My Convention Essentials

Another Anime Boston has come and gone, and seeing as how this is about the point where I really started to fall off of blogging last year, I thought it might be a good time to make an attempt at starting things up here again! I do want to do a general overview post about my experiences at the convention, but first I wanted do a bit of a “What’s in my Bag?” kind of thing. I did this as a video a long time ago on my now-defunct YouTube channel, but this year was my sixth Anime Boston (I attended 2011-12, 2015, and 2017-19), and as such I’ve really distilled down what I like to have on me during a day of running around at the convention.

IMG_2702.JPG

This is the bag that I bring. I bought it in the Dealers’ Room on the first day of Anime Boston 2017 when the massive cross-body purse I’d brought was causing me a lot of pain and this was the most functional thing available that didn’t have Naruto or Goku’s face on it, lol. This has been a go to day trip bag for me ever since because it’s a pretty good size and is pretty sturdy, although the back is maybe not as stiff as I would like.

IMG_2703.JPG

This looks like a mess, but it’s organized I swear. Firstly, there’s two small pockets at the top of the back that are the perfect size for my travel wallet and my phone or iPod to slip into for quick access. I don’t like to use the outer zipper pocket for valuables because I am paranoid about getting robbed and not being able to feel it happen. Everything else in here is either big enough to sort through easily or organized into a series of pouches.

IMG_2706.JPG

If the weather forecast is calling for rain, I always make sure to bring an umbrella, with a plastic bag to put it into when I go inside so I can put it back in my backpack without making everything wet. The scarf in the middle is large, blanket-like, and absolutely necessary — many of the panel rooms in the Hynes Convention Center are very cold for some reason. When I start to freeze, I can whip it out, but it’s easily put away when I start walking around in the main halls again. On the right is my refillable Brita filter bottle and the plastic bag that I keep it in if I carry it in a bag because it leaks if the water tilts up to the level of the cap.

IMG_2710.JPG

On the left here we have my Kindle, with stickers of some of my favorite ghost Pokemon on the front that were drawn by Miski (but aren’t available anymore, sorry!). My Kindle is indispensable to me in my life, whether or not I’m traveling. I can’t read on the long bus ride to Boston because I’ll get sick, but it’s great to have around for reading while waiting for the bus, during downtime between panels, or when you’re the grandma of the group who goes back to the room early to rest and waits up for all of your friends to come back so you can spend time with them. The notebook on the right was designed by Maya Kern and has stickers on it from inki-Drop’s Starwhal Kickstarter. Honestly, I only bring it to stiffen up the inside of the backpack, but it’s also proven useful for keeping my bus tickets tidy and for holding small prints, like this one that I got from Milkbun this year. (Oh how I wish I could get away with hanging this in my cubicle at work!)

IMG_2711.JPG

And now finally pouches! This pouch has a bunch of miscellaneous yet important things, like aspirin, hair ties and pins (in a reused orange pill bottle!), tissues, pens, a little mirror, etc.!

IMG_2712.JPG

This is my technology pouch. I’ve got two portable batteries in here, the wires to connect them to my phone and iPod, and three pairs of headphones. In hindsight this is an excessive amount of headphones, especially considering I had a fourth pair hooked up to my iPod all weekend. All I can say is, one time on the bus on my way to the con I realized one of my earbuds wasn’t working. I had a spare pair with me, but they were in my suitcase in the bottom of the bus. I can only imagine that in my packing frenzy this year I went “what if that happens again, but more times?” I also don’t tend to use these batteries at all because I’m not a super phone crazy person when I have things to occupy me. So maybe next year I’ll keep one battery in this pouch and only two extra pairs of earbuds, lol.

IMG_2713.JPG

This pouch fits both my phone and iPod, but my phone mainly lived in the upper inner pocket of my backpack or the pocket of my skirt because I don’t use my iPod when I walk around the con. It mainly stays with me just so I don’t run the risk of losing it in the hotel room somehow. I always know where it is, and I absolutely need it for the bus because, as mentioned above, I can’t read on the bus so I need music to help me drown out the noises and sleep to pass the time, lol.

IMG_2714.JPG

I don’t typically play my 3DS during AB, but I do collect Streetpasses. I don’t tend to try Streetpassing in my daily life because I never go anywhere, but thanks to AB over the years I’ve got a nearly complete puzzle collection and have nearly completely beaten the free Streetpass games. This year I noticed I was getting repeat Streetpasses, which was kind of exciting and interesting to me because it means those people were also at past ABs. It’s a nice little connection to other people!

IMG_2715.JPG

And now for the front zipper pocket of the backpack! Which actually -is- as much of a mess as it looks, lol.

