Category: Nerdy things

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo 2019!

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 ad.

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!

Me in my Jadzia Dax costume!

I also got to hang out with some of my nerdy blogging buddies – Rachel, Lizz, and Tony!

Myself as Jadzia, Rachel in her Timebuster gear, and Lizz as the 13th Doctor.
Myself, Rachel, and Lizz! Not pictured: Tony, because he was taking the picture.

I also ran into another familiar face while I was there – or, more accurately, familiar droid!

Rachel and I with the same R2-D2 I posted about a few weeks ago.

And yes, that’s the same R2-D2 I had my picture taken with at IU Southeast a few weeks ago! That little droid sure gets around. 😊

Overall, I enjoyed ITCE – it was busy but not overcrowded, and there was enough to do and see without feeling overwhelmed. I’m planning on coming back next year!

 

Gen Con 2019: The Haul

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!

Photo of my Gen Con 2019 Haul.
Some – but not all! – of the haul.

Want to hear more about what I got? Read on!

Read More

Gen Con 2019: The Cosplay Post

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!

My Gen Con 2019 cosplay photos - President Roslin on the left, and Jadzia Dax on the right.
Left: President Roslin, right: Jadzia 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!

Read More

Gen Con 2019: The Report

It’s that time of year again – time for the Gen Con 2019 report!

Lucas Oil Stadium, with the football field covered with board gaming tables.
I’ll admit, I’ve only ever gone to Lucas Oil Stadium to play nerdy games, and not to watch the Colts…

A record breaking year

This year was a pretty good year for Gen Con! The convention had another record-breaking year, with almost 70,000 attendees, 19,600 ticketed events, and 538 exhibitors. Plus, Gen Con and Make-a-Wish helped grant a 13-year-old boy his wish to come to Gen Con and play Dungeons and Dragons! Drake Kiderlen made the first dice roll of the convention, too, for Gen Con’s annual charity dice roll.

Drake Kiderlen making the first dice roll of Gen Con on Thursday morning.
Drake ended up rolling two sixes!

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:

Cardhalla from day 1 of Gen Con.
Cardhalla 2019, in its early stages.

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.

Cardhalla on Saturday morning.
Cardhalla on Saturday morning. I’m bummed that I didn’t get to see it on Sunday!

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!)

Stay tuned for the next post in my Gen Con 2019 coverage, focusing on all the goodies I got at the con!

Gen Con 2019, Day 3 and 4

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

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!

Gray and white dog dressed up as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

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!

A photo of Gandalf the dog wearing a Starfleet uniform, with a paw print signature at the bottom right corner.

After wandering the convention center for a bit, it was time for the LARP!

Me wearing a purple shirt with puffy sleeves and a green corset dress.

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

Me wearing a Toothless kigurumi.
I was one exhausted nerd on Sunday.

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!

Gen Con 2019, Day 2

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.

Me, dressed up as Jadzia Dax.

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.

My friend Kasi and I, both wearing Starfleet science officer uniforms, with trill spot makeup on.

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.

The top half of my new 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!

Gen Con 2019, Day 1

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.

Georgia St. sign in downtown Indy temporarily replaced with a Gen Con Ln sign.

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.

Lucas Oil Stadium, entering the football field where, instead of football, boardgames are being played.
I love going into Lucas Oil Stadium to see the football field covered in games.

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.

Me dressed as President Roslyn from Battlestar Galactica, in front of a wall with Battlestar Galactica characters on it.

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.

A demo of the game Fuzzy Mage Fight.

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. 🙂

Gen Con 2019: the pre-convention excited flaily post

Banner image of Ezri Dax, President Laura Roslin, and Jadzia Dax with the text 'The Crafty Nerd at Gen Con' at the bottom of the image.
I think I love this graphic even more than the one I made for last year’s Gen Con.

It’s that time of year, folks: almost time for Gen Con. And in case you couldn’t tell by some of my previous Gen Con posts for this year, I’m excited.

This year’s costumes

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!)

Keeping organized: the convention-goers edition

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.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Notebook open to a packing list for Gen Con,.
Can’t forget the important stuff: dice, stickers, and business cards. Well, and everything else on the list.

