Equipped Inventory

Back on our old blog we had a project we were working on with certain outfits and certain video games. We were hitting up thrift stores almost weekly around that time looking for things to modify for costumes and other stuff we were working on so this happened to be another thing that came from those trips. We had six posts on this tag and have gathered them all here for posterity since we’re taking down our old blog archive soon!

The description that followed every Equipped Inventory post was this, which covers exactly what it was: Equipped Inventory is a monthly feature here at Zhobot where we take a video game character and put together an outfit inspired by them with mostly things we already own or things we’ve found at thrift stores! Some will be normal outfits while the best adjective for others will probably be “ridiculous”…


MARIO – SUPER MARIO BROS. SERIES – originally posted on April 10, 2013

We thought we’d start off with one of the most recognizable video game characters around Mario – Mario (and also one of our least ridiculous ideas)! I’m a total jeans-and-t-shirt person pretty much 97% of my free time so I wanted to try something completely off the wall for me fashion-wise when putting this outfit together. That would be a skirt for me, no really. I rarely wear skirts and dresses (I’m trying to change, I told you). I really would like to start wearing skirts and such but I don’t really go anywhere besides work (which I wear a blouse and slacks to) where looking really put together is needed (grocery store, gas station, etc. – like I said jeans-and-t-shirt here SO COMFY AND EASY BREEZY beautiful cover girl) so I stick with my comfort zone.

Since I started this post when it was still cold out (AND IT SNOWED IN MARCH?) and Mario also wears a hat, that’s where the tights, sweater and hat come in. We debated on ways to include the whole coverall thing here but we were kind of stumped (when I did a femme!Mario outfit one year at Otakon awhile back, I did include them though! ;D) so we passed on that. The skirt and sweater were thrift store purchases and the boots I already owned, while the tights were $5 at Target! On a late night run to the Mart of Wal to get Nate’s coveralls he used for his last minute Sigma (Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward) costume for MAGFest 2013, I came across a winter hat for $4! I couldn’t pass up that wallet either, I’m sorry. IT HAS LUIGI ON IT NO ONE EVER PAYS ENOUGH ATTENTION TO LUIGI HE IS MY WEAKNESS. <3 I also actually needed a new wallet so this worked out splendidly.

Anyways, a pretty simple outfit for one of the most recognizable characters! All the outfits we do that could be normal outfits will probably be pretty simple but we like doing all sorts of things to show our love for gaming so this just seemed like something to start up on Zhobot!


WHEATLEY – PORTAL 2 – originally posted on May 16, 2013

What character says “I’m going to murder you with a friendly English accent” better than our buddy from Portal 2, Wheatley! Wheatley Be not afraid gentle readers, this outfit won’t actually kill you. Four parts scavenged niceties from the thrift shop, one part Walmart (sorry buddy, I know you had it rough before you controlled all of Aperture, but still…), this look will instantly declare you as king of science! Or king of the science lab. Or maybe just king of your own twisted fantasies. The bright metallic blue tie is the eye of the set, giving contrast to the other pieces. The white hoodie gives you that lab nerd look without the smell of sulfuric acid. And the shoes? Well, we haven’t quite decided yet. Rest assured they’ll disintegrate your socks off!


SINDEL – MORTAL KOMBAT SERIES – originally posted June 27, 2013

While wandering through the thrift store for pieces for this feature, Sindel I stumbled across this dress – which is a couple sizes too big for me, but I couldn’t pass it up. There are so many games we play that embrace the color purple (Dance Central 3, Saints Row, etc.) but for some reason my mind instantly went to SINDEL. Also, lots of things remind me of Sindel because I wanted to be her when I was younger i whip my hair back and forth i whip my hair back and forth. Now, I feel like some shoulder pads a la 80’s-power-suit would’ve been very appropriate for her, but this works too. Add crazy black stiletto boots (that were black until I spraypainted them green for a Poison Ivy costume and then spraypainted back to black for other costumes) as well as a necklace and black/white hairbands (since my hair is not as fabulous and black and white as hers) and you have the queen of Edenia, casual and collected. Or maybe ready for an adult prom. Or something. I don’t know. Ridiculous Earth Sindel with red hair.

This will probably be my closest thing to costuming as her because she is so amazing and I don’t think I could ever pull anything of hers off. Hair, outfit, ANYTHING. Maybe the scream. Maybe.

 


KING OF ALL COSMOS – KATAMARI DAMACY – originally posted on July 20, 2013

It all started when Heather loudly exclaimed “ROYAL RAINBOW!!!!!” 04-koac inside a thrift store. I was then transported into the stars by a beam of colorey light while becoming surrounded with thousands of small cylinder-headed creatures. Ok, that didn’t really happen. What did happen is that Heather found a crazy tie-dyed shirt and declared that I must do an outfit inspired by the King of All Cosmos. Who is a total sleaze, by the way. I mean what, he wrecks all the stars in the sky and then expects his son to clean up the mess? At least he’s got his fashion wits about him. Surprisingly the shirt was the “newest” part of the outfit. The remaining pieces are a recycled grab bag. The pants are a part of my Oblio garb, the belt a shiny beacon of my Ken costume, and the crown is an unused piece Heather bought. Oh it was fabulous enough, it just wouldn’t stay on her head. I guess my massive cranium is more like the King’s than I thought. Of course I’m not wearing trash cans on either sides of my head. You gotta draw the line somewhere.

Sadly this last photo was altered by a fuzzy interplanetary beast. It appears she was jealous of my swagger and hoped to claim the gleam of the camera for herself.


KINZIE KENSINGTON – SAINTS ROW SERIES – originally posted on August 19, 2013

Not only is Kinzie my favorite Saints Row character, Kinzie Kensington - Saints Row she is also in my list of top ten favorite fictional characters in general. I can’t resist a snarky redhead shut-in who is glued to her computer and doesn’t sleep. I’ve put together costumes of her outfit from Saints Row 3 as well as 3 of her outfits shown in the previews/images for Saints Row IV (and am working on a fourth for MAGFest!) so it seemed natural that when my turn came up for Equipped Inventory during Saints Row IV Month, a Kinzie outfit would appear!

For the whole outfit I tried to kind of mix her casual jeans and layers from SR3 with her snappy jewelry and heels from SR4. I kept the shoes not-too-fancy and the hair still sort of SR3 messy. The purple overshirt came from our favorite thrift store and the bracelet was the one I made for the first SR4 Kinzie costume I put together before PAX East 2013. Everything else I already had in my closet. I couldn’t resist an Agent Kensington Kinzie outfit I JUST COULDN’T.

Caffeine. Computer. Good to go.

Make sure to keep an eye out later this week for our tutorial on how to make your own United Saints of America flag! Have fun with Saints Row IV tomorrow too – we definitely will be doing just that! :)


LU$H CREW – DANCE CENTRAL 2 – originally posted November 7, 2013

Lu$h Crew - Dance Central 2 Lu$h Crew (or the characters of Lu$h Crew, technically) appears in the whole Dance Central series but I specified DC2 in the title because this outfit was inspired by their crew outfits that they originally wear in the second Dance Central game.

