Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Tabs (rnd)

I forgot which number we are on, and I don't want to go look as I'm only writing this as I take a brake from staring at code which is going much better than it has the last couple months.

First off I want to say Welcome Back to all the Parent Hacks readers who are dropping in.  I hope you enjoy the three part on our costumes!  Feel free to dig around, some parenting bits and other projects lurk on some of the napkins around here, sorry it's such a mess - even the site is constantly under construction :)

Now on to the tabs.  Hit the jump to see what I've got bogging down the ram on my poor abused laptop now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Writing Again & The King of the Frogs

Not intentionally abandoning you all.  I am happy to announce that I have started writing again.  As in non-blog writing.  I'm hoping to complete a short story with the current idea (as opposed to all the books I've started in the last three years and haven't gotten anywhere with).  I'm very happy to be writing again even if I am also still busy with physical projects (currently moving slowly thanks to a very sore back).  I will let you all know if anything comes from the story (other than my own exercise in getting thoughts on screen - which apparently needs a lot of work, because I'm putting several hours into not so many pages, hmmm).

I'm also privileged to be able to be helping out in my oldest daughter's class once a week for reading time.  This last week I was privileged to get most of an hour with my daughter and her reading group.  All four of the kids are voracious readers and I know that finding appropriate difficulty materials to challenge the kids while keeping the stories thing that the kids can understand has been a real struggle this year.  In fact they've called in councilors from the junior high to assist.  That's why it should be no surprise that so much in the story we read was just not comprehended by them, but maybe this was a good thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Halloween Is My Favorite Holiday, Even Though I'm A Christian

I LOVE Halloween!  I think it's just one of the most fun holidays of the year.  Sure there's the whole demon and scary angle, but that's not what I love.  I love the community, I love the costumes, I love the ability to go door-to-door, I love being able to pretend, and I love that we are all encouraged to face our fears.  I think Halloween is a great equalizer.  Oh sure if you're rich you can have whatever costume you want, but ratty clothes and thrift store finds are the hallmark of some of the greatest costumes ever.  I remember one Halloween reusing a worn out duct taped pair of my Papa's (grandfather) overalls for at least three different costumes, a country girl with mismatched pigtails and brown make-up freckles, a psycho-ax murder with some fake blood and grease, and a redneck (kinda like the country girl minus the cutesy elements and added a trucker hat.)

Unfortunately, among the Christian community, Halloween gets a really bad rap.  It's a pagan holiday.  It's demon worship.  It's satanic.  As a result we are encouraged to turn off our porch lights, shunning our neighbors, and instead take our kids to "Harvest Parties" where we play fall games in scary-free zones in the basements of our churches, hiding from the evil outside.  Pretending that we are so much better than our neighbors because we don't practice such ridiculousness and we don't stoop to horror, to acknowledging the scary in the world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 3

Costumes and armaments are only most of the story.  To really bring the costumes together it's the little extras that are the essentials.  It's amazing how many little extras were all but impossible to find and things like children's white boots really really put my painting skills to the test (or maybe that was my patience).  Needless to say, everyone needed a belt (well except Yoda) and there were holsters and pockets to make.  Death Star Leia needed extra special care as her belt not only is specially shaped but is accessorized with 3D metal plates. 

I took responsibility for only half of these items as Orcrist rocked the rest.  As such we are going to share this blog post.  I will start telling you my part and he will finish with all the amazing bits he put together to bring our costumes to completion.  We'll dive right in after the jump.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 2

Armaments are only half-way to a Star Wars costume make.  Sure a guy in a robe can pass as a jedi as long as he has a lightsabre, but let's just say I'm not the kind to take a shortcut when making costumes.  Costumes are some of my favorite things.  I love coming up with creative ideas and I've made many a Halloween costume for myself, and last year I sewed cloaks for my kids'.  With the promise of GeekGirlCon, I was not going to slack on these, and since my husband let me buy a new sewing machine which just happened to show up on at exactly the right time..... well they aren't epic, but they're darn close!

