such an accomplished author's website. Do give them your traffic if you've got a moment or two - the website will give you information on how to enter for a chance to win copies of Laurie Viera Rigler's books:

Do enjoy the show - and the books!

Nostalgically Yours

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More and More Kittens - Their New Home

Looking to adopt? Click here for more information!

The kittens now have a new home! Their 16x20" box was quickly becoming quite stifling for the poor little dears, so I decided to build them a new habitat. Yes, you heard me correctly - BUILD. You didn't think I had it in me, did you? Well, I did. With some leftover wood from the shed in the backyard, a $13 saw kit from the Home Depot, some nails, a hammer, and just a touch of elbow grease, I managed to put together a rather solid half-wall to close off a corner of my bedroom:

The kittens are really starting to walk now, so they need more space to play and run around. I hope this can afford them that extra room. Their heating pad is under their bed there in the left hand corner. That's their new litter box on the right, and you can see about half of their white, square water dish - though I've been trying to water them regularly, their old box couldn't afford the room to leave the water with them all the time.

That litter box is home-made, by the way! Here's how:

1) Find an old box that you're going to get rid of anyway

2) Cut out one of the big sides of the box

3) Reinforce with tape - I used painter's tape to avoid fumes and chemicals

4) Draw a line one inch from the "bottom" of the box all the way around the interior sides

5) Cut out, and voila!

I suppose that whole explanation was more for anyone not too craft oriented. You probably could have figured that out yourselves... Now, to end with more kittens!

Once again, if you know anyone in San Francisco, New Orleans, or Washington D.C. who might be interested in one of the kittens, please contact me.

Drowning in Kittens
Nostalgically Yours

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Something that Just Isn't Right

I know I don't usually post anything politically charged because I don't like to polarize my readers. I felt I could make an exception here because this is not really a political issue, it is a human issue. As further explained in this article from The Advocate, Clint McCance, a member of an AK school board has posted semi-violent and extremely homophobic comments on his Facebook wall. You can read the article for more details, but I've written a letter to that school district's superintendent ( and you can read it here, if you'd like.

Superintendent Stanley:

My name is Roman Voytko Barrosse. I am a college student and recent High School Graduate, and have suffered through bullying at the hands of other students and indifference at the hands of school administration. It has come to my attention that a member of your school board, Clint McCance, has posted some hideously homophobic comments on his Facebook page, comments that amount to him expressing the desire that all gay people commit suicide. These comments indicate a frightening indifference to the suffering of people who might potentially be in his schools. He clearly would allow his personal beliefs to interfere with the education and safety of your students - a gross violation of what the education community stands for.

Whether or not Mr. McCance believes that homosexuality is right or wrong is entirely up to him. If he chooses to express these thoughts in cyberspace, that is his personal choice. However, when a school official publicly expresses the desire to cause harm to members of a certain group, or expresses the desire for that group to cause harm to themselves, that person has crossed the line.

To say that Mr. McCance's comments were private and not intended for public use would be entirely naive. In recent years it has become apparent that posting something on the internet is tantamount to printing a personal ad in a newspaper. Just about anyone can see it if they look carefully - as evidenced by the exposure this incident has gotten.

In light of the recent suicides of gay teens and children across our nation, I feel I need not explain the severe implications of inaction on the part of your administration. These words have clearly resonated across cyberspace and will send a clear message to the rest of the world as to what your schools stand for. Do you want that to be a message of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance or one of acceptance, love, and community?

Thank you for your time,
Roman Voytko Barrosse

PS: His usage of the homophobic slur "fag", derivative of "faggot", is also greatly distressing. This offensive and euphemistically violent expletive comes from the Middle Ages, when homosexual men were burned at the stake. The French word for fire wood - "fagot" - was translated into English and became associated with the GLBTQ community.

If I've offended anyone with these comments, I don't apologize. You have the right to believe what you want about anyone you want, but genuinely wishing someone harm is wrong.

Nostalgically (and angrily) Yours

Artwork and Kittens!

