It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets a Shoe to the Face

It’s been over a week since we got back from Emerald City Comic Con and I’m not even sure if I’ve processed it all yet. To say I was nervous and stressed out over the whole thing would be an understatement. I had been freaking out for weeks beforehand, not only that I wouldn’t finish my cosplays in time, but also that the large crowd of people would make me panicky. I’ve been to conventions before but this was the biggest one yet. Not only was I fine, but I had the best time I’ve ever had at a convention.

I’ve already talked about three of my cosplays in my previous blog post, and they all ended up turning out really great even if I was worried about wig styling, but now I’m excited to be able to talk about the dress I wore on the Saturday. This dress was really a dream come true. It was loosely based on the idea of a Princess Leia/Cinderella mashup but we generally just called it Disney Princess Leia for anyone that asked.

I’m not really sure how I decided to do this but sometime last year I was on Pinterest and saw a bunch of Leia artwork and one was Leia drawn in Disney Princess style and I knew it was something I had to do. So I recruited Julia as my only slightly reluctant accomplice and started in on what was going to be my biggest project to date. I took a pattern I already owned (for another ballgown I swear I will make one day) and altered it to fit my vision. We ended up adding more panels of fabric to the skirt as the original pattern wasn’t meant to go over the hoop skirt I was planning on wearing underneath it. Sleeves were added at one point and some things that were a part of my original vision were let go. This dress took months out of my life and probably gave me some grey hair while I was at it, but I can’t even begin to explain how worth it, it all was.

It was a childhood dream come true to walk around in a gown and very sparkly heels all day. Julia was dressed as my Prince Charming Han Solo (her idea guys, I swear!) and we were stopped so many times for pictures. Hell we even did a mini photo shoot on the stairs in our hotel. I had a lot of Cinderella feelings okay. I say this every time I cosplay at a con but there’s something really magical about having tiny children come up to you and get really excited about your costume. I had so many little girls ask me to take a picture with them. Normally, I’m terrible with kids but as soon as I’m in costume I weirdly seem to be able to handle them. I even met Jennifer Morrison while wearing the dress and she said I looked gorgeous. Yeah, I’m really surprised I could say words after that.

All in all it was an amazing con and an amazing experience. But I’m sure you have one more question. What the hell is the title of this post talking about? Well, after a whole day of wearing my sparkly heels, I was very excited to kick them off and I accidentally kicked too high and hit our friend Katherine in the face. Yup, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have one klutzy moment.

And now I start preparing for the next con.

The Wait is Over: The Journey to ECCC

I’ve been planning for Emerald City Comic Con for months. Ever since I ended up not being able to go last year, I wanted to make sure that this year’s was amazing. So I’ve worked my ass off on planning my cosplays to make sure that they’re awesome.

So Thursday I’ve got Rose Tyler, which was a fairly last minute addition when David Tennant and Billie Piper were announced and we decided to go for an extra day. I’m decently happy with it, even if I feel like a Barbie doll with long blonde hair, wearing that much pink. The eyeliner has been fun, though. Hello teenage years, how I didn’t miss you but your eyeliner was fun.

Friday’s cosplay is one I’ve been trying to do for the past year: Hoth Leia. I tried to do it last year at ECCC and wasn’t able to because I got sick and ended up having to stay home. Then I tried again for FanExpo Vancouver last year and had a wig malfunction last minute. I’m not going to lie, I’m not happy with how the costume has turned out but my friends and girlfriend have been trying to convince me that it’s fine and I should just wear it anyways. I guess I’m just disappointed because Empire Strikes Back has been my favourite movie since I was a little girl and I really want to do this costume justice.

I am dying to talk about Saturday’s cosplay but I’m keeping it a secret until the convention (except to all my poor friends who must be beyond sick of hearing about it). Don’t worry, I’ll talk all about it in the second part of this blog post that I’ll publish after ECCC is done. All I’ll say now is that five-year-old Alicen would screech with joy if she knew twenty-three-year-old Alicen was going to end up making this costume.

