cosplay 101

This is my first year really getting into the cosplay thing; all of my previous costumes for conventions have been half-assed closet cosplays using things commonly found in closets and dressers everywhere, like flak jackets and neon pink spandex crop tops. Sci-Fi on the Rock is two days away and I’m nowhere near ready. I’ve made the same mistakes over and over. I have not learned from them. I’m posting them here so that maybe you will.

  • If you think you need one of something, buy four hundred, because you will need at least that many. Probably more, but it’s a good start.
  • No matter how many of something you have, you’ll run out. At this point, you will discover that it’s been discontinued, even if you only bought it yesterday. (Note: this is only true if you have already used that thing and your cosplay is half-finished. If there’s still time to substitute a replacement with minimal emotional/financial distress, the thing you need will be in stock at every store.)
  • The fabric store cannot be trusted. Go to thrift stores instead. They too cannot be trusted, but their wares are varied and far less confusing.
  • If you are using a tutorial and skip a step for any reason, that step will turn out to be crucial to the structural integrity/overall appearance of the piece, no matter how insignificant or unsuited to your needs it appears to be.
  • The sewing machine is filled with evil spirits. Do not let them taste your blood, however sweetly they lie to you. Their thirst cannot be quenched.
  • Even the fussiest cat will happily eat wigs, taffeta, and tulle. Guard these things accordingly.
  • If you have big feet, you will never find the footwear you need for your cosplay. Ever. Don’t even try. Put paper bags over your giant yeti feet and stomp anyone who questions it.
  • Always do the entire costume in one sitting. The whole damn thing. If you pause for any reason, you’ll return to discover that every choice you made was bewildering and nonsensical, and you will not be able to reverse-engineer your own work to figure out exactly what you were trying to do. If you’ve done this, don’t worry — just light your work on fire, scatter the ashes, and start over from scratch.
  • Is your costume made of weapons-grade steel, soldered together by the best metalsmith in the business? Too bad! It’s still going to fall apart unless you keep a roll of tape on your person at all times to ward off the cosplay demons.
  • Whatever your budget is, you will spend at least twice that much, and still end up scouring your house for leftover paint and bits of old curtains to finish your costume.
  • Redesign an item to make it more comfortable? Yeahhhhh, it’s still gonna be a pain in the ass, so don’t bother.
  • In a pinch, you can use a beloved childhood toy in place of a wig head, but the results will be terrifying to behold. Do not try to hide it in the closet; it just makes it creepier. And angrier. And hungrier.

Expert cosplayer? Know a risk-free incantation to ward off vengeful fabric spirits? Share your tips and tricks! (No, seriously, share them. It may be too late for me, but there are still novices out there who could be saved.)


episodes of pokemon i hope they never make

  • Upon becoming a baron at the Battle Chateau, Ash quickly learns that no matter how successful he becomes, being “new money” means he’ll never win the respect of his peers.
  • Everyone finds out that Professor Oak faked his zoology degree, and he’s consequently forced to resign. He signs up at Greendale Community College in an attempt to fast-track his way back into his old career. (Just kidding, I would 100% watch this one.)
  • Not knowing what she’s agreeing to, Dawn takes up a Nuzlocke challenge. Piplup pays the price for her ignorance.
  • Ash gets a Master Ball and accidentally uses it on a Goldeen.
  • Team Rocket actually, impossibly, and totally accidentally manages to pull off one of their villainous schemes. The guilt destroys them. Jessie’s hair deflates. Meowth stops speaking. Koffing hasn’t left its Pokeball in weeks.
  • Ash catches a Yamask. The mask it carries is eerily familiar, but he can’t place it. Trying to figure out its identity becomes an obsession that begins to consume him. His friends have different ideas about its identity, but say nothing. Brock doesn’t have the heart to ask him how long it’s been since he’s seen his father. Misty doesn’t have the nerve to ask him how long it’s been since he looked in a mirror.
  • Our hero, Tracey Sketchit, is on his latest adventure! What are you talking about? Tracey is the hero. There has never been another main character. There is only Tracey. There has only ever been Tracey.

things on the internet that delighted me: free comics edition!

Did you miss Free Comic Book Day? I didn’t, but it’s the first time in a few years I’ve made it down, so I feel your pain. I made out like a bandit this year, and it’s not too late for you to do the same!

