Going back to Gen Con

Yes, I’m headed back to Gen Con this year! I bought a four-day badge, got lucky and got one of the mythical attached hotels, and waited patiently for my wish list of events to process yesterday and got into almost every event on my list.  

I know, it’s a little weird that I haven’t posted about it all until now, but up until event registration happened, it didn’t quite feel real. I didn’t think about what events I wanted to go to until last week. Heck, I still haven’t entirely decided on what cosplays I’m going to do, and y’all know how excited I get about cosplay. (I’m currently waffling between a couple of ideas that I’ll probably write about here soon.)  

A weird Gen Con 

This year’s Gen Con is going to be a weird one for me for several reasons. It’s the first year I haven’t gone as press since 2013 – which feels weird, but given that I haven’t regularly updated the blog in about four years, I didn’t even bother applying for a press pass this year. Maybe next year, if I can get back into the habit of posting regularly enough.  

It’s also going to be the first Gen Con without Rana since the year we met at the convention. In 2020 and 2021, we spent some time talking about how we were still going to go to Gen Con together even though we’d split up, and even talked about what cosplays we might do. It’ll be weird, being at Gen Con without her, especially since Gen Con was such a big part of our lives and was the reason we met. It’s going to be weird, going without her.  

In addition, this is going to be the largest event I’ve gone to since Gen Con 2019. A lot’s happened in the five years since then, and the first convention I’ve gone to since Indiana Toy and Comic Expo back in late 2019. I’ve been to a few work conferences since then, and went to the Kate Mulgrew talk in 2022 back when she came to visit the Captain Janeway statue, so it’s not like I’ve been a hermit the entire time. The largest of those events topped out at 900 people, though, and it was exhausting for me to be around so many people. Being around large groups of people wears me out way more than it used to pre-pandemic, and I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to handle Gen Con as a result. I’m not letting it scare me away from going, though.  

A good Gen Con 

Despite all the weirdness, though, I think it’s also going to be a good Gen Con. I got into almost all the events I had in my Wish List (sadly, the Mistborn CCG and Star Trek CCG demos I had on my wish list sold out before my list got processed), including two cross stitch classes hosted by Craftigurumi that I’m really looking forward to. (I mean, come on, this is me – did you expect me to go to Gen Con and not sign up for some sort of crafting class?) And speaking of Gen Con crafting, I’m even considering bringing the Sailor Moon quilt I worked on at Gen Con 2020 to the Craft Hackers booth so I can show Toni of Quiltoni the finished project, since I’m pretty damn proud of how it turned out and want to show it to her.  

I’m also approaching Gen Con with the understanding that I probably will get overwhelmed as heck, and won’t necessarily be running around everywhere as much as I used to, and that’s okay. Lots of my friends are going to Gen Con this year, so if I need someone to help me figure out food because I can’t brain, or just want someone to sit with me someplace quiet in the ICC while I take some time to wind down, I know someone’ll be able to help me out there.  

Also: it’s been too dang long since I did any cosplay, and I’m starting to get excited about exploring different cosplay ideas that have been bouncing around in my head. (And if I can’t really make any of them work, there’s always the old fallback of wandering around Gen Con as Ëlinyr – especially now that I’ve got better costuming pieces for her! But that’s a topic for yet another post.) 

Counting down the days 

Screenshot of the Gen Con countdown from the Gen Con website, featuring artwork of Genevieve the Dragon with the text "Countdown to Gen Con: 73 Days"

As I’m writing this post, it’s 73 days until Gen Con – about two and a half months until the best four days in gaming happens. I’m hoping going back to Gen Con will get me back into the swing of things with the blog here. It’s been way too long since I posted regularly, and I miss being able to say “yeah, I have a blog, it’s The Crafty Nerd” without being embarrassed by how quiet it’s been over here over the past few years. Maybe Gen Con 2024 will help me get past that. 😊  

Nerdy Tidbits: July 6th, 2022

Yes, it’s the return of Nerdy Tidbits – a collection of random little things that may not quite warrant an entire post, but are still things I want to talk about. This edition of Nerdy Tidbits focuses on the soundbooth I’m working on, a cosplay idea I have, and some of my new favorite TV shows.

The soundbooth: a progress report

If you follow The Crafty Nerd on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve likely seen me post about the tiny home soundbooth I’ve been working on. It’s been eating up a lot of my spare time this week, especially in the mornings when it’s not oppressively hot in the attic. As a result, I’ve made a lot of progress on getting it put together!

