July 30, 2010

Pink Raygun Post: A Voice for Female Sci-Fi Fans - Her Universe

Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano of The Clone Wars, has become a voice for female sci-fi fans with her company, Her Universe.  It's about more than just merchandising.

I got the chance to talk with Ashley at Comic-Con.  Read about Her Universe and Ashley's goal in my post at Pink Raygun.

SDCC: Day 4 Report

Oh, day 4 of Comic-Con. The last day began with a combo of sadness and relief (a day or two later it just turned to sadness, I miss my people!).

Re-packing my bags was a challenge since I had added new shirts and more than a couple of comics and prints. Then there was the random swag. I played tetris and eventually got things squished the hell in there carefully stowed away. In any other crowd, the sheer amount of stuff I had would have made the valet grumpy, but I wasn’t the only one with a whole bag just for costume shoes.

By the time packing was finished, I had about three hours to get over to the convention center and walk the exhibit hall before turning the car north to get a fellow geek girl to the airport. I wanted to really go through Artists’ Alley and visit a few more creators who were recommended by friends.  This last day, it kinda all blurred together.  I purchased a few items like a comic from Scott Wright of Team Spectacular and a sketchbook from Cat Staggs.  Actually, I bought a handful of sketchbooks this year. I seem to be starting a collection of those. They are a great way to get a feel for an artist’s work, they are affordable, and sometimes for free or a nominal fee the artist will throw in a quick sketch too. 

I said goodbyes and talked with new and old friends.  I walked out of the exhibit hall, pressed through the crowds, and said so long for now to Comic-Con.


Since I had a short day on Sunday, I’ll wrap up my reports with my con highlights:

- meeting great people from Twitter and running into them all over the convention
- getting to talk with Ashley Eckstein
- meeting Dave Filoni
- having a 12 or so year old boy hug me because he was so happy to see a girl dressed as Han Solo
- cosplaying Han Solo
- getting my sketchbook started
- Geek Girl Tweet Up. Enough said.
- a pile of new small press/indie comics to read
- the cozy and quiet courtyard in my hotel
- having a small geek girl slumber party the night before the con started
- taking a relaxed approach instead of trying to cram in all the panels on my schedule

I'll have just a few more panel reports for you guys, and then we'll wrap up SDCC and get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

July 29, 2010

SDCC: Day 3 Report

An amazing amount of awesome things happened the Saturday of Comic-Con.  I believe they mostly happened for one reason.  I got out of bed and put my Han pants on.

It was my day to cosplay Han Solo, and when you put on pants with Corellian bloodstripes and you strap on a very cool holster, it does something to your personality.  And apparently it brings good luck.  To start, Saturday was the first day of the convention that I spent headache free.  Until that point I was plagued with a roaring headache that I could only ignore by just moving.  It was a relief to wake up without my brain screaming.  The Han Solo costume was super comfortable, so I knew I'd be spending a lot of the day in the exhibit hall.  I had planned to see The Guild panel which was at a new room in the Hilton Bayfront.  But I heard that people were heading over before 10am for the 2pm panel, and I changed my mind.

A lady I knew was cosplaying Darth Vader, so we arranged to meet up at the Star Wars pavilion to take some photos together.  As I wandered around, drooling over the Han Solo in Carbonite Hallmark ornament for the third or so time, I spotted Dave Filoni.  He was in disguise without his hat, but he couldn't fool me.  In a moment of bravery (that I don't normally have), I walked up and said hello.  I told him how The Clone Wars really brought me back into the Star Wars universe and gushed about my Her Universe Ahsoka tee (his design).  He thanked me and took a photo with me.  He was so nice.  I could have done a cartwheel, but I'm uncoordinated and there wasn't room anyway. 

I walked to the bathroom, which I wouldn't normally talk about, but while there I passed Felicia Day.  I headed back to the Star Wars pavilion and noticed that Aaron Douglas was sitting for a signing and no one was in line.  I stopped and exchanged what was in my head, witty banter.  He had made an appearance at w00tstock that was hilarious, so I said so and expressed my Chief Tyrol love.

Lady Vader arrived and we posed and played around.  I left her to wind through the exhibit hall.  When I stopped to say hello to a certain Geek Girl Diva, Jane Espenson and Bob Harris were signing.  My nerd heart almost exploded.  To the point where I was pretty dumb and speechless, and GGD had to help me out.  I grabbed signatures and a photo and warned them that I was nerding out.  Of course, after I walked away, I thought of tons of intelligent and appreciative things to say.  Ah well, even the Han pants can't help with everything.

I spent a lot of time Saturday wandering the aisles of Small Press.  I stopped by Travis Hanson's booth and started a hardbound sketchbook.  I don't know why I didn't think of these like five conventions ago.  I managed to grab four more sketches, so a good start.  I look forward to filling up the pages.  I won't remember all the comics I bought until I unpack that bag, but I know I got the first collected trade of Love and Capes and a book by Curio & Co.  I covered a lot of ground, and I was tired and decided to go sit down early for the 6:30pm Her Universe panel.

I was shocked when I got to the room around 5pm; no people were standing in line.  I ducked right into the ongoing panel (about the military in comics) and sat in the second row.  I couldn't believe my dumb luck when I realized the panel right before Her Universe featured Chris Gore and Kevin Smith for Film Threat.  Not bad at all.  I was two rows away from Kevin Smith without waiting in a three-four hour line for his Hall H show later that evening.  Smith and Gore were a little late arriving, possibly because of the stabbing that happened in Hall H.  We didn't know much at that point.  Anyways, the panel was hilarious and um, very colorful.  I'm pretty sure I saw a lady taking her kid out of the room a few times.

The Her Universe panel, moderated by Ashley Eckstein, that followed was very girl empowering.  It included female writers, comic artists, a SyFy exec, and Lucasfilm employees.  Yeah, it will be another post.  I got to meet Bonnie Burton after and grab a pic with Ashley.

