Tag Archives: toys and goodies

Experiment with Temporary Tattoos

The company Momentary Ink will create temporary tattoos out of uploaded art, letting you try out a design before committing.

I don’t have any strong desire for a tattoo myself. The cost is prohibitively high for most ideas I would consider worth the effort. Getting to play with a sheet of temporary tattoos, though, for a really reasonable price tag? Hell yes! Would also be an amazing option for cosplay and other costume uses.

Crossposted: http://joycesully.tumblr.com/post/136396655208/roachpatrol-notyourexrotic-styliferous

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WonderCon 2012 Experience

I spent the weekend at WonderCon and, like everything else, my con-going experience consisted of equal parts self-improvement and self-indulgence.

I attended Wonder Con for the first time this year largely because it was free. As part of the Comic-Con triumvirate, WonderCon offered me free passes as a professional and, seeing as it was taking place in the far more convenient Anaheim area, rather than San Francisco, I figured, what the hell. Between the first proper rainstorm of the California winter and unusually onerous work schedules, it ended up being perhaps the least convenient weekend I’ve ever experienced. That being said, my experience of the so-called “Comic-Con lite” was both positive and informative.

I have a strategy when I attend conventions. I love going to them, but I can usually only manage two or three a year, in terms of finances, scheduling, and physical tolerance. I’m an obsessive pre-planner and nothing distresses me more than when a convention only releases the schedule a few days or a week in advance of the event itself. I’m not kidding about the preplanning. There are spreadsheets involved. The only thing separating me from a level of work normally reserved for the people actually running the convention is that I know precisely what I’m looking for.

Writing Craft:

The first thing I always look for are panels for writers and about writing. These conventions always have programming intended to help people make the transition from fan to professional. That was the concept behind the Goal Setting for Creative Types panel. Put on by Douglas Neff and Toucan Learning Systems, the panel was heavy on audience participation and had a light, fun feel. The material on goal-setting itself–make it specific and measurable, primarily–I had heard before. What I found most helpful was his breakdown on your support team. This is the first time someone explained the importance of having each role (coach, cheerleader, and scorekeeper) filled by different person. It explained the love-hate relationship I had with telling my mother about my projects: what I needed most was a cheerleader and so unanticipated criticisms were unusually debilitating.

I also love panels in which writers talk about their own storytelling process. In Monsters Anonymous, Amber Benson, Mike Mignola, and Christopher Farnsworth talked about world-building choices as they related to public awareness of the monstrous in their respective worlds. Rewriting History featured Naomi Novik, Todd McCaffrey, Rob Reid, and Ernest Cline using and abusing history for their own purposes. I’ve written futuristic fiction and even reimagined the 80s, like Cline, to create an alternate present, but what I’m really hungry to do is follow in Novik’s footsteps. Rather than Napoleonic Wars plus dragons, I’m keen to World War II plus fairies. Finally, Shivers, Shakes, and Swoon gave me another look at my favorite genre I’m not writing in (yet): Young Adult.

I branched out a little more this year, now that I’m getting more heavily involved in self-publishing. Cover Story was a chance to listen to comic book professionals talk about what made good cover art. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll be attempting to make my own covers or hiring someone, but I want to understand either way. Mike Mignola, in particular, was very helpful. While he was mostly willing to write off his own covers as hopeless, he offered concrete commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of others’. To round things out, I attended the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s panel on the history of censorship and comics, which was at once sobering and inspiring.

Research:

Arguably my favorite part of any con are the research panels. Conventions are fantastic place to get a primer in subjects about which I know nothing. I saw several fantastic science panels this year. Iron Man, Robopocalypse, and the Future of Humanity and Science in Science Fiction both focused on a combination of physical enhancements and mental integrations through technology. E. Paul Zehr and Daniel H. Wilson presented a delightful image of future Olympic and professional sports enhanced by superhuman prostheses (and the possibility of deliberate-amputation-as-competitive-edge). Kyle Kurpinski and Terry Johnson were great fun to listen to, though I kept spacing out as my Muse started playing with ideas about duplicating human minds as programming and being in two places at once with robotic body doubles. Also, their book, How to Defeat Your Own Clone, is funny enough to injure the unprepared. (Also also, Terry looks smashing in Dr. Who cosplay.) The panels were particularly well-suited to my research for Incognito. Does it worry anyone else that phrases like “Robopocalypse” fill me less with dread and more with giddy anticipation?

Fan:

Of course, it’s not all business. Sometimes I’m just there because OMG! The people. The things. The other people. Squee! Both the Monsters and History panels were also happy excuses to see people like Amber Benson and Naomi Novik, who make my heart do flip-flops. The Young Adult panel was an excuse to find more people like that. (I didn’t realize it beforehand, but I had previously seen Gretchen McNeil in her other life as a singer in Cirque Berzerk.) Maybe it’s strange to go to panels with authors you’ve never read, but this is one of my favorite ways of finding new books. Listening to authors talk about their books, their inspirations, and their interests, I get a window into who they are as people and how much that might overlap with who I am. A good panel can get me to take the plunge on books outside my normal genres and interests just because I want to spend more time with authors I got to know at a convention. The ultimate indulgence, for me, was the Steampunk 101 panel. The costumes on display all weekend were fantastic and have me itching to get sewing again.

Buying:

I was more conservative with my spending this time, so I have a little less booty to show off than usual. I’m currently being given the dubious look by Laurie, my disapproving Squid Kid. I have costuming goodies from Crimson Chain Leatherworks and Legendary Costume Works. I bought a few books, including How to Defeat Your Own Clone, from Mysterious Galaxy, the best independent bookstore, period. My favorite thing, by far, is the Transmetropolitan art book, All Around the World, from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth. The book, like the whole comic series, is the perfect combination of gorgeous and appalling.