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Since I've been a terrible, terrible person and have barely posted at all this morning, I'll make up for it by posting some more artwork and some pictures of the kittens - are we cool? Here are some of the illustrations I've done for my Croquis and Rendering class at AAU. To see the rest of what I uploaded, you can click here - you'll have to scroll down past the Fine Art to see the newer stuff.

Also, I know many of you have been anxious to hear about the kittens! I've started to wean them off the bottle and onto some Turkey-flavored baby food. Here they are after their bath:

They're just learning to walk, so they need their exercise!

Some of them still find drinking water from a bowl quite intimidating...

Others have taken to it quite well

Individual Portraits!

Cute Anecdote - Since I had no one to help me bathe the kittens, I tied up my t-shirt to make a pouch to keep the wet kittens warm while I washed the others. They quickly settled in, but apparently got bored by the time I had finished. As I left the bathroom I noticed this and just had to take a picture...!

I seeeeeee you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mohair Dream for 1927

Just a little doodle I came up with in one of my random surges of creativity. It has weird shadows on the bottom because my scanner is acting up, so I had to hold up the paper in front of me and upload a photo from my iPhone directly to Facebook because I inexplicably can't save pictures on my phone anymore... Isn't technology just a dream? Here it is:

Anyway, as is my custom, I enjoy designing for different time periods. This is a mohair and fox fur coat designed for about 1927. If I were to make it today I would use faux fur, don't fret! It might seem a tad short but I presume the lady would have worn her dress just an inch or so longer than the coat. The hat is of wool felt dyed to match the mohair with a suede hat band to match the gloves and shoes. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Music Mondays - Shakira "Hay Amores"

Today I share with you a bolero from "Love in the Time of Cholera". Shakira wrote this and "Despedida" for the film at the request of Gabriel García Márquez, the author of the novel upon which the movie is based. I've recently discovered that she holds a reputation here in the United States for her less than modest way of dancing and dressing. Because of this her art goes greatly overlooked - not to mention the fact that translating her beautiful lyrics into English is a challenge because English does not have the same poetic and lyrical qualities that Spanish possesses. However, I think the fact that Márquez asked her personally to write two songs for the movie speaks volumes of her talent in the music field.

Anyway, since I know all of you don't speak Spanish, I've taken the liberty of translating the song into English. One can find translations of these songs online (like at this song translation forum), but they are mostly literal, do not attempt to tackle the rhyming scheme and often seem flat. I've done my best to write an English version that could be sung while keeping in the original bolero style. Feedback is, as always, greatly appreciated!

Oh, my love! Just what wouldn’t I do
To be able to hold you, in my arms to enfold you
Lost in our little world
Oh, my love! Like two rivers that meet
Spinning, churning, and then smooth as silk
May we both flow into one

There are passions that grow stronger with each obstacle that meets them
Like a wine that ages making it grow sweet then
Thus my feelings for you grow each moment more

There are passions that will wait until the coldest day to flower
In a winter, blooms grow heavy on the bower
And that’s just the kind of love I hold for you.

Oh, my love! Don’t forsake that green ocean
That has seen me cry so many times
Over my memories of you
Oh, my love! Please remember that day
That day fate came and steered you away
Leaving me swept by the tide

There are passions that grow stronger with each obstacle that meets them
Like a wine that ages making it grow sweet then
Thus my feeling for you grows each moment more

There are passions that in autumn bring a bright and fragrant bower
As the trees all start to die this love will flower
And that’s just the kind of love I hold for you.
I for you… For you… That is just the kind of love I hold for you…

Since she included some variations in the lines in terms of cadence and the amount of syllables, I took some liberties in that regard. Hope it's not too confusing!

Love in the time of kittens,
Nostalgically Yours

PS: I know it's not actually Monday, but bear with me. It's midterm week and I'm under a lot of stress.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blog Update

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I've unfortunately had to delay my posts for another week. I hate to do this, but I've really no other choice due to my parents' visit.

One of the kittens died on Sunday (my birthday). We buried her in the back yard and named her Samantha - I didn't think it would be right to bury her without a name...