I wrapped up the day with a mediocre, but satisying Indian meal (I bet you thought I was going a different way with that) and was asleep by midnight.

July 28, 2010

Pink Raygun Post: Taking Your Costume to the Convention

You finally have your costumes ready for a convention or even a party.  Don't forget to take everything you need with you for the costume and also for repairs.  I've listed some tips and reminders on what to include in your suitcase and on your person while you're in costume.  Read my article over here at Pink Raygun.

SDCC: Day 2 Report

After the neverending - in a good way - show that was w00tstock, I was up much later than I intended.  So Friday, I kinda slept in.  I don't think I've ever done that at Comic-Con.  Knowing that I still had two more full days to explore and having zero desire to camp in line for any panel, I was okay with it.  I woke up sometime around 10am and faced my costume for the day: Padme's black corset dress.  It was confining, but not as uncomfortable as I expected.

I beelined to Tom Hodges' table to see if my Mara Jade commission was finished.  Frequent trips to Disneyland prepare you for the high level crowd navigation skills you need at Comic-Con.  A small crowd within a crowd was gathered around his table, and it didn't take long to see why.  Adrianne Curry, dressed as Slave Leia, was stopped there.  I waited in line to get to the table, and she turned to look at my costume.  She wants to do the Padme black corset costume eventually, so we talked about the necklace briefly and she took a photo with me.  Then... she called me schmexy.  I mean, dudes. 

I walked off aglow and wandered the exhibit hall for a short time before it was time to get in line for The Clone Wars panel.  I passed Seth Green doing a signing, and I drooled over products from Quantum Mechanix and Propworx.  Something at Propworx caught my eye and heart.  It was the headset from Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Game.  This was the episode that sent me spiraling into geekdom with nary a look back.  I took a reverent moment, I'm not even kidding, and just stared and reminisced.  I took photos and contemplated a heist, but a quick getaway wasn't possible in the mermaid skirt I was wearing.

I trudged upstairs to the meeting rooms.  The line for The Clone Wars panel stretched farther than I thought it would but frankly, it made me happy.  I'm glad so many were there to find out the latest season 3 news.  I waited about an hour, and I spent it flipping through my program, but mostly shaking my Blackberry trying to get AT&T to cooperate.  Didn't they know I was trying to live report?  I guess that 100,000+ cell phone signals in a concentrated space might have an effect.

I filed in and grabbed a seat behind the shortest person I could find.  Dave Filoni, Joel Aron, and Kilian Plunkett talked about character and location design and seasons 2 and 3.  They pointed out how far the show has come since season 1, and it was fascinating to hear about the little additions that make the CG worlds feel real.  Filoni remarked on things like how Anakin has the best galactic hair gel.  We saw a trailer for season 3.  Cannot. wait.  As you might have guessed, it's a whole other post.

Then I came thisclose to Joss Whedon.

After a pretty short day at the convention center, I had to get changed for the Geek Girls Tweet Up.  Well - I didn't have to, if I were going to wear a Padme costume somewhere, there would certainly be the best place.  Still, after a nap (I like sleep!) I made it to the Tweet Up early.  It's good that I stop hitting the snooze button because the venue filled up to max capacity.  Jolt'n Joes was super close to our hotel, and I found a few other nerds when I got there.  We were herded up the stairs to the reserved room, two by two, and I was somehow paired with Karen Healey, author of Guardian of the Dead.  Good start to a party, eh?

Upon entering, the first thing I notice is that The Empire Strikes Back was playing on the screens around the room.  Not sports, the Empire Strikes Back.  This later changed to a montage of wonderful things like Angel, more Star Wars, and lots of other awesomeness that has become a bit blurry to me.  Okay, there were gin and tonics.  I chatted, I mingled, I tried not to be too socially awkward.  It helped that few people I know in real life showed up.  We got special goody bags from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab with exclusive labels, and a ton of stuff was given away from Think Geek and more.  The party rocked.

The Geek Girl Tweet-Up was really one of the highlights of my weekend.  Thank you to the organizers - @geekgirls, @thenerdybird, and @geekgirldiva.  @ArkhamAsylumDoc found the locale and got it set up, and @aboynamedart spun geeky tunes ranging from Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? to Dr. Horrible tunes.  There were even sponsors.  I met lots of great folks from Twitter and saw some familiar faces.  New introductions included @perksofquirk, @geektome, @actionflickchick, @sarahkuhn, @geekgirlotstree, @comicsgirl, and @thenerdybird.  I even got to go fangirl on Thomas Zahler (@loveandcapes) of Love & Capes.  Bonnie Burton and Kari Byron attended too.

Geek girls ruled the con this year.  True story.

July 27, 2010

SDCC: Day 1 Report

My first day to Comic-Con started around 5am. I knew the drive down to San Diego would be cluttered with commuters and fellow nerds, so I was out of the house by 6:30. It took three hours to get there. I guess people usually travel a little further for their version of mecca, so I’ll take it.

After a quick stop by the hotel to see if I could bribe them they could do an early check-in (they couldn’t), I ran off like an overcaffeinated child to the convention center. The line to pick up badges was intimidating. They’ve got it down though, and despite the scary length, I was bedecked with a badge and giant bag within 15 minutes. Now, if only they would apply that sort of line control to the rest of the con.

I was itching to knock a few things of my exhibit hall list the first day before I got distracted. And it is very, very easy to be distracted at Comic-Con. I never fail to be overwhelmed and awed by the sheer size of the place. The exhibit hall is a monster. If you stand at one end, you can’t even see the whole length. It’s easy to miss vendors even with the aisle numbers clearly marked. I had made notes of booth numbers on a list (I know, no one is surprised by this). I buzzed through at a reasonable pace. I did get dazzled by Weta and Gentle Giant. I think a black hole sucked me in for a while. I drooled over the Star Wars pavilion – which by the way, was bigger than my house.

