Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Many Tentacles Is That?

So, did you know I knit my mom seven octopi for Christmas?

No, of course you didn't. (Well, if you talked to me any time between last summer and last Christmas, you probably did, except, for the sake of the blog, let's just assume that you didn't, okay? Great.)

Do you remember Oliver "Ollie" Octopolis? You probably do, but you might not remember that his name is Ollie, because I think he got his name after he made his appearance on my blog. Anyway, this is Ollie.

Ollie lives at my mom's house. She had seen one of his cousins at Great Yarns in Everett, WA, when we visited for Thanksgiving in 2009. So, I searched my stash (I know... were you sitting? Sorry.) and found some Cascade 220 in good complementary colors and got started. The pattern for Ollie is found in Amigurumi Knits by Hansi Singh. The pattern is not difficult, just a little tedious and a mite fiddly, but I love tedious and fiddly, so I loved the pattern. I made a couple sock-yarn-sized Octos, too, and if you clicked the link up there for the blog post about Ollie, you met Celia and Cedric the cephalopods, too.

Anywho, last summer my mom said something about how she really wanted to write a book about Ollie. (My mom writes awesome kids' books. Click the Knit Knack links on the side of my blog if you are unfamiliar with her previous inspiration.) When my mom writes books about her knitted toys, she puts them in various locations in various positions and takes various pictures of them, which she then uses to illustrate her various stories.

So when she went to write a story about Ollie, she ran into a snag. See, Ollie's tentacles have pipe cleaners in them, so you can arrange and pose and rearrange and re-pose Ollie's tentacles to your heart's content. However, Mom was (and still is) SO pleased with Ollie's current state of tentacular enlightenment, that she didn't (and still doesn't) want to arrange OR rearrange his tentacles. She proposed the idea for a STUNT octopus, a second octopus identical to Ollie, whose legs she could twist and pose to make him climb things and hold things and otherwise fill in for Ollie.

At first I thought she was crazy. ANOTHER octopus? Did she know how many tentacles those things had?

And then I kept thinking about it. And I thought about it long enough that *I* became the crazy one.

Because really... what's the fun in knitting one identical octopus, when you could knit a whole bunch of octopi that are *almost* identical? Really.

So between September and December of last year I knitted seven stunt octopi for Ollie. That way, Mom could hold auditions, or use various stunt doubles for various types of stunts, since all of them have different backgrounds, experiences, and disciplines. Would you like to meet them? Of course you would.

(On a side note, you need to know that each of the stunt octopi came with their own head shots and resumes. They all have the same objective: To become the stunt double for Ollie Octopolis in his popular children’s book series.)

Jeff “Jeff” Molluskwi
Jeff performed as a stunt double in the following movies:
- Anemone of the State (1998)
- Bridge on the River Octopus (1957)
- Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
- Tentacles of Fire (1989)

and lists the following interests and awards:
- Won “Best Work With a Submarine” at the 1998 Taurus World Stunt Awards for Anemone of the State
- Specializes in underwater fight scenes
- Enjoys gardening in his free time

Tommy Tutone
(Tommy was born from two different dye lots of the teal yarn. Half of his tentacles are slightly darker than the other half. It's not really noticeable in the pictures, but Tommy prides himself on his tonal qualities.)
Tommy has performed stunts in the following movies:
- My Fair Cephalopod (1964)
- Tentacles on the Roof (1971)
- Meet Me in my Mantle (1995)
- Eight Brides for Eight Brothers (1954)
- Octlohoma (1955)

and lists the following interests and awards:
- Won “I Didn’t Even Know They Needed Stunt Doubles in Musicals: Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 1995 Taurus World Stunt Awards
- Graduated with PhD in Musical Theatre from Shanghai Ocean University, 1954
- Taught tap dance classes with Fred Astaire

Josiah “Lenny” Reiff
Lenny has performed as a stunt double in the following movies:
- Running With Scissors (2002)
- You’re the One Eye Love (2000)
- One Fine Eye (1996)

and has made appearances in the following television programs:
- Miami Ink (2005-2008)
- 8 is Enough (1977-1981)
- Arms of Love (1992-1993)

Eileen Cephalopodopolous
Eileen is the only female stunt octopus, and has been the Bond Girl stunt double in a tentacle-ful of James Bond movies, including:
- Octopus of Solace (2008)
- The World is Not a Cephalopod (1999)
- GoldTentacle (1964)
- Doctor Octopus (1962)
- The Spy Who Inked Me (1977)
- For Your Arms Only (1981)

She also made a guest appearance in the recent television docu-drama, Octomom: Me and My 200,000 Kids.