IMG_2717.JPG

This pocket is for things I want close at hand that aren’t particularly valuable. The only thing I would really be upset about losing is that pen because it’s a really good pen! The little white pot is full of hand cream because I’ve been having a really awful dry hands problem all winter. The fan was actually a $5 impulse purchase I made on Saturday this year when I was starting to get really sweaty walking around the Dealers’ Hall, and I’d say it was well worth it — I’ll probably bring it back again next year. This pocket is where I keep my convention badge at night so I don’t misplace it, otherwise that badge is around my neck. The badge lanyards at AB are usually an advertisement for some anime company or other, but for the past few years I’ve been swapping it out for this YuGiOh one that my friend Kristen surprised me with from New York Comic Con in 2016 right before the anniversary movie came out in English because I will forever be YuGiOh trash and I want the world to know it, lol.

The only thing not in any of these pictures that I have with me every day is related to those granola bars and it is lunch. To save money on food I buy supplies for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and make them every morning before I head out. I also get a couple of other small snacks that don’t need refrigeration, like those granola bars or little individual applesauces. When it’s time for lunch, I find a spot to sit that has good people watching (so I can admire people’s cosplays) and chow down.

So that’s all! I’ll follow this post up soon with one about things I actually did at Anime Boston, but I thought my convention survival supplies might be interesting to share in the meantime.

Until next time!
–Krys

 

Pin Display Project

I like decorative pins — artists all over the internet are making really great designs! But I always worry that if I attach them to a jacket or bag they’ll fall off and I’ll lose them forever. If you saw my Desk Tour post, then you’ll know I found a solution for that! It was very simple — nothing more than an embroidery hoop and a piece of cloth.

IMG_2097.JPG

I don’t know the artists for all of these, but I’ll have links to all the pins I do know at the end of this post!

However, this first attempt was far from perfect. I cut the fabric quite short around the back so it wouldn’t show at the front, but I don’t own a hot glue gun, so it wasn’t terribly secure. Adding or removing pins would cause the fabric to shift or lose tension. I do have a friend with a hot glue gun and I always meant to fix this up, and also make more hoops, but I kept forgetting. Until recently!

IMG_2660.JPG

Awhile ago I got two new hoops at a craft chain called Michaels (the little one and the biggest one). The fabric I picked up at Walmart. The label on each bit of fabric (the colors were sold separately) said they were “fat quarters” which makes me giggle for some reason. Apart from a hot glue gun, to make these you’ll also need some nice sharp scissors and maybe some string depending on how you plan on hanging them. And also some kind of flat piece to press the fabric into the hot glue — I used a disposable chopstick for this.

I don’t have any progress pictures because I needed both hands to work on these and I didn’t want to ask my friend to stop playing Dragon Age, because it is a very important game that we both love, lol. But here are the steps of my process:

  • Load the fabric in between the two parts of the hoop and tighten the screw at the top so the fabric is taut.
  • Cut the fabric short until it is close to the hoop, but still long enough to tuck around inside. (You could also measure the fabric around the hoop and cut it before putting the fabric in, but I couldn’t be bothered.)
  • Apply hot glue to the hoop, going little by little, and press the fabric into it somehow (fingers are not recommended for obvious reasons).
  • Optional: loop a string around the screw at the top to help you hang it. I discovered when I was taking photos for this post that my hoops will fit over my hook of choice without string, which I didn’t realize with my first hoop. (For the record, I’m obsessed with all things Command Strips/Hooks for hanging things in my room.)
  • Ta-da! You’re done!

IMG_2670.JPG

To be honest, my hoops are kind of a mess inside. I didn’t cut the fabric very carefully — I probably could have cut it closer so it would lay flatter.

IMG_2665.JPG

This excess fabric/my sloppy mess is super visible in the yellow hoop (which formerly held the gray fabric, hence the string). On the darker colors this doesn’t show much or at all. So maybe I wouldn’t recommend light colors for this if you’re not prepared to be super precise, but the fabric I bought is also cheap/thin so if you had thicker cloth you might also be able to get away with a light color. My friend suggested getting some nice beads and gluing them around the edge so you can’t see the ugliness.

My only other regret with this project is that I didn’t take better care lining up the creases in the fabric. (Because, let’s be honest, who is going to iron the fabric for a little project like this?) If I make more of these, I’ll do a better job at lining the creases up horizontally or vertically, because looking at the crooked creases kind of irritates me. But again, this is something that shows less on darker fabric.

IMG_2675.JPG

I haven’t entirely decided which pins of mine are going on which hoop, but I know I want to bring the little one to my cubicle at work. The big polka dot one will hang in my room, and I can expand to the yellow one once I fix it up/need more pin space.

I’m very excited to collect more pins now! Are there any artists you recommend? And if you have any questions about this project, please let me know.

Pins Featured In This Post (That I Know The Source Of):

 

Ariel Nendoroid!

IMG_2187.JPG

Recently, I was finally able to receive my Christmas present from my friend T! They preordered this Nendoroid figure for me, it finally released in March (or April?), and by the time the post office stopped fucking around (as they are wont to do with T’s packages) and it arrived, it was May.

