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Lady Vadore at Star Wars Celebration

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friday afternoon John and I headed out to Star Wars Celebration VI for my first-ever big cosplay debut. (We dressed as steampunks last Dragon*Con, but that was really minor in comparison!)



Getting there in one piece was the biggest hurdle, since my costume has a lot of accessories with fragile components, and my corset doesn't make for a comfortable car ride. We ended up ducking into an empty corridor and putting most of me together after we arrived at the convention center.

I planned to dress up Friday because the crowds are lighter then than the weekend. That said, even at its most crowded on Saturday SWCVI still had plenty of space on the perimeters of the hall and beyond to get away and take a break. It's also HUGE. Here's the main floor on Saturday afternoon, just above the droid race lanes:



Anyway, within ten steps of donning my mask and goggles I was stopped for photos, and all that practice posing was immediately put to the test! I was stopped about every twenty feet or so, on average, which set a nice leisurely pace.

I've had a lot of people ask about my anxiety combined with the mask & goggles, and whether or not I felt claustrophobic in it all. The truth is I found the head covering extremely calming. It's a kind of  sensory deprivation chamber, which allows me to feel pleasantly detached and safe from my surroundings.


That said, the mask does limit my vision, and I have almost no peripheral. I compensate by turning my head a lot, which made my hair a snarly mess. I'm planning on wrapping the top of my pony tail with ribbon at Dragon*Con to keep it together better.

There weren't too many steampunks there, but we found as many as we could:

Actually, these steampunk Rebel Pilots found me - and quickly surrounded me for a photo.

Steampunk Jedi (on the right above) and Storm Trooper.

Another thing about having no peripheral vision is that I never knew how close someone was beside me. And if both of us had helmets on, this resulted in some pretty funny spacing issues:

John asked to take our photo together, and within seconds we had a small crowd around us, clicking away. (Talk about strength in numbers - even two cosplayers together doubles the crowd.) One woman exclaimed, "Oh, you guys are so perfect together! Are you together together?" Which made us look at each other and laugh. (Later the Scout pulled out his camera & asked John to take our picture.)

After we'd been on the floor about an hour on Friday, I found myself standing in front of a backdrop and surrounded by a small crowd with cameras. Flashes went off all around me as about 8 or 10 people took my photo all at once, and I stared out at it all, wide-eyed, and thought, "Ok. This is surreal."

A little over an hour later, my mask lights went out. (ACK!) It turned out the condensation from my breath collected in the cracks, and the moisture shorted out the wires. John and I were both pretty disappointed, and so decided I would come back again in costume on Sunday.

Sunday I was back with newly water-proofed wiring and black tights, since I decided I didn't like my white knees showing. This time it started pouring just as we were walking in from the parking lot, which meant I had to sprint a good 30 yards in a tightly laced corset. (Not something I recommend.)

After that I felt edgy and uncomfortable, so within a few minutes of donning the mask I took half a Xanax to calm my nerves. It's the smallest dose possible, but happily that's all I needed.

From there we set out to get all the photos we missed on Friday:

I had to stay in the seat an extra few moments after John was through, for all the other cameras.

This one is fun; it makes you look like an action figure!

Or in my case, a really short action figure. :)

The reactions I encountered were, without a doubt, the best part of the whole experience. So many people took the time to really look at and appreciate all the details in my costume, commenting on each in turn, and the sheer delight in some of their faces was the best compliment of all.

I also discovered that no one thinks I can hear in that helmet, which meant I caught all KINDS of private remarks as I passed through the crowd. Not a single one was negative, though. Most were along the lines of, "Ermahgerd! STEAMPUNK!" and profanity-laced compliments. I might have walked a little slower to hear them all, and with a giant grin on my face. :)

I was especially nervous around members of the 501st, since I figured if anyone might be the kind of purist to find my invention insulting, it might be them. At one point early on John & I were walking down a long narrow bridge, and there was a single Storm Trooper coming towards us. I braced myself as he was passing, but instead of a cold, disapproving silence, instead I heard the click of his microphone and, "Nice costume!" The next Trooper we passed gave me a thumbs up with a head nod.

It was a special honor to get compliments from other cosplayers like that, and by the end of the day my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. (I also kept forgetting no one could see my face, so I'm pretty sure I smiled for every single photo. Ha!) I even had the famous "Pirate Pimp Vader" & Boba grab a photo with me:


This gal also insisted on a photo together when we approached to ask her for a pic:

We look kind of perfect together, right?
I thought I might scare the kids, but instead I had a bunch want their picture taken with me. One little girl was so excited to see "Darth Vader's wife," and when I made a point of waving at every wide-eyed kid I passed, I got a lot of shy waves and smiles in return.

And then...this happened:

I'll explain.

