August 19, 2013

Convention Recap GenCon 2013

For those not keeping score, I spent last weekend at GENCON! GenCon is a 4 day (almost 5 now) long convention devoted to GAMING. That means tabletop RPGs (pen and paper usually), Board Games, Card Games, Collectible Card Games, Miniature Games and Painting, Artwork, Geekiness, Costumes, Crafts, and a whole handful of things I'm sure I have yet to see (and I've been going for 6 years now).

Last year they had approximately 41,000 unique tickets sold, and this year it was predicted to have at least a 20% increase. I'd believe it. This was the scene at the doors to the dealer hall on Saturday. Thursday was even worse. (and this picture is only about 2/3rds of the doors available, this crowd was also like this on the other side of the escalator).

Just a few people, eh?

Now, of course, I couldn't go to a con without being in costume, so Thursday was Runelords day, and Rajamitsu, Samaru, and I all dressed up from it. I went as my wizard Amadea, Rajamitsu was Nadya the Rogue, and Samaru went as "The DungeonMaster", which I am working on going through all the pictures. But here's Nadya and Amadea!

This is one of the few times she was taller than me :P

This is what I made that staff for, which I'll post some better pics of it later. It turned out really really nice. Unfortunately, my boots had lost all their padding and I didn't have insoles in, and they totally tore up my feet on Thursday, so walking was kind of special the next few days.

So we spent a lot of Thursday wandering the dealer hall, checking out the booths. Needless to say, the dealer hall is also EXTRAORDINARLY huge. In the dealer hall, there are not only booths selling things, but tons of games to test and try out, and cool swag.

I spent a lot of time roving around the Paizo booth, because they are awesome people and I love Pathfinder. (The tabletop RPG that I play currently).Their booth was twice as big this year, and I spend Saturday morning playing their new Rise of the Runelords card game, which was surprisingly fun, so hopefully they'll do more paths in the future.

Each day I gathered lunch from the Food Truck Alley. For those who don't know, Food Trucks are like little gourmet restaurants on wheels. And every year at GenCon they fill the avenue outside the convention center built for the trucks. I unfortunately forgot to get a picture of said food trucks (whoops), but I got some AMAZING food from them. I had an amazing Vodka Marinara from an Italian Truck, I had a few servings of awesome Perogis and All Beef Hotdogs (They were sometimes the easiest truck for me to find on other days), and some great pizza, and fries with fancy toppings. There were all sorts of others like Thai food, Indian Food, BBQ, and more. Maybe I'll try more next year. OH. And dessert trucks that I was just too full to try, but maybe I'll plan for it next year.

GenCon and it's Exhibitors can't help but be hooligans, so at the Food Truck Alley, Mayfair set up this Catan themed van, with their Sheep driving it.

I don't know if he's got a proper license for that...

Thursday came and went, and then came Friday! I was dressed at Elizabeth from Black Butler, and Dave and I helped out with ...And Sewing is Half the Battle's seminars. It was a lot of fun. :D Their seminars include Wing making, Armor and Props, and they had a pretty Comb & Snood panel I hadn't seen before. The attendees came up with such awesome ideas!

Inbetween some of the earlier panels, I had a Ciel that showed up and we went and took a bunch of photos early on so they could head out and do whatever they needed to. I'm currently going through those photos during this week.

Oh Ciel! Don't be so grumpy! IT'S GENCON!

I had forgotten my crinoline fluff, so I felt less floofy, but was still shocked at the amount of fluffiness I just got right from the ruffled skirt itself!

Then came Saturday! Our big wandering day, and we were planning on viewing the Masquerade to cheer on the Sewing is Half the Battle team. (They needed some awesome audience participation).

So during the first half the day, Aris and I wandered around a lot, and I took a lot of scenery photos. We found this particular panel room, and it made me happy!

That's right, not only are the adults who come are gaming, but their KIDS are more than welcome to sessions. HOW COOL IS THAT. Yes..... breeding the future generation of gamers, one convention at a time. Keep up the awesome work, Paizo. *thumbs up*

Now Saturday was the day I was debuting my latest outfit I had made (surprisingly in the span of 1.5 days at most), due to stress I was having a heckuva time trying to sew. I was the lovely fellow on the right, and Rajamitsu was the one on the Left. These are Lucas and Stephen, respectively - and they're from our Pathfinder Game on Tuesdays.

Lots of fun pictures were taken that day, and yes, I'm still going through them myself. It'll be a little while as I have some IRL stuff to take care of.

We then proceeded to the Masqeurade which was fun, since I was somewhat close to the stage this time! The costumes have very much improved over the past few years I've seen the show, and I had a really good time. Also, ASiHtB broke a chair on stage and it was GLORIOUS. Apparently it was supposed to have broken into 3 or 4 pieces, but was an old chair and in theory bugs had gotten to it. So when it was smashed on stage, it certainly broke apart, but instead of pieces, it practically turned to SAWDUST. Thankfully the stage was a hard flooring so it didn't take too long to clean up.

