Gift Ideas for the Cosplayer on Your List

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41WlbL5Sb8L._SL250_Do you have a cosplayer on your list? Unsure of what to get them? We’ve compiled a short list of some basic cosplaying ideas that are useful in almost any cosplaying application.

For example: Are you tired of them borrowing your hair dryer for moldable plastics? Well this Christmas give them a gift that gives twice. The Wagner heat gun will give them a heat source for their plastics and save wear and tear on your hair dryer. Plus you won’t be looking all over the house for where your hair dryer has gotten to.

Of course you can always throw in some Instamorph Moldable Plastic.

In small or large.

Or in colors:

Maybe they’re looking for thermoplastic for their next masterpiece:

While all that is fun and makes fantastic cosplays, perhaps something a bit more practical is what you’re looking for. A set of Xacto knives is a good call for all of that precision cutting that needs to be done.

There’s also a cordless hot glue gun.

Or you can make up a cosplay emergency kit for them with the hot glue gun and a few other small items for on the go repair.

A small sewing kit for repairing seams, tears or if a button is lost:

Sticky back Velcro (trust me on this stuff, it’s amazing)

Duct tape (like the force it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together).

q-tips for makeup or paint touch up.

Put all of these things in a handy messanger bag and they have a nice repair kit to take with them to cons and there might be space for other things they need or want.

Without knowing the exact cosplay under construction, fabric choices and paints are not a good idea. Giftcards to fabric stores are great ideas though.
This way the cosplayer on your list can get the fabrics and accessories of their choice and you’re not guessing about what they want.

Of course there’s always a sewing machine. Cosplayers often do their own sewing and a sewing machine is a great gift.

We hope these ideas are helpful.

Dragons of Tarkir Additions to some Decks

Ojutai's Command

Ojutai's Command

Ojutai’s Command

Those who follow Magic: The Gathering know that the new expansion set Dragons of Tarkir shipped last week. Personally I was excited to get my grubby little paws on this set because it promised a lot of dragons. Honestly, who doesn’t like a lot of dragons?

So I got my hands on a box and had an enjoyable evening opening packs and reading cards, looking at art and enjoying the scent of new magic cards. I noticed that the flavor text for Pacifism got changed, which is a real shame because I found the previous flavor text pretty funny.

The dragons are beautiful, each and every one spectacular and they have great powers too. I pulled so many amazing dragons that I’m seriously considering a 5 color singleton deck. Gotta play them all!

I have to say that even the commons are really good in this set. I was quite surprised by how good some of the commons are. I really, really wanted to get a white common named Resupply into one of my decks.

The following are the cards that did make it into decks and the decks they made it into.

Rakdos:
Out: Mardu Shadowspear
Sudden Spoiling
Alesha Who Smiles At Death
In: Arrow Storm
Kolaghan’s Command
Tail Slash

Azorious:
Out: Lore Seekers Stone
Noble Stand
In:
Contradict
Ojutai’s Command

Dimir:
Out: Ojutai Soul of Winter
Steel Hellkite

In: Resupply
Tapestry of the Ages

Tapestry of the Ages

Tapestry of the Ages

Orizhov:
Closed

I just couldn’t get anything into the Orizhov deck.

Dragons of Tarkir is a fantastic set. I’m sure there are more surprises in store than I’ve seen so far. K.

Emerald City Comic Con was this weekend #ECCC2015

Mt Rainier over Seattle

Mt Rainier over Seattle

Mt Rainier over Seattle

This weekend in Seattle Washington at the Washington Convention Center was the Emerald City Comic Con. I was unable to post here on M31Publishing due to a technical error with the site and because I was away from home I didn’t have the same access that I normally have and needed to correct the problem.

Thankfully the fine people over at Fangirlnation published my review of day 1 of the con here .

Of course there is so much that happens at a convention that I cannot possibly get it all into a single article. One of the things I should mention that I rarely do are the places we like to eat when we are at the con. On one evening we treat ourselves to a really nice dinner and walk down to The Crab Pot on the waterfront. It’s a bit pricy but so delicious.