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.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Screenshot of my Google Calendar for Gen Con 2019 - there's only four events in it.
My schedule this year is a bit calmer than last year’s – I’m only helping run one LARP this year!

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!

Gen Con 2019 cosplay progress: Jadzia Dax

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…)

Me in my newly altered Starfleet uniform for my Jadzia Dax cosplay!
Ignore the bare feet, haha.

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…)

Liby at Bloomington Stitchery clearly had fun altering my Starfleet uniform. 😀

Collage of photos of Liby from Bloomington Stitchery - on the left side, she's embracing my Starfleet uniform while it's hanging up, and on the right she's wearing the uniform.
Liby’s channeling the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager in the photo on the right, haha.

Plus, I got some practice drawing trill spots recently!

A photo of myself with trill markings on one side of my face, close to my hairline.

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!

Nerdy tidbits: June 2019

Well, we’re almost at the end of June, which means it’s time for another edition of Nerdy Tidbits! Read on to learn more about the fun nerdy tidbits of June 2019 that didn’t quite fit into their own posts!

A crafty and nerdy tidbit: Picking up cross stitching again

Oh, cross stitch. Back when I was younger, it was one of the first crafts I picked up, along with sewing and knitting. I really enjoyed making cross stitch projects, but was never very good at finishing them. (For example, I’ve got a Sherlock wallpaper cross-stitch project I’ve been working on for my friend Josie’s birthday for… four years now?) Eventually, I told myself that after I finished the two projects I had in progress, I was done with cross stitching for a while. Since I hardly ever finish cross-stitch projects, it seemed like the best idea.

Then I found this pattern, which I thought would be perfect to make for Ross.

A June 2019 nerdy tidbit: Picture of the cross stitch pattern "Evening in the Shire".

So, I bought it and supplies to make it, and I’ve made some pretty good progress on it! I’m almost to the point where I can start all that backstitching. For those of you who are interested to see how it’s coming along, I’ll be posting occasional updates to The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – so if you’re not already following it, you should! If you want to make the pattern for yourself, you can buy it here on Etsy.

An awesome tidbit: Captain Janeway monument in Bloomington!

A June 2019 nerdy tidbit: Photo of a Captain Janeway Christmas ornament next to an Indiana vanity license plate that says JANEWAY.

Here’s a Star Trek tidbit for you all! My fellow Star Trek fans might remember that Captain Janeway’s birthday was last month – May 20th, to be exact. In fact, according to the show, she was born right here in Bloomington! To celebrate the occasion, I posted the picture above on Facebook – and it was shared to a group of Bloomington Janeway fans! The Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective is in the process of getting a monument to Janeway built in town. How awesome is that? Fundraising is starting soon, and if you’re curious to learn more about the monument, check out the group’s Facebook page.

An old nerdy tidbit: Echo Chernik’s Auri sketch, and where it ended up

This is an older tidbit, but one that still makes me happy. When I was digging through my Gen Con archives recently, I was reminded of something that happened at last year’s Gen Con: Ross and I getting to look at Echo Chernik’s sketchbook. Specifically, we were excited about the Auri sketch for the Name of the Wind playing card Kickstarter.

A nerdy tidbit from last year: Auri sketch from Echo Chernik's sketchbook.
Here’s the Auri sketch, still in Echo’s sketchbook!

I figured that would be the end of things with that sketch, but I was wrong!

It turns out my good friend J went and visited Echo Chernik after I sent him a picture of the sketch, and he went and bought it. And it was actually in my house at one point. I may have flailed a bit when he brought the sketch over, because honestly, I never thought I’d see it again.

The same Auri sketch from earlier, being held by my friend J.
And here’s the sketch, inside my house! *flail*

Tiny tidbit: I love Bloomington Stitchery

And last, a final little tidbit about Bloomington Stitchery -I mentioned recently that I brought my Starfleet science officer uniform over to them to get it altered. Well, this morning I had the brilliant shower thought about adding pockets to the uniform. Then I realized I should have asked to add pockets to it while I was there. (Cue me facepalming.) Of course, I rambled about it on Facebook, and they said “hey, we might still be able to do that, just email us to remind us!”

