Lomo Purple and 500 yen Minolta in Amsterdam

Lomo Purple can be fun or it can be frustrating. I’ve been using it super lomo-style with a vintage Minolta I bought for 500 yen. It don’t come with a lens and I bought a 50mm to go with it for 10x that but c’est la vie. I meant to use the Minolta for pinhole work by adapting it with a lot of tape and a canon pinhole lens cap. I don’t always have the patience for pinhole and I love that 50mm lens.

Anyhow, the camera ended up on my Brussels-Amsterdam adventure where I mostly did Ebijiro The Traveling Sushi photos.

It was rainy and gray and a bit chilly in Amsterdam and I think Lomo Purple did a good job of getting that across. Below are some unedited photos I just scanned today (6 months later). I think I like this better than the Lomo redscale.

I think this one is my favorite.

l’m wondering if this is in tokyo

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Eminently Re-watchable

Sometimes you like a movie but you only need to watch it once. And then there are the movies that you watch over and over again. I have two categories of re-watchable movies: laundry movies, things I play while I fold laundry; the stickers, movies where you drop everything to watch and don’t move from your seat. They aren’t always the BEST movies but there’s something that keeps me coming back to these flicks.

Here is my list of re-watchable movies in alphabetical order because I’m feeling OCD today and it saves me from deciding on favorites.

All You Need is Kill (Edge of Tomorrow or Live Die Repeat or whatever title)
I am not a Tom Cruise fan and this movie revived his career I think because he kept dying over and over. I think it was really cathartic for the public after his spate of oddness. Plus Emily Blunt! I love her character. And her arms are my workout goals. This is one of the better treatments of the time-loop trope.

This movie still gives me the heebeejeebees. The tension and suspense in Alien is so well done. And it holds up surprisingly well visually for a movie from 1979. I like the Ripley character but she is not yet the icon she becomes in the second movie.

In this movie, Ripley is just so tough and so focused she really makes me want to up my game. Ripley always makes me want to work harder. This is the movie I watch when I need to refuel on kick-assness. And there were no more movies made in this series after this. 😉

Attack the Block
The idea that a young gang from council flats in London saves the world from aliens is a great concept. Some funny moments and Nick Frost. Try saying “Ron’s weed room” ten times fast. This is the movie I first saw John Boyega. I’m really glad he got such great exposure in the new Star Wars movie. This movie also shows that real tension can be created without major CGI and even using cheesy-looking aliens. It really proves that a movie should be more than the CG.

Cabin in the Woods
It’s gruesome and meta and it totally goes for the over the top ending. But there’s something about taking horror tropes and smartly turning them on their heads that makes this movie rewatchable.

Die Hard
Another movie I like because of Alan Rickman. I almost want Hans to get away with his heist. This is a stick to the seat ignore the laundry movie. I get sucked in every time.

The Easy A
Highschool and teenage life is such a weird time. Someone said it’s a modern reworking of The Scarlet Letter so I avoided it for years. They should have said it’s all about rumors, lies and the hyper-speed of social media. I always want to write a book called “How to Help Others Without Screwing Yourself Over” after I watch this movie. I think this movie should be required viewing for high school students.

Hot Fuzz
It’s a buddy-cop parody movie. I’m not a big fan of buddy-cop movies, but satire of English country life was funny. I enjoyed this movie more with subsequent re watching. Plus Simon Pegg.

Kung Fu Panda
I have probably watched this movie about 200 times. The first time I watched it in the theater and enjoyed it a lot. When it came up on my cable, I DVR’d it and watched it once or twice. Then I had a miscarriage and that movie was on repeated play for about 2 weeks. I’m not sure that I actually watched it each and every time. A lot of it was numbness. But it was the only thing that I could handle. I’m not sure why I’m still able to watch this movie given how I react to other stuff. I suppose “Legend tells of a legendary warriors whose skills were the stuff of legend” is the kind of catchy stuff I like. But I’m also highly amused by this T-shirt I saw 10 years ago that read, “I smell a smelly smell that smells smelly” so take it as you will.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (extended DVD version)
This is what I watch when I don’t want to talk to humans for days on end. It takes that long to watch it all. My husband who barely tolerates all things geek can actually quote parts of this movie because I’ve played it so many times. It warms my little geek heart when he quotes Theoden’s speech for the ride of the Rohirrim. I nearly fell off my chair the first time he did it. The DVD commentary on this DVDs is also well worth watching. Fascinating!