I found this shirt and pair of shorts at the thrift store and was instantly reminded of the magical Lu$h Crew yacht. Originally it was going to be more of an Aubrey outfit, but it happened to fit the crew’s whole easy, breezy thing so I went with them in general instead of just her. I accented with brown sunglasses and brown sandals because all my other sandals are black, haha. This is really a “summery” sort of outfit (and it’s now November, hello cold) but these photos were taken months ago and we’ve just been too stupid/busy/spending every minute of every day napping to finally make another Equipped Inventory post! We’re working on a new layout/setup for the site too (as well as a few other projects) so we’ve been busy with that as well. Keep an eye out for everything soon!

Many thanks to Bria for getting these shots!


Maybe one day we’ll pick this project up again! Would you like to see it here at Zhobot again?

Why I Love Carol Peletier

SPOILER WARNING FOR SEASONS 1 – THE FIRST HALF OF 5 OF THE WALKING DEAD FOLLOWING THIS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. :D

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead

The mid-season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead is this Sunday! At the start of this season we shared some TWD costume photos we had taken and this go around I’m making a post about the exact character I was dressed up in those photos. The fabulous (and my goodness so badass) Carol Peletier.

I didn’t start watching The Walking Dead until they were between the original airings of their third and fourth seasons. I ate up the first three seasons back then and waited patiently for the fourth to begin. A lot of people said the second season on the farm was Too Damn Slow but I enjoyed it – probably because I got to blow through it and get answers without waiting every week for them to spend an hour looking for Sophia again (or dealing with Randall). Of course, I was also okay with all the searching for Sophia because Carol and Daryl ended up being two of my favorite characters and this was a big ass plot point for both of them – especially with how the mid-season finale ended.

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead

I didn’t really pay much attention to Carol at the start of the first season. I mean, she was there. She didn’t die. She was a quiet housewife with a daughter to protect and besides having to worry about the sudden zombie apocalypse she also had to worry about tiptoeing around her abusive husband. And it wasn’t implied abuse either, we actually saw Ed Peletier’s violence firsthand. I’m sure there were viewers who saw Carol as an expendable character at that point (also, hell, this is The Walking Dead and for the record pretty much everyone is expendable – except maybe Rick, Daryl and Carl at the moment), which was understandable. How could someone like that survive the world being overrun by zombies? After some of the aforementioned zombies attacked the camp everyone had set up and wiped out a good portion of the ragtag population there, we find out that one of the losses was Ed Peletier. Carol came onto my radar when she took that pickaxe, told Daryl she would do it because he was “her husband” and drove it into his head repeatedly. Ed was gone. She didn’t need him coming back as a zombie, she didn’t need Sophia seeing that and I’m sure – as morbid as it sounds – that doing that was somewhat cathartic for her.

Carol Peletier & Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

The second season was when Sophia went missing. We saw a lot of Carol worrying, crying and asking the others for help — which was all just as understandable as people still seeing her as an expendable character. Sure, she had a bit of a storyline now but she was still somewhat weak for how badly the world had devolved. She started to grow closer to Daryl during the course of this season due to his determination to find Sophia, which was an interesting relationship to watch blossom. She thanked him for doing what he did and thanked him for the fact that he did more for Sophia than her father ever did for her (which whoa dang, Ed Peletier really sucks. I mean we knew he was horrible but come on). I remember watching the mid-season finale of S2 and feeling this hollow pit in my stomach and this overwhelming wave of “excuse me while I go drown in my feels” washing over me. Luckily, I was able to jump right into the second half of the season to see what happened after that. That was when I really started getting attached to Carol. She had been through so much up to that point and even though she had been through abuse at the hands of her husband, her husband’s death by walkers and her daughter going missing and then turning into a walker that was under their nose the whole time — she was still there and she was still alive, still ticking away, still observing and learning and surviving.

Carol Peletier & Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

The third season was THE PRISON (insert dramatic music here). We saw Carol assisting the zombie-cleansing of the prison (in the premiere even, and according to Rick – “Carol, you’ve become a pretty good shot. Take your time.”) learning some medical tricks/easy procedures from Hershel and helping Lori, who was pregnant. One of the scenes that really stuck out to me was in S3’s “Sick” when Carol asks Glenn for help in securing the body of a female walker so she can practice performing a C-section on it — in case she’s the one who ends up having to do it for Lori (due to Hershel’s accident and the still lingering question of whether or not he would survive). A couple episodes later, Carol is presumed dead when the group gets split up because of walkers getting into the prison. I absolutely loved T-Dog since the beginning so I was heartbroken to see him go, but loved that he went out kicking ass and saving someone else instead of just going out. It was nice to see Daryl’s reaction to her being gone – I mean, it wasn’t nice to see him being all depressed and stuff but it was A+ to see that he was actually growing attached to the people around him and that Carol had affected him in a way to make him react like that. She was one of the only ones to accept him for who he was and give him the push he needed to realize that he was actually a Pretty Good Person when he wanted/needed to be. This is why one of my favorite scenes in S3 is when he finds her dehydrated and hiding in a cell. You can actually see that he’s relieved and HAPPY MAYBE? Everything is A-okay. And by everything I mean, oh man I lost it when Rick and her were reunited and she found out about Lori. Carol and Lori had grown close since the first season and to see that relationship lost was heartbreaking (I know Lori gets a lot of crap – I know I even give her lots of crap – but there were times when I really liked her and agreed with her NOT MANY, BUT THERE WERE TIMES).

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead

One of the things some people don’t give enough credit to in this show is the strong female friendships. Relationships like Lori & Carol and Andrea & Michonne were so refreshing to watch – there are so many awesome little moments in TWD where the ladies are standing up for each other, kicking ass and basically not taking any shit from anyone/anything. Carol is a part of many of those, which is only one of the – again – many reasons I adore her. Andrea, Jacqui and Amy sticking up for Carol when Ed comes down to the stream and acts like a straight up turd, Carol telling Axel to stay away from Beth because she’s too young, Carol telling Andrea she should kill the Governer, Carol protecting Beth during the raid on the prison and of course, the way she protects Sophia, Judith, Mika and Lizzie (and makes the ultimate decision concerning Lizzie) – these are all things that build on Carol’s character and pack more into this amazing arc she’s taken from S1 to now.