I seriously love these folks, and I can’t wait to see how my Starfleet uniform turns out! If you’re in the Bloomington area and need alterations done, you should check them out.

Well, that’s the Nerdy Tidbits for June 2019! Stay tuned for next month’s collection of tiny nerdy stories, which will probably include a lot of Gen Con prep.

Gen Con 2019 planning: Cosplay

Ahh, cosplay – it’s one of the things I really enjoy doing at conventions. Every year, I spend a chunk of time thinking about what cosplays I should do for Gen Con. And of course, 2019 is no different. Back in February, I wrote about a couple of costume ideas I had, including Lapis from Steven Universe, a casual Usagi costume, and potentially resurrecting my Pinkie Pie costume. However, if you’ve been reading the blog recently, you’ll notice I’ve tossed those ideas out the window for something new.

Not only did I pick new costumes, I’ve even got a theme this year: strong women of sci-fi. For my Gen Con 2019 cosplay, I’ll be going as Jadzia Dax and President Laura Roslin!

Jadzia Dax and President Roslin, the two characters I'm planning to cosplay as for Gen Con 2019.

Why the cosplay switch?

There are a couple of reasons I switched to Jadzia and Roslin for Gen Con. First off, the hotel Ross and I originally had for Gen Con was out by the Indianapolis airport, and that meant planning comfortable cosplay outfits. That takes Sailor Moon out of the running for this year (oh god, those boots were PAINFUL), and possibly Pinkie Pie as I typically wear a corset under the costume to help everything sit nicely on my frame. I also wasn’t sure about Lapis, because she wears flip flops – which can be problematic. Flip flops aren’t always comfortable, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want unprotected toes while wandering the dealer’s hall.

So, this brought up the following question: what the heck am I going to wear to Gen Con?

The ideas: Roslin and Jadzia

You might remember from pretty much every What I’m Watching post up until May that I finally got to watch Battlestar Galactica – and one of my favorite characters is President Roslin. She stood up for what she thought was right, and did what she thought was best for the survivors of the 12 Colonies. Sure, she may have made some questionable decisions, but in Battlestar Galactica, who didn’t? Throughout the four seasons of the show, I ended up growing really attached to her character. When I realized I have a suit in my closet that looks like something she’d wear, the idea to cosplay as President Roslin was born.

I’ve also been wanting to cosplay as Jadzia for a while. She’s my favorite character in all of Star Trek, for a number of reasons. First of all, she’s determined, as shown by the fact that she didn’t give up on her goal of becoming a Trill symbiont – even after initially being rejected from the program. Jadzia’s also very confident in herself, which is something I’m continually aspiring to be. And she goes adventuring with Klingons! How awesome is that?

The costumes

Of course, the most fun part of cosplaying is actually putting together each costume. While I don’t have to gather as much for President Roslin and Jadzia as I did for Sailor Moon last year, I’ve still got some costume assembly to do.

President Laura Roslin

One of my Gen Con 2019 cosplays: The suit and shirt I'm planning on wearing for my President Roslin cosplay.
Sure, the pant legs are a little wide and the jacket sleeves are a little short, but I can totally see Roslin wearing this.

President Roslin’s costume was really easy to put together – I already have everything I need for her cosplay in my closet! Between the dark brown pinstripe suit I picked up at a consignment shop years ago and a simple white blouse-like camisole, I’ve got everything ready for Roslin right now. I’ll likely wear my leather riding boots with her costume, as likely only the toes will be visible from under the pant legs. (If not, I’ve got other shoes I can wear.) I just need to try everything on and make sure it all fits. If not, it’ll likely have to be altered. Which brings me to Jadzia…

Jadzia Dax

One of my Gen Con 2019 cosplays: the Starfleet uniform for Jadzia, which is way too big for me at the moment.
I forgot to get a picture of myself wearing this before I brought it to be altered, but believe me, it looked like I was wearing oversized pajamas.

