Saturday, March 11, 2023

correct taste: 1856

 from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, January 1856:

"Flounces are universally worn, the number resting entirely at the option of the wearer. Skirts are very full, and so long as to touch the ground, even when distended by the most ample under-dress. The hoops of our grandmothers certainly threaten to reappear, if we may not say that they have actually appeared again. We are confident, however, that the good taste of our countrywomen will prevent a fashion so opposed to correct taste from becoming at all prevalent."

Of course, the cage crinoline, e.g. the "hoopskirt" as we now know it, was patented and went into production in late 1856. Never say never, darlings.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Lombroso, Lie Detectors, and the Law According to Lidia Poët

In one episode of The Law According to Lidia Poët, our heroine mentions a device called a "volumetric glove." Because standard Googling is not going to get you far with this, I searched Google Books, 19th century, and found this treatise on Criminal Man, by Gina Limbroso. This business about the volumetric glove is interesting for several reasons: first, it was an early lie detector; second, it was a tool that grew out of early psychiatric testing to be used for criminal investigation, and demonstrates the close relationship of those two fields—not to mention how the tools of one can be used as weapons in the other.

Here is the transcribed text from the scanned book, edited slightly for length:

"It is well known that any emotion which causes the heart-beats to quicken or become slower makes us blush or turn pale, and these vaso-motor pheomena are entirely beyond our control. If we plunge one of our hands into the volumetric tank [...], the level of the liquid ... will rise and fall at every pulsation, [...] and variations may be observed which correspond to every stimulation of the senses, every thought and above all, every emotion. 

"The volumetric glove [...] is a still more practical and convenient apparatus. It consists of a large gutta-percha glove, which is put on the hand and hermetically sealed at the writes by a mixture of mastic and vaseline. The glove is filled with air as the tank was with water. The greater or smaller pressure exercised on the air by the pulsations of blood in the veins of the hands reacts on the aerial column of an india-rubber tube, and this in its turn on Marey's tympanum (a small chamber half metal and half gutta-percha). This chamber supports a lever carrying an indicator, which rises and falls with the greater or slighter flow of blood in the hand. This lever registered the oscillations on a moving cylinder covered with smoked paper. 

"If after talking to the patient on indifferent subjects, the examiner suddenly mentions persons, friends, or relatives, who interest him and cause him a certain amount of emotion, the curve registered on the revolving cylinder suddenly drops and rises rapidly, thus proving that he possesses natural affections. If, on the other hand, when alluding to relatives and their illnesses, or vice-versa, no corresponding movement is registered on the cylinder, it may be assumed that the patient does not possess much affection.

"My father sometimes made successful use of the plethysmograph to discover whether an accused person was guilty of the crim imputed to him, by mentioning it suddenly while his hands were in the plethysmograph or placing the photograph of the victim unexpectedly before his eyes." (Lombroso, 1887)

The "father" mentioned above was Cesare Lombroso, an Italian physician, criminologist, and phrenologist. As may be inferred from above, Cesare made a career out of attempting to determine the cause of criminal behavior. Cesare's theory was that criminality or lack of morals was inherent, which was influenced by common common racist assumptions of the day and heavily leaned on by lawmakers and monied persons who wanted to keep the hoi polloi in line. Proponents believed both criminals and "lower" races were less evolved and therefore closer to animals in nature. Lombroso made much of criminal activities running in families and published several works about the physical characteristics of criminals, such as the shape of their heads and other features. An early form of racial profiling, if you will.

An early lie-detecting glove, and what a criminal looks like, according to Lombroso. 

Our modern sensibilities aside, Lombroso's work was a little more advanced that the old way of thinking that criminals were just sinners who needed saving/punishment. His theories were disputed even at the time; phrenology and other mechanical explanations for psychiatric illness were not universally accepted even in the 1880s. Other researchers built on his work, which led to closer examinations of criminal behavior, leading psychiatry and criminology further away from simple assumptions of sin and wickedness, and toward advances in treatment of criminals and the insane.

There is a very good summation of Lombroso's work and the developing "science" of criminology (forgive the ironic quotes—it's hard to take these early efforts seriously by today's ethical standards) in the book 1877: America's Year of Living Violently by Michael A. Bellesiles.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

1855 Dress Project Progress report: petticoats and skirt

Time flies when you're busy. 