I was standing in the aisle posing for photos, when suddenly a woman with a clipboard appeared in front of me and asked if I would do a quick introduction on camera. I recognized her as the same woman who'd been directing Jennifer Landa the day before. "Sure!" I said. I'd just had a guy record me wishing his wife a happy anniversary on his iphone, so I guess I was feeling confident?

I had about one minute to reflect on what I'd just gotten myself in to (and start to shake), and then there was a microphone in my hand and a camera panning up my costume to pause about 8 inches from my face. "This is Lady Vadore at Celebration VI," I squeaked, "And you're watching Star Wars dot com!" A pause, and then the sound guy asked if we could do it again. This time I tried to squeak lower. Then they thanked me and moved on, while I looked around in a daze and realized my friend Tony had been filming the whole thing, and John had taken tons of pictures, and Steampunk Boba Fett John and his friend Lauren (the steampunk lady Han Solo I posted on Thursday) had also been standing there watching. (You can just see them behind the camera.) Of all of them, I definitely felt the least qualified to be on camera.

But I'm not gonna lie - it was so darn cool to be asked.


Ok, moving on...

I had a lot of you ask for a back shot of my costume, so here 'tis:

It's not much of a bustle - just four ruffles (two are overlapped) that I made by cutting a skirt in half and hand-sewing the two pieces in place. It helps add a little more shape to my silhouette from the side.

Oh, and I got to give out plenty of calling cards from my handy-dandy belt buckle! Anyone who stopped to gawk and ask questions got to see my "extra feature." (Whoah. That sounded dirty...)

K, I have to brag on John now:

Through all of this, he was constantly at my side, leading me through the crowd, making sure I was comfortable, watching all the guys who put an arm around me like a hawk (ha!), and basically taking care of everything around me so I only had to focus on what was directly in front of me. He even organized my costume pieces each day ahead of time, packing them up and helping me get dressed once we arrived. And the crazy part is that he claims all of that was fun.

John couldn't stop saying how proud he was of me, and how happy it made him to hear all these people praising my work - although I was quick to tell them it was our work. He would stand to the side, watching everyone take my picture, and just have this huge grin on his face. I never would have made it through either day without him, and I'll never know how I ended up with a guy this awesome.

(Plus, today is our 14-year anniversary!! Before you ask, I married at age 12. ;))

So... that was my big cosplay debut, guys! A little nerve-wracking, but a whole lot of awesome.


Next stop: Dragon*Con!

Posted by Jen at 11:08 PM Labels: , , , ,

127 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary! Thanks for sharing your fun with us. Made my day.

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  2. I am in love with the costume!
    I can only hope that when I finish my costume, it's half as awesome. Also, super proud of you for breaking out and doing something that scares you. An inspiration you are. (See what I did there? I dare you not to read that in a Yoda voice!) :)

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  3. Happy anniversary, Jen and John! You two are amazing together and so lucky to have each other.

    Love the Lady Vadore costume, all the photos you both took, and all the details you shared about your experiences at SWC.

    Have a safe trip to and from Dragon*Con and enjoy yourselves! Can't wait to hear about it when you get home!

    KW

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  4. So Awesome!!!

    Congratulations to you both and have a BLAST at D*C!

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  5. I'm totally tearing up, right now! You inspire me to push my limits, and give me a frequent reminder of how important it is to raise my two daughters to own their awesomeness.

    Thank you for brightening so many lives from afar!

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  6. Your costume is amazing. You are amazing. And the way you speak about John just legit choked me up. You guys are just great.

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  7. What an amazing job you both did. The pictures are wonderful, and all the different backdrops are so cool. Having seen you two interact on the tour, I knew John would have a ball watching you in the limelight -- which you deserved, as the costume is mind-numbingly awesome. I love all the costume shots and your commentary, but my VERY favorite part is the love story. You guys are great together. Happy Anniversary.

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  8. Happy Anniversary!!!

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  9. So glad Lady Vadore was a huge hit! Happy Anniversary to you and John! 14 years, eh? I would have thought you guys got married at 10.. =P

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  10. Very very very very very cool.

    However, my wife and I think you'd look even hotter in riding breeches (especially if they're the puffy type) that are tucked into the awesome boots.

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  11. Looks FANTASTIC! hope to see you at DragonCon!

    Becky

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  12. Love love love! You look spectacular. And I like the addition of the black tights.

    Happy Anniversary as well, you and John are very blessed.

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  13. Wow - you continue to be amazing. Your husband...your life...amazing. Do you recognize (actually, I'm sure you do) how very cool it is that you have this journal of your life - this stage of it, and your experiences and your passions? It's friggin' wonderful. Congratulations on this monumental time of your life! 14 years is no small feat; conquering, claiming - dominating your own niche on the world wide web; discovering then living your passion.

    I'm going to break it down now, and take you back to the old school: You go, Girl.

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  14. So awesome! Glad you had a good experience! That first picture with Darth makes you look tiny :)

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  15. Ah, happy anniversary!