Lastly, Sunday’s cosplay is another one I’m super excited for (in theory): Punk Leia. I saw some amazing Punk Leia art on Pinterest ages ago and have wanted to do a cosplay inspired by it ever since. However, it didn’t actually become a part of my ECCC plans until a couple months ago. Before that I had even more ambitious plans, that I’m really glad I talked myself out of. Anyways, I don’t know how I feel about this costume right now. I’m having some wig issues because I am completely useless when it comes to hair (and I won’t even have anyone with me that is useful with hair). At this point I’m basically going to wing it and hope to hell it works.

Stay tuned for both pictures from Emerald City Comic Con and the blog post I’m going to be writing afterwards.

Coffee Shop Cynic and the Quest for Romance: or how Alicen almost chopped off her finger

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and honestly, Valentine’s Day is often something that slips my mind because A. usually I’m single and B. It’s in the middle of February which is my crazy cosplay deadline month. Last year my partner and I went all out but this year we’ve decided to just watch movies at home instead. That still didn’t stop me from trying to do something romantic. Yeah… that went well.

It started a couple weeks ago when I was looking at the Hot Topic website for jewelry for the secret cosplay I’ve hinted at before. Couldn’t find what I was looking for but I did find these adorable rings that would be perfect. It’s a ring set and they only come in one size: one ring is a man’s size and the other a woman’s. Well that got me on a whole rant about heteronormativity, but that’s a rant for another day.

I was mad that the Hot Topic ones only come in those sizes so I searched the internet for similar rings, unsuccessfully. Anything I found was either going to take too long to get here, was too expensive, or had the same sizing problem. I was about to give up until my friend, Vanessa, gave me a shred of hope.

I ranted to Vanessa about it and she suggested that I still get the rings because I can get spacers to make the big one smaller. One call to Hot Topic to get the rings set aside, and one amazon order of ring spacers later, and I’m all set.

The next day I go to pick up the rings, barely looking at them, while rushing to get out of Hot Topic before I A. spend too much money and B. have Star Wars mansplained to me again by the guy who works there.

I get the rings home and notice that the size 7 one is pretty small. That’s the one I’m going to be wearing and I have pretty big knuckles. I know once I get rings on past my knuckles they’re usually fine. So I get it over my knuckle and it’s way too tight.

No panic. I go grab the soap and attempt to get it off. Nothing. Grabbed the lotion. Nothing. Now I’m starting to get a little concerned so I text Andrea while I also google “how to get a stuck ring off”.

I found this article and started following the advice on it. Tried oil–nothing. Tried icing and elevating the finger and ring for ten minutes. Didn’t work. I was running out of options. I started joking with Andrea about just chopping off my finger but she wouldn’t let me. So instead I tried the last suggestion on the list that I could do myself. I slid dental floss under the ring and wrapped the end closest to the top of my finger around my knuckle to compress it while I slid the ring off. Or at least I slid the ring off in theory. It didn’t work… cue me hysterically laughing.

I was pretty tempted to just grab my biggest knife but I’m the only one who thinks that was a good idea so I grabbed my coat and started heading to the mall instead.

Once I got to Brentwood the first jewelers I saw was Michael Hill. I walked in there hoping they could help me and was sorely disappointed. The one woman didn’t even look up at me, she just kept asking me if I’d tried soap or lotion. The other woman started freaking out saying, “Oh my god, it’s so swollen! I don’t want to hurt you! I can’t even look at it!” I knew no one there was going to be any use to me so I kept wandering the mall.

There’s two more jewelry stores in Brentwood so I looked in both and walked into Rodan. The store was full of suave men who were more than willing to help me. I calmly explained the situation while one of the gentlemen cut off the ring. Okay, that’s a lie. I totally sounded hysterical while I was ranting the entire story at him. He just kept calmly trying to cut off the ring. At one point I remember saying, “And I just wanted the rings for cosplay!” and he just calmly replied, “I don’t know what that means, ma’am,” and kept sawing away at the ring. I’m sure he’s been telling his friends about the weird woman who he had to cut a ring off of who wouldn’t shut up about heteronormativity and cosplay. Anyways, because the ring was cheap, he couldn’t put it back together and resize it but he did file down the cut edges for me and reshape it slightly so I can wear it.