View through the doorway into my soundbooth - black and teal felt tiles are visible on the walls.

A sneak peek at the soundbooth!

A lot of that progress is due to discovering that my quilting tools are also useful for to slicing up felt sound dampening tiles. The cutting mat, rotary cutter, and quilt rulers I dug out of various boxes have been very helpful for cutting tiles into various custom sizes. I only wish I’d thought of this sooner so some of the tiles I cut early on would have looked a little better.

A teal felt tile on a cutting board, with a big clear quilting ruler and a rotary cutter.

Hooray for remembering I have all these tools!

I’ll be making a full post about the soundbooth once it’s done, with a list of materials and tips for those of you who might also be interested in making your own soundbooth out of a closet.

Cosplay idea: Ensign Tilly from Star Trek: Discovery

I recently started watching Star Trek: Discovery, and have really been enjoying it – and last weekend, when I was thinking of ideas of who to cosplay as for the upcoming Indiana Toy and Comic Expo, it hit me: I should cosplay as Sylvia Tilly. Because, honestly, Tilly is me, but in Starfleet. (And in the future.)

Sylvia Tilly from Star Trek Discovery, wearing her Starfleet uniform.

oh my god I love Tilly so much, y’all have no idea

I absolutely love Tilly. Trying to find a good uniform for cosplaying her, though? It’s been a little rough. I can either get a $200ish uniform from Rubies that’s of questionable quality (based on the reviews, anyway), a $150ish uniform jacket and try to make my own pants, or buy an even more expensive uniform from Etsy that’ll be made to my measurements. (And I think it might be a little too late for that, given that ITCE is at the end of August.) 

Or: I could get the t-shirt the crew of Discovery wears when they’re not in uniform, grab some running shorts out of my drawer, and be Running Tilly. 

Tilly wearing a navy blue t-shirt that says DISCO on the front.

This would be the easiest Star Trek cosplay ever.

I mean, it’ll be comfy, easy enough to get around in, and inexpensive – I can get the Disco shirt on Amazon! Thankfully, it should be easy to find a wig; a Merida wig should work out pretty well, and combined with a Starfleet uniform or the Disco t-shirt, it should be pretty clear that I’m Tilly. (And I could be silly and find a big stuffed cat that looks like Grudge, and carry her around too!)

TV shows I’m in love with lately: Star Trek: Discovery and Our Flag Means Death

Speaking of Tilly: oh, how I love Discovery! Why the heck have I not watched it sooner? I’m attached to all the characters, I’m really enjoying the story, and I’ve cried many times while watching my way through the first three seasons. When it first came out, I heard a lot of complaints about how weird the Klingons were, but in retrospect I should have ignored them. Yes, they’re not typical Klingons, but once I got over the fact that they’re all bald and their tooth prosthetics make them sound like they’re talking around a mouthful of gummy bears, I found them somewhat interesting, and liked getting to know a little more about the history of the Klingons. 

Plus, there’s a cat. How can I not love a Star Trek show that has a cat?

Tilly holding a large brown tabby cat.

Oh, Grudge. She really is a queen.

Seriously, Grudge is the best, and I love how very much Book loves his cat. I need a big kitty like Grudge someday.

I also recently binged all of Our Flag Means Death over the course of a weekend, and I LOVE IT. I had heard so many good things about the show, and they are all true. This show is fantastic. If a story about an 18th century gentleman who decided he’d rather be a pirate captain leading an inept band of pirates and finding love in a very unexpected place sounds good to you, you should watch this. Really, you should.

Artwork of Blackbeard and Stede from Our Flag Means Death enjoying tea together.

Artwork by Karen Hallion – I’ve always enjoyed her work, and this one should be available on her Etsy store soon!

Somewhat related: I also love this drawing by Karen Hallion – and if you support her Patreon, the physical reward tier for this month includes an Our Flag Means Death sticker! Check out her Patreon here, and if you want to see more of her artwork, check out her website. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while, and seeing the Our Flag Means Death artwork she’s done makes me a very happy nerd. 

Nerdy tidbits as a podcast?

… so this is a silly question, but would y’all be interested in listening to the Nerdy Tidbits posts in podcast form? Because I want to make a podcast again. I really want to make a podcast again. I have my tiny soundbooth. I have equipment. I love editing audio. Heck, I could even record my own intro music, even if it is just a few chords on the ukulele. I struggle coming up with topics for a podcast, but maybe just focusing on the little random nerdy things that I’m excited about might work.