Season 4 carried over the ever-evolving, survival skill sponge Carol Peletier from S3 and we got to watch her grow emotionally, mentally and physically even more. This is where I started watching week-to-week and it was tough because I was always so pumped to see what would happen next. I was in Florida, at Disney Carol Peletier - AMC promo shotWorld, the day of the S4 premiere and Nate, my sister, brother-in-law and I all made sure we were back in our hotel room on time to watch it. Little did I know then how much of a roller coaster S4 would be for my newly-rocketed-to-the-top-of-my-list favorite character. With the breakout of the disease we were given Carol secretly teaching the kids how to protect themselves with knives during “story time”, Carol taking two girls under her wing after their father is bit and she has to finish him to keep him from reanimating (the younger girl telling her older sister to “look at the flowers” by their dad’s bed while it was happening), Carol killing two of the diseased residents of the prison to keep the others safe and then Rick banishing Carol because of it. Each and every thing I just listed that Carol was doing got a “GET IT, GIRL” from me. Yeah, the killing of Karen and David was a little cold, but with how bad they were and how bad that disease was, taking chances wasn’t a smart thing. You are in the zombie apocalypse – it might be better to be safe than sorry at this point.

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead - The Grove

Season 4 also gave us “The Grove” – which is seriously the “Episode That is The Equivalent to A Gut Punch”… Tyreese escaped from the prison with Judith, Lizzie and Mika and Carol, who was still banished, found them and helped take care of the girls. This episode gave us her admitting to Tyreese that she killed Karen (who was Tyreese’s girlfriend) and David and then giving him a gun and telling him to do what he needed to do. He forgave her in the end. But all this was after the real jaw drop of the episode. Lizzie had always been a little on the unstable side due to this zombie outbreak (and according to Mika, maybe a little before as well) and Carol and Tyreese end up finding her next to Mika’s dead body – her own little sister. The little sister that she stabbed in the stomach because IT’S OKAY SHE’LL COME BACK JUST WAIT… not to mention Judith was cooing away on a blanket next to them and possibly the next target of Lizzie’s knife. Carol, after some internal debating and chatter with Tyreese, knew what she had to do which ended up being leading Lizzie to the titular grove behind the house they were staying at for the time being and telling her to “look at the flowers” before shooting her in the back of the head. Lizzie wouldn’t survive in what the world had become and instead of trying to work around that and protect the girl (and deal with whoever the girl might want to get as a zombie friend after that), Carol took the matter into her own hands and mercy-killed Lizzie. So not only did Carol have to watch her own daughter vanish and return later as a walker and stab Mika in the head so she wouldn’t reanimate– she also had to shoot a living girl who just wasn’t built for the world as it was (Lizzie had apologized to Carol for pointing a gun at her… with no apology for killing her own sister at all).

This is the last time we really see Carol in S4 and for me, Season 5 could not come fast enough. I was pleasantly surprised and super effing pumped when it did though, because Season 5 started with “No Sanctuary” and basically Season 5 literally started with a bang.

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead

The first half of this current season has delivered a slew of amazing things Carol-wise: The one-woman, zombie-smeared, crossbow-retrieving, family-saving army at Terminus as well as the trip into the city with Daryl to look for Beth Greene – one of Carol’s best ladybros from the prison. Seeing Carol plan, prepare and execute this plan to get into a fortified base full of cannibals to save her makeshift family was unbelievable in the best way. The fact that a few seasons ago we were seeing this meek, tiny woman screaming at Shane to stop beating up her abusive husband and now we were seeing her kick the living shit out of people-cookers and being welcomed back into the very group Rick has banished her from – screw being welcomed back, Rick Grimes asked her if they could all join her – it was beautiful.

Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead

And so many things in “Consumed” were just as major for her: when Daryl Dixon tries to get her to talk about what happened, when they end up in a shelter for battered women that she and Sophia had visited before, when she finds a child who had turned into a walker and feels compelled to put it out of the empty existence it was locked into, when she thanks Daryl for stopping her and taking care of it for her, when she talks about how the woman she was had been “burned away”, when her and Daryl talk about starting over – “We ain’t ashes.” YOU KNOW I LOVE ME SOME FULL CIRCLE SHIT and my love for Carol grew a million times bigger here. She talked about how Daryl was a boy before but now he was a man – this is true, but in a weird little way if you twist it around it kind of works for her too. She’s grown so much up until this point and looking back at all of it makes this scene that much more powerful.

Carol Peletier & Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

Continuing on through S5, those little moments in “Crossed” and “Coda” – one when Beth gives an unconscious Carol medication and grabs her hand and then before Carol is returned to the Family when she clasps Beth’s hand over her shoulder as she sits in the wheelchair – those broke my heart a thousand times more when “Coda” ended. Just like her and Daryl’s search for Sophia and her ordeal with Lizzie and Mika Samuels, her and Daryl’s search for Beth also ended in heartbreak.

Which brings us to now. I have no idea where things are going to go, but I’m really excited to see where they end up. Carol Peletier has become something I never would have imagined she would be when I started watching this show. Just like pretty much every character in TWD (except, again, maybe Rick, Daryl and Carl… for now?) her time will come. But the fact that she’s the last remaining female from the original group/season and the fact that she’s grown so much over the course of the show won’t make it such a bitter sting if and when it does happen.

(You know I don’t want it to, but I’m always prepared with this show.)

Also, don’t even get me started on how magnificent Melissa McBride is as Carol. It’ll be a ramble longer than the one I just delivered about Carol. <3

In closing, can I just say that I wish this scene was never deleted from Season 3? Man, Carol is magic.

Con Report – MAGFest 13

This past weekend was MAGFest 13! It didn’t go as well as we would have liked, but that’s no fault of the convention or anything surrounding it. For the past few weeks my side… and then my back and then my neck – now all of the above – are in a fluctuating but constant state of pain. My doctor thinks it’s a pinched nerve and this pesky little pinched nerve caused me to drag my feet on a whole number of things since I can’t sit down without a whole lot of wincing and shifting uncomfortably. We didn’t get to the convention until later Friday evening. There was no parking in the Gaylord National garage and since we had a ton of crap to carry we figured maybe we’d try again later. I also needed to get out of the car and stand up because I was at the point where I’d been in the car for so long (thanks to traffic and so on) that my back and neck were basically screaming GTFO at me.

So we parked in another garage closer to the edge of National Harbor and went to Elevation Burger for dinner. It was packed but we got it to go (and stood and waited for it, which was nice because standing) and ate it in the car. After that we figured we’d try again and actually parked at the garage right across the street from the Gaylord (it was almost closer to the hotel than their actual garage). We scored our badges with no line at all and then went upstairs and met our bros/roommates/drinking buddies/etc. Nate went to at a panel at 8:30 – “How to Make a Game in 48 Hours” and then him and I ended up doing our first run of the Starship Horizons Bridge Simulator. We had no idea what we were in for but we had a blast. There’s a great explanation and more into over on their site. I was on Flight while Nate was on Tactical and our Captain was slightly drunk and had done the simulation before at least 4 times, so he helped us out. Here is a photo of Nate captaining in one of our later runs.

We can’t sufficiently express our love for Starship Horizons and how much fun we had with it. Every single person we talked to that was involved with it were all extremely nice and you could tell how into this project they all are. Saturday morning and Saturday evening we visited again – Nate was Captain those times (and in the evening run, the ship was us dressed as the Goth Kids from South Park and our +1 who had never done it but was very good at the Sciences spot). The Saturday evening run also had us beating a new simulation they had made that morning (and the guy who made it was really surprised we beat it, woo!) and then a speed run of the mission they were running normally. It was a blast every time we did it, even if it was a mission we had already done. If you’re at a con that they’re set up at, you should definitely give it a run (or two or three or many more).

