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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cosplay: Morrigan Aensland

Entertaining the Troops

As you’ve probably noticed my cosplays fall into one or a combination of a few categories. Characters from Video Games, Villains, Vampires, or Strong Women.

Character: Morrigan Aensland

Series: Darkstalkers video games

Inspiration: I’ve said it before, I grew up as an Arcade Rat. I loved Dark Stalkers and Morrigan was always my favorite character. So when I had the chance I made the costume.

How Long it Took: About a week

Notes: Most of this was made from preexisting items that I hacked up and put back together again. The hardest part of the whole thing was putting the damned bats on the tights and gluing the bat wings to the leotard. Easiest part was attaching the bat wing things to the wig.

Awards: None

Best Moment: The picture above is the best moment ever. I was sitting by the fountain waiting for a photographer friend of mine to meet me and these two Storm Troopers walked up and asked to take a photo with me. I felt like some sort of bizarre USO girl.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Costuming, Cosplays and Fashion

 

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Some Thoughts on Being Adopted

Growing up, when I told people I was adopted they would always call me a liar. This was in part due to the fact that I look so much like my parents. Also, growing up there was no weird stigma for me over being adopted. I’ve pretty much know since I was old enough to comprehend what the word meant. No secrets. No weirdness. No dramatic story. No yearning for the answer to that ultimate question, “Who am I and where did I come from?” Nothing at all like it is on the television shows.

I wasn’t treated any different in my family than if I had been born to it through the conventional means. There just wasn’t any of that weird “out of place” feeling beyond what any kid growing up would feel. To be honest, I’ve had a pretty normal life.

My mother was unable to have children after my brother Tom was born and she really wanted a daughter so she and my dad decided to adopt. My grandmother, Bernice helped with the adoption. From what I can tell she knew my biological mother. I’m not sure exactly how. However it was she helped with the adoption.

Now why I was being given up for adoption is for the most part still shrouded in a certain amount of mystery. What I know is that my birth parents were either divorced or at the very least not still dating when I was conceived and that I was probably conceived at one of their on-again junctures. I apparently also have biological siblings running around somewhere out in the world. Which is a weird thought to me for some reason. Aside from this information all I know is that my birth mother gave me up because apparently where ever she was living was not a good place to raise a child. Or something along those lines. I’ve never been particularly interested in it. Which mystifies most people who ask me about it.

So on August 21st, 1980 my adoptive mother gets a call saying I was born. Though the doctor tried to convince her to change her mind. Something about how I was funny looking and how I looked sick and so on. From what my grandmother said it was because there was another family, friends of the doctor, who were trying to adopt me. My mother told him to shove it and that she didn’t care what I looked like. And she and my father drove up from San Jose to some rest stop half way between there and Coos Bay, Oregon and were given me by some person in a dark parking lot. Which sounds super shady but I assure you that it was totally legal and all squared away.

Oddly, knowing all this I’m still not too interested in finding my birth parents. Mostly it’s just I’ve always had the parents I’ve had and it’s not some big tragic story of how I remember my old life with other people. I’m also pretty sure knowing who they are isn’t going to do much to change who I am as a person. Sure it’d be nice to know a bit about things like medical, ethnic and historic background but really I’m more interested in the information on an  academic level. That’s not to say that I would be opposed to meeting the people who gave me birth. It’s just not something that keeps me up at night wondering who I am and all that jazz the TV shows like to imply all adopted kids do.

Well anyways, I figured I’d share that with you. Since it passed through my brain a bit ago as something that would be interesting to write.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Thoughtful Thoughts

 

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Adventures in Job Hunting

The title of this post is rather misleading. In reality my job hunt over the past few months has not been very adventurous. Go to web site, fill out online application, click button, wait, not hear from company, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s very dull. It’s very discouraging. It’s very depressing.

This past two weeks I’ve sent in about nine applications. Which is roughly one application a day. Some would say I should be sending in about 9 a day but when you’re only two jobs ever have been retail as a sales clerk it’s very difficult to find anything. This is mainly because you share this trait with a good deal of the population. I’m very positive that I am not the only unemployed college student with a retail sales background running around on the internet trying to find a job. The other problem with this is being a student your schedule is kind of wonky. So all the non-students get snatched up first because they have completely open schedules.

Then there’s the dreaded online application process which pretty much feels like you’re jumping through flaming hoops over a shark tank blind folded and backwards. After you’re done you take the blind fold off to realize that the audience left half way through and the only person still in the stands is some dude reading a news paper who wasn’t paying attention anyways. Basically, you don’t feel like anyone will ever see your application and thus your likely hood of getting the job is very very slim if anything at all.

