Friday, May 3, 2013

Orlando Steampunks Step Out

Being the shy hermit blogger that I am, I never seem to get out to the smaller geek gatherings here in Orlando; just the big conventions like MegaCon, where it's harder to mingle. So when a few of you told me our local art museum was hosting a steampunk event last night, I figured it was just the thing for meeting some local geeks!
Yesterday dumped rain on us in nearly biblical proportions, but luckily John and I arrived just before the doors opened. Parking was a bit of a mess, and many attendees arrived late because they had to park blocks away and slog through the rain and muddy fields just to get there. I heard a few folks even gave up all together on finding parking and just went home! :(

But enough of the bad news, since that's really all there is: we had a fantastic time, and we met SO MANY cool people!
My first shot of the night. These two were picture perfect!

I figured people would arrive in costume, but I wasn't completely sure, so I dressed "Steampunk Lite." Meaning I blended in, but I left the ray guns and corsets at home. It was just as well, since I was more interested in taking pictures anyway.

Since we were some of the first ones through the door, we got to check out the art before the crowds arrived. Everything for the steampunk event was mostly held in the lobby and this one large gallery, although the rest of the museum was also open for us to walk through.

There was a small gathering of steampunk art displayed, from sculptures to photographs to paintings:

These pieces by Heather Younger were my favorite. Here's another:

The main attraction was our fellow attendees, though, so even though there were plenty of awkward moments when I remembered why I dislike large parties ("Ok, we'll hug this wall for another five minutes, and then move over to THAT wall,") we eventually got to chatting with folks.

It always helps to have a camera, of course, since asking to take a photo is the ultimate ice-breaker. I'm really disappointed with the way my pics turned out - that's what I get for never using a flash -  but trust me when I say everyone looked way better in person.

This chap's shoulder squirrel was one of the night's biggest hits. The squirrel's head turned and bobbed quite realistically by way of an air bladder the gent held in his hand. Super cool!

For entertainment we had music by The Cog is Dead, and I was pleasantly surprised by how great it was:


There was also an artist working on a small scale sculpture nearby, and a troupe of tribal belly dancers - but we missed their show since theirs was the ONLY thing not held in this one gallery. Drat. (Can you tell I'm still bummed? Ha!)

Btw, tribal dancers always have the best hair:

Sometimes I watch tribal hair tutorials on Youtube just for fun. I have determined that someday I WILL wear enormous flowers in my hair.

I like that tribal belly dancing is so inclusive, too; all ages, all shapes and sizes. It's refreshing, and you can tell the women are all having a blast.

Ok, back to the other guests:

This girl had delicate hand-painted gears and scrolls on both sides of her face, and her updo was gorgeous. Plus, check out the boots! I've been drooling over that style ever since I saw a gal ringmaster rockin' the red-and-gold version at D*C a few years back.

Here's the couple we talked with the most last night, Olivia and Michael:

John first stopped Michael to tell him how much he liked his costume - those high-waisted pants are perfect, and it's fun to see more of an everyman worker type versus the usual multi-layered steampunk gentleman -  and after that these two basically couldn't get rid of us. :D Check out this kick-ass leather cuff Olivia made for Michael:

John and I are still learning and experimenting with some leather crafts, but now I want to try tooling some cuffs like this! It's going on the list. (The never-ending list...)

Now that we've been going to the bigger area conventions for a few years, I've started to recognize a few people, like Laura here:

She always has THE most exquisite Victorian gowns - I wish I'd gotten a shot of the back bustle for you guys, and of her hair. GORGEOUS.

I actually took a picture with Jus here as Lady Vadore at the last MegaCon, though of course he doesn't know that. :D (Well, unless he finds this post, in which case, HI JUS!)

Check it out: that's his camera, which he wrapped in leather and then attached to his arm bracer with a hinge, so it flips up to take photos. BRILLIANT. (He has an Etsy shop and also does commissions, if you're in the market.)

At the end of the night they corralled all of the costumed folk into one area for a group photo. This accounted for maybe one third or a quarter of the total crowd, so you can see it was a pretty decent turn-out!

I couldn't quite fit everyone in; I should have brought the wide-angle lens! Here's another attempt:

And here's one with the guy who I believe organized the whole event (I didn't catch his name):

Before we left John and I also met up with a small group of readers, which was a fun surprise! John tells me I need to stop latching on to one person at a time when I talk to people, though, since he had to almost physically remove me from one conversation. Heh. Sorry, guys; I'M NEEDY. And an introvert. BUT MOSTLY NEEDY.

