Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Little Free Library update

Our Little Free Library has been up for about a month. I'm happy to see it is getting some use. Hopefully we'll be on the map soon.

Step on the path to your next favorite book.

We chose to stock our library with a variety of books, including children's books. The children's books have been very popular.

If you're in the Grandview Hills neighborhood area, stop by and borrow a book.

Here are the current selections in the library:

Floors and Stairways, Time Life reference book
Weatherproofing, Time Life reference book
At Home, by Bill Bryson
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
They Wear What Under Their Kilts?, by Katie Maxwell
Survival in Auschwitz, bu Primo Levi
Mama Makes Up Her Mind, by Bailey White
Quite a Year for Plums, by Bailey White
Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, by Bailey White
Had Enough? A Handbook for Fighting Back, by James Carville
Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin
A Guilty Thing Surprised, bu Ruth Rendell
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
My Quiz Book, by Lizzie McGuire
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers, by Donald J. Sobol
Dragon Slayers' Academy: The New Kid at School, by Kate McMullen
How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell
Ramona the Brave, by Beverly Cleary
Fudge-a-Mania, by Judy Blume
1, 2, 3 Count with Me, Sesame Street
Opposite Race, The Backyardigans
Super Senses Save the Day!, The Backyardigans
Deep Sea Countdown, The Backyardigans
The Shape-Jewel Hunt, The Backyardigans
Splat the Car with a Bang and a Clang, Rob Scotton
Curious George Flies a Kite, Margaret Rey
The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy, Jane Thayer
Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss
Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell Hoban
The Soapsud Fairy, by Candida Palmer

Polite Elephant, by Richard Scarry

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gen Con 2013 in review: part 3

This is part 3: Sunday

Sunday was a little more relaxed, with us spending time in the exhibit hall or just hanging out, and one last panel for Chris, on 3D filmmaking. We ran in to several friends who just came for Family Fun Day.

This was also my steampunk day. I chose the shorter day because wearing a corset all day is not fun. I completed my outfit early on in the hall with the purchase of the overskirt and a map holder. I'm quite pleased with the results. I received a lot of compliments on my costume, including one from a self-professed history geek, who delighted in my very Victorian (other than the corset as outerwear) costume. That pleased me because I built it from the Victorian base and then steampunked it, rather than the other way around.

Sunday was Steampunk day for me

I was delighted to see some Battlestar Galactica cosplay. Starbuck and Apollo, perhaps? A few years ago I had BSG and Firefly on my Bingo card and didn't see any cosplayers. This year, I found both.
Yep, Battlestar Galactica pilots

There was something interesting I noticed this year. A lot of attention has been spent on women who cosplay, and the number of sexy outfits. My thought on that is that if you want to feel sexy, if you have the confidence, go ahead. But I don't, so I have more conservative cosplay. Sure I'll wear a corset, but it has a shirt underneath. 

Now, what I really noticed this year, perhaps because I was paying attention, was that, while the 'sexy' cosplay got plenty of attention, there was a lot of admiration for the 'non-sexy'* cosplay. Even from men. Which is only worth remarking on because there has been so much attention paid to the more lascivious attention. So, I'm just putting this out there: good cosplay is good cosplay. Men who enjoy seeing the costumes, men who aren't just looking for half-naked women, are out there. They are there admiring the hard work and creativity. And they aren't getting enough credit. Some of them are cosplaying as well. 

I like dressing up. It's fun. Sometimes Chris joins me (this year he was just too busy so he didn't). I love seeing what costumes other people wear. 

And a final note on cosplay: If you like the idea but find it intimidating, here's an easy costume just about anyone can put together. Wear a bathrobe and carry a towel. Viola! You're Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There are plenty of easy costumes. They don't have to be handmade (my steampunk outfit is all purchased). They don't have to be expensive (mine usually are, despite my best intentions). The point is to have fun. 

* By non-sexy, I don't mean to say that a costume isn't sexy, just that it isn't overtly sexy. 

Gen Con 2013 in review: part 2

This is part 2: Saturday

Saturday I cosplayed as Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. At least one person recognized my costume, calling out "Downton Abbey!" and asking for a picture with me. I got a lot of compliments and a few pictures taken, but I'm not sure how many people got the costume. Considering I don't recognize half the costumes I see, that's ok.
Cosplaying with Amanda

Amanda got compliments for her costume as Elizabeth from BioShock. She chose the early version of the costume rather than the corseted later version, and a lot of people seemed to appreciate that. I'm not familiar with the game, but I can concur that a day in corset is not fun.