It’s definitely something I’m thinking about. Sure, there are a million podcasts out there already – is there much point in adding one more? Still, if it’s something I enjoy doing, I should do it, right? Hmm.

Either way, we’ll see what happens when the next Nerdy Tidbits comes out! Until next time, friends!

Gen Con Online in review: the best four days of gaming goes online

Yes, it’s the post you’ve all been waiting for: the Gen Con Online review! Before I get started, I want to apologize for this post going up much later than I’d planned. Between burning loads of energy on Gen Con Online and work ramping back up (in addition to general pandemic stuff taking a toll on my mental health), I didn’t quite have the spoons to write this up until now. Better late than never, though, right?

First off, I want to talk about this year’s blog coverage for Gen Con. You might have noticed there were only posts for day 0.5 and day 1, and then nothing. It’s not that I didn’t do anything on days 2 through 4 – I did a lot. With Gen Con held online this year, my brain wasn’t quite in the same headspace it usually is. Instead of spending the last hour of my day writing up a post, my mind was all “eh, we’re home, why do we need to write a Crafty Nerd post every day?” I was feeling bad about not writing on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday, it hit me: this isn’t a typical Gen Con, and maybe I didn’t need to do my traditional Gen Con coverage. So, here we are, wrapping things two weeks after the convention!

Continue reading →

Gen Con Online: Day one

Day one of Gen Con was a lot of fun! So much fun, in fact, that I didn’t have enough energy left after the Quilting 201 workshop last night to actually post this, so there’ll be two posts today! I doubt anyone will mind, though.

Opening ceremonies

The Gen Con Online Twitch channel, showing the opening ceremonies for Gen Con Online.

From the Opening Ceremonies – even Genevieve the Dragon joined in on the fun!

Day one of Gen Con Online was a lot of fun! I spent the morning excitedly waiting for the opening ceremonies, listening to music, and writing out questions for the folks I’m interviewing this year. While the energy was a little different this year, it was still exciting to watch the opening ceremonies. They even did the ceremonial charity dice roll! (It’s not Gen Con without the ceremonial opening dice roll.) I enjoyed the added benefits of actually being able to see and hear all of what went on this time – which isn’t always possible in person at the opening ceremonies, with so many people crowded into one space.

The online exhibit hall experience: The Looking Glass

Once the convention officially began, I spent some time browsing The Looking Glass, Gen Con’s creative way of replicating the exhibit hall experience online.

Screenshot of The Looking Glass, which displays logos for vendors at Gen Con in a cloud format.

It’s fun, scrolling through The Looking Glass and seeing what vendors I recognize – and discovering new ones, too!

I love the way the folks at Gen Con put together The Looking Glass – I think it’s the closest you can get to replicating the exhibit hall experience in webpage format while making it easy for everyone to access. You can either scroll around through the field of logos for each vendor and click on one that catches your eye, or use the search and filtering tools to find a specific vendor. I’ve already done a little shopping thanks to The Looking Glass, and I’ll likely do more before the con is done.

Favorite Gen Con experiences still happening online

One of the things I wasn’t sure I’d experience this year was the fun of running into folks I know at the convention. While the Gen Con Discord server has a lot of people hanging out there, not everyone who’s participating in the con is on Discord. I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone I knew on Discord – so imagine my surprise when I ran into my friend Daniel! (He and Kasi and I ran a City of Heroes LARP together back in 2018.) We were both excited to bump into each other, and we talked a little bit about Gen Con Online and me possibly joining his Wednesday Dungeons and Dragons game. Sure, it might not be the same as running into my Kishar buddies while hanging out with my co-worker Rachel, but I’ll take what I can get!

One of my favorite things to do at Gen Con involves wandering around the Indiana Convention Center. Whether I’m checking out everyone’s cosplays or just enjoying the atmosphere, I love wandering around the convention center. And while I may not be able to do it in person this year, I was able to do it in Minecraft!

One of the hallways in the Indiana Convention Center, recreated in Minecraft.

Oh hey, it’s the escalator that leads up to the skywalk to the Marriott!

It might not have been full of people, but I was still so very excited to wander through the convention center in Minecraft. It’s an amazing and detailed re-creation of the convention center, and I won’t lie, I almost cried while walking through it – I miss the in-person Gen Con experience so much. My regular readers know this is the highlight of my year, and the online experience isn’t quite the same. I’m glad I got to enjoy a few of the things I love about Gen Con, though, even though they were a little different this year.

