Cosplay Corner: The Year Ahead

Hi all!

So, I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I thought I’d get back into it. I’ve missed cosplaying immensely, and if nothing else, costumes are good motivation to keep me on a fitness path.

I had planned on going to Broadway Con (I even had an AWESOME Jenna from Waitress costume put together!) but overscheduling and a hangover wound up derailing that plan. (WOMP) There’s always next year though!

am however, to start getting my act together, going to do the Disneybound March Challenge. So be sure to check out my Facebook to see those outfits! And play along if you like.

Challenge

It’s looking like my first con of the year is going to be Garden State Comic Fest: Atlantic City Edition. One day I’m going to debut Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale Edition) which is 90% done. I bought a cheap red wig a few years ago for an X-Men group cosplay that never came together, but I’m not crazy about it and may invest in a good one for Cheryl, and for my NYCC goals, and I need to order the Spider Brooch, which I found on HotTopic.com already. The other day of that con will probably be either Poe or Wonder Girl, both of which are comfortable and easy (though Poe needs some touch up work!)

I’ll probably bring Cheryl to every con this year, just because it’s a really fun one and packs easily. I’ll might even be able to enlist a Veronica and a Betty to make for a fun group too.

Friends

(It’s not like I have a latina and blonde best friend who I often go to these things with or anything…*ahem*)

And I’ll of course do NYCC as long as I can get tickets (though again, probably just the weekend. My all 4 day days are past me.) and I have something very specific that I want to do. I have a skirt and top that are almost exactly an outfit that Amy Pond wears early in Series 7. (See, the need for a good red wig comes back…) The thing is, said outfit is from 2012…when I worked at The Plaza…I was really really skinny then. I was a full 4 dress sizes smaller than I am right now.

So, I have until September to lose those dress sizes. And then I’ll do Amy Pond one day at NYCC. The other day, well, if I lose the weight, I have some stuff for a Jedi Cinderella mash-up that doesn’t fit now, but might fit then, if I don’t, GOD KNOWS I have enough costumes I like to fill out a weekend.

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Magic

I’d been reading a bunch of Austen when I wrote this part…if shows

“Marina,” Annalise rode over to me. I looked at her and nodded. “Athena and Aaron shot some rabbits and ducks, they’re cleaning them for lunch, would you get a fire started.” She looked at Lefty and smiled. “You’re about to see something impressive, Lieutenant.” “Am I?” He raised an eyebrow. I laughed and shook my […]

via Magic — The Marina Chronicle

30 Books in 2018 #7: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

There’s the potential for a sharp satire of nerd culture, obsession, the internet and the way those three things can intersect into dangerous and pointless nostalgia buried somewhere in Ready Player One.

The problem is that the book is wayyyy too far up it’s own butt for that to coalesce, so instead it’s just kind of a silly fun dystopian adventure, with nods to 80’s pop culture as it’s unique hook.

Wade Watts is a nerdy teenage boy who lives in the slums of Oklahoma City in the not too distant future, where the power’s run dry and humanity is on it’s last legs. The only thing good in Wade’s life comes from his connection to The OASIS system, a sort of VR internet that connects the whole world. Wade is a member of a unique subculture “gunters” who are searching the system for a hidden treasure left there by the OASIS’s enigmatic and brilliant designer, which designate the winner his sole heir. Since that designer was overly fixated on his childhood and adolescent obsessions, the gunters too over analyze the popular culture of the 1980s, looking for hints and quests. Wade finds a long sought clue and it sets off a race against the clock and (obviously) a faceless evil corporation that wants to control the OASIS.

It’s all very boilerplate, and I was engaged and amused through the whole reading.

And that’s fine. Really. Except it still left me with a sort of sick feeling, and that’s more personal than anything. Ready Player One seems to glorify as noble and heroic all of the things that kept me away from “nerd culture” for a really long time. The distaste for and dismissal of “noobs,”  gatekeeping by way of trivia quizzing, full on disconnection from reality and most of all, dismissal of community and cooperation as somehow inauthentic. (Until the last 40 or so pages where we learn that the true treasure is the friends we made along the way, but also you know, actual treasure.)

