The Amazing Mirvana

Travels, and makes stuff.

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

The Hungry Ghosts Festival

Growling Door Games

Our post today once again comes from Joyce Chng. Her fiction has appeared in The Apex Book of World SF IIWe See A Different FrontierCranky Ladies of History, and Accessing The Future. Joyce co-edited THE SEA IS OURS: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia with Jaymee Goh. Her RPG experience started with Demon: The Descent (Onyx Path). She also writes about werewolves in Singapore and werewolf clan wars in space.

The Seventh Month or the Ghost Month has begun. It is believed that the gates of hell have opened, allowing all ghosts to roam the earth. All the deceased visit their living relatives who will prepare offerings in the form of sumptuous meals and burn paper items like money, houses and cars as well as joss sticks to appease them. The ghosts are also angry and vengeful during this month.

Things Not To Do During Hungry…

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And now for something completely different…

These are all so brilliant!!!

silverforge portfolio

This Pennsic, we seem to have gotten into an art historical photo series that kinda spiraled out of control.

It started with a picture of Helena and me at breakfast. I had taken a shower and had my hair up in a turban, which I took down at the end of breakfast. With the plate that had had bacon on it and the desert palette of my towel, the following happened:

Pennsic Jesus

Apparently Helena practices looking like a Renaissance angel, which will surprise no one who knows her.

Then we did The Head of John the Baptist and Salomé, which was much more staged and planned out:

Salome & John the Baptist

And then we started to include inspiration images: Judith and Holoferenes

Judith & Holofernes

The original is by Artemisia Gentileschi


Phyllis riding Aristotle. (It’s tough to see, but Astrida has tippets made of toilet paper we nicked from the Portos.)


The original is a bronze ewer in…

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How to make a lake pigment

Saving for later…


A basic lake pigment is pretty easy to make. Some lake pigments are more complex – there’s a reason madder lake took a while to catch on, historically – but most of them are easy as pie. It was noted recently in a comment that there is a dearth of comprehensible recipes online, and it’s true. It took me a bit of searching to figure out what things like “base,” “thrown down,” “precipitated onto,” and so on actually mean. But here is the basic process in all its simplicity. Let’s go:
Alum, washing soda

First, what you’ll need. You’ll need alum, for starters – that’s potassium aluminum sulfate. This is the basic material that’s going to grab onto the dye color, just as it does when used as a mordant in fabric dyeing. You used to be able to get the stuff in the spice aisles of grocery stores, and apparently in some…

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Tomb of Mereruka

This was one of my favorite sites to see when I was in Egypt last month.

Egyptian Monuments

The mastaba of Mereruka (also known as Meri) is the largest of the Old Kingdom tombs at Saqqara and reflects his very important position during the reign of Teti in Dynasty VI. He is named as ‘Chief Justice and Vizier, Inspector of Priests and Tenants of the Pyramid of Teti’, ‘Scribe of the Divine Books’. Mereruka’s importance was perhaps increased by his marriage to the King’s eldest daughter, Princess Seshseshet (also known as Watetkhethor or Watet-Hathor). The mastaba complex is located on the northern side of Teti’s pyramid, the first of a row of the largest and most important of the Old Kingdom tombs. The tomb, which was first excavated in 1892 by Jaques de Morgan, is famous for its fine reliefs of many aspects of daily life and customs of the Old Kingdom.

The tomb of Mereruka

This is a very elaborate and complex mastaba of 32 chambers which is divided into three…

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Happy Halloween

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Westmoreland Arts Fest 2013

Shane Speal - cigar-box guitar maker/playerIt was a beautiful day at the Twin LakesCeltic band Seven NationsCeltic Band Seven NationsFire-brick oven pizzaMobile pizza oven
Creepy planterParrotColorful birdsPetting zoo turkeySearch and rescue dachshundSearch and rescue dachshund
llamasllamasClassic carClassic carClassic car

Westmoreland Arts Fest 2013, a set on Flickr.

A story about art, obsession, and crazy

I worked a 9-5 type of job in downtown Pittsburgh for several years, early 1990s until about 2007. As I was commuting to and from my work and walking the city streets, I noticed an unusual plaque that was embedded in the middle of the street. I saw it everyday, walked over it, and wondered what it was and what it meant, but didn’t think about it too much until many years later, when I saw it again –  in St. Louis. Now it really had me thinking, so I snapped a photo of it and uploaded it to the interwebs for all to see. One of my internet acquaintances recognized it and gave it a name – Toynbee tile. Mystery solved, well sort of. I just stumbled on this documentary – Resurrect Dead – which searches for the identity of the mysterious “tiler,” and they do narrow it down, but….no spoilers here. It was just a provocative story, and I feel in some small way like a firsthand witness to it.

There were hundreds of these Toynbee tiles in major cities all over the Northeast, and amazingly, in South America. However, many of them are paved over, and some have even been stolen – as in cut right out from the street – because they now have a perceived value as art. There is no effort to protect or preserve them. In Chicago, they were routinely removed like any other graffitti. So the tiles are disappearing and soon will be gone forever. There is a lesson in impermanence here. Otherwise, one might say that it was a brilliant PR campaign.

Addendum: Found the photos I took of the ones I saw in St. Louis, which aren’t there anymore (I don’t think).


As someone who has suffered from depression, I can relate to a lot of this.

Musings of an Aspie

Last weekend, I had a meltdown and the next morning I tried to capture some scattered impressions of it to share. I’ve purposely left this raw and unedited, the way it unspooled in my head, to give you a feel for how chaotic a meltdown can be. While meltdowns are different for everyone, this is how I experience them.


A meltdown can go one of two ways: explosion | implosion.


Everything flies outward. Words. Fists. Objects.


Have you ever seen a building implode? The charges go off somewhere deep inside and for a moment you swear nothing is going to happen and then seconds later–rubble and dust and a big gaping hole in the ground.


It feels like a rubber band pulled to the snapping point.


What I don’t want to hear:

It’s okay.
(It’s not.)
You need to pull yourself together.
(I will, when…

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Another "army wife" bag in progress

Every time I cut apart a pair of these pants, I am amazed by how much material is there.

Get ready for National Feral Cat Day, Oct. 16

Ganked most of this off of I do what I can to support this cause:

This Sunday, October 16, is National Feral Cat Day! This annual event is coordinated byAlley Cat Allies as a way to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them. Each year cat welfare groups and cat lovers across the country plan events to help educate people in their communities about feral cats and TNR. This year there are over 300 events planned in all 50 states!
If your group is planning an event for NFCD, you can add it to the list of events on the official NFCD page, or you can find an event in your area to attend. Click here to download the awesome NFCD 2011 poster pictured above to help promote the event.

You can also help support Alley Cat Allies by purchasing NFCD 2011 merchandise like t-shirts, buttons, tote bags, and greeting cards.
Here’s another fun idea, change your Facebook profile photo for the next few days to the NFCD 2011 graphic! Grab one of these graphics to use (click on the image and drag it to your desktop):
Please join the effort to raise awareness of and help care for our nation’s feral cats. If we all work to TNR and care for them, someday hopefully we won’t have to have National Feral Cat Day!

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