(Oh, and John wants me to say hi to Janelle Janet, Katrina, Christie, Spencer, and Anna - I suspect mostly to show off his new post-Diet-Mountain-Dew name retention. ;)) [Well, he was CLOSE, Janet, right? ;)]

I hope the rest of you enjoyed our local field trip! Now, go have a fantastic weekend. GO! (Saturday is Free Comic Book Day *and* May the Fourth [Be With You], so that shouldn't be too hard!)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Is This What Respect Feels Like?" A Real Wonder Woman Speaks Out

Modena M. just shared this on the Epbot FB page, and it's so powerful, relevant, and yes, painful, that I had to immediately track down the source to share with you guys. Check it out:

As I struggled with my grief over the reality this comic portrays, I was further outraged by the fact that the source was one of those thieving photo-dump sites which plastered their watermark on it not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, with no credit or link to the artist. Adding further insult to injury, the site named the file "cool-comic-geek-woman-fat-costume.jpg"

Allow me a moment to scream in inarticulate rage.


However, there is hope in the world. The artist is Paige Hall, and when I finally tracked down her Tumblr blog this was her most recent update, posted less than an hour ago:

Teachers are awesome, you guys. Mega kudos to that one.

(Paige also has an art Tumblr where she did a painting of the PonPonPon girl. Ha! Love it.)

Paige, if you read this, know that we love you, we feel you, and we bet you looked freaking FIERCE in your Wonder Woman costume.

The jerks out there will always try to spoil our community, but they are in the minority. True geeks are the most accepting and lovable bunch out there, and I hope - I dearly hope - that you'll be so overwhelmed with positive responses and support and stories of amazing con experiences that you will not only cosplay again, but do so proudly.

Epbot readers, what say you? Let's show Paige some love today. 


[NOTE: it looks like Paige has turned off all the messaging/comment options on her blogs, so just leave your notes here, guys, and we'll make sure she finds them!]

[Update: Just heard from Paige in the comments! Yay! So keep the comments coming, guys; she IS reading them!]

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week's Best 4/30/13

I skipped last week, so this is more like "week-and-a-half's best." Still, here are my favorite internet finds of late:

This Paperman cosplay Linden V. found is so fantastic I just can't stand it:

That's Chris and Wendy, and the photos are by Flickr member crimsonyte.

Chris' action shots are hilarious:

And this is my absolute favorite:
(Go see the rest of the photo shoot here.)

Amy Mebberson posted this beyond-brilliant MST3K cosplay from Chicago's Comic Con (C2E2) over the weekend:

And just one more cosplay shot, also from C2E2 and posted by Kevin on Twitter, because how could I not post this?


Seriously, have you ever seen Gozer cosplay before? Because I haven't! Mega props to all three of these guys!

It's been ages since I shared any good urban decay photos, so here's a huge post of fabulous shots by Frits Vrielink of the Chateau Miranda, an abandoned castle in Belgium. [Warning: first link contains NSFW thumbnail images/ads for other posts. Sorry, guys; they didn't show up in Firefox, so I didn't realize they were there!]
These shots are especially tragic in their beauty; let's hope someone saves this castle from total destruction sometime soon:

Check Vrielink's site for more; he has a massive portfolio of urban decay photography just like this.

This link has been going around the past few days: 66 Behind-the-Scenes photos from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. You've probably seen most of these before, but c'mon, these just never get old:

Pretty sure I've never seen this shot ( pun intended) of Ford, though:


On a completely random note, this purse looks like a giant binder clip:
(Made by Peter Bristol, found via SuperPunch)

For my fellow Dizgeeks, you must - MUST - see the new Mystic Manor ride-through video from Hong Kong DL! It's amazing! People are calling it Hong Kong's version of the Haunted Mansion, but really, it's so different and non-ghost-related that I'd call it an entirely original creation. Check it out:

Doesn't the main guy remind you of the explorer dude from the Fraggles? Anyone? Anyone? And that monkey is TOTALLY Abu, only cuter. Love him.

(I also trust you Dizgeeks have heard about the next 24-hour-Disney day? You can bet I'll be there in the wee hours, taking more pictures!)

And finally, last weekend Jennifer Black asked Wil Wheaton to explain to her newborn baby girl why it's awesome to be a nerd/geek, and then she recorded his answer to play for her daughter later. Happily Jennifer posted that vid for the rest of us to see, too, though. It's super-duper awesome - and all the more so when you consider Wil answered this completely off-the-cuff. I can only aspire to be this eloquent IRL! Grab a tissue and watch:

Which dovetails perfectly with this library poster featuring Simon Pegg:

I found that via Emma Watson, by the way - aka Hermione Granger. How fitting. :D


Oh, and I nearly forgot: time to announce April's Art Give-Away Winner!

So, the randomly selected winner is.... Justy! Congrats, Justy, and please e-mail me your mailing address & choice of art from my Pinterest give-away board. And for everyone else: remember, there's always next month!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Epbot Exemplars 4/29/13

It has been waaay too long since I featured some new Exemplars, you guys. How could you let me get away with that? Yell at me or something next time, will you?

For those who don't remember, this is where I feature mostly younger geek girls proudly just being themselves - and of course I always reserve the right to showcase older geek girls or guys, too. Because we don't have "rules" here - more like "guidelines." ARRR.

Julie B. writes, "My almost 4 year old daughter's Halloween costume arrived in the mail today from a friend (we had the tutu and leggings already), and she is so excited. Is it October yet?"