Here’s our Goth Kids +1 (plus Firkle too) crew on Saturday evening! Many thanks to Starship Horizons for the photo!

So Saturday was capped on either end by a Starship Horizons run. The rest of Saturday was me in a Jet Set Radio costume (Pots, my favorite rollerblading puppy!), wandering around the Dealer/Artist’s hall, taking many breaks in bed with the heating pad on my back, eating lunch standing up, acting totally nonconformist as the Goth Kids from South Park with Roger and Denis, buying $8 chicken tenders (“These are EIGHT EFFING DOLLARS.” – Denis), seeing how much eyeliner we could pile on, taking a nap with the heating pad on my back — stuff of that nature, but not necessarily in that order. Thanks to Bria for the photos of the Goth Kids and thanks to Jeremy, TheWhaleBaby, ceratopian & Bethii for the invite into the JSR crew!

Later that night Nate and I also did a sort of test run on Michael and Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V, since we didn’t get to put the costumes on Friday night.

This was a good thing since we realized where the problems lie with the tattoos we made for Trevor, the wig/hair for both Michael and Trevor (p.s. don’t even talk to me about how we were dyeing that wig until 1am Thursday ni– err, Friday morning before — BUT IT WORKED, THE WIG ACTUALLY DYED and you know us, we can’t wig) — even with all those things we want to change though we were having fun wandering around the atrium Snapmatic-ing at 2:30 AM with Nate poking things and me going “TREVOR, NO.” With Nate adding: “TREVOR YES.”

There was a point before we went downstairs and wandered around where I was dozing off on the heating pad. Nate came back in the room after playing a board game and did this before waking me up. Michael and Trevor bffs forever, y’all:

Of all the companies we went through for the t-shirt under Trevor’s flannel shirt, Nate settled on Merryweather Security because lololololol Trevor in MERRYWEATHER. With that plus the Pißwasser bottles we made and other little details about these outfits, we’re really excited to wear them one day for real (perhaps a Trevor + people shoot?…). But that early Sunday morning we were content to just take blurry Snapmatic photos. (Do you have any idea how much I love taking Snapmatic photos in the PS4 version of GTAV? SAVE ME, I GET LOST IN IT.)

My favorite photo of Trevor and Michael, one of our Pißwasser bottles and a shot of the tattoos/shirt for Trevor:

Sunday is where everything went downhill (again, not the actual con, but me). We were excited to wear both Saints Row and Hotline Miami costumes that day, plus wander around the Dealer/Artist’s hall and see bros like Cross’ Critters & Chrispy – plus, play more video games of course. But once I woke up and scooted around a little bit I could tell I had angered the back/neck gods extremely. I remember looking to my right and seeing Nate staring at me – Trevor’s tattoos/meth scars (which were also tattoos, A+!) still heavily apparent – with a questioning look on his face since he had seen me squirming and flinching. “This is shitty,” I remember saying, point blank.

We both knew I shouldn’t be doing much of anything that day so we both agreed we’d have to leave early and he packed up our stuff while I stared at the ceiling and sprawled out on the heating pad. Have I mentioned before how awesome Nate is? NATE, YOU ARE THE BEST OKAY? D: I didn’t even change out of my pajamas, I put my coat on and carried some random bits and pieces out to the car before collapsing into the front seat and spending the drive home grumbling. We played Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell the rest of the day though, so that was awesome.

See, this was more of a “MAGFest is Always Awesome But Heather’s Body Is Not” Report, but hey, we went and THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED. :( On that depressing front, if this pain doesn’t trail off in the next couple weeks (I’ve been doing the lower back exercises the doctor gave me and keeping my fingers crossed) a decision on Katsucon might be fast approaching a spot under the gun.

(Also, besides the lower back exercises, I even started some yoga – the doctor said that might help too. Nate did some with me but that was dangerous with both of us because we didn’t pay as much attention to the lesson since we were too busy going, “Did somebody say yoga?” and “Nama-go-fuck-yourself.“)

This Weekend: MAGFest 13!

MAGFest is quickly becoming our favorite convention. There’s fun to be had in every single corner of the con space and VIDEO GAMES, MAN.

We’ll be arriving sometime tomorrow in the early afternoon and here’s what we’ll be wearing all weekend. Please say hi if you see us! :D

Friday (POSSIBLY): Biker (Nate) & Jacket (Heather) – Hotline Miami (depends arrival time)
Friday PM: Trevor Philips (Nate) & Michael De Santa (Heather) – Grand Theft Auto V
Saturday: Pots (Heather) – Jet Set Radio series
Saturday PM: Michael (Nate) & Henrietta (Heather): Goth Kids – South Park
Sunday: Matt Miller (Nate) & Kinzie Kensington (Heather) – Saints Row (Gat Out of Hell! Birthday party spacesuits!)
Sunday PM: Biker (Nate) & Jacket (Heather) – Hotline Miami

Who else is going? We hope to see you there! We also hope to play a massive amount of video & tabletop games, yesssssssss.

Costumes – Star Wars: Expanded Universe – Tenel Ka Djo (Young Jedi Knights)

This post is originally from September 2012 but since then I’ve updated this outfit and added some new things so I went ahead and added more to the post and edited the post to reflect that!


After finishing up the Tenel Ka Djo fanart-inspired outfit for Dragon*Con 2011 (the NJO armor from the fanart by Todd!), I was inspired to remake an old TK costume I had made a number of years before – a version of the Young Jedi Knights armor! I say “a version” because I know whatever I came up with wouldn’t look exactly like any of the official art of the armor that has been drawn (I am not that skilled, lol). For Dragon*Con 2012, I was finally able to finish it and wear it! There were a few things I wanted to fix/change a bit, but overall I was very excited to have made another version of this armor.

Tenel Ka Djo costume - Dragon*Con 2012

I had fiddled with both scales and wonderflex thanks to the fanart outfit and the Tempest cover outfit and knew I wanted to incorporate at least one of these things in the new YJK costume (I thought the aluminum scales might not be organic enough for this outfit, so I’ll be using them on another TK outfit I’m working on :D). The first couple versions of this costume were basically the shorts, bodysuit and two boleros of differing sizes layered on one another (I had absolutely no idea how to attack that armor). When I started costuming, Tenel Ka’s YJK outfit was one of my dream costumes and I never had any faith that I could pull anything like it off so when I actually was able to put something together for the first time, I was really proud of myself! Now I wanted to challenge myself again and try it once more (I’ve wanted to do so for a couple years now, I just never got past the planning stages, haha XD). She is definitely a favorite character of mine from any form of media and has been since I was a tweenbot derp reading the Young Jedi Knight books. This is probably a duh thing though since I always gush about her when the topic of Star Wars comes up and I keep making costumes relating to her, whether it’s a new Queen Mother outfit or a really obscure jumpsuit that’s mentioned once in one book. I can’t help it! She’s the tough, brave girl I always wanted to be when I was younger! :3

When I started looking at redesigning the outfit, I knew I wanted to use the same green fabric I used for the shoulder armor in the fanart-inspired outfit. I loved the shade and the texture was perfect. It’s never really said where she’s made (or received) her armor from, but it’s been described in a couple of places as lizard-hide and/or rancor-hide, depending on sources. So I sort of went with both. I figured the texture of the green fabric would work with the lizard hide thing – I had a copperish-brown fabric that was the same texture so looking at the images of her armor, I planned on putting the copper on the green together. These colors resembled the image of her armor on the cover of Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones.