We then gathered all our selves up and headed to get some dinner (after fleeing the halftime show), and had dinner at this great restaurant named "Acapulco Joes" for some awesome mexican food (one of my favorites). Then headed to the house we were staying at and pretty much just lounged the rest of the evening. We were all really really tired.

Sunday came, and we packed up and got ready to go. We only spent about 4 hours at most at the show on Sunday, and then headed out after an early dinner so we could be home at a decent time. But it was good, I got some new dice (please don't fail any more will saves, thank you), a shirt, and a cool spinney ring thing.

As a last part treat, here's some of the cool miniatures that I saw at the convention (I'm working on actually trying to paint figures so they're all pretty and artistic, so these were some pretty cool examples I saw).

This one is actually made of paper. Believe it or NOT.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. It was good to get away from the craziness that is about to descend here upon me. It's gonna get a little hectic so postings will decrease until probably mid September.

Next up I have is Kaizoku Con up in Grand Haven Michigan and then Wedding Stuff! THEN the world returns to normal, and I'll have other things to post about then.

August 12, 2013

What is this, I don't even.

Okay, so I've been absent for a little while, I'm preparing for GENCON coming up this weekend (yay!), so I've been busy working on things for that. On top of that our roof was getting repaired (and with my bathroom skylight removed I couldn't exactly use it, so I had to flee to Panera to do some other work), and then I was invaded by some giant horrible awful bug thing, and then a bunch of wedding stuff happened.

As you can see I've been a little bit busy.

Somehow, in that time, the universe decided to flip on itself and begin to attack all my hobbies. What the crap, world??

So I guess it's time for another table-flipping world update news post from Crash Bang Labs.

The first gem on our list is this little article here:

Sci-Fi Looks at World of Make-Believe Reality in "Heroes of Cosplay"

What this article is: An article reviewing the show "Heroes of Cosplay" (From viewing one episode only). Fair 'nough. Somebody had to!

What this article should be: A short recap and overview of the concept of the show, and what happened in the first episode.

What this article did: The author, yes, "reviews" the show, but in the process interjects hurtful language because it is a hobby or event she does not understand, does not want to understand, and therefore considers cosplayers social deviants. This article also confirms my worries on the show that it will slander the hobby and we'll have to reprogram a lot of people.

Honestly, I would not have cared if this was an "opinion" piece. If this had been in the OP-ED section of the paper, I'd go "HA HA! Troll. Thanks for the entertainment." and scooted on with my life. But after taking some time thinking about it, and re-reading it, I'm disappointed in the author (and the Post) for allowing such a "review" to be written.

And before anybody jumps on me to say "Oh but they were just reviewing the show", YES. I am aware of this, however, there are certain interjections where the writer clearly states her personal bias, and that, my friends is what bothers me the most. It is to be a review of the show, not a judgement on what the show was due to personal thoughts.

Some golden snippets:
"I’m so confused—or maybe they are. 
In case you don’t know, (and I sure didn’t), there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who spend millions upon millions of dollars on intricately constructed costumes for their personal use.
No — not just gowns or nutty Civil War costumes that people wear for reenactments. Nor is it the job description of the costume designer at a local theater group.

That’s all mere child’s play, or should I say, “cosplay” compared to real thing — cosplay. What the hell is that?"
First of, you are reviewing a show. Exclaiming "What the hell is that", already sets us up for going "okay, you clearly don't understand or want to". My OTHER favorite part was this line: not just gowns or nutty Civil War costumes that people wear for reenactments.

Not only do they insult cosplayers in the first couple of sentences, they insult all historical reenactors. Good job. You've not only pissed off the cosplayers, but you've pissed off all the Civil War, Revolutionary War, French & Indian War, Medieval & Renaissance (SCA) enthusiasts.

I may not be a reenactor, but I know some reenactors, and I do not take kindly to people insulting the crazy talented people that I know.

Snippet 2:
"It’s not enough to go to a costume store and rent a Demon Hunter outfit? I mean, seriously. Renting is so last decade!"
I understand you're trying to be humorous. I think? I just. This sentence's significance confused me and could have been written differently I think. Just from a literary perspective.

Snippet 3:
"We aren’t given any in-depth knowledge about what these folks do to earn a living in the real world that enables them to spend every waking hour and dime on making costumes."
This same could be said for car enthusiasts (which we have a lot of out here where I'm at), comic book collectors, collectible card gaming, table top role playing, people who love going to concerts, love going on trips, follow their sports teams feverishly, you see where I'm going with this...

Just because we love our hobby, and yes, spend our money on it, what is it to you if we want to spend 200 dollars on a costume or 200 dollars on a front row ticket to Avenged Sevenfold?

What this snippet actually tells me is that the show is unrepresentative of the hobby, and is displaying us as frivolous kids who can't seem to control their own budget. I wish I could find the tumblr post, but apparently somebody who watched the show made a note that apparently there are cosplayers on the show complaining about using their rent money to do costumes. What is. I don't. What?!

