Sunday, January 14, 2018

Better Late Than Never? Holiday Matsuri 2017, Part 2!

I know I already showed you guys most of my favorite Christmas cosplays from Holiday Matsuri last month, but wait, there's more!

 We'll just say she's more "Winter" than Christmas. :D

Look at all these gorgeous details! The fur collar, the poinsettias - and I love how she did her eye makeup with that blushing at the temples. 

HolMat really is THE con for big beautiful gowns, you guys:

In fact I only learned about HolMat through local cosplayers I follow online, who all see it as a can't-miss for the year. For a small con HolMat has a huge emphasis on cosplay, and was only the second con I've been to where I felt like the ladies noticeably outnumbered the men. (The first being Leaky Con.) 

Except when it came to the photographers, of course. Those are all men. Always. (Someday I'm going to write a post about this... but not today. NOT TODAY JEN FOCUS.)

Ahem. Right, 'nuff chatter. ON TO MORE PRETTIES:

Her cape was completely covered in (silk) autumn leaves! And look at that blue ombre fade!

Ooh, here's a funny one:

 I'm not sure this MST3K guy could even make it into the vendor hall, ha!

If you only follow one pro cosplayer online, make it Alyson Tabbitha:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DIY Star Wars Spinner Card: My Rebel Heart

I'll admit it's early for Valentines, but you guys, I needed a project. I've been lagging hardcore since New Year's, so out of desperation I started brainstorming crafts for the next holiday I could think of, and I happened to be looking at Star Wars stuff at the time, soooooo here we are:


 Ready for the big reveal? (Assuming you didn't already see my prototype on Instagram?)



Can I just say, I am so pumped this worked.

Plus this doesn't HAVE to be a Valentine; it could work for birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers... well, maybe not baby showers. But maybe baby showers? Or, since the spinner section is made separately, you could add just that part to a card you make yourself.

I originally sketched this as a necklace, but almost immediately hit some roadblocks in the skills department - or lack of skills department, I should say. I love the idea of a heart hidden inside the Rebel symbol, though, so don't be surprised if I revisit this idea later.

For now, though, LET'S MAKE SOME CARDS.

You Will Need:

- white card stock
- black card stock
- red paper (or card stock)
- glue stick
- black mini brads (the teeny tiny ones that look like this:)

Mine came in a multi-color pack from the scrap-booking aisle in JoAnn's.

- printer
- thumbtack or small nail
- scissors

This is a pretty quick craft, since John and I've done all the hard stuff for you. (It took a lot of hours of tweaking and prototypes - I'm still finding paper shards all over the office.)

So first, print out my two page template from the bottom of this post. Print the text page on white, and the circle page on red.

I have an alternate poem I like better down below, btw, but I was afraid to post it up here because it's kind of... awful? Funny, but awful. :D  I'll give you both options in the downloads, so be sure to tell me which you like better. (AWFUL PEOPLE UNITE!)

There are two of each template on the red page, enough to make two cards. If you're just making one card, though, don't bother cutting out the duplicates.

Roughly cut around the heart circle(s) and glue them to your black card stock:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

"The Greatest Showman" Is The World's Greatest Pick-Me-Up

I just saw The Greatest Showman, and fellow geeks, I have a new mission in life: to make sure every one of you who needs an uplifting, inspiring kick-in-the-pants goes to see it immediately.


If you've missed it 'til now, here's the trailer:

There's really nothing I can write here that would be a spoiler, because what you see in the trailer is what you get: a rousing musical about outsiders banding together to find love, family, and most importantly, pride in their differences. The Greatest Showman has no surprise twists or mysteries or "Gotcha" moments; the only really shocking thing is how they managed to make every single song so darn catchy.

It also has the distinction of being the first movie to have me in tears within the first 15 seconds. (Yes, SECONDS.) Not sad tears, mind you; just awe-struck, fist-pumping, grabbed-by-the-gut because oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-beautiful and I-was-not-expecting-this tears. Greatest Showman starts with a literal foot-stomping bang - you can see snatches of it in that trailer - and I want to see just those first few minutes at least 50 more times.