Nendoroids are figures of pop culture characters manufactured by the Good Smile Company. Over the years they’ve released figures from anime and manga, as well as video games and movies. Nendoroids aren’t the only type of figure Good Smile makes — what makes them unique are their big heads, tiny bodies, and overall kawaii/chibi/cutesy look. Also, they come with a ton of alternate body parts (but are not the only figures on the market that do).

IMG_2193.JPG

I’ve been aware of Nendoroids over the years, but haven’t purchased any for myself because all the little parts seemed such a fuss, and I knew I would put it in one pose and leave it that way forever. But T spotted the announcement of this one in the fall and thought I would love it, and I do! She’s very cute, and I was excited to see the little dinglehopper (fork) in the box. I immediately set about putting together a pose that used it.

img_2194.jpg

Disappointingly, I found that even once I sorted out which hand was for the dinglehopper, it didn’t stay in the hand very well. I also found that sometimes when I was manipulating the figure, the tails would pop out of the slot easily. Additionally, it could be difficult to get the peg into her back. The top of the peg actually comes off of the the rest of the blue arm that she’s attached to, and that happened to me a lot as I was trying to get the blue arm situated. That big head of hers is heavy, and it was a little tricky to keep things balanced on the base. This isn’t an issue that all Nendos have — Ariel is made to look as if she’s swimming, but many of the other characters just stand on the base (which is usually clear, but, again, we’re swimming here). But, she is very cute!

IMG_2197.JPG

I took this shot to demonstrate how to change the face plate. You just slide the front of her her hair out of the pegholes and then slide the face off in a similar fashion. Here you can also see where the peg keeping her up enters her back. It’s a little rough to get it in there under her hair. The back of her hair actually comes off as well, and when I first inserted the peg, I found it easier to do with the hair off.

IMG_2198.JPG

Another arrangement of the parts. I imagine that she’s fleeing from Flounder and Sebastian while on a mission to do something incredibly headstrong and foolhardy, lol. This one was hard to achieve, though. The pole holding her up is made of two parts that curve in the same direction and putting her so far forward made the whole base want to tip over. It took very precise positioning of the curves to get this shot.

IMG_2202.JPG

Here’s a close up of Flounder and Sebastian. They are…not the best. Sebastian looks sort of okay, but Flounder looks a little off. (Or is that just me?) Their posts are also a little flimsy and awkward. I kept accidentally popping them apart at the hinge while putting the pegs into the holes, which were a tight fit. This is the same pose as the previous picture, and you can also see a little bit of the tricky curves of the post holding Ariel up that I just mentioned.

IMG_2203.JPG

She also has a pair of arms that is specifically for holding Flounder. Maybe Sebastian would fit too? I didn’t try it because it looked like it wouldn’t work as well.

IMG_2207.JPG

This is the final pose I settled on, the one that she will now stay in for the rest of her days. I think I would get another Nendoroid or two in the future if they made any characters that I was really really interested in. (For instance, if they ever make Seto Kaiba, they will immediately have all of my money.) But despite the fact that she is really cute, I’m not totally sure I would recommend this figure to just anyone because of struggles I had that are specific to this particular figure.

IMG_2191.JPG

There wasn’t really a good place to mention it above, but there is such good attention to detail with this line of figures, even the interior of the box was beautiful. It would be a nice display backdrop for the figure if I had the space for that, but instead I recycled it. The figure has really good attention to detail and quality throughout this figure. So, again, I would recommend checking out other Nendoroids if  you think you’d be interested, but, again, I don’t know if I would recommend this one.

All the same, Good Smile has links to places to buy this figure on the product page for her, so check it out if you want to!

My Cosplay History!

Ever since I got back from Anime Boston, I’ve been wanting to do a post about the cosplays I’ve done so far. (Well, actually, fun fact, this is the post I wanted to write the week of the con, but I didn’t have time due to travel prep, etc.) I’m not nearly so prolific or skilled as any of my friends who cosplay, but I’ve done some good work over the years (and, in all honesty, some really, really bad) and I want to share it with all of you!

1934671_59071685683_8138734_n.jpg

A babby, with the Staryu that still hangs on her wall.

2009 — Misty (Pokemon): I didn’t call this Misty costume a cosplay at the time (not sure I even knew the word then?), but thinking back, it really was my first one. For years my high school held an event for seniors at the local bowling alley called “Midnight Bowling” (actually held from 10pm to midnight). The tradition was for each lane to dress up in costumes around whatever theme they wanted, with costume prizes awarded at the end of the night. My friends and I dressed up as the gym trainers from the first Generation of Pokemon. No one seemed to understand who we were; a fellow student asked me if I was Ash, and I wasn’t sure if they were being sarcastic. (If you’ve watched my YouTube at all, you may recognize Staryu from my art wall! We cut our characters’ distinctive Pokemon out of cardboard for props.)

1934671_59071590683_6607905_n.jpg

All of the pictures from this night are blurry and dark, because bowling alleys are blurry and dark.

