Dragon Tales: Experiences at DragonCon Part 2

Cosplaying it Up

In my last post I mentioned Cosplaying at the con.  Cosplaying is a huge part of just about every kind of convention now and one of the best aspects of going to a con is seeing the effort and work participants put into their costumes and the terrific creativity on display.

Everyone is appreciated no matter the skill and everyone is there to enjoy and not judge.  it a great atmosphere, especially for new cosplayers. This was my first year in costume to a con like this and I found it to be an amazing experience.  I was stopped for pictures with con-goers and other cosplayers.  Mad Max and Nux stopped me to ask me how I made some of the material.  I got fist bumps from random strangers out of appreciation.  And most of my costume was done on the cheap!

Here are some of my favorites from the Con:

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A great Mr Oogie Boogie. That’s a deceptively difficult costume, especially to get the face right!
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This Mr Freeze was a show stopper. All those lighting effects and crafted armor pieces, not to mention the freeze ray!
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An excellent Tidus. The costume crafting and weapon were terrific!
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Dr Doom! One great thing about taking pictures of cosplayers is how each one usually has an in-character pose they use for their pictures.
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We loved this master shake. Again it looks simpler than it is but it’s still a basic idea and the simplicity of the costume matches the art style of the show.
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We saw this Penguin from Batman Returns several times and had to get a shot of him.

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I lost it when I saw this Nurgle Chaos Terminator. It was a very creative construction and looked great!
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Mugatu was in character all night and even won the prize in a costume contest.
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My best friend’s wife went as Elektra from Netflix’s Daredevil. It was a very creatively compiled costume!
She went as Psylocke on day two. She made everything herself!
She went as Psylocke on day two. She made everything herself!
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My Judge Dredd. Even though I felt it was incomplete it got a lot of positive reactions.
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I got to pose with Cobra Commander!

 

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Kylo Ren even asked me to dance!

Cosplaying is so much fun and so empowering I highly recommend it.  Even if you’re an obsessive introvert like me who obsesses about accuracy and details, you’ll be surprised how many people just love that you’re there in costume.  No one sees the missing details, trust me!  It’s all about fun and for me it was the most enjoyable part of the con.

Dragon Tales: Experiences at DragonCon Part 1

Atmosphere and Impressions

I’ve only ever attended smaller conventions.  While there are still crowds, panels, and interesting sights attending a large convention is a completely different experience.  So how about one that attracts half a million people to Atlanta in September?  This was my first year at DragonCon and it was a terrific experience.  I thought I’d share some general thoughts on the Con and then get into detailed thoughts in future posts.

DragonCon night at the GA Aquarium. One of the many outside events taking place during the weekend.
DragonCon night at the GA Aquarium. One of the many outside events taking place during the weekend.
  • Atmosphere: One of the great things about attending a broad topic-specific convention is that everyone is there because of their love of something. You might like video games, maybe comic books, maybe sci-fi TV or movies, or is it horror-fantasy?  You’ll find fans of all of them and everyone is there to celebrate these things.  Despite the general nerd/geek tendency to harp on minor complaints I saw very little negativity at the con at all.  Even in long lines, during the long walks, or amidst crowded food courts.  The only complaints I heard revolved around waiting for shuttles (which were free, so complaints were minimum) and being stuck in the parade crowd (because people really didn’t have any idea how to navigate through a crowd…)  Other than that, even with a couple of potentially big SNAFUs, it was just a good atmosphere of positivity and enjoyment.
You never know what you'll see. That's a 1:1 scale (No Pun Intended) Toothless. you could pose with him for charity.
You never know what you’ll see. That’s a 1:1 scale (No Pun Intended) Toothless. You could pose with him for charity.
  • Seeing the Sites: The first full day of the Con (we got our badges Thursday night but that doesn’t count) we spent the morning in the Sheraton watching the Friday morning crowds. Everywhere you looked were cosplayers of all levels happily posing with ecstatic fans.  The vendor halls are packed with unique items you can’t find anywhere else.  Arcade machines are set up free-to-plan, gaming tables are everywhere for every conceivable type of game.  Themed parties take place at all hours and many of the local restaurants have convention-themed menu items.  Celebrities  can be seen talking with fans and in one case even playing an RPG for fans’ amusement.  It’s not just a convention of fans it’s a convention of all the peripheral activities fans love.
Team Cosplay is amazing. This is a spot-on Tidus, Yuna, and Wakka. He even had a Blitzball! (not pictured)
Team Cosplay is amazing. This is a spot-on Tidus, Yuna, and Wakka. He even had a Blitzball!
  • Cosplay Love: I’ll do a fuller post on Cosplaying at the Con, but one aspect that shows the best side of fandom is how loved and accepted all cosplayers are. You of course have highly skilled professionals or near professionals who have spent a lot of time and money perfecting screen-or-page-perfect costumes.  But you also have creative people who have used the means they have to make great costumes, or even knowingly cheesy or goofy costumes and wear them proudly.  What makes this a wonderful experience is that all of these cosplayers receive equal love from fans.  People of all genders, shapes, and sizes playing characters they love and fans accept them with joy and excitement.  It’s hard to find a more welcoming community, especially for beginning cosplayers…but more on that next time.

I loved the Con and I’m actually eager for next year.  Next post will focus specifically on the cosplay experience!

 

Story of the Month: The Failure of Zombie Cookies

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Halloween more than any other holiday is a “pot luck” holiday to me.

This year rather than just do something store bought I thought I’d go all out and MAKE something.  While I’m actually a pretty good cook, I’m a lousy baker, but I put that aside and decided to try my hand at making some cookies.  I found some really clever Thriller style dancin’ zombie cookie cutters and thought I’d make a nice Halloween zombie horde.

Knowing my limitations I decided against making dough from scratch and bought some tubes of sugar cookie dough.  I rolled it out and following the instructions got it to a certain thickness before applying the cutters.  As soon as I removed the cutter, however, the cookie fell to pieces.  I determined the dough to be too thin and re-rolled it a bit thicker.  I applied the cutter again, and upon removing it only the head and arms and legs stuck this time, leaving just a zombie torso.  .  While dismembered would be in-theme, it seemed like too much of a mess up again and I decided to scrap those too.

At this point the dough started to get sticky so I re-floured it and put it in the fridge.  After letting it chill I re-rolled it thicker and tried the cutters again.  This time when I took the cookie cutter off the arms and legs stretched WAY out making an octopus-armed zombie.  At this point I started to get angry.  Like REALLY angry.

I re-rolled the whole batch SUPER thick and used the cutters finally having cookies survive the process:

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I didn’t have a cookie sheet so I put six of them on a pizza pan, put them in the oven to cook, and continued to cut the rest of the dough, making 30-40 dancin’ zombies.

When the timer went off and opened the oven and found the six zombie cookies I was baking had merged into one GIANT cookie on the pan.  Apparently cutting them thick enough to survive the cutters meant they were so thick they swelled and spread out while cooking!20141030_161330

They shattered into a mess when I took them off the pan and I tried to make only twoto see if they’d just swell without merging into a zombie-cookie-blob form.  It made this:

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I made Venus of Willendorf Cookies

 

 

Finally furious beyond imagining I yelled “F*CK THIS!” wadded the rest up into a bowl and bought some friggin cookies at the store on the way in the next morning.

Though admittedly the pics of my baking failure and the story was a bigger hit at the pot luck than any dessert I could’ve made.

Here’s hoping if anyone has to do any baking for the rest of the holiday season it goes better than my experiment and failing that you at least get as good a story out of it…