September 30, 2014

Favorite quotes from Outlander: Both Sides Now

The Outlander wedding is over, and now we've already come to the midseason finale. The series won't be back until April. Can you hear me crying quietly in the corner? Anyway, "Both Sides Now" was a fine send-off with drama, emotion, and one of my favorite sequences of the series so far. See my favorite quotes from the episode after the picture.

"I was back to the place where'd it all begun. So much had happened, so much had changed. Last I was here I was Claire Randall, then Claire Beauchamp and Claire Fraser. The question was, who did I want to be?" - Claire Fraser

"Madam, you need to understand your position in this, our third encounter. I fully intend by any means necessary to discover both your true nature and the secrets that you hold." - Black Jack Randall

“Is it usual, what it is between us, when I touch you . . . when I lie with you?  Is it always so between a man and a woman?” - Jamie Fraser

“My expectations of your department were low to begin with and I can assure you that you’ve meet those expectations at every turn." - Frank Randall

“I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife!“ - Jamie Fraser

"The circle at Craigh na Dun marks a place on the Earth where the powers of nature come together - for certain people on certain days, it allows them to pierce the veil of time." - Mrs. Graham

“Turn away from the darkness that beckons you, and go back into the light.” - Reverend Wakefield

Read my full review of the episode at IGN: Outlander: "Both Sides Now" Review

September 26, 2014

Con Woman Goes to Dragon Con

I attend a lot of conventions throughout the year, and I've started taking everyone along for the fun with a web series for Shout Factory called Con Woman. It's essentially a convention diary where I talk to cosplayers, give you a brief history of the show, and try to show you that every convention has a different flavor and personality. I recorded a ton of footage at Dragon Con, and that episode of Con Woman just went up. Please watch, comment, and let me know what you think!

The first episode of Con Woman was at Comicpalooza:

The Avengers Get Pink and Sparkly Hello Kitty Makeovers

Underneath their tough exteriors, the Avengers are really just a bunch of softies. At least, that's what these images of them with glittery Hello Kitty makeovers makes me think. Tumblr users Dreamstore, Leeeeeeeeeegooooooooolaaaaaaaaas, and Nerdwegian applied their Photoshop skills to pictures of Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Thor and dressed them up in adorable Hello Kitty costumes. I'd happily wear any of these outfits.

h/t Laughing Squid

September 25, 2014

Geeky Tealight Candle Holders

While browing the aisles at Baltimore Comic-Con, I found lots of homemade goodies that caught my eye including geek-themed tealight holders from Altruistic Gifts. The holders are made of blocks that fit together like a puzzle so they're interchangeable, and symbols and characters from franchises like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, comics, Doctor Who, and more are carved into the front panel. Once you put a tealight into the box - you know, the fake kind of tealights that won't burn the wooden box up - the geeky symbol of your choosing lights up. Clever, right? And their shop is stocked with different designs:

You just have to buy the tealight box for $9.00 and then choose the face or faces of your choice for $4.00 each.

Bonus: Altruistic Gifts also makes nerdy clocks.

September 24, 2014

September's Loot Crate is Galactic

Loot Crate has really upped their game in the last three months. I was enjoying the subscription service before July, but if the theme was too specific, it meant I was getting products that didn't speak to me. For example, if a box was all about video games, that didn't make me feel excited. But now, broader themes mean they sample across mediums and franchises and the contents are better than ever. I feel like I get even more bang for my buck.

Before I get too far, a brief explanation of Loot Crate for those not in the know: Loot Crate is a geeky subscription service. You pay $13.37 plus shipping each month, and a box full of nerdy goodies arrives at your doorstep. The retail value of those items is usually around $30-$40, but you never know what you're going to get. It's like a mini-Christmas every month! Yay!

September's theme is "Galactic." That means items from all around the 'verse were game to be included, and they loaded the box with treasures. There are items from Star Trek, Alien, Firefly, and more. I drooled all over this one. On to the pictures:

The box in all it's glory!

A mystery vinyl figure from Funko exclusive to Loot Crate? Who will it be?

It's the one and only Malcom Reynolds. Can I marry a vinyl figure and will that make me our Mrs. Reynolds?

Exclusive Loot Crate Tribble from Quantum Mechanix. It's soft and cuddly, and I have to keep it away from my cats so they don't eat it and get a completely different kind of hairball.

