Chinese Inner Painting Inspired by “The Wolverine”

Wolvering Chinese inner painting
Wolverine Chinese inner painting

Whether you enjoyed this summer’s X-Men  spin-off/sequel The Wolverine or not, you have to admit the poster campaign featuring Japanese-style brush painting was pretty impressive. It certainly gained its share of attention.

This brush stroke method is similar in both Chinese and Japanese art. I’ve been inspired to incorporate this technique into some easy Chinese inner painting projects. Chinese inner painting, néihua, is the practice of painting a glass vessel from the inside and is most often associated with small glass decorative snuff bottles. The incredibly intricate and practiced skill requires specialized brushes, years of practice, and some very, very, steady hands for the accomplished artisan in this discipline.

Fortunately, GeekMoms replicating this method at home only need a little patience and the ability to “trace.”

materialsWhat You Need:
Wide-mouthed glass containers (you’ll want to use jars, glasses, or vases that allow you to fit your hand inside)
Craft paint (acrylic works well)
Paint brushes and toothpicks
Print-outs or cut-outs of desired images

Step One: Find a design. This one’s easy enough. Peruse your favorite movie, fan page, or art site for an image you like. In addition to the Wolverine images I used, I found a great Chinese brushstroke style image of Ridley Scott’s Aliens creatures. You don’t have to get as geeky as me; if you would rather practice with a simpler bamboo or floral design, there are plenty out there. Print the images out in a size that fits the surface of the vessel you want paint. The images don’t have to be high quality, just clear enough to use as a template.

Step Two: Lightly tape your chosen image around the outside of the container. Keep in mind this image will appear reversed when seen from the outside of the vase; if you don’t want that to happen, make sure you “horizontally flip” your image before printing it out.

Step Three: Using a paintbrush (or toothpick for finer lines), trace over the image to replicate it. Black paint works best for the most authentic appearance. Don’t worry about being perfect; it is okay for this image to appear a little rough. Making it look like a brushed-on image is the whole point in brush stroke painting, after all. If you’re working with beginners or younger artists, you can use an easier method. Tape the image on the inside of the container, facing out and paint the design on the outside of the glass. This is more a faux inner painting method, but will still create a cool look once the project is finished. Place design in container

The "easy" painting method (left) and the true "inner painting" (right).
The “easy” painting method (left) and the true “inner painting” (right).

inside layerStep Four: Once you’ve let the paint dry completely, coat the entire inside of the container with a layer of white or light-colored paint. If this layer seems a little thin, paint another coat or two. (This step is the same for both the easier and harder method of this craft.) If you’d like, you can paint the inside with a layer of decoupage glue or other clear sealant for extra protection. I would not recommend filling your painted container with any water. Dried or fake plants, work best if you want to fill it with something.

These not only make really cool showpieces, they make some striking votive candle holders. Even Logan would be impressed.

Google Doodle Celebrates 66th Anniversary of Roswell

Screen grab of

Sixty-six years later, there are still questions about the Roswell incident. What exactly was the object that crashed to Earth in Roswell, New Mexico?

The United States Armed Forces first said it was an experimental surveillance balloon, but other reports stated that a “flying disc” was recovered on July 8, 1947. In another version, the “flying disc” became a weather balloon. The story disappeared into relative obscurity until Major Jesse Marcel came forward in 1978, saying that he believed the U.S. military had recovered an alien spacecraft and subsequently covered up the story. This revelation has led to theories and official inquiries and provided lots of fodder for both UFO researchers, conspiracy theorists, and skeptics. Might there be alien remains hidden in Area 51?

In today’s interactive Doodle, Google re-imagines the crash, putting a cute little alien on the ground—alive and well—in Roswell. Can you find all the puzzle pieces? (I’m still looking!)


Why Doctor Who Would Never be a Woman

All Images courtesy of the artist
All Images courtesy of the artist

Last year I posted a heartfelt, purely besotted fan post about why Doctor Who could never be a woman.