It's been a long time since I've done any clothes making.  Sure, I've made some cloaks, and I made curtains, but making stuff to fit bodies is a whole other game.  Especially when your kids aren't average (ultra skinny and her sister no-fat) and they need costumes that haven't existed in patterns since the 1980s.  So, with the exception of McCalls M6203 which gave me the guidelines to making a pair of military-esque pants for Endor Leia, everything else needed to be drawn out from scratch. (oh and I bought a khaki shirt for Endor Leia, it was a time issue.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 1

As you have seen I took a couple weeks and smashed together some reasonably alright Star Wars costumes for the family.  While cosplay is as much being the character as it is the costume, the threads are vitally important to selling the character.  So in addition to watching Star Wars (the three real episodes) and me deciding to go in my internet persona (that's pretty easy to play), we scoured the web for detailed pictures, cosplay ideas, and accessories to bring Princess Leia and the jedi we would portray to life.

First off there is always one thing you never think will be that big of a deal to find and it always ends up being the biggest of struggles.  With so many costumes there were a few of these moments, but the most universal was the weapons.  You wouldn't think it would be hard, after all Star Wars is a major title.  There are mounds of Star Wars kids items, right?  Well, yes and no.  You see it's all "Clone Wars" now, not actual Star Wars and the variety of things that are offered are almost pathetic enough to make a long time fan cry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GeekGirlCon: Pictures

Ok, I don't usually post pictures of people here, especially not ones of myself, but with all the work into the costumes (which I'll talk about soon) and since I've already linked to pictures, why not!  Hang on for a the pictures we remembered to take while at GeekGirlCon 2011 (which wasn't much!)  Also I'll include a couple from the Mandalorian Mercs, and maybe borrow from a couple other people too.

All for your viewing after the  jump of course!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

GeekGirlCon Reflections (a guys perspective.)

Actually, that title is misleading. It should really be more of a "GeekDad Perspective".

We just got back from our GeekGirlCon 2011 weekend in Seattle early, early Monday morning. It was a wonderful experience and will probably be the Geek highlight of my year. My kids (ages almost 7, 4.5, and pushing 2) are still talking about it, even my toddler ("We rode the train and SpAAce need!")

I wanted to write this yesterday while the Con was still vividly fresh in my mind, but my brain just couldn't pull itself together out of the mushy state it was in. So what you will get is a slightly more reflective version of the weekend as I have had more time to think about it in a tired reflective kind of way. My wife has already posted three times about the Con, so a lot of this might be familiar.

What they're saying

Not only did we have an amazing time at Geek Girl Con, but we were noticed by lots of people.  If you follow me on Google+ you know we had a bit of a paparazzi issue once the kids were in costume.  People coming up snapping photos (although many asked if they could - and I generally allowed it), people talking with my daughters - which they opened up to a lot more than I thought they would.  Well, I guess we made impacts on others as well.  Several bloggers have mentioned the "little girl in the white Leia dress with a giant blaster and a baby doll", well that's our beloved Ver2 there, who just by being herself seems to epitomize what it means to be a geek girl.  You are both a geek and a girl, you don't have to give up the girl side.

When my kids made fast friends with "Star Wars Girl" Katie (a person I was really hoping they'd get to meet, and was amazed by), it was inevitable that we'd be highlighted on her blog space.  Go ahead and look, it's a great picture!  Here's a great photo with a lot of the kid cosplayers from the con too, we played with all of them and a pair dressed as Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer.

EDIT:  Another picture :)  I knew this was coming when I was asked to hold a pink flamingo named Verne.  We are at the end.  You will notice Ver2 is missing.  She is hiding behind me because she was done with people asking for her picture.

Just thought I'd share  :)  Picture post here when I get the camera downloaded.... It will be a first on paper napkins :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Geek Girl Con: Reflections

Geek Girl Con was amazing!  It wasn't just amazing for the couple of panels we got to attend.  It wasn't cool because I had Cherie Priest sign my Kindle.  It wasn't even amazing because I got to hang out in Seattle dressed as a jedi and feel perfectly normal about it.  It was amazing on a completely different level.