  • Nimona is heading towards its conclusion, so you should read it and be sad with me that even the best things must come to an end.
  • Help Us Great Warrior is probably the most fun thing on the internet.
  • Camodad is good in general; specifically, I am never going to stop crying with laughter over this one.
  • Comixology recently put up a bunch of free comics (limited time only!) — I haven’t had a chance to look through these ones yet, but I will never not rec Becky Cloonan. And if you miss out on these particular ones, there’s always the other freebies up there. Saga and Chew are a good place to start.
  • Marvel and DC both have disappointingly few decent offerings on their own sites, but Ms Marvel, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol are worth your time.
  • Dark Horse has a more satisfying digital selection than the Big Two — check out BPRD, Hellboy, Umbrella Academy, and Witchfinder for starters, as well as Mass Effect if that’s your kind of thing (it’s definitely mine!) And of course, given today’s date, check out their Star Wars offerings, including their Legacy bundle, KotR bundle, and Empire bundle.

Happy reading, and May the 4th be with you! (I couldn’t not, I’m sorry.)

it’s gonna be may

I was going to make the requisite NSYNC joke, but then the president beat me to it. Thanks, Obama.

thanks obama

[via {x}]

Anyway, spring is here, and St. John’s is still much a dead, brown, barren wasteland. Which is way better than a barren wasteland covered in salty, dirty mountains of snow, so I’ll take it!

Very Important Statistics for April:

  • Emails sent/received about Captain America: 3711
  • Episodes of Scooby Doo watched: 34
  • Money left in my pocket after a cutthroat rummoli game: $0.35
  • Cryptic messages left to myself in my phone when waking up in the middle of the night: 3
  • Bioware characters successfully romanced: 2
  • Library fines accidentally racked up from an Old Norse textbook I’ve had out for over a year and never once opened: $8.002
  • Weird contraptions MacGyvered in attempt to retrieve wayward koosh ball from shed roof: 4
  • Fights gotten into because someone was painfully, stubbornly wrong on the internet: ZERO, because I am a true hero and all should admire my restraint

…I swear this all seemed way less pathetic when I was living it. I’ve been crossing things off my to-do list left and right, so it feels like it’s been a fantastic, successful month, but I’m pretty sure one does not win the Internet Olympics by posting about how they cleaned out their makeup drawer or decoded the weirdly incoherent instruction booklet for the sewing machine. Anyway, May’s got lots of fun things to do and shiny things to take pictures of, so here’s to a way less painfully dull stats post.

1 Did you know gmail automatically starts a new email conversation after 100 emails? I do now!

2 LUCKILY, I’m pretty sure the librarian who scanned my returned books took pity on me and made it all go away. Thanks, librarian! You are a true pal. May your joys be many, your sorrows few, and your fingers immune to papercuts.

this week in “things on the internet that delighted me”

This week I began the painful business of sorting through my bookmarks folder. It would be okay if I ever bothered to give bookmarks a name that actually said what they were, but nope, it’s all mystery all the time. On the plus side, some of the rediscoveries were fantastic.

  • Do you like Disney? Comics about depression, the complications of fame and fortune, and the strange ways they intersect, interact, and interfere with friendship and love? When you realize that you’re crying and you’re not quite sure when or why you started? I’m not really big on any of those things, honestly, but I LOVED Boys’ Night anyway.
  • I had this beautiful picture bookmarked in my reference folder. I wish I could say it was for an academic purpose, or just for sheer artistic/aesthetic appreciation, but I’m 99% sure I saved it because I wanted to build it in Minecraft. Anyway, the photographer’s gallery is pretty stellar — abandoned buildings, beautiful landscapes, the occasional action shot of Spider-Man.
  • I don’t knit (not for lack of trying), but if you do, you should definitely check out this pattern for a tree of Gondor scarf. And then you should make one for me.
  • Antarctic Sue recently finished working her sixth season in Antarctica; she posts daily pictures when she’s down there, and they’re absolutely stunning.
  • Five must-visit oddity museums. I’ve only made it to one on this list — the Pitt Rivers Museum, which was cluttered and weird and consequently perfect. I’m going to have to make it to the others, though. (Flayed 18th century cadavers, I mean, come on, I am THERE.)
  • Finally, a house that was taken over by animals. You need to go see all of them right now, oh my goodness.

this week in “things on the internet that delighted me”

Captain America 2 just came out. I saw it on Thursday and I was the happiest person on earth. This has absolutely nothing to do with any of this week’s links, except for how I’m consequently filled with joy and enthusiasm about basically everything. Captain America 2 felt like a hug for my soul, and now everything is all marshmallows and kittens and CAPSLOCK ENTHUSIASM ABOUT THESE LINKS I AM ABOUT TO SHARE.