Jadzia’s costume is a little more complicated. The closest thing I’ve got in my wardrobe to Jadzia’s science officer uniform are a pair of Star Trek: The Next Generation science officer pajamas. Well-worn pajamas aren’t exactly what I’m looking for, so I decided to get a DS9-era Starfleet uniform from Amazon. I figured it wouldn’t be the greatest quality, since it was only $25, but it’s better than nothing, right? The last time I bought a Starfleet uniform from Amazon, it ended up being too small. So, I went a size bigger with this one.

That resulted in a Starfleet uniform that’s comically large on me. The crotch is down practically to my knees, and the arms and legs are way too long. If it were just the arms and legs being too long, I’d alter it myself. Altering the torso part, however, is a little beyond my skill level. Rather than try to fix it myself, I decided to take it someplace to get it altered. Thankfully, there’s an awesome place in town that does tailoring and alterations – Bloomington Stitchery! One of the owners (Liby, I think? I am bad at matching names with faces) nerded out with me about Star Trek and Gen Con while pinning up the uniform. I’ll be sure to post pictures again in a few weeks when the alterations are done!

And that’s where things are at with my Gen Con cosplay for 2019 so far – once my Starfleet uniform is altered, I’ll try that and my suit for Roslin on and share pictures!

What I’m watching: June 2019

Hooray, a What I’m Watching post that isn’t at the very end of the month! I’ve only watched a few TV shows so far this month – one’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and another is a suggestion of Ross’s that I really liked. Curious about what I’m watching in June 2019? Read on!

Riverdale season 3

What I'm watching in June: Riverdale. Photo features the main cast of the show.
Oh, you silly teenagers, getting into so much ridiculous trouble.

I’ll admit, Riverdale is a guilty pleasure of mine. My mom-in-law first introduced me to the series, and while it’s a little cheesy and over-the-top at times, I love it. For those who haven’t heard of Riverdale: it’s a slightly darker take on the usually cheery Archie Comics. There’s definitely a lot of teen drama in this show, and I often find myself shaking my head and saying “come on, kids, what the heck are you doing?”

The third season of Riverdale, recently released on Netflix, is no different. The gang ends up getting really interested in a roleplaying game, Gryphons and Gargoyles. Sounds an awful lot like Dungeons and Dragons, doesn’t it? However, the plotline takes a sinister turn when what I originally thought was a throwback to the D&D Satanic Panic of the 80s actually ends up involving some seriously evil entities. Season 3 of Riverdale honestly feels like Riverdale meets Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. (Then again, the towns of Riverdale and Greendale are close to each other, so who’s to say Sabrina won’t show up in Riverdale someday?)

While the show took a weird turn this season, I’m still enjoying it, and I’m really curious to see where things go. I’m only about halfway through season 3 at this point, so stay tuned to next month’s What I’m Watching to find out what I think of the second half!

Riverdale on Netflix

Chernobyl

What I'm watching in June: Chernobyl. Image is from the beginning of the first episode, featuring two of the power plant workers.
I kept yelling at the guy in the foreground, Anatoly Dyatlov, while watching Chernobyl.

Ross suggested we watch this one, and said it had good reviews, so I figured I’d give it a try. (Apparently fans of Game of Thrones feel that Chernobyl makes up for the last few episodes of season 8, haha.) And oh, it is good.

When the Chernobyl disaster happened, I was almost four years old, so I don’t remember hearing about it on the news. I’ve always been curious about it, though, and the Chernobyl mini-series does a very good job of putting a human face on the horrific accident. It’s one thing to read about it in history books, but to see it play out visually gives it far more impact. From the people working at the reactor the night Chernobyl exploded to the ordinary people whose lives it impacted, we get to see a glimpse of many different sides of the story.

I found myself on the edge of my seat a number of times while watching Chernobyl, and occasionally yelling at the characters to get out the reactor building or get away from their irradiated friends, because they’d die otherwise. Or yelling at Anatoly Dyatlov, the person in charge of the test that ultimately caused the explosion, because of his very bad decisions. There was lots of TV yelling with this show, heh.

If you’re in the mood for some more somber TV watching, or are interested in the Chernobyl disaster, this show is a great one to watch.