Most of this costume was borrowed — my shirt was a friend’s graphic tee turned inside out and I borrowed the suspenders from my older brother’s girlfriend even though they were the wrong color because I didn’t have the means to get red ones. My hair was the wrong color and way too short to do a proper ponytail. At least my bag was red! And we had a fun night bowling together, as I recall. (If you’re curious, no, we did not place in the costume contest and the group that took first place was a group of boys where one dressed as a pimp and the rest dressed in drag. Tells you a lot about my high school, doesn’t it?)

10400069_96876235683_836445_n

Oh no.

AnimeNext 2009 — Lucas (Mother 3 / Smash Bros.): This Lucas cosplay was a travesty. My friends and I decided to cosplay characters from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but their alternate color versions. I don’t know why I went along with this instead of doing my own thing, since my friends were cosplaying characters recognizable regardless of color palette (Fox and Pit), whereas without his red and yellow shirt, Lucas is just a random small blond child. I had never worn a wig before, and we styled it the morning of the con. Instead of, I dunno, buying a striped shirt, I painted stripes on a white shirt, using masking tape to mark them off. Except, surprise, the blue fabric paint bled under the tape, so I tried to fix it with white paint, and it was just a huge mess. The only thing I like about this is my Rope Snake! I sewed him by hand out of an old t-shirt, and I think I still have him in the attic.

p6190007-e1524536678699.jpg

Me with two Dark Magician cosplayers, because I have always been, and will always be, YuGiOh trash.

AnimeNext 2010 (Female Trainer from FireRed/LeafGreen): This is probably my favorite work! I did a lot of sewing work on this one, hemming a skirt I bought on eBay, making the blue shirt, altering a t-shirt into the black undershirt, attaching the red parts to a borrowed hat, and making the bag entirely from scratch. I bought some fabric, decided what dimensions I wanted, and went from there.

img_1353.jpg

I don’t do “angry face” very well, lol.

I wasn’t satisfied with the shirt though, so when I eventually brought this costume to Anime Boston in 2011 and 2012, I just wore a blue tanktop. By the time I brought it to AB I’d also resewn the felt onto a properly white hat, and I might’ve just worn red Converse with my leg warmers too, because I remember at one point the fabric top of the shoes mysteriously shrank and became very uncomfortable to wear (I don’t think it’s that my feet got swollen, because even though I’m fat, none of that fat is in my feet).

IMG_2174.JPG

Hauled this bad boy out of storage for its closeup, since it’s not properly shown in any of my pics!

The bag held up remarkably well through the three different cons I brought it to, although it’d need patching/remaking to put it to heavy, all-day convention use again. The skirt also no longer fits, and I want another try at doing the top properly. And I guess if I was gonna do this costume thoroughly, I’d have to get a really long brown wig, but I don’t like wearing them, so probably I won’t. Maybe I should get my act together and try and revive this for AB next year?

AN2011a.jpg

Spooooky.

AnimeNext 2011 — Bosses from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: This is the most impressive cosplay I’ve done by far, and getting to do it with a group of friends made it super fun! It definitely wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have friends that were waaaay more artistic than I am. One or two of them (or three? my memories have faded) did up the designs, we acquired our individual materials, and then worked together to get the costumes done. It was a very collaborative effort; most of the costumes were worked on by more than one person, at least a little. For instance, I vividly remember painting that lantern brown. Someone was usually playing Wind Waker in the background while others worked on costumes — this summer is definitely when I fell in love with this game.

AN2011p.jpg

Another friend of ours dressed as Link.

I portrayed the boss of the Forbidden Woods, Kalle Demos. We used an old dress of mine as the base, and the sleeves are from a high school graduation gown that someone still had. The flower around the neck, is actually just a collar, so the whole outfit is relatively easy to put on, although I remember having trouble with the hat slipping around. I still have this one in the back of my closet, and last I checked it still fits! I’d wear it again, but doesn’t really make sense out of context. (If you want a look at the official art of the rest of the bosses, I’ve got a link for you here.)

img_2148-e1524620905253.jpg

“And then I said, ‘OATMEAL? Are you CRAZY?'”

AnimeNext 2012 — Pinkie Pie (MLP): I had a very brief My Little Pony phase between 2011 and 2012. I originally tried to have this costume together for Anime Boston 2012, I even brought it to the con, but when I started putting it on, it just didn’t feel right, so I decided to revise it before wearing it. Part of that was restyling the twintailed wig I’d bought into a single ponytail, which was a mistake because it was incredibly uncomfortable to have all that weight in the back and the wig kept slipping back on my head.

IMG_2140.JPG

Ta-da!

