Friday, April 12, 2013

I'm Moving!

Salutations All!

Oh man, I didn't realise how long I've been neglecting this blog over here....my apologies. It's been fairly chaotic the last few months with my move to a new state, work, and health issues. But I promise I'm still alive and around! In fact, I've been regularly updating on my Facebook page ---> http://www.facebook.com/theladynerd

I am also now the owner of www.theladynerd.com (Wordpress-based blog), so over the next while I'll be transferring everything over there. But I'll leave this blog up for anyone who happens to find me through Google searching.

Thanks for being patient everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cosplay Appreciation Day

Somehow it didn't dawn on me that I could contribute to Cosplay Appreciation Day yesterday, so here's my (albeit late) obligatory posting....

I decided to be a little different and do a "Before and After." The photo on the left is me at 13 in my very first costume (an elven gown for a choir concert in which I sang "May It Be"). The photo on the right is me 10 years later at 23 in my first fully custom-designed costume (Shannan from the Allon fantasy book series).

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Who You Gonna Call?

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I have a habit of befriending guy costumers near my size and suddenly I find myself slinking off with their costumes. (What?! At least their's are comfy! Womens' costumes are definitely the epitome of beauty is pain. Stilettos, anyone?) This time I was a mannequin for a friend working on a Ghostbusters costume. He was trying to see how well the proton pack was sitting (since it's hard to see that thing on oneself with no access to a full-length mirror). So while I obliged, my fee was to humour me with taking some pictures. Ah, hilarity!

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Not quite vogue, but it gets the job done. Plus they're machine washable, so ecto-goop is no problem.

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"You got spooks or what? I'm on the clock here."

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"Just look at the quality! 100% leather zipper-sided boots for quick changing. Spared no expense!"

Yep, I have waaaay too much fun with these things. (I wish I could take credit for the witty captions, but that honour goes to the owner of the Ghostbuster suit, Adam Greene.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Loki Teaser

My sincere apologies for the lack of posting. I've been caught up in intense job hunting and moving cities (or rather a lot of moving back-and-forth). I was also doing so without my own computer so I didn't have access to my files. But now that I'm settled back home for a little while, here's a teaser from my high fashion Loki photoshoot. Enjoy!

Costume and hair inspired by the Thor and Avengers films Loki. Makeup inspired by Female Loki (comics)

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Costume designed and modeled by: Me
Costume made by: Angelica Rio
Photographer: Kyle McLaughlin - http://www.studiokgm.com/
Makeup: Aisha Daly - http://www.modelmayhem.com/2412581

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dragoncon - Monday and the Trip Home

Photobucket (Photograph © Berry Crowe)
This post will be significantly shorter than the previous days at Con as Monday is usually known as 'Packing Day'. Almost everyone scuttles about packing and checking out of their hotels. But there were some of us that didn't leave til Tuesday. Besides, there were still things going on throughout the hotels, including the last minute rush of the exhibit halls before they closed at 5pm.

While I could have opted for normal wear, I decided to still stay in costume. I wasn't sure if anyone else would be, but I went for it anyway as I wanted to honour my friend that had bought my Selina Kyle hat. So I slinked into my little black dress and donned my hat to greet the new day. Unfortunately due to it being so last minute, there was no chance to switch out the black ribbon for the proper white & black ribbon from the film. There were definitely a ton of inaccuracies in my costume (in fact, nothing was really accurate. It was pretty much a from-my-closet costume). But it pleasantly surprised me that it didn't matter one bit. People recognized what I was wearing all the same. It surprised me even more as I was not wearing the catsuit (which is infinitely more recognisable) or standing next to Bane/Batman. There's something to be said for doing real-world costumes from recent movies/TV shows. The costumes are still fresh in people's minds.

Photobucket (Photograph © Berry Crowe)

I spent the first few hours playing phone tag with friends trying to see people before they left. I ended up getting pinned in one part of the Marriott for about 40 straight minutes of people taking my picture (I even had a few people "squee!" at me. That was new). It made me incredibly grateful that I had the foresight to pack a pair of black flats in my purse. I finally met up with Bryan (King Ik) who was in civvies for the rest of the day and we went to the dealer room to meet up with Lindsay Archer (http://www.lindsayarcher.com/), who in turn graciously introduced me to her mentor, renowned fantasy illustrator Larry Elmore (http://larryelmore.com/). They very kindly talked to me about various art topics, the state of the business, where to get started in illustration (as I only have experience in production/commercial art), and Larry most graciously offered to exchange one of his painting classes for my modeling skills. While his studio is a bit far from me, it's an extremely tempting offer.

