Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Megacon was the convention I returned to my “con roots” and started working for artists again. In this case, it was my good friend James Christopher Hill, who is an unfairly talented artist. He does oil paintings, he does digital paintings, he does computer animation and rendering… so basically he does everything I have ever dabbled in but WAY BETTER.  In this case, James did a rather gorgeous painting of me based off this picture, and Megacon was our big show debut.  Neato!

So it's me, him, his wife Kathy (who is, hands down, one of the best sales people I've met, and super nice to boot) and our friends Don and Doireann. Doireann (pronounced Door-in) had just sprained her ankle in Krav Maga class (we told her to tell people she was fighting MANY NINJAS) so she had to limp around all weekend, poor thing! 


We load up the van and drive on down to Orlando – it’s about six hours from Charleston, SC, where I met up with James and Kathy. I nap on and off and organize my music and hey! We’re in Orlando.

Unloading the car takes a surprisingly short amount of time, and we get the booth mostly set up by the time the con closes down for the night. And man oh man, is there a huge difference between “setting up an artist’s prints at a booth in a con” and “setting up a costumer anywhere”.  It’s so eeeeeasy!

Don, who is a giant scary man, decides to give me an impromptu Krav Maga lesson that night. Doireann helps him demonstrate, proving that she doesn't need two working feet to kick someone's ass. I manage to achieve a very basic level of competency at escaping a grip, though I must confess I was privately hoping to learn how to jump and kick someone's head off.


The con opens at noon. It’s pretty slow – at least, it’s pretty slow compared to the absolute MADHOUSE that we know Saturday will be. Organic Armor set me up with a really gorgeous steampunk ensemble for the show, so I was trying that out…with a full length belly dancer skirt for a base! Gasp! Shock! Actual clothing!

I have to admit, I felt awwwfullly pretty and swishy in that skirt. Belly dancers always have the coolest stuff.

On the flip side of that, every third person I ran into that I knew that day was all, “Hey CHAINMAIL CHICK, where’s your CHAINMAIL?”

All right bitches, I get the hint. You best believe I’m bringing my shiny metallic costuming A-game on Saturday.  But Friday I get to be swishy like a pretty princess dammit! >:-O

Also, I was freaking out a bit when I found out J. Scott Campbell was going to be at Megacon – guess who inadvertently ended up chatting with him? Oh yeah, this chick. Then guess who was a total wuss and did not hand him a business card on the spot because she was too intimidated. Then, guess who spent the rest of the weekend trying to get back over to his booth and make up for that grievous lapse in spinal column but his booth was super packed all the time and she missed her chance?

I AM KICKING MYSELF AS I WRITE THIS. Not that Mr. Campbell lacks for models, but dangit, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring.

So after that stupidity, I threw my card at any artist who so much as made eye contact.

It was great seeing con friends again. Fanservice Anakin showed up rockin his new Mandalorian suit (which, sadly, was not shirtless), I saw Conan Dave and his girl (Dave was actually not doing
Conan because “he wasn’t in shape enough”, keep in mind he looks like he could rip most people in half with his pinky. pinky toe, not the finger pinky.), my drow homies (whom I can barely recognize out of body paint), a couple photographer buddies, webcomic artist Jennie Breeden and her awesome SO Oby, Steve Scott, artist Echo Chernik and her mother… no doubt I’m forgetting some people.

After the J. Scott Campbell failure, I decided I wasn’t going to let opportunity slip away from me again – our booth was actually an aisle over from Yaya Han, the renowned cosplay model, and I plucked up my courage and make a pilgrimage to her booth to seek convention wisdom. She’s about my height, which made her mildly less intimidating to approach, but she’s still dauntingly gorgeous and I stammered probably more than was dignified. But she was very sweet despite my apparent retardation and talked to me for a bit, and made some excellent points about working the con scene as a career.

