Hey folks – I’m sorry I didn’t get anything posted last week. Last week was crazy, work-wise, and tomorrow starts my two-week conference marathon, so I’m unfortunately going on a bit of a hiatus.
Never fear, though! I’ve got plans for new podcast episodes to record when I get back, and I’m hoping to have some fancy yarn to show off when I get back from my second conference! I do love doing a little yarn tourism while I’m traveling, and it’ll be my first ever trip to New Orleans, so I’m looking forward to checking out the local yarn stores near my hotel.
Thanks for sticking with me, and I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule in a few weeks!
This week was originally going to be a podcast week, but I caught a cold. Recording a podcast with a cold is less than ideal since I sound weird right now and keep having to blow my nose. So! Instead, I’m going to post about one of the things I was going to include in the podcast: ArchRavels! It’s on Kickstarter, and as of right now, there are 34 hours left before the campaign finishes. It’s over 300% funded, and as of the time I’m writing this, it’s about $3000 away from unlocking the last stretch goal.
ArchRavels is a game that I’ve been interested in since I heard about it at Gen Con this summer, back when it was called ArchRavelry. I’m sure you can guess why I’m interested in it: it’s a game about yarn crafting! It’s like it was made for me, someone who enjoys board games and crafts. The game seems pretty straightforward: Compete against other players to see who can craft the most items before the end of the game. Just like in real life, you have to collect patterns and yarn before you can make things – and also just like in real life, some events can happen that’ll make crafting difficult, like the cat.
Just like in real life, cats can come in and mess with your yarn, causing you to stop, untangle the cat (or in my case, splice ends together because someone decided yarn makes a good chew toy), and lose a turn while you sort things out.
I backed the game pretty quickly after it came out, and the stretch goals added since then have made me even more excited about the game! There are additional characters you can play as, more patterns to make (including the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Wizard packs), and even an upgraded insert for keeping game items organized. The last stretch goal is one I hope happens: they’re going to make a Cat meeple you can put in a player’s yarn bowl when you draw the Tangled Cat card if they hit that last goal.
This weekend, I went to the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo for the first time – and had a great time! I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years now. Up until this year, it was held immediately after Gen Con, which is when I usually end up experiencing con burnout. With it being in October this year, nothing was stopping me this time around!
Indiana Toy and Comic Expo focuses on precisely what the name says – toys and comics! It was held at the Monroe County Convention Center here in Bloomington, and it seemed like it took up the entire convention center. (Granted, the convention center isn’t all that big, but it’s still nice to see that the expo filled it up!) Events included a costume contest, a custom action figure contest, and a silent auction. Plus, there was a lot of space dedicated to vendors, so there were plenty of goodies to look at and buy! I ended up picking up the following:
a Sailor Moon Perler bead magnet
some cute bunny cryptid prints
a set of Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards
an autographed photo of the actor who played Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space 9
There were a lot of folks in costume, and I also managed to grab some photos from the costume contest as well! (Some of them didn’t turn out so well, as my phone is a little slow at taking pictures and some of the action shots turned out blurry or awkward.) I especially enjoyed the Harry Dresden cosplayer pretending I was a demon and blasting me with his blasting rod. (I guess the Trill spots made me an easy target, haha.) I posted all my costume contest photos on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – you can see them in my ITCE album here.
And before you ask, of course, I went in costume – Jadzia Dax got a little more time in the costume spotlight!
I also got to hang out with some of my nerdy blogging buddies – Rachel, Lizz, and Tony!
I also ran into another familiar face while I was there – or, more accurately, familiar droid!
I recorded my first ever podcast episode. It’s short, and it’s rambly, but IT EXISTS! This first episode has me rambling my way through a podcast version of What I’m Watching, which was… interesting. Plus, I talk about craft projects I’m working on and video games I’m playing. You can listen to Episode 1 of The Crafty Nerd Podcast using the player below.