There’s a mall called Pacific Place that’s just two blocks away from the convention center. We like it because it’s close and inside are three of our favorite places to have lunch or dinner during the con. It’s close enough to be within walking distance and still provide a bit of a break from the press of the crowds during the day.

Inside we like the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, the Mexico Cantina Y Cocina, and for when we have limited time and need to get back for a panel discussion, autograph or some other event we like Pike Place Chowder. I’m sure there are other places that are just as good but these three are the ones we go back to time and again.

I did wear my Mothra cosplay to the ECCC but once again the con photographers missed me. That seems to be the story. Oh well, perhaps one day they will see me in my cosplay. While browsing some of the tables of merchandise I overheard two gentlemen pitching a box similar to a LootCrate but this is called the Marvel Collector Corps. Not as catchy as Lootcrate but all Marvel and Funko stuff inside. In fact the two gentlemen were representatives of Funko.

I really enjoy our Lootcrates, Looters go here to sign up for your own. We got Funko Pop Dancing Baby Groot in one Lootcrate and they are very reasonably priced.

Since we love our Lootcrates we are going to go ahead and give the Marvel Collector Corps boxes a try. If you’re interested in the Marvel box you can check them out here .

Today was the third and last day of the ECCC2015 and I’ve already submitted my review of day two to FangirlNation. As soon as it posts I’ll link it for you.

I’ll leave you with some bonus con pictures. K.

Lilo and Stitch cosplay

Lilo and Stitch cosplay

Starlord

Starlord

Steampunk Storm and Mothra

Steampunk Storm and Mothra

Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara

Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

Storm

Storm

Westly, Inigo and Fezzik

Westly, Inigo and Fezzik

Greatest American Hero

Greatest American Hero

At Long Last, Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Luau Sunset
Mai Tai with little Umbrella

Mai Tai with little Umbrella

Breaching Whale

Breaching Whale

When we got married, my love and I chose not to start our lives in debt by going on an expensive honeymoon. Instead we made a promise that someday we would go to Hawaii. That day came and we chose Maui to spend four wonderful days with each other.

I had never been to a warm water beach before. My love, wisely, decided not to book us up for the first day there. Instead he thought we would want to just enjoy the beach and recover from the long flight. This allowed us to spend our entire first day playing in the surf and swimming in the ocean waters.

Whales

Whales

There were many whales playing in the distance that we could easily see. That first day a large sea turtle swam right past me and we discovered that if we held our ears underwater we could hear the whales singing and chattering to one another. I cannot do justice to conveying how magical and even sacred these things were. I am constrained by language and words cannot fully express the majesty of seeing whales and hearing the humpbacks sing to one another. Mothers and babies, their voices distinct, filling the water with sound and wonder.

Playing in the gentle surf was fun too, although I will say that I now understand the allure of the bikini. In the ocean, near the beach, every inch of fabric you wear becomes a giant sand trap, catching suspended sand particles and plastering them to your skin. You want as little of that as possible. We got sand in places it’s best not to speak of.

Sunset Maui

Sunset Maui

We wandered into Lahaina in search of lunch and discovered the Aloha Mixed Plate where I had Kalua Pork for the very first time. It was so delicious it became my favorite food for the week. Also I’m not sure but if the Mai Tai isn’t the state drink of Hawaii, it should be. They were plentiful and offered everywhere we went. I only got one with the little umbrella but they were all delicious. Every place seems to have their own recipe for the iconic drink so expect some variance in them from place to place.

On our second day we played in the ocean all day again. A curious octopus came and swam underneath us for a while. At first I thought it was seaweed but it was the only piece I’d seen in two days and it was moving weirdly. Then she swam and I saw all of her tentacles and her head. She was amazing.

Mai Tai

Mai Tai

That evening we went to the Old Lahaina Luau. Choosing this luau took some research but it was so worth it. It’s an all you can eat and drink buffet of traditional kalua pork, where the pig is roasted whole in the sand on the beach and so many other delicious foods as well as an unending supply of Mai Tais and other drinks, including fruit juices for those who don’t want to over imbibe.