The debate still rages on in the comment section of that post. There are reactionary comments and accusatory comments, but there are also a few gems that completely blew my mind. Possibly the best argument I have ever heard against my rigid fan mind was from commenter TXVoodoo, “The physiological changes would be no more taxing to a regeneration than changing from advanced age, disparate heights, completely different skull structures, and so on. Heck, the Doctor’s regrown a hand. You’re trying to say the Doctor couldn’t grow a uterus? (If, in fact, Gallifreyans have them. For all we know, they could be marsupials.)”

Tennant“You’re trying to say the Doctor couldn’t grow a uterus?” Touché. Why couldn’t a being who regenerates when dying, grows new body parts if injured during said regeneration, and has eleven different faces grow a uterus? Mind. Blown.

So, while this fan can’t imagine a world in which the Doctor of her childhood could be a woman, I have to admit that canon more realistically supports the statement, “Why the Doctor would never be a woman.” (Now, given, I’m using *in canon* evidence, rather than outside reasons this may be the case. For instance, the Doctor is usually an erstwhile  resident of the British Isles because the series is a UK series.)

SmithIf we try and largely leave behind evidence presented in particular episodes of the pre-Eccleston years, whilst keeping in mind the aesthetics of the eleven Doctors, we are given several key pieces of information to ponder regarding the Doctor’s gender. Much of my own speculation on the subject comes from three key scenes during the Matt Smith years.

Clue #1:

The first comes within “The Eleventh Hour,” Smith’s debut episode. Whilst in the process of regenerating he touches his hair and wonders if he is a woman this time. At the time, my gut informed me that this was just the Doctor’s state of utter confusion, caused by the regeneration process. Now, however, I am prone to think of this statement as the words of a devil-may-care Time Lord. One more interested in the exciting situation at hand than his own appearance. One who makes no effort to control his regeneration because, well, where’s the fun in that? One who would much rather see what gets thrown at him.

Clue #2:

The second is in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife” in which the Doctor receives a distress signal from a fellow Time Lord. This prompts the Doctor to wax poetic about the life of fellow Galifreyan, the Corsair. He refers to a tattoo that the Corsair added to his body upon each regeneration. At this point he refers to the Corsair having been a woman on occasion, “herself a couple of times, oh she was a bad girl.” Oh, how I hated that line in such a wonderful episode.

Clue #3

But both of these things can only be considered in light of the third, consecutively speaking, scenario in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” Two things actually happen during this episode to give pause. The first occurs during Melody Pond’s transformation into the River Song we know and love, when she comments, “I’m focusing on a dress size.”

The second occurs at the end of the episode where she transfers all her remaining regenerations to the Doctor in order to save his life. In that moment, she exhibits a great deal of control over the regenerative process.

Taking these things into account, there are several other moments in the post-Eccleston canon that we can look at when considering the sex of the Doctor, especially where the control of regeneration is concerned.

Last five Long
Series 1: Christopher Eccleston

  • Eccleston’s Doctor flirts with Captain Jack Harkness and is clearly as unlimited by sexual preference as the captain himself. For this to be such a non-issue, it would seem to indicate that for a Time Lord it is the mindset and not the physiology that is key. Thus, the Doctor continually regenerates as a man though his sexual preferences could go either way.
  • “Am I ginger?” One of the first thing Eccleston’s Doctor asks Rose is if he is ginger. He would like to have a different hair color, but obviously lacks the ability or desire to control that aspect of his regeneration. If he cannot be ginger, I find it hard to believe that he personally would have enough regenerative control to remove anatomy, though I bow to the comments and say that maybe not all Time Lords show such lack of control.

Series 2-4: David Tennant

  • David Tennant’s Doctor falls in love with Rose Tyler, or so they like to tell me. (Can you tell I’m not big on the love scenes?) If this is the case, then being the bringer of hope that he is, I doubt that he would regenerate into a form that Rose would have a hard time relating to because he hopes that he will see her again. Considering her initial reaction to the first regeneration she witnesses, this worry would seem to have credibility, whether or not it should.
  • In “Journey’s End” the Doctor forces himself into a partial regeneration showing that he does have some control over the regenerative process. This would seem to greatly substantiate the idea that he just doesn’t ordinarily care to control his regeneration.

