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Another run of Fedora hoodies

February 10, 2014

I’ve gotten several requests for Fedora hoodies, so I’m going to do a small run. Probably no more than 10 or 15.

They’ll be no more than $28 (or $32 for 2xl or 3xl), plus actual shipping costs if you’re not in Raleigh or somewhere I’ll be in the near future. But like last time, I’ll try to find a good price on the hoodies and knock down a couple dollars. 

Email rsuehle [at] to let me know you’re interested ASAP, along with your size and whether girly or unisex.

Given that I wear it constantly, it's a bit strange this is the only pic I found of myself wearing said hoodie.

Given that I wear it constantly, it’s a bit strange this is the only pic I found of myself wearing said hoodie.

Put a fork in Flock, it’s done

August 13, 2013
tags: ,


I thought I’d take a minute to say thanks to everyone who attended Flock, in person or virtually, and to share a little bit about how it went. There’s no point in putting on a conference that nobody attends, so I’m grateful for every one of you! I’m especially thankful for our speakers and our sponsors, each of whom really make it a conference in their respective ways.


For comparison, we usually anticipated about 140 when calculating things like food for FUDCon in the US the last few rounds. For Flock, we had 184 pre-registrations and around 20 walk-ins who registered. Because there was no cost to attend and because we had t-shirts and attendee bags only for pre-registered attendees (a perk of letting us know you’re coming!), it’s hard to be certain precisely how many people we had. I’m estimating we had about 20-25 walk-ins, some of whose names and email addresses I was able to capture and some I didn’t. We also had a few no-shows. Overall, I think it’s safe to say we had roughly 200 people.

I deleted the no-shows from our pre-registered attendees and did some math about our attendees:

  • 19 countries
  • 22 US states
  • 2,178 average miles from home

If you take out the local Charlestonians bringing that down, it comes up to an average 2,479 miles traveled, which is about the distance from Charleston to Los Angeles.


I sent out an attendee survey earlier today that’s already gotten a good number of responses that generally say the same things, so I’ll share some of that.

The primary complaint (outside of all the flight delays!) we’ve heard is that we had too many sessions. We had a preliminary schedule based on the number of rooms we had available, i.e., let’s use the space available. When the call for talks finished, we had room to accommodate nearly everyone who had something to say, so we did so in the spirit of inclusiveness.

Many people felt that there were too many sessions, either because there were times they wanted to see 2 or 3 talks at once, or because they felt it thinned the attendance to any one talk to much. My personal feeling is that I’d rather have too many things I want to see than not enough! I asked that question specifically on the survey–were there too many, or is “too many” OK–and right now it is exactly split between the two opinions. (Nobody has said there weren’t enough sessions!)

One feedback item requested that sessions note what level of knowledge attendees were expected to have, and I think that would be a good addition to next year’s talk proposal form (and subsequently the schedule).

As to whether they plan to attend Flock next year, those who have said no have almost entirely been locals who aren’t generally Fedora users and would be less motivated to go across an ocean than across town.

Catching up on what you missed

Mo Duffy did a great job of tracking the status of videos and transcripts for each session, so if there’s one you’re looking for, check here:

You can also hop directly into the Flock YouTube channel. I’ll be posting more photos and some separate videos we have, but first FUDCon Cusco and, well, vacation.

* Edited to add one more number — 240 Tweets that I was able to find with the #FlocktoFedora hashtag and a few using #Flock.

How to run Pidora in QEMU

July 14, 2013

Put the Pidora image and kernel-qemu in a directory (mine’s qemu, which I’m working from for the rest of this).

$ file pidora-18-r1c.img

pidora-18-r1c.img: x86 boot sector; partition 1: ID=0xc, active, starthead 32, startsector 2048, 102400 sectors; partition 2: ID=0x83, starthead 32, startsector 104448, 3389858 sectors, code offset 0xb8

Take the startsector number from partition 2 (bold above) and multiply by 512 to use as the offset number in the next step:

$ sudo mount qemu/pidora-18-r1c.img -o offset=53477376 /mnt/pidora

There’s one line in /mnt/pidora/etc/ Comment it out and unmount:

$ sudo umount /mnt/pidora

$ qemu-system-arm -kernel kernel-qemu -cpu arm1176 -m 256 -M versatilepb -serial stdio -append "root=/dev/sda2 panic=1" -hda pidora-18-r1c.img

This will take you to the first boot screen, and you can go through that process, which will then reboot at the end, but you’ll have to start QEMU again:

Screenshot from 2013-07-14 13:54:03

Hit up and enter for one more round of:

$ qemu-system-arm -kernel kernel-qemu -cpu arm1176 -m 256 -M versatilepb -serial stdio -append "root=/dev/sda2 panic=1" -hda pidora-18-r1c.img

And you’re at the login screen. Not that quickly, of course. In fact, if you like to browse the Internet like it’s 1995, this is a good way to go:

Screenshot from 2013-07-14 16:04:48

All this based on instructions here, which leads to here.

