Because these are the things I love. Sat, 21 Mar 2015 16:41:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:34:54 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Last weekend, I attended Con-GT in Clarksville, TN, just three hours from where I live. I have a new home con! Read all about it here.

Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con

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You know that feeling you get when you go somewhere and you feel like you’re home? That’s exactly how I felt about last weekend’s Con-GT. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the con, located in Clarksville, TN, is only a three-hour drive from where I live. Or that my niece only lives about 45 minutes away.

But mostly, it’s just that Doctor Who fans, as always, no matter where you go, generally rock. There’s a sense of family when you go to a Doctor Who con that I miss when I attend non-Doctor Who cons. I get that feeling at Gallifrey One and I also get that feeling at Con-GT.

Even better? Con-GT had me at their convention as a guest, which makes this my first appearance as a guest at a con. It feels weird, but I have published several books and done quite a bit these past few years, so I suppose I was worthy.

I drove to Con-GT last Friday through a lot of back roads and changing speed zones (OMG, PICK A SPEED AND STICK WITH IT, TENNESSEE). I arrived around 4 p.m. at the Riverview Inn in Clarksville, TN, where I promptly ran into Edward Owen, who I like to think of as the man in charge. He took me to my room, handed me an awesome gift basket, loaded with lots of Southern treats and wine and I got settled in.

Con-GT Gift Basket

Isn’t that lovely? Even if the UT hat makes those people in my town angry (which is why I’ll wear it… heh).

Then it was time to get ready for the VIP party, which is basically a separate con event with wine and snacks and meeting with the celebrities. The other two guests were Andrew Cartmel (who wrote for Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor on Doctor Who) and Ellis George (from “Kill The Moon”). Of course, I couldn’t dress normal, so I went for a ginger 9th Doctor costume:

Ginger Ninth Doctor

I was a little worried I would feel awkward at the VIP party, but it was so much fun that I didn’t want to leave when it was over. I talked Doctor Who with a lot of folks, and even gave some writing advice (and later got word that my advice was heeded, which was awesome).

I also met the other guests (although I met Andrew already at Gallifrey One) and got a photo taken with Ellis, who is just a really great kid.

Me with Ellis George

A lovely young lady gave me four boxes of Girl Scout cookies, too, because this is the South, and we are ALL ABOUT THE FOOD.

Speaking of which, after the VIP party, we all went out to dinner. Because ‘ya know, you can never eat too much.

I was very full when I got back to the hotel that evening, but knew I was in for a very good, and special, time. I was already feeling like I’d come home.

Saturday was also a lot of fun. I put on my BioShock Infinite TARDIS dress, which was a hit with just about everyone. I’ve never posed for so many photos in my entire life. We opened the con with an introduction of the three guests, myself included. We also took a selfie with Ellis, because she’s a teenager and teenagers love their selfies.

Again, I’m still sort of in awe that I’m sitting up there with Andrew Cartmel and Ellis George, both who’ve probably been inside the real TARDIS. WOO!

We opened the con and I went to sit at my table (yes, I got an official table with my name on it and everything). I was a little worried that I’d sit there all alone, but I took a ton of photos, signed autographs on postcards I’d brought to promote my books (which blew my mind) and talked to a lot of people. I even discovered I had fans of my books, those who’d already read the series, asking me about the next one (which should be out this year). It was so wonderful just to meet everyone!

I met my niece for lunch, which consisted of me trying Radler for the first time (in honor of my upcoming trip to Germany), and then went back to the con. Honestly, I spent most of Saturday just hanging out with folks and it was so much fun. I hated leaving and missing the dance that night, but I promised my niece I’d spend the night with her.

At noon, we got everyone together to do a group shot with a drone. How cool is that?

In other news, my niece and I had a wild night. We drank a bottle of wine and passed out at 9:30 p.m.

But hey, I was well rested for Sunday at Con-GT. I got up early, dressed as Rose and headed back over to make my first panel, which was about cosplay. The panel went well, and I learned a few new things, too. I feel a little more prepared for that Dragon Age Inquisition Sera costume I’m working on later this year.

I sat at my table a little more, hung out a little more, posted for a few more photos.

I had another cosplay panel later that day, as well as a panel with Ellis and Andrew where we did a Q&A. Again, I was nervous that I’d be ignored, but the first question of that panel was FOR ME! Of course, most questions for Ellis, because she was the star of the weekend, but I was really happy that people seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and asked me a lot of questions about writing. That was pretty awesome.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and soon it was time to say goodbye and drive back home. I definitely felt sad, but I’ve collected an entirely new group of friends and met some fantastic people that it gives me something to look forward to when Con-GT rolls around again next year. And I know that when I return, it will, once more, feel like home.


I’d like to thank the entire group of people responsible for making Con-GT happen, as well as everyone who attended. Because I had the best time of my life. See y’all next year!

Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con

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Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:39:46 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

It's con season and that means every cosplayer is scrambling to put together costumes. But what if you don't have a lot of time? Help has arrived.

Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together

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by Talyn

As soon as Katsucon takes place, that’s when I know con season is officially upon us. I’m usually the insane person who’s sewing, styling wigs, and shaping armor up to the morning I leave for a convention, but I’ve also had experience with simply purchasing elements in order to save myself some time (and potentially, money). Even when I have plenty of time, I always love a bargain, because let’s face it – cosplay is expensive!

Anyway, when you’ve got a month or less to go, the last thing you want to do is live at your sewing machine and practically pay rent at the fabric store. Or maybe you’ve never cosplayed before and you want some elements to be easier. All of these resources are helpful for veteran or novice cosplayers, and I think they’ll help whether you’re crafting the entire thing yourself or need a leg up with certain items.

So I present a (non-exhaustive) list of things I’ve found helpful for getting a cosplay ready on the quick, easy, and relatively cheap.

Irvy Cosplay

Thrift stores and consignment stores.

Best for: Base pieces that you intend to modify in some way, like shortening a skirt or top; accessories like belts, jewelry, gloves; simple pieces, like undershirts, especially if they’re going to be obstructed in some way by something like armor. Consignment stores often carry inexpensive pieces in excellent condition if you’re looking for formal attire for, say, a costume masquerade at the con.

Not for: Complex modifications, unless you enjoy seam ripping an entire garment in order to reconstruct it, in which case, you are my (masochistic) hero.

How I’ve used this resource myself: A button-up, capris, and holsters for a Sherry Birkin cosplay. Belts and belt buckles for my Pacific Rim cosplay, and jewelry for the same cosplay. A tank and shorts that turned into a friend’s Misty cosplay. An off-shoulder top and black leggings to go underneath armor.

Costume retailers or joke shops.

Best for: Props that you don’t have the time or experience to craft yourself; basic props, like toy guns* that need little modification; gloves, stockings, and bodysuits; masks for the masquerade ball. Depending on the retailer, you may also find wigs, Spirit Gum or other adhesives, and prosthetics.

Not for: Depending on the retailer, wigs. Some costume suppliers are great and sell good quality wigs, while others only sell the sort of thing you usually think of when you think “Halloween.” Try to find a heat-resistant wig, especially if it’s not pre-styled and you need to style and spruce it up quickly.

How I’ve used this resource myself: Wig styling tools like brushes and shampoo. Pointed ear prosthetics. Fake cigarettes. Tights and bodysuits to wear under armor (or under my Taokaka dress). Also, you can purchase Spirit Gum and remover for helping anchor heavy wigs or accessories! Both costume shops in my town closed, so I rely on online costume retailers, especially if their sales or coupons are timely.

* Important note: make sure you read your con’s policy on props and weapons before you bring a toy gun into the convention space. Many cons have strict policies regarding these, as security can easily mistake a well-made replica for the real deal. If you’re not sure, ask an official. And even though it’s tempting to do so for accuracy, do not remove the orange cap that indicates the gun is fake. Even if the con doesn’t find it offensive, you never know when someone on the street could be alarmed. I got a ton of weird looks walking around downtown San Jose in a Resident Evil 6 cosplay, and it was definitely because of the toy guns I had strapped all over me.

Irvy Cosplay

About Talyn
You can find Talyn’s cosplay on Facebook, where she goes by Irvy Cosplay. When she isn’t stressing over costumes, she’s de-stressing through reading or video games…which leads to more cosplay.

Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together

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Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:19 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we've still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour

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Cheer up Doctor Who fans. Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we’ve still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon. The folks behind Gallifrey One’s sketch comedy show The Idiot’s Lantern presented us with this special sneak peek of an all-new series: The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour.

The Teletubbies are on the rampage again? Don’t worry! Stormy & Craig are on the case!

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour

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Off to See the Wizard World of Portland Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:30:24 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle ...

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland

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Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle to Portland. The three hour journey passed by in no time as we bonded over mutual fandoms and geeky music. We also discussed who we were most excited to see at con: for me it was Tyler Posey, Ksenia Solo, Karl Urban, and Ming-Na Wen.

Once we arrived at the convention, we opted to take it easy. Friday was a short day anyway and neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before. I had decided to forgo cosplay that weekend in favor of my favorite geeky dresses but Christina brought a different cosplay for all three days. For day one, she went with her “casual” Tenth Doctor cosplay, which was a big hit, especially since she had borrowed a rather realistic looking banana from her kids’ plastic play food set. We even ran into my friend Pixie in her Rose Tyler cosplay, who was simply delighted to no end. She finally broke her curse of not having a Ten to take photos with as Rose, which had lasted something like five conventions. It was pretty cute she actually noticed Christina in her Ten outfit before realizing I was even there.

After taking a few photos and walking the exhibitor’s hall together for a bit, we decided to go check out the Doctor Who Celebration panel. I’ve got to say it was one of the best Who panels I’ve been to. There was fun and engaging conversation on the direction the show is going in, with a focus on Peter Capaldi as our latest beloved Doctor. The panelists did an excellent job of engaging with the audience and standing strong on their opinions without stepping on toes with anyone that didn’t share their opinion. There were even trivia questions with some great Whovian prizes! Christina won a companion ring and Capaldi pin.