Quilting 201: I swear I’m going to finish this quilt during Gen Con

The event I was most excited about this year was Quilting 201 with Toni of Quiltoni!

Screenshot of the camera feeds of everyone participating in the Quilting 201 workshop on Thursday evening.

I’m sure you all can figure out which quilt-in-progress is mine, haha.

While I didn’t get quite as far as everyone else did (I was running out of steam by the end of the workshop), I did get some of my quilt laid out and ready for piecing! (And ran out of table space in the process, haha) I had a lot of fun working on my quilt, and I’m going to try my hardest to get the top pieced together before the end of Gen Con. I really want to make this quilt, and I’ve finally got it started – I can’t let it sit unfinished now, can I?

And that, my friends, was my first day at Gen Con Online! I hung out online with fellow con-goers, bought a bunch of stuff, and even got some crafting done – I’d say it was a good day.

Gen Con Online: Day 0.5

Happy Gen Con Eve, folks! Sure, this isn’t going to be a typical Gen Con, but I’m going to do my usual daily Gen Con coverage anyway. This is going to be a Gen Con for the history books, with it being entirely online this year, and I want to document it. (My inner Ëlinyr is coming out a little bit, with her need to write everything down, haha.) So, here we go with Gen Con Online, day 0.5!

Socializing with folks on the Gen Con Online Discord

One of the big things I’ve been enjoying this year has been the Gen Con Discord server. It’s no secret that I’m a huge introvert, and shy as heck to boot – which makes socializing in person difficult for me at times. With the Gen Con Discord, though, everything’s through text, which is much easier for me. I’ve been having so much fun talking with others on Discord! I’ve mainly been hanging out in the general chat, cosplay, and crafting channels and enjoying lots of great conversation. Plus, occasionally names I recognize will pop up in the chat — like when I saw Rubiee of Dryad Tea in the general chat last night. I totally had a fangirl moment, haha. (After all, I’ve rambled about Dryad Tea before!)


With the Gen Con Discord making it easier for this nerd to talk to people, I’ve actually been brave enough to ask people for interviews. That’s right, this year I’m actually going to have some Gen Con interviews on the blog! Stay tuned for those interviews as part of my Gen Con coverage!

Preparing the house for Gen Con Online

I’m trying to make the house feel a little more like Gen Con — well, as much as I can without going too overboard. To make it feel a little more like Gen Con, I made a couple of signs to hang up around the house.

I’ve also done some work on cleaning up my craft area since I’ll be participating in a live-streamed quilting event!

A table with a sewing machine, a Crafty Nerd t-shirt, and some fabric cutting tools laid out on top of it.

The craft table is ready for crafting! (And hey, it’s Crafty Nerd t-shirt season, too!)

Plus, I’ve readied my home office for a couple of days of gaming and fun. My computer desk is Gen Con Central, haha.

A desk with two large monitors and a desktop computer on it. The computer screens have a custom Crafty Nerd at Gen Con wallpaper.

The Crafty Nerd’s home base for Gen Con Online!

And I’ve also got my new chief yarn tester on standby for craft supervision, too – he’s taking over for Steve since my living situation has recently changed.

A tuxedo cat laying on a bed in front of a lap desk with fabric squares on top of it.

This is Jack, my chief yarn tester and craft supervisor. He loves his job.

What I’ve got going on tomorrow

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be doing tomorrow!

  • Hanging out on the Gen Con Discord, of course – I’m Beth (The Crafty Nerd) (she/her) there, feel free to say hi if you see me!
  • The Quilting 201 workshop, which I am super excited for!
  • Flailing around when the Looking Glass opens, and Gen Con exclusive merchandise becomes available, like the super limited edition Genevieve plushie from My Little Demon.

Tomorrow evening I’ll post a summary of what I got up to, so keep an eye out for my next Gen Con Online post. Otherwise, that’s a wrap for day 0.5 – I’ll see everyone tomorrow for the first day of Gen Con Online!

Gen Con Online: it’s almost here!

Folks, there are only two more days until Gen Con Online. How did Gen Con sneak up on me like that? I’m usually so hyperfocused on Gen Con for the month and a half leading up to the con. If this were a typical year, I’d be vibrating with excitement right now, packing my costumes and snacks for the next few days.

However, this year is definitely not typical. (We all know that by now, though.) That doesn’t mean I’m not excited about Gen Con Online – it’s a tiny taste of normalcy in an otherwise ridiculous year. And I’m going to try my best to emulate some of my favorite things about Gen Con right here at home.