1)      “Do it with integrity. Don’t step on people trying to claw your way to the top. The convention scene is close knit and people talk, and you never want to have a negative reputation.”
2)      “Find what you’re passionate about, find your niche, what sets you apart from everyone else. There’s a ton of cosplay models nowadays, but you have to find your own angle.”

I’m on it, Yaya! Thanks for the advice :D


Yes indeed, Saturday was an absolute madhouse. James and Kathy went over in the morning and I slept in a bit, then wrangled myself into my chainmail and set out walking down to the convention center (we were staying a little ways down the street).  Now, in true pride-goes-before-the-fall fashion, I had a pair of heels that I’ve owned for… longer than I care to admit, and I was debating wearing them because a) they have a history of breaking at cons  b) they’re held together by glue and willpower and c) oh yeah, they’re actually broken AGAIN.

Nevertheless! I wanted to feel slinky and sexy and the easiest way to do that is to saunter around in chainmail fishnets and some strappy heels.

So, I hiked all the way down to the convention center – stubbornly turned down a very nice man who kept trying to offer me a ride, possibly because I looked like a barbarian hooker – and sure enough, by the time I got to the con, my feet were blistered and raw. Herrrp a derp. Went barefoot the rest of the day and tried to slink regardless, but goddamn, did my feet hate me.

Kathy and I also worked out a tip system – take a picture, leave some monies – because as much as I do not mind posing for random shots, when I’m trying to sell my own pictures at a booth, it’s a little frustrating to have people snapping camera phone pics and then walking off without so much as glancing at my work. People ended up being really nice about it, though! I think it’s just a matter of doing it right and not being demanding or petulant or entitled.

Saturday Night

The infamous Wolf Pack Elite throws their big party, which had some kind of demented circus theme. It was a pretty cool event, but jesus, we had to wait in line for like, an hour. My legs were tired before I even hit the dance floor.

Also, I finally got my “clubbing chainmail” together – hehehe.

Side note, if we go out to a club, be advised that my style of dancing is best described as “spastic”.  I prefer “electrified octopus”, but the point is there is a lot of flailing involved. It’s better for everyone’s health and safety that you do not get too close. I have included a helpful PSA:


In summary…

Pics I Posed For: 695879834652

Pics I Probably Ruined by Blinking: 57989986221

Pics Taken of Me While I Was Eating a Sandwich: more than zero, what is wrong with you people

People Who Started a Conversation by Asking if I Was Single: 3

How Often I Petted Fanservice Anakin’s Abs While We Were Taking Pictures: 45 pets/minute

Hours Slept: 20-25?

Number of People with Free Hugs Signs That I Hugged: 0

Time I Was Mistaken for a Slave Leia Costume: 28738634 – WTF PEOPLE, HAVE YOU SEEN STAR WARS BEFORE. I AM APPALLED 

Times I Got to Use My New Found Krav Maga Skills: 0

Times I considered It: Only a couple! Hehehehe. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

StellarCon 35

Sometime last year, my convention mentor Space Jesus popped the question to me:

“Would you be a guest at StellarCon 35?”

Of course I said yes, and then I promptly put it out of my mind until about a week ago when my vendor friends started getting ready for Stellar. Then suddenly I remembered I needed business cards! I needed prints! I needed to prepare for my panels! 

Well, I got two out of the three done and hoped that whoever showed up to my panels really liked improvisation.