I've discussed a few times the idea of culture, community, and our place in society.  Where exactly I fit in to all of that is still a bit of a mystery to me.  Being a 10+ generation American of European decent means I have no ties to Europe to speak of.  My friends in the Asian community were nice enough to include me in their culture, but it will never be home (especially now that they are so far away from us).  Being in God's house and in the church is great, and it gives me a family that I know will be there for us, but I also know I will never fully fit in there, like the black sheep I am - I will never fully relate to my brothers and sisters there.  But at Geek Girl Con, I felt safe.

Geek Girl Con: Day 2 - All Good Things Must End

Day 2 of Geek Girl Con was a post drizzle morning with just a bit of chill in the air.  My kids were a little sad I didn't want to wear my full costume again, but I did bring my cloak.  The girls opted out of their geeky woot tees and returned to the con in their full Princess Leia garb and I'm happy to say my skill with their hair was better the second time, by Halloween it'll completely rock!!!!

After breakfast we made it out of our hotel room and into the con (well the girls and I did) just in time for the Women of Science panel that we have been looking forward to since the panels were listed.  The kids missed out on making Labrynth sock puppets since Orcrist had to take care of the hotel room and moving the car to public parking, but at least Ver1 liked hearing from the scientists and they eagerly talked about not only getting into the sciences, but stuff even elementary school kids can do.  One of the panelists even gets contacted about having her research used at elementary science fairs.  Since we loved the science fair last year, we may start asking some local scientists for ideas and to use their research, I guess I never thought of that.  On my own personal mission to figure out if what I should do now that I have to grow up (at least enough to provide for our family), I was encouraged to take advantage of Mom's return to grad school scholarships and to harass professors to find where and what I really want to do.  Apparently, most professors don't find this annoying, so that's great news!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Geek Girl Con: Day 1 - Nerves -> Geekvana!

Day 1 Geek Girl Con is over for us. Wow what a day! We had a rather rough start, while Orcrist had a blast designing a game, they made a little squares based board game called Farmers vs Killer Bunnies. They had one overly analytical team member, but the team leader (industry volunteer) kept her from running away with the game. A little bummed I couldn't compete too, but Ver3 was a handful and the girls would have gotten bored.

We made it to a whopping two panels and regrettably missed the steampunk panel, but I did get my Kindle signed by Cherie Priest, who wrote Boneshaker, which was awesome! My daughters also shot her with their blasters.

Geek Girl Con: Day 1

Up and moving with just enough time for a quick hotel breakfast. I have butterflies! I hope our Orcrist does well in the game design contest this morning!!! I also hope his hearing aids aren't a problem.

Last night was fun and relaxing, although my nerves about being surrounded by a mob of women, even geeky women had already settles in for the event. We were able to walk to an Irish Pub by Seattle Center where we all shared some dingle pie. Afterwards we watched the fountain in the dark (including a silly guy who went down to smack the globe only to get drenched as the show started over - much to the amusement of the kids). The leisurely stroll through the park was just what I needed! Now if I can just handle the kids in a foreign environment all morning! Wish me luck.

I'll report back in when I can!


Friday, October 7, 2011

On Our Way

We are on our way to GeekGirlCon!!!
The costumes are finished, and I even managed to make a cloak for my outfit. All of the kids are excited and there is talk of a trip up the space needle if the weather is good. Only minor cuts and a few headaches on the crafting injury report.

My husband was selected to participate in a game building contest. It starts first thing on Saturday. During that time I'll be solo with the kids. We are really excited for him though! He figures it will be the most he gets out of the con because we didn't think to ask for a captionist, and he doubts he will be able to hear the panels. Maybe next year he will know enough sign language to understand an interpreter.

We will be showing off our costumes at the Mascarade, so if you are at the con loom for the Jedi with Yoda and two little Princess Leias!

I'll try to post from my phone as time allows. You can also follow me on Google+ and possibly in Facebook.
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