Coffee Shop Cynic and the Curse of the Convention

I know I’ve hinted at my bad luck with conventions a couple times followed by me saying “that’s a story for later”. Well that time has come. Now how exactly can someone be cursed when it comes to conventions? That’s a very good question. Let’s start at the beginning.

In 2013, the year before I moved to Vancouver I found out that James Marsters (who plays Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) was going to be at FanExpo Vancouver. I had a friend who lived in Vancouver and I knew she was planning on going. I would’ve loved to come as well but things fell through and alas I was stuck in Salmon Arm. Stef did get me his autograph though so I can basically die happy.

That one wasn’t a big deal since I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to go anyways. After that my luck got worse because I already had tickets. This began in 2015 when I decided to try to go to FanExpo again. I lived in Vancouver by this point so travel costs were no longer a factor. I’d bought tickets and Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time) was going to be there. I was even going to cosplay for the first time! And then I got strep throat and couldn’t go.

Now I’m not going to go through every single convention in depth and talk about whether I had bad luck or not because that would be boring. To sum it up for you after that I didn’t end up being able to go to two more cons even after I’d gotten tickets: Geek Girl Con 2016 (passport issues) and Emerald City Comic Con 2017 (pneumonia). However, I did make it to a couple. I managed to get to the Once Upon a Time convention in Vancouver in both 2016 and 2017. Sure Creation cons may not be great but I did meet some great people through them and they’re also how I started cosplaying. I also did get to FanExpo in 2016–I may have just gotten out of the hospital barely a week before that, but I did make it. So I swear, I don’t always have bad luck.

Now onto the most recent cons. I’ve been busy making cosplays (and crocheting cup cozies) for Geek Girl Con (which already passed), FanExpo (next month), and Emerald City Comic con (March). I’ll start with FanExpo because it’s the potentially bad news. So Julia and I were planning on selling our stuff at FanExpo this year but we ended up not getting a table. That’s what actually made me decide to write this blog post. I was so upset and disappointed when I found out that we didn’t have a table and once I calmed down a bit, I knew I had to write about it, because that’s how I process emotions. I’ll still go to FanExpo because I have a friend coming into town for it and I also really want to wear my Star Wars cosplays I was going to wear at ECCC (until I got pneumonia).

Then there’s Geek Girl Con. I finally made it this year guys! And it was awesome. I had a really good time and it’s a really great con.

Tickets for Emerald City Comic Con go on sale tomorrow (Oct 11) so here’s hoping the good luck continues.

The point is, disappointment is a part of life. It’s how you handle and make the most of good things when they do happen that counts—and I refuse to be cursed anymore.

“I may be dead but nope, I’m not even pretty.”

“I may be dead, but I’m still pretty.” -Buffy Summer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer s01e12 “Prophecy Girl”)

Back when I was in the planning stage for Geek Girl Con (which is this weekend!) I knew that one of the days I wanted to cosplay Buffy.

I initially planned to do Buffy from “Once More with Feeling”. When I planned this I was still on a musical episode kick thanks to my friends Andrea and Amanda of Tiny Fences: a Buffy Podcast. They had just gotten to the musical episode and I thought it would be a great idea to dress in Buffy’s outfit from the Bronze at the end—especially since Andrea and Amanda might be doing a live show of their musical podcast at Geek Girl Con.

Then Tiny Fences didn’t get into Geek Girl Con. I continued to look for the outfit, but I was disheartened. I couldn’t find a jacket I was satisfied with and the shirt I was going to borrow wasn’t as screen accurate as I would’ve hoped for either. It finally donned on me that the girls weren’t doing the musical episode so maybe I should give up on this cosplay and do something else.

Now one thing anyone who knows me knows is that I’m extremely stubborn. Okay, so I wasn’t going to do the OMWF outfit anymore but I still wanted to go as Buffy. Then I was rewatching season 1 because I just wanted something fun and silly to watch and I got to “Prophecy Girl”. The moment Buffy’s white dress for the dance she never went to came on screen I texted both Andrea and Julia saying “Well I think I found my cosplay.”