Afterwards, Lindsay and I returned to the big dealer room, where she introduced me to a couple more of her artist friends (whose names, I loathe to say, have escaped me). I'll look for them at Dragoncon next year, especially as one of those artists has some truly beautiful fantasy paintings. Since it was nearing mid-afternoon and there was only 2 hours left before the exhibits closed, I decided to go shopping (seemed appropriate in my Catwoman costume. Other attendees seemed to think so to as I've seen a couple photos of me on Flickr tagged "Catwoman goes shopping" or "Selina Kyle does some last-minute shopping. Make sure your valuables aren't missing!" I darted in and out of every single booth between all three dealer rooms with my list-o-stuff to buy (and yes, I did wait to shop til the last minute on purpose! Usually vendors will give deals on the last day to try to get rid of stock. Alas, nothing I got had such a sale on it). I thought it might be fun to get a Loki figurine to commemorate the epic happenings of Sunday, but alas I didn't find anything with Loki even on it, much less a figurine. I'm guessing if there were any, they sold out quick. I also looked for a Doctor Who pocketwatch (The Master's from the 10th Doctor's series), but the few that were left were still more expensive than the one on thinkgeek.com. I'll just have to save up for the metal one on there someday. But not to despair, I did find a couple things on my list that I had been wanting for a while, including something I didn't think I'd actually be able to ever find. The former was a Jayne "Blue Sun" shirt from the Firefly series (which I'm going to turn into a tank top. Alas, there's an odd thing about most vendors not making geek shirts in womens' sizes (and forget a size as tiny as me!). So I had to buy a mens small). The latter was a Jayne hat. But not just any Jayne hat. A fluffy comfortable Jayne hat! As much as my perfectionist brain wants screen accuracy, I just can't comply when it comes to hats. If it's not comfortable, I won't wear it. I've tried on many an accurate Jayne hat and the wool proved to be too itchy for my sensitive skin to tolerate. But when walking around the dealer hall, my eyes fell upon a rather plush looking Jayne hat. To my pleasant surprise, it was very comfortable and to my further glee was only $25!

Photobucket (Photograph © Christina Wert - Facebook)
On my way out, I finally got to meet Abby Dark-Star and Keith "Zen" Carter of theRPF.com. We had been playing tag all weekend. It was lovely to meet them in person, especially Abby as we had been corresponding via email before Dragoncon on our plans to take over the world, as you do. Within a few minutes of that meeting, my geek group of friends from Nashville happened to conglomerate around us (and some knew Abby and Keith). Along with fond hellos and silly antidotes, we got into an interesting discussion about the different types of people costumes. A crew had been around earlier taking pictures/video of people in their costumes, then asking what they did in real life. There's the view out there that costumers at convention are just losers with little social skills and no real adult jobs. Just in our group alone that was standing around talking we had a CEO, a doctor, lawyer, nanny, music teacher, production artist, internet technician, etc. We all acknowledged that this is our hobby. This is what we do to make our work life bearable (as work stress can sometimes become overwhelming).

Tuesday I spent the day with my friend Philip doing laundry and repacking to head home. After a tasty take-out dinner from Cafe Intermezzo (my new favourite restaurant in Atlanta), I boarded the Megabus for home. Although I was fully expecting to be seated next to a stranger the entire way home, Dragoncon has a funny way of making quick friends out of strangers. I'll confess I profiled a girl midway through the bus, "Hm...she looks like a geek. I wonder if she just came from Dragoncon. Oh look, an empty seat!" Unbeknownst to me, she was profiling me too. Of course, I was kinda easy to spot as a Dragoncon geek from my floppy Jayne hat and goofy grin from a wild weekend. I plopped next down to her and the small chat quickly escalated into passioned geek talk, religious discussions, and us peering over the chair to watch Star Trek on a man's iPod in the seat in front of us. Well, that and dodging flying Jolly Rangers being thrown at us from a friendly Australian in the seat next to us. As the bus drove wore on, we conversed with our entire row which consisted of seeing which accents came out of us when really tired, me translating things to the other girls from the Australian (as I used to live in New Zealand) and attempting to catch a few winks when all the lights went out on the bus. The bus arrived back in Nashville at about 11:30 where a grinning daddy was very happy to pick me up.