We planted a flower on Samantha's grave

The other kittens are alive and well, thank goodness. Here they are right after their bath yesterday:

I also made a sling so I could keep the kittens warm when they're out of the box. This also helps with bonding, since they have no real mother to sleep against.

Très chic, non?

If you're wondering how I made it, I'll explain. I took an old an old t-shirt and the straps to my guitar case - they have snap hooks on each end.

With the t-shirt and snap hooks facing me, I snapped the hooks onto the edges of the t-shirt, one at the collar and one at the hem (A). Then, I pulled the straps around to the front, letting the fabric edges fold over themselves (B).

I placed one strap over your shoulder like a messenger bag and draped the other over my arm, letting the excess fabric hang like a canopy. I tucked one sleeve into the collar of the shirt I was wearing and used the second to cover the kittens once in the sling. Voilà!

More soon, I promise!
Nostalgically Yours

PS: You'll notice I've added buttons for you bloggers to grab and add to your website. I'd be more than happy to create a custom button for any website, just e-mail me at or leave a comment below.

PPS: Read how I obtained these little dears here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sex and the Austen Girl - New Episodes

As promised, here are some fun snippets of things to keep you busy while I'm off taking care of the kittens. Today, the two latest episodes of "Sex and the Austen Girl":

"Snip, Snip"

"A Matter of Chance"

Nostalgically Yours

PS: For those of you that are interested, the kittens are beginning to open their eyes!

The Kittens - Part I

Dear Readers,

I'm so terribly sorry for not having written so far this week. However, I promise that I have five very good reasons for falling behind on my posts - and here they are:

These are the five orphan kittens I've taken under my wing. Here's the back story: My family and I went to Petco because we wanted my little sister to see the animals they had up for adoption. While we were looking around, two frantic women came up to the temporary adoption desk carrying an old cardboard box. Inside? These five, teeny-tiny kittens - not even a week old - huddling for warmth. The women had discovered the poor dears somewhere outside UNO's campus. They had been feeding them all night, but could not keep them due to allergies. A friend had recommended they go to the adoption center to try and give them away, but the adoption lady had to refuse them.
"The best thing to do will be to take them to a shelter and have them put to sleep. It's the most humane thing to do..." One of the women (who I later found out had recently lost a cat of her own) began to cry. I couldn't help myself.
"What are the options for foster care?" I inquired.
"Well someone would have to take care of them; feed them, make them pee, keep them warm..."
"What if I did that?" The women looked me over.
"That's between you all," the adoption lady said warily.
The rest is history... After taking down the numbers of the two women, promising to keep them informed of the kittens' health and such, I brought the five little tykes home with me. My sister was thrilled. I've been hand feeding them every four hours, and since Saturday they've learned to eliminate by themselves.
I took them to the vet today to have them checked out, but the doctor couldn't do much since they're still so young. They have yet to open their eyes...
I'm a bit worried about finding homes for them, but my primary concern at this moment is keeping them happy and healthy.

I'll have more time to post after this coming weekend. The kittens require my attention, and I'm going to try and get as much of my school-work done early this week because my parents are visiting for my birthday on Sunday (10-10-10!). Next week the kittens reduce their number of feedings per day and will be slightly more self-sufficient. I promise to make up for lost time and all the missing Halloween costume ideas then. In the meantime I will be posting sporadically to keep you up to date on the kittens as well as any other snippets I have time for.

If you happen to live in the New Orleans area and would be interested in adopting one or more of the kittens, please email me!

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Internet Connectivity

For all our technical advancements, we have yet to find a way to keep our lives from collapsing with the Internet connection. You win this round, Internet.