You should also be able to find me on Google Play Music, YouTube, and Spotify shortly – I’ll still keep sharing new episodes on the blog as I make them, though, so no worries about needing to subscribe to listen to the podcast.
I’m so sorry I ended up dropping off the radar, folks. It seems like every year after Gen Con, I end up a little bit burnt out and end up not posting for anywhere from a few weeks to a month or so, but this time my post-Gen Con hiatus ended up being nearly two months long. Yikes.
During my accidental hiatus…
I’ve been so busy at work – I’ve taught ten workshops since the beginning of the semester (end of August), designed three posters to present at conferences, and put together printed materials for a conference as well. I’ve been so busy it’s insane.
I bought a Nintendo Switch Lite and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in an attempt to get back into gaming and find something to write about. Instead, Breath of the Wild has eaten up all my spare time over the past week. Please send help. 🤣
Two games of Kishar have happened – Ëlinyr successfully defeated armies in combat, managed to learn how to use a staff, helped stop a civil war, and rescued her elf-boyfriend Alair from certain doom.
I backed ArchRavels on Kickstarter! Which I’m really excited about.
I hung out with R2-D2 all day at a work event last week! It was pretty awesome.
With all that happening, though, I haven’t had much energy (or brain) for writing up new posts. However, I’ve got some ideas for new content here that’ll hopefully be added soon – I’ve just gotta put everything together.
Thanks for sticking with me, folks – I appreciate it, and I promise this year’s post-Gen Con hiatus is done!
One of the big reasons people go to Gen Con is to buy games – lots of them. And this year, I definitely bought some games! Not as many as some folks, but I did bring home a couple new additions to my game collection. Of course, I found some not-quite-game-related goodies too! My Gen Con 2019 haul is a little smaller than it’s been in previous years, but here’s just about all of it!
Seeing all the different cosplays at Gen Con is one of my favorite parts of the convention. Well, that and having the chance to do some cosplaying of my own! This post is all about the cosplay at Gen Con 2019.
As you all know, I brought two costumes to Gen Con this year – President Laura Roslin and Jadzia Dax. While not many people recognized President Roslin, plenty of people recognized Dax!
Apparently I did a good job with the Trill spots, as I got plenty of compliments on them. That made the 30+ minutes I spent awkwardly applying them while looking in the mirror worth it!
Now, I know you don’t just want to see the costumes I wore. However, with the LARP I was running on Saturday I didn’t have too many chances to get pictures of people on Saturday (the big cosplay day). Thankfully, Ross stepped in as photographer for me! He took loads of pictures of the costume parade, and here they are, in addition to the pictures I took while walking the con!
Much like last year, I kept up with what was going on at the convention via the Fans of Gen Con Facebook group. The group kept everyone up to date on will-call line wait times, helped reunite people with lost badges, and also helped people collect badge ribbons, among other things. There was also a fair bit of complaining about the usual things – backpacks in the dealers hall, the wait times in the will-call line, how long it took to get food at the food trucks… but others in the group did their best to help keep things positive, which was good.
A quiet Gen Con for the Crafty Nerd, sort of
This Gen Con was actually a little more subdued on my end, due to Ross being sick on and off through the convention. He’s been dealing with mysterious stomach issues, and due to that he didn’t cosplay this year (which you probably noticed already, from my daily Gen Con posts). I ended up keeping a pretty light schedule as a result, just in case Ross needed me. I still had a great time, though, and got to see a lot of great games as well as some fun traditions, like Cardhalla:
Until recently, I wasn’t sure what Cardhalla was about. People built card towers, knocked them all down at the end of the con, and somehow it related to charity – that was all I knew. Well, at the end of the convention, people toss coins at the card towers in order to knock them over, and all the coins are collected for charity! I love how Gen Con finds so many ways to give back to the community.
Overall, Gen Con was pretty good this year. There were more vendors to check out than I could actually visit, and I got to hang out with friends I don’t see often. I got to eat tasty cupcakes from The Flying Cupcake (like the butterbeer flavored Wizards Unite!), and enjoyed tasty food at downtown Indy restaurants. I got to dress up as Jadzia Dax! And, I got to help run a LARP too!