The Martian
When things are bad, I tell myself I could be stuck on Mars all alone. Actually, I don’t. I will never go into outer space, but I like the visualization and the mantra, solve the problem, then solve the next problem and if you solve enough of them you get to go home. For me, this movie is an ode to creative problem solving.

Monsters Inc.
This was the weekend brunch movie of choice for my husband and I for 4 months. It never got old. Mike Waskowski is funniest when he’s not trying to be funny. Pixar’s attention to detail means their movies never get old. If you get a chance to listen to director’s commentary do it!

The Mummy
I enjoy the balance of humor and horror in this movie. It’s tough to do. I-mo-tep. I-mo-tep (hearing your students chant this 10 years after the movie came out can also be rather alarming but funny) My favorite nugget is how Evelyn always wants to impress the Banbury Scholars. Banbury tales are tall-tales so this is a fun poke at academia. Striving to so hard to be part of the fakery is tragically funny. Oh! and John Hannah! ‘Nuff said there. The sequel is ok but the third installment is a travesty.

Okay, I rather have a secret crush on Simon Pegg. Hmmm… probably not so secret now. I love how this movie celebrates geek culture to the nth degree.

My favorite entry of the James Bond Franchise. I like where the character went in this movie. That feeling of being worn out, chewed up by work and choices really shows in this movie. The cinematography! This movie was such a visual delight for me.

Sense and Sensibility
I love a Regency romance. Emma Thompson manages to make Jane Austen’s novel relevant to modern viewers. The cinematography always makes me want to go to England. Alan Rickman made a great Colonel Christopher Brandon. I think I wouldn’t have given Willoughby a second look with Colonel Brandon around. Then again, I’m not 18 either. I never took to Hugh Grant. His blinkey-face still annoys me.  Eleanor Dashwood always makes me want to be more elegant, gracious and measured in my responses to life’s disappointments.

The September Issue
Ok, not geek, but I really admire the work it takes to make a magazine issue. Also the interviews with Grace Coddington and seeing her style a photo-shoot was really inspiring.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
I probably love this movie because Christopher Plummer plays a klingon. It has a self-aware humor that I really enjoyed. This movie drives my husband crazy. It’s rather like how I feel when he has the football on for more than one game. But a lot of the humor is that the writing is really self-aware of the characters and their age.

So what are your rewatchable movies? Let me know in the comments below?

Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.


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Tunnel Book Test

I’m thinking about taking the serialized story in MaiNichi Mushroom, “The Great Mushroom Detective: The Case of the Golden Mushroom,” and making it into a tunnel book. Here is a test page from the second installment of the story.

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Bromeliad Mini-Location Shoot

One bromeliad terrarium creates photoshoots for four different types of movies.

The shop Bromeliads in Okusawa opened last year. It’s a cute shop selling bromeliads (mainly airplants) and terrarium items such as glass containers, dishes, bits of wood, sand and other emphermera. An airplant doesn’t have a significant root system. It gets moisture and nutrients from it’s leaves.

I’d been popping in since Bromeliads opened and trying to decide what I wanted to get. Today I bought a few things, a glass container, sand, wood and two airplants. I got a butzii, which rather looks like a squid, and a tillandsia which is spiky looking but not really sharp.

It was fun to set up and once I had it all arranged, it really reminded me of a desert for a photo shoot or a movie set. So I went to my little rummage box (or as I will call it from now on my omnium-gatherum) and grabbed some lego minifigures, and other little plastic toys. Finally! My obscure toy-hoarding reaps some rewards. I ended up with the fixings for five different movie genres: Shakespearean drama, zombie-post apocalypse, aliens, creature feature and dragon fantasy.  Check them out below.

I particularly like the salary man alien. I have no idea where I picked it up. If you have other suggestions for mini-photoshoot sets, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you.


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Pop-Up Practice

Thinking of various books to make this summer and I’ve always been interested in making a pop-up book.