I'll see you on Monday, readers!
Nostalgically Yours

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Costumes - Lady Gaga

I figured I should start off the month with a real bang, so here she is:

24-year-old Stefani Germanotta - aka Lady Gaga - exploded onto the music scene only a few years ago with her hit single "Just Dance". Since then she's become an international phenomenon not only in the music industry, but also in pop culture. She also dapples in politics as seen by her recent involvement in the Don't Ask Don't Tell debate. Gaga has always been an almost endless source of inspiration for Halloween costumes, and this year is no different! Here are some ideas if you go the Gaga route:

(A) Gaga Meets the Queen!
In making this you'll probably want to avoid latex since it's very difficult to work with and is not the most comfortable thing to wear. You best bet for finding anything like this is a thrift store. If you can't find something with these sleeves, inflate a beach ball and paint it red (be sure the paint is rubber-friendly!). Once it's dry, cut holes in the bottom and upper side to attach it to the dress. The effect will be more like this, but it's in the same style. You might have to use some stuffing to keep it from drooping too much - newspaper is a cheap option, but might be noisy. I recommend using tulle or another stiff fabric. The collar is an altered centerpiece from a party store, like this one. The red eye things can be done with glittery red makeup. A pair of red sunglasses could probably also work.

(B) The VMA Meat Dress
Of course this is going to be one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year. To make yours you'll need an alternative to raw meat, unless you'd like to go über-realistic, which I don't recommend. Instead, try and find a meat-themed novelty quilting fabric. If this is unavailable, you'll have to find some pink or white fabric and go at it with some fabric markers until you've got that meaty feeling. For a more tongue-in-cheek effect, I'd recommend a touch of the ridiculous with a squeaky toy hat in the shape of a steak or hamburger, and a bacon wallet. You can also round off the look with some sausage links made by stuffing a meat-colored stocking and tying it off every so often. (See next for hair)

(C) Gaga in Alexander McQueen at the VMAs
Take a thrift store gown (preferably in red) and use fabric paints to achieve the medieval panting look. After letting it dry, use heavy thread or safety pins to gather the skirt up onto one hip if you want to show off your armadillo heels. You can always leave the skirt down if you so desire. If you're averse to making a black tulle petticoat, whipstitch large bunches of black tulle under the hem of the skirt, to give that illusion. The armadillo heels can be achieved with a mesh and papier-mâché armature that fits over a pre-existing shoe and ties around the ankle. For the hair, get a platinum blonde long wig and dye the ends blue. For the headdress, find a plastic headband and hot glue some feathers sticking directly up (this may require some wire to stabilize them). Then spray paint the entire thing gold.

Here is Gaga's latest video: Alejandro (NSFW)

(D) The "Alejandro" Gun Bra
Take those high-waisted black wide-leg pants out of your closet ladies! If you don't own a pair (shame on you, they're incredibly slimming) then a trip to your thrift store will probably yield many results. If not, then any black pants will suffice. Purchase a cheap bra at any outlet store, and find two plastic toy guns (preferably with long barrels). You may have to use a saw for this, so be careful! Remove the barrel from the rest of the gun. Be sure to file down any sharp edges to avoid cutting yourself later. Put the bra on to test where you want the guns to be placed - remember they will be held up by a strap, so just make sure they're pointing the right way. Have a friend help you mark the positions of the barrels and make sure they're even. Take off the bra and crazy-glue the guns in place and let them dry completely. A simpler alternative is to use two paper towel tubes painted black. Use a luggage strap like this one to connect the two ends of the guns across the back of your neck. The rest of the bra straps are ultimately optional, but can also be achieved through the clever use of straps. Finally, a blonde version of this wig finishes up the look.

(E) The "Alejandro" Priestess
At your local thrift store, find a white lab coat, graduation gown, or seminary robe. Don't use a terry robe. You probably won't find something hooded, so also find something with a hood that is already white or that can be bleached. Remove the hood from the sweatshirt and attach it to the robe. There are three options for the red edges and crosses: sewing (slow), paint (messy), or duct tape (potentially tragic). I recommend the last option because is will give that rubber feel without the discomfort of actually wearing rubber. Always remember to double-side duct tape that comes in contact with your body. You will be sorry if you don't, especially with these panties.