After the panel, we continued to walk around and mingle with friends. It’s always great to see friends at con, especially ones I don’t get a chance to visit very often. I was particularly excited to finally see Ryan Wells in his Mars Attacks cosplay and for the debut of Abi Sue Cosplay, Jerikanda Cosplay, Abie Ekenezar, and CIR Carving in their Emma Frost cosplays, whom I quickly dubbed the Flock of Emmas (complete with ridiculous Flock of Seagulls impression). They definitely had some of my favorite cosplays, along with a few other highlights of day one that included a really adorable and Bubbly Tinkerbell, an Animaniacs group, and Jessica Merizan in her Daria cosplay (oh, the nostalgia!)

Things wrapped up around 8pm and then I went to dinner with some local friends not attending the convention. I was pretty exhausted from lack of sleep the night prior, so I decided to turn in early and get a fresh start for the next day.


Upon arrival on Saturday, I promptly ran into my buddy Aaron (Last Oryx), who had driven to Portland for the day just so he could see the Weta Workshop booth. By the time I ran into him, he was positively giddy: he’d gotten his Bilbo Baggins wig styled and Hobbit ears applied by one of the makeup artists there. He looked fantastic! I just wish I had been around to see the process. While we were chatting, the Game of Thrones meet up hosted by some members of Ice and Fire Cosplay was just ending and they made their way to us, including Christina in her beautiful Margaery Tyrell cosplay (wedding dress version).

Apparently, I had arrived just in time for the Weta panel, where makeup artist Warren Dion Smith would be answering questions while transforming a con attendee into a dwarf. Now, as I’m sure many of you probably know by now, I’m a bit of a Tolkien fan (okay maybe more than a bit). So, it almost goes without saying that by far one of the biggest highlights of the con for me was the Weta Workshop booth and panel. It was a wonderful experience to watch a talented artist as Warren change someone from an ordinary man into a fantastic dwarven warrior. He also had some really great stories to tell from being on various sets during his career. The whole thing was truly such a treat for us fans. After the panel was over, we all collectively decided to go visit the Weta booth again. I had seen it briefly the day before but hadn’t gotten to take it in as much as desired.

When you first enter the exhibitor’s hall from registration the giant orc of the Weta booth towers above you, it’s thoroughly impressive even if you’re not a Tolkien fan! As you walk further into the booth, you’re greeted with other props from the Tolkien films and other productions Weta has been a part of. I swear could have spent my whole weekend there but there was more con to see, so I managed to pry myself away after a good look around and several photos later.

As one might anticipate, the Weta booth was a big attraction of the con and thus a great place to gather to find friends or to snap pictures of cosplayers on their way to/from the booth. It’s there that I ran into Ryan Wells again, this time in his Falkor cosplay from The NeverEnding Story. I had been watching his progress on this cosplay online and was thrilled to see it in person. Naturally, he and his Atreyu had quite a crowd around them so I couldn’t chat for long. After mingling a bit longer I headed outside with Aaron and Christina for some fresh air.


Before long, I was heading back inside for my photo op with Tyler Posey. Teen Wolf is one of my greatest guilty pleasures (can you even call it that when you have no shame about it?), so I was pretty excited. As I was stepping up for my photo, Tyler, in what I can only assume was a move to keep his energy up, threw his arms in the air and screamed “Yeah!” I was a little thrown off and by then the nervousness and excitement had all blended together and I couldn’t help but giggle. My expression is so fangirl-y and a bit dorky, but that’s okay because you can just tell how happy I am! Also, Tyler made an expression that is probably five times dorkier than mine and it’s positively adorable. That man is a treasure.

Earlier that day, my friend Brittany had offered me to join in her Karl Urban photo op to which I proclaimed a very enthusiastic “hell yes!” Between the two photo ops, I had just enough time to run over to Ksenia Solo’s table for an autograph. She’s even better in person than I anticipated. I absolutely adore her as Kenzi in Lost Girl, for me she practically carries the show. After that, it was back in line again with Brittany. We passed the time easily as we talked about our favorite roles Karl Urban has been in with a few others in line with us. Once it was our turn for a photo, Karl was very polite, greeting us with a big smile before saying hello and asking how we were doing. Not gonna lie, I definitely swooned a little as he told us to have a good day as we walked out. I think we all look really great in this photo op and it thrills me to no end. As a side note, it’s during photo ops like these that I really remember that I am so much freaking shorter than everyone else!

The photo op lines moved quickly, as these things always do, but unlike some cons it felt like a well-oiled machine not a frenzy. You go into these knowing your time with a guest will be brief but, depending on how a con runs their photo ops, sometimes you leave feeling cheated because you were rushed in the wrong ways (maybe the photographer didn’t give you a chance to smile or didn’t care if you blinked, or the line keepers were rude, etc). I didn’t get that feeling at all at Wizard World, which was pretty great. I was also impressed by how quickly the photos were available, by the time I left the booth my photo was waiting for me along a row a printers. Even better was their system for retrieving a digital copy of your photo, if you purchased one. Instead of giving someone your email, which can easily be keyed in wrong, you go to a website and enter the number on the bottom of your photo. Simple and very effective.