I simply cannot WAIT to go back to Dragoncon next year!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dragoncon 2012 - Sunday II

After dinner, Adam and I tried to catch the setting sun for a Loki photoshoot. Alas, we were too busy talking and missed it. But we still caught a couple shots in the walkway (which was the first picture in the previous post). On the way back through to the Marriott, we passed by a section of marble elevators with golden doors. Although I wasn't a fan of the cage in the background, I was intrigued by the setting and decided it'd be good spot for some pictures (decent lighting to).

I was in the middle of doing some turns when I spotted a male Loki with one fantastically accurate costume walking by. He started to slow down to take a look-see, but was certainly on a mission to get somewhere. I wanted to stop him for a picture, but I know better than to run after a grown man in 6 inch stilettos (I can walk for a while in heels, but I haven't quite mastered the whole running-in-them thing). Thankfully he had wise friends that booted him back over to the elevators.

I raised an eyebrow as I was greeted with a mischievous grin that just about rivaled Tom Hiddleston's.
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(Photograph © One Hat Guy) 

Apparently he had heard about my costume from some other costumers and was looking for me (turns out it he had happened to run into my Femme-vengers group a few minutes prior). As we said a couple of quick salutations, I pondered, what would two Lokis of opposite gender do if they ever met each other? "I know exactly what would happen." And down on one knee he went!

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Upon discovering a new way to harness the limitless power of the Tesseract, Loki fell victim to the only thing more powerful: his own limitless narcissism.

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"I'll be taking this now. See you around.....Or not."

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And since everything has a sequel nowadays, as if to answer what would happen next, one would quickly learn that the only thing more mischievous than Loki would be his female counterpart.

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"My form is exquisite, crafted in such a way as this I cannot stop looking at me! Has there ever been a more perfect mirage?"
"Yes, ME!"

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(Sidenote: The other Loki in these pictures, Jayson, has a newly-launched Facebook page. Click! Like! You know the drill. https://www.facebook.com/PanzerCosplay)

After that unique experience, Adam and I wandered into the Marriott to mingle amongst the other costumers. While observing the other costumes around, I spotted a familiar face - one Toby Markham aka SithCamaro. Back when I started really getting into costuming, I had a number of people on http://www.cosplay.com bookmarked on my computer for inspiration. He was one of them. So needless to say, I was jazzed to finally see him in person. But since fangirling is not in my nature (and I was portraying a character who never would either), I just inclined my head when he looked my direction. But the eyes locked. As we were both in our Loki costumes, it was like two predators locking eyes and sauntering over for a mutual, yet amiable encounter (and saunter we did).

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Isn't that armour just exquisite? I saw many Lokis and many armoured costumers, but hardly any whose quality were at Toby's level. He truly is a master craftsman. You can take a gander at his website here ----> www.sithcamaro.com

I met up with Rain (Femme Hawkeye) again and was introduced to a very plucky Tony Stark and his wife (a very nice lady at that by the name of Orla Rose who was also doing a female Loki --- https://www.facebook.com/LaOrlaRouge).

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Boy was he a good Stark, perhaps not exactly in looks, but he certainly had the flirty mannerisms down pat. I decided to play on a joke I had come up earlier in the day. I *ahemed* and coily said, "Hey Stark, I'll be having that drink now."

Rain_Lain (Photograph © Rain Lain)
Humans actually drink this stuff?!

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While I sat sipping, I looked upwards and my eyes came to rest on the Pulse Loft, a loft that hangs suspended in the middle of the main floor of the Marriott. I titled my head and chuckled rather maniacally under my breath as an idea manifested in my brain...

Next thing my friends knew, I was off like a shot to gather every Loki costumer I could find. Adam went to the floor below to do the same. The Pulse Loft boasts a great vantage point of the main floor where most of the costumers at Dragoncon hang out. So my idea was the line up as many Lokis as possible in the foremost part of the Loft, to survey their domain, of course. Within 30 minutes, 8 Lokis were assembled for the impromptu event. We descended the stairs and took our places.

Something mischievous this way comes...