I had a few main goals at this con:
1)      Do a decent job of being a guest
2)      Properly deflower the convention virgins (we brought some friends who were new to the con scene)
3)      Make sure my vendor friends sleep less than I do
4)      Sell at least…ONE PRINT. (hey, you set the bar low…)

Our group consists of myself, Tanner, my younger sister and her roommate and one of their friends, our resident Pretty Asian Boy, and our friend MadScientist, who left us for grad school in Atlanta, where he is no doubt learning how to violate natural laws in pursuit of things no man was meant to create. (He was drinking whiskey out of test tubes all weekend, if that tells you anything…)

I camp out at Space Jesus’ table. He’s not making use of it because he’s busy organizing things (and doing a terrific job of it) so I annex half for my prints. We’re set up across the way from Kass and Trouble, who have a bunch of neat jewelry and shinies (some of which jingle most delightfully and Kass employs them to attract the fangirls)

10pm Friday  - Nearly Naked Costuming. I was filling out my guest form at 3am and thought it would be funny to propose a silly panel…which Space Jesus then made into a real panel.  I did my part by showing up in the bare minimum of chainmail bikini (and chainmail stockings, which Space Jesus had banned me from wearing until after hours), but it actually ended up being somewhat educational, part costuming and makeup/bodyart tips and part costuming stories.

Having survived my first panel…booze time!

Now, I have drinking abilities on par with say, a baby bird, so my idea of boozin’ it up is really more like nursing one drink for a very long time. But that did not stop me from staying up till 4am, no sirreee. Because my first panel wasn’t until 12pm, so I could sleep in, suckahs! I’m pretty sure Matt of Ribbons and Rivets got about 3 hours of sleep….Goal 3 accomplished.  

11am Saturday  [not 12pm, I had the wrong time on my form and found out at 10:31 that I was supposed to be at the panel at 11….ever seen someone speed walking in a chainmail bikini? It is not dignified] - How to Win a Costume Contest. Hey, pro tip – if you’ve got your heart set on winning a costume contest, and two out of the four judges are doing a panel called HOW TO WIN A COSTUME CONTEST, you might want to show up, instead of complaining after you don’t place that the contest wasn’t fair.  Hey, the waaaaaaahmbulance just pulled up outside …

4pm Saturday Artist Round Table – published and award winning artist Alan Welch, world famous fantasy painter LARRY FREAKIN ELMORE, and…myself… sat down and discussed our artwork, our inspiration… ahhh mostly we sat around and listened to Larry talk because he’s super entertaining.

On the difference between digital art and traditional painting :
(after he had spent a long time laboring over an extremely difficult and detailed composition for a major game company)

Larry: So I sent the painting in and thank god, they loved it.
Me:  See, that’s the nice thing about photoshop – they don’t like the color of magical city, click click click, totally different color!
Larry: I think if they’d asked me to change something, I would’ve shot myself.

One thing that was a bit weird was selling my own prints – I’m used to booth girl-ing for artists and costumers, but it’s completely different to have a table full of my own face staring back up at me. I really want to start doing prints of other people, I think that will cut down on the weirdness. I’ll admit, my inner artist was pleased when prints that I had spent quite a few hours laboring over proved to be popular. ^_^ I’ve already got three new ones underway.

7pm Costume Contest – some really cool entries this year! I was judging, along with Larry Elmore, Todd McCaffrey, and Space Jesus. I’m not sure if I like judging or entering more…the feeling of power was intoxicating. And, I got to hang out with Larry and Todd, two of the Guests of Honor, and pretend like I was also an important person. They are both very easy going and down to earth, and by far way more fun than most celebrity media guests I have met. We ended up having a long and rambling conversation about everything from motorcyles to child beauty pageants.

9pm The Delphic Oracle – Best. Panel. EVER. The way the Oracle works is that there’s five people on the panel. The audience poses questions to the oracle, and the panelists answer, each person contributing one word at a time in order. The results are convoluted…but awesome. Kind of like how the real Delphic Oracle gave answers that weren’t actually helpful because they could be interpreted either way. I pull the MadScientist onto the panel, because he’s also a theater nerd and excels at this kind of thing.

Question: Why did Davey try to end our panel earlier by telling us the wrong time?
Answer: Because Pikachu makes Davey horny.

Question: Do real vampires sparkle?

Question: My liege king wishes to make war on Darius of Persia. How can he ensure victory?
Answer: Victory will surely be his because he has Pikachu’s love, unless he fails to bring the stolen Encyclopedia Brown wrapped in glistening silken echidna balls.  