After a bit of walking around I headed towards where the costume contest and pre-contest concert by Critical Hit were held. The concert was very lovely. I always love when band/orchestra and geeky music combine! I was impressed with how well run the costume contest was run. Despite a late start, things went smoothly and it still ended on time, which is rare at any con. The judges for this year’s contest were the green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, Jesse Lagers of Midnight Armor, Jessica Merizan of Crabcat Industries. Both Jesse and Jessica are also known for appearances on Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay.

I’m glad I wasn’t one of the judges, there were so many great cosplays to choose from! Some of my favorite entries included Marvel’s Sif and Thor, Oz’s Wicked Witch, TMNT’s Shredder, and a Tank Girl with an actual tank (modified Power Wheels Jeep). Props to everyone for their hard work and congrats to the winners!

After the contest, I ended up at Red Robin with Jesse, Chin Chin, and Jessica and a few of their friends. A relaxing dinner after a hectic con day was just what everyone needed. Enjoying food and drinks with friends is always a great way to end your con day.


Sunday was pretty low key. I had a bit of a late start to the day and by the time I arrived at the con, I was starving. I met up with Christina in her Minerva McGonagall cosplay. While I ate, she sent the word out to the rest of our friends in Harry Potter cosplay to meet up for a photo shoot. We all gathered outside for a quick, and slightly, chilly photo shoot. The brisk weather was worth it though; we got some absolutely fantastic photos.

I didn’t make it to any panels on Sunday, but I did get a chance to walk around snagging more pictures of cosplayers before saying goodbye to all my Oregon friends. A few of my favorites from the last day were Batwoman, Iron Man, and Steampunk Dory from Finding Nemo.

As we were about to head out, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to visit my favorite Marty McFly, HyperShadow Cosplay. She had spent the weekend at the Seattle Time Machine booth. We even got permission for a quick photo shoot with the DeLorean, which was an absolute joy for both of us.


I thoroughly enjoyed Wizard World Portland. You sometimes hear about people complaining about how corporate or commercialized Wizard World cons are, but I don’t think that is a big deal. I didn’t feel slapped in the face with gimmick-y advertisements or that anyone was pushing too hard to sell me something. Wizard World is a seasoned traveling convention that has been able to hone their skills, like streamlining the photo ops for less wait time and many things behind the scenes I would imagine. In my opinion, It was a smooth and well run convention. Yes, the prices are a bit steeper than other cons, but because of it, they are able to afford more big name guests. I came to this con knowing it wasn’t going to have the same atheistic as smaller cons and I had a blast. I definitely look forward to covering more Wizard World conventions.

All included photography by Fearless Photoworks, with the exception of the celebrity photo-ops.

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland

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Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:00:51 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

by Maria Ramos You’ve seen the headlines, no doubt — “TV is the New Cinema” or “Why Modern TV is Better Than the Movies.” While one could easily make the case that TV allows writers and directors to tell more complex stories than conventional cinema does, perhaps the more accurate statement would be that feature films and television series are ...

Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films

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by Maria Ramos

You’ve seen the headlines, no doubt — “TV is the New Cinema” or “Why Modern TV is Better Than the Movies.” While one could easily make the case that TV allows writers and directors to tell more complex stories than conventional cinema does, perhaps the more accurate statement would be that feature films and television series are now directly informing each other in a fairly interesting way.

Consider the example of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, which had a huge impact on the sci-fi genre in the mid-1990s. The film (inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée) tells the story of a time traveler named James Cole, who has been sent back in time investigate the origin of a pandemic that all but wiped out life on Earth. While several films of that time tried (and failed) to capture the film’s combination of post-apocalyptic scenery with gripping suspense, the eponymous 2015 spin-off television series seems to actually hold promise. The new TV show offers viewers a familiarly discomfiting, high-stakes scavenger hunt at the center of its plot.

And while the series has essentially expanded on the premise of the movie, it’s also providing a little more of the back story in terms of characters and settings, both future and past. This TV adaptation, though, is only the latest of many efforts to bring big-screen magic to a longer format on the small screen. Here is a look at other notable series that were inspired by science-fiction films.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The second Terminator movie left most viewers with a taste for more, which explains the sequels and the subsequent series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The TV show follows Connor as she cleans up the next time-distorted mess in order to save the world. Running for two seasons between 2008 and 2009, Chronicles introduces a new female robot protector, played by Summer Glau, along with other characters trying to figure out who is telling the truth about the interplay between the present and the future. Reception was generally positive, especially for Lena Headey’s portrayal of Connor.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Clone Wars

In this animated Star Wars spin-off, viewers get a lot more explanation of the events that led up to the stories they know so well from the movies. In finding his first padawan, Anakin continues his ill-fated journey as a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jabba the Hut and other classic Star Wars characters feature in this series in previously untold tales about this epic conflict. Not to be confused with the 2003 series, Clone Wars,The Clone Wars began in 2008 and fizzled out in early 2014.