I barely lasted two days before telling Julia this story. Forget surprising her for Valentine’s Day, this story was too ridiculous to not share. However, it doesn’t end there. Not long after I told Julia the story we were doing a trial run of said secret cosplays and I grabbed our gloves so we could put them on. It took me a moment but I looked down at our hands and started hysterically laughing. The rings were for nothing because we’re wearing gloves! Sigh. At least it makes a good story. Also, I’m stubborn as hell and we’re totally wearing the rings over the gloves.

“Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy.”: How Princess Leia taught me how to be a feminist

As most people who know me know, I’ve always been a gigantic nerd. I was watching nerdy stuff with my mom pretty young. We didn’t always get along (read: we fought a lot) but my favourite memories with her all involve her showing me movies and TV shows she loved.

One of those movies was Star Wars. I remember once when I was little, Mom called me over and told me to find something called “Star Wars” on the shelf of doom (my nickname for the shelves of VHS tapes of movies and tv shows my parents had recorded over the years). Needless to say I loved it. I can’t remember too much from the first time I ever saw A New Hope (past me being mesmerized by it and wanting a pet Wookiee) but I do remember staring wide eyed when a bad-ass princess saved herself and sassed back at the male leads. I was so fortunate to grow up knowing there were female characters like Leia that I could look up to. To steal a phrase from my friend Andrea, she was the “self rescuing princess” I needed for a role model. Let’s just say, I wore Leia buns for a while…

She taught me that it’s okay to stand up for yourself. It’s okay to be snarky and sassy and abrasive. I suddenly didn’t have to choose between wanting to be a princess and wanting to be a hero: like Leia, I could be both.

Fast forward 19 years or so and I haven’t changed a bit (except now I wear full Leia cosplay instead of just Leia buns). Two years ago I went to go see The Force Awakens by myself (three times, but who’s counting?). I remember my reactions to that a lot more clearly (as I narrated to my girlfriend the other night when we were rewatching it) but one thing didn’t change. Just like with Leia, my eyes grew wide when Rey came on my screen. When I figured out she was the protagonist of the film I could have cried of happiness (Okay, okay, I totally did cry, but don’t tell anyone).I was so happy that a whole new generation of little girls can grow up with Rey like I did with Leia. I love seeing them cosplay her at conventions. I love seeing both little girls and boys get excited when they see her. It’s amazing and warms my Hoth-like heart.

I can’t wait to see The Last Jedi in a couple days and remember just why I love this franchise so much. It’s going to be so bittersweet now that Carrie is gone I’m prepared to cry, but I’m also prepared to grin like a fool. My girls are going to be on screen again and I don’t know if I can handle it!

So You’re Having a House Crisis: Now What?

Much like many nerds, I’ve always put a faith in Hogwarts houses and the personality traits that go along with them. I’ve been a Slytherin for as long as I can remember. I probably thought I was a Gryffindor when I first discovered the books (I was six, okay) but ever since I discovered Hogwarts house tests, I’ve been a Slytherin. Until recently…

When did this begin? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. I remember there was a night I was taking a bunch of tests and freaking out to Andrea because they were all coming back Gryffindor. As a Gryffindor herself—not to mention someone who actually knows who she is—Andrea didn’t get why I was so upset. My entire life was a lie and suddenly I didn’t know who I was anymore! Finally I decided to blame it on the fact that I’m a Slytherin and Slytherin and Gryffindor have a lot of similarities. End of crisis, right?

Wrong. It happened again. While we were at Geek Girl Con a few of us decided to get Hogwarts house sweaters from Elhoffer Designs. Naturally, I grabbed a Slytherin one and Taylor grabbed a Ravenclaw one. Julia had a far tougher time deciding what sweater to get. She’d always claimed to have been a Ravenclaw but last time she took any house tests they told her she was a Hufflepuff. As someone who knows Julia very well, I can tell you that she’s a Ravenclaw, but sometimes when you’re having a house crisis you don’t even want to listen to those closest to you. The Hufflepuff sweater was cuter so finally she decided on that one.