    Love the photos. You look awesome. Great work :)

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  16. That is so awesome!! I make costume every day but none of them come even close to this, I'm so impressed!!

    And happy anniversary, my 14th is coming up in December and I married at "14" ;)

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  17. Well, you won't forget this anniversary anytime soon. So glad it was everything you hoped it to be! I always enjoy "peeking over your shoulder" as I vicariously follow you around the con.

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  18. i love it you look great and obviously had so much fun thanks for the pictures
    allie

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  19. I literally had tears in my eyes. As a person with some "anxiety" issues... I TOTALLY love love love that you did this. and... if I weren't on the opposite coast, I would have loved to see you (in person) and get a pic and creepy fangirl hug... I still couldn't manage the SD Comicon crowds... anyhoo... also, as someone who is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year (when I couldn't, ahem, 'legally' drink at my own wedding) well, I love you! hugs and love to you.. and um, hug a blogger day or something,,, :) also, supportive husbands rule. xoxo gah! embarrassed smirk right here...

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  20. Happy Anniversary! Your costume is amazing and even though I'm bummed I didn't get to make the drive up from Miami to got to SWC I'm enjoying all your photos and post!!

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  21. Thanks for sharing. It all looks so cool, but I don't like to go to crowdy places much anymore. I'd probably wish for a Xanax too-I usually only stay at Disneyland for a few hours before I'm ready to go.
    Happy Anniversary! Your John sounds like such a jem!

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  22. Happy anniversary to you both! That was a fabulous story!

    ~Amber B.
    BellaLise

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  23. Happy Anniversary! What a blessing John is... I'm pretty sure you're a blessing to him too!!!

    Your costume is absolutely AMAZING! SW Celebration is on my bucket list, although I never thought I'd be able to go in costume. You've inspired me to consider it and maybe by the time I can afford to go I'll not only have the nerve but the creativity as well!!!

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  24. also! Happy Anniversary!! xoxo

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  25. Happy Anniversary! You look amazing! It's gotta be awful different being on that side of the camera, huh? :)

    Thanks for letting us travel-deficient folk experience the cons and cosplay vicariously thru you and John.

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  26. You & John are AMAZING!!!! Thanks to you, I went to my first Steampunk Convention and I've got another one scheduled.
    FABULOUS COSTUME!!!!
    And Happy Anniversary

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  27. OK I just had to post because you mentioned how being in the helmet actually helped to block out the stress of the crowed some.

    My husband does not do crowds well either and one year for a Halloween party he was fishing around for something, anything to wear.

    I plan for 12 months him maybe 12 minutes (well until this year when I bought goggles in March which he promptly took and is using to turn himself into a Steampunk Doc Ock, forcing me to buy these wicked new Victorian style glass for my Steampunk Red Riding Hood costume).

    Anyway that year he was at a loss and ended up grabbing a paper bag and cutting out two eyes and threw it over his head. We stayed at the party a record 4 hours before he even noticed all the people. He said it was the most comfortable he has ever felt at a party, and all the ladies had a blast "decorating" the bag all night long with their lipstick kisses. So it just goes to show sometimes seeing less is a good thing.

    Thanks for all your inspiration you have inspired nearly every costume I have put on in the last two years and I already have next years in the works. Sorry I am an over achiever or a little obsessed.

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  28. Absolutely amazing! You and John are such a great team-I love hearing about guys that protect and help out their gal like that :]

    Loved all the pictures too!

    And happy anniversary!!

    Keep up the awesome!!

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  29. @ Rose - I'd totally be open to riding breeches! I think the reason I liked this skirt was because it looks a bit like pants, with that seam down the middle. So, yeah, if anything gets tweaked in the future,the skirt will probably be it!

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  30. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! Glad you had fun...and Happy Anniversary!

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  31. You guys rock. Happy Anniversary! He is so supportive and great, and I get that he had fun helping you. All those oohs and ahhs and picture requests were a reflection on his contributions as well. I knew you'd get an awesome response, and I'm really glad you told us all about it! I really hope you post a whole bunch more pics while at Dragon Con because we haven't had enough! I have a friend up there that's going, and told her to look for you! Have a great time!!

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  32. I teared up reading this! I'm so, so glad you had such a great time! You looked amazing and I love seeing all the pictures with other people. Your joy comes out in this post so, so much. :-)
    -Heather

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  33. And Happy Anniversary! Our 13th is coming up on Saturday. :-)

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  34. Happy Anniversary! You looked amaze-balls. Thanks for always sharing your geeky adventures! I live a little vicariously through you when you go to these cons :)

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  35. I'm jealous of your courage, (and proximity... And talent). I lament that there's never any con I'd be interested to go to, even though I live in a heavy college area, but in the back of my head, I know I wouldn't go anyway. I can't, the anxiety would go right to the rage center of my brain, and I'd be frustrated and pissy through the whole thing. So KUDOS on not letting your anxiety get the better of you! You so deserved every comment of praise you got!