I honestly wasn’t too crazy about this costume overall, except for the bag, which I sewed by hand again. This one worked out a little better than the Pokemon bag, because I made the strap wider and the bag smaller. I really felt that my costume was kind of mediocre, especially because my friends did AMAZING cosplays for this con. It made me not want to cosplay anymore, because I just felt that my crafting skills just weren’t up to snuff, and I didn’t feel invested enough in cosplaying/going to cons to put the money/effort/time into improving. After Pinkie Pie, I didn’t cosplay for six years. Which brings me to….

IMG_1968.JPG

2018 — Ariel (The Little Mermaid): This was a dream costume of mine. I’d even researched how I could do it back when I was more seriously into cosplaying. But this year for Halloween I was hosting a costume party at my house, and I saw Torrid carrying this dress, and the rest was history. I brought this to Anime Boston 2018 as well, and it was a big hit! If you want to read more about this costume, check out my post about the Halloween party, since I’ve already blathered on long enough in this post.

So there’s my cosplay history! I have some cosplays I’d maybe like to do in the future, but, again, it’s a matter of having the energy/skill/creativity to pull them off. Plus, I’ve kind of gotten too accustomed to just wearing comfortable clothes at cons (aka, the one con I go to annually) to feel much desire to go fussing about with cosplay again. So we’ll see what happens in the future!

–Krys

Anime Boston 2018!

20180331_100333.jpg

This year I spent my Easter weekend up in New England, at a very special event — Anime Boston (hereafter referred to as AB). This is a convention held in Boston that is devoted to the appreciation of Japanese media and pop culture. It’s run by the New England Anime Society, and has been held annually since 2003 and it. is. HUGE. It’s not quite big enough to fill the massive convention center where the famous PAX East is held, but in 2017 there were nearly 26,000 attendees throughout the whole weekend.

It’s crazy to think that it’s been eight years since my first AB in 2011. I missed a few years between then and now, but this year was my fifth time attending. Some people, like some of my friends, go to multiple conventions in a year, but AB is the only one I go to. There are other conventions that look cool (like MAGFest!), but they’re either super far away and have hotels that get booked up super fast, or are waaaay larger than I’m comfortable with (coughNYComicConcough).

20180330_102507.jpg

The view from our hotel room!

AB is large enough that there’s almost always something interesting going on, or cool things to go look at. I really enjoy going to panels and getting my education on. They always schedule a wide variety of topics, and as soon as I get the convention schedule I fill it up with circles to highlight the panels that have caught my eye. I keep an eye out for panels about things I already really love. For instance, Revolutionary Girl Utena is my favorite anime, and Froborr’s panel about it this year was FANTASTIC. I’ve been to other panels of hers in past years, and her analysis is always really good and enlightening!

I also always circle panels about things that I know nothing, or only a little about, but which sound interesting. This year in this area of things, I went to a panel talking about the different types of visual kei bands, one about various Japanese composers (beyond just anime composers), and one about the history of ninjas and how media gets them wrong. This panel was a major highlight for me — the presenter was really animated and entertaining, on top of really knowing their shit!

I’d also marked up my schedule with panels about Japanese folklore, history, and culture; panels about famous creators like Studio Ghibli and Osamu Tezuka (one of my favorite guys); and panels hosted by voice actors. And also a panel on Japanese professional wrestling leagues, which I was super intrigued by when I saw it on the schedule. But I obviously didn’t get to go to all of these panels — sometimes multiple cool things are scheduled at the same time (or at weirdly early or late times), and also in the last couple of years I’ve found that something that really helps my happiness and energy level over the course of the weekend is making sure to take plenty of breaks.

20180330_125359.jpg

As Ariel on Friday, sitting on the floor to rest and eat my lunch.

These breaks were most often in the form of sitting on the floor in some corner to scroll Twitter on my phone, but this year I also found myself going back to my room every day at around 3pm to have a rest from all the crowds and noise. This is one of the two big things that made me feel super elderly during the weekend. The other one was overhearing two girls talk about my first anime like it was one of the oldest things ever; I originally watched it around 13 years ago. I have rarely felt so ancient in all of my 27 years, lol.

 

When I go to AB, I also spend a good chunk of time wandering around the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley to fritter my spending money away. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms — the Dealer’s Hall is where vendors sell various official merchandise, while the Artist Alley is filled with fan artists and other small scale craftspeople. I didn’t buy too many things for myself this year, mostly just birthday presents for my friends. But I did get this nice notebook from Maya Kern, and this gorgeous Utena print from Etherelle. I also splurged just a tiny bit on this Rise figure because my love for Persona 4: Dancing All Night knows no bounds.

20180405_214514.jpg

Sorry the lighting is bad — I don’t plan ahead and took this picture at 9pm when I was writing this post, lol.

But more important than what I get to learn or see at AB is who I get to experience it with. AB is the one guaranteed time of year that I get to see my New England friends! I met some of these friends in college, while others are convention friends that I made through my college friends. We all chip in money to get a hotel room together. All things considered we don’t really spend that much time together during the weekend because we all have different interests when it comes to panels, but it’s nice to have friendly faces to go to dinner with at the end of the day and talk about the things we’ve seen and done at the con in between catching up on our lives at home like we’ve spent no time apart. They’re all very good people. ❤

20180331_202542.jpg

The only picture I took with a friend all weekend. She looks cute cosplaying a casual, grungy Keith from Voltron! I look a slightly less cute tired mess, lol.