Whiteboard with the text 'The Crafty Nerd's Gen Con Headquarters!' written on it.

… I spent entirely too much time trying to emulate Lobster 1.3 font by hand on this whiteboard, but hey, it looks cool!

Curious about what I’m planning for Gen Con Online? Read on!

Cosplay

Nobody should be surprised that I’m planning on cosplaying at home. I mean, why not? All my costumes are here, and I’ll take any excuse to wear them. They may all be cosplay reruns, but who cares? I doubt J and Kasi or the cats will judge me for it.

Costumes hanging on the back of my office door.

A couple of my favorite costumes are coming out to play for Gen Con Online!

This year, I’m planning on donning my Starfleet science officer uniform once again on Friday – but instead of going as Jadzia, I’ll just be a generic science officer. (After watching a lot of Deep Space 9 lately, I’m realizing I need a few more things for my Jadzia cosplay to make it better, so that’ll be my goal for next Gen Con.) For Saturday, I’ll be dusting off Ëlinyr’s stealth dress and wandering around as everyone’s favorite elf for a day! Sunday’s cosplay is one I tried a few years ago but couldn’t wear it because it was too darn hot. That’s right, I’m trying “Janeway on her day off” again! My hair’s nowhere near the right color for it right now, but I’m going to roll with it.

Events

I’m signed up for a fair amount of events this year, especially since Gen Con is online and likely less draining than a typical Gen Con. I’m especially excited for Quilting 201 (I’ll finally get that Sailor Moon quilt started!) and the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game I’m signed up for. (Can you believe that I’ve never actually played a tabletop RPG at Gen Con? And this is my 7th Gen Con!) In addition to gaming and crafting, I’ll be watching a few live performances and watching the Costume Contest Awards Show.

Where to find me

For those of you who have been looking forward to finding me at Gen Con, you’re in luck! You can likely find me lurking around in the Gen Con Online Discord. Sure, it’s not quite the same as running into me in person, but at least you won’t have to deal with possibly getting swept away by the crowd in the Exhibit Hall or waving excitedly while dashing to an event. It’ll be hard to miss me on Discord – I’m on there as The Crafty Nerd (she/her), and my avatar is the blog’s logo. Feel free to message me and say hi! I’m always excited to meet blog fans in the wild.

Gen Con Online: a Gen Con you can attend from home!

Ahh, 2020 — the year of cancellations. Like most groups running big events this year, Gen Con ended up canceling 2020’s in-person convention. After all, the con typically brings upwards of 70,000 people to Indianapolis each year — and holding a big event like that in the time of COVID-19 is unthinkable. However, the fine folks at Gen Con didn’t leave us hanging! Instead, they’re moving the best four days in gaming online!

Gen Con from the comfort of your computer

I won’t lie, this introvert is actually somewhat excited about an online Gen Con. It’ll be different, that’s for sure, and I’ll definitely miss some Gen Con traditions, like:

  • picking up my press badge with Rachel on Wednesday, then watching the Will Call line grow as the day goes on
  • eating fancy nerd-themed cupcakes at the Gen Con Block Party from places like Gigi’s Cupcakes and The Flying Cupcake
  • seeing friends from pretty much every part of my life all in one place — after all, where else can I run into co-workers, Kishar friends, and people I know from professional organizations all in one place?
  • browsing the exhibit hall and spending ridiculous amounts of money on all sorts of nerdy gear (like last year’s Toothless kigurumi)
  • helping J and Kasi run a LARP (I’m actually starting to get better at this!)
  • collecting ribbons for my badge — I even had some this year to share, and I’m sad that I won’t get to give them out

However, there are some benefits!

  • You can schedule back-to-back events and not have to worry about dashing from the far end of the Indiana Convention Center to LucasOil Stadium!
  • Nobody’s saying you can’t cosplay at home! (Plus, if my costume gets uncomfortable, I’m not stuck in it all day!)
  • There’ll be an online exhibit hall you can browse without having to deal with crowds!

So while I’ll miss being in Indianapolis for five days of fun, at least I’ll still have Gen Con in some form! Enjoying Gen Con from the comfort of my computer is better than no Gen Con at all.

About Gen Con Online

Here’s some basic information about Gen Con Online, for those of you who are interested:

  • What you can do: Play games! Attend workshops! Watch some of your favorite performers! All online, so you can even show up in pajamas if you want.
  • When: July 30th – August 2nd
  • Where: At your house, on your computer! Games and events will be hosted on Roll20, Discord, Twitch, Zoom, and more.
  • Cost: A Gen Con Online badge is free, but individual events may charge a fee.