I feel as if I've been moving along steadily on this project and look up to find it's been over a month since I started it. No shame, of course, just another example of how everything takes longer than you think it will––and costs more.

For instance, when I started this project I had three goals in mind: to learn about styles and construction methods of the 1850s, which is about 30 years earlier than the sartorial era I was most familiar with; to sew entirely by the treadle machine and by hand, to see how long it would take; and to use what materials I had on hand, because most frontier women would not be able to just run down to the store and pick up what they were missing. 

For the most part I had the fabric I needed. I had plenty of stiff cotton organdy from an 1880 petticoat project, and a couple lengths of hoop steel, enough for the bottom two rows on the boned/corded petticoat, and some medium-weight cotton for the petticoat itself. But as I researched methods for making early crinolines I found I either needed more boning or all the cord, depending on how "authentic" I wanted to be. 

The most popular style of corded petticoat on the internet can involve up to 100 yards of cotton cording. I knew I didn't want to pay for that, or take the time to sew all that between two layers, much less wear that weight. Fortunately, extant petticoats in museums as well as in Costume In Detail show how multiple solutions were used by dressmakers of the time. Cord, reed, wire, and spring steel were all sewn into petticoats before the patenting of the improved cage crinoline in 1856. 

In the spirit of making do, I decided to be "historically adequate" and compromise: for the best intersection of weight, cost, and functionality, I would do a boned petticoat incorporating two rows of spring steel at the bottom, and several rows of synthetic whalebone (i.e. plastic) above. 

Of course, that cost me about $50 in additional boning and boning channels. I would have had to spend money on SOMETHING, of course, and it's ironic that the cheapest option was still $50, but that's why we only make this type of underwear once, and try to use things from the stash.

Here are two images of the boned petticoat, one just after the channels were installed, the other with the boning in. 

"corded" petticoat pre-boning

under petticoat fully boned

And here is the "crinoline" petticoat, which couldn't be simpler: just three tiers of stiffened cotton organdy, each gathered onto the tier above. This is the first kind of petticoat I learned to make although I got smarter about grading the size of each tier to give it the correct shape. The bottom tier was 186 inches long before gathering, the middle was 140 inches, and the topmost was just under 90 inches. The waistband here was too wide; I cut it down from a deep yoke to a 1" band. Both waistbands are sized to sit just below the waist to reduce bulk at that area. 

Both petticoats together.

Next up was the skirt. When I started this project I intended to repurpose some plaid silk taffeta that wasn't working out for a c1880 bustle dress, but before I went down that punishing road I decided to do something simpler first. I had a big piece of burgundy linen, part of which was already cut out to make a basic gathered skirt. It was intended to be part of an 18th century-style witch costume for Halloween, but between school and everything else I didn't have time to finish it last fall.

I put pockets in the side seams, bound the back placket, and cartridge-pleated the top by hand.

Installing pockets

Skirt over petticoats, with cartridge pleats. Also the tell-tail of my shop helper.

Once the cartridge pleating was done, I promptly decided I didn't like it, and took it all out again. So the next section will be showing the skirt with deep box pleats. I hope to complete the skirt this weekend and do most of the bodice mock-up and construction so the next post should be substantial.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

1855 Dress Project for Arabia Steamboat Research

 I'm reviving this blog as a place to store the record of my making a 1855-ish dress, as part of my research into 1850's clothing. 

For those who don't know, I work part time at the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City. I am mostly engaged in documenting and restoring/reconstructing clothing artifacts that were recovered in the winter of 1988-89 and preserved in the early 1990s. We have almost no women's wear in the collection, although museum lore is that there were several crates of women's ready-made cotton dresses, which did not survive 130+ years in the groundwater of eastern Kansas. We have only the buttons left... so many buttons.

So while discussing the likely design of those dresses and whether we might reconstruct one for a display example, someone asked me how long it would take to make one. Now, the dress itself is not a huge problem. I could do that in two days, assuming I had a pattern. But this is an era I have not spent much time in. I never cared for the hoopskirts look so I don't have a collection of patterns or a depth of knowledge about construction methods. A lot changed between 1850 and 1880 where I usually hang out.