Everything was fine until after we got home and Julia started taking tests to see what house she is. Just as I predicted, they were coming back Ravenclaw. Then for funsies I decided to take one myself. It also came back Ravenclaw. I took test after test and they all came back Ravenclaw! Finally Julia and I decided to take tests for each other. Yup, I’m still a Ravenclaw.

So now what? I don’t actually know. I’m lost and confused and don’t know who I am. So that’s what I’m going to figure out over the course of this post: who am I and how much does your Hogwarts house have to do with your personality?

I’m going to start by taking three tests to see what they have to say before I start my self analyzing. The three tests I have decided to do are Personality Lab, The Almighty Guru, and Pottermore (of course).

So let’s start with Personality Lab. I like this test cause it’s in depth personality questions and not “what’s your favourite animal”. Okay so I’m going to take the test and report back.

So as you can see here this told me I’m a Ravenclaw and Slytherin comes in second place.

Next up is Almighty Guru. I don’t actually know anything about this test but it looked decently in depth so let’s give this one a whirl.

Now I’m more confused than ever… Hufflepuff? Me? And Slytherin is at the bottom?

Well now that I’m majorly having an identity crisis it’s time to create a new Pottermore account and see if that makes things better or just more complicated.

Finally. I get my house. But I’m also even more confused now because I have three different answers. I guess it’s time for some analyzing.

Let’s start by stating what all four of the houses stand for (by definition of the Harry Potter wikia).

Gryffindor: fire element and lion is the animal

  • Bravery
  • Nerve
  • Chivalry
  • Courage
  • Daring
  • Determination
  • Reckless
  • Short-tempered
  • Self-righteous
  • Arrogant
  • No regard for rules

Slytherin: water element and snake is the animal

  • Resourcefulness
  • Cunning
  • Ambitious
  • Determination
  • Self-preservation
  • Fraternity
  • Clever and Shrewd
  • Strong leader
  • Achievement-oriented
  • Hesitate before acting
  • Disregard for the rules

Hufflepuff: earth element and badger is the animal

  • Dedication
  • Hard work
  • Fair play
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Tolerance
  • Unafraid of toil
  • Loyalty
  • Impartial
  • Modest
  • Inclusive

Ravenclaw: air element and eagle is the animal

  • Intelligence
  • Wit
  • Wisdom
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Individuality
  • Acceptance
  • Academically motivated
  • Talented students
  • Quirky
  • Unusual intellectual interests

So I made myself a check list and checked off all the things that apply to me. I also took a test that tells me what element I am (I’ll count that as a point towards the house.

So my element test told me I’m 30% fire, 30% air, 30% water, and 10% earth. So points for Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.

So in total I have 6 points for Gryffindor, 9 points for Slytherin, 3 points for Hufflepuff, and 9 points for Ravenclaw.

Has this been helpful? Yes? I mean, I still don’t know if I’m a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw but I do know a lot more about myself now. I never really understood why tests kept telling me I’m a Ravenclaw, but now that I’ve researched all the houses I get it. I still see a lot of Slytherin in myself, but I see a lot of Ravenclaw too. Both Slytherin and Ravenclaw overthink things. I’ve always thought Gryffindor and Slytherin were very similar, and they are to a certain degree, but I never realized how similar Slytherin and Ravenclaw are.

So now what? What do I do with this information and what house do I choose next time I want to buy something in house colours?

The Ravenclaw in me immediately started researching what to do in the case of a house crisis. One article I read says that it’s okay to choose one house over another and that you don’t have to have all the traits of the house—after all, there’s more than four types of people in the world. Another article gives the lovely suggestions of combining houses—making me a Slytherclaw.

The Slytherin in me is still determined to prove I’m a Slytherin. Does that mean I’m truly a Slytherin? I mean, Harry got to choose what house he’s in. That means I can too, right? I think it does. After all, we do get to choose who we are in life so that means we can choose this.

I’m choosing to be both. I’ll still say I’m a Slytherin (and wear my house colours proudly) bu I’m not going to reject Ravenclaw. I have a lot of Ravenclaw traits that can’t be ignored. So who knows, maybe I’ll crochet myself a Ravenclaw scarf to go with my Slytherin sweater.