The first stop on my list was the Her Universe booth. I needed (yes, needed) a new Star Wars shirt. I’d also been in touch with Ashley about an interview. Ashley was present at the booth, and I was floored that she knew who I was. She is a delight to talk to and after grabbing up a shirt, I circled back to the booth half an hour later for an interview. Because of awesome timing, I also got to meet Steve Sansweet, the Head of Fan Relations for LucasFilms. Not bad for less than 60 minutes in the exhibit hall.

My next stops were visiting my friend Travis Hanson of Bean Leaf Press, detouring to Artists’ Alley to get mini prints and a hilarious cat book from Katie Cook, and to commission a Mara Jade sketch from Tom Hodges. Katie’s mini prints are beyond frakking adorable. I know people that went back again and again because besides having a selection for sale, she created custom ones for $5. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that? Look her up at Celebration V.

Somewhere in there, I crossed paths with Stan Lee being escorted through the hall. I was too dumbfounded to ask for an autograph, but I did snap a pic while he was signing away for someone else.

With almost half of my list crossed off, I strode triumphantly back to the hotel (in my head anyways) and got settled in. By the way, the Horton Grand Hotel is about as charming as one can get before crossing the delicate line into puke-inducing cute. A standard room has a marble fireplace and a balcony. It’s also a very quiet place at night even though it is right next to the Gaslamp Quarter. The staff was great. Just saying. Wait – now you’re all going to go there next year, aren’t you? I take it all back. It’s a horrible place, you don’t want to stay there.

After appropriately throwing my costumes, snacks, and shoes about the room, I dashed back to the exhibit hall just in time for the Geek Girls Exist panel. That’s a whole other post, but I’ll just say – geek girls ruled Comic-Con this year. Period. The turn out was amazing. After that panel, I had to get to w00tstock. That’s also a separate post. It was my first w00tstock, but if I can help it, it won’t be my last.

I crawled sleepily to my bed around 1am.  I uploaded my photos from the day, and around 2am, mid-upload, I fell into a coma next to my laptop.

In addition to all that awesome, I met so many faces from Twitter for the first time on Thursday - @geekgirls @capsteverogers @csdaley @katiedoyle @nerdrage42 @doctorfeh @kyleelane @physicistlisa @joekinkopf

July 26, 2010

SDCC: My Favorite Costumes

Comic-Con was awesome. I know I toss that word around enough that it may not seem like I mean it, but really - it was awesome. I will be spending the rest of the week giving you my highlights and I'll be reporting on panels on a couple of other websites. This will be in between unpacking my costumes, playing with my new toys, and reading my new comics. Priorities, you know.

For today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite costumes I saw over the weekend. To see additional photos, please visit my Facebook page.

Not sure of the character, but great bodypaint!

SDCC Day 3
That's Lady Vader to you

SDCC Day 3
Love this take on the Mad Hatter

SDCC Day 3
Boba and Vader pimpin'

Great make-up!

Best Little Mermaid costume ever!

SDCC Day 4
Creepy and beautifully done troll

SDCC Day 4
I mean, look at the amount of cute in this photo!

July 20, 2010

SDCC: Go see these people

Here's my list of artists and vendors you should check out while you're at SDCC, I will be.  I'm sure I'll come back from the con with a bigger list to check out for next year.

Artists' Alley
Katie Cook, table GG-02 - Mini paintings, sketch books, cat comic, and other awesomeness

Tom Hodges, table GG-01 - He will be doing a variety of sketches, click that link to see his work and what he'll be offering

David Petersen, table GG-09 - You probably recognize his name from Mouse Guard.  He will selling books, posters, sketchbooks, and taking a few comissions

Small Press
Bean Leaf Press, Travis Hanson, table E11 - visit for an absolutely free sketch, The Bean comics, buttons, and prints

Exhibit Hall
Steam Crow, booth 4207 - Prints, limited edition sculpts, steampunk goggles

Quantum Mechanix, booth 3251 - SDCC exclusive t-shirts among other kick-ass things

Entertainment Earth, booth 2343 - toy exclusives, celebrity signins

Club 408 Graphics - Zoomies, booth 1907 - artist and author James A Owen will be there

Supa Pirate Booty Hunt, booth 5532 - fun animated series, and they'll have a very cool toy!

Her Universe, part of Lucasfilms booth 2913 - great Star Wars merchandise for girls.

Skellramics, table 2447 - they'll have jewelry from Surly-Ramics

SDCC: AZPCM Hide & Tweet

Arizona Pop Culture Museum is hosting a fun Hide & Tweet during SDCC.  They are giving away some exclusives - details on the giveaways here.  Here's what they have to say about the contest:

Want to win exclusive toys at Comic-Con? Without waiting in lines? Then play Hide and Tweet with AZ Pop Culture Museum (AZPCM) Simply follow AZPCM on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/AZPCM) and Twitter (@AZPCM) and check your FB wall and Tweets while you are at SD Comic Con to find the hidden location of AZPCM and the secret phrase to win an exclusive toy. 5 in all, first person to find AZPCM and say the phrase gets the toy! See you at Comic Con!

Also check out their blog for great SDCC coverage!

July 19, 2010

SDCC: Where I'll Be

I would love to say hi to everyone at Comic-Con, so if you happen to see me among the masses, don't hesitate to stop me.  I thought about posting my whole intended schedule here, but I change my mind too much.  Especially after I've been around SDCC crowds for more than a day. 