There are a couple of other convention-related things that I’d like to talk about, like my history with cosplay, or what I consider to be convention essentials, but this post is already starting to get a little long, so I’ll mark those down as post ideas for later!

20180330_132806.jpg

I absolutely -had- to take a selfie with this adorable giant plush in the Dealer’s Hall.

 

Do you have any events like this that you enjoy going to? Or would you be interested in going to a convention like this? (I bet a lot of you would say you’d want to go to NYCC or SDCC, but I have the opposite of interest in those just based on their size, lol.)

–Krys

20180330_140151

(PS: These didn’t really fit in anywhere else in the post, but I just really wanted to share these hilarious Gakuen Handsome keychains I found in the Dealer’s Hall. It’s a media property where the characters are intentionally drawn horribly, lmao. Here’s a trailer!)

Desk Tour!

Since I’m not in a financial position to move out of my family home, something I’ve been working on is making my room as nice a place as possible. A big part of that was having a functioning work space. I had a desk, but it was the desk I’d had since I was a child, and the space for the chair was so low that the worktop was at an uncomfortably high level. My desk was basically unworkable, so I was using my laptop on my bed all the time, which was awful for both my back and my mattress.

Getting a new desk was complicated, because the locations of the electrical outlets in my room means that basically all my furniture has to stay where it is. So any replacement desk would have to go in a very narrow space. I looked for months and months, even considering long skinny tables instead of desks, until I stumbled upon the perfect solution. And now I have a work area that I really love!

IMG_2083.JPG

My desk is Ikea’s Lisabo. When I first spotted it in the store I thought it was a skinny table, but when I realized it was an actual desk, I was even more excited. The drawer is very small, which is mildly annoying, but I am still able to keep a few essentials right at hand (headphones, hand cream, other assorted wires and things). I’m not sure where my chair came from, but my mom kindly bought it for me a few years ago when I still had my old desk. It’s not very comfortable (note the makeshift cushion I’ve made by stuffing a fleece blanket into a pillowcase). I’d like to get a new chair, but good desk chairs are surprisingly expensive, so I’m waiting for now. It’s good enough. I got that little rug at Target to muffle my wheels, and keep the chair from sliding so much. (It was on clearance when I bought it, so I can’t link it, sorry!)

Another thing I’d like to point out while we’re on this picture is the black wire dangling from the side of my desk. I was tired of leaning over to pick up my laptop cable whenever it was time to charge, so I stuck up a Command hook to hold the wire when I don’t need it. I love Command products (strips, hooks, etc.), I’m pretty sure everything on my wall is held up by them. (Not spon, but 3M, please spon? lol.)

IMG_2086.JPG

Here’s what that little Ikea lamp looks like turned on. It was daytime when I snapped this, but it still looks very pretty. I love this lamp so much that when I accidentally smashed it this summer, I cried really hard (summer was a low time for my mental health, fyi). As soon as I was able to make a trip out to Ikea (which wasn’t for more than a week) I went and bought a replacement. It’s a Knubbig, but for some reason they don’t sell this version (or its silver counterpart) online.

IMG_2085.JPG

Here you can see my workaround for having a tiny desk drawer: bins! Like many of my other organizational things, I picked them up at Target. I keep the things I want most often in the top bin, and the rest of my desk stuff in the bottom one. I also occasionally pull the stack out and use the flat top as an extra surface to put stuff on, like when I’m doing my makeup or something. I’ll also store bills/papers on top of the stack when it’s pushed in, just so the desktop feels tidier.

IMG_2090.JPG

Speaking of my desktop….

There’s a lot to unpack here. My laptop is a several year old big boy from HP’s Envy line. It runs Windows 8 and has a touch screen that I don’t really use that much. When I was shopping I told the guy at the store that I wanted to edit video and play games, because my previous laptop struggled with both (so much lag with games!), and this is what he suggested. I’m still using the same wired mouse I got for my first laptop in 2009, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Also along the lines of technology is the Blue Yeti microphone folded up in the corner there. I asked for it for Christmas when I was in my songwriting phase with the intention of recording my songs and doing YouTube voiceovers, and I haven’t really done either of those very much, but I find it pretty easy to use, a very plug and play device.

My makeup is all stacked up on the left hand side. Basically everything is from Target. The white bin on top is holding my brushes, mirrors, pens, and a few other miscellaneous things. Target sells this bin in various colors and sizes, and I use others throughout my room. Those stacked boxes with the green latches are where I keep most of my makeup — eyes on top, face in the middle, lips on the bottom. The blue fabric pouch on the side is where I keep eyeshadow palettes. Chocolate is mandatory to keep on hand, lol.