A beautiful re-action figure from Funko that features the Alien from Alien. Though I would have rather received Ripley, this is a pretty awesome and detailed figure.

Digital codes for Dark Horse Comics' Halo Escalation, watermelon Pop Rocks, and a Star Wars retro arcade magnet.

Cool 27" long Han Solo in carbonite poster - it's the perfect size and shape for hanging on a door.

Fake Firefly money! Pretend you just robbed an Alliance bank with this stack of faux bills from Quantum Mechanix.

And look, Loot Crate even released a Firefly fan film to go with the Galactic theme:

Between the Tribble, the Alien Re-Action figure, and the stack of Firefly bank robbery money, the value of September's Loot Crate is already at $30. Not too shabby considering it only cost $20 with shipping. Want to sign up for Loot Crate so you can get October's box? Go to their website to get in on the action and use the code gwcloot to get $3 off! You can sign up for just a month to try it out and renew your subscription later or sign up for a few months and save.

Full disclosure: This Loot Crate box was provided free of charge for review purposes. This did not affect my opinions.

One Character, Different Costumes: Sailor Moon

Who doesn't want to be a magical girl? Even if you don't know the anime series Sailor Moon, you probably recognize the lead character Usagi Tsukino. It's a costume I see at almost every convention I go to and thusly seemed like a great choice for this week's one character, different costumes. Here are some examples of various takes cosplayers have put on Sailor Moon:

Christmas Usagi cosplayed by Mappy, photo by Siary Acosta. I adore this festive red take on the Sailor Moon fuku.

Eternal Sailor Moon cosplayed by Mel/WindoftheStars. The Eternal costume is probably my favorite of Sailor Moon's outfits. I especially like the three layer skirt.

Classic Sailor Moon cosplayed by Serene, photo by Nicholas Vax. The background of this photo seems especially perfect and magical for Usagi.

Super Sailor Moon cosplayed by Mappy, complete with Luna. I like this costume, but my favorite part might be the cat. I mean, if we're being honest.

Another Eternal Sailor Moon cosplayed by Salviani Laura.

Gorgeous Princess Serenity cosplayed by Tori-yuu, photo by Kira Winter. The costume and this lighting = enchanting.

September 23, 2014

Planning a Group Cosplay

In recent years of attending conventions, I've noticed a trend: group cosplays. Themed costumes with anywhere from 3 - 15 (sometimes more) participating members seem to be present at every convention. Groups I've seen in person or on the internet include: Disney Princesses as Jedi, Star Trek Playboy bunnies, Steampunk DC Comics characters, Bombshell Avengers, and Sailor Scouts. The groups are often mash-ups or a non-canon take on characters, but they can be straightforward interpretations of characters too - like the Sailor Scouts or the Mane Six from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Bombshell Avengers at WonderCon '14
If you want to plan a group cosplay, remember that it can be a big undertaking and will probably feel like herding cats. Here are a few tips for keeping it together:

- Come up with a theme and recruit friends as far in advance as possible. Sure, people might wait until the last minute to make costumes, but you want to give them as much of a heads-up as you can. You can ask specific friends or put out an open call on the social media channel of your choice. Up to you. Mention what convention you'd like to wear the costumes at.

- Once you have a reasonable number of interested parties, ask a few more people. It's likely that some folks will drop out along the way.

- When you've got everyone, create a private Facebook group or start an email chain for planning. Outline what everyone's responsible for. Sometimes the person who comes up with the group makes parts of the costumes but that's by no means a requirement. Ask if anyone wants to tackle making all the accessories for a certain part of the costumes. For example, if it's a My Little Pony group, maybe one person will be up for making all the ears.

- Let people claim characters and share reference pictures and resources. Check in with people to ask how things are going and see if you can help. I don't think it's a good or helpful idea to set progress deadlines.

Roller Girl Avengers and Nick Fury at Dragon Con '14
- Confirm the convention you want to debut the costumes at. When you're three weeks out, try to confirm the exact day you'll be wearing the costumes and when. This is a great time to reach out to any photographers you know who will be at the convention and try to schedule a photo shoot.