Then we composed a “Dear John” letter… that began: “Salutations Juan Alberto Enrique Rodriguez…”

And because the panel was moderated by Todd McCaffrey – someone had to go there and ask a question about Pern:

Question: Are the humans on Pern part of a large scale social experiment that is being observed by outsider forces?
Answer: Surely you don’t think there are humans on Pern?

Yeah make sense of that! THE DELPHIC ORACLE HAS SPOKEN!

10 pm Wild Con Stories – really more like “Tales of Drunk! Space Jesus.” Val the Epic Bartender and I sandwiched Space Jesus and shared some delicious pineapple rum fruit juice COFFEE. Anyway, to know Space Jesus is inevitably to have a ridiculous story about his antics (ask me how I met him sometime), so we keep the panel going strong for the full time.  

PANELS ARE OVER, BACK TO PARTIES. (Goal 1 accomplished!)

In honor of our panel together, Val invents a drink called “Wild Con Story.” Val is the kind of bartender that if she hands you something, you drink it, no questions asked. Although, I’m not clear on whether it was “Wild Con Story” or “Wild Consort”, because the drink tastes like delicious soda but it is SUPER ALCOHOLIC. I had one and suddenly everyone was my good friend that I wanted to give hugs to.

Equal parts: Tuaca, Chocolate Raspberry Liquor, Chambord.
Add a splash of Amaretto.
...Finish with Club Soda
[Feed to Allegra]

Sunday morning, everyone claws their way out of bed (Goal 2 accomplished! If you have any energy left at the end of the con, then you didn’t have as much fun as you could have, hahaha!), I sell a bunch of prints (Goal 4 super accomplished!), and somehow resist sleeping on my own table.

I never mean for these blog posts to get so long, dangit! So to wrap up –

StellarCon 35, in review, was awesome. Definitely would recommend!  It was extremely well run, the guests (besides that one scantily clad chainmail ho) were fun, the attendees were great... I was sad to see that attendance had dropped since last year, but wasn’t too surprised, since Shevacon is now apparently on the same weekend. (What the crap, Shevacon, not kosher)

Here’s to StellarCon 36!  *toasts with Wild Con Story*

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gulf Coast Ren Faire

Day 1 – Thursday 2/24
The car is packed, the inventory is mostly together, the Protomen CDs are burned…and no indication from the boss man when we’re leaving. We affectionately refer to him as the “Chaos Wagon”, because there is no such thing as organization when he is involved.

It’s roughly an 11 hour drive to Pensacola from the Greensboro area, so Matt and I are looking nervously at the receding sunlight. I am excited about the impending sunshine and beach sand and pack ALL TWO of my bathing suits.

The Costume Boss calls! We can start driving! At… 7pm. Hoo boy. 

We end up calling it quits around 2:45am (technically 1:45am because of the time zone change) and getting a hotel room for the night. The Costume Boss tries to make me watch a clip from Pink Flamingos – yeah, that one – and reads us dirty jokes while Matt compulsively does pushups in the corner of the room because he’s missing his gym time.  

Number of Protomen album listens: 3

The sky absolutely opens up and startles everyone awake. 

Day 2 – Friday 2/25
Shower or sleep in…shower or sleep in. The Costume Boss reminds us that it’ll be our last shower for a few days. I crawl out of bed.

The shower knob is bizarre. I fail to figure out how to make it work and end up taking a midget shower by crouching under the faucet. 

We hit the road again. It’s a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day. The Costume Boss is strongly in favor of dumping our stuff at the faire grounds and hitting the beach. This plan is abandoned when we actually reach the grounds and realize that most everyone else has set up already.