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  36. You're such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your ideas, creations, and adventures.

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  37. OMG!!! Your costume is so incredibly AWESOME!!! I have a huge smile on my face from reading about this wonderful adventure, and how your husband, John, takes care of you, and how well you work together. I wish you both a Very Happy 14th Anniversary!

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  38. Oh Jen - my admiration of you increasing with every post and project you do.

    For your hair, try putting it in 3-4 braids and cross them over the top and back of your head (assuming there is enough room in your helmet). Look up "how to hide real hair under a wig cap" for more ideas. It might be a bit messy when you take your helmet off but I bet the glow of your smile will distract everyone from any slightly mussed hair. 8)

    Have a great time this weekend.

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  39. Let me start by saying how incredibly awesome your costume is. You can really tell that it was made with a lot of love. I go to fantasy fairs in NL every yr, but I haven't seen anything like this, it's just amazing! I love all the details and especially the green touches.

    I think it's wonderful that this costume helped you with you anxiety, and that you could experience it all with a smile on your face. I bet you put a smile on a lot of peoples faces aswell.

    The part about John made me smile and tear up a bit. Guys like that are hard to find, I should know: I married one ;)
    I love how he let you have the spotlight, but was ready at the sidelines if needed. You two sound like a great couple and I wish you many anniversaries to come! :)

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  40. That looked like fantastic fun, I'm kind of a little jealous--ok a lot jealous--that I couldn't be there! Congratulations on a most successful first big cosplay outing, you looked amazing. And happy anniversary too!

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  41. There -> http://i.imgur.com/Vs6LJ.jpg Fixed it! Awesome job on the costume ;)

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  42. Great job, girl! A lot of people want to try con costuming (Like The Monarch from "The Venture Bros.", I am NOT into cosPLAY, I am into cosBUSINESS! ;) but they get all caught up in particulars like not being able to sew. I've been costuming for 30 years now (*choke* Wait, what? Yeah... THIRTY. Zow!), and there's never been a better time to get into it. If you can't sew but have some money to spend, there's hundreds of online costumers and companies. If you don't have the bread for that, there's crapTONS of online tutorials, groups, and instructables (including yours, you clever girl!) that coupled with judicious thrifting and a few trimmy modifications can pass quite nicely. It is easier than EVER to do Con Costuming; go for it, kids!

    And when you're in costume (especially one that hides your identity), don't you feel suddenly more free to be more than your shy self? At first, as a person with A/PD, I was nervous about it too, but it is SO freeing, being someone else! I tell you, I understand COMPLETELY how a shy gay guy feels when he puts on the wig and heels and becomes FiFi LaFierce; when I'm in my Klingon "drag", I felt a power, confidence, and yes, beauty that I usually never felt otherwise. I am tall and used to not only be 45 pounds heavier, but I had CRAZY crooked teeth; I never EVER smiled with teeth in photos, they were so embarrassing. But with my size, the costume, the make-up, it all worked, and I worked it HARD. I had more pictures taken of me on an average day than I did as myself in my whole LIFE; being a star attraction after being passed over for so long is AWESOME! As brassy a dame as I already am, I would do/say stuff in my K'Lannagh persona that I would only have thought about and giggled as myself ("You! You are not very attractive, with that smooth head, but I WILL have you! You WILL drink with me NOW!"). I haven't dressed up in a while; I was Klingoned out after my Trek wedding in '08, and stopped attending Comic Con in '09. Maybe I'll put her on again for Halloween. (Though it just doesn't look the same with my new perfect teeth. ;)

    And as far as what anyone might think, to paraphrase my hero, Edina Monsoon: you'll never EVER see any of those people EVER again, darling! Don't be a slave to their eyes! And like RuPaul says: whatever anybody thinks about me is none of my business. WORK!

    And much love and respect to your husband/best friend in his official capacity as Wardrobe Assistant and Escort; I've been with mine for 14 years in December; how did we ever live without them?!

    (One last thing, not to be a drag, but if you take Xanax, please for the love of Bowie, DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. It leads to lovely horrors like kidney and liver failure; it's what killed my brother 1 1/2 years ago, and I miss him every day. Be careful, girl; we love you! <:)

    Cheers, thanks a lot,

    Storm

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  43. Happy anniversary!! Your costume is truly amazing ;)

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  44. I love all the pictures with the poses! I wish I had overcome my own anxiety and asked for a picture when I met you (nervous CM from the GF babbling about IKEA kitchens, Gingerbread houses and Easter eggs) but I had intended to ask for a "force choke" pic. So if you see anyone at D*C that it would be cool/costume appropriate, you should totally pose that way.

