Handwork is the new handwork.

A few years back I participated in an event with Madison Young’s Femina Potens gallery. It was a DIY workshop where we sat in a garden behind a yoga place on Haight St. and did handwork. There was a wonderful redwork artist there who refreshed my memory on how to embroider, something I did a lot as a little hippie teenager. So when I shut my portraiture business down, I took up handwork again. This time I had a wonderful helper: Pinterest. Reference photos, tutorial gifs, inspiration boards. Heaven.

Here are some of the things I’ve made- the octopus is the oldest and is all wrinkly cause I hadn’t got the hang of using the hoop yet.

embroidered deaths head mothembroidered mothsmothembroidered octopus

Sometimes I make things, and the internet helps me.

I like to make things when I’m not working as a commercial artist. Fiddly things. The last time I took a hiatus from working as an artist, it was food. This time it’s handwork and sculpting. This time, there’s Netflix, which is the craftperson’s best friend. These are commercial corsets i bead-embroidered, appliqued, sequined, embellished with Swarovski crystals and embroidered with metallic threads.mercorsetbead_embroidery_Snow_Queen_corsetbead_embroidery_Snow_Queen_corset_leftIMG_20140610_183642 (2)

Soylent is free research for space sustenance. Drink on, geeks!

Suzanne Forbes illustrationI just read Lizzie Widdicombe’s thoughtful New Yorker piece on Soylent. On the face of it, Soylent seems like a classic example of privileged people solving Valley problems. No-one wants to not need food but supertaster Aspies who think they’re too busy saving the world to eat, right? When the Kickstarter launched, I saw it primarily as another asshat lifehack from an engineer who lacks sensuality. And a possible solution for my hacker fiance’s dislike of eating.

But… I care about space travel as much as I care about heirloom tomatoes, and Soylent could be an important piece of making it viable. We know that the DNA of heritage turkey breeds could provide the genetic diversity from homogenized foodstock turkeys we need for a resilient new-planet ark. Slow food is part of the future of space travel for those reasons. So is DIY. The legion of unpaid researchers using their own backyards to develop greywater irrigation and raised bed planting innovations are working for space. Although they’re only trying to grow their own food to save this planet, and building these raised beds because their West Oakland soil is full of toxins, they’re advancing our sustenance palette.

NASA would have to pay people lots of money to live on beige post-food slurry and carefully monitor and record the results. Companies would spend fortunes on the R&D these Soylent formula obsessives are doing for free. If I get on the generation ship (as a resident artist, I hope!) I’ll be glad a bunch of vegans in a Santa Cruz dorm tested green sludge recipes for a year. So I withdraw my criticism of Soylent, and I say, drink all the sludge you want, narcissist ascetics. Just make to quantify everything you learn.

What to wear to the End of the World.

* this article originally appeared on Carnal Nation and io9, repubbed here for the ages.

resident-evil-afterlife-movie-image-milla-jovovich-12-600x400Things are always a little sketchy, globally.  They’ve been sketchy my whole life, what with Reagan and the Cold War and acid rain and global warming and shoals of plastic bottles in the Pacific. Now that we’re all depressed, let’s talk about clothes!

Obviously, when the Apocalypse comes you want to be dressed for it. You want to look good, and have a place to keep your tools and weapons and jerky. You want clothes that are sturdy, in case you’re dragged over the desert sands behind a motorcycle, and clothes that are washable, because your drycleaner is at the bottom of the new Los Angeles Sea. You’ll want clothes that are modular, because you’re likely to be wearing the same outfit for quite a while. You may want clothes that are armored, knife-proof or bulletproof, and you’ll definitely want some fucking bad-ass boots.

Also, you should do your shopping as soon as possible, before the worldwide economic meltdown. For boots, get yourself some New Rocks. Sure, they cost a fortune, but you’ll never be buying another pair of boots anyway, on account of that EMP taking out all the electronic currency. If you must go with Demonia, the Stomp or Transformer models are good for kicking in zombie heads. The Transformer can be instantly weaponized with attachable spikes. The motorcycle gear company Icon also makes fabulous high-heeled boots for your chic cycling needs.

You’ll need a tattered skirt with lots of pockets, d-skirts and straps. I found this French-run company based in Hong Kong and Bali, Shaman Electro, by looking at the tag on the back of Carnal Nation Editor-in-Chief Theresa Ikard’s fabulous tattered skirt.

Cryoflesh-Aquarius-SkirtOr this amazing one by CryofleshOr some demented modular skirt plus pants thing. Then you need a jacket. Maybe you’ll want this fucking crazy stillsuit/desert nomad hoodie to protect you from the radioactive ash. Or how about Kevlar or Aramid lined hoodies that deflect knife cuts? Try out this razortape-print Kevlar-lined hoodie from BladeRunner in the UK. They even have a  sickening pink “ladies” version.shaman-electro-pandora1

 

If you’re protecting yourself from the elements in the frozen wastes of Brazil, you’ll want a warm coat. After much research, I’ve concluded that most women’s cold-weather gear is not hot, and therefore, by definition, sucks-not-in-the-good-way.