  • First up, ESPRESSO CHIP PANCAKES! I recently made cookies with coffee-flavoured chocolate chips and they were so good I was eating a bunch first thing every morning, so I think I need to try this recipe — if nothing else, they’re more socially acceptable as a breakfast food, probably.
  • Next we have a photo project where the only source of light is body paint under black light. Stunning results!
  • I actually made something for Ghibli Jam this year! Except I never submitted it, because I was waaaaay too intimidated by all the talented participants. Maybe next year! Until then, go look at all the fantastic submissions I was intimidated by.
  • Since I clearly need drawing practice if I’m too scared to send a doodle in for a totally consequence-free celebration of something, I’ve been playing around with this excellent drawing tool — meet your new best friend AtarichanDrawer, which generates a figure for you to draw. It’s really great as both a learning tool and a way to get your brain going for warmup sketches.
  • DIY Harry Potter Monopoly game! I WANT SEVEN.
  • This interview with Elder Scrolls loremaster Lawrence Schick popped up three times in my feed yesterday before I could make myself click it. That is my DREAM JOB right there and I am such a jealous rage-beast after looking at this article, but it’s also a really fun read. My favourite part of any RPG is getting to know the history and culture of the world, and TES is the absolute best when it comes to that kind of thing.
  • Finally, and most importantly, tomorrow is the start of BAT APPRECIATION WEEK, the greatest and most important of all weeks! Do you appreciate bats? If not, what the hell is wrong with you, bats are great. They’re also seriously endangered — check out Bat Conservation International to learn how you can help save them.

Anyway, that’s all for this week — duty calls! By which I mean I’m on my way to Cap 2 again.

marchin’ into april

Happy April! I hope none of you get (or got) pranked too badly. I hate April Fools’ Day — mischief is best when it’s subtle and clever and creative, and stuff like shaving cream on doorknobs or jumping out at people and saying ‘boo’ is entirely lacking in all of those qualities.[1] [2] Why is April Fools’ Day even a thing? I consulted Wikipedia, but it’s as clueless as I am on this topic.

thanks. wiki, real helpful

[via (x)]

Anyway, this March wasn’t too shabby! Here’s my Very Important Statistics for the month:

  • Plates of spaghetti eaten in the span of one week: 10+
  • Friends who contacted me to make sure I was dealing with the death of my favourite TV character: 3
  • People in Gumby costumes encountered in mosh pits at Andrew W.K. shows: 1
  • Bioware characters successfully romanced: 3
  • Armor pieces crafted: 4
  • Marvel movies watched in a frantic bid to refresh knowledge of MCU continuity before seeing Cap 2 this Thursday: 7
  • Shiny Pokemon received from GTS/Wonder Trade: 2 (!)
  • Times fallen over during yoga: 4
  • Cans of mushroom soup hidden in someone else’s bed: 1
  • Blog posts I failed to make: pretty much all of them

I’m going to do better this month! In terms of blogging, anyway; I know there’s no way I’m doing any better in terms of weird encounters with Gumby.


[1] That said, I will laugh at whoopee cushions forever, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to anything I say about pranks.
[2] No but seriously, don’t listen to things I say about pranks, especially any appreciation of them in any way; if you ever play a prank on me I will hate you forever, no matter how subtle or clever or creative it might be.

this week in “things on the internet that delighted me”

I missed a week! This is mostly due to my chronic inability to note the passage of time. No matter! Here are some things! Look at them! Love them!