I came to nerd culture by way of small time theater, where auteurs are scoffed at, teamwork is paramount and celebrated and no single person’s vision or plan is more important than the production coming together as a whole. “There are no small parts,” and all that. Not that there wasn’t cattiness, overly competitive people or toxicity, those things are a part of pretty much every subculture. But they tend to be minimized when you’re all pulling in the same direction. Therefore the, “I’m out for me and screw anyone in my way, even my friends,” attitude of the main characters, which is sort of endemic in nerd circles, especially the gamer dude ones described here, has always really rubbed me the wrong way.

Also women. Ummm…not great…There are three women to speak of. Wade’s mom, who was a junky prostitute who died of an overdose when he was 10. So, there’s that. Then there’s his aunt who raised him after that, a shrewish welfare queen who neglects and steals from her nephew. Who also dies. So, you know, two for two.

And then there’s Art3mis. *SIGH* Art3mis is Wade’s love interest. She’s also a gunter, and she’s almost better than him! But only almost. Her favorite movie is Highlander, and she’s super hot but not in like a conventional way. Wade basically stalks her and she’s very chill about it, even flattered. She can hang with the guys and is cool with all their lame trash talk, even giving as good as she gets.

Art3mis is Gillian Flynn’s “Cool Girl” given the skin of nerdy women. She’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s “Ping Pong Girl.” (If you are unfamiliar with “Ping Pong Girl,” get familiar.) She made me want to find Ernest Cline and shake him while shouting, “HAVE YOU EVER SPOKEN TO A WOMAN WHO SHARES YOUR INTERESTS? BECAUSE WE ARE GENERALLY NOT LIKE THIS!”

This is a teenage girl, who exists in an elaborate subculture obsessed with the 1980s and never utters the phrase, “What’s your damage, Heather?” nor really mentions Winona Ryder at all nor references Dirty Dancing, or Strawberry Shortcake. While there’s some reference to her only showing Wade the sides of herself he’d like, it’s not enough.

Because seriously, even as a caricature, this girl should be obsessed with Winona Ryder, and want to talk about nothing else.

But those personal hangups aside, it’s a fun book, well constructed with a neat gimmick at it’s center, and I can’t wait to see the movie, if only because seeing Spielberg take on the visuals and action is going to be spectacular. Also, when adapting novels, Spielberg tends to take the bones of the book and make something completely different. After all Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton is a thinky slow burn thriller about the dangers of technological overreach and chaos theory and Jaws by Peter Benchley is (as I understand, having never read it) a trashy pulp novel full of untenable subplots and unlikable characters. In Spielberg’s hands, Jurassic Park became an incredible action movie that still had something to say about technological overreach, and Jaws a flawless masterpiece of a horror flick with intense themes of man versus nature.

So he might manage to strip away the bravado and self congratulatory cleverness and get at something real. I hope so, because there’s so much potential here.

The female characters will still probably be garbage though…*sigh*

Up next is Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe because I’m still in fluff mode, but I badly need to read something not written by a dude.

30 Books in 2018 #6: Origin by Dan Brown

About two years ago, I was on a second date with a perfectly nice man. We’d met at a singles event (always fun and never awkward…) had had a nice coffee and were now having dinner. He was also a writer, though his thing was political thrillers, one of which he’d self published already. (I was going to wait until like the fifth date to read his book…) He mentioned that Dan Brown was his favorite writer, which struck me as an odd thing for a writer to say because like, Dan Brown is fine, but he’s basically the vanilla yogurt of writers, not really anyone’s “favorite,” certainly not someone interested in writing their own stuff.

When I said that I’d read most of his stuff and it didn’t click with me because once I figured out the formula, I’d ceased to find his thrillers, you know, thrilling, he stared at me like, well, like a character in a Dan Brown novel who’d just learned that some deeply held conviction of theirs was ACTUALLY NOT THAT AT ALL!

There wasn’t a third date. He never called me again. I’ve decided it’s because of that anecdote. (Because that comment made me come off as jerky and elitist, and I made him feel stupid.)

I tell this story for a specific reason when talking about Brown’s books:

I’m hesitant to judge anyone’s choice in “junk food entertainment.” Just because I prefer romance novels about spies during the Napoleonic wars to Professor Robert Langdon’s improbable adventures with secret religious societies throughout Europe, doesn’t mean I think I’m better than the people that do. That would be like saying, the because I’d rather eat Oreos I’m a better person than those that go for Doritos. They’re both kind of garbage, but sometimes, you want garbage.