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  45. Wow, Lady Vadore looked fabulous! I'm not surprised you were stopped constantly for photos -- your costume is truly one of the outstanding ones. You and John deserve all the accolades you got!

    And I just love the way you guys are so crazy about each other. You guys are so perfect together! Happy anniversary, and many, many more!

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  46. Well you look fabulous, so of course starwars.com wanted you!

    Thanks for sharing your experience! And Happy Anniversary!

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  47. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I cannot believe how cute you are (in spirit) and how awesome that costume is (Lady Vadore is not "cute"). Also huge *hugs* for John for his hard work. Enjoy Dragon*Con!

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  48. So awesome. I actually reared up reading this. Yeah, im weird like that I'm so happy it was such a positive experience for you.

    And happy anniversary!

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  49. Awesome costume! I'm working on my own Lady Vader (name to be changed and some point since it sounds like a razor! and Booby Vader is less child friendly!)

    I've been inspired to make my costume "my own" more individual rather than trying to stick to the original Vader. I had internal lights but they didn't work in the daylight! Might try something else instead.

    (This pic is a little old but this was the first outing! https://plus.google.com/photos/106627949905707124438/albums/5782425409577015009)

    Hope you might be able to get to Celebration Europe next year so I could meet you in Germany :-)

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  50. Love the ruffles on the back. My 11 yo daughter and I were looking at your introducing post, and she liked you costume. But being the very girly (geek-in-training) that she is, she said, "Mom, it needs something a little more feminine. Maybe ruffles." And you did it! She will be so happy.

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  51. Your costume is FANTASTIC!! I think when I finally get to go to a Con, I'm calling YOU to come with!!
    :) Mags

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  52. A friend of mine was over there for the Con, and I was going through his pictures and found one of Lady Vadore... I was completely chuffed - not often us Aussies have so few degrees of separation from our favourite bloggers! I pointed him this way, too :D

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  53. Jen this is ahhh-mazing! Creating the costume, wearing it and stepping outside your comfort zone a little. I'm smiling along with your post as I read it. It makes me wish I'd decided to go to Dragon*Con so I could see Lady Vadore in person. Perhaps I'll get up the courage to go next year and find you in an equally fantastic outfit.

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  54. I can't wait to see you at Dragon*Con! I just hope I have the guts to ask you if I can take a photo!!

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  55. Congratulations on the anniversary, guys! (This means next year is Big Metal Chicken, right?)

    You look awesome, and I'm glad you have John, too.

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  56. Congratulations on a wonderful cosplay debut - and fourteen years of marriage! :)

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  57. Jen- I am so proud of and happy for you. I had tears in my eyes reading your post.

    John-You are supersauce awesome too!
    Happy Anniversary.

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  58. Awesome! I'm glad you had fun. Last year was my first cosplay, though I didn't put NEARLY as much time into my costume as you did with yours..I was "Rambo Princess Peach." Princess Peach costume + giant Nerf gun. My favorite part was getting stopped for pictures..and the laugh I got when people suddenly realized Peach was packin'. LOL.

    I had an idea to go as one of the clockwork demons from the Doctor Who episode "Girl in the Fireplace" though I never finished the costume. You have inspired me to take a second look. Convention season in Chicago is over now, but I'll have plenty of time to prepare for next year! :D

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  59. :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
    Your costume is a dream!

    This might be my favorite post ever here at Epbot (and yes, I've read them all). I'm actually tearing up! I don't even know you personally and I am so proud! You and John may be my favorite couple on the planet. You make such an amazing team and I think you're both inspiring and awesome.

    Okay, I'm going to wipe the gush off my computer now and try to get some work done, but HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

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  60. You did a great job on your costume AND on your wearing of the costume. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

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  61. Awesome! AwesomeAwesomeAwesomeAwesomeAwesomeAwesomeAwesome! How very cool.
    John is the best and the two of you combined are a powerhouse of art and ingenuity!!
    Happy Anniversary!

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  62. I lol'd at the part where you said you were smiling for every picture. I was just thinking, the best part about wearing the mask was that you wouldn't have to pose your face every time. I don't think Darth would smile anyway.

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  63. First, Happy Anniversary!

    Secondly, I am glad your amazing costume got such a positive reception. I almost chickened out on wearing a Halloween costume out of my house last year even though I'd spent almost 2 months planning it out. I did wear it though and got lots of compliments, so that definitely helped me out!

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  64. Jen,

    Happy anniversary!

    Your costume and your pix are incredible. I'm so impressed and inspired...I've always loved your craft posts and been awed by them, but this is in a league of its own. :) Kudos to you and John for an amazing plan and execution!

    May I ask a quick question of whoever can answer? Is there a good comparison chart of cons somewhere? Our teens asked about them for the first time just last night, but I've never been to anything but Harry Potter ones, so not sure where we should even consider starting.