For even more info, check out the infographic below:

Infographic describing what you can do at Gen Con Online. To learn more, visit the URL this image links to.

Event registration is now live! Browse through the events here, and see what Gen Con Online has to offer.

What I’ll be up to at the con

While I didn’t get into everything I had on my wish list (which is nothing new), I did get into a few things I was really looking forward to – like the Quilting 201: Pixel Quilts workshop with Quiltoni! I’ve already got the Sailor Moon pixel quilt kit, and this workshop is the perfect way to actually get started with it. I’m also going to some musical performances and keeping my eyes peeled for some games to get into, since all my first picks for games filled up pretty quickly.

Another thing I’m thinking of doing is seeing what I can re-create about the Gen Con experience at home. I may not be able to have a cosplay parade, for example, but I can still cosplay! (And I will. After all, it’s me we’re talking about.) I’ll also be playing some games outside of Gen Con Online, and finding ways to do at-home versions of some of my favorite convention traditions. (Like eating pierogies. I may not be able to get them from the Pierogi Love truck, but I can make some at home!) I also talked with Rachel from The Five(ish) Fangirls, and she’s also going to Gen Con Online! That means we’ll be continuing our tradition of doing a post-con recap on the podcast. And as always, I’ll be doing daily recaps of the convention. They may not be as full of photos as previous years, but I’ll still be writing them.

I’m definitely looking forward to Gen Con online this year — and I hope everyone else is, too!

The social distancing nerd: two months later

Oh, how optimistic I was two months ago when I wrote that post about what I’ve been doing, and how I was weathering the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. I thought, “surely I can write more blog posts. I’m home all the time and have no excuses!”

I was wrong.

Peridot from the show Steven Universe, flumped over the side of a bathtub in a depressed funk.

This picture does a darn good job of summing up how I’ve felt lately.

I underestimated just how much energy I spent on dealing with what’s going on in the world, though. How hard it would be to switch gears from work-mode to relax-mode at 4 pm each day. Since I’m working from home for the foreseeable future, I have one space for both work and recreational computer time — which makes everything I do at the computer here feel like work even if it’s not. Whether it’s video games or blog posts or coloring in drawings, if it’s in front of my computer, it feels like work.

I’ve also been struggling with a lot of life issues at the moment. I don’t quite want to talk about them right now but suffice it to say; things are rough in my little corner of the world.

Plus, this is me. Even in a good year, I can never keep up posting regularly for long. I think 2019 was a record-setting year in that I posted almost weekly from the end of January to Gen Con in August. Long-time blog followers know I struggle with posting regularly. I ended up giving up on the Crafty Nerd Podcast because I recorded two episodes and then paid for an unused Libsyn subscription for six months. We know I have issues with following through on things, heh.

So, what have I been doing during the two months since my last post? To be honest, it doesn’t feel like I’ve done much — at least, not much that’s worth writing about.

I have been reading — a lot. I read through the entirety of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. Well, re-read almost all of them is more accurate — I hadn’t read the last book until this most recent re-read of the series. I started watching True Blood back in March (since I never did finish it) and wanted to see just how wildly different the TV show was from the books in the later seasons of the show. I also tore through Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, because I needed more easy-to-read urban fantasy in my life. Between those two series, I read 25 books over two months. (I’m a speedy reader, it’s kind of ridiculous.) Now I’m reading The Kingdom of Copper, which is book two of The Daevabad Trilogy by S. A. Chakraborty — and I’m enjoying it.

Another thing I’ve been doing is crocheting a lot. I finished the Trio blanket I started in May, and then immediately started two more projects. My startitis is flaring up again, it seems. I’m going to try to finish all the projects I’ve currently got going before I start something new, though. (I know, I know, easier said than done.)

A whiteboard with a list of all the craft projects I'm working on - some date all the way back to 2017.

Not entirely sure if this is a complete list, but there’s definitely a lot on there…

You might have noticed that I mentioned coloring in drawings earlier — that’s because I’ve actually picked up drawing as a hobby again. I used to draw a lot when I was in high school and college, but ended up drifting away from it years ago. With some encouragement from my friend Kasi, I figured I may as well start drawing again.

Photo of a sketchbook, open to a pencil sketch of Ëlinyr.

This one’s still a work in progress, and I love how it’s turned out so far.