I like the challenge of the pop-up and because I didn’t know anything about it I bought a book. There’s a lot of geometry involved which is fine, but I’m finding that just folding the paper in a kind of Tim Gunn make-it-work fashion is getting better results for me.
This is my first test page. Because a pop-up is all about the motion I made it into a small video. Which gave me another challenge. I wanted music but didn’t want to use copyrighted stuff or search for free music. So another test and trial– using GarageBand to make a mini soundtrack. I spent more time trying to figure out how to use the app, but when all is said and done, I think it’s not a bad effort for being all made on my phone.

Without further ado, Octopus Pop-Up:

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Introducing Mildred Trevor-Thornes

In my last post I wrote about casting Shiitake Sensei   for the serialized story “The Great Mushroom Detective: The Case of the Golden Mushroom” in my zine MaiNichi Mushroom. I’d done a quick sketch of a hedgehog but it didn’t fit Shiitake Sensei. I liked my hedgehog drawing enough that I decided to rewrite the story to include the hedgehog.

I held a character naming contest on my Facebook Page.

I had some great suggestions and I had a tough time choosing. Check out the suggestions below:

Sir Lloyd Picklymaster
Horatio Stickleback/Sticklebottom
Gunter von Shpeiny
Dr. Klaus Pricklestein
Spike Nerfler
Norman Spikes
Trevor Prickles
Neville Needlebottom
Ivan Thornback aka Ivan the Stabber
Kevin Stabbottom
Myrtle Thornback
Mildred Thornes
Finkle Pricklystein
Prickler Finkelstein
Todd Finklemeister
Hedge Mastermind
Hedge Hoch
Porky Pinebottom
Prickly Pinebottom
Nichi Iggymeister.

Two names caught my attention. The first was Trevor. Trevor is such an unassuming name for a villain. I love that kind of thinking! So I thought it would be Trevor. But once someone suggested Mildred or Myrtle if the hedgehog was a girl. I realised I wanted more female characters. So I mixed them together and came up with a international British hedgehog criminal mastermind.

I present to you



Big thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Dolly Tartan who came up with both Trevor and Mildred Thornes.

I will do another sketch of Mildred and send it Dolly’s way.

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MaiNichi Mushroom Issue #2 Update: Casting Shiitake Sensei.

Work progresses on MaiNichi Mushroom Magazine. I’d hoped to have Issue 2 ready before now but got stuck with details about taxonomy. How much detail to include? How much to leave out? How to make it interesting? I’m not sure if I succeeded but Issue 2 is almost ready to go.

“The Great Mushroom Detective: The Case of the Golden Mushroom” continues to be a lot of fun to write. I outlined the whole story but now I’m reconsidering the ending. You’ll see why later in this article. I have 10 more issues to go so no critical choices to make yet.

The second biggest challenge for Issue 2 was casting Shiitake Sensei for “The Great Mushroom Detective: The Case of the Golden Mushroom.” When I was writing the story, I imagined Shiitake Sensei’s character but not his appearance. I toyed with the idea of Shiitake Sensei as an owl, it didn’t seem to fit. I like the sketch but… something’s not right. I suppose it’s too cliche to have an owl teacher, plus owls don’t eat mushrooms.  A quick search about animals that eat mushrooms lead me to ants, mice, some birds, slugs, deer, hedgehogs and badgers.


So I made some random sketches— in effect casting Shiitake Sensei. Some research revealed that hedgehogs are not native to Japan, but badgers are! I originally dismissed the badger because I mixed it up with tanuki  (racoon dog). In Japanese folklore tank are shape-changing tricksters. And that choice also seemed a bit cliche. Then I learned that badgers (anaguma or mujina) are often mixed up with tanuki, even by Japanese people.

I love this badger! The badger has this kind of slumbering gravitas that I imagined when I created Shiitake Sensei.

The hedgehog was a surprise for me. I think he’s hilarious. This sketch is making me rethink my story so I can cast the hedgehog as the villain.

So with these decisions made and one last sketch to go, Issue 2 is coming to a close. Here’s hoping that the subsequent issues move along a lot faster.

If you’re interested in MaiNichi Mushroom, you can learn a little bit more about it here. I’m hoping to have 12 issues ready for Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016.

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