The Lost Ones

When trying to decide on what shape to make the armor, I debated between a few things – from the pointed shoulder pieces of the image from the Essential Guide to Characters, to the rounded ones of the Lost Ones cover, and even checked out some medieval armor, trolling numerous websites and looking at old school Top layer of armor.defense and protective covering. The one thing I knew I was going to do was have the two layers – the top copper and the bottom green – and then have the top layer wrap around my neck and then spread out over my shoulders. With the fanart-inspired outfit, the top layer of the armor went all the way around the neck and rested comfortably on my shoulders. I aimed to do something like that with this one as well. The bottom layer of the armor (the green layer) is built into the green bolero, like the image of the armor from the Essential Guide to Characters.

Tenel Ka

I made the bottom layer a bolero with Wonderflex under the shoulders to give it some stiffness, then the whole top copper part is a piece of Wonderflex that’s slightly smaller than the copper fabric over it. For the shape of the shoulders, I ended up going with something in between the two shapes I debated between, having the edges a bit rounded and the tips pointed. The fanart-inspired outfit I did had round edges all around, as does The Lost Ones image, but I did like the way the pointed ones in the EGtC looked. I made sort of an indent in the copper shoulder pieces and cut out scale shapes in a different reptile-textured fabric, using them to fill in the cutouts in the shoulder piece.

When designing the shape of the top set of copper armor and Nate was helping me pattern/cut it out, he mentioned it going down further in the back. It would give more protection in between the shoulderblades, plus give me a place to use all the extra scale shapes I cut out! The back of her armor has never been shown so I figured it would be cool to have some fun with it! The fabric I originally used for the scales started out green, but I painted it with three different shades of spraypaint to begin with, then went over the edges in rust and copper colored paint. You can’t really see the detail on them unless you’re close-up, but I had a lot of fun making them and painting them. I also went through a lot of glue to keep them all on!

Tenel Ka Djo costume - Dragon*Con 2012

One of the main things I wanted to keep in mind with this outfit was comfort – the first version I made of it was a breeze to wear and I had a lot of fun in the woods getting goofy Yavin IV shenanigan photos. I knew that it would be more difficult to keep that aspect with this outfit, since it would be more detailed/made out of harder fabrics – but I was determined! Comfort is a huge aspect when I make most costumes because I goof off a lot in costume (if you’ve seen The Derp Collection on our Facebook page, you are aware lolol). XD That leads me to the shorts! With the fanart-inspired outfit, I made the shorts out of a shiny snakeskin vinyl sort of material. It was a bit stretchy but they didn’t breathe well. With the fabric I used for the armor, I knew I would have the same problem. In the EGtC image of her armor the shorts match the bottom piece of the armor/bolero… so I knew I wanted to try to find a way to match them. The material used on the armor is upholstery fabric and doesn’t stretch or breathe one bit (naturally, since it’s upholstery fabric! XD) — so I had to be very careful when patterning/cutting them out and then sewing them.

I had originally made them all out of the green fabric and they fit well enough, but I wanted to add some color in somehow. I ended up making uneven panels (I was going to make them even first but figured just randomly cutting the fabrics and putting in two panels down the sides of differing sizes would add to the organic/cobbled-together-lizard-skins look) and cutting the side seams of the green shorts, then sewing in the panels. I liked having the copper color in somewhere besides just the top armor (plus I had more of that fabric sitting around!) and figured that would be a good place to work it into the shorts.

My original plan for the bottom of the shorts, after adding the copper panels, was to do the same thing I had done on the top shoulder armor – I was planning on making a cutout on the outsides of the shorts and adding some of the cut scales in, but once I cut the shapes out, I thought they would work better as “vents” of a sort and I ended up stabbing some holes with an awl and lacing them up with extra suede cord I had (after using it on the stick and necklace, which we’ll get to in a bit!)… it might not seem like a lot but the vents were extra helpful with keeping my legs somewhat cool!

Jacen Solo & Tenel Ka Djo costumes - Dragon*Con 2012

Other big details include the bodysuit/leotard and the hair. The leotard was a dark gray one I had for the original version of this costume – I ended up wearing another one I had (more of a earth-tone one) then but decided to switch to this one for the new version of this outfit. It matched the EGtC image better and broke up the green and copper and brown better than the other one. A friend of mine, Bria (of White Hot Room), had learned how to do fishtail braids a month or two beforehand (due to us nerding around on a hairstyle site one day, hehe) and practiced when she was over for BasementCon II a couple weeks before Dragon*Con 2012. She came over to our hotel room the Friday morning of con and did them again (which I am extremely grateful for)! <3

The bag is the second bag I had made for an earlier version of this costume. I kept it for this one and made a new belt out of a fabric I thought looked slightly rancor-ish in texture. I need to fix up the belt since hers gets smaller up on her waist and bigger behind the bag (somehow! XD)… in the EGtC picture she has some sort of cord or rope on her belt on the side without the bag, so I actually ended up tying bits and pieces of suede cord I had used on different Tenel Ka costumes I had made in the past together and attached them to my belt. Kind of a nerdy callback to other TK costumes I had worked on, plus the fact that they were all rugged and worn made it look like the rope/cord had been used for jungle shenanigan climbing stuff, hehe. I made some last minute shinguard pieces from the same fabric I had used for the scales on one side and the same fabric as the belt for the other. I had originally planned to use a pair of boots that went up my legs more, but the shorter boots gave my legs more air, so I went with those instead. Plus, the shinguards I made ended up fitting them perfectly! Got lucky there!

I had a few different pieces I could’ve used for the focal point of the necklace, but I went with a green stone piece that matched the armor colors somewhat. I strung the piece on more of the suede cord that I had used on the short vents, holding the faux closure on the bag and wrapped around the stick. The stick was one I found in the woods on a walk one day and I wrapped more cord sort of around the places she had cord wrapped on hers in the EGtC image. I used a lighter cord on the upper part where I would be holding it most of the time (to look more worn since that would be the most used “handle”) and darker parts around the two prongs and the lower handle, for when she used the stick two-handed like on the cover of The Lost Ones. As far as the lightsaber, there’s a whole post on that! ;)

I knew I would be wearing this for the first of two Outlander Club shoots at Dragon*Con 2012 and I was really excited because there would be a Teneniel Djo and a Ta’a Chume at this shoot as well – as you can see above! They are both absolutely darling people and amazing costumers and I was honored to be able to get number of “three generations of a family that is really uncomfortable with each other” group shots!