- When you're two weeks out from the convention, you should have a date, time, and place for everyone to meet in costume. Find out who's staying near the convention center and who has space in his or  her room to let people get dressed and do hair and makeup. If you have someone to do everyone's hair and makeup, awesome. Encourage everyone to share lists of what they still need to do with their costume and coordinate help if necessary.

- A few days before the convention, confirm all the details with the group. If you can, recruit friends or significant others to walk around with your group and carry bags, makeup for retouches, and a basic repair kit.

- Final step: meet up at the convention and look fabulous together. Easy, right?

What if you want to join an existing group? Try and look in the forums, check out Cosplay Meet Up to see if there are cosplayers in your area, or ask around on Facebook and Twitter. If you're at all involved in the cosplay community, chances are you'll have friends and followers who are also cosplayers and can point you in the right direction.

September 22, 2014

Favorite quotes from Outlander: The Wedding

Fans of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon have been looking forward to one event the most since the television series was announced: the wedding of Claire and Jamie. "The Wedding" fulfilled expectations and though there were some variations from the book, I think the changes worked. Plus, they kept many of the best lines! Check out my favorite quotes from the episode and get a link to my full review after the image.

"I remember every moment, every second. I’ll never forget when I came out of the church and saw you for the first time. It was as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day, and suddenly the sun came out." - Jamie Fraser

"Where did you learn to kiss like that?" - Claire Fraser

"How was your first time, Jamie? Did you bleed?" - Rupert

"Your mother had the sweetest smile...Claire's smile is just as sweet." - Murtagh

source: Outlander-Starz Tumblr
"To bed... or to sleep?" - Jamie Fraser

"You forget your life after a while, the life you had before." - Claire Fraser

"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, ‘til our Life shall be Done."

“Take off your shirt. I want to look at you.” - Claire Fraser

Read my full review of "The Wedding" at IGN: Outlander: "The Wedding" Review

September 19, 2014

The Dune Recipe for No-Bake Spice Cookies

David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune isn't what I would call a movie for kids. That didn't stop the powers that be from producing a series of Dune activity books though. The books included coloring pages (at least of one of them featured dead characters), puzzles, connect-the-dots images, and even math problems. It's so bizarre and glorious that the activity book pages seem like things made up by an artist on Tumblr. But no, they're real, and you can even buy the Dune activity books on eBay.

One of my favorite selections from the activity books is a recipe for No-Bake Spice Cookies. Paul Atreides is clearly a big fan because hey, the spice must flow.

Click to enlarge:

See more Dune activity book awesomeness at Coilhouse.

September 18, 2014

Everyday Cosplay - Claire from Outlander

I've fallen pretty hard for Outlander, and I look up to Claire Randall. The character is fascinating and multifaceted, and Caitriona Balfe does an incredible job playing her. I didn't know when I read the book by Diana Gabaldon, but Balfe is the Claire I pictured.

Anyway, I adored the dress she was wearing when she traveled through the stones and had to put together an everyday cosplay look for it:

Don't forget to let me know if you have any everyday cosplay requests!

Why Batman's Tumbler is On the Star Wars: Episode VII Millennium Falcon

Today is a good day for Star Wars fans because Bad Robot just shared a peek of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: Episode VII. In a video titled, "Hunka Junk," Han Solo's ship is revealed to the tune of John Williams "Binary Sunset" music. Yes, it's enough to give a person mega goose bumps. And maybe tears if you're the weepy type. Spoiler: I'm the weepy type.

In a few seconds the video takes a Batman turn with music by Hans Zimmer from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. The shot closes in on a Batman easter egg attached to the Millennium Falcon: his Tumbler. The Batmobile Tumbler was used by Batman in the Nolan films.

Take a look:

Why is there a Batmobile on the Millennium Falcon?

Batmobile Tumbler on the Millennium Falcon
Zack Snyder, director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and J.J. Abrams, director of Episode VII have been playing a game on Twitter with photos showing a DC Comics-Star Wars crossover. Why? I'm not sure, but it's resulted in some amusing back and forth. It seems to have started on July 23rd with Snyder's tweet featuring Superman gone Sith:

Bad Robot and Abrams answered SuperJedi with a photo of Episode VII cast member John Boyega as Batman on July 25th. Behold "#BOYEGAMAN."