Stargate: SG-1


Running for more than 15 seasons, the Stargate series became increasingly distant from the movie that inspired it. Producers must have thought, “If the stargate can take you to ancient Egypt, where else could it take you?” and gone with that. From that premise, the assorted personalities on the show explored worlds and dimensions as diverse as imaginable. Imagine Star Trek  (and Levar Burton’s fabulous voice) with a time travel twist done up for the turn of the millennium. Fan following ebbed and waned as the series continued through its reboots, but still maintains a strong fan base.



Van Damme played the main character in the original 1994 flick that put a special type of police officers in the way of those who would manipulate time travel for their own purposes. Of course, a politician will always have some wily ideas about how to advance himself by tweaking the past. The 1997 TV series goes one step further by imagining other individuals who might benefit from a shifting of the facts. One thing the time cops in the TV series couldn’t change, though, was the show’s placement on the broadcast. ABC cancelled it after a single season.

The Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

A post-apocalyptic classic, Planet of the Apes, has inspired more than its fair share of imitators. However, just a few years into the movie franchise, television took a shot at the story. The 1974 series starred Roddy McDowall as one of two stranded astronauts on a planet populated by intelligent apes. By this point in the story, humans are outright slaves of the apes, an idea the movies took some time to develop. The idea wore thin after a single season, although it did achieve greater success in the United Kingdom.

One in a pantheon of television sci-fi adaptations, 12 Monkeys may have what it takes to succeed on the small screen and has proven itself thus far. With the time travel aspect embedded in the story, it has more plot possibilities than many sci-fi concepts do and is the writers’ concept to make or break. The show airs on the SyFy Network (which you should have if you’re a Direct TV or Comcast subscriber) and select episodes are available online.

Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films

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Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:57:16 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Another Gallifrey One has come and gone, but I'll always have the memories it left behind, as well as an awesome photo with John Barrowman.

Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend

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So you’ve read about my adventures in Disneyland and are wondering what happened at Gallifrey One after that, right? If so, read on!

We took the shuttle from Anaheim to the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, where Lobby Con (the con before, during and after the con) was already in full swing. This is basically when people just hang out in the lobby and around the bar and meet up with those friends we only get to see once a year. Some people were already in costume, ribbons were already being handed out and some folks were even giving out candy, including these adorable chocolate Daleks.

Chocolate Dalek

My friend and I wore our mouse ears from Disneyland because we learned at Disneyland that there are a lot of cross-over Doctor Who/Disney fans. Interestingly enough, people took our photos because they thought we were cosplaying! We attended the ice cream social, and then decided to call it an early night, because we were still tired from Disneyland and needed sleep to prepare for Gally, which officially started the next day.

So we slept, and on Friday, I dressed up as The Moment from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special.

The Moment

It’s a really comfortable costume, save for the boots, which are probably about a half-size too small, but I haven’t been able to find a larger pair that works, so I suffered (although I discovered they were more comfortable without insoles). Friday was mostly the day we wandered around, thrilled just to be at Gallifrey One and see and do all the Gallifrey One things.

We attended a panel with Eve Myles of Torchwood,  and I discovered that she is freaking hilarious. I also now have this song stuck in my head that she later sang with Burn Gornman about sexy naked ladies on her t-shirt that has everything to do with her audition for the series. I also got her autograph and she drew a halo over herself.

A photo posted by Robin Burks (@robinburks) on

I told her that I enjoyed her voice acting work in Dragon Age 2, and she acted a little surprised that I would mention that, grinned and said, “Oh, that was so much fun to do.” It’s the only reference to the video game I heard all weekend, so go me!

Friday was also the day of The Idiot’s Lantern Doctor Who skit show, which was hilarious and probably even better than next year. I’m totally biased because I knew a lot of people involved with it, but, in particular, the Dead Rory skit had me rolling (think Monty Python meets Doctor Who).

Before we knew it, it was late Friday, so after some more mingling at Lobby Con, we made it to nearly 11 p.m. (that’s 1 a.m. my time, so this means we were slowly adjusting to West Coast time). Saturday rolled around, and with it, came John Barrowman, one of this year’s guests.

Saturday is also the biggest cosplay day of the con, so I rolled out my BioShock Infinite TARDIS dress, which made its con debut. The dress was a hit: a lot of people got the BioShock reference, but even those who didn’t complemented me on the dress, which really helped my confidence as both a costumer and cosplayer. This is the first thing I’ve sewn by hand, so YAY.