Here are places where I will definitely be though.  Undomesticated equines could not keep me away:

Thursday, July 22
Geek Girls Exist— Really? Kristin Rielly (Geek Girls Network) leads a discussion about growing up geek, turning passions into careers, and who shot first. Representing the many awesome aspects of the geek culture, panelists Morgan Romine (The Frag Dolls), Bonnie Burton (The Star Wars Craft Book), Marian Call (singer/songwriter), Sarah Kuhn (One Con Glory), Jill Pantozzi (Has Boobs Reads Comics blog), Veronica Belmont (Qore), Kari Byron (MythBusters), and Kiala Kazebee (GeekWeek.com) school you on what it means to be a real geeky girl and even make you LOL IRL. Room 8

7:00pm - ?
w00tstock - Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and more.  Awesome.

Friday, July 23
8:00pm - ?
Geek Girls and Friends Tweet Up - This will be at Jolt n Joes.  No cover charge, etc.  Just show up early, space is limited.

Saturday, July 24
The Guild— Now in its fourth season, The Guild is a multi-award-winning independent web series that started on YouTube and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with over 50 million views, a groundbreaking distribution deal with Microsoft, a chart-topping song and music video, and a comic book from Dark Horse Comics. Writer/producer and Comic-Con special guest Felicia Day, producer Kim Evey, director Sean Becker, and the cast of The Guild including Wil Wheaton are on hand for a discussion and Q&A, along with the debut of never-before-seen content and other surprises. Indigo Ballroom, San Diego Hilton Bayfront

Her Universe: Shining The Spotlight on Female Fans— Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) brings together some of today's leading women who are movers and shakers in the various fields of sci-fi and fantasy. Looking at science fiction through female eyes, the panel will discuss what kinds of entertainment female sci-fi fans want to see more of, what strides have been made, what has been missing up to now, what kinds of merchandise female fans want to see, and what female fans can do to encourage more of all of this. Panelists include Jane Espenson (producer/writer, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Melinda Snodgrass (author, The Edge series; story editor Star Trek: The Next Generation), Erika Kennair (director of development and current programming, Syfy Channel), Cat Staggs (artist, Star Wars sketch cards, Marvel card sets), Bonnie Burton (content developer, Lucas Online, official SW Blog), Katie Cook (artist, Star Wars, comics, webcomic Gronk), and Mary Franklin (senior events lead, Lucasfilm Ltd.). Q&A with audience members, too! Room 24ABC

Also, I've changed by costumes plans a bit.  Since I'm driving down Thursday and leaving relatively early on Sunday, I decided to cut my four costumes down to two:
Friday - Padme black corset dress
Saturday - Han Solo

See you there!

SDCC: Coverage

San Diego Comic-Con is just a few days away now, eeep!  My costumes are almost finished, and I'm almost ready.  SDCC will be taking over the blog for a couple of weeks.  I'll have coverage, wrap-up when I return, and details on how I put my costumes together.  I will label any posts about the con with "SDCC." 

While I'm there, I will attempt to provide as much coverage as possible.  From Thursday - Sunday, you will find my SDCC coverage in the following places:

I hope to see some of you there!

July 17, 2010


Unintentionally, the theme for this round of links is cute.  I just happened to come across a lot of adorable this week, I can't help it.

Felt monster tutorial - really great step by step on how to make your very own felter monster.  Lots of pictures and detailed instructions.

50 Geeky Custom My Little Ponies - If you didn't know, My Little Ponies are a popular toy to customize.  I've seen everything from Rapunzel to Princess Leia to Sallly from the Nightmare Before Christmas.  This link shows off a ton of geeky mods.

Spippo, maker of custom My Little Ponies - in case you want to see more modded ponies, this is an artist to check out.  That specific link goes to an Angel of Death My Little Pony.  Yeah.  Go check it out.


Hellboy amigurumi - Look at the little plushie Hellboy.  There is more adorableness at her Flickr page.

Plush squid hats - So that squid hat that Clara is wearing in the premiere of Season 4 of The Guild?  You can get your very own.

July 16, 2010

My first SDCC

I was cleaning out a closet a few weeks ago, and I found a Comic-Con bag full of programs and flyers from my first SDCC in 2006.  Yeah, I don't clean out closets very often.

I sort of fell into going.  Around the end of June, a Battlestar Galactica community that I stalked in those days put up an announcement that there would be a panel at Comic-Con.  The panel guests included Edward James Olmos (Cmdr Adama), James Callis (Baltar), Lucy Lawless (D'eanna Biers/#3), Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol), Ron Moore, and David Eick.  I mean, come on.  How could I pass that up?  I had heard of Comic-Con in a very vague way, but I didn't know exactly what it was.  I was going to be in Los Angeles by chance that weekend anyways.  I bought a Friday single day membership on July 7th.  JULY 7th people!  And there were still plenty of tickets left.  Hell, I even think that might have been the last year you could buy memberships on site.

I was unprepared in every way possible.  I didn't look up information on parking or what I could find in the exhibit hall or anything about other panels.  I barely remembered to print my registration email.  I parked a good mile away from the convention center, and of course, the heat that year was brutal.  Besides the BSG panel, which was worth it all, I stumbled into a Star Wars panel by accident.  It was about the model makers and sculptors that were going to be featured in a new book.

I wandered the exhibit hall with what had to be an expression of dumbstruck awe.  The only other convention I'd attended before that was Origins, a gaming con in Ohio.  It is tiny in comparison.  The press of people, the constant shoving of things into your hands, the giant studio booths...  I don't think I ever really found my feet that day.  I stumbled along and just tried to absorb everything I could.  I tried to be courteous and not run into people, but at some point I realized it was a futile effort.  I let the crowd sweep me along.

That first trip, all I saw was the big picture.  I couldn't separate out details, and actually without planning, I barely noticed the details were there.  I know had a great time that day, but I couldn't really tell you many specifics.  And that's okay with me.  I had enough fun to go back again and again and do it better.