So far everything I’ve drawn has been Kishar-related, since I really, really miss playing in Kishar. I’ll branch out to other stuff eventually, heh.

One exciting thing I’m working on is planning out what I’m doing at Gen Con Online this year! With everything being online, I can schedule events back-to-back and not have to worry about finding out I’ve scheduled myself to be in LucasOil Stadium immediately after something held in one of the connected hotels. I’ve got a whole post in the works about my Gen Con online plans, so stay tuned for that.

Photo of my Gen Con 2020 commemorative badge. A label with my name, the blog's name, and my Gen Con ID number printed on it has been applied to the back.

You know I just had to customize my Gen Con 2020 badge.

Even though I’m not officially attending as press for Gen Con Online, I was granted a press badge for Gen Con 2020 — and covering Gen Con is a blog tradition. (I need to see if the folks over at Five(ish) Fangirls are attending any of Gen Con Online — if not, I’m definitely going to miss doing the post-con report with Rachel like we’ve done the past few years.)

In addition to all this, the Blue Rose game Kasi’s running on Roll20 is still going, and I also got the chance to do some Kishar dress-up recently too! (although honestly, do I really need a reason to throw on Ëlinyr’s gear?)

Photo of J dressed as his Kishar non-player character Alair, and myself dressed as Ëlinyr

Ëlinyr and her elf-sweetie Alair. 🙂 And the cloak I spent so much time making that I love so very much.

… huh. Writing this blog post has helped perk up my mood. I went into WordPress this morning with the goal of at least writing something. This post started kind of cranky and self-deprecating, but after writing a bit I’m feeling better — despite the Grammarly tone detector indicating my tone is gloomy. (I will say, the sad-looking emoji hits me in the feels.)

Screenshot of the tone detector in Grammarly - the top listed tone is Gloomy, with a rather sad-looking emoji.

Don’t cry, little gloomy emoji! I’ll try to cheer up, I promise.

Maybe I should try to blog more often, even when I don’t quite feel up to it. It’s definitely helped my mood today, that’s for sure.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been doing the past two months. It might not be all that thrilling, but it got me to weite a post, and that’s something.

Introducing Santoki: My new Kishar character

That’s right, I’m creating a new character for Kishar! Her name is Santoki, and she’s a rabbit Hiwani. (One of my Kishar friends – I think it was Pumpkin – suggested her last name should be Caerbannog, haha.)

Wait, why are you making a new character?

There are a couple of reasons I’m working on making a new character. First off: because I think it’ll be fun! It’ll be nice to mix things up and have the choice between playing two different characters. Additionally, making a new character will allow me to try out some things I’ve never done before, like:

  • Working with costuming that’s a little more involved than “throw on some elf ears and a vaguely in-genre dress” — after all, I want to do a convincing job of being a rabbit, and that happens with more elaborate costuming!
  • Attempting to play a LARP character that’s not essentially just me in elf ears. Because let’s be honest, here — as much as I love Ëlinyr, she’s pretty much just me in elf ears. And sometimes that gets a little old.

Why the heck are you playing a rabbit?

Well, for one thing, I like rabbits. They’re cute, and some of them help with crafting — like angora rabbits, who produce fluff you can spin into yarn and knit or crochet with! Plus, rabbits can be fierce too. I mean, come on, look at the Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python’s Holy Grail – that’s one fierce rabbit.

Small plush Monty Python rabbit, next to a Pinkie Pie figurine.

A tiny Monty Python bunny, complete with lots of teeth. So fierce!

What’s Santoki going to be like?

While I haven’t figured out everything about Santoki yet, I’ve fleshed out a fair bit of her character already.

Costuming

Me dressed up in what I've got of my costume for Santoki, which includes her shirt, pants, and bunny ears.

An early test of Santoki’s costuming! (please ignore the mess, though)

Santoki’s costume is currently composed of the following:

  • Black rabbit ears on a headband, with the headband covered by a fabric bandana of sorts to cover up my actual ears
  • A black tail to match the ears, although I haven’t figured out how it’s attaching to my costume yet
  • Flowy pants and a midriff-showing shirt over a black bodysuit and black leggings —my plan is to try to get some faux fur and sew it to the front of the bodysuit, to help sell the illusion of me being a rabbit a little better (after all, rabbits do have fluffy tummies)
  • A little bit of pink cream face paint on the end of my nose to create the illusion of a bunny nose, and whiskers drawn on with eyeliner pen

I’m really excited about getting to experiment with costuming for Santoki!