My Little Ponies!

I saw several people throughout the weekend cosplaying as My Little Ponies. These are just the first. Yes, men and women alike were cosplaying ponies. I saw several Rainbow Dashes, a couple Pinkie Pies, Rarity, Fluttershy.... I love that so many people love the ponies. And I am kind of excited about the MLP collectible card game coming out in November. I think it's something they boys might enjoy.

There were superheroes galore at Gen Con. Just after taking this picture, The Joker appeared and joined the group. Even though they didn't know each other, Batman and the Joker did a little role playing for the cameras. I saw a lot of Wonder Woman cosplayers this year.
There was a balloon artist at the con this year. Balloon-thulhu was in the corridor outside the main exhibit hall.

Lady Sybil
There was a Gen Con backdrop next to Balloon-thulhu to take pictures, so of course I had to get my picture taken there. I'm really glad I had comfortable shoes for my costume, because my feet were still sore by the end of the day just from all the walking. Chris's mom lent me the gloves that really pulled the outfit together. She also lent me a necklace and the pin in my hair (not shown), and she made matching earrings Friday evening while we were walking the halls! I think she enjoyed helping with the costuming.

Cosplayers in the halls

One of the things I love best about Gen Con is wandering the halls and floor admiring all the wonderful and creative costumes. Three of the wizards from Lord of the Rings (Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey and Radagast the Brown) posed next to Boba Fett and a Transformer. (I don't know who the woman in blue is.) Just down the hall were Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers, including one in a kilt. There's always one in a kilt, because kilts are awesome.

Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers

Another group posing together

 And just past the Transformer was this group posing for pictures together. Saturday is the big costume day, with the costume parade and costume contest. It's the best day for seeing cosplayers if you can only go one day.

A harpy?
 The wings on this costume were fantastic. She spread them out for the picture, but they folded in to walk around.

I love turning around to find some of my favorite characters. Who wants to take a ride on the Serenity?
Wash, Kaylee, Simon and Captain Mal

Harley Quinn Vader
We finally hit the exhibit hall Saturday. I got there late in the morning for a bit, then had lunch and wandered the floor again with Chris. 
One of many TARDIS dresses.

Rhonda on the exhibit hall floor


Thor and a watcher

Steampunk Iron Man

She made this costume!

With Michelle Hartz, zombie belly dancer

Street performer

Some costumes I saw but didn't get pictures of: Prince Leia, Katniss Everdeen, Merida from Brave, many versions of Doctor Who, a knight is real armor, pirates galore....

We spent a delightful hour Saturday afternoon enjoying the music of the Doubleclicks. I highly recommend checking them out.

ZOE/DG crew
Gamers 3: Hands of Fate cast and director

Saturday evening was dedicated to film. Actually, to Dead Gentlemen/Zombie Orpheus Entertainment films. We screened the rough cut, test screenings of The Gamers: Humans & Households and The Gamers: Natural One. Both were quite fun and should be released as webseries once editing and effects are done.

After the test screenings came the big event: the extended edition premier of The Gamers 3: Hands of Fate. We missed the world premier of the festival cut Thursday. I loved one of the themes the crossed several story lines in the film: that women are not a prize to be won.

Gen Con 2013 in review: part 1

Gen Con 2013 is over. We have a whole year to wait for the next convention. In the meantime, I want to remember the last 2 1/2 days (we couldn't make it up to Indy until Friday night).

This is part 1: Friday night.

A group of cosplayers in the hall
posing for pictures
and entertaining a crowd.
Wandering the halls at the convention center Friday night filled a decent portion of my Gen Con Bingo card. We came across this group of cosplayers posing for pictures, pulling in more costumed folks as they walked by.

Dr. Horrible stopped to take a picture of the group and ended up in the pictures. Also in the group: Secret Snake, Mario and Luigi, Spiderman, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle... I actually don't recognize all the characters. Secret Snake set his box behind the group before joining in.

Dalek in the hall.
 A dalek was also wandering the halls. Yes, there is a person in there. It moves and speaks. And a pair of zombies. And Captain America.
Zombie mom and daughter.
Captain America

Friday, August 16, 2013

Annual Gen Con BINGO card

It's that time of year to unveil my annual Gen Con BINGO card. Here is this year's iteration.