Below is my only photographic evidence of being at the con that year.  My camera decided it would stop working but somehow it knew how important that photo of Cliff Simon was to me.

July 15, 2010

Pink Raygun Post: Costume Commitment - Smelling the Part

Take your costume to the next level - add the power of scent.  Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has every imaginable scent to convey the essence of the character you are cosplaying.

Read more about it in my new post at Pink Raygun.com.

Geeky Tattoo Series - Triceratops

I've loved seeing the variety of tattoos people have wrote me about for this series.  I am especially adoring this week's feature courtesy of Jonathan Fuhrman -  a triceratops tattoo. 

How long have you had the tattoo?
Coming up on a year. I got the tattoo sometime last summer.

What's the story behind the tattoo?
Good friends of mine, a married couple, picked up a machine and started doing tattoos. We got together one Saturday with the intent of doing a tattoo of the theatrical poster for the original 1978 Dawn of the Dead but shortly into sketching it out we realized it’d be very difficult to pull off. We probably spent an hour or so throwing ideas back and forth until I decided I wanted to get a dinosaur tattoo. I always dug the idea of wildlife tattoos and thought getting a dinosaur was kind of like a tribute to my youth. Every kid wanted to be a paleontologist, right? Triceratops was probably my favorite dinosaur as a kid. In my imagination, being an herbivore kept them in the “good guy” camp and the fact that they weren’t defenseless made them seem kind of heroic – they could hold their own against a Tyrannosaurus Rex if need be.

Did you get any flak from loved ones for it?
Nope. People either loved it or thought it was hysterical. I think a lot of people felt it was a good fit for me.

How many people recognize it?
I’ve had strangers ask me about it before, to clarify what it is, or say they think its neat, etc. I was on a flight once and two of the flight attendants said they thought it was cool.

Any future geeky tattoos planned?
Big time. I wouldn’t mind getting a Tusken Raider, a Talosian, Zira from Planet of the Apes, Race Bannon, Lum from Urusei Yatsura, something from Robotech, Han Solo’s blaster, the theater seat profile from MST3K, the cover art for the first issue of Luke Cage, D&D ampersand, something in a pixilated style from the 8-bit era. So many things. Another friend of mine suggested getting a tattoo of Spock with a thought bubble containing the bearded Spock from “Mirror, Mirror.” I thought that was pretty cool. It wouldn’t be clear if he was contemplating what it’d be like to be evil or if he was just thinking about growing a beard. It’s tough to say though. I’m also a big fan of traditional tattoo art which has its own geekiness to some extent. With limited space you really need to make sure you pick something that’s emblematic of all aspects of your inner-geek. The Triceratops definitely captures that for me.
You can follow Jonathan at Twitter and read his blog here.

July 14, 2010

Our Universe - Star Wars Female Fan Force

There's a new Star Wars blog out in the 'verse!  Inspired by the launch of Ashley Eckstein's Her Universe clothing line just for female Star Wars fan, Jessica created a blog for these ladies: Our Universe - The Star Wars Female Fan Force.  If you like Star Wars, come over and hang out - even if you are a boy.  Six lovely ladies will be bringing you news about Star Wars as well as stories about favorite characters etc.  Including me.  I'll be posting over there about once a week.  Come over and say hi!

July 13, 2010

Convention Breakdown Series: What is the art show?

This is apparently the week of continuing various series I have started.  Last time in the convention breakdown series, we went over Artist's Alley.  So what is the art show and how is it different?

What is the art show (in a convention setting)?
The art show set-up varies from convention to convention.  Typically it is sort of a mini-museum with submitted art hung on existing or constructed walls.  Artists that are at the show submit pieces to be included, and at most shows, they can also mail pieces in for inclusion.  Sometimes it is just for show and not for sale, but most of the time, attendees can bid on the pieces or just purchase them outright.  For the most part, art show areas are not manned by the actual artists.

If it's for sale, a bidding sheet will be hung beside the piece.  Or you might get lucky and it will have the equivalent of a "Buy it Now" price.  Either way, it can be an affordable way to get an original piece of art from your favorite artist.  I've seen the bidding go by day or for the run of the entire show.  If you're thinking about a piece, be sure to go back in thirty minutes or so before the end of the auction.

Just a heads-up, you'll probably be asked to leave your bag and especially cameras at a check-in desk too.  There is a strict no photographs policy at every art show I've been through.

The convention staff collects the money from art show sales and sends it to the artist 4-8 weeks after the convention is over.  An accounting sheet with names of purchasers may be included.  For the most part, no commissions are taken out of sales.  It's a good way for artists that don't have the time, etc to attend a big convention like San Diego Comic-Con, still be there and get some exposure.

Participating in the art show.
The best way to find how to participate in an art show is to visit the desired conventions' website.  A link with rules and an entry form are usually right there.  You will find that you can just submit art with entry fees to some shows and that others will perform a jury review of your artwork to see if it can be included (Dragon*Con is juried).

The most important thing seems to be that you name a person attending the convention an agent so they can pick up art for you at the end.  Conventions will accept your art and hang it up, but it is rare that staff will mail them back to you.  It would require too many resources to do so.

July 12, 2010

Behind the Renfaire Scene, Interview with a Performer

Time to continue my Behind the Renfaire Scene!  For this regular attendee of renfaires, it is fun to learn more about the other side, about those that are providing food, entertainment, and fun for the rest of us.

Today we're talking with Rob Gonzo of The Motley Players III.  They are regular performers at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival.  He has a ton of great background info on how entertainment works at this faire.  I've learned so much from his answers, and I hope you guys enjoy!

You're a contracted entertainer, tell me more about what you do at the faire?  Has it changed over the 10 years you've been there?
I am part of a three man comedy troupe called the Motley Players Three. We all started off as Cast and we are not the only act to come out of cast either.