Character class

Santoki’s going to be a Chirurgeon — essentially, a healer that can fight too. There are times when we’re pretty darn short on healers in Kishar, and I figure having a character that can heal as well as fight will be helpful. Her weapon will likely be a staff to start with since that’s about all my clumsy self can really handle well. Plus, it means I don’t have to learn an entirely new weapon for Santoki, as Ëlinyr uses a staff when she’s not slinging spell packets.

Personality: Santoki’s quiet. Not necessarily the “blend into the background” type of quiet, but more of the “hey, can you speak a little bit louder?” kind. At least, outside of battle anyway — when Santoki’s fighting, she’s a loud and noisy and fierce rabbit. I’ll be trying to stick with how rabbits are in real life, as they’re typically pretty quiet unless something makes them scream. And from what I’ve heard, rabbit screams are pretty loud and terrifying. (That’s based on what I’ve heard from others, anyway — I’ve never heard a rabbit scream, and honestly, I’m not sure I want to.)

Background

Santoki’s originally from the mountains near Shalazar (the Sapphire City), and she grew up with her parents and 40 brothers and sisters (there were more, but they got older and moved out on their own). She’s interested in folklore and mythology, but mainly as a hobby – “I’m not exactly the scholarly type”, she’d probably say.

She originally thought she was going to spend her life working on her parents’ sheep farm, turning wool into cloth and yarn, but eventually, she learned about the Adventurer’s Guild while visiting a bookstore/coffee shop in the Scholar’s District of Kishar, Lin’s Rest. (Yes, Lin is short for Ëlinyr – and yes, Ëlinyr owns a combination bookstore and coffee shop.) After talking to the owner about some Hiwani folklore Santoki was interested in, the Guild came up, and Santoki thought “hey, maybe that’d be better than working as a sheep farmer” — and she decided to join up with the guild.

What about Ëlinyr?

I’m not retiring Ëlinyr quite yet, though I did hit her progression cap (or level cap, essentially) at the last game of season 8. While I can still get new skills, I’m not getting them automatically anymore — instead, I can purchase them using kismet, the in-game currency that enables players to get extra skills and unique items in exchange for helping out with the game in some way.

I’ll be posting more about Santoki in the coming months, as the start of season 9 of Kishar gets closer — and possibly creating a site for her, as I did for Ëlinyr and her in-character writings. I’m really excited about getting to play as Santoki!

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo 2019!

This weekend, I went to the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo for the first time – and had a great time! I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years now. Up until this year, it was held immediately after Gen Con, which is when I usually end up experiencing con burnout. With it being in October this year, nothing was stopping me this time around! 

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo ad.

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo focuses on precisely what the name says – toys and comics! It was held at the Monroe County Convention Center here in Bloomington, and it seemed like it took up the entire convention center. (Granted, the convention center isn’t all that big, but it’s still nice to see that the expo filled it up!) Events included a costume contest, a custom action figure contest, and a silent auction. Plus, there was a lot of space dedicated to vendors, so there were plenty of goodies to look at and buy! I ended up picking up the following: 

  • a Sailor Moon Perler bead magnet
  • some cute bunny cryptid prints
  • a set of Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards
  • an autographed photo of the actor who played Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space 9

There were a lot of folks in costume, and I also managed to grab some photos from the costume contest as well! (Some of them didn’t turn out so well, as my phone is a little slow at taking pictures and some of the action shots turned out blurry or awkward.) I especially enjoyed the Harry Dresden cosplayer pretending I was a demon and blasting me with his blasting rod. (I guess the Trill spots made me an easy target, haha.) I posted all my costume contest photos on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – you can see them in my ITCE album here.

And before you ask, of course, I went in costume – Jadzia Dax got a little more time in the costume spotlight!

Me in my Jadzia Dax costume!

I also got to hang out with some of my nerdy blogging buddies – Rachel, Lizz, and Tony!

Myself as Jadzia, Rachel in her Timebuster gear, and Lizz as the 13th Doctor.

Myself, Rachel, and Lizz! Not pictured: Tony, because he was taking the picture.

I also ran into another familiar face while I was there – or, more accurately, familiar droid!

Rachel and I with the same R2-D2 I posted about a few weeks ago.

And yes, that’s the same R2-D2 I had my picture taken with at IU Southeast a few weeks ago! That little droid sure gets around. 😊

Overall, I enjoyed ITCE – it was busy but not overcrowded, and there was enough to do and see without feeling overwhelmed. I’m planning on coming back next year!