Chernobyl on HBO

Good Omens

What I'm watching in June: Good Omens. Image features Aziraphale and Crowley from the show.
I am so in love with this show, and I’ve only seen one episode so far!

I’ve been looking forward to this one, for a number of reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, for one, and I was also excited to see David Tennant on screen again. It turns out that besides David Tennant, a number of other favorite actors of mine are in the show, including Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman! Good Omens did not disappoint (although at the time of this writing, I’ve only seen one episode so far). It’s very well done, and is one of the best book-to-TV adaptations I’ve seen. Then again, with one of the authors, Neil Gaiman, directing the show, how could it be bad?

Good Omens on Amazon Prime

And that’s the majority of what I’m watching this month! (Aside from Dark Matter, of course. I’ve only managed to watch one episode since the last What I’m Watching post, though. Which is a bummer.)

Keeping organized – the Magic: The Gathering edition

Welcome to another post in the Keeping Organized series – this post focuses on how I keep my Magic: The Gathering stuff organized. If you’re not all that familiar with Magic, you might think “come on, how much organizing does a deck of cards need?” Surprisingly, there’s a lot of other pieces that go into playing a game of Magic. When I started playing, I had no idea how much stuff went along with whatever deck I’m playing with. So, here’s how I keep organized when I’m playing Magic: The Gathering!

The bag

Image of a cream colored bag with the text 'Some days feel like Helvetica' on the front.
It’s not exactly a Magic-themed bag, but my inner typography nerd loves it – and it fits all my M:tG stuff perfectly.

First off, I have a bag to hold everything in. It keeps all my Magic stuff together so it’s not all over my house, and also makes it easy to grab and go when I want to play. While there are plenty of bags out there that are made specifically for holding Magic gear, I just use a simple tote bag. (I have no shortage of them, since I tend to collect them for project bags.)

If you’re looking for a Magic-specific bag, here are a couple that I’ve had my eye on:

USA Gear Deck Storage Bag on Amazon

Ultra Pro Gaming Case on Amazon

The deck box

A green, heavy-duty Magic deck box. It holds two decks of cards and also has a tray to hold extra accessories.
I love this deck box – it’s way better than the cardboard box my Saheeli deck originally came in.

This one’s kind of obvious. My deck box holds whatever deck I’m playing with, and it also holds tokens and counters that might be needed. The box I’m using now is a fancy one that holds two decks! (Eventually I’ll get a second deck.)

There are many different types of deck boxes out there, to fit any budget and any level of collecting. From simple cardboard boxes to heavy-duty storage, you’ll have no problem finding a deck box that suits you.  Here are a couple to get you started:

Ultra Pro Set of 5 Deck Boxes on Amazon

Ultimate Guard 200 Card Twin Flip N Tray Xenoskin Deck Case

Caseling Hard Case Bag for Card Games

A label maker

The same deck box shown earlier, this time focusing on the label on the front which says 'Thopterpocalypse - Izzet Artifacts Matter'.
Okay, so Saheeli doesn’t directly make thopters, but a bunch of other cards in my deck do – and it’s fun raining thopter doom on people.

While this probably isn’t necessary for those of us just starting out in the hobby, people with huge collections might benefit from a label maker. As you can see in the image above, it can be really helpful if you have a lot of pre-built decks and need to know what’s in each deck box. (Plus, it’s fun coming up with silly deck names, haha.) There are lots of options for label makers out there, and here’s a link to the one my friend J has:

Brother P-touch Label Maker on Amazon

A container for extra accessories

A tupperware container holding some small dice, a Magic: The Gathering health counter, and a dinosaur token counter.
Sometimes, simpler is better – and this is about as simple as it gets for keeping M:tG accessories together.

While my deck box does hold a fair amount of stuff, it doesn’t hold everything I need to play Magic – and that’s where my little tupperware container comes on. It currently holds health counters, dice, and regular counters, and I could easily stash extra tokens in there too. Depending on how many extra accessories you have, you might need a little more than just a tupperware container, though. My friend J, for example, has a large organizer that holds lots of counters, health counters, and other things that might come in handy when playing.

