ipa's

8

A plaster face perched high next to a colorful boob, a sexy brunette stencil challenging your point of view, pixel art made of shiny mosaic pieces, halved bicycles coming out of walls… this is Montmartre street art, obvious if you look after it and slowly expanding to the rest of Paris. Miss Tic, Invader, Gregos, A.L.Tony, Guaté Mao, Intra Larue… some of them managed to reach the art galleries level and sell for good money. Most though are only presenting short-lived messages to the passersby, from the height of Parisian walls full of Beaux Arts history.
A French beer to pair it? How about Hugs and Hops from Deck & Donohue, still French unlike the name. A thick honey hopped syrup IPA, not for every moment, but a daring pairing for something special some wouldn’t even call art.

Here’s the process I used to weather my Abyss Watcher jacket.  I bought budget upholstery leather from ebay, which was close to the right color, but unfortunately turned out to be more glossy than I wanted.  This process got rid of the glossy coat, darkened the color a bit, and also gave it a more worn appearance.  I’ll show the final result later this week!

I recommend either doing this outside or wearing a respirator, as some of the chemicals release fumes that probably aren’t healthy to be breathing in.  Nitrile gloves are also a plus.  Rubbing alcohol and acetone in particular severely dry out skin (that’s why they work well for weathering leather :-P).  

1) Apply isopropyl alcohol (IPA, aka rubbing alcohol) to remove the gloss coat.  I squirted it on liberally and then rubbed it off with a paper towel.  You’ll need to rub the leather quite a bit to remove the gloss coating, adding more IPA as necessary.  If you want a more harsh effect, you could use acetone (found in nail polish remover) instead of IPA.  Acetone tends to leave a residue, so you’ll probably need to use IPA afterward.  The leather should have a dull, matte finish after this step.

2) Use shoe polish to both darken the leather and to simulate dirt and grime.  Shoe polish comes in a variety of colors.  I used black, but what color you use depends on the leather.  Again, I rubbed this on with a paper towel.  I focused more around seams and areas that might accumulate dirt with use.  I also made random speckles and streaks.  Be careful not to buff the leather too much, since this will make it shiny again.

3) Lastly, apply a leather conditioner.  I used Pecard’s leather dressing, but there are a variety of different types out there.  This serves three purposes.  It moisturizes the leather again, since IPA/acetone dry it out, extending the lifetime.  It tends to darken the color slightly, and it also keeps the shoe polish from rubbing off.  Wipe on a thin coat, being careful not to buff too much if you don’t want a shiny finish.  It takes a while for the conditioner to dry, maybe an hour or two.  If, after that, it’s still feels kind of oily, you can wipe off the excess conditioner with a rag or paper towel.

4) Update (optional step not pictured) - After making this tutorial, I also applied some fake black dirt (Ben Nye character powder, Charcoal), which helped remove even more of the shine, darkened the leather a bit, and gave it a more grimy texture.  This powder comes in three different colors, ash (white), prairie dust (brown), and charcoal (black), so there are a lot of options for getting different effects.  It washes off with water, so if you apply too much or get it on your clothing, it’s not permanent.  This also means that it does rub off a bit.  I haven’t tested this yet, but it seems like it should be fine for a day’s wear, but you might need to reapply if you’re wearing for multiple days at a convention.

And you’re done!  You may want to repeat some of the above steps if you’re not completely satisfied, or it’s still too shiny.  I’ve also heard of people using sandpaper to scratch up the surface, but this damages the leather and didn’t quite give the appearance I wanted for my project.

Kardasi Phonology Version 1.95

With deepest apologies to everyone who was using the old chart.

So I’ve been thinking about this on and off for…probably months now, and tonight as I was working on Lesson 1 to learn Kardasi, I made a final decision. I’ve swapped around the pronunciation for g and G, as I wasn’t super-satisfied with how having a soft g (<j>) impacted a lot of established words.

I’m not a very decisive person, but I will try to keep this change permanent. Sorry, everyone!

10

Hot afternoon sun melting into a warm wet evening, an onslaught of summer storm rushing the visitors under the circus-like drinks tent, moderate crowds sitting on folding benches in a relaxed yet loud chatter, warm colorful chains of light criscrossing over the whole disaffected stadium, rhythmic background music flowing from everywhere… a new edition of the Zurich street food festival is about to end.
Shiny oldtimer trucks opened up to display their entrails of steaming kitchenware, mouth-watering smoke from griling meat on wooden sticks by the fire, blackberries and ice cream chopped vigorously on a misty freezing plate, golden swirls of paprika dusted crunchy potatos in a glass cage, stinky strings of melted cheese coming from greyish buckwheat pasta and in between, a good Brooklyn IPA, not the Scorcher the name pretends to be, yet light and tasty still.

How to tell apart theta θ and eth ð

It’s easy to find words that distinguish between other voiced/voiceless pairs in English - bus and buzz, fine and vine - but the two sounds represented by the “th” sequence in English are rarer and harder to learn, especially since English uses the same spelling for both of them.  

A lot of people give up and just use near-minimal pairs like “think” and “this”, or “theta” and “they”, but there are actually a few true minimal pairs that you can use: 

thigh  -  thy
ether  -  either 
thistle  - this’ll 

It’s worth noting that function words in English, like pronouns, prepositions, and determiners, tend to have ð, while content words, especially nouns, tend to have θ.

Theta θ and eth ð are also found in the following noun/verb minimal pairs, at least for many dialects:   

wreath  -  wreathe 

(I put a wreath on the door / I wreathe the door)

teeth  - teethe

(my teeth / the baby is teething) 

loath  -  loathe 

(I’m loath to do it / I loathe doing it) 

sheath  -  sheathe

(in a sheath / to sheathe one’s sword)

sooth  -  soothe 

(for sooth! / to soothe someone) 

Here the vowels differ, but the theta θ to eth ð, noun to verb relationship is preserved: 

cloth  -  clothe

(wear cloth / clothe oneself)

bath  -  bathe

(take a bath / bathe the baby)  

breath  -  breathe 

(take a breath / breathe deeply)

Make sure to try them at full volume, not whispering, because whispering involves turning off your vocal cords (which is why you can whisper when they’re inflamed with laryngitis). 

These sounds are called dental fricatives or interdental fricatives, because the sound is produced by a thin stream of air friction where the tongue is at (dental) or between (interdental) the teeth. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the voiceless interdental fricative, theta, is written θ, and the voiced interdental fricative, eth, is written ð

As a bonus, here’s a minimal pair for ʒ and ð, thanks to recent developments in clothing technology: pleasure and pleather.