Of course, more exciting was meeting John Barrowman. I’d practiced what I wanted to say with him, especially since I’d been told he was up for anything in photo shoots. And strangely enough, I didn’t blank when I looked at the gorgeousness that is Captain Jack Harkness. The conversation went something like this: “What do you want to do?” asked John. “I’m the TARDIS,” I said. “Cling to me.” John said, “Turn around.” I complied and the result was this most awesome photo in the history of photos. Which is funny, because I THOUGHT I was going to get a photo with him in my Rose Tyler costume, but the con schedule and my cosplay schedule didn’t quite work out. However, I LOVE this photo more than anything ever. Me and John Barrowman And so began a very random weekend. When John signed the photo, he looked at me and said, “Hey, I’ve been in you.” Although I thought that made me a very special snowflake, I later learned that he said that to all the TARDIS costumes. But it was still wonderfully awesome.

That was followed by a few panels and then the Masquerade. Here’s the funny thing: I hadn’t planned on even seeing the Masquerade (the costume contest) this year, but 15 minutes before the show, someone came up to Rachel and me and asked us if we wanted to do something with it. We’d been drinking, so we agreed, but had no idea what was going on except that we had to meet this person backstage before the contest began. So we did and were informed that we were back-up singers and dancers for Tony Lee, who was doing this opening singing number for the show. So that happened: I was a back-up dancer for Tony Lee. Unfortunately, no one has yet found footage of that to prove that it happened, much to my chagrin. Like I said, random.

After the Masquerade, we danced until the wee hours of the morning. I saw Paul Cornell getting down to the Spice Girls, which seemed odd, but also perfectly normal. More randomness. I made it almost until 2 a.m. and passed out shortly after that.

Sunday brought the final day of the con, which always comes with a little sadness. I dressed as Rose Tyler from “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” episode.

  A photo posted by Robin Burks (@robinburks) on

I spent most of Sunday in panels, including the John Barrowman panel, where I laughed like I was attending a stand-up comedy event. The man is… just… yeah. I have no words. NO WORDS.

I went to more panels, including The Inspector Chronicles, which as you may know, I cover a lot of. I’m working on a feature piece for Tech Times T-Lounge, so keep an eye out for that.

After that, it was time for closing ceremonies, where I always cry a little bit, and then dinner. But dinner was random, too, as Chase Masterson came up and thanked us for attending The Inspector Chronicles panel. I explained that I was writing up something for the site I work for, and she asked for my card so that she could contact me about a potential interview. WHICH IS AWESOME. And she is a really cool person, by the way.

And so Gallifrey One ended on a high note, although when I returned home, I didn’t really return home. Thanks to some rather nasty winter weather, I got stuck in Memphis, TN (about a 1-1/2 hour drive from home) overnight. Boo, winter.

So is it 2016 yet? I’m ready for the next one already. However, next up is Con GT next month, and for the first time ever, I’ll be a guest there.

For those of you interested, too, I posted a gallery of cosplay photos from the con over at my day job: Tech Times T-Lounge.

Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend

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Adventures In Disneyland Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:05:06 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Before this year's Gallifrey One, a friend and I went to Disneyland and had adventures. See our geeky and fun Disneyland photos here.

Adventures In Disneyland

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As a fangirl, I have a wide variety of interests. And one of those includes all things Disney. I grew up with Disney, so it sort of makes sense. In fact, growing up, one of my Christmas presents every year was a VHS of a Disney movie. This pretty much happened until well after college (although those VHS tapes eventually became DVDs).

So I also love Walt Disney World (I’ve been several times). And last year, I visited Disneyland for the first time. However, that visit was short, so I decided to spend more time at the parks this year. In fact, I did four days before my annual sojourn to Gallifrey One. And I did it with my friend Rachel (you might know her as @catisidor, the official Gallifrey One countdown person on Twitter). She’s not a Disney fanatic, but I daresay, I believe Disneyland won her over.

Anyway, we did four days at Disneyland and California Adventure. Some highlights include the very cheesy Jungle Cruise (we’re still laughing over the word “paradox”), two high-spirited jaunts with Indiana Jones, two adventures on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and a few plays of Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (OMG, a ride AND a video game?). I also terrified Rachel with Tower of Terror (she’ll never go on it again) and we got sucked into pin collecting.

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which was a lot of fun because we spent our time in our hotel room searching for Mickey (he was EVERYWHERE).  And then there was the wonderful Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar that served the best drinks in the history of drinks.

From that wonderful trip came a lot of memories, so without further ado, I give you my photo gallery of our Disneyland antics.

Adventures In Disneyland

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Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:40:25 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Boy Properties or Girl Properties? How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation properties forever.

Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever

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Boy Properties or Girl Properties? How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation properties forever.sailor-moon-639x348

Boy Properties or Girl Properties?

By Theodore Jefferson

One of the points I focus on when discussing Sailor Moon is the indispensibility of female protagonists in anime. As far back as Speed Racer, Japanese storytellers have steadfastly insisted that girls and women be front and center in the adventures they animate. Hayao Miyazaki fashioned an entire career with female heroes. For this reason, Sailor Moon was inevitable.