TK stick detailJesse, the Teneniel Djo, made an awesome beaded necklace with a giant carving-covered tooth she gave to me (momma to daughter Dathomirian gift, b’awwww) and I put it on the stick and kept it there throughout the shoot. It is my favorite thing from D*C 2012 and is hanging up near my computer where I can nerd over it every day! XD

It was also a lot of fun taking photos of the Jedi Academy kids we had there – Tenel Ka, Jacen Solo, Raynar Thul and Tahiri Veila! There were a lot of shots of us throwing– err, “LEVITATING” rocks with the Force. ;) You can find all of our Outlander Club photos here and check out the OC site!

Even though there were things I wanted to fix on this costume, I didn’t get around to playing with it until Spring of 2014. Some friends of ours were planning on having an afternoon in a park for photoshoots. It was a wooded park with little streams and small waterfalls and stuff and I thought Tenel Ka would be the Painting the new scales!perfect costume for it – I could finally get GREENERY SHENANIGAN PHOTOS! I went back to the costume and looked over it, trying to decide what I wanted to do with it for the shoot. I knew the biggest thing I wanted to change were the scales so I cut scales out of Worbla and replaced the fabric scales on the shoulders and back part of the armor with Worbla scales then I painted those with a few different colors of paint and tried to make them look worn. I also built up the edges of the under part of the shoulder armor with paperclay and added a few greens to that as well as added a lace up cord to the front of the armor. It helped it stay on better and tied it into the shorts more stylistically as well!

Here are some more shots of the updated costume!

Holiday Recap!

And by recap, we mean here are some ridiculous cards we put together for this holiday season. We did this in 2012 and in 2012 we were able to set more stuff up for the photos and all that jazz. This year from Thanksgiving to Christmas we were both pretty much out of it for good with matching sinus infections (A NEW TREND?) and just a general lethargic feeling about everything due to the sickness. We were excited to get these together at all! But we had ideas and we didn’t want them escaping us! We also didn’t want to wait until the holiday season this year.

So just like the post from 2012 – here are the three cards we made and the descriptions we included when we posted them on our Facebook and tumblr!


We have ideas for a couple holiday related card-things this year but we’ve both been sick with sinus infections so we’ve been sort of slow (slower than normal hahahah) with everything in general. We might get to them – hopefully we will!

But for now here is a Persona 4 card! We’re bringing Summer Kanji & Naoto to Katsucon 2015 but found it easy to throw together Persona 4: Golden (The Animation!) ski lodge pajama-time fun Kanji & Naoto too — those might be coming with us to Katsucon as well since they’re so comfy.


“If you’re looking to ring in the New Year in New York, there’s only one place to go. New York’s hottest NYE club is BACK IN MY DAY. Located in the back alley behind that dive bar your dad liked to frequent, this festive trash pit is run by everyone’s favorite family member during the holidays — Drunk Uncle! This club has everything: organic wi-fi, Instagram crackers and baby Jesus doing pilates.”

Is everyone ready for 2015? Here’s another card from us for the holiday season! Stefon and Drunk Uncle have been two of our favorite correspondents on the Weekend Update of Saturday Night Live and we figured we would throw together a card with them – especially since the holidays are when you get to see family members! The ones you love and the ones you kind of tolerate since they’re your family.

We busted out Nate’s Stefon costume and Closet-Raided something Drunk Uncle-ish for me. PLUS THIS WONDERFUL “LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST” HALLOWEEN WIG.


Happy New Year from Zhobot!

We figured The Glitterati (from the Dance Central series) would make a good New Year card because they are fabulous and sparkly and two of our favorite characters ever, hehe.

We had a Christmas card with them in 2012 and besides their three main outfits we’ve also made one concept art outfit, one original outfit and a Saints Row version outfit (our bosses in the Saints Row series have basically been Kerith and Jaryn XD) of them. Our hearts kind of belong to these beautiful jerks so we wanted to show our love for them at the beginning of this new year. <3

We were gonna do the drinks and such like usual w/ Glitterati shots but we figured the snark was good enough for this — there’s also some shots of the eating of the magical RuPaul candy bars we got for Christmas and one of Kerith hiding behind his scarf because Riptide or Lu$h or someone walked in the club on NYE. Those might be posted sometime soon too. ;)


We might have a “Coming in 2015″ post up here in the near future (with costume plans, con plans, project plans, etc.) so keep your eyes out for that. We hope everyone is having a great 2015 so far! :D

Gaming – LD31 Compo Faves

Update: I started writing this post a few weeks ago but didn’t finish it until the ratings were just about out.  Talk about snail speed!  And I was right about Orion making it into the top 10!  Check out the winners here!

It’s that time of year folks.  Masses of people.  Last minute decisions.  Weird bugs that get written off as features.  That’s right, I’m talking about Ludum Dare!  You thought I was talking about Christmas?  I guess you could consider flying reindeer capable of toting a fat guy and thousands of pounds worth of presents a pretty bad physics bug.  Dec 5th through 8th hosted the 31st competition this year.  Sadly I did not get a chance to compete in this one either.  A combination of me still learning a new game engine and having outside obligations due to a new job held things up.  Hopefully next April will look better.  Anyhow, lets move on to some of the games that caught my attention this time!

orionThe theme for this competition was: entire game on one screen.  This wasn’t exactly a thought provoking theme in and of itself, however there’s potential for clever application.  Orion immediately jumped out to me as being exceptionally clever.  You man the cockpit of a spacecraft trying to break the Earth’s orbit destined for…er, space?  I’m not sure because I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor.  The audio and visuals are nothing short of astounding for a 48hr game, and I have no doubt it will make it into the top 10.

untraveledNext I discovered Untraveled, a minimalistic puzzle platformer with some really interesting game mechanics.  The premise is built around a groundhog day type of scenario where you’re trapped in an endless loop.  In particular the last puzzle is really unique and as other reviewers mentioned it could become really awesome fleshed out as a full game.

finishyourprojectAnd then I found Finish Your Project.  In this game you play a mouse who’s trying to complete a project of some type while trying to balance his other wants and needs.  As the description might suggest its a resource management game.  It also falls under the category of “so meta it hurts” as the main character struggles with many of the same issues that might plague participants of Ludum Dare itself.  I would agree with the other reviewers that this game was a bit long in the tooth (most LD games finish in 5-10 minutes, I spent at least 20 on this one and my project was not even half finished!), but the concept is novel and has potential to convey a very meaningful narrative.

antiplaneMy attention was immediately drawn to Antiplane, quite possibly because the author lists it as a 2D version of Antichamber.  I’ve you’ve never played Antichamber, the best way to describe it is as a 3D puzzle game similar to portal, except that the world and laws of physics change based on your actions.  Antiplane captured this behavior very well, and the transitions between world changes as you went back and forth across the 2D single camera world were extremely smooth.  This is another one I suspect may make it into the top 10 compo entries.  I did find the almost complete lack of sound bothersome, as it took away from the superb mood of the game.  The author has already mentioned he is going to make a full game of it, so hopefully some nice ambient background music will be added!

glcAll of the games I had played so far were quite serious, so I thought I’d finish on a silly note.  Gay Love Cop fills that note well.  It’s a simple visual novel style detective game where you interrogate a number of murder suspects based on some clues.  The game itself is quick to beat, however the graphics and writing are hilarious.  Never did I think it would be so easy to ask people about their pubes!