The Crafty Nerd’s Gen Con 2019 posts
To make things easy to find, I’ll link to detailed coverage of different aspects of my Gen Con experience here. (These links will become active as I write the posts!)
Since Day 3 is mostly going to be covered in a post specifically about the Blue Rose LARP, and there wasn’t much to Day 4, I’m going to cover these both in a slightly belated post.
Day 3 of Gen Con was a blast! Granted, I spent most of it helping run Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, but that’s what you go to Gen Con for, right? Running or playing games!
Before prep started for the Blue Rose LARP, I got the chance to wander around the convention center a bit. I saw some awesome cosplayers, and also ran into this little guy!
This is Gandalf, and he’s become a bit of a Gen Con celebrity over the years. Ross and I were behind Gandalf and his owner in the costume parade last year, and I ended up following Gandalf’s Facebook page afterwards. This sweet little dog gets to go to a lot of conventions, and probably has more costumes than I do! I’m happy I got to see him – and he definitely loves his fans, he ran right up to me as soon as I took my camera out and gave me a bunch of doggy nuzzles. I even got his pawtograph!
After wandering the convention center for a bit, it was time for the LARP!
I’ll cover most of the LARP in its own post – from the prep I did to the actual storytelling that happened. I will say, I think I did a much better job storytelling at Trials of the Rose than I did at the City of Heroes LARP last year. (Then again, I think anything would have been better than that, given that I had a nasty anxiety attack just before the City of Heroes LARP.)
Day 4 of Gen Con didn’t really happen this year, due to Ross being sick. 🙁 He’s been struggling with stomach issues on and off for months now, and parts of Gen Con were particularly rough. On Sunday morning, he wasn’t feeling well at all, so we decided to just pack up and go home. It didn’t help that the Marriott never actually sent a bellhop up to help us with all our luggage, despite us calling twice, and never passed the word on to valet parking that we wanted to pick up our car. (Then again, I think we got off easy with hotel difficulties, given that I heard a story about a valet backing someone’s car into a window at the JW Marriott…) Once we dragged all our stuff downstairs, and once the valet brought Luna up from wherever they parked her, we headed home to look at all the goodies we got and relax a bit. (And, in my case, wash lots of costume laundry.)
And that’s the day-by-day report of Gen Con 2019! I’ll be posting more about the con in general, cosplayers at the con, the Blue Rose LARP, and my Gen Con haul later!
Today was my big cosplay day, since tomorrow is the Blue Rose LARP. And I am SO PLEASED with how my Jadzia Dax cosplay turned out.
Sure, it took me a half hour to get all those Trill spots on, but it was so worth all the work! I got so many compliments on my costume, and even on my Trill spots. Plus, the costume itself was less toasty than I thought it would be! However, I ended up not switching to Ezri midway through the day. Just about everyone I talked to said Jadzia was better than Ezri, and so I figured I may as well stick to Jadzia. Ah well – maybe I’ll do Ezri for Halloween.
I also got to help my friend Kasi turn into a Trill! Drawing her Trill spots on took a lot less time than drawing my own on, thankfully.
Kasi played a doctor in the Deep Space Ten LARP today, and I’m glad I could help her with her spots!
While wandering around the dealer’s hall, after posing for some costume photos, I stumbled across something I’ve been wanting for a while now: a Toothless kigurumi.
Of course I bought it, and I’m not going to lie, I wore it around Gen Con for a couple hours. It’s so comfy, and cute, and it has pockets! It’s amazing and I love it, haha.
Today also involved some last-minute planning for tomorrow’s LARP game. I’m really excited for it – and I hope everything goes well tomorrow!
And there you have it: my Friday at Gen Con! (It looks like I didn’t do much, but there was a lot of aimless wandering in costume, heh.) Come back tomorrow for Day 3 at Gen Con!