Besides, a whole new Victorian outfit involves not just the dress but the undergarments. The cage crinoline or hoopskirt was "invented" which is to say, patented and mass-produced, in late 1856. But the dresses on the Arabia and the ladies on the frontier would have relied on corded petticoats or crinolines (loose-woven, stiff horsehair petticoats). I don't have those either and I don't have a lot of knowledge about how they were made.

Through one thing and another, I have decided to make an 1855 dress, to test the techniques and also to have something to wear for museum events. I intend to make a corded petticoat, a flounced and/or horsehair petticoat, the skirt, and the bodice. I already have a corset, chemise, and drawers that will work for that era so I’ll just use those; I already know it takes me 12-16 hours to make a corset and about 8-10 for the other two items. (Seriously, for some reason a dumb chemise takes a million years to finish.)

Image from The Met.

pattern drafts on a workbench

Because I’m doing this largely as a learning exercise for my work at the Arabia Museum, I will be documenting this process much more thoroughly than usual. I intend to do the work on my 1918 treadle machine and by hand. Call it experimental archeology.

I drew out the pattern for the bodice on Tuesday, just to get a feel for the proportions and fabric requirements, but the bodice will actually be the last thing I make, because it has to fit over the skirt and petticoats.

I must report, however, that I've used a dozen or so historical patterns from magazines like Godey's, which are always single-sized "for a medium-sized lady" and usually only give the vertical measurements, and I've never once had to make one longer in the torso. I'm 5'6", which is two inches above average for a 21st century woman, so I definitely look askance at the claim that people in the 19th century were "so much smaller" than we are now.

Monday, April 20, 2020

noir fiction vs gothic romance

Is there a rule or convention or expectation that every installment in a series of novels has to be the same type of story? I mean what trope is the determining factor? As long as each book in the series has the same setting and mostly the same characters, does it matter if one volume leans more toward action and the hero's journey, and the next is a romance, and the third is a dystopic allegory, and the forth a war story?

I was told once by a beta reader that Curious Weather had "too much romance" for the type of book it was. This assessment, I must assume, was based on the fact that The Curse of Jacob Tracy was a weird western—a boy's adventure book, to be blunt—with no sex and only the barest allusion to romance.

So, naturally, I doubled down on the love story in Curious Weather because the whole point of that book was that it IS a romance, albeit a gothic one.

What are the tropes of the gothic romance? Well, Barbara Michaels is/was my favorite of the modern writers, and she did a batch of supernatural-flavored ones in the 80s, so I take her as my guide.

1. Told from the POV of the heroine, who's out of her usual milieu due to a family shake-up of some kind—or in the modern stories, a professional change.

2. The heroine's new milieu is hostile or threatening in some way, because of isolation, locals, or roommates—or all three.

3. There is at least one love interest, usually two. These two heroes are foils for each other; one seemingly, the other unsuitable in some way, both attractive and/or menacing by turns.

4. Usually the charming love interest turns out to be the villain.

5. There's a mystery afoot, or some deep dark secret.

6. The heroine's efforts to solve the mystery or uncover the secret lead her further into danger.

In many ways it's the same plot as a hard-boiled detective story, just with the gender roles reversed.

I'm pleased to say that Curious Weather alternately embraces and subverts all of these tropes, sometimes both, and you could make an argument that it brings in elements of the noir novel as well. As for the idea that there might be "too much" romance in a noir story... have you read any Mickey Spillane? or Robert B. Parker?

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Review: Sacred Lies on Facebook Watch

There's a line early in Facebook Watch's Sacred Lies when the FBI shrink says to the traumatized and distrustful heroine, "I'm interested in why people do terrible things to each other in the name of religion."

If you pick up on that statement as the show's whole premise, you'll be a lot happier than if you come to it expecting a teen drama or a horror story, although it uses tropes from both those genres to tell its story.

I binge-watched the whole show over the past few days. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Initially I thought the hook was somewhat gratuitous (handless girl arrested for murder!) until I learned that the series was based on a book which was a retelling of the Grimms' tale 'The Handless Maiden."

I'm always on board for a Grimms' retelling because they are so relentlessly dark, even beneath the slather of Christian piety. This one has a miller (accidentally) bargaining his daughter away to the devil, and then hacking off her hands rather than take her place as the devil's victim. But she's so pious and forgiving God makes her hands grow back after seven years.