There is some upside to it. You get very good at answering silly questions about your personality, work ethics and basic reasoning capability. If ever you are stuck in a video game-like scenario where answering such questions mean that you either move on to the next level or fall into a pit full of acid you’re set. Otherwise you have acquired a useless skill that will never really serve you well.

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!!!!: Useless Question Answering Skill Aquired

I miss the good ol’ days when you could walk into a place and ask if they were hiring and if they were you could talk to the manager and get to know them a little and leave an impression on them before you took the application home and then brought it back after taking your time to fill it out. Now you’re just a name and a number without a face that some poor human resources person has to look at and most likely will just skim over.

There are days when I think there is too much automation in the world. How will these places that only take online applications function if the internet stops existing. I’m hoping it’s some sort of Mad Max style Thunder Dome contest because if it is I am totally getting a job. Or maybe it can be rock/paper/scissors and all those hours spent at LARP will finally pay off. Not likely but one can dream… one can dream…

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Random Stuff

 

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Cosplay: Ivy Valentine

Me as Ivy Valentine at Fanime

I’ve been an Arcade Rat for a good portion of my life. I don’t go to arcades anymore, mostly because I have a real life that requires my time and money be spent on it but I do love a good video game. Growing up I loved fighting games. My first video game was Karataka. This little side scrolling fighting game where you ninja kicked and punched a bunch of evil dudes to save the princess. I can remember when the first Street Fighter came out and when Mortal combat still used live people for their graphics. As graphics and games got better I fell in love with the Soul Caliber series, mainly because the character designs were amazing. On of my favorite characters is Ivy Valentine.

Character: Ivy Valentine

From: Soul Caliber 2

Version: Second Player Costume

Inspiration: You know me, I love my villains but really Ivy is not really so much a villain as just a strong woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to do what she has to to get it. In a lot of ways she’s also a tragic character. Factor in that she’s suppose to be intelligent, sexy and sophisticated and well… you can see where this is going.

Oddly I’m not as fond of her 1st player costume. It’s nice and sleek and sexy and I really don’t give a crap about her running around in purple dominatrix gear and kicking guys asses. But it would look awful on me and I really really loved her blue buccaneer outfit better. I think it actually fits her character better. Strong dominant woman in a mans world getting things done. Somehow, purple leather lingerie doesn’t say that to me. But a feminine twist on men’s clothing from that era… oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Hours of construction: Um… probably between 150 and 300. I wasn’t paying that much attention to the clock when I was making her.

Materials: The boots I got from Pleasers. The little black cuffs were ones I made. The jacket was actually a vintage 1970’s deep blue velvet suit jacket that I found at my work and added trim and cuffs too. The shirt was also found at my work on the 70’s rack. I added trim to it too. I already had the black pants and the waist cincher so that wasn’t hard to throw in. I had to make the epiletts and the ascot. The gloves were white vintage leather ones I had gotten at work. The sword was a plastic sword I had bought at work and dremmled the hell out of and then hooked together.

Hair and Makeup: The make up was pretty simple. Smokey eyes, lipstick, contoured cheeks. Nothing super fancy. As for the hair, believe it or not THAT is not a wig. That is in fact my real hair. Also believe it or not my hair is actually auburn in that picture but I used a ton of Ben Nye Hair White and white hair spray to get it to be that lovely shade of silvery white.

Awards: I won an award for best use of preexisting garments at the BayCon masquerade.

So yeah, that’s the costume. I’ll end you on a back view.

Ivy Valentine Back View

 
 

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Rebel Yell Character: Clara Goodwin

The portrait of Clara in the Parlor. Photo Credits: EurobeatKing. Photo Manipulation: Me

Hello All,

It’s time for another Haunted Shenanigans post. I thought I’d start by sharing with you the character I play at the Rebel Yell Haunted House. Before we got into the details of the character herself let’s go into the basics.

Clara here is the Pepper’s Ghost of the haunt. What is a Pepper’s Ghost? Also known as a Split Glass Effect a Pepper’s Ghost is essentially one of the earliest versions of a hologram you will ever see. It’s been utilized in theater, at fairs, side shows and is currently used in many haunted attractions all over the world (You are probably familiar with the Ball Room scene in The Haunted Mansion at Disney Land? Those dancers are a split glass effect.)

How it works: uh… here’s a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper%27s_ghost

Essentially, you take a peice of glass and set it at an angle from the subject you want to have be “ghostly” or “morph” (the subject is in a black box. Behind the glass you have a scene or perhaps the item you want to morph into the subject. Using lighting (bringing up the light on the subject as you dim the light on the scene or the object to be morphed) you can make the subject appear and disappear (as transparent or solid as you like.) As the light comes up on the subject it reflects in the glass and you get an image of the subject.