    ~Alison

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  65. You look fabulous.

    AND, happy anniversary!!

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  66. Stunning! (But, then, you already know that!)

    I've often theorized that cosplayers derive a sort of "shield" from their costumes, even though it's also opening them up to others. I know when I put on my chef's coat and tiny toque for book signings/conventions that I feel a little different, so I can totally understand the sensory deprivation benefits of the helmet.

    Have fun at D*C!

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  67. That was a beautiful post. You have come a long way over the years.

    Peace & Blessings
    P

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  68. Damn I love you Jen- that costume is so hella awesome! Good for you for dressing up and going for it!!! You write my two favorite blogs, and it's awesome to see the geek girliness over here.

    Happy Anniversary too! :)

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  69. Happy Anniversary!

    The costume looks wonderful, and I'm glad the 501st didn't harass you about it. (Better warn John that they've been known to throw people out of the DragonCon parade.)

    Have you ever considered attending a CostumeCon? I'm not sure when it will get to your end of the country again, but you might enjoy it.

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  70. you guys are so cool! Someday I'll have the cash to go to one of these things and meet you!

    Happy anniversary! And John, you scoundrel, marrying a child! ;)

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  71. That is so frikkin' awesome. *thud* (That was me, collapsing from awesome overload.)

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  72. is it wrong that I totally want to use that first picture as my new desktop wall paper????

    so much awesomeness! thanks!

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  73. Fantastic photos!!! So glad you enjoyed the experience and you've inspired me to want to try some cosplay! Thanks for sharing, and now I'm extra bummed we didn't see you on Sunday! We were hidden in the Clone Wars panel most of the morning (which was pretty awesome). Happy Anniversary and safe travels to/from Dragon*Con - can't wait to hear about!

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  74. LIKE LIKE LIKE!! Looks like you did great, Jen! Way to go!

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  75. That is AWESOME. I am SUPER jealous. I wish I was creative enough to come up with something so cool....

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  76. WOW!
    AWESOME!
    CAN'T BELIEVE HOW GREAT YOU LOOK!
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THE POSES IN FRONT OF THE PROPS!!!
    Ok, (hyperventilating), ok, I'll calm down.
    Wow, Jen and John. That was way, WAY better than I expected or imagined.
    SO, SO SOOOOO glad you both had a good time and did not get anxious. I had thought that helmet would have a sensory deprivation thing for you, and that it might help. Thanks for the pictures!!!!! WWWWHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOO
    (jeez - I gotta calm down)
    - Maureen

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  77. So much fun! I am genuinely jealous of the creative and diverse comic book/super-hero/science-fiction community that fans have set up for themselves.
    I REALLY wish such a thing existed for the classical music world - as I am a HUGE Mozart and classical music geek, and would love to go to such a convention dressed up as Mozart or Schubert. Who would chair the panels? :) Hopefully living people.
    Jen, you have inspired me to take this geek love to classical music and try to make it public and fun. While I do enjoy some aspects of science fiction - most of it does not appeal to me. My husband is a big Star Trek fan and I can't seem to stay awake for most episodes! ;D
    Thanks for the inspiration and I am thinking of creative ideas to bond with other nerds!

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  78. Happy Anniversary!! Enjoyed all the pics. So cool that everyone loved yoru costume. Look forward to seeing pics from the next Con.

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  79. what a kick! Thanks for sharing all the pics and your commentary is (as always) delightful! It has been a delight to be introduced to this world of Steampunk and cosplay by you.

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  80. Ahhh another satisfying post! Thanks! Congrats John on rocketing up the scale of awesome with your latest accrual of 'good husband' points.

    If I can weigh in on the skirt/riding pants commentary, I was thinking it would be interesting to see with a full length black skirt. That might ruin some of the 'power' implied with something more pants like, but I'm curious anyhow!

    And on a totally unrelated side note (black skirt, black ajah, WoT, I promise there's a train of thought that gets me here). Have you read the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson? It's a classic with a massive geek following. It even has a segment at Dragon Con (wish I could go!).

    I know you've been reviewing YA books and this doesn't fit that, but I think you may fall in love (if you haven't already)!

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  81. Sounds like you had a blast. Happy Anniversary to you and John! :)

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  82. You LOOK AMAZING!! Congrats on getting through it. I would have been a nervous mess! And John is simply AWESOME. You two are totally MFEO. Congrats on 14 yrs!

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  83. AWESOME!
    BTW, i like your hair kinda crazy draped down your shoulder; it really works with the cleavage to bring home your femininity.

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  84. Aw, look. I'm all verklempt!

    You are awesome!

    John(thoJ) is amazing!

    Lady Vadore was a huge success!(was there ever any doubt? Not from this side of the interwebs!)

    Squeeee!

    Oh, and happy anniversary. You are both very lucky!