The Luau takes place on the beach, conveniently next door to the Aloha Mixed Plate and the sun setting through the palm trees is spectacular. Then the show started and it was amazing.

Luau Sunset

Luau Sunset

I knew that Hula is a dance that is also a language. What I did not know was that the islanders preserve their history through this dance. Through Hula they preserved history that otherwise would have been forgotten.

The dancers were graceful and the dance flowed like the ocean behind them. They made calls that echoed those of some local bird while they danced certain Hulas. They did not do any fire dance, which I had hoped to see but didn’t really miss because the show was so gorgeous.

Hula

Hula

Filled full of delicious, varied and plentiful food plus all the drinks we wanted, we enjoyed the show and chatted with our tablemates. We got leis and a lovely program that outlined the different hulas and included a menu. We also heard from some of our friends who had been before that this one was the best one to attend. I must confess it was truly a wonderful experience.

This concluded our first two days in Maui. I already published my tale of what happened on the third day in The Road Less Travelled to Hana. There is still one more day and I will write about that here soon. For now enjoy these bonus pictures. Please note that my cell phone isn’t the best device for low light photography but it is all I had with me. K

Another Hula

Another Hula

Hula about Pele

Hula about Pele

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More Hula from the Luau

More Hula from the Luau

Maui sunset

Maui sunset

#RCCC2014 Day 2 #Mothra meets #Godzilla & #DirkBenedict

Mothra at Rose City Comic Con

Comic Cons restore my faith in humanity. A bold statement? Perhaps. It’s true though. When I see hundreds of creative cosplayers in their fantastic costumes, most of which they made themselves, it makes me happy. I love the cosplayers who buy their costumes too. Not everyone is crafty, not everyone has time to make something but everyone can cosplay. This is who people really are when they are set free from the worries and demands of everyday life. People are creative and gracious, they are happy to talk about their cosplay and the subject of their cosplay. When you see two fans of the same game, say a Link and a Midna meet at a con it’s just magical. I saw Ronin glad to see Star-Lord just because they so obviously share the same interest. When you see a group of cosplayers you are seeing people set free from the mundane to express one facet of who they really are.

Another thing I love about comic cons are the celebrity guests. I have yet to meet a celebrity guest who isn’t just as gracious, kind and charming. They share so much with their fans and they are happy to do so. I know Stan Lee was disappointed at the Portland Comic Con that he couldn’t say more than a few words to each of the fans who wanted to see him. He always wanted to share, to sit and chat but, alas, so many people wanted to see him that the con volunteers had to keep the line moving. It was the same way with William Shatner. These are people who just love people, or perhaps more accurately an audience but they are storytellers, that’s what they are.

With all that being said, I have a confession to make: I got Dirk Benedict’s autograph again. I know, I know–why? I already have his autograph from ECCC2013 and he was quite charming. But it was so reasonably priced and his line was so short I didn’t have to wait hardly at all and this time I wanted a picture that spoke more to who he is than my fandom. So I chose this picture:

Dirk Benedict

Dirk Benedict

I chose it because, after hearing his discussion panel this picture made me think of who he really is while still tying in to one of the shows I loved as a kid. Well I think I’m not going too far to say that I made his day by choosing that photograph. He immediately got excited and started talking about how this is his favorite picture. Turns out he had this picture taken in England for his mother but he liked it so well he had copies made to bring to conventions. He loves the shirt and wears it all the time, and the shoes are his favorite. In fact he wore them to the con and showed me. I think he was really touched when I told him why I chose that photo. He also liked my Mothra hat. We chatted for 5 or 10 minutes and his excitement about this photo had other people in line leaning in to listen and just smiling too. It’s something special when you can bring so much joy into someone’s life by something so small. He also said that this was only the second one of those particular photos he’d sold, which to be fair is probably because people want pictures of him in the roles they know him in. So, if you ask me, totally worth the very modest sum I shelled out to get a second autograph. Oh! And he let his aide take a photo with him and I was wearing my Mothra costume, natch.

Nice hat

Nice hat

I love coming away from cons with stories like the one above. It really adds to the specialness of each con. Look for these moments when you go to a con and don’t be afraid to note them down as soon as you are out of line.