Clara is achieved by using black light reflective makeup and costuming.

Clara make up.

The Character:

Naturally with a haunt you want to have a story. Otherwise it’s boring for both the guests and the haunters. So we have our own little story.You can find the full story of Rebel Yell here: http://www.rebelyell.info/rebelyell.html

Clara didn’t have a story when I started playing her. She didn’t even have a name. She was in fact originally a manikin but then the manikin’s head fell off and I took it’s place. Typically you don’t see the effect done with a live person. I’m not saying we’re the only haunt to do it but it’s not common. Probably because it’s hard to get an actor willing to stand in one place for hours on end. Everyone loved the live action ghosts so much that we kept her. So I made up a story for her.

Clara’s Story:

Given the sordid history we gave our haunt I wanted to examine some of the past history of it so I created a story involving a young women torn between two brothers who ran the Funeral Home that became the Rebel Yell House. Essentially she was to marry one brother but the other was jealous and killed them both. The brother was locked in the attic and poor Clara was embalmed alive. She was buried in an unmarked crypt and the brother who killed her eventually hung himself in said crypt. Clara haunted the house and was partly responsible for the death of the doctor’s children and wife. She was trying to help but being unable to speak kind of lead to some miscommunication. Now she tries to help those who get lost in the house find their way out.

Costume and Makeup:

As I said before the costume and makeup are black light reflective. The dress I wear is white with the skirt being made of white tule. Which, being shredded gives the effect that the skirt is disappearing into nothing and that I am floating. The make up is Kryolon brand UV reactive blue body paint, some black eye liner and some UV reflective red makeup. The reason for choosing blue was to match the purple/blue cast of the costume and also to give me that nice wraithly glow. The box I stand in is lit with black lights and the scene behind the glass is set up to look like the entrance to a crypt lit dimly but just enough for you to see the items.

Portrayal:

When I’m playing Clara I try to seem sad and helpful. I’m not sure I come across as such but I try to keep it in mind when I am beckoning people towards me and then pointing them towards where they should be heading next.

Fun Momments:

Being a ghost who dosen’t talk and whom people can’t touch or see where I actually am has some fun things that go with it. For one thing I get to hear all sorts of wild speculation as to how the effect is achieved. According to many I am a projection from a camera, a manikin, or some kind of television thing.

More entertaining is when people try to communicate with me. They say all sorts of things and assume I can’t see them and are surprised, delighted and bewildered when I respond to their questions with nods or head shakes or gestures.

My favorite story is when a little girl and her brother were staring at me. The sister was super impressed by me but the brother kept explaining how the effect worked (erroneously, he didn’t really know) and insisted that I wasn’t a real person. So when he wasn’t looking I popped my head around the corner where the girl could see me and I put my finger to my lips. The rest of the evening she was a giggly happy girl because she knew how the effect worked and he didn’t and she had a secret with the “pretty ghost lady.”

Drawbacks: Well obviously standing still in one place being blinded by black lights can bet a little tedious. This is why we have a manikin stand in for me so that I can occasionally get out and roam the haunt.

 

There you have it. Clara Goodwin, the Rebel Yell Haunted House’s resident Pepper’s Ghost. I hope you enjoyed this installment of Haunted Shenanigans.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Haunted Shinanagins

 

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Things I Don’t Get #1

This is my skeptical face.

Things I Don’t Get #1:

You ever see someone (usually a teenager) wearing a t-shirt for a band or a show or some random movie that you like and compliment them on it? Then try to ask them their opinion only to find out that they have never listened to, watched or otherwise in any way actually know what it is they are wearing on their chest?

Dose it irk you? It certainly dose me.

I get that theirs a fashion trend and maybe I was a strange child/teen but when the “wear logos on your shirt because it’s in” craze hit I sort of wanted to know what the logo on my shirt was for if I was going to wear it. No adays it seems that blind consumerism is at an all time high. I mean, when I say “Gaba gaba Hey!” To someone wearing a Ramons t-shirt I expect them to at least know why I’m doing so. Do they not feel stupid when they don’t? (psst, the answer is apparently “no” instead they just think you’re weird and old and creepy. Which is very sad.)

I personally find the fact that teens (and adults, let’s face it we do stupid things too) buy things that they don’t even have an emotional response to. It’s one thing to wear a Gwar t-shirt because you like Gwar. Hell, I can even accept “I really liked the picture” if that’s what caught your eye but to have someone say, “Well band shirts are in right now” is just… wow. Just… it hurts my brain.