Number of Protomen album listens: 5 

Setting up the tent is interesting – first we put up the basic tent structure, then the metal grids that get zip tied into a frame for the hangers, then all the mannequins and display racks, then the clothes, and then the weather flaps. Fortunately we do a pretty good job, because it turns out we’ll be camping out in our booth. This seems like a totally awesome idea until the sun sets and the temperature starts dropping rapidly and the wind picks up and I realize that I only have two thin blankets in the car.

Matt builds a wind barricade out of our empty inventory tubs. It is moderately successful, in that it keeps the wind from totally freezing us during the night. It is still way too cold. I’m finally drifting off to sleep and…oh god! Are people walking around? Is that sunlight? WHY ARE YOU UP SO EARLY?

Day 3 – Saturday 2/26
Despite “looking like a small child about to throw a temper tantrum”, I eventually make it up. The sun is shining, the faire is bustling, and the food vendor right across from us is cooking something that smells waaaayy too good. The interesting thing about ren  faires in the deep south – alligator meat! I didn’t get to try any, sadly, but it’s on my to do list now. Next year, Gulf Coast Faire…

I'm a little apprehensive about wearing the chainmail - hopefully it's not too risque or "not period enough" - and I left my normal "modesty skirt" at home so I'm making due with the considerably less modest but very fierce looking fur skirt I originally made to wear with the mail. Then I see a girl wearing a pink pirate hooker outfit and I feel less worried.

Our tent is open on two sides, and a vendor warned us last night that there would be quite a few shoplifters about. “Watch for the ones with the big cloaks – they will fluff them!” We position ourselves strategically around the tent. Matt gets hit on by a girl wearing a really gorgeous Mother Confessor outfit, and an absurd number of people attempt to wear the garters as necklaces and we finally just stop correcting them.
The faire is small, probably smaller than the Raleigh Ren Faire at the State Fairegrounds, but boy is it packed. We have waves of traffic all day and sales are good. This also means that we never actually get to leave the tent to look around. I sneak out a few times to peek at the jousters but perpetually miss the actual fight. Balls.

Saturday night dinner – we practice the virtues of not eating your profits and picnic in the tent with tuna fish and fancy crackers and the various munchies we brought. 

Then I make us go get ice cream. I tried! 

There is no wind tonight…so the tent is absurdly muggy. Oh sleep, will you elude me again?

Day 4 – Sunday 2/27
Sleep totally eludes me. Dammit.

Since no one read me the riot act about my chainmail bikini yesterday, I decide to try out the new chainmail meets leather combo – Matt has a garter belt with knives set that I’m coveting , so I bully him into making it sorta fit me. Don’t worry though, he had his revenge with all the yanking that was “needed” to make it sit right.

[here’s where a picture of the outfit should go but I don’t have one because I was TOO HERP DERP to remember to get pictures of myself (or most of the faire really)] 

I catch my first shoplifter! He’s trying to make off with one of our daggers by holding it tucked up against his forearm…of course, since he’s wearing a short sleeved shirt, it’s sort of glaringly obvious. Still, I got to give my best just-gimme-a-good-reason-punk smile. He returns the dagger.

The Costume Boss has been insisting the whole ren faire that I charge a dollar for pictures. Finally we do it as a joke, because we’re sleep deprived enough to think it’s funny and hey! I make $5 towards the end of the day. Sweet. Straight into my chocolate student loan repayment fund.

I’ve handed out all my business cards, all of Shaun’s, all of The Costume Boss’, and most of Matt’s. I feel like I’ve been quite productive. And it’s been a long day at the faire, time to rest break down the tent and find a hotel for the night before driving back drive back to North Carolina, on our collective ten hours of sleep for the weekend.

All right! I’m gonna keep Matt awake all the way back (he’s driving) the only way I know how: MORE PROTOMEN.

Number of Protomen album listens: WHO KNOWS

Technically Monday 6am
We make it home! Yaaaaay! And my foray to the Gulf Coast is concluded. I completely failed to go to a beach, though, so there better be a return trip in my future…

Day 5
I catch up on sleep.