We ran into the fantastic cosplayers who were Yzma and Kronk yesterday. Yzma had transformed into one of the best, if not the best Loki of the con.

Loki looking good

Loki looking good

Oh here was the cutest Star-Lord of the con. There were several good Star-Lords, really good ones but this guy was creative and low budget. Proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to cosplay, just get creative!

Star-Lord with Rocket Raccoon and Groot--Sort of.

Star-Lord with Rocket Raccoon and Groot–Sort of.

Having fun and making people smile is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday. So Rose City Comic Con was a rousing success both days and we had a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone involved, especially all of the cosplayers. And be sure to check out Kaijucast for photos of my Mothra cosplay with Kyle.

Also one last shameless plug, check out S. Shadow’s Natural Photography where pics from the Rose City Comic Con will be up Monday and Tuesday. His photographer got a couple of good ones of my Mothra cosplay.

Here’s one that one of us took where I’m not backlit!

Mothra at Rose City Comic Con

Mothra at Rose City Comic Con

Casey Kasem Passed Away June 15th

Mark from Gatchaman Action Figure

Mark from Gatchaman Action Figure

Mark from Gatchaman Action Figure

Many people have written about Casey Kasem’s passing. They have written about his career, his illness later in life and the sad feud that exists between his remaining loved ones. I’ve read blogs about his voice acting in Scooby Doo and how he used that humble cartoon to speak about his own values to a generation of fans. They have written about things that while true, seemed a bit cold, a bit clinical as a way to remember a man whom exhorted his listeners to “keep their feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” What great advice. Be pragmatic but not afraid to dream.

Casey Kasem hosted the American Top 40 Countdown for as long as I can remember. While it may seem odd, the weekly Top 40 Countdown was the only radio show I took pains not to miss. When my favorite song was in the top 10 I cheered it and the artist on. The show was the main way I discovered new favorite songs and groups. It was easy to imagine that we knew a little something about him. Of course we didn’t, but that feeling of closeness that came from listening to him week after week was still there. And I was truly sorry to hear that he was in declining health and saddened when he died.

What I really missed in all of the reporting was mention of his voice acting work on one of my favorite cartoons: Battle of the Planets. (Yes Sandy Frank is the source of all our pain–thank you Joel and the Bots). Casey Kasem was the voice of Mark in the American version of what was originally called Gatcheman. I was never a fan of Scooby Doo but I loved Battle of the Planets. Many a morning I pushed the envelope of catching the school bus to watch just one more minute of Battle of the Planets. For the record I never did miss the bus but I got chased out of the house more than once lest I do miss it.

These are the fond memories that come to mind when I think of Casey Kasem. So it is with real feeling that I say, rest in peace Mr. Kasem. Your presence on the airwaves brought a bit of happiness into lives all over the nation and probably even farther. K.

The Horse Brass Pub Is Fantastic

Picture taken inside the Horse Brass Pub

Picture taken inside the Horse Brass Pub

Picture taken inside the Horse Brass Pub

The Horse Brass Pub in South East Portland is an English themed pub that specializes in draught craft beers and English comfort food. The special the day we went was Bangers and Mash. Bangers and Mash is a traditional English dish of sausages and mashed potatoes. When done right it is quite delicious. I did not try the bangers and mash when I was there. I ordered the fish and chips.

I was pleasantly surprised when, upon ordering the fish and chips, our waiter, Justin, brought malt vinegar along with ketchup to the table. I love malt vinegar on fish and chips and in the event that it is actually available I have to ask for it. It was nice to have it just brought right over.

When the fish and chips came out they came with plenty of tarter sauce. I know it’s a small thing but I usually have to ask for extra when I get fish and chips. Once again it was nice to have it provided. The fish itself was exquisite. Nice fillets of halibut were deep fried to crispy morsels of perfection that were not at all greasy. The chips were hand cut and also delicious. The cole slaw rated a solid mediocre but that is easily forgiven on a plate of such excellent fish and chips. The fish was so good that I stopped eating the fries because I wanted the last flavor in my mouth to be of the fish.