That time when Jean Grey joined S.H.I.E.L.D….

July 7, 2013

Last fall when the kids wanted me to be Black Widow to their Thor/Cap combo, I discovered there are a few variations on the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem. There are slight variations, but they all look like one of these two:


Now I need the emblem that goes on Jean Grey’s chest. In that process, I learned that the difference between the ones on Jean Grey and the one on Dark Phoenix is size. Jean’s is smaller. I also realized that her phoenix pretty much looks like the S.H.I.E.L.D. eagle decided to face the other way. (These versions via this thread.)


Eye shadow primer comparison

July 3, 2013

As I probably wrote about excessively when working on my Maleficent costume, I missed the class in middle school where they taught you how makeup works. I don’t know if I was absent that day or transferred schools in the middle of the year… that’s how I never learned states and capitals. My class at school1 did it the second half of the year, and school2 did it the first half. I caught up. Montpelier. See? Now I’m working on catching up on the makeup thing, but you can’t do it by having your mom quiz you while you wait for your pizza to come to the table.

At Dragon*Con three years ago, Natania told me about the magic of eye primer. What? I still don’t know if this is a relatively recent invention, or if there’s this whole world of amazing products I am still ignorant of. This past weekend she told me about how people use Monistat anti-chafing powder as a makeup primer. Seriously. In between I got inspired by Siryn/Dawn’s superhero eye makeup posts. Amazing, all of them. But I am ill-equipped to even begin to reproduce any of them. Time to go shopping!

After reading a million reviews about a million products, I bought a L’Oreal Paris HiP gold eyeliner and this Shany eyeshadow palette:


Holy cow, that’s a lot of colors! I was particularly interested in the red because I like the way it looks in one of Siryn’s Jean Grey looks, but red is not an easy color to come by in an eye shadow palette. I also bought a tube of Too Faced Shadow Insurance since Amazon has it for about half the price of Sephora/ULTA/wherever. I’ve been using the e.l.f. primer for a while, and I can attest that their $3 version is actually different from and superior to the $1 version, which doesn’t seem to do much at all. When the goodies came in tonight, it seemed like a good chance to compare the cheap stuff to the good stuff and get some proof that this primer stuff really is doing some good beyond just making eye makeup last a little longer.


On the left is the red with no primer. The middle is the Too Faced, and the right is the e.l.f. (The orange and green streaks are because I couldn’t stop playing with the palette.) Clearly primer of any sort is doing something! The biggest difference between the two primers is that Too Faced goes on clear and e.l.f.’s primer is “skin toned” (for someone of that particular tone, which is not the shade of my skin). You can see the e.l.f. primer peeking through the shadow in spots. The Too Faced primer definitely supports the shadow more and makes the color more intense.

Next up, seeing whether mascara primer (again, who knew these things existed?!) actually makes a difference.

*** Edit

After wandering around all night with this on the inside of my arm, the Too Faced is still about as strong as it was, while the e.l.f. has worn down to an orangey-pink with a lot of the primer tint showing through.

Surprisingly awesome bbq sauce

June 29, 2013
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup molasses
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tb dark rum
  • 1 Tb yellow mustard
  • 1 Tb ground black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a few shakes each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • 2 cups ketchup

Boil everything but the ketchup until everything has dissolved, then add the ketchup and simmer until delicious.

Just what does a steampunk Jean Grey look like, anyway?

June 23, 2013

Finally seem to have gotten the heating problem nailed down, so now it’s time to figure out what this thing’s actually going to look like. My basic plan is:

  • Green corset (with the emblem on the chest, of course)
  • Gold fluffy steampunk-esque skirt of some sort
  • Reuse the gold stiletto pointy boots I painted for She-Ra

This leaves a few questions based on Actual Jean Grey’s costume (pictured at right):

  • Gold gloves… hot when I’m already melting, and I’m not a big fan of gloves. But maybe shorter, leather gloves painted with gold Rub ‘n Buff?
  • The turtlenecky bit… maybe do a leather collar sort of bit… like a dickey but not? A massive choker? What would you call that? (I wisely stopped short before finishing a Google search for “leather collar,” which will now be the search term for all the incoming hits here.) with an X-Men logo buckle at the center of the neck?
  • I’m thinking the skirt should wispy to emulate the sash, but I also need to make sure that all of the battery packs and such are hidden.
  • Tights? Fishnets? Hmm… Might depend on what the skirt looks like.

Another possibility for the glove/collar situation would be a shrug like this, though not lace:

Next up: make-up and Big Fluffy Hair ideas!