So far the only happy ending in sight for the show is Minnow's own search for self-actualization. Incredibly, the show seems to be aiming for a PG-13 rating despite the horrific things going on off-screen—sexual abuse, animal abuse, forced marriage, self-harm, torture and manipulation in the name of religion—these things are discussed or alluded to with glancing matter-of-factness and no one using language stronger than "crap." Frankly, the subject matter is sensational enough that any attempts to make it "grittier" would push it into exploitation.

I mean you've got girls in prison, many of whom have been sexually abused, most of them with physical scars, and our heroine is in shock from having her world burnt down and adapting to a challenging new disability. I've read at least one review condemning the handling of that disability—the camera lingering over all the everyday objects that are designed for five-finger use, the jokes and questions by the other inmates, Minnow's rage over what was done to her. To those critics I say, leave your agenda at the door, dude—the girl's in shock; her reactions and those of the people around her are nothing less than accurate and worthy of attention.

And while we're on the subject of representation, I kept noticing the diversity in this show. The FBI shrink is black, the local sheriff appears to be a First Nations woman (and gay), Minnow's cell mate is an indeterminate shade of not-white (?)with probable lesbian-leanings, and all the secondary characters in the prison are a Russell Stover assortment of races, sexualities, and religions. And although Minnow makes the remark that she's not used to being around "so many different people" it's merely a facet of her world expanding; she's long suspected that the world she grew up in was a false one, and she's eager to broaden her horizons.

What is a plot point (slight spoiler here, although you see it coming way early) is that Minnow's cult is racist—they claim black people have dark skin because God burnt out their souls—and when she falls in love with Jude, a young black man, the cultists lose their shit. But I like the way this plot point is handled: the discovery of their relationship moves the plot forward, but it also furthers everyone's character development; nobody makes any big speeches about it or "learns" anything from it, there's no "very special" episode, it's just a thread woven into the whole. Other critics have harped on this lack of "learning moments," as it were—for instance wanting more "exploration" about how low-income white folk tend to be racist—but I really didn't see a need. The writers treat their audience as intelligent enough to infer and keep up.

It's not perfect. The dialogue is a touch didactic at times, although this is clearly for the audience's benefit because the show has a lot of psychological concepts to unpack; frequently the FBI psychologist serves as the narrative voice of this dark fairy tale but actor Kevin Carroll carries off the dialogue so naturally that I found myself intrigued in much the same way as when I was watching Mindhunter.

The show is plugged as drama/horror on IMDB, which is accurate enough if you consider human evil horrific, as I do. But as I watched this the horror was mixed with sadness and anger, mostly at the self-servingness of institutions and structures that consume women and girls. I've seen enough religious fanaticism to believe I could all-too-easily find myself in the same situation as Minnow, especially with the direction the country has taken lately.

For a deeper exploration of the themes of the story, this review of the book is excellent, and from what I can tell applies to the TV series as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

reading: Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Took me a few tries to get into it, because I wasn't in love with Oryx and Crake. While that one was an undeniably strong piece of work it also came across as William Gibson lite, with a couple of absolutely toxic male lead characters that I could hardly stand to let in my head.

Much easier for me to read about about Toby and Ren, partly because they're women and partly because they're just nicer people, although the cyberpunk lite aspects are still there, and Atwood's cutesy corporate names (pigoon, rakunk, ANooYoo) are even more grating the longer I'm familiar with them. I appreciate this is supposed to be satire but I don't feel it's particularly successful.

I'm deep enough in now (about 60%) that the political machinations of the Gardeners are starting to be revealed, the intrigue is getting intriguier and the stakes proportionately higher. The mastery of scene and character are, as always, superb. Even though I know what's going to happen the sense of impending doom keeps ratcheting up my anxiety level so that I keep having to put the book down, and then dash back to it a few minutes later.

I've been talking with my friend Rob lately about tone and theme in sci-fi, trends over the decades, what makes a book seem dated vs the current style. Again comparing Gibson and Atwood it seems that the former is more idea-driven sf and the latter more psychological, although I'm not sure that's exactly true. Gibson's work is highly psychological (Neuromancer is a tale of addiction and self-loathing hung on a fairly pedestrian neo-noir framework) and I'll add him to my very short list of male writers who write convincing female characters. However, Gibson's early work seems decidedly more full of masculine energy than Atwood's. Or am I projecting? Pattern Recognition is one of my favorite books ever, and it's written from the POV of a single chick.