  • Sci-Fi on the Rock is just a few months away, and as per usual, I’m way behind on my costumes. This tutorial for making armour from craft foam is fantastic, and gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get started!
  • And speaking of SFOTR, the schedule went up this week! I’ve already got my weekend planned out almost to the minute.
  • I’ve spent countless hours of my life searching for the perfect lembas recipe (no seriously, it has been a truly ridiculous amount of hours) and I think this one miiiiight be the one recipe to rule them all.
  • STAR TREK THEME PARK. Opening in Spain in 2015, apparently, so we’ve all got a little time to start saving up.
  • CBR recently interviewed Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis about their upcoming comic Lumberjanes, which I’m really looking forward to.
  • Dragonball Zine! 😀 It’s a pay-what-you-can download (or free, if you want — the credit card field disappears when you put in $0, so don’t worry about that), and there are some really gorgeous, really fun pieces.
  • When I save links for these posts, I usually make a note of what they are. In my notes, this one was just the url followed by “OH MY GOD.” Meet my new favourite tumblr: Old Timey St. John’s, featuring beautiful historical photos of all manner of sci-fi creatures visiting town.

why are bones

I go into each year with a giant list of new year’s resolutions. I keep hearing that the key to success is to make small, achievable resolutions, but every year I’ve tried that, I do the thing and then immediately stop doing that thing right after. Like, read five books? Easy as pie! A totally doable goal! That’s done by the second week of January, and then I file my tiny accomplishment away in my brain and suddenly it’s August and I realize I’m only halfway through that novella I started six months ago. I’m not great with noting the passage of time — it always feels like I just did something, no matter how long ago it was that I did that something. Which makes it hard for me to develop habits, since I always end up like “What do you mean I need to drink more water, I just drank some!” but I haven’t actually had anything non-caffeinated in a month.

Anyway, this year I decided to take a different approach, and made a bunch of things I cannot possibly hope to accomplish by the time December rolls around, so that I will be forced to work at them constantly and I won’t stop anytime soon. Number one on that list is doing a handstand. This is step one of my plan to become a top-notch contortionist so I can steal all of Doug Jones’ roles from him (another lofty goal, but I’ll probably save that one for 2017). The main problem is that I totally lack three things that are essential for awesome feats of flexibility, strength, and balance (namely, flexibility, strength, and balance).

This month I actually started working on that goal. Step one: 30 day yoga challenge! This is how week one went, more or less:

Day 1: fell over
Day 2: shoulders hurt but at least I didn’t fall over
Day 3: why are bones
Day 4: feeling like jello that’s been left out of the fridge too long
Day 5: feeling like jello that’s been left in the fridge too long
Day 6: not yet one with the universe
Day 7: wait are you serious today I am supposed to do crow pose, I am starting to think this challenge is not actually for beginners

So yeah, I’m not yet a strong flexibility machine capable of such feats as doing the splits, touching my toes, or walking past a parking meter instead of into a parking meter. But I’m getting there, maybe, kinda, sorta. Baby steps! Really, really tiny baby steps. Baby crawl? Baby holding its head up for the first time? That’s more like it. Anyway, I’m on day 12, so it’s the most success I’ve had so far this year with absolutely anything that doesn’t involve romancing Bioware characters or keeping up with the latest season of Teen Wolf.

2014, you are going down in history as the year I become slightly less terrible at some things than I previously was, just you watch.

this week in “things on the internet that delighted me”

It’s February 15th, aka the most important day of the year: the day that Valentines Day candy gets marked down. I’m pretty excited for all the marshmallow hearts I’m gonna eat, you have no idea.

Here’s a few things to look at while you’re munching on discount chocolates!

  • If the extreme right-wingers are right and gay marriage is the start of a slippery slope where society will crumble because people will be marrying, like, five million dogs and a lamp wearing a wig, I hope I’ll be allowed to marry this Ricardo Sternberg poem that went up recently.
  • This kickstarter, for an illustrated limited edition of a YA novel, is already fully backed and has some kickass bonuses. Even if you’re not feeling the story (the author has the first 50 pages on her blog, so you can find out!), it’s worth checking out just for the artwork. If the weird marriage dystopia previously mentioned becomes a reality, I’m also going to marry the Brett Weldele piece from this project.
  • Gorgeous, gorgeous realistic Pokemon art done as a field guide.
  • Photos from a ridiculously fantastic Alice in Wonderland-themed project. Seriously, check it out, because I don’t even know how to begin describing it. I found it through one of the artists’ websites; their outrageously cool pinhole camera photography was going around on Tumblr awhile back.
  • This is a recipe for cheesy bacon ranch pull-apart bread. I haven’t made it yet, so I can’t vouch for its tastiness. I just thought you should know that it exists. It’s a thing. It could be yours. You’re welcome.