My rules: I try to play blackout BINGO to make it more fun. I usually fail but have a good time trying. I try to take pictures of everyone/everything I see on the card, but sometimes the opportunity doesn't present itself. Also, it's polite to ask before taking someone's picture.

I create the card based on things I think I might see. Some years I guess better than others. Yes, there are a few givens by design because it shouldn't be impossible to fill the card!

Updated 8/19/13: I filled all the squares except Red Shirt this year. That's usually an easy space to fill. Just goes to show that every year is a surprise.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cosplaying Lady Sybil

I love Downton Abbey. (Who doesn't?) 

How do geeks show their love of things? Well, some of us by cosplaying. 

So I decided to make a Downton Abbey style costume for Gen Con. I'm sort of cosplaying Lady Sybil, although I don't have the mad skillz to make a costume like one of the outfits from the show. 

My skill level requires a pattern, preferably an easy one. Finding early 1920s style patterns was a bust (the few I found were authentic, thus beyond my skill level). Searching for first season era (1912-1914) I had more luck. Working with Simplicity pattern 8399, I made this:

My Edwardian style dress.
I chose the colors and fabrics based on what I could find and colors that suit me, but I also liked that the colors and the ribbon evoke, at least for me, Lady Sybil's harem pants, one of my favorite of her outfits.

Since I had plenty of fabric left over, I decided to make a reticule. I'll need to carry my wallet and phone around the convention all, and this is the appropriate way to do so.

A reticule, to carry my stuff.
 I can't wear high heels anymore, so period style shoes were out. I seriously considered just wearing my running shoes, opting for comfort, until I found these on sale, inexpensive, and comfortable shoes.

Comfort is important when you'll be on your feet all day.
 And, with my current short 'do, I needed something a little longer. I found a $10 wig at the local costume shop and styled it. Here is my husband modeling it. He allowed me to use his head while he played an online game. I'm quite pleased with how the styling turned out.

A very Sybil-esque style, I think.
I'll take pictures in full costume next Saturday at Gen Con. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Google domain name registration saga

I received an email today that the custom domain here was suspended due to billing problems.

The next 2 hours or so were spent in frustration trying to correct the issue, with some help from the forums (although the forum help wasn't easy, and took much digging). So, to document, in case I ever need to refer back to this, or to help someone else who might have the same problems, here goes:

1) The problem with the billing of the annual domain name registration fee was because I had it set up through Google Wallet (Google payments?). That's no longer being used, so I had to change the billing to directly charge a credit or debit card. I think PayPal might have been an option too.

2) When I tried to login to Google Admin, I repeatedly received an error of "Invalid Request". This didn't tell me much. I searched Google Help (not helpful). I followed their problem solving matrix, but was tripped up by the list of error messages. Mine wasn't listed. (There's a reason; I'll get to that.)

3) I searched for variations of Google admin invalid request login, etc, etc, and read through some forum questions and answers, which only served to frustrate me more. Most recommended trying to login as "bloggeradmin"@DOMAINNAME.com, stating that Google had changed how things were done and now required a "bloggeradmin" account. <-- a="" about="" account.="" account="" admin="" advice="" also="" and="" attach="" cache="" clearing="" cookies.="" creating="" did="" didn="" domain.="" error="" gmail="" google="" got="" helpful.="" i="" it="" just="" login="" lots="" me="" nbsp="" new="" not="" nothing.="" of="" p="" really="" same="" seem="" still="" t="" the="" there="" this="" through="" to="" trying="" walked="" was="" when="" which="" with="">
4) Finally, I found a link in one of the answers to https://google.com/a/REPLACETHISWITHYOUROMAIN.com/ForgotAdminAccountInfo where you, of course, use your domain name where indicated. Finally some progress! It was here I discovered I was using the wrong login (and what the correct username for my admin account is). I was able to reset the password using the usual methods and regain access to the admin account. I'm pretty sure the "Invalid Request" error was because the login I was trying to use doesn't have an admin account, but I didn't know that.

5) Once logged in to the Admin account, I was able to update the billing information. Now, this took some time as I received errors that my request was unable to be processed at this time. Those errors persisted for a while, but I did finally update billing info.

All in all, it took 2 1/2 HOURS to search forums and eventually find answers. It was an exercise in much frustration. And I've learned my lesson and made notes of the admin account information. Which I probably have somewhere, but have lost since I only dig that information out once a year at billing time if necessary.

tl;dr: I've resolved the billing issue and House Eller can stay in this custom home.