In America, by contrast, the animation, game and toy markets have traditionally been the province of boys. My “children’s television trifecta” of cartoons, breakfast cereal and toy commercials was designed by marketing executives to sell products based on cheaply-produced animated episodes broadcast either on weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings. Those products were usually action figures, race cars or some kind of plastic or metal playset or construction toy. Girls made do with Barbie and the occasional “other doll.” The Disney Princess Concept was still decades away.

By the time the generation raised on Saturday morning cartoons had taken charge of the entertainment industry, everything was different. They were the ones who pointed and shouted “there’s a GIRL in that race car!” when they were watching Speed Racer. They were inspired enough by the idea that by the 21st century, girls were being included in everything from tyrannical deathmatches to imaginary robot wars.

But there is more to it than just an inclusive shift from “no girls allowed” to the opposite. Anime in general, and shows like Sailor Moon and Pokemon in particular, were all able to create a world where a show for boys and a show for girls became the same show. In June of 2000, the ratings among boys ages 9-14 for the third season of Sailor Moon on Cartoon Network were higher than those for girls. Now while some might quasi-cynically assert this is because the Sailor Senshi wore attractive outfits, the historical ratings data tells a different story. Boys didn’t watch Sailor Moon for the short skirts. They watched it because it wasn’t just for girls.

When Satoshi Tajiri created Pokemon, he had an idea that was as brilliant as it was simple. His vision was based on his love of insect collecting, which is likely for a variety of reasons to be more appealing to boys than girls. But when Pokemon became a pet collecting game with adorable little teddy-bear-like creatures as the companions, a merchandising juggernaut was created that is still racking up cosmically high revenues almost 20 years later.

What do these two merchandising icons have in common? Simple. They are not targeted at either boys or girls. In fact, they are equally appealing to both. Sailor Moon is equal parts romance and heroism. Pokemon is equal parts combat and collecting cute teddy bears. The results speak for themselves. Between 1992 and 2003, Sailor Moon and Pokemon combined for over $30 billion in worldwide revenues.

These two shows turned marketing from a world of cartoons, breakfast cereal and toy commercials to a world of the Internet, video games and anime. In the process, they proved it is no longer necessary to decide if a toy or game is just for boys or girls. It can be both and still work.

Here’s how they did it.

What the producers of Sailor Moon and Pokemon recognized very early in their development is that appeal is not an either/or proposition when it comes to audiences for fantasy and action television. As far back as the 1970s, boys and girls were equally likely to watch The Bionic Woman as they were to watch The Six Million Dollar Man. The reason is that in the context of fantasy and action, it doesn’t make any difference who is on an adventure.

When it came time to write a story like Sailor Moon, which is equal parts romance and heroism, the producers asked a very simple question. Will romance appeal to boys and will heroism appeal to girls? Of course they will! The idea that boys don’t appreciate romance makes for very rudimentary storytelling. The idea that girls don’t recognize the appeal of heroism denies human nature. Boys or girls may not experience the two story types in the same way, but the idea that they will reject them outright is not supported by the facts or history. Sailor Moon is proof.

If it is possible for romance and heroism to appeal equally to both boys and girls, then entirely new kinds of storytelling become possible. One of the great strengths of Sailor Moon is its ability to present heroic imagery in female terms. Much of western civilization is built in female heroic imagery, but to hear television executives you would think that girls would run from the room if someone raised their voice in a television show.

The same goes for Pokemon. The idea of taking a fat little dinosaur that can be collected and turning it into a battling beast through power-ups is golden. The idea creates an instant appeal for boys and girls coming from the same product. That’s why Pokemon is worth 11 figures. Girls want to collect every last one of those cute little pets and their brothers want to match them against each other after the key to powering them up is found.

This combination of markets is what has driven everything in animation, toys and games for the last twenty years. Japanese television producers found a way to combine animated television and collectible universally appealing merchandise with video games. While these things were possible in the 1970s and 1980s, the nuanced understanding of the marketing wasn’t there yet.

In Part Two of this series, we’ll take a look at the history behind heroic imagery in Sailor Moon and Pokemon and how it affected the design of both the show and its products.

Theodore Jefferson is the author of The Incredible Untold Story of Sailor Moon, the definitive history of the world-famous animated television series in the United States and other English-speaking territories. Mr. Jefferson is a founding member of the Lexicon Hollow Authors Guild and also writes for Moon Game.

© 2015 Theodore Jefferson

Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever

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Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS Sun, 11 Jan 2015 15:21:13 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

When I first saw Elizabeth's costume in Bioshock Infinite, I wanted to cosplay it, but not as it is in the video game, but as a BioShock Infinite TARDIS.

Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS

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Even before video game BioShock Infinite was released, I wanted to cosplay Elizabeth, but the minute I saw a photo of her dress, the first thing I thought was: TARDIS. I mean, it’s the perfect color and everything. So the idea of doing a TARDIS dressed based on Elizabeth’s dress has been dancing around inside my head for quite awhile.

Then I played the game, and Elizabeth turns out to be a character that can rip holes in the fabric of space and time. How can you not think TARDIS after that?