So what can we learn for the next regeneration based on the past ten? The Doctor shows preferences for several characteristics over his 900 year life span, and so it would seem unlikely that he would choose an eleventh regeneration that was vastly different.

  • The Doctor has been in humanoid form for ten regenerations.
  • The Doctor has been British over ten regenerations, even when regenerating in another country or on another planet.
  • The Doctor has been a man over ten regenerations.
  • The Doctor has been white over ten regenerations.

FirstI have seen the argument postulated that he displays himself as a white male so that no matter which point in history the TARDIS takes him, he is able to blend in with authority. Given that he has been to the end of the universe I find it hard to believe that the white male would be dominant for the entirety of human history. For this, we might consider a real-world reason, the history of prejudice against non-whites in Western culture.

The arguments put forth here take us in two different directions. Either a Time Lord can control the regenerative process to a certain degree and the Doctor does not have the skill set to do so, or a Time Lord can control the regenerative process and the Doctor does not care to do so.

So, while I concur that a Time Lord might possibly be able to switch both sex and species, will this particular Time Lord choose to do so at this point in his regenerative cycle?

This GeekMom thinks it unlikely.

Forgotten Fandoms: Dark Skies

Dark Skies © NBC
Dark Skies © NBC

Welcome to Forgotten Fandoms, a new GeekMom series in which I hope to introduce you to TV shows (and more) that you’ve forgotten ever existed – or never heard about in the first place. This isn’t the place for shows everyone’s heard of but never got around to watching; it’s for the lost and forgotten gems totally deserving of a second look. I’m kicking off with the 1996 conspiracy drama, Dark Skies.

Dark Skies aired at a time when The X-Files was riding a wave of unprecedented worldwide popularity and every television network was scrambling to produce its own government/alien conspiracy show. Even Disney joined in. Set in the 1960s, the show follows John Loengard and his girlfriend Kimberly Sayers as they move to Washington DC and rapidly (astonishingly rapidly) become involved in the government’s ongoing alien cover-up. In the pilot episode, John begins working as a Congressman’s aide on Capitol Hill but he soon finds himself a member of the secretive Majestic group, a covert agency covering up the existence of aliens on Earth.

John becomes disenchanted with Majestic when Kimberly is abducted by an alien species.
Known as The Hive, they are taking over the human race by implanting crustacean-like “ganglions” into human brains. John saves Kim, performs an “A.R.T” to remove the ganglion, and the two leave Majestic, vowing to make the truth about the alien plot public. Subsequent episodes follow John and Kimberly as they criss-cross America hunting for physical evidence and trying to uncover more details about the alien plot, often finding themselves working alongside Majestic to foil the Hive’s latest scheme.

Continue reading Forgotten Fandoms: Dark Skies

Twelve Fictional Characters With Officially Registered Tartans

Kilted from birth. Photo by Ruth Suehle

The National Archives of Scotland maintains the official register of plaid patterns known as “tartan” and their associated clans or groups in The Scottish Register of Tartans. Their mission is both to preserve history as well as to register newly designed tartans. This registry was formed as the official one in 2008, merging two unofficial registries, the Scottish Tartans World Register and the Scottish Tartans Authority. There are many tartans that are designated not for a clan, as commonly thought, but also for organizations, areas of land, and even companies. In that last category are an assortment of tartans that have been registered for fictional characters. Click on the character’s name in bold to see the picture of the fabric at The Scottish Register of Tartans.

Brave‘s DunBroch clan. For this year’s animated film Brave, Disney/Pixar registered the royal family’s tartan, which uses “the ocean blue of the North Sea” and “deep scarlet [that] represents the family’s reverence for its own history and the blood shed during battles between the clans. Deep green shows a love for Scotland’s majestic highlands.” The navy blue represents the forging of the clans, and the grey “imbues a sense of respect for the inner soul of the strong Scottish people.”

K-9 from Doctor Who. This pre-1977 design’s notes state that K-9’s dog collar from the Tom Baker years (!977-1981) was sent to the Scottish Tartans Authority for identification, but they were unable to do so and call it “possibly a fashion tartan of the period.” Continue reading Twelve Fictional Characters With Officially Registered Tartans