The service was wonderful. Our waiter, Justin, was knowledgeable and attentive. He even offered a half sized portion of the fish and chips just in case we weren’t that hungry. Although I have to say that it’s worth it to find the room for a full sized portion.

To accompany my dinner I selected the Walking Man Brewing Dark Cherry Stout. I enjoy a good stout and find that I prefer stouts to IPAs. This beer was smooth and mellow yet potent with clear dark cherry notes. It wasn’t a particularly sweet beer like some fruit beers. It was so good I splurged and had a second pint.

I don’t even know if the Horse Brass Pub serves any kind of dessert. The fish and chips with that wonderful beer were so good that I didn’t find I wanted a sweet to follow them. I have a serious sweet tooth so that’s saying something. K.

Live Action Spaceship Yamato US Release

Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato

This is so totally awesome! IMDB has the listing for Space Battleship Yamato (2010).

Check out this Teaser Trailer:

Earth has been ravaged by alien attack, leaving the surface contaminated with deadly radiation. The remnants of humanity have fled deep underground. Then hope comes in the form of a capsule from a planet called Iskandar. A device exists that can decontaminate the Earth’s surface. The United Nations of Space Administration rebuilds the Battleship Yamato with a new wave motion engine to make the arduous journey.

With Christmas fast upon us I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer for any StarBlazers fan in your circle of friends or family. SBSYamato

Cosplay Panel at The Rose City Comic Con

Cylon & Batmobile

RCCC Cosplayers

RCCC Cosplayers

Yes there was actually a “Cosplaying 101” panel at the Rose City Comic Con. As you know, gentle reader, I find the cosplay an equal draw to the Con as the celebrities who graciously attend. It makes me happy to see other people dress up as their favorite characters, it makes me happy to see people express themselves and have such an uplifting creative outlet. I, personally, feel that it is good and healthy for people to let their imaginations run free and to express themselves so beautifully. Stepping down from my soapbox, it is just a wonderful extra bit of joy that cosplayers bring to cons.

The other thing about cosplayers is that they are happy to talk about their creations, the characters that inspire them and the trials and tribulations of costume design and crafting. The Cosplay Panel at the RCCC was every bit as informative as you might expect. The best bit of advice was at once surprising and eminently practical: Plan for a way to use the restroom and always take into account the weight of the costume. It’s one of those things that gets forgotten in the frenzy of costume creation and yet is so important. It seems small but it is of vital importance.

Cylon & Batmobile

Cylon & Batmobile

They also suggested lurking about ebay to find the pieces to construct your costume. Often times you don’t need a full sheet of something and a scrap or bit from another crafty person will do. You can build some really nice costumes without spending a mint. In fact I’m planning on taking that advice for some of the pieces for the costume I would like to put together.

The biggest thing though is to not be afraid or intimidated. It’s the joy and love that you bring to the cosplay that really makes it, not the professional seamstressing. Not that professional seamstressing doesn’t show in a well made costume but that’s not the point of it. It’s just a nice bonus.

Pacific City, Oregon A Hidden Gem

Well, here we are in beautiful Pacific City, Oregon. We’re looking forward to horseback rides on the beach with the lovely folks at Green Acres Horseback Rides. I’m currently having a cappuccino at Stimulus before going over to Grateful Bread for breakfast (when the others wake up).

Across the street is Cape Kiwanda. It’s a gorgeous little beach where they launch dories for fishing. Haystack rock sits right off the beach and the ocean is calm for now. I was hoping to get some early morning beach combing done but our upstairs neighbors were up until 2am stomping around and slamming doors. I tell ya, they weren’t still for 2 minutes at a time. I don’t know what they were doing in that small room that required constant stomping across the floor and slamming doors but clearly they believe they are the only people on the planet. I’m no lightweight and I can walk without making the floorboards tremble, which is more than the upstairs people could do. This morning the 6:30 dog patrol started barking so I got about 4 hours of sleep. This may make me a little cranky this morning.

Thankfully the lovely people at Stimulus just handed me my coffee. That should improve my disposition exponentially. Also free wifi helps a great deal. K