Thermochromic pigment tests

June 21, 2013

I painted a few swatches using the thermochromic pigment with a transparent acrylic medium. It doesn’t change from simple body heat, at least not for quite some time (I wore it around the house next to my body for a while).

In this video, I’ve just blown on it, and while it disappears quickly (insert jokes about me being full of hot air), it also reappears quickly, starting before I can even put it down to take the video. Then you’ll see that you have to rub it pretty vigorously to create enough heat for the change:

But then I plugged in the heater I intend to use and tried that. The change was a little slower than expected–I think I need a layer of fabric that heats up quickly. Any thoughts on what absorbs heat well? Something dark and…? I’m undecided on whether natural fibers or something manmade would work better! Might have to do a few experiments with that.

But on top of that, the reverting back doesn’t happen nearly as fast, even once I remove it from the heat source. Maybe I’ll just have to stand near an air conditioning vent? I unplugged the heater near the beginning of this video:

Wires, wires, everywhere, and not a color change

June 18, 2013

Goal: Use thermochromic pigment in a costume to make it change colors. More specifically, an entire corset.

I assume this project is the result of a deep and never fulfilled desire for a Hypercolor shirt, because that’s essentially what we’re talking about here. But pressing a hand against it won’t do. I need to heat the whole thing to at least 93° F, which means something powered.

It turns out heating an entire corset that warm is no cheap-and-easy task. There is such a thing as a heated vest, but they’re not cheap, and they generally plug into a motorcycle’s 12v socket because that’s who they’re meant to warm. I looked at a lot of other options from conductive thread to stainless steel ribbon to carbon tape to having someone follow me around with a cordless hair dryer. OK, I didn’t consider the last one for too long, but it turns out those aren’t easy to come by either. The easiest solution seemed like it would be something USB-powered that plugged into my iCarrier power brick, but USB-powered heating things are very small, and 5v is not very much. I was at a dead end.

Then I remembered that I have an old seat warmer for the car that plugs into that aforementioned 12v socket. I talked to awesome friends like Tom and Eco, not to mention Chris Gammell, who has sent me lengthy emails about electricity even though I don’t know him just because at one point somewhere between my exhaustive USB hunt and carbon tape adventures, I ran out of Googling ideas and tweeted, “I need a nice electrical engineer friend.” And I concluded that this turkey was just the gobble gobble I needed. (Guess what I had for dinner?) This thing is pretty much perfect–it’s a maze of wires that heat up and cover an area roughly my body size, and it already has low/high/off switches in its cord, which I figure I can hide in a belt or something:

(This is where I’ll show you a picture eventually, but my phone is so dead it won’t stay on long enough to upload a picture anywhere.)

I got this AA battery holder (because 8 AA x 1.5v = 12v) and one of these female car charger bits. (Say what you will about Radio Shack, but it’s across the street from my house, and the guy was totally into making this work.) The battery holder has the 9v-style connector snaps on it, so I got the other half of that with wires out of my handy-dandy box-o-bits.

Thus the connection is:

Seat warmer power cord > female car charger dangly bit (technical terms!) > 9v snap wires > battery pack

I tested what was coming out of the snap connector wires, and it was solidly 12v. Hooray, I thought. It works! And then the electricity proved me wrong. I plugged it all in, and that bad boy did not heat. I gave it several minutes, and at best it warmed to 77°. I’m near an a/c vent, so it started around 72-74°. That’s not going to get me to 93°. I took it out to the car and plugged it in there to make sure I didn’t break something when I cut it apart, and within a minute, it was over 100°, so I know it’s still working.

Here are my readings:

  • Without the female DC connector attached, the bare wires off the 9v snaps read 12v.
  • When I attach them to the connector and test the connections (being careful not to touch the wires instead), it’s 10.6v.
  • When I plug in the seat warmer and turn it on, that measurement on the connections drops to to 6.3v. And it doesn’t heat.

Suggestions? What’s going wrong?


Thanks to the lovely people of FB and Twitter, I believe I’ve concluded that the resistance of the heater is around 6-8 Ω. Thanks to this handy-dandy Ohm’s law calculator doing the math for me, I see I should be aiming for around 1.7 A and around 20 W. Problem not solved quite yet, but information added. 🙂

How I spent 2012

January 11, 2013

Some people print hundreds of pictures and weird scissors and pretty paper and make beautiful things called “scrapbooks.” I try to get all my pictures downloaded from the SD card within the same year they were taken.

Last year I made a wordy graphic (inspired by Nicholas Feltron’s annual reports) about how I’d spent 2011. This year I went with more pictures. And it’s longer. It’s a lazy gal’s scrapbook. And kinda messy, just like me.

Click the image to embiggen. It’s big.