I started hunting the next day. I found a white dress and a gauzy white skirt. I intended to put them together and there, super easy Buffy dress! Then I remembered I’m a perfectionist. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than screen accurate. So next thing I know I’m making the damn dress from scratch. “How exactly is making a prom dress from scratch easier than finding a red shirt and long black leather jacket for the ‘Once More With Feeling’ outfit?” you ask. That’s a good question–one I’ve been asking myself since I had the brilliant (note the sarcasm) idea.

I am not an advanced sewer. Hell, I barely know some basics. I tend to wing it and hope it works–and amazingly it often does. I remember when Julia and I made my Emma Swan Camelot dress for the Once Upon a Time convention earlier this year, and I was actually amazed the thing turned out. I’m even more amazed that the Buffy dress turned out. Between really sketchy fabric (it was cheap, okay!), an even sketchier zipper (I may have broken the needle on the sewing machine doing it), and even sketchier yet hemming, it’s not my finest work. Yet, somehow, it looks great! I didn’t think it would (hence the blog post title). Just don’t look too closely at the back, or the darts, or the trim I hot glued on… anyways…

The rest of the costume was a bit of an adventure as well. I already had a jacket that would work I just had to fix it. I was going to get a leather repair kit and just patch it up. Easy, right? Wrong! It looked horrible… It was patchy and even after a week it wasn’t completely dry. So I admitted defeat and set out to find a new jacket. Luckily I was able to find a decently screen accurate one at Value Village that I just needed to replace the buttons on. The shoes were less painful to find but still a challenge. With the 90s being back, who knew it would be so hard to find white Mary Janes? Last but not least, the most exciting part: the crossbow! We spent forever trying to find one online that would actually ship to Canada. No luck. Finally we decided to see if we could get it sent to one of our friends who lives in the States but nothing seemed like it was going to work out. Then Julia found one in Canadian Tire. If I’d known it was going to be that easy….

I seem to have the worst luck with conventions (long story) but I can’t help but feel like Geek Girl Con might break that cycle this year. My costumes are more or less ready, I actually have a passport, and I’m not sick as all hell this time (though I’m probably cursing myself just by saying that). Stay tuned for the adventures of Alicen at Geek Girl con and all the pictures to come!

Coffee Shop Cynic and the Quest to Crochet

I remember sitting in a park last summer while a friend of mine attempted to show me how to crochet. The movement of my hands while I wrapped the yarn around my fingers and tried to get the crochet hook into the first chain was unnatural and awkward. I just didn’t get it, no matter what I did. Honestly, it probably didn’t help that my friends sat there and mocked me while making suggestive comments about crocheting. Didn’t think crocheting was dirty? Clearly, you’ve never had your friends explain crocheting by saying, “You just stick it right in there. Don’t worry if it falls out, you can just stick it right back in.”

Anyways, tangent aside, I found crocheting extremely difficult and it didn’t take me long to give up. Fast forward six months or so and I decided to try again. “Why?” you ask. I basically decided to try again because I am a child. I’m a cosplayer and was planning some Star Wars cosplays for Emerald City Comic Con (that’s a story for another time) and I wanted to have some crocheted dolls to go with my cosplays. Julia, the same friend who tried to teach me how to crochet crochets amazing nerdy dolls and I desperately wanted to learn how to make all of them.

With this new mindset and determination, I managed to pick up on crocheting quickly this time. I decided to start with a Slytherin scarf and it only took me a couple of weeks to finish the whole thing. After that I had a new goal in mind: a Han Solo doll. Despite the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to finish him in time for the convention, that’s when I fell in love with crochet.

While on the Internet one day, I saw cute nerdy cup cozies and knew I needed one. I added them to my mental list of things to make one day and carried on with my life. That is, until Julia asked me of I wanted to join her at the table she sells her dolls at, at FanExpo Vancouver in November. Automatically, I said yes, because I can always use the extra funds to feed my cosplay habit. Then the panic set in. What could I sell? I debated cosplay accessories for a while (which I will sell one day) but then it hit me: the cup cozies!

Thrilled with the prospect of having a new project, I started crocheting and here I am. I’ll be selling them at FanExpo in a couple months so be sure to come visit. Welcome to my new business!