I guess first a little about the cast of Scarborough. The cast is mostly made up of volunteers. They give up 7 - 8 weekends to attend workshops to provide and to polish the skills needed to entertain the patrons that pass through the gates. Also, much of that training is in Improv as we rarely do scripted bits. Seven – eight weekends is a minimum. Some give up much more practicing choreographed fights and the teaching staff does a lot of pre-season planning as well. The cast is called Scarborough Academy of Performing Arts or SAPA.  Not all of cast is court. In fact, as they are trying to portray a simple English village, new cast members are encouraged to develop peasant characters.  SAPA has very few assigned roles. performers are allowed to develop and play characters of whatever station or background they wish; however, there is a Character Staff who's principal role is to help performers develop and grow their characters.  They also have the ultimate say on approving a character concept.

It wasn't always this way though. It used to be that moving from a low to a higher station was a reward for good performance and with it came perks such as not having to come into work till half way through etc. As you might expect though over time this created divisions and cliques, none of which are conducive to a cohesive cast. So that old system was abolished and a more democratic system put in it's place. This was before my time though, but I know it from many of the old timers and we have a few that have been around since Year 1.  This past season was the 30th.

Anyway. My two friends and I did cast for 3 or 4 seasons and then decided to make the jump to Masquer (the name for acts that perform on the stages). We started off by performing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. We broke it up into three acts and did the whole show in three parts. At some point we were given more shows than we had material for so we began doing improv comedy to fill the time. This proved popular and we dropped the Shakespeare for running improv comedy at all our shows. In order to make it interactive we also sold water balloons for people to throw at us while performing. We are beginning to phase that out though and last season only sold water balloons at one show. So yeah, it's constantly changing and evolving.

Is there competition among entertainers for certain stages, show times, etc?
It's hard to be competitive during the run because once stages are set, that's it. However I do know that acts do try to compete for the top stages during the off season in their proposal and contract negotiations.

Are you local to Scarborough?  If not, what do you do between faire weekends?
We are local to the area somewhat. Scarborough is just south of Dallas, and we all live in North Dallas. It's about a 45 minute drive. But, we all have day jobs. I do know of some guys who are popular enough to have airline tickets to and from the show thrown into their contracts.

The rennie community that does hang around the faire all weekend does manage to keep themselves entertained though. I know I see flyers constantly for various events, parties and benefits.

Are you responsible for making your costume and making sure it's period?
I know some shows like The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) do provide costumes for some characters though but for the most part everyone is responsible for their own costuming. SAPA does have a Costuming staff that provides the guidelines and costume approval for cast. The Costuming staff also polices the boothies and Masquers. Though the standards are looser (which is unfortunate IMHO).

What happens after the crowds leave?  Immediate clean up and outta there or hang around and have parties?
When the crowds leave it's usually hang out time if not outright party. Cast typically has a big tailgate in their parking area. There is also a pseudo bar in the back called the Junque where we hang out and listen to live music and stuff. I only say pseudo because they don't have a liquor license so it's BYOB.

What is the most challenging part about setting up at renaissance faires?  I don't know if performers have a set backstage area.
In our neck of the woods it's dealing with mother nature.  Our backstage gets overrun by vines and critters during the off season and every year it's a chore to clean things up again. Back behind the faire where we set up our camper it's constantly getting over grown with poison ivy and spiders.

Have you worked at multiple faires?  If so, which is your favorite?
We've really only done our full show at Scarborough but we do go to TRF every year and do lane work on a Play for Pass basis. Lane work is what we call what cast does. Basically entertaining patrons as they walk around the faire.

If you go to the Scarborough faire or are local to Dallas, be sure to check the Motley Players III out.  Here is  where you can find them.

Readers - If there is anything you want to know more about at a renaissance faire, please let me know!

July 10, 2010

Link collection

I didn't intend for this to become any kind of regular feature, but I have more links than I can share on my Facebook page.  So, enjoy!

Noel Cruz - This guy repaints generic Barbie dolls so that they actually look like the people they are supposed to.  The sculpts are decent, and with his painting, the likenesses are close to exact.  I know, it sounds silly - but go check out some of the guy's work.  It's pretty amazing.

reMIND blog - This is the blog of Jason Brubaker.  He puts up pages of his graphic novel online, so it's almost like a webcomic but not.  His blog is full of great publishing and storytelling advice.

Webcomics Auction to help the Gulf Coast - A bunch of original art from various webcomics (including Girl Genius) is being auctioned to raise money for the Gulf Coast disaster.  A great way to help and get a cool piece of art.

Season 4 Guild trailer - enough said

The LXD - Villains and superheroes with amazing powers of dance.  Read more about it here.

Color-Hex - a really helpful site for finding html code for every color you can imagine.

July 9, 2010

Geeking out – Disneyland

The word geek can be applied to almost anything. I know photography geeks, gear geeks, food geeks… you get the idea. So I thought I’d tell you about one of my other geekdoms today – Disneyland. Not Disney mind you, specifically Disneyland.

I visited Disneyland the first time when I was around 8 or 9 years old. The only memory I really have is hiding behind my cousin on the recently opened Splash Mountain, I held on for dear life as I was convinced I was going to fall out and be crushed under a fake log boat.

As you can tell, I survived.

I returned around five years ago. I figured I would go, have a fun and exhausting day, and maybe go once every five or so years after that. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the giant commercialized Maus Mouse. But fall in love I did. So many things about the park are magical to me. Yes, I said magical. I purchased a pass as soon as I could fit it into my budget, and I try to go about once a month or every other month. I like having the pleasure of a pressure free trip in which I can just go for popcorn and a few rides. I also love hitting 12+ hour days there with visiting friends. One day last summer, I even attempted riding everything in one day (I was close, I rode all but three).

Things I love about Disneyland:
  • Dole Whip Float – a beverage from the stand in front of the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland. It’s pineapple juice topped with a healthy dollop of pineapple soft serve. It is heaven on a hot day.