But it still took me several years and lots of confidence in my cosplay skills, especially as a beginner, to tackle the project. But, finally, after purchasing my first sewing machine, I did it. And surprisingly enough, I think it looks great.

BioShock Infinite TARDIS

I started with the corset, mostly because that’s the part I didn’t have to sew. Unfortunately, though, because I’m pear-shaped, finding an off-the-rack corset that fits well is something that just doesn’t happen. I’m small on top and bigger on bottom and no one seems to make corsets for that. So in the end, I went with a small corset, which was too small on the bottom, but at least it holds my girls up. Someday, I’ll learn to make corsets, I think. I certainly can’t afford a custom one. I’m a budget cosplayer after all.

I chose this corset in white from Frederick’s of Hollywood. However, I only paid about $18 for it, because I found it on eBay. Then I ordered an embroidered police box badge from Etsy here. I started with a hot glue gun and blue ribbon and laid out the stripes as they are on the actual TARDIS. I glued the police public call box sign to a wider black ribbon and used velcro to attach it to the corset, so that I can put it on after I hook the corset. I think it came out great:

BioShock Infinite TARDIS corset

Once the corset was complete, though, it was time for sewing. This is the first costume I’ve ever sewn, so obviously, I was nervous. The first thing I decided upon was fabric. I wanted something simple, cotton (washable) and photogenic. However, with the skirt being so long, and my butt being so wide, I needed to buy fabric from a wider bolt. And regular old cotton only comes in 45″ wide (I needed at least 10″ more than that in width). Fortunately, some googling led me to, so I ordered samples of materials, including this gorgeous blue cotton sateen. A sample of it convinced me that this was my fabric.

I did know ahead of time that cotton sateen wrinkles like crazy, but after seeing how beautifully the material draped and photographed, I decided that was okay. So I ordered the blue and some in white for the sleeves of the jacket.

Then I started sewing. The dress pattern was a basic simple one (although it had a zipper and I suck at zippers): McCall’s Kwik Sew 3381. And, besides the zipper (which is screwy, but the corset hides most of it), it was extremely easy. Most importantly, the cotton sateen drapes beautifully with this style and is nice and lightweight because cons get hot.

I tried a petticoat underneath the skirt to match Elizabeth’s BioShock Infinite costume, but it made me look wide as a barn!!! So instead, I kept things simple and ordered this eyelet trim and sewed it to the bottom of the skirt.

I also found the “Pull to Open” badge on Etsy and hand-sewed that to the skirt.

Of course, having the skirt, I needed Victorian boots. Fortunately, Amazon is my go-to for costume shoes and I found a pair of boots nearly identical to Elizabeth’s that are actually comfortable. Although the toe has an extreme point, the shoe is made so that the point extends beyond where the foot falls inside the boot. I threw a pair of insoles into those boots and they felt pretty darn good.

Okay, so the skirt’s done, the corset’s done, so what’s next? I decided to focus on accessories. Etsy, once more, proved to be a great resource, and I found Elizabeth’s choker necklace easily enough. However, I had to decide how I wanted the brooch that sits on that choker to look. I wanted something more Doctor Who than Elizabeth, so I contacted that same seller, who made me a custom brooch that matches Elizabeth’s, except it has the seal of Rassilon on it. How cool is that?

Then I needed a wig. Of course, that’s an easy one, too: eBay. I found exactly what I needed here. For $10. And it looks really good on, too. Having spent a fortune on fabric, only paying $10 for a wig was a much needed relief to my cosplay budget.

Of course, that meant that all the details were in order and I finally needed to start the jacket, which I knew would be the hardest part of the costume, especially with me being such a noob. First, I started with the closest pattern I could find: Simplicity 1819. The problem was that I needed a mash-up of the two jackets in that pattern and I had no idea how to do that.

I’m still not sure how I figured it out. But yes, the jacket was hard. I spent a lot of time pulling out stitches and was in tears after accidentally ripping a hole with a seam ripper in one of the panels (which I had to re-do). The sleeves in the pattern were all wrong, so I basically just made them to fit my arms, and somehow they came out okay, although sewing the sleeves in was one of the trickiest things I’ve learned. I’m actually surprised this thing looks okay. The collar in the pattern is also all wrong, and I shortened it and stood it up (so it looked more like Elizabeth’s), but it’s still not exact.

But for my purposes and this being my first hand-sewn costume? It’s perfect enough. In fact, when I finished the jacket, I was surprised. Of course, I still had to add the white French cuffs, and fortunately a Google search led me to this, which had a great tutorial on how to do it. It took me a few tries, but the cuffs looked great. Then I had to figure out how to sew them onto the sleeves (it turned out to be easy) and how to give them the shape of Elizabeth’s. I was so happy with how the final cuffs came out that I even added some little buttons on them, mostly to hold them together and look more like Elizabeth’s.

French cuffs on BioShock Infinite TARDIS costume

Perfect, right?

So that was it, the costume was complete. All I had to do was throw on some make-up (see first photo above) and try it on. And the funny thing is that I thought it looked great!

BioShock Infinite TARDIS

Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS

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