Then on August 2nd, Snyder tweeted a photo of Batman and R2-D2 in a Tatooine-esque landscape with the words: "BATMAN & R2BIN @bad_robot"

Bad Robot and Abrams struck back on August 8th with this wonderful image of C-3PO as Batman and the caption: "THE C3PED CRUSADER @ZackSnyder"

And it didn't end there. Snyder recently shared a photo of a Stormtrooper getting arrested by the Gotham City Police Department:

And now, Abrams has responded by showing him what the Millennium Falcon would to do the Tumbler. It would crush it. I hope Snyder responds by incorporating a Millennium Falcon toy into the Tumbler undercarriage.

September 17, 2014

One Character, Different Costumes: Sherlock Holmes

Cosplaying is elementary, my dear Watson. Can you believe I managed to use that Sherlock Holmes catchphrase in this post already? Or that it isn't really a Sherlock Holmes catchphrase after all?

Anyway, as you may have inferred from the title and opening sentences, this week's installment of "one character, different costumes" is focused on Sherlock Holmes. He's starred in books, films, television series, and even comics and has several different looks. You can become Sherlock by donning a deerstalker hat and picking up a magnifying glass, or you can dress like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock from the current BBC series. There are several ways to approach a Sherlock Holmes costume - just take a look:

Gender swapped Sherlock Holmes cosplayed by Yvonne/Mi-caw-ber, photo by vw. Could this BBC Sherlock costume be any more perfect? I can't get over how much the hair looks like Benedict Cumberbatch's. Wow.

Robert Downey's Sherlock cosplayed by A/C Photography/Adamantium84, photo by S. Carter. Seeing this makes me want to re-watch the 2009 Sherlock Holmes - I really liked the costume designs.

Classic Sherlock at Dragon Con 2013, photo by James. You can't go wrong with the classic look, and if you're a lady who wants to change it up, you can pair the caplet and hat with a dress. Speaking of...

Darling Army is known for making awesome cosplay pinafores, and you only have to dress this black suit jumper up a little to look like Sherlock.

A genderbent take on the classic Sherlock Holmes outfit cosplayed by triumph-forks, photo by Heather. Finally! A pipe! Love the way this photo shows off the Sherlock silhouette in the background.

Another Robert Downey Sherlock-inspired costume from Lux-Laterna, photo by Kezia. The details on the costume are great but get a load of that set! Lux-Laterna designed and decorated it. That's dedication.

September 16, 2014

Baltimore Comic-Con recap

I did it! I made it through convention season. Baltimore Comic-Con took place about a week and a half ago, and I think it's my last convention of the year. If anything, it should be my last out of state convention of the year. Anyway, Baltimore hosts my favorite convention because it's all about comics. A comic convention that actually focuses on comics. Crazy, right?

The convention expanded to three days this year (from two days) and moved into a bigger space in the exhibit hall. There was more time to see everything, more room to move around the aisles, and they offered several interesting panels which is an improvement over past years. Even with taking most of Friday to stay in the hotel room and work, I had plenty of time to explore the exhibit hall, hang out with friends, collect new art in my Daredevil sketchbook, attend panels, and record video for Con Woman (that will be up on the Shout Factory YouTube channel in the next couple of months). I also covered a few panels for Comic Book Resources (huzzah!) and interviewed Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000, for Con Woman. Not too shabby.

Daredevil by Mike Maihack

Matt Murdock by Lora Innes
Baltimore Comic-Con was a breath of fresh air after Dragon Con. It was less crowded, and since it was just in a single convention center instead of five hotels, navigating was a breeze. It was only a short walk to the convention center from the hotel, and the Inner Harbor was right across the street with plenty of delicious food (there's also shopping if that's your thing). I wandered over to admire the USS Constellation but got distracted by being miserably hot and didn't make it on board. Next year will be the year.

I mentioned that Baltimore is all about comics, and that was evident in just a few minutes of walking around the exhibit hall. If I want to catch up on trades or look for fun single issues to read, this is the convention I wait for. The percentage of vendors selling comics is high, and many issues and trades are discounted. Artists' alley (which was a little difficult to navigate because I couldn't find table numbers) was packed with indie and self-published titles. I came home with a giant stack of comics that I purchased and received in the Harvey Awards attendee gift bag:

I would have rolled around on them except I was worried about hurting the covers.

You can see all my photos from the convention at Flickr.

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