I would blame Hot Topic but it’s not really their fault. I mean, they’re just the dealers. The dealers of shame and tragedy and nonsense (look at me being hypocritical while I bitch about Hot Topic on the computer while wearing skully socks I bought there)

But seriously I don’t really get why teens fall for the “because it’s in” thing. I remember trying to do so when  I was about 13 but I failed because I just wasn’t comfortable in the damn clothing. I mean, I look pretty bad in pastel’s no matter what Teen Beat says.

Of course, our teen’s role models are… um… well… Twilight movies… and Justin Beaber… and Lady Gaga (though I like her because she’s weird and unashamed of it I still don’t think teens should wear meat dresses. It’s just dangerous to do.) You know who my role modles were? Uh… Edger Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft… and Pin Head from Hellraiser and… you know what? I’m not a great example since all my role modles were either dead guys or creepy Brits with lavish make up on their faces. Still, I think that today’s role models for kids are kind of lame. I mean, Justin Beaber? Ew.

Well, til someone finally holds a “This is what your T-shirt is from” class I guess I’ll just have to deal with people blindly wearing things they have no clue about in the name of fashion. Well, either until then or until I take over the world and abolish such fashion trends into the Nether Pit of No Return, that is.

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Random Stuff

 

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Cosplay: The Baroness

The Baroness from G.I. Joe Picture Credits: Eurobeat King

Hello my sweets,

So I didn’t have anything else to post so I figured I’d give y’all another Costume post. This time it’s the Baroness from G.I. Joe. One of my favorite costumes to ever encase my skin.

Character: The Baroness

From: G. I. Joe

Inspiration: As a child of the 80s I grew up watching such things as Transformers, G.I.Joe, Thunder Cats, Jem, She-Ra and all those other weird shows that are now retro and kitchy. You know, those shows teenagers wear t-shirts for even though they never watched them but it’s in to wear “retro” stuff because the Hot Topic says so? Those shows.

My annoyance at the way trends work aside, I loved (still love) G. I. Joe. Not just the cartoon but also the comics in all their incarnations. Yes, even the cheesy marvel ones. Don’t judge me. There’s something to be said about pure imagination coupled with cheesy sci fi, weird ways to show patriotism and silly Flash Gorden-esq plots. Beyond that, when you actually get into the characters their are some really cool ones in there. In my opinion the 1980s were one of the best decades to grow up as a girl because all the cartoons (even the girly ones like Jem and She-ra) had amazingly strong female characters. I mean c’mon, Cheetarah? Lady Jay? Stormer? Catra? They’re all kick ass women who also have a soft side. They don’t compromise the aspects that make one feminin just to be bad ass. They were great examples of “you can be tough and girly too.”

Now I will climb down off of my feminist soap box and get with the costumey stuff.

I chose The Baroness because I had always loved her. She practically ran Cobra. Lord knows someone had to with Cobra Commander, those doofy twins, and Zartan running around like it was a three ring circus. And she wore glasses. I mean… um… she made glasses cool. And sexy. The other reason I made the costume was because I wanted a second costume to take to Fanime and needed something that didn’t require a lot of sewing since I had only two days to make it.

Time to make: Bout 2 days initially. I’d up it to about 4 now since I added some stuff.

Materials: 1 Vinyl Cat Suit (from Leg Avenue), 1 vinyl waist cincher (also from Leg Avenue), 6 inch heeled knee high lace up boots (most likely from Pleasers even though I got them from some random store in the mall), Two rubber snake heads taken from staff thingys that we were selling at work (Debbie Lyn’s Costumes), Black vintage leather gloves ( also bought at DLC), My old fencing chest protector painted with some model paint, A black Mistress wig (also got at DLC), one black leather ringed belt bought at DLC as well, a leather pouch gotten at BayCon, and my glasses. The gun in the picture above was the photographer’s.

But wait, Adana, dosen’t costuming/cosplaying require sewing??

NO. I don’t know a single costumer professional or otherwise who will sew doesn’t occasionally buy something rather than sew it. I also know plenty of Cosplayers who buy their costumes or have them made for them rather than make them themselves. There’s no shame in it as long as you are honest about it. For this costume the work required was figuring out how to put it all together to get the look I wanted and then some cutting of the little snake heads as well as some painting. It’s still costuming because it’s not easy to tetrus everything together to create a reproduction of a specific character. If it was everyone would be doing it.

All in all I’d say that this costume probably cost me no more than $200.

Awards: I don’t think so. I mean, I can’t recall any and I never entered her into a Masquerade so I’m gonna go with no. I did however make several people’s day and got a lot of hugs and compliments. Luckily the costume is vinyl so the drool came right off.

Most Difficult Part of the Costume: Wearing it in anything over 75 degree weather, really. Vinyl dose not get looser when it gets warmer, it gets tighter. So I felt a little like someone was grabbing my ass the whole time. Which is a really awkward sensation.

 
 

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