Day one of Gen Con has been a blast so far – and it’s not quite over yet! I’ve got some down time, though, and figured I’d post about the day so far.
Long story short: Gen Con is great, as always! I always love how I manage to find people from all areas of my life here – in the past 36 hours, I’ve seen two people from my LARP group, one of my co-workers, a bunch of folks from a professional organization I’m a member of, and my mom-in-law – all here at the convention! It’s strange and wonderful, seeing people from all the different parts of my life in the same place.
Today was split between wandering around the convention center/dealer’s hall and hanging out with some friends at the board game library. I’ll admit, I was pretty excited to get to play games on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium – they’re definitely the type of game I’m interested in as opposed to football, haha.
And while I didn’t end up wearing the costume for very long (multiple layers of polyester = very bad idea), I did manage to get a couple of photos in my President Roslin costume in front of this advertisement for a Battlestar Galactica game! Ross and I picked it up, and Ross is currently watching videos about it as I’m writing, heheh.
And speaking of games, I picked up a copy of Fuzzy Mage Fight – I’m excited to play it, it looks like fun! (Plus, I’m a sucker for cute furry animals.) I also picked up some Blue Rose books (surprise, surprise) and a couple of other goodies. All in all, a fun first day at the convention!
Tomorrow, I’m demoing the game Arch Ravelry, as well as finally getting to wear my Jadzia costume! I hope I don’t end up roasting in it like I did in my President Roslin costume, but if I do end up overheating, I have a secret backup Jadzia costume, just in case. 🙂
So it turns out I’m actually going to do three costumes this year! I got hit with the grand idea for costume number three while I was taking a walk at work on Friday: how fun would it be to cosplay as both Jadzia and Ezri on the same day? All I need to transform from Jadzia to Ezri is a pixie-cut wig – which I found on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. So, surprise! I’m gonna cosplay as Ezri in addition to Jadzia and President Roslin.
I’ve also got a separate costume for the Blue Rose LARP I’m helping run! Keep an eye out for Liana Masri – envoy in the Sovereign’s Finest, bard, and hopeful Aldin noble. I’ll be wearing a royal purple shirt and skirt with a beautiful spring green corset for Liana’s costume.
For those of you who might be going to Gen Con and want to say hi, here’s my costume schedule, so you know who to look for!
Thursday: President Laura Roslin
Friday: Jadzia and Ezri
Saturday: Liana (for the Blue Rose LARP)
Sunday: exhausted nerd (likely wearing my Crafty Nerd shirt and a kilt)
This year’s games
Once again, I’m helping Phoenix Fire LARP run a game at Gen Con – this year we’re hosting Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, which is loosely based on the Blue Rose tabletop game that J’s been running for a small group of our friends for almost two years now. I’m excited – not just for getting to LARP as Liana, but also to see our small tabletop group all dressed up as our characters! And to see J in the role of Fosteno (*fancy hand swoosh*), one of the instructors from our game. (Fosteno is so fancy, he gets a hand-swoosh every time anyone says his name, haha.)
In addition to helping run a game, I’m also attending a demo of a knitting-themed game – ArchRavelry! I’m curious to see what it’s like. I’ve also got plans to wander around the dealer’s room on Friday and learn about as many games as I can. Given how my work has started focusing on how to make training fun by gamifying it, I’ll definitely be looking for inspiration for work projects.
Trade Day excitement
I’m also going to Trade Day this year, with my co-worker and fellow geeky media creator, Rachel of the Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast! As I mentioned previously, our work has shifted to include exploring gamification of learning, so we’re going to a number of Trade Day events to learn about how others approach games in education. We’re both excited about being able to take things we learn at Gen Con back to our work! I may nerd out about gamifying training at some point post-Gen Con, since it’s a delightful combination of two things I really enjoy: gaming and teaching.