  • The walkways of Adventure land after dark. The lighting is soft, the trees loom on your left, the shops are made to feel like a bazaar, you can walk through and fool yourself out of Southern California easily.
  • The smell of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a mixture of chlorine, mildew, people, stale popcorn, and fake water. That sounds gross I realize, but it’s wonderful and so distinct. I wish someone could recreate it in bottled form.
  • The quiet corner in Critter Country where you can watch the fireworks from the back, away from the thousands of people squished into Main Street. 
  • Food, food, food: the Polynesian chicken skewers from Bengal BBQ, garlic fries and ratatouille from Café Orleans, veggie burritos from Rancho del Zocalo, the popcorn, and the fusilli pasta from the Pizza Port. I plan my Disneyland days for optimum food consumption.
  • The miniature versions of Cinderella’s castle, etc in Storybook Land. They make me squee. A lot.
  • Lights. Each area has lights that fit in with the land, and I never tire of photographing them. Tiffany style lights that look like calla lilies, metal strips with leaves carefully cut out of them, sparkling lanterns… someone should get permission from the powers that be to make a book of just the lights. 
  • Knowing that even if there are crazy crowds, a handful of places throughout the park will still be quiet if you need a moment of respite. 
  • Every cast member I’ve encountered in five years has been nothing but friendly. And it doesn’t come off as insincere.

I could go on for a while. That place makes me happy.
Though I don’t really collect any Disneyland paraphernalia, I am a sucker for books about the making of and history. Obscure facts like that the Morse code you hear at the New Orleans train station is a translation of Walt Disney’s welcome speech make me happy in a very nerdy way. It’s fascinating to hear about how rides came to be, how Pirates of the Caribbean morphed from a walk through museum with wax figurines to a boat ride through a pillaged town. The stuff that Disney and his team of Imagineers came up with was revolutionary for the time. He had this wacky dream and executed it better than anyone could have imagined. So though Disneyland may be a commercial utopia and in some ways built to suck every cent from your pocket, behind every façade and every fake boulder is a man of genius and imagination. Someone who said, I don’t care if you think I’m nuts, I’m going to build Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for real. That is what keeps me going back.

Do you like going to Disneyland? What are your favorite things?

July 8, 2010

Shiny Webcomic Thursday - Wapsi Square


Who doesn't need a little supernatural in their daily comics?  And what if those supernatural occurrences happened to take place in a world where women are the primary characters?  Yeah, you'd have a pretty kicking comic.  What a coincidence that I'm featuring a comic with those things today - Wapsi Square by Paul Taylor.

Before I go into why I enjoy this webcomic, let's get an obvious thing out of the way.  Yes, girls have boobs.  Yes, the girls in Wapsi Square have not small ones.  Okay?  Okay.  The comic does not demean women in any way, and in fact, does quite the opposite.

Wapsi Square is a tale set in modern Minneapolis.  The comic follows the life and times of Monica Villarreal; she is an anthropologist with a strong connection to Aztec mythology.  As Taylor states, "Wapsi Square's dark humor and macabre fantasy create a world almost exactly like the one you want to believe you live in."  It's an accurate description.  I read the comic because I like reading about a world that has fantastical possiblities but isn't entirely a fantasy.  The comic is also a story about strong females.  Though they have issues aplenty, they also have the gumption and wherewithal to tackle them.  Despite their flaws or secrets, their strength of character rings true.  Their personalities are clear and very real.  You go through their ups, downs, and lulls with them.

I also enjoy Taylor's art and presentation.  His style is fluid and professional.  It has a crisp edge to it.  He uses shades of gray with the black and white images so well, that you almost feel like the comic is in color.  He also keeps the pace of the storytelling just right.  I tend to go through webcomics in spurts, catching up about once a month or so.  When I get to this comic, I can't stop clicking to the next one.  In some ways, it feels just like reading a novel.  Not hurried, not crammed with so much action that the plot suffers, just right.

Check out the first strip of Wapsi Square here.  It started back in 2001, and keep in mind that the webcomic has gone through some changes.  It started out as more of a "day in the life of" and changed once an Aztec deity enters the picture.  A deity roaming about would cause some major changes.  The change starts around 2004.  I like it because you get a chance to know the characters in a normal setting before they are tangled up in a complex storyline.  Taylor has a great page with the cast members here.

Wapsi Square
Updates Monday-Friday

Want your webcomic to be featured here or know of one you think I would love?
The requirements to be featured are few, but both are very important. The webcomic has to be shiny and updated on a consistent basis. It is not as easy as you would think to find a webcomic that's updated when the creators intend it to be.  It can be newer webcomics or ones that have been around for months or years.  Email me the info.

San Diego Comic-Con Schedule Template

You know how I keep saying one of the most important parts about enjoying Comic-Con is planning?  The programming schedule is starting to be released, just Thursday is out so far.  Take the time to read through and make first and second panel choices.  The Comic-Con website also has a great feature this year called "My Schedule."  I will probably use that to choose panels and then copy over to my Excel doc for printing. 

I use a nerdy Excel document each year to keep track of the panels I want to see, where they are, how long they are, and what priority.  Other people might enjoy this level of OCD too.  I emphasize the word might. 

If you're my kinda of OCD about schedules, you can download my spreadsheet from Google Docs.

It's very basic, a different tab for each day, and time listed in fifteen minute increments. I've left one must see panel on the schedule for Thursday.  The Google Docs conversion lost some of my formatting (like printing all on one page), but I don't know file sharing sites very well.  If someone has recommendations about where I could upload and share an Excel file for free, I'm happy to put it up there too.

Hope someone else finds this helpful!