(F) "Alejandro" Dancers
This is good for your more "conservative" or "male" Gaga fans. It's a very simple costume- biking shorts or cut-off leggins pulled up extra high, a pair of combat boots and this wig (all in black). You could also switch out the boots for fishnets and high heels if you so choose.

Here is Gaga featuring Beyoncé in "Telephone" - NSFW!

"Telephone" Prison Glam
Get out your hot glue guns, people! You'll need an over-sized black leather jacket, black knee pads, and a black bra and panty set. Using a boat-load of glittery gems and rhinestones from your local craft store, bedazzle everything to your liking. Let them dry. After that, prepare some cans for your hair. Make sure they're clean! Rolling your hair around them might not be enough to keep them in all evening, so you may want to anchor them with bobby pins - you can do this by poking holes into the can and inserting bobby pins. Don't forget the finger gloves - take a pair of cheap faux-leather gloves and cut across the hand, just above the thumb. If you want to trim them smaller, be sure the finger portion of the glove remains completely intact! Then, add fishnets and some knee-high boots and you're done!

"Telephone" Crazy Chef
This one will also involve some work. You'll need to find a sort of translucent plastic to cut and glue into the bodice. She's actually wearing an apron over a matching skirt, but the skirt can really be anything you like, since it's mostly hidden by the apron. Be sure the plastic is stiff, but not so stiff that you can't sit down or walk comfortably. Also be sure that you don't hurt yourself while cutting it out and gluing - always make sure to file down sharp edges! Since the outfit is translucent, you can go all the way and just wear the medical tape crosses over your nipples. If you'd like a touch more modesty, though, you can always wear the tape crosses on a nude bra. The hair might also pose a challenge. As you see in the video, she wears a couple of different headdresses with this outfit, so you'll have to pick and choose what you want on your head. Since that blue contraption might be hard to make, I recommend the latter of the two. If you're not up to making a phone out of hair, you can always just buy one of those toy phones to wear as a hat. Don't forget your bottle of "poison", as well!

"Telephone" Caution Tape Bikini
This is probably the simplest of the three. All you'll need is a roll of caution tape, which I've seen at party stores, but might also be available at military surplus stores. Over a nude bra and panty, just go crazy with the tape! To affix it to your person, use bobby pins around the underwear, and any other tape you use should not come in direct contact with your skin. Use it only on the Caution Tape itself.

Last, but not least, "Bad Romance"! (Also NSFW)

(J) The "Telephone" Escape Costumes
Another costume for friends or couples. These are the... things that Gaga and Beyoncé wear as they escape in the video. Buy two big floppy hats. They should have wire in them for shaping, but if not that's alright. With the hat on, have a friend measure your height (in inches) up to crown of the hat. Double that height. Now find out how many yards that is - never round down in these situations, you can always cut away, but it's harder to add! For instance: I am 6' tall. With a hat, I might be a total of 75". Double that and you have 150"; 36" to a yard, and I would need about 4 1/4 yards. Anyway, purchase your required amounts in a cheap polyester chiffon (black for Beyoncé and light blue for Gaga). Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and sew one selvage shut. Drape this over your hat and self with the open side facing the front. Add a belt and arrange the fabric to your liking and comfort (make sure you wear something underneath as chiffon is quite shear). Finally, purchase some fishnet stockings that match the fabrics and cut them into gloves - there you go!

(K) The "Bad Romance" Monster Costume
For the main part of the costume, you'll want to find a white body suit. For the headpiece, take a slightly too big white bathing cap and cut two holes for the eyes. Use some card-stock to make a white pointy paper crown. The shoes might be a bit tricky, but anything from white pumps to costume go-go boots, to the white anime boots available at party stores can work. Use whatever you can find. Do be aware that this costume has been referred to as the "sperm costume". If you wear it, be prepared for some unsavory humor.

Just so you all know, this was technically a total of eleven ideas. I won't be posting this many in a day again. If you have any specific questions about any of these costumes or their construction, please feel free to contact me! Also, remember to pass this on to your friends if you think they'd like it and check back all this month for more great costume ideas.

Happy October!
Nostalgically Yours

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