Bruce McKraken
(The idea for Bruce's inside out legs was an inspiration from one of my very good friends at sock club - Hi Melinda! - who made her own octopus and inadvertently sewed the legs together inside out. Brilliant!)
Bruce has performed as a stunt double in the following movies:
- The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Arachnophobia (1990)
- A Mollusk Among Us (1992)
- The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
- The Flying Octopus (2004)
- Eight Below (2006)
- Tickle Fight (2007)

and lists the following awards and achievements:
- Received “Best Underwater Pyrotechnic Stunt Award” at the World Stunt Awards, 2001
- Started the first underwater Ham Radar Station, O80CT, to guide stray submarines home

Simon Simone
Simon has performed stunts in the following movies:
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
- Jaws
- Ocean’s Seven
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Creature from the Blue Lagoon

and has earned his PhD in Underwater Theater.

T8tum "T8" Octum
(Tate, oh, sorry... T8 is actually the same colors as the other octopi, but he had his picture taken at a different studio and the lighting was not exactly the same. When you think of T8, imagine a strapping high school lad, his future laid out before him like the red carpet at the Oscars, and... well... T8 doesn't have a resume. He just has a mohawk and a dream.) The following is T8's submission:

Dude so like I never been in any movies but I look totally like this dude so I could totally be his stunt double. So I totally sk8board all the time cuz figure sk8ters are LAME!! And I almost gradu8ted in 2008 but I dropped out so I could go to the sk8board CHAMPIONSHIPS in fort Lauderdale and I was totally AWESOME!!! So you should totally let me be this dude’s stunt double cuz I ROCK and stuff.
Right. Well.

The octopi are getting along fabulously at my mom's house. (I really wish I'd taken video of her opening them and reading the resumes at Christmas. Each was a surprise, since I'd hidden most of them in the cupboards around her living room. Hysterical.)

Ollie is happy to have so many friends, and each stunt octopus has found his or her place in the household. The world is waiting with baited breath for Ollie (and his stunt septuples') adventures!!

ETA: Props to my good friends Randy and Kimmie Marksberry for their help and inspiration for many of the movie names and ideas listed above! Brilliant!


Joy said...

You made your comeback a good one, Drunken Monkey. Ridiculously creative. I'm going to bed jealous.

Barbara said...

WOW! Thanks! Great to see you finally blogging again. I have missed you so much and wondered what you've been up to.

Brenda said...

Brilliant! I would like to put in an order for my own eight octopi. One for each member of our family.

What? I have the pattern and my own yarn and needles? That sounds like crazy talk to me.

bean said...

Oh my gosh. The creativity contained in your pretty self is frightening. I think I'm jealous. (P.S. Thanks for blogging!!! We should do this more often and stuff. But I'm like, thith ith harrrrrd.)

~RaenWa~ said...

Great blog post they would make a great book.

Donna said...

This? Is so good. You made my day.

momofjodanlin said...

I'm SO glad I read your post. Knee slapping hilarious!! You crack me up!! Lindsey really likes the Octopi. Guess that means I might be knitting one soon? Maybe after I finish another round of socks? Probably not. But then again...

~Tonia~ said...

LOVE IT!!! :) Hopefully I will see you at some festivals this year. :)

Laurie said...

Love them! I think octopi are some of the creepiest creatures around, but I'd love to have one (or two...or seven...) of these hanging around the house. :-)

Kimmie said...

Man, I remember when I went to see "Tickle Fight" on the big screen back on '07. Those were the days. I laughed, I cried, and then i laughed some more. I never guessed that I'd get to meet one of the "stars". Thank you for making my dream come true. :)