I make conventions work for me. Each one is a long weekend’s glut of information and inspiration. I might be there for odd reasons, but I leave more with my head filled up than with my wallet emptied.

And like the chocolate-flavored broccoli of the future, I know with every fannish squeal that I’m helping myself get closer to being on the other side of that microphone.

(P.S. Wherever possible, I’ve linked to the artists, writers, and craftspeople in question. However, a few people don’t seem to have websites, which left me scratching my head. Really, folks? Just…nothing? Not an electronic sausage?)

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Return of the Con

(So, I’m just going to pretend that I haven’t been absent from here for six months and plan on talking about what I’ve been doing later.)

Anime Expo 2011 starts tomorrow and I am once again an attendee. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed it when I skipped last year to go to Comic-Con instead. I’m not cosplaying, mostly because my idea for a Katamari costume hit some technical snags, i.e. how do I sit if my body is a big round Katamari with cousins stuck to it? But I did make a cute bag, just so I would have something homemade to adorn myself with.

Ta-da!

Homemade Bag

SERPENTS do it for the knowledge

The design and text are taken from the t-shirt of a background character in my story, ApoC. It was con-themed, at least in my mind, and I think it’s cute, so I turned it into a bag. I used an old white button-down shirt for the body of the bag, which worked out better than I could have hoped. The snake and apple are felt appliqué; the lettering is embroidered, then felted to fill in the outlines. It took me four days of light to moderate work. It’s not strong enough to do any heavy-duty carrying; that will be left to one of my combat-level backpacks. I’m just going to use it to carry programs and schedules and such.

I’ll check in again with post-con commentary. They have a new Anime and Manga Symposium, with papers being presented and keynote speakers, so I’m planning to go at least Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to catch all of it. Fan academia, here I come!

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Comic-Con => Zombie!Joyce

Five days, way too many lines, and one lost bracelet (dammit!) later and I’m home from San Diego Comic-Con 2010. Even after twelve hours of sleep last night, I’m still reeling, unsure if I had a good time and why. Friday, the day of suck, saw the lost bracelet (dammit!), a three and one half hour line to get into a room, and the resulting one and a half missed panels. I really, really didn’t like that day.

But on either side of the day of suck, I got to see: the cast of Castle, plus extra Nathan Fillion at another panel; some writers I’ve read and a lot I haven’t but now want to; previews of excellent-looking shows, including Nikita; James Marsters at a table in the exhibit hall; Anthony Stewart Head, who laughs like he’s dying ALL THE TIME, wiping tears from his eyes and giggling; and a panel on zombie fiction that actually makes me want to read it, despite my utter loathing and the not-fun kind of creeping horrors for zombies.

I got books signed by Naomi Novik, both the writer and artist of Leviathan, and a bunch more whom I’ve never read, but who were awesome to listen to on panels. I started reading a book I had never heard of but now LOVE (Blood and Ice, by Robert Masello). I stocked up on comic books. I chatted with vendors about books I like and authors and the whole con experience.

So even though I lost a bracelet (dammit!), got lost–rather a lot really, because my e-nav hates me–around San Diego, stood in so many lines my grandchildren will be having sore knees, and spent the days starving at the con until going out for dinner (oh, how I long for home-cooked food now), I think I had a good time. Whether or not I enjoyed it enough to attend for a third time next year remains a subject of some debate. But I’m pretty sure I’m happy I went this time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have books to read, swag to sort, and joints to ice.

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Updates and a friendly warning

First, the warning, which may superficially look like running away with my tail between my legs. But it’s not. Please don’t be confused. If in doubt, consult a trained professional.

The warning is that June’s working review may not be on time. I say “may” because I am not even willing to commit to failing at this point. I’m running behind my (admittedly padded) schedule for HoC and the working review will, frankly, be the first thing to fall by the wayside.

I’m suffering from an extreme bout of “writing? sure, just a min–oh, shiny!” which has sort of slowed the pace at which I complete scenes to something like one scene every five years. And I’m still committed to finishing both parts of the finale before the first one goes up. Which means I tend to refuse to work on anything else, even when that means I work on nothing.

Meanwhile, the treadmill search was successful, insofar as I obtained a large box that promised to contain a treadmill. This was something of an overstatement of the facts. What it contained was the main body of a treadmill, weighing approximately sixteen TONS, assorted metal pipes and rods, and a vacuum-sealed sheet of more bolts, washers and screws than you can shake a hex wrench at. These had to be put together. Which hey, I expected. I’ve put together my share of Ikea furniture.

About three hours later, sweating in an overheating house and crouched on the floor while trying to lever up the treadmill body long enough to put a spacer between it and the framework, while simultaneously jamming a bolt through all three–framework, spacer, and body–without being able to see the hole in any one, I realized that treadmills are only meant to be assembled by teams of six. They should, for optimal results, pack heavy weather gear, oxygen tanks, and a first aid kit. Sherpas optional.

However! Upon completing the assembly (and taking a brief vacation to recover my wits and feeling in my hands), I tried it out.

Treadmills are amazing. Why didn’t anyone tell me?! While I will not go so far as to call using it “fun,” it is settled firmly in the more ambiguous category of “enjoyable.” I actually woke up early this morning and thought, hey, I can go use the treadmill again, joy! My life as reached a deeply weird and pathetic level. On the plus side, this level also promises to be healthier.

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