    Andrea

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  85. I"m a day late, but Happy Anniversary! You did a fantastic job on that costume, you deserve every one of those gawks and kudos!

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  86. Happy anniversary!

    It looks like you had a lot of fun. I know how freeing it is to be behind a full mask. When I went as a cyber shade from Doctor Who I felt so confident because I really wasn't me. I also smiled for all the pictures, so you're not alone there ;P

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  87. Your are not a short action figure - you are a limited edition. And so much braver than I could every be. Brava!

    And Happy Anniversary

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  88. Happy late Anniversary! :P Congratulations and finding such an awesome husband and on making such a splash at the con. :D

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  89. Woohoo!! So glad you and John had an awesome weekend. He sure does deserve a huge round of applause for being such a great husband and assistant lol. Thanks for sharing your photos and letting us enjoy this years event through your posts. : )

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  90. Congratulations on your big debut and on your anniversary! Your costume is amazing--so many cool details--I'm not surprised you were complimented by everyone. Can't wait to see the pictures from Dragon*Con :)

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  91. Can I tell you that I FELT your fun through your writing? Hope that makes sense....

    So, I've been following your cake wrecks blog since it was a tiny infant, and then came over here from there. I've never posted here, and I'm not even sure I've ever posted on cw, either. But this post couldn't go by without me complimenting you on your amazing work.

    Now for a confession....I'm so not into anything you write about here. Honestly, I don't even know what half the stuff you post about is. I totally had to look up steam punk to find out what it was. That having been said, I keep coming back. All. The. Time. You make all this stuff seem so interesting. Even Star Wars. But don't EVER tell my husband I said that. He'll try and make me watch it. Again. The last time I relented was seven years ago. I was in labor. And fell asleep.

    Sorry for the novel length comment, but I wanted you to know that you did an amazing job and please tell your husband I think he's rocks too.

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  92. Happy anniversary, and thanks so much for sharing your costume! I'm so glad you had a good time--cosplay is one of my favorite things, and it's always a thrill to know that other people enjoy it too.

    I can't say I'm too surprised that you weren't very anxious, though. When you get to be someone else for a while, especially someone as bitchin' awesome as Steampunk fem!Vader, it's hard to feel nervous. I'm chronically shy in real life, but when I put on the armor and the makeup, I'm never happier or more forward. :D

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  93. That Was Awesome. And congratulations to both of you on your anniversary.

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  94. You are awesome!! Excellent costume. As someone else said, thanks for sharing your fun with us!

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  95. Happy Birthday you two! You guys put together a pretty awesome costume!!!

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  96. awesome made my day to read you're having a great time!

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  97. I love you guys! Happy Anniversary and many more happy years together, continuing to do all the cool and inspiring things you do! xoxo

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  98. That was amazing! The pictures were so cool, and John is awesome for helping you with everything. You've got a keeper. ;) Happy anniversary you two.

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  99. Gah!! There you are with people I know (the steampunk pilots) but I never saw you. I was with my husband, the Rancor Keeper who had the skateboard. Next time!!

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  100. Happy anniversary and congratulations on a successful launch of your cosplay hobby. ;)

    Have a blast at D*C!!

    -Barbara Anne

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  101. Congratulations, Jen and John! Happy anniversary and wonderful costume!

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  102. I want a Lady Vadore action figure right now. Jen, you are so incredibly cool. You know that, don't you?
    Love all the pics and the story behind each one. Happy anniversary to you two!

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  103. Your costume is amazing, and the post made me grin like an idiot while reading it. I was at FanExpo in Toronto last weekend and had my first real experience with being in front of a ton of cameras when I met up with the steampunk folks for some group photos. I looked up once I got settled to find our group *completely* surrounded by people with cameras. It was so surreal! I'm not hugely comfortable with all the attention either so it was a bit nerve-wracking but hopefully I can get more comfortable with it as my friends are planning a Justice League cosplay group for Ottawa ComicCon next year.

    Also, happy anniversary! My husband and I are almost at our first one, and it's been awesome so far. :)

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  104. Happy belated anniversary!

    Are you bringing Lady Vadore to DC and if so, when are you wearing it? I'd love to see it!

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  105. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!!

    Awesome costume!
    Awesome stories!
    Awesome love story!

    Pure awesome!

    (I think I'm done now)

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  106. I thought we were going to miss Dragon*Con this year. I had a major sad, but I decided to Keep Calm and Geek On. After all, the new Doctor Who premieres this weekend, so it couldn't be a total loss!

    Well, hubby called from work today to say he got us hooked up with PASSES to tonight's geekery. I love that scruffy looking nerf herder. I'm really hoping to catch a glimpse of you two. I'll be the five foot tall geek in the Delorean/Tardis t-shirt with looooooooooong curly hair, hanging out with the big tall guy also wearing a Delorean/Tardis T-shirt.