Origin is definitely a straightforward Dan Brown story, and while the BIG REVELATION won’t really shock anyone even remotely familiar with the philosophies of New Atheism or Futurism (I am passing familiar with both, in that I’ve read at least one article by Christopher Hitchins and seen Bill Maher’s Religulous and I’ve been to Disney World a bunch of times and watched Star Trek)

This time Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon (SO DUMB) is running around Spain with the Prince of Spain’s beautiful fiancee who is also a modern art curator, Ambra Vidal (sure, whatever) and a sentient AI named Winston (BEST IDEA THAT BROWN HAS EVER HAD!) trying to outrun an assassin who shot and killed a mutual friend, noted futurist and New Atheist Edmond Kirsch, who was on the verge of ANNOUNCING A SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY THAT WILL DESTROY OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. (It really, really doesn’t.) (Much as it’s really really not that controversial to point out that Jesus may have had a family, and thus have living descendants) (Or whatever it is that happened in Angels And Demons.) 

I’m getting down on this book but I enjoyed reading it, it certainly has it’s share of ridiculousness, and there’s a pretty heavy handed anti neo-fascist message, which while appreciated in a piece of popular fiction like Origin, is maybe out of Brown’s depth thematically. The mystery is actually pretty fun, Langdon is at his charming, bafflingly well informed best, and THIS BOOK HAS A SENTIENT CELL PHONE NAMED AFTER WINSTON CHURCHILL IN IT, so you know, that’s pretty cool.

The dialog is often groan worthy, and while I get that Dan Brown’s general audience is older, I really think the page long description of what Uber is could have been cut. (I actually laughed out loud at that point) I genuinely liked the post climax action where Langdon explains his own religious beliefs, noting the difference between patterns and codes. (Patterns can occur randomly, codes require intent, life requires a code, thus must have some sort of intelligence behind it’s creation.) (Langdon is clearly a fan of St. Thomas Aquinas.)

I was wondering if Origin would make me want to go back and check out the Langdon books I skipped (Inferno and The Lost Symbol.) It didn’t, but it also didn’t feel like a complete waste of time! Hooray!

30 Books In 2018 #5 & The Epics Project #2: Dune by Frank Herbert

It always strikes me when I sit down to take on a great work of science fiction, how little science fiction I’ve actually absorbed in my life. Which means, most of what I’ve actually taken in, be it through reading or watching or listening is the good stuff. Bradbury, Vonnegut, Star Trek, 2001, the Ender & Shadow series.

Every warning I’ve heard about Dune had me on my guard as I dove into the book. It suffers from “inventor syndrome,” (it’s been so imitated and strip mined that it’s revolutions seem cliche now.) it’s impenetrably weird, (it is!) and most of all, it’s long.

The length didn’t bother me. For all the jargon and Herbert’s refusal to provide easy world building, the prose itself is easy, and the story moves along at an irresistible clip. Hell, I read the thing in a week right? The weirdness delighted rather than alienated me. I’ve got other plans at the moment, but like The Dark Tower last year, I think the Dune series is going to dominate my thoughts and TBR pile, because I want to know every inch of this universe. And as a recovering lit student, seeing the building blocks of things that I love in older fiction is one of the true joys of reading older work. Seeing the seeds of Luke Skywalker and Buffy Summers in Paul Astreides gave the book deeper power over me.

It’s not perfect. One of the reasons I have difficulty with sci-fi as a genre is that the men who write it (it’s nearly always men) have a sort of antiseptic detachment to their characters and settings that doesn’t suit the way I invest in fiction, unless I’m reading academically. (And even then, I got way too emotional about the books I was reading. Multiple professors told me I needed to detach more.) So, that leaves me reading in a more academic way, which keeps me from falling fully into a story.

But I more than appreciated the richness of the world in Dune, and I want more of it. I want to know everything about the society and the religions and the noble houses and the politics and all of it. Like I said, it’s similar to how I felt reading The Dark Tower last year.

Here’s the difference though, with The Dark Tower, I wanted to know what happened to Roland and Jake, and Susannah and Eddie (especially Eddie). I don’t really care much about what happens to Paul Astreides, the man who is now Muad’dib, or his family, but I’m curious, in an academic way, about his world.