Do we assess the masculine/feminine energy of a book slanted heavily toward which and how many pronouns are used?

One very useful thing about my reading this book right now is its structure. Alternating but restricted POV's between two characters, with lots of flashbacks. I'm doing something similar in Curious Weather, between Boz & Trace's plotlines, with Miss Fairweather's flashbacks sprinkled in-between. I've been worried about how it reads, but reading Year of the Flood I quickly got used to the changeovers and I'm having no problem keeping up. Reassuring.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Review of A Stupid Place

Just watched A Quiet Place, and despite the undeniable quality of production and the acting, there are so many gaffes and gaps in common sense that by halfway through I was completely disengaged and pissed off.





Writers take note: never get so enamored with a McGuffin that you allow it to blind you to all common sense.

Monday, May 14, 2018

thoughts while watching American Mary for the eighth time

If this Soska sisters had wanted to be really subversive they would have ended the movie with Billy and Mary living happily in Berlin or Argentina as legit club owners at the heart of the underground scene. Sure, some aspects of the movie could have been better fleshed out—Mary's sense of betrayal when she catches Billy getting a blowjob, for instance, or Ruby's husband's controlling streak, or the question of whether Billy actually understood where Mary was coming from in terms of her damage or if he merely had a death wish. Letting Mary come out the other side of her trauma and find some balance—even if it meant she got away with her crimes—would have been more disturbing and satisfying than killing the monster at the end. The ending was the only cheap move in the film.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

actual costs of historical costuming

I'm feeling the need to tell on myself a bit here, because once again it's convention season, and every year, every con worth its salt proposes a "costuming on a budget" panel, and I'm always strung out between wanting to help and a fatalistic sense that it's a lost cause.

One CAN do great costumes cheaply. It takes patience and ingenuity and maker skills and a lot of hunting, but we have the Internet these days so it's easier than it used to be. I LOVE thrift-store costumes, partly because I love costumes that can pass as street clothes—people walking around dressed like Velma and Daphne, for instance, or Sam and Dean (hipster or Winchester?).
But it works because the costume itself IS modern streetwear. So right away the scope of such a panel is deceptively ill-defined. I don't believe one can replicate my style of costuming—that is, compile a convincing 1860's gown or bustle dress—from found clothing. The silhouette is too extreme, the underwear too essential. By the Jazz Era the corset goes away and it becomes a lot easier, and of course for men, styles haven't changed much in 180 years, give or take a few zippers.
For me, found-costuming is never going to be my jam. I'm more like a model-railroad builder. I like the designing and the workmanship and getting the details "right," although I'm not a stitch-counter by any means. Furthermore, to me costuming is as much tactile as visual; I was drawn to it because I like the sense of putting on an older style of clothing and stepping away from the 21st century for a while, as much as anyone can. And I like the way good fabrics feel. Cotton, silk, and wool are so much nicer to work with than synthetics, and are generally more comfortable to wear and last longer. I try to buy organic fibers for my everyday wardrobe, too.
But organic fabrics are expensive, and getting more so. The price of quality cotton goods has doubled in the last five years, and some types of silk have tripled. True, you can buy cheaper synthetics or cheap cottons but then you've put all this effort into a garment that is going to fade, bag, and pill after a single wearing. In my lifetime, in America, I've seen sewing go from a skill that could stretch the family budget to a rich woman's hobby. When I sew, I'm practicing skills that have traditionally been drudge work for women, and at the same time, indulging in a mode of dressing with a quality of materials that a skilled laborer would not have been able to afford at any other point in history. Hell, a lot of people can't afford them now. And then you start getting into the issues of sweat shops and arable land and water consumption for cotton farming and waste chemicals for polyester production and animal rights for wool production and all those poor workers have to eat somehow and it just all becomes one impossible Existential black hole.
But I digress.
In preparation for this post, I started calculating the cost of my latest "quick and cheap" Victorian striped polonaise. I knew it wasn't "cheap," but the actual hard numbers made me wince. So I share them now in the spirit of disclosure.
The polonaise (overdress) alone cost a little less than $200 in new (purchased in Feb/March 2018) materials.
  • Striped poly/cotton fabric: $55
  • Black velvet belt/trim: $10 (about 1/4 yard of scrap cotton velveteen)
  • Buttons: $60
  • Lace: $25
  • Earrings: $40 (no I didn't need them—birthday present to myself.)
  • Thread, ribbon, needles, pins, etc... 
And of course I wore it with stuff I already had:
  • Black cotton faille underskirt: ~$80, made 3 years ago
  • Cotton organdy petticoat: ~$50, made 3 years ago
  • Chemise: ~$70, made 2-3 years ago
  • Bustle pad: $25, made 3 years ago
  • Corset: ~$80—I make one every year, more or less, and I recycle the boning & lacing when an old one wears out. Boning is most of the expense.
  • Shoes: $150—the shoes are more than 10 years old and have been repaired more than once, so that cost is factored in.
  • Hat: ~$35-50— made 6-7 years ago from scraps. It is however silk satin built on a buckram frame, so it would probably be closer to $80 if I made it now.
  • Belt-pouch ~$60 picked up 2-3 years ago. 
Throw in makeup, hair pins, stockings, the old costume necklace I acquired in high school, and you're closing in on $800 for that outfit. And we haven't even talked about the three sewing machines, the iron and ironing board, the file cabinet full of patterns, the reference books, the cutting mat, the roll of patterning paper, etc., etc.,