    I would ordinarily put more effort into my Dragon*Con apparel choices, but then I've never had only 6 hours notice before!

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  107. I, too, was married at age 12 (wink, wink). Happy anniversary!

    Having random people take your picture(s) can be weird. I partake in Living History, and I often wonder how many photo albums I'm in.

    P.S. It was super awesome to meet your on your foray into the great northeast (B&N in Exton PA)!

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  108. Gorgeous! I'm glad you got to enjoy it so much.

    And I just a little misty eyed at you talking about John. Happy Anniversary!

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  109. Absolutely amazing costume!!!!

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  110. Jen, you look amazing! Cosplay is such a fun, rewarding experience; I'm glad you got a chance to try it out. Simply reading this post makes me want to get right back to work on my own cosplays. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  111. I just found out that a friend of mine made it to SWC and saw you there! Word from her was that the costume was amazing, and she loved the details. If I'd known she was going, I would have sent her in search of a pin, but I thought they were just doing Disney. And Happy (belated) Anniversary!

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  112. Where we can find the link to the segment you introduce?

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  113. Someone else already mentioned a wig cap. I don't have long hair, but wig caps are generally suggested for dealing with many kinds of hair problems inside costumes. You can test it by making a cap of a suitably-sized nylon stocking (that's what some cosplayers use instead of buying a wig cap).

    As the condensation revealed, ventilation is often a problem for a mask. At least this is not a face-hugging latex mask, so you might have some options... you might see if a small computer fan might fit in your mouth grille (check the voltage which it needs). I suggest trying it blowing away from you, rather than blowing on your chin.

    Even more interesting... consider, and try, what your voice sounds like when going through the fan. :-)

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  114. Your costume is completely and amazingly awe inspiring. All of the little details are so well thought out and go so nicely together.

    Also, happy anniversary! And I must admit, I misted up a little reading about John taking care of you and having fun doing it :). You two are just so sweet together!

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  115. I looked for you today at the Dragon*con parade. Hope you're both having fun.

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  116. Absolutely amazing - and so great of you to push your own personal envelope! So inspiring!!

    Happy Anniversary! My husband and I just celebrated #15. :-)

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  117. Jen, I'm always so amazed by your humor and writing talents on cakewrecks, but this post is absolutely beautiful. It's so real and vulnerable. I absolutely had tears in my eyes. I had to look up the steampunk thing when I first started reading your CW comments on it, but I 100% relate to the people anxiety thing. Your costume is completely amazing, but your heart expressed in this post is, well, beautiful. (And reading about John's part in this brought tears to my eyes as well! What a treasure you have in him!) Thank you for sharing yourself with us, Jen.

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  118. GREAT photos, Jen! Lady Vadore looks simply AMAZING.

    Congratulations on 14 years of bliss, you crazy kids!

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  119. Totally cool Jen! What an amazing costume! I smiled the whole time I was reading that and no my cheeks hurt! lol.

    Congrats on 14 years! I tell people the same thing! I got married at 12. lol. But I've been married for 24 years so I'm a tad bit older. ;)

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  120. There is no way you've been married for 14 years. You look so young! Happy Anniversary and you looked gorgeous, dahling!

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  121. My daughter, who is 9, loves Star Wars. She also has a love for all things Vader (she thought the funniest part of the Hyperspace Hoopla this year was, "Lord Vader's an iPod!"). When she saw your costume, she was amazed. She loved it and couldn't believe you made it. She also thought you looked like a "rich" Vader because of the chains. :-D I love your blogs and looking at all the cool things you come up with. Someday, I hope to grow up and be you!

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  122. I almost cried I'm so happy for you! The costume is amazing and you and John deserve every bit of praise you got! I KNEW you'd be swarmed for photos! I have used way too many exclamation points in this comment but THAT is how happy I am for you right now!!! LOL

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  123. This is a very, VERY belated comment, but I just got back from my own C6/D*Con trip. (Drove all the way out from WA, then back. . .so I've been without internet for a bit and took the last couple of days to try to catch up on other stuff.)

    But. I had to say. OMG THAT WAS YOU!? I walked by you so many times and didn't even realize. (And sadly didn't get any pics since I was in my own costumes or rushing to get to stuff.) Love it though. ^_^

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  124. You did a fabulous job! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  125. I look at a LOT! of photos, and I really enjoy Star Wars, Steampunk, and cosplay. I must say, your outfit/ garb is excellant.
    And your story here is great as well. Thanks for doing it, and posting it.

    www.facebook.com/edward.of.wales

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  126. What you said about the sensory deprivation effect of the helmet being good completely confuses me. When I was twelve, I went as a robot for Halloween, and that effect from my helmet made me feel like I was dreaming. That's a bad thing. I repeatedly walked the wrong way, and I didn't really know what was going on except for a few times I snapped into reality. Since then, I made sure all my costumes let me have good hearing and vision.

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