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After about 100 or so people started looking up from the floor below to see why in the world there were a bunch of Lokis in the Loft, we all pointed downwards and yelled "KNEEL!" Two thousand people turned around in surprise. Some knelt, some cheered, most took pictures. Oh but it was glorious.

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After maybe five minutes tops, we turned back around and sat down, laughing about the encounter as people took photos of us in the Loft. Security came over and politely asked us to turn around (or rather stay turned around at this point) as our little "kneeling" escapade completely blocked traffic on the floor below. We, of course out of character, submitted to authourity, but not without a grin plastered on our faces.

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While we had a number of people want their pictures taken with our circle of Lokis (which it has been decided that group of Lokis is known as a "chaos" of Lokis. Or trouble. Yes, there sits trouble), we had one special guest. A Joker came up to bequeath his top villain status to us. I don't have the following picture, but right after this he practically faceplanted at our feet. We were pleased.

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(Photographs © Kid Remington)

I stayed with Stark and his Loki wife through most of the rest of the night (along with a very cute Lolita Loki named Samantha). I was pleasantly surprised that although Stark would flirt in character, he was still very much looking out for the welfare of his wife and friends. At one point he had to leave our group to 'save' another friend downstairs from an awkward situation. But he didn't leave until he made sure that us three Lokis that were left were safe and had ample water. That really struck me. In fact, it struck me throughout all the time I was at Dragoncon that folks were just super nice. It truly is a big party with 50,000 of your friends. I'm sure there were exceptions, but everyone I met was nice, polite, helpful, happy, and fun-loving.

Just as a quick example, I was sitting down resting my feet and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent sat down next to me to compliment my costume. But only for a second, then he grinned as I started grilling him about Fury. He turned double agent telling me the location of the Tesseract and gave me an Avengers pin as a parting gift. Oh the irony.

I nodded goodbye to my fellow Lokis as they went to wreak havoc on a poor girl below who unwisely decided to do a Loki drinking game (apparently she'd drink a shot every time she saw a Loki costume. So in true prankster style, the other Lokis decided to walk right by her one at a time).  I just shook my head up in the Loft and waited for the next couple of hours for a friend of mine from the dealer room.

After waiting for a bit, I took a trip with Christina, Jimmy and a couple others to the top of the Marriott 47th floor (apparently it's the thing to do). I don't normally have height issues, but going up on an glass elevator that high was not so fun (though surprisingly, going down wasn't nearly as bad as coming up). Of course we had the glitchy elevator and we got stuck on the 10th floor with doors that couldn't decide whether they wanted to shut or open. Thankfully that only stopped our hearts for about a minute before they shut and we continued down the lobby level.

Afterwards, I finally met up with my friend, Tak, for dinner in the Marriott. Since it was well past midnight, I knew I had to get food in my stomach, but it had to be something like. Thankfully, the restaurant had a wonderful lemon chicken soup and crackers. But I was glad to get the call from Jimmy and Christina that they wanted to go home as the restaurant was quickly filling up with drunks (Though, I did manage to get 8.6 attractive rating from a drunk gay guy. That was amusing).

Stay tuned for Dragoncon Part IV: Monday and the Trip Home!

Dragoncon 2012 - Sunday

(Since so much happened on Sunday (including a mass amount of pictures), I'm going to split writing of the day's events into two parts. Without further adieu, here's Part I!)

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(Photograph © Adam Greene) 

Sunday was the beginning of a new day, a new week. So I started the day off fresh, determined to have a different outlook than Saturday and an amazing time at the Con. After arming myself with a cup of earl grey tea, I set out to take Dragoncon by storm with my custom-designed high fashion Loki (which soon became dubbed as "Vogue-ki").

I was reminded just how much of a n00b I am when it comes to makeup when I tried to replicate the green and gold makeup the Urban Decay artist did in this post ----> http://theladynerd.blogspot.com/2012/08/femme-loki-sneak-peek.html. I did find that while the cheap dollar store eye glitter worked just as well as the expensive ones from Urban Decay, the cheaper eye shadows did not have the saturated potency of the Urban Decay shadows. Thankfully, a friend had some extra greens that I borrowed to try to pump up the volume. I debated whether to go for a dark green lip with a centre gold sheen or not, but I ended up going with a nude lip with a slight bit of gloss. I might try experimenting with that dark green idea again another time.