YES! And I love that she chose red instead of the usual R2 blue, Julie! So great! 

(I'm suddenly struck with the need to see a whole troupe of little girl droids in every color of the rainbow.  MAKE THIS HAPPEN, INTERNET.)

Next we have Abi, who writes:

"Dear Jen,
I am 12 years old, and a major geek girl and artist. About a year ago, I started to read your blog, and to be honest, it was a major thing. I used to hide my geekiness at school, and I was not happy a lot of the time. As I read your blog more, I became more comfortable with my geekiness, and stopped hiding it. My life is SO much better now, and I am so much happier. I really wanted to thank you for that, and for introducing me to steampunk. It is now one of the loves of my life, and I'm working on next year's Halloween costume already. (It's going to be a steampunk girl-version of the Phantom of the Opera. *squeal* I can't wait!!) This year's was a steampunk air worker, from Scott Westerfeld's 'Leviathan.'"

This gal has fantastic taste in blogs, books, AND costumes, you guys. She's totally going places.

Here's five-year-old Allison cosplaying as Pixie from the X-men at Chicago Comic-Con:


That was two years ago. Here she is now at age seven rocking her favorite hat - which her mom Leigh tells me she wears pretty much every day:

A-HA! I spy a Whovian!

Allison's four-year-old sister Lizzie is also on the proper path to geekdom; when her school had a "pirates and princesses" day, she decided to be the Amazon princess, Wonder Woman:


Seriously, this makes me so happy I could bust.

Their mom Leigh writes,  

"I love that my girls have no qualms about liking what they like. I love Epbot for being a resource to show them that they are not alone. I'm not naive enough to think that they will always feel as free to be themselves as they do now. I just hope that knowing there are other girls out there who like the things they like will help them find a community they might not have in real life.  But I am also holding out hope that by sharing their love of superheroes, science, and other 'geeky' things, maybe they're influencing other kids to be themselves too!"

I have no doubt they are, Leigh, and good on you for being such an awesome mom!

Sandy R. posted this on the Epbot Facebook page, saying, "Just felt like trying to make your day, Jen. Yes, that is a Darth Vader clipped to my 3YO daughter's backpack. :)"

Day = MADE.

Which reminds me - here's one of my formerly featured Exemplars, Hayden, with her sixth birthday cake:

Yep, she requested the Darth Vader-riding-a-My-Little-Pony design - and just look at that grin! (I like the substitution of Rainbow Dash, btw - good choice, Hayden!) Note how all the ponies around the cake have Star Wars riders, too. Ha! [Cake by Sweet Startt's Bakery]

I'm probably the last person on the 'net to finally post this, but if you haven't seen Little Girls Are Better At Designing Superheroes Than You, you should totally check it out. It's an art project by Alex Law, where he draws superheros based on real costumes little girls have put together:

He only has about half a dozen up so far, but I'm hoping the fact that his project went viral last week will encourage him to do lots more!

Oh, and I've mentioned it before, but Alex got some of those original photos from Girls Love Superheroes, Too, another excellent blog. (LOOK AT THIS TINY HAWK GIRL. AND THIS WEE WONDER WOMAN. AND THIS SASSY BAT GIRL. AND...ok, ok, I'm done. Really.)

And finally, I'm going to wrap up with Sierra T's story, because I love it to pieces and it's super inspiring. She writes:

"I was a closet geek all through high school and college. I desperately wanted to embrace the geeky side of me, but I got enough grief just being the toned down geek version of me. Like so many geek girls, I got teased and picked on and excluded. As much as I wanted to watch Star Trek marathons and read from the sci-fi section of the bookstore, I pushed that down and away in the interest of having some sort of social life. I found Epbot through chance and would literally sneak away to read it so no one could tease me.

"I saw all your pictures of the cons that you went to and the Ah-Mazing costumes that were there and I was so jealous that you could be so open about what you liked. Then it was like a light bulb went off in my brain, and I realized, life is far too short to worry about what everyone else may think.

"It was empowering!  I went to my first convention in October and even dressed up. I have a new friend who went with me because there are other geek girls out there (who knew, right?). It was fun and I’m already looking forward to the next one where I will hopefully work up the courage to actually speak to others. These people are my tribe and I don’t have to be ashamed of loving Dr. Who and Star Trek and anything that Stan Lee ever creates. I give you a lot of credit for making me see that and giving me the courage to step out and be awesome!

"P.S. Attached is the worst possible picture of my husband and I as the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond, but quality aside, we were having fun."

Sierra, the courage was all you, my friend, and you ROCKED it. I bet someone reading this right now just decided to go to HER first convention, so thanks for sharing your story and encouraging us all to get out there and live the lives we want to live, not just the ones we think are expected.

Ok, that does it for this installment, Exemplars! I'll try to do this more often, though, so I can chisel away at the small backlog I've accumulated. Which reminds me: If you have an Exemplar story to share, or a fun photo of yourself or your kids showing off your geeky passions, then please send them to me! (Or share them over on the Epbot Facebook page!)