There are so many great anthems in this movie it's hard to pick a favorite, and many/most have this fantastic driving beat; the kind of fight-song staccato that rumbles through your chest and makes you want to get up and shout. Add to that the gorgeous lyrics about being warriors, being proud, re-writing your own destiny, etc., and, well. WELL.

I found out later (since I came home and inhaled every Youtube video I could on it) that this was Hugh Jackman's passion project, and it took him seven and a half years to get the green light from a studio. That passion really shows. In fact, if you're OK with some song spoilers, here's a video of Jackman getting so caught up in one that he actually hurt himself to sing it:

(In a later interview Jackman admitted he was bleeding by the end, having bust out several stitches in his nose. Eek! [But don't worry; there's no blood in vid.])

And here's another video from the same session of another absolutely incredible song, "This Is Me."

The directors consider this the movie's anthem, and I think it may be my favorite - though I'll need to see the movie several more times to know for sure. :D

Both of those numbers look and sound so much better in the film, but my gosh, do you see all that emotion? I mean, when she grabs Hugh's hand, and they're both crying? I'm talking BUCKETS over here, gang.

I'll add a quick caveat to say that of course this is a completely fictionalized and sanitized re-telling of P.T. Barnum's story, and of course there are things from the real history that have and should be criticized - but again, this is pure fantasy. If you're already planning to tell me why the circus and Barnum were bad and why romanticizing them is bad, then obviously this isn't the movie for you. That'd be a shame, though, because Greatest Showman really does have a beautiful, hopeful message about humanity. Not to mention some ROCKING costumes, gorgeous sets, and dance numbers to take your breath away.

I really want a Ringmaster's jacket now. You know, more than usual.

Speaking of dance numbers, I'll end with this final video not so much for the dance instruction (though I'm tempted) but because it has clips of the final choreography for Lettie's (the Bearded Lady) song. Let's all appreciate her KILLIN' those moves in that purple dress, y'all:


That kind of energy is infused through the whole movie, and you can't help but come away grinning and tapping your toes. If you've been lagging a little like I have since New Year's, then this is just what the doctor ordered.

So go see it already! John and I are already planning to see it again tomorrow. And maybe the day after that. (Sorry, second viewing of Star Wars; YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT. :D)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Let's Look At Pretty Stuff And Play With Axes

I'm grumpy and tired and I haven't put on a bra in like three days (HIGHLIGHT), but I promise I'll have more interesting silliness for you guys soon. In the meantime, here's some prettiness:

"Devil Bridge" by porbital on DeviantArt

Ahhhh. Just looking at that feels better. (Can you believe that's a photo of a real place?)

And check out this amazing dragon pin from the early 1900s:

Those color fades in the wings are rockin' my world. Also that tail swoopy!

The past few months I've been cutting John's hair, which I'm sure explains a lot to our local friends (WHAT I'M TRYING), and is also why I've been watching a lot of Youtube tutorials on cutting hair.

 Anyway, I'm liking this one: everything we need is right there in the garage!

Plus I could really see myself venting some frustrations at the same time. What do you think, John? John? [looks around] John? Hey, where'd he go?

And finally, for the ultimate grumpies-killer, here's a German advertisement about a post-apocalyptic robot looking for Christmas:

Yes, the holidays are over already, yes, I still maybe cried a little. (When he goes up the stairs at the end - gah!)

Hope your week of getting back to work and real life is going well, gang, or at least smoother than mine. (Tomorrow, WE BRA. Maybe.) John's been out repairing some water damage across the street all week, so you know that old saying: "When the cat's away, the mouse does whatever the heck she wants, same as always, except she's hungrier now because no one's here to make lunch."

Pretty sure that's how it goes, anyway.