I’ve also got that magnet board/white board, purchased at Target (but unavailable on their website). I’ve got a bunch of random things stuck up there with these cute little magnets I found on Amazon. Some of my favorite things on this board are the magnet on the upper right that my friend made me after I played the Doctor’s route of Hatoful Boyfriend; the baby picture of my old cat Kitty, who I still miss; and the picture of my friends and I in the bottom right where we posed “family photo” style. I also keep track of how many of my yearly days off from work I still have left.

IMG_2095.JPG

This is my calendar. I had a dry erase marker calendar for a long time, but I finally got rid of it over the summer. I like this style better, because I can flip ahead and fill in things happening in coming months, which isn’t possible with a whiteboard. I bought this in the summer, and tearing off each month has been satisfying. It’s by the brand Blue Sky and I found it at Target. When I see Blue Sky stationary stuff at Target, it’s usually pretty cute! I like the design of this calendar a lot.

IMG_2096.JPG

I like pins, but I’m afraid to put them on bags, jackets, etc. because I’m afraid to lose them. I saw a craft like this online a long time ago, and finally made one of my own. I bought and embroidery hoop and super cheap boring fabric at a craft store, in case it didn’t work nicely. But it worked out well, so I aim to someday get around to changing out the fabric and also making a second hoop so the pins aren’t so crowded. I can’t tell you the artists for most of these pins, but the mermaid pin in the middle is Maya Kern’s Sea Bitch pin, and the humanized Pinkie Pie is a very old design done by my close IRL friend, the moderately Tumblr famous artist kingsdarga. The Bioshock Infinite Vigors are a gift from a few years ago (actually, coincidentally, from kingsdarga), and are official merch, but don’t seem to be available anymore.

IMG_2098.JPG

I also have this pinboard, another Target find. I bought this because I had too many things to fit on my whiteboard. I don’t know the artists of a lot of this stuff, because much of it is gifts. Up top, I have some cards — on the left is the holiday card my friend Sam from the blog Pretty Thoughtful sent me, middle is a card kingsdarga wrote me in the summer when I was having super bad mental health times, and on the right is a joke-y Christmas card another friend drew after being super impressed by this mashup of Mariah Carey and My Chemical Romance. (Fun Fact: I am the only one of my friends incapable of producing excellent art, lol.)

IMG_2120.JPG

The final, latest addition to my desk area is this puzzle. My friend who drew the My Chem card got everyone in our friend group puzzles for Christmas, printed up on Shutterfly of different images pertaining to things that we liked. She also gave us frames and glue, so we could preserve them once we’d finished. My picture is from Journey, my favorite video game of all time. It’s a beautiful picture to look at. I hung this frame, as well as my whiteboard and pinboard, with these particular Command strips.

IMG_2121.JPG

So that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my room, and seeing where the “magic” of this blog happens! What sorts of interesting things do y’all have in your office spaces?

–Krys

Halloween 2017!

I know I’m a few days (almost a week!) late on this, but I wanted to do a write-up on my Halloween anyway, because this one was a good one!

The Saturday before Halloween, I hosted a little Halloween party for my friends at my house — I affectionately titled this “Friendoween.” My friend T was going to host, but our friend S has cat allergies, and T has two cats and a small apartment. S’s allergies aren’t too severe, but it’s still more comfortable for her to not be around cats, so since my mom was going to be away, I volunteered to play host. My friends brought the food, and I was in charge of decorating / general supplies like cups and plates.

I’ve hosted two of our friend parties before, and in the past my decorations have been kind of elaborate (balloons taped everywhere, tons of streamers and other odds and ends), but this time I went a little more subtle. When I saw what decorations and supplies were still available at Target, the theme I settled on was “sort of witchy.”

IMG_1938.JPG

I pulled one of my family’s tablecloths onto the table, and covered our dining chairs with fake spiderweb. From the doorways I just hung gentle, graceful loops of streamers. This was more difficult than you’d think because I am short, lol.

halloween copy.jpg

(Don’t mind the black boxes, just covered up my family’s faces for privacy’s sake!)

This area was kind of my piece de resistance. This party happened during a weird period of time where we had two sofas in the living room. This one had a funny little stain on the cushions, so to make it nicer, I took this starry curtain that I used to use to cover the scarred ugly top of my old desk and tucked it over the cushions. We had that owl and spider in a box of Halloween decorations, so I set them out and then twisted some little lights around a length of streamer to make a garland over the fireplace.

IMG_1962.JPG

Once everyone arrived, we wound up with quite a varied spread. And we also ordered pizza to have a “proper” dinner. It was so. much. food. But all so good! And then once we’d chatted and snacked a little, we went out in my backyard to photograph our costumes!