Anyway, rather than dive right into Dune Messiah, I’m going to reset my brain by reading the latest Dan Brown (NO JUDGING! My Dad said this one was is actually kind of fun again!) (Also he read Twilight for me like 10 years ago, so I owe him one…) and maybe something fluffy and girly after that.

March’s epic will be David Copperfield. 2 down, 10 to go. (Also 5 down and 25 to go!)

 

If You Wanna Page Me It’s OK: We’re going back to Middleton! BOO YA!

You guys.

YOU GUYS!

YOU GUYS!

Disney Channel has announced that we’re getting a live action remake of Kim Possible as an original movie.

I’m kind of having a meltdown about it. I really love Kim Possible. (As these many recaps may tell you!)

Kim Ron Rufus

Baddical!

And I happen to think that she and her friends are great characters to introduce to a new generation. That said, having watched the show and analyzed it, Disney Channel, I have some notes:

I won’t speak to casting the kids. I have no idea who’s in the Disney Stable these days, although someone mentioned the girl who played Sadie on Stranger Things for Kim, and I’d be into that. Of course, it’s very likely that The Mole Rat will be CGI.

The adults, however, I have opinions on casting.

Aubrey Plaza should play Shego. There is no other choice.

While I actually think there’s no reason to not have John DiMaggio simply throw on some blue makeup and take on Drakken in live action, if there’s an objection by the powers that be to this, I suggest bringing in Will Friedle.

Shego Draken

Seriously, picture Plaza and Friedle doing this. So good.

This would provide a really fun connection to the original, while still giving Friedle the chance to do what he does best, which is go completely bonkers.

Barkin should be another reprise, simply have Patrick Warburton do it. Seriously, no reason not to.

Christy Carlson Ramano should by all means be involved, and while she’s probably still a little on the young side to play Mrs. Dr. Possible, it’s the best fit for her. (If DiMaggio is Drakken than Friedle can be Mr. Dr. P. This will be adorable.)

Overall, as a blogger, this makes me very happy. As a fan of KP? EHHHHH…I mean, my brother and I discussed it a bit yesterday at lunch.

Me: I’m going to have a busy few weeks. Disney Channel is doing a reboot of Kim Possible, as a live action movie.
Mike: What, how? Isn’t Christy Carlson-Ramano like 80? (Mean, she is probably in her late 30s…)
Me: It’ll be new people.
Mike: Well, I mean, sure but…like, how do you not have Will Friedle? Also, how bad were all the other production ideas this week at Disney Channel that “Live Action Reboot Of Kim Possible” got the green light?

I mean, he’s not wrong. In general we’re in a weird cycle of remakes and reboots, and so creatively it might be leaving folks at a loss. But since the piece of new pop culture I’ve gotten the most joy out of in the past few months has been Duck Tales, I’m optimistic.

Plus, as I said above, I really like this property and seeing more of it, in any form, is a net good to me. (Plus a kick butt teenage heroine in the mainstream…also good.)

Season 4 Outfit

Also, I’d hope that the movie STARTS with her in the crop top and cargos, has at least one scene in the battle suit, and ends with the Season 4 look.

I’ll certainly be watching casting and development closely, and even more certainly, you can be sure I’ll be seated, Kimmunicator in hand, ready to see what the sitch is when the thing finally airs.

By Kimmunicator I mean glass of wine.

But I think you knew that.

*DOO DOO DAH DO*

Liar

It’s time for Marina to to live a with a lie for a minute.

The Marina Chronicle

I woke in the morning feeling better, still sad but better. I pulled my dressing gown on and walked into the sitting room to make sure breakfast was set. Annalise was already standing out on the balcony with a cup of coffee, which felt strange. It’s normally murder getting her out of bed.

She was even dressed! Not that I wasn’t aware of the fact that she could dress herself. It’s just since we came to Dovetail it’s been increasingly unusual.

“Good Morning,” she smiled.

“Good Morning,” I said and walked out. “You’re awake early.”

“Athena told you that we’re going riding?” She asked. I nodded. “I thought to the valley? It’s quite pretty and very Cammadie.”

“A good choice,” I nodded and laughed. “I’m sorry for fleeing last night, I wasn’t feeling well, and I think saying goodbye to William drained me more than I thought it would.”

“You’re…

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