Anyhow its been a fun LD and I’m excited to see the winners in each category announced!  I swear I’m going to participate one day…

Props – Star Wars: Expanded Universe – Tenel Ka Djo’s Lightsaber

This is an old blog entry I wrote in… 2011, maybe? But I’ve gone through and updated it a bit due to a couple of broken links and so on! I also added a photo to the top which wasn’t at the top of the entry from 2011 because the photo was taken in 2012– OR WAS IT? /cue record scratch and gasp

Jacen Solo & Tenel Ka Djo

A shot of our Young Jedi Knights Jacen Solo & Tenel Ka costumes from Dragon*Con 2012!

Tenel Ka Djo has been one of my favorite characters for well over a decade and I’ve always adored her lightsaber (the one after her accident!) – she made the hilt out of a rancor tooth because she is pretty badass. There’s also the fact that she’s half-Dathomiri and it’s part of her heritage and all that jazz, but it’s mostly because she’s a badass. XD

When I was first going to do a Tenel Ka costume at Celebration III in 2005 (the NJO/Strike Team version and the first Queen Mother version seen at the bottom of the Tenel Ka costume page), I knew I would need to figure out a way to make something that resembled a tooth. I had absolutely no idea how to do this though. There hadn’t been any pictures of her saber released at that point and I wasn’t good with anything prop-related (not that I am now, lol). Enter my sister and a trip to Home Depot. We fiddled around in various sections and ended up getting some bits and pieces, a length of pipe and some spraypaint that made whatever you’re spraying look like stone. It was a tannish-beige color and I thought it could pass for a tooth well. My sister helped me throw it all together and I was pretty proud of what came of it. It didn’t have a point at the end (it had a decorative little swirly trinket that was actually a drawer handle XD) – but the texture and leather-wrapping and stuff gave it toothy/Dathormiri-ish sort of feel, which I was happy with at the time.

Fast-forward to a couple years later, when I had the urge to make another version of this saber! I ended up with another thin piece of pipe and gray stone spraypaint this time, along with black leather wrappings. I had a plastic replica of a T-Rex tooth that was cut and whittled down to fit into the pipe and I loved this version as well. It was after I finished this version that Tenel Ka got her own book cover (Legacy of the Force: Tempest)! And look, her saber! Besides that image of it, another one popped up in The Essential Guide to the Force. I was so giddy that there was more art of her as well as her saber. That was when I stumbled across Nocturne Armory! They had made a version of her saber that looked exactly like the one in the The Essential Guide to the Force and I fell in love with it and emailed them about ordering one. This one actually had a blade and lit up too! They had toned down the blue and added a bit of yellow to give it a more turquoise shade and I was so nervous every time I was in costume with it cause I was afraid I would mess it up (I am so clumsy, it’s not even funny). It is definitely a prized possession of mine since I am a huge nerd. ;D

Old sabers! To the left are the three versions I have had in the past, two made (top – 2005, middle – 2006 and one ordered in 2008). :)

In the summer of 2010, the stupid bug bit me again about making another one (I don’t know what it is with me). And I was told about ultrasabers.com! Nate was looking for a saber he could use for his Jacen and/or Caedus costumes and my brain started working at a way to make a Tenel Ka lightsaber myself by modifying one of the ones from the site (even though the closest they had to her blade color was bright blue). The idea hadn’t really formed, it was just sort of hanging in the back of my mind – but when I saw a few weeks later that they had two new blade colors, one of which being Sunrider’s Destiny (which was a lighter, slightly more greenish shade), I knew I had to go for it. I had a vague idea of what I was going to try so I bought all the supplies I would need and then ordered the Rifter hilt from Ultra Sabers (a hilt which is no longer available on the site).

When it arrived, I played around with it like a dork (you know, the norm: making lightsaber noises, hitting furniture, the whole nine yards) and then detached the blade and started to attempt to figure out how to get the idea that was in my head out. I used paperclay to cover the hilt and start shaping a sort of tooth texture. I knew that I wanted to keep it as thin as possible – I knew it wouldn’t be as thick as the picture from the The Essential Guide to the Force – because I am short and have small hands, hehe. I wanted my hand to be able to fit around it comfortably, but besides comfort I didn’t want it to look SUPER GIANT when I was holding it. XD I knew it would be longer than the images as well, since I had to cover the whole hilt and then add on the tip of the tooth at the end. I was fine with that though, as long as it wasn’t awkward to hold.

The paperclay worked so much better than I had hoped. It was lightweight and dried on its own (I wouldn’t have been able to put it in the oven to dry since it was around the saber). After the initial part of the hilt was covered, I had a grand old time trying to figure out how to make the tip of the tooth and then be able to remove it to replace the batteries when they ran out of juice. I finally settled on making the tip out of paperclay and fashioning the other end to fit into the opening where the batteries were. I covered the end in felt so it had a snug fit and then made some touch-ups with leftover paperclay to the main part of the hilt. I also added some details here and there – scratches, marks, wearing, etc.

(Note from the reposting of this entry in December of 2014: the first set of batteries still hasn’t run out yet. ;D)

Unfinished saber!

The saber before the painting phase!

The three blue crystals I added above the switch are for decoration (and fall in with the whole half-Hapan thing as well, since there was talk of gems of Gallinore when she made her saber – even though those were the focusing crystals, hehe) and were chosen for their colors. I thought they matched the blade well and I sort of fell in love with them when I found them. In one of the images of her saber, there is a dark orange gem near the blade, but I ended up going with blue because none of the orange ones I looked at caught my eye. Plus, if I had an orange gem then I would have orange/blue (in the blade) and those were my high school colors. Somehow in projects I always subconsciously avoid putting those together because it just reminds me of high school. XD I just ended up going with all blue. I added the crystals while the paperclay was still moldable and then waited for the whole thing to dry.

After that came the part I was REALLY worried about. I’ve never been good at painting things!

I had three shades of acrylic paint I was planning on using to paint the hilt: Unbleached Titanium, Raw Umber & Raw Sienna. The one I ended up using the most was the Unbleached Titanium shade. I gessoed the whole thing first (main part of the hilt and the removable end) and I used a small brush to paint the whole thing with the titanium shade. Then with sponges and other brushes, started adding little details in the scratches and ridges and so on. I didn’t really have a plan on what parts to paint specifically, I just kept adding some here and there until I thought I needed to change colors and so on. When I had finished painting it late one night, I set it down and went to bed not really thinking about it. That seemed like the best thing to do though because the next day when I looked at it with a fresh eye, I really liked how it looked. For a project I had been so worried about (who am I kidding, I worry about every project), I was really proud of the way it turned out.