Photobucket (Photograph © Adam Greene)

Once my ensemble was all together, I headed out into the fray. Upon exiting the hotel room, I headed straight for the food court like a woman on a mission (and truthfully I was ravenously hungry). Along with the meal-oriented mission came a serious strut. There was hardly anyone on the walkway around me, so whoever was sitting at the food court tables got to see the full-effect of my billowing skirt in action. And boy did heads turn. I felt like I was stomping down a runway with a very captive audience. I was glad to run into my seamstress friend, Angelica, who made the Loki gown so she got to see the full effect of the dress, the makeup, the whole shebang. She did such an incredible job (and rather last minute too).

After a round of hugging friends and getting pictures, I booked it over to the Westin hotel for the Whedonverse Costume Contest. Normally, the categories are limited to Buffy, Firefly/Serenity, and Dr. Horrible, but this year The Avengers was added in for obvious reasons. I joined my best friend Tara, her sister Erin, and their friend Rain as the Femme-vengers. A mixture of high fashion, formal, casual, and business, we started the line as Femme Hawkeye, Coulson, Loki, and Captain America respectively.

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(Photographs © Steve - http://scifigeek.info)

There were quite a number of really good costumes for each category. My friend Adam (from this post ---> http://theladynerd.blogspot.com/2012/06/femme-tony-stark-costume-idea.html) won first place for the Dr. Horrible category.

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My group didn't win for our category, but we didn't care. There were too many epic pictures to be had the rest of the day. Though I will mention there was one group that had me doubled over laughing when they walked up to the stand. Can you guess why?

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Adam hadn't been to the Walk of Fame yet and when we discovered it was still open, despite the late hour Sunday, we moseyed on over to the Hilton. Upon entering Adam discovered Felicia Day was there with her Guild-mates and promptly dashed back to the car to grab his Death Ray to be autographed. I decided to rest my feet outside the Walk by the door. I spread my skirt across the floor (y'know, just to be prepared if anyone decided to snap pictures, which they did. One thing working at the Renaissance Festival taught me - if you're in costume, people will take pictures no matter what you're doing - walking, sitting, eating, sleeping. So you might as well figure out how to look good doing it all!). I spotted a Thor walking by and grinned mischievously. "Hello brother."

"Sister? What are you doing here?!" The look on the guy's face was priceless. He was definitely not expecting to see me sitting down there. But to his credit, he didn't skip a beat in his response. So I sought him out later for a picture.

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While Adam went to wait in line for Felicia Day, I decided to double back around to talk to the only actress I could actually figure out something to say to besides the same ol', "hi, I'm a big fan of your work!" That actress happened to be Mira Furlan of Babylon 5 fame. There was only one other person in front of me in line so it was a short wait. I walked up and didn't even get a "hi" out before Mira and her assistant both looked at me and sighed, "Oh you are beautiful!" Under all that reptilian-coloured makeup, I definitely blushed. I  smiled, thanked her, and then told her how much her portrayal of Delenn has meant to me. (Although I grew up watching Babylon 5 and always liked Delenn, I didn't fully appreciate her until my friends and I started a B5 marathon last month.) I can't think of another character like Delenn - a strong female character who is deeply spiritual (but is shown as a strength, not a weakness), a leader of her people, but also in a supportive, helping role to the man she loves. I've rarely seen that kind of role model in a character and I wanted to thank her for bringing that to life to give visual people like me a role model to look to (it also makes it alot easier when trying to describe to people the type of woman I want to be to use a well-known character as a reference point). Mira nodded her thanks, but didn't say anything. I think she was just incredibly tired from the day and understandably so.

I rejoined Adam in the food court for a delectable sushi dinner. As per usual with Dragoncon, I saw friends while eating and called them over. It was my Ren Fest Cat and her boyfriend Carter. They were dressed in custom-made Steampunk outfits with a ton of details that Adam and I oggled over.

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(I'll admit that I'm feeling a bit put off by the oversaturation of the Steampunk scene at the moment, but I'd be lying if I said there's not a couple of Steampunk costumes I really want to do). Come to find out later that Cat and Carter had a bevy of other amazing costumes during the Con. On Friday they were the formal Companion Cube and cake from Portal 2 and another day were dressed as ridiculously awesome medieval Batman and Catwoman.

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(Photograph © Elysiam Photography) Photobucket (Photograph © Bill Waters)
Stay tuned for Part II!