Gen Con coverage
Like in previous years, I’ll be posting the following:
a summary each day of my Gen Con experiences,
after-con posts about events, cosplay, and the con in general
the Gen Con episode of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast, as it’s starting to become a tradition for me to guest-star on their Gen Con episode
I hope everyone else is as excited about Gen Con this year as I am! (Now, time to start packing for the Best Four Days in Gaming!)
With Gen Con less than a week away, it’s the perfect time to think about how to keep organized when going to a convention. There’s always so much going on at conventions, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everything. Hopefully these tips will help keep all you convention-goers organized at your next convention!
There are two big areas of organization when it comes to con-going: packing before the con and finding what you want when you get there. This post focuses on how I manage to keep myself organized when going to a convention, especially a big one like Gen Con.
Keeping organized when it comes to packing
First things first: a packing list is essential to making sure you’ve got everything you need for a convention. I actually started my Gen Con packing list last week, even though the convention’s next week. Starting that packing list early gives you the chance to add things to it as you think of them. Believe me, there’ll be lots on that list. I also make sub-lists for each cosplay I’m doing, to help make sure I don’t forget any costume pieces.
Bringing a backpack along is a good idea, although make sure it’s not so large that you knock people out with it. Your most important or frequently needed items will likely end up in your backpack. Some suggestions of what to pack in your backpack include:
A water bottle, as it’ll cheaper to refill instead of buying drinks from food vendors
Snacks, to help keep you going between meals
Painkillers of some sort, like Tylenol or Advil (which will help with any headaches or sore muscles from walking so much)
Backup battery for your cellphone, or a spare charger
Money, kept in a safe place
Hand sanitizer, to help keep con crud at bay
Keeping track of events and vendors
Figuring out where I need to be and what vendors I want to check out is also important. Using a calendaring app, like Google Calendar, keeps me organized on the event side of things. As I register for events, I put them in my schedule, and then I can schedule meetups with friends around my registered events.
It’s also handy to plan out what vendors you really want to visit ahead of time, so you can check them out first in the dealer’s hall. If there’s a map of the dealer’s hall on the con’s website, that’s even better! Print it out and mark it up with where you want to go ahead of time, so you’re not lost in the sea of people trying to buy things. For example, I already know I want to hunt down Dryad Tea (for their limited edition Gen Con tea!), Jeph Jacques’ booth (I love his webcomic, Questionable Content), and the Green Ronin booth (there are Blue Rose books I need to buy!). I’ll be hunting them down on the dealer’s hall map tonight and marking them out so I can find my way to them quickly.
And that’s how I keep organized at conventions: keep track of everything in my calendar, write up a packing list well in advance, and make note of what vendors I want to check out! Hopefully this helps other convention-goers keep organized as you prep for conventions, whether it’s Gen Con or something else! Speaking of Gen Con: stay tuned for plenty of Gen Con coverage over the next week and a half!
Folks, take a look at the awesomeness that is my newly-altered Starfleet uniform for my Jadzia Dax cosplay! I love it so much. (I just need to figure out what to do with the turtleneck dickie to make it lay flat…)
I think it’s safe to say my Jadzia Dax cosplay is ready for Gen Con! Or just about ready, anyway. I picked up my uniform (as you can see), bought the makeup I need, and now I just need to figure out how to style my hair. (It’ll probably involve some hairspray and a curling iron, I think…)
Plus, I got some practice drawing trill spots recently!
It was a lot easier to paint them on than I’d originally thought! I decided to switch to brown liquid eyeliner instead of black, though, to make it a little more natural looking. I’ll likely test out the trill spots in brown this weekend. For those who might be wanting to do trill spots of their own, I’ll put together a tutorial the next time I do a trill spot test run. (I might even try to make it into a video!)
I’m so incredibly excited about this costume, folks. While it’s nowhere near as elaborate as last year’s Sailor Moon costume, it’s still pretty dang awesome – I’m excited to get to be Jadzia Dax for a few days at Gen Con! As I’ve said before, Jadzia is my favorite Star Trek character, and cosplaying her has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I can’t wait to see what people think of her at Gen Con this year!