Monday, January 1, 2018

42 Geeky Resolutions You'll Actually Want To Keep

I think we can all agree: New Year's Resolutions suck.  Even if you manage to keep one, it's always something awful and tedious that no one - NO ONE - wants to do, like eating more greens or learning how Snapchat works.

Ahh, but you know what doesn't suck? Wish lists. Things we already want to do, but just need a little nudge and/or proper scheduling to get around to.

So I thought I'd put together a geeky wish-list and turn it into this year's resolutions. Stuff for us fans that could make us better fans. Stuff to help us learn more about each other, share the things we love, and maybe find some new things to love along the way.

And best of all, this list couldn't care less if you go to the gym.

Here's what I've got so far:

This Year I Will Read:

- 1 classic sci-fi novel I've never read before
- 1 new/modern sci-fi novel
- 1 graphic novel
- 1 indie comic book
- 1 classic children's book
- 1 fantasy novel that's more than 600 pages

This Year I Will Watch:

- 1 classic sci-fi movie (something made before 1980)
- 1 classic fantasy movie
- at least 6 episodes of an Anime I've never seen before
- at least 6 episodes of a sci-fi/fantasy series I don't think I'll like
- at least 6 episodes of an old sci-fi TV series
- at least 6 episodes of a new sci-fi/fantasy series

This Year I Will Play:
- 1 new board game
- 1 new card game
- 1 new video game (in a style I don't usually play)
- 1 new role-playing game

This Year I Will Write:

- An encouraging comment on at least one social media post per day (FB, Instagram, etc.)
- A fan letter to someone I know IRL
- A fan letter to someone I don't know IRL
- A compliment on the check for every good server - with an equally nice tip

This Year I Will Wear:

- A closet cosplay of a favorite character (even if I never leave the house in it)
- A cool hat 
- Something my inner 6-year-old would love
- Something fandom-related to work
- Something I've always wanted to wear, but have been too afraid to try

 This Year I Will Go:

- To a local museum I've never visited before
- To a new gathering of geeks: a convention, art show, local comic shop, etc.
- To a game night with friends (or I'll host one myself!)
- To a local craftperson's hobby shop: stained glass, woodworking, model making, etc.
- To a local Maker's Space, if I can find one

This Year I Will Make:

- Something light up with an LED I wired myself
- A fandom food (something mentioned in a book, show, or movie)
- An action figure or Pop Vinyl aged with craft paint (paint on, wipe off)
- A display for that collection or thing gathering dust in the closet
- Something silly that makes me smile

And finally, for the miscellaneous category:

This Year I Will:

- Compliment every kid I see wearing something nerdy
- Join a new fan page or discussion board online
- Buy or make one new piece of geek art, then display it somewhere everyone who visits can see

- Try a new skill: sewing, chain mail, sculpting, coding, origami, quilling, resin, etc.
- Try a new tool: Dremel, soldering iron, scroll saw, heat gun, etc.
- Ask a kid what their favorite show is, then watch at least one episode of it
  (Bonus points if you know the kid and can watch it together!)
- Recommend something geeky to a non-geek: a book, show, podcast, etc.

And just to go the EXTRA mile, I got John to turn the whole list into a handy printable for you guys:

Click to embiggen, then right-click to save the image to your desktop.

You'll notice I didn't include any suggestions for shows or books or movies, because that's where you guys come in. Let me see your lists! What should every geek watch, read, play, and listen to? (Er, maybe stick to just a few suggestions at a time...)

And beyond that, what am I missing? What else would you add to your geeky resolutions? Or what's your favorite already here? (I'm kind of partial to the "cool hat" one. :D)

Thanks for making it through 2017 with me, gang. Thanks for being my tribe. Every year I want to reach further and try harder, just to make you proud - and because I know you'll be just as proud of my failures as you will of my successes. So here's to lots more failure, more sometimes-silly successes, and more just plain trying in 2018. I love you all.

(Lily loves you, too.)

 (Tonk, however, couldn't care less. ;p)