The only cool insulated jackets are from motorcycle gear companies—and they have the advantage of being armored at the shoulders and elbows, for when you jump out of  the speeding jacked-up BattlePrius in the middle of  the wasteland. I like the British motorcycle gear company Frank Thomas for their Armored Venus line. This jacket from FirstGear is actually electrically heated. FirstGear-HeatedJacket-2_0You can plug it in to your methane-powered hybrid motocross hoverbike!

Then you need a place to put your gear. You’ll want your hands free, so you need a utility belt or vest. Poizen Industries makes this cute bustier with zipoff pockets and ammo holders.poizen-corset2

The craziest, most amazing utility belts and holster belts anywhere are on etsy at Jungle Tribe’s shop:JungleTribe bage

 

 

 

Much, much cheaper are cloth utility belts:

Five and Diamond’s Wild Card belts are fabulous. There are Wild Card holster belts, and the Skin Graft holster belts sold both at F&D and at the Skin Graft site:

Once you’ve stashed your gear about your person in all your little pockets and pouches, you can protect yourself from the toxic rain with the Blade Runner umbrella— at thinkgeek.

The Skin Graft garter holster belt is so hot your head will fall off. And you’ll need some gloves when you’re shooting your crossbow at mutants—like Steam Trunk’s Archery gloves:

Of course, the accessory you need most of all is Milla Jovovich and her machete.

CHIP IN HEAD!!!

Kickstartered!!! Sign me up!! I am your experimental subject!!

Very seriously, I have always wanted a BCI for many reasons, and one of them is because I have chronic, severe, recurrent depression and the meds are always failing. The OpenBCI project offers a beautiful way to honor a loved one, by contributing to the development of open-source technology for direct computer-brain interaction. Neurotherapy technology like this could “reboot” depressed brains, identify and monitor them for brain wave patterns linked to suicidal ideation, or perhaps even “lock” a depressive about to self-harm until help can arrive.

I realize to many people this sounds frighteningly ripe for abuse. But for people whose brains have been trying to kill them their entire lives, it sounds like a miracle. Google pumping Viagra ads directly into your visual cortex would be a small price to pay for relief from suicidal ideation. if you want a more cheerful example, check out how badass quadriplegic Jan Scheuermann ( awesome human-robot frontier adventurer Jan Scheuermann!) is now able to use a robot arm to feed herself chocolate. She is pretty excited about the potential of BCI.

I don’t have much money, but I pledged the “Honor a loved one” amount in memory of Conor, who lost his battle with depression not long ago.

Depression is a disease, and most of us aren’t doctors.

Friday evening my phone rang, and I ignored it. I never answer the phone;  anyone who knows me texts. Then it rang again, with a number not in my contacts. I hit the end button and set it down, and it started ringing again. I picked it up then, knowing someone was dead.

“I just got the news about Conor”, my boyfriend said. His voice was gnarled with static and shock, calling from Germany, where he was at some hacker conference. “Are you ok?” he asked. He sounded terrified. He said something about Twitter. “I’m fine, baby, what’s going on?” He told me he’d heard one of our friends was dead by his own hand. He told me he was with M. and Q., that they were ready to help if I needed anything. Continue reading

Signs of the nerdcorporate Apocalypse in formerly louche, bohemian San Francisco.

So yesterday people I know got into the winter Y Combinator session. Startup madness is in the air at every party we go to; we find ourselves talking to people we love and respect about business, when we used to talk to them about art or sex. I’m glad that people I care about are doing well, I support their awesome business ideas, it’s all fine- it’s just really damn weird to be back in 1998.
I’m having a lot of cognitive dissonance, seeing all this happen here again. It seems like it’s even worse this time, but maybe it’s just me? I’ve started a new T324 pinboard to log it, since it seems we’re condemned to repeat.

What’s this horrible “shared endorsement” business of Google using your name and image for ads?

Imagine Google searching through your whole life on the internet and pulling up all your likes and endorsements and comments.

Then they pair them with your name and the photo from your Google+ profile, and display them as ads. That sounds positively….evil, doesn’t it? Remember that time you “liked” your friend’s band, even though you hadn’t seen him since college? What was the band called, PedoNecrophiliaBestiality or something?

Now stop imagining, and go change your account settings.

goog2

How you want your Google+ settings if you don’t want to Share Endorsements.

Continue reading

Extreme Gothic Halloween Values for the Discerning Geek, at 99Only.

99Only Halloween skull glass display

And now begins the High Holy Season of Geeks, the sacred month of Halloween.

The 31st falls on a Thursday this year, so expect parties both the weekend before and the weekend after. Or you can opt for Halloweek, like we’re doing. Today is the day to begin laying in supplies and planning your events, so we’ve got some tips on shopping.

Wouldn’t you know, my work T324′s longtime client 99Only.com is a truly excellent Halloween resource!

I wouldn’t have thought to go to a dollar store, because even though I’m cheap, I’m a snob. And I buy so much Halloween junk that costs plenty of money (from crack peddlars Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, thanks a lot you bastards) that I probably don’t need to buy Halloween stuff that’s practically free too. However, one of my work’s big clients is local “extreme value” retailer 99Only.com. Continue reading