And last but not least:
"The weird thing, (well, all of it is weird), is that these folks really want to be the fictional characters they portray. ?
Yes. Thank you for reaffirming you think what we do is weird. By the way, reviews are not opinion pieces, just sayin'. Also, this is a completely WRONG statement. I don't know ANYBODY who wants this. We may portray our characters like we're face characters at an amusement resort, but we do NOT want to BE them.

*huffs* It's amazing what a short wiki or google search would have done for this author.

However! THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL:  Some writers took it to themselves to write some opinion rebuttals to this awful "review" (I use that term loosely) that are lovely. Here's my favorite so far:

Cosplay is Creative, Not Crazy: An Open Letter to the New York Post


You didn't think I was done yet, did you? I woke up this morning to find this article/opinon/personal review (it's on something called "Observation Deck" on the i09 Gawker site, so I don't know if it's technically an "article")

Mark Millar and Todd McFarlane: Ladies, Comics Aren't For You

I'm still researching this one, but apparently a couple of big name comic artists spend some articles and panel talks stroking each others egos, and claiming that they can't help the way women are portrayed in comics because, you know, history.

Also, apparently there was an article on Wired, which apparently opened up a whole world of trolls and scared guys to which one apparently stated "Comics are a Man's World."

I am not going to write a disseration on this just yet. I need to gather more data. Thankfully the female comic artists I follow on tumblr have been helping and providing links and things. :)

By Faith Erin Hicks

So I'm gonna now go prep for Gencon. Maybe when I return the world will have figured itself out a little more...

August 5, 2013

Upcoming Events - Kaizoku Con Spotlight

Long time no chat. Turns out they spent quite some time working on the roof last week, so I had no computer easily available to do things like draw and what not.

Then the laptop died. I am still trying to diagnose it, so hopefully I can find some way to save it. On the bright side, the hard drive is really easy to extract and if I need to I can probably hook it up to the tower.

For today's post I wanted to submit some fun news along with an UpComing Convention Spotlight! Namely, these are conventions I'm most likely attending in the near future (or have attended before) and I just want to get the word out.

I have one show between now and this show, but I wanted to spread the word quicker on this one. :)

At the end of August, I will be attending the convention known as S.S. KAIZOKU CON!

Can be found at:

It's a first-year convention that'll be on the west side of the state of Michigan, I believe it is in an area called Grand Haven! Which, for those unawares, is about a 20-25 minute drive west of GVSU where JAFAX occurs. So if you're local, you have a brand new local convention! Huzzah!

Since they are so brand new, they've been reaching out to local identities to be Guests for their show, and I was one of the lucky ones they asked! That's right, I'm technically going to be a GUEST at a convention. A small one, but I hope to do my role justice and be my normal, wacky self.

For those who have pre-ordered a badge, I just happened to also be the winner of their badge design contest!

I will be located in their Artist Alley selling my prints and comics as always! On top of that, I will be presenting a couple of panels:

How To Artist Alley with Crash Bang Labs
Are you vending in an artist alley? Are you planning on trying it in the future? Join Crash Bang Labs for a “crash course” in customer service and presentation!

Time in a Box: Tips for Comic Panel Layouts
A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a terrible layout only spells disaster! Join Crash Bang Labs for a discussion panel about Comic Panel layouts and composition. Whether you’re drawing a single comic strip or a full chapter book, the tips and tricks in this panel will help you tell your story your way!

What goes under WHERE?
Everybody talks about how to make your costume. But nobody talks about what goes UNDER your costume! Come in and join Karmada for a discussion panel about what we wear under our costumes for support, modesty, and overall comfort!


Two of the panels are new to my panel offerings, the first being "How to Artist Alley", where yes, we'll talk about what you need to run a table, but more importantly we want to talk about how to handle customers and make your booth as inviting as possible!

The second new panel is one I've been contemplating doing for a while, which is a panel about what we wear under our cosplays. Not only does underwear help you fit into costumes, it also complements them and make you feel more secure when you're in a cosplay! So come in for a fun time, I should hopefully have some good resources for finding the proper undergarments. 

The other cosplay panels I usually offer will be presented by my good friend Samaru, and I'll be in the Alley next to Rajamitsu! Her chibis are super duper cute, so you should come by and buy them before I buy them all! I also be next to my good friend Fan-Tastic! (I don't have a link for her works, but she does some very pretty jewelry!) At least, I should be located next to them per my requests. :) We'll find a way to make it work!

The show is also offering a Cosplay Costume Contest (different from their Masquerade Ball - I got it confused myself because I'm an old, and I'm used to Masquerade being a contest)! So if you have been thinking of entering, why not try? Little cons are a great spot to get started on the competition circuit. Their contest information is located here: COSPLAY CONTEST INFORMATION

It should be a fun time, so if you're looking for a small cozy convention to visit around Labor Day, Kaizoku is your place. Come for the convention, stay for the fun!