Pink Raygun Post: Steampunk Costume - The Naturalist

I've finally got another post about steampunk up over at Pink Raygun.  Possibilities for steampunk costumes abound.  Learn how you can transform a modern profession and uniform into a drool worthy ensemble.

You can read the post at my Geek Fab column, here.

July 7, 2010

Geeky Tattoo Series - Doomsday, Se7en, & more!

Time to continue the geeky tattoo interview series.  This time our guest, Jon, has not just one geeky tattoo, but four!  In my opinion, this gets him lots of extra points.  Plus he was awesome enough to tell me about each tattoo and provide photos.

What do each of your tattoos feature?
These are listed from oldest to most recent.
1) A symbol from the video game "Vay" for the Sega CD on my back right shoulder.  I've had this one probably 14 years.
2) Doomsday holding Superman's shredded cape side on my right shoulder, had it for around 7-8 years.
3) Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey from Se7en on my right leg, inked for about 6-7 years.
4) Jean Reno from Leon:The Professional on my left leg, 6 or so years old.

What made you choose these tattoos?
1) It's not my favorite video game, hell, I never even finished it.  However, I've always had a thing for dragons and it reminds me of the great serpent/dragon Ouroboros, protecting the world with its own body.
2) I believe it was from promotional materials for Superman/Doomsday - Hunter/Prey 3 shot. I like Superman, but I love Doomsday (the original - not the weak ass clones).  Here was a character that wasn't really a villain as much as it was a force of nature. Hell the only way Superman was able to beat him was by cheating and going so far into the future that there was only a second left in the life of the universe and dropping Doomsday off.
3) I love this movie, and one of my tattoo artist friends is a great portrait artist.  I had an idea that incorporated the sins and the characters - this is probably my favorite tattoo so far.

4)  The Professional is probably my favorite movie, I'm still waiting for the sequel Matilda.  I wanted to get portraits from my favorite movies on my legs, because if I'm any kind of geek it's a movie geek.  I wanted one of the lighter points in that movie so I have the scene where Leon is talking with the pig oven mitt on his hand.

Did you get a hard time about any of these tattoos?
There is some general nerd ribbing for the Superman one, but mostly it's the Se7en tattoo I get the most grief for.  Apparently very few men have tattoos of Brad Pitt on their body. Oh well.

For The Professional tattoo, not many people get the reference.

Any future geeky tattoos planned?
I'll definitely be getting more geeky tattoos as time and funds permit, some potential ones include:  
  • Dream from Sandman (probably both Morpheus and Daniel incarnations, either a mirror, yin yang or casted shadow motif)
  • The "DW" from Doctor Who in the shape of the TARDIS, blue of course

I love the detail on the portrait tattoos, especially the Se7en one!  You know, even though I've had a handful, I'm surprised that more people haven't sent in comic tattoos.  And actually, I haven't got a single Star Wars one yet either.  Maybe in the next post!

July 6, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con - 2 Weeks!

In case you forgot, Comic-Con is just over two weeks away.  I've seen a few people attending for the first time and asking questions, so I thought it might be helpful to open up a post where anyone can ask questions and anyone can answer.  I am far from an expert; I've only attended four years - but I know folks who have been going since the beginning.  If you know the answer to someone's question, jump in and answer.

Some of the tips from this post about surviving conventions might be helpful too.

July 5, 2010

Star Wars Figures Legacy Comic Packs

By now, you guys know how much I adore Star Wars right?  I thought so.  I spend a lot of time reading the comics of the Expanded Universe.  I particularly like Knights of the Old Republic, Tales of the Jedi, and anything from the Clone Wars time.  I just read volume one of Legacy not too long ago, and I can't wait to pick up more of those.  It really blew me away.  So when I saw that these new exclusive comic packs from Entertainment Earth featured some of my favorite characters, I squee'd the loud squee that comes from geeks when toys make them happy. 

I don't really collect figures.  Not technically.  I just buy my favorites, regardless of who makes them or when.  But this case, I might just have to get all four packs, because they are a steal at $69.99

Order EE Exclusive Star Wars Figures Legacy Comic Packs Set from Entertainment Earth!

In this collection you have Darth Nihl and Deliah Blue from Legacy #7, Jarael and Rohlan Dyre from Knights of the Old Republic #6, Baron Fel and Ysanne Isard from Rogue Squadron #29, and Mandalorians Jaster Mareel and Montross from Jango Fett: Open Seasons #2 (this one is subject to change).

July 2, 2010

Eddie Izzard & Star Wars

Just a little Eddie Izzard love today.  He is my most favorite comedian, and look - he has a Star Wars bit.  Warning though, it does contain multiple f-bombs.

July 1, 2010

Her Universe: My First Tee Arrives

In case you missed the news, the Her Universe store is now open and shipping.  I've been excited about one t-shirt in particular since Her Universe first came into existence - the Ahsoka & Plo Koon shirt.  It was designed by Dave Filoni (supervising director of Clone Wars).  I love Clone Wars, and I adore Ahsoka.  She's come a long way in the series.  My shirt arrived yesterday:

Because I wanted to be on the safe side, I ordered a medium.  The sizing guide on their website was helpful (look for the "see how it fits" button), but it doesn't tell you exactly where to measure from.  This is actually why I only ordered one shirt for now; I'm guessing the sizing will be similar for all of them.  I normally get mediums in fitted shirts, and this one was a little loose on me.  Also, the v-neck is deep.  But as you can see, I threw a tank top on under it so I felt comfortable wearing it to work.  It's long too, but I personally like long shirts.  It saves me from doing the Picard manuever all day.  The shirt is super soft and only a little sheer.  Overall, the quality is top notch and the price is extremely fair for what you receive.

I can't wait to wear this shirt and other Her Universe designs at conventions.  I like to wear them in the real world too, but today someone did ask if I was wearing a Twilight shirt.  Because Ahsoka and Bella look so much alike.  Duh.

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