 

The completed saber!

Click the photo to go to the dA page!

 

There are definitely a couple things I would like to fix – keeping the tooth tip more secure and snug in the main hilt would be at the top of the list! But I am very proud of it nonetheless. :D

Halloween: That Time of Year

Orange Pumpkins

Tomorrow is Halloween! Even though we’re too old to Trick-or-Treat it’s still one of our favorite holidays. We love it so much that as of right now we have ourThe family. wedding date set for October 31, 2015! Why do we love it so much? There’s a number of reasons. Obviously we have a ball dressing up as people/things we love – which, sure we do that at conventions, yeah, but ARGH!this is a time when everyone’s dressing up as well! It’s a giant costume party (with candy!) from neighborhood to neighborhood. We also have always been a fan of spoopy spooky things. Especially me. And I think that is the fault of my Mom and sister – who you can see in the photos accompanying this paragraph, hehe. They taught me well as I grew up (Stephen King, as an example) and encouraged me to explore very dark places (like Silent Hill, which I played while peeking out from behind the couch while my sister cackled at me).

Back sometime in the 90’s (’93 maybe? ’95? Somewhere back there…) my Mom and sister decided they were going to make a big image to put in the front window of SO SPOOPYour house for Halloween. A couple weeks ago when Nate and I were cleaning the basement and going through boxes we found it and it made me think about how all-out my family went for Halloween from then on. TheSHRIEK front yard would become a cemetery every Halloween, covered in spiderweb and bathed in weird lighting. We started putting things in all the windows – a Bates Motel sign, a brain in a jar of green fluid, a Styrofoam head covered in what looked like dirty bandages – all kinds of stuff. We’d scare kids, give out (and eat) candy, greet our friends, compliment costumes – all that plus the fact that 90% of the time (aka when it wasn’t raining) the fall weather was perfect.

When Nate came into the picture in 2009, I warned him about how Halloween was Super Serious in our household. He was excited because he enjoyed the holiday Me and Momtoo. He told me a story about Wee Tiny Nate and howErin & Ronnie! he saved up his money to buy a scary wolf mask one year. I knew he would fit right in after that. Before this he was in that stage where you were too old to Trick-or-Treat but too “meh” to find anything to do on the holiday itself. He started dressing up again for Halloween in 2010! THE HOLIDAYS ARE MAGICAL. …He would’ve dressed up in 2009 but that year we were leaving for vacation on a very early flight the next morning so Halloween was cancelled. :\ He had to wait a whole year to experience Halloween the way I always did. AT FULL SPEED.

I’m excited for this Halloween because we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of our favorite ridiculous and perfect movies with our costumes – Napoleon Dynamite. We’ll have to make sure we shove some tater tots into Nate’s pockets. Besides that, it’ll also be my nephew’s first Halloween! Basically, I will get photos of tiny adorable nephew in a tiny adorable baby costume. Also, candy. And all this purple, orange and black around go smashing together. See, Halloween is great for a number of reasons. The sights, the activities, the costumes, the candy, the parties, the creppiness creepy things. We’ll also be excited because a year from this Halloween we’ll be having a giant party celebrating our Hallowedding!

What are you doing this Halloween? What are you being this Halloween? ;)

Con Report – Magfest 8.5

Magfest 8, the last Magfest in Alexandria’s Hilton Mark Center.  Some say that was the height of its greatness.  Others (myself included) believe the space was rapidly becoming too small.  Actually I know this, as Magfest 8 was the first and only Magfest to enforce an attendance cap.  The National Harbor’s Gaylord was an excellent choice for attendee AND arcade room growth!  But I heard some attendees raved about the glory days, and desired to relive the memory again.  Enter 8.5, a reboot of the “glory days”.

gameroomWe arrived Friday evening and quickly ran into one of the issues of a smaller venue: parking.  I was lucky enough to snag a spot in the garage from someone pulling out, but I suspect others had a hard time.  Registration was easy, and the lack of elevators didn’t pose too much of a problem.  Naturally we had to check out the games room first!  The console room was ample as you would expect from Magfest, though I thought the arcade side was a bit lacking.  The arcade rhythm games were housed on the console side and to my surprise there were some new things there I hadn’t seen before:

  • NeonFM: I’m not going to lie, this was probably the highlight of the whole video game room.  Its a fast and fun indie developed rhythm arcade game with an excellent soundtrack.  Unfortunately there aren’t too many of these machines in the wild.
  • Reflec Beat: An interesting pinball inspired touch-based rhythm game.  Ok so someone set it up on a Dell computer and touchscreen monitor instead of the actual arcade machine…close enough!  It was a lot of fun.reflecbeat
  • Sound Voltex: This one was right behind Reflec Beat.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to play it but uh, it looked really cool!  Also set up on a Dell machine instead of the real thing.

flamewarIf memory serves correctly we headed over to the tabletop room to check out their wares.  The room was packed, but thankfully we found some chairs and used one of the plastic game storage boxes as a makeshift table.  We ended up playing a quick(ish) card game called Flame War, had some laughs, then headed back to the room for alc…er…soda pop.

The next day I went to my one and only panel on indie game development.  I didn’t learn a whole lot, but I listen to some interesting stories from indie devs.  One of the indie devs in question worked on NeonFM!  After the panel I headed back to the room to witness Heather become one with the animatronics!  By that I mean put on her Five Nights At Freddy’s costume.  Next I believe there was a lot of mulling around between the video game and dealer rooms for a few hours.  Then back to the tabletop room for more fun in the form of Betrayal at House on The Hill.  betrayal  This was one of the few board games I’ve played that is more co-op that free-for-all (although there is a traitor in the midst).  The estimated on box playtime is 1 hour, but I’m pretty sure we broke the 2 hour mark.  The way that things unfold mid-game is really interesting and should add to a lot of replayability.  Heather already went ahead and bought it!  I think we went to the game room for a few minutes before heading back upstairs for more “soda pop” and the next game, aptly titled “We Didn’t Playtest This at All”.  This is quickly becoming one of my favorite large group games right behind Cards Against Humanity.  Its extremely simple to learn, fast paced, and fun can be multiplied by an increase in “soda pop” intake.  The box claims its for 2 to 10 people, though I wouldn’t play it with less than 4 (or at least 3).  The more the merrier!  Did I say merrier, I meant maddening.

So that about does it for Magfest 8.5.  Did it live up to the hype?  I still prefer the mainline Magfest due to its larger selection of arcade games, panels, and general events, but 8.5 was well worth the money.  If they can find a bigger area for the arcade section (or use part of the console room) they’ll be on the right track.  If they can demolish that crappy parking lot I’d give them a high five.  Whoop whoop!