IMG_1968

In September I was casually browsing Torrid’s website and noticed they had their Halloween section up, and that this dress was in it. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess, and I’d wanted to cosplay her for awhile, but I have no skill with sewing and it can be hard to find the right clothing to build a costume when you’re plus size. So this dress was an exciting find! It’s nice and soft and holds up well in the washing machine. I wish I had got it a size smaller, but it’s really not that big a deal.

Torrid doesn’t have it up on their website anymore, but you can still grab it at Hot Topic, in straight sizes as well! (Pro-tip for my fellow plus size girls: Torrid and Hot Topic have the same parent company, and sometimes carry the same merchandise, so if something you want is sold out on Torrid, check Hot Topic!)

IMG_1970

My wig is the Ferrari Classic from Arda Wigs in Apple Red. A lot of people told me it looked really good on me, but it was kind of frustrating. I’d like to trim the bangs so I don’t have to pin them back, but I’m also terrified of ruining this nice wig, so pinning it is! My bow came from Tita’s Hiding Place on Etsy.

img_1971.jpg

All in all, I’m super pleased with how this came out, and now I have a solid cosplay for any future cons I go to!

My friends did some good costumes too, so I asked permission to post pictures of them and they said yes!

IMG_2014.JPG

L’s costume is an homage to Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. She was listening to them a lot to get in the right mindset for drawing one of her characters, and the costume was originally going to be kind of a joke on the stereotype of an emo kid, but then she researched a bit about Gerard and MCR and grew to respect them a lot. I think she did really well with this!

img_1997.jpg

T dressed as the extreme stereotype of a disgruntled art student. T knows all about this because they commuted to college at one of the big famous art schools in the city. This costume meant lots of plaid, fingerless gloves, scarves and beanies, and large amounts of Starbucks coffee.

IMG_2003

Since I graduated a semester early, I was home while T was working on their last projects for school and I can attest to the accuracy of this portrayal, lol.

IMG_1985

S and her girlfriend M both dressed as Rey from Star Wars. M (not pictured in this post) was Force Awakens Rey and S was Last Jedi Rey.

IMG_1988.JPG

Didn’t you know a lightsaber makes a great guitar?

IMG_1955.JPG

Then we went back inside and watched this Japanese horror movie that is nowhere near as scary as its box. House (sometimes known as Hausu) is a movie from the 70’s that’s mainly known for being kind of goofy, kitschy, and somewhat surreal. Maybe I’ll do a write-up in a blog post sometime! I found a trailer for it on YouTube, and it makes the movie look scarier than it really is. And I hope you like that song at the start of the trailer, because different versions of it are basically the entire soundtrack of the movie, lol.

Then after the movie we played some spooky video games for awhile until gradually everyone started to fall asleep on the couches and we decided to call it a night. Everyone had a great time, and I couldn’t have asked to have more fun, or better company. I’m very glad to have the friends that I do.

What did you guys do for Halloween? Did you dress up?

— Krys

 

Old Weird YouTube Favorites

I’ve been using YouTube since the year the site opened, and I’m at a point where I have over 400 videos in my favorites playlist. That playlist is hidden, you can’t see it on my channel page because it’s got a weird variety of stuff in it. But I thought it might be fun to go to the start of the playlist, and share some of the videos I favorited so long ago.

Early YouTube was a magical place that I didn’t really appreciate at the time. It was an environment where people felt free to post whatever they wanted regardless of how low production it was, or how weird. So I want to highlight a few of the weird things that made me laugh way back when, and that also still do today.

Here we have a lovely little ditty called “My Hands Are Bananas.” It was published in August of 2006 and is a take on stereotypical German techno/dance/industrial music (but in English). It’s utter hilarious nonsense that my friends and I used to sing back and forth to each other in the lunchroom.

“Go to McDonald – (Earthbound gigyas’s theme RONALDver.)” requires a little background information. Basically, there was a period of time where I was super into watching Japanese commercials and music videos because of a couple of friends I’d made on MSN messenger. Because of those friends I stumbled onto a genre I’d call “remixing songs using Japanese Ronald McDonald commercials.” This particular remix is of the final boss theme from Earthbound, and also includes some video distortion that is quite creepy, so just beware of that. This is another one that my friends and I would reference to each other (especially “daiski daiski daiski daiski,” which starts at 1:20 in the video).

This is called “Slumber Party” and it’s a video that I think about a lot, especially when High School Musical is referenced, which you’ll understand if you watch it. It’s a comedic horror short created by Neil Cicierega, who’s been one of my creative idols since I first discovered his work back in high school. (He’s also the creator of the Potter Puppet Pals and releases music as Lemon Demon, and when I realized all of these things were made by the same person, I was super impressed!) I can’t say too much about this one without totally ruining the suspense/mystery, but it’s only 5 minutes long, what do you have to lose?

And to close us off, I give you “Spiderman’s Epic Battle!” Just watch it. Hopefully you’ll laugh as much as I do.

Share all of your favorite odd YouTube videos with me! I always love to see new things.

–Krys