Large plastic container with the Magic: The Gathering logo on the front, holding lots of dice, health counters, and glass pebbles that are used as counters.
And sometimes, you need something bigger to keep all the bits and pieces you need organized.

You can probably find an empty container laying around at your house to use, if you need one for your extra Magic pieces.

A card holder

Wooden card holder, holding up seven Magic cards.
Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

This is quite possibly my favorite piece of Magic gear. It’s pretty simple: just a piece of wood with slits cut into it to hold up my cards while I play. This simple little piece of wood helps me see all my cards at a glance, and I can use it to keep them organized while I play. It also makes it so I can crochet or knit while I’m playing, which is an extra bonus.

Hardwood Card Holder on Amazon

Websites to keep track of my cards

I’m currently using two sites to keep track of my cards: MTGGoldfish and TCGplayer. MTG Goldfish will be more useful to me in the future, when I have more than one Commander deck.  TCG Player is definitely more helpful for me now, as it helps me keep track of all the cards I have. I figure keeping track of everything now, when I’m just starting out, will be way easier than trying to catalog everything later if I end up with a large collection of cards.

MTGGoldfish

TCGplayer

What to read after finishing Patrick Rothfuss’s books

A photo of myself with Patrick Rothfuss from Gen Con 2017.
I love this guy’s writing so much.

You’ve heard me say it before: Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing author. His writing pulled me into a story told in two parts: the story of Kote, a humble innkeeper, and Kvothe, a swordfighter/singer/magician who has been through a heck of a lot in his life so far. When I first read Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear, I tore through both books over the course of two weeks, eagerly reading whenever I had the time. When I finished Wise Man’s Fear, though, I had no idea what to read next. You might have asked yourself the same question: what to read after Patrick Rothfuss?

Fear not, fellow Patrick Rothfuss fans: you won’t have to go through the reading crisis I went through back in 2013, as I’ve got some good suggestions to keep you occupied until Doors of Stone comes out. (Or at least distract you for a little while.)

Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and Stormlight Archives series

Cover of Mistborn.Brandon Sanderson is a prolific writer.  I swear, this guy is a writing machine.  He manages to get a book out nearly every year, without fail. I am in absolute awe of his writing skills. You might think “okay, he’s cranking out so many books so quickly, but how’s the quality of his writing?” Well, folks, it’s amazing.Cover of Way of Kings.

At a friend’s suggestion, I read the first book in the Mistborn series back in 2017, and I felt the same way I felt when I first read Name of the Wind.  I was so embedded in the story of Vin and Kaladin that I ended up tearing through all the books in no time. The same thing happened with the Stormlight Archives series, which starts off with The Way of Kings. I picked it up as a free giveaway from DAW a while back – while The Way of Kings starts off a little slowly, it picks up after the first few chapters. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different main character, similar to how Game of Thrones was written. Just like with Mistborn, I found myself pulled into the story and didn’t want to leave when I finished each book.

Since I am notoriously horrible at describing book plots, I’m just going to link directly to the series on Amazon, instead of trying to cobble together a plot summary.

The Mistborn series on Amazon

The Stormlight Archive series on Amazon

Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series

Cover of Mistborn.Oh, the Codex Alera series. I’ve talked about this series before on the blog, and it still remains one of my favorites. The series starts as a coming-of-age story similar to Kvothe’s, and evolves into an epic battle to save the people of Alera – and the entire world. Codex Alera shows just how versatile Jim Butcher’s writing style is, too – it’s different from the first-person storytelling of The Dresden Files, but is just as engaging.

The Codex Alera on Amazon

David Eddings’ The Belgariad

Cover of Mistborn.The Belgariad was actually my first foray into the world of fantasy novels, back in high school. All these years later, the series still stands strong and is still an engaging read. It’s another coming of age story that focuses on Garion, a farm boy who lives a quiet life with his Aunt Pol. The Belgariad is an introduction to a much larger story, so if you find yourself enjoying this series, there’s definitely more where that came from.

The Belgariad, Vol. 1 on Amazon

The Belgariad, Vol. 2 on Amazon

Do you have suggestions for books that Patrick Rothfuss fans might like? Share them in the comments!