Those are costs spread over months, years, decades. Back when I made my very first corset in 2002, I saw that the cost would be considerable and I wanted my pieces to last for many seasons. So I always get a bit flummoxed when people ask me, "How long did it take you to make that?" because they're not asking the right question.

"Thirty-some years of practice at sewing and patterning, twenty of hoarding fabric and learning where to find the good stuff, the last ten collecting passable shoes and accessories (I also collect old medical equipment, which is equally useless, but doesn't it look cute in my booth? No it's not for sale) and let's not ignore that those skills, that time to practice, the expendable income to buy the good fabrics, are the product of luck and privilege, being a white American with a college education which she probably could have paid off by now if she'd quit spending money making damn costumes."

So. This is why I hesitate to do a "how to costume on a budget" panel. Because it's all too dishonest and depressing. But hey, I look pretty doing it.

Also, the perennial first and last word on the subject: Cheap, Quick, or Accurate, via The Costumer's Guide.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Me, too.

Look, I don't do memes. I've turned my nose up at going with the crowd since I was eight or ten, at least. And that, I suspect, has protected me from a lot of the shit that women put up with.

Friday, September 30, 2016

projects in the closet: midnight blue velvet

Those of you who've known me a long time may remember when, lo these many years ago, me and a friend cosplayed Darla and Drusilla in their 1880 garb. (From the Buffy/Angel crossover flashback where Dru and Spike meet.) 

That dress was the beginning of my long infatuation with the Natural Form Era (1878-1882) of fashion, and the original reason Curse of Jacob Tracy is set in 1880. Sad but true. Anyway, I outgrew this dress over the past decade-plus, and it being my first Victorian sewing project there were certain construction elements in the bodice I no longer approved of (we won't even talk about the polyester underskirt). Also, it was green.

So last winter I decided to make it over. I trashed the underskirt, took the bodice and overskirt completely apart. They are both cotton velveteen, originally white, which I had dyed green. I soaked them in dye remover to get them back to beige, then overdyed the fabric indigo. It was an interesting exercise because it was only the second time I'd used fiber reactive dyes, but the overall result was very good--it just was a bit lighter and truer blue than I'd hoped for. I was undecided about what to do next, so I threw the disassembled, indigo pieces in a drawer and let them sit for a year.

With the weather cooling off I started thinking about this project again. A couple weeks ago I was home sick and browsing through I came across this lovely crossweave silk taffeta and I knew that was what I wanted to piece out my velveteen with. 

I bought two yards to see if it would match. It doesn't. 

The discrepancy is stronger than I could capture with my camera; the taffeta is a couple clicks toward the purple. But it's much more the color I want, so I ordered a fresh batch of dye from Dharma Trading Co. and I'm going to tint the velveteen yet again. Stay tuned!