Posts Tagged ‘fandom’

It’s been a pretty bad week and the year hasn’t been all that better, so this is my contribution for something a bit more positive within the sea of heart-breaking negativity in the world. I’ll be brief, and it’ll be back to my usual critical self soon enough, but I managed to experience the most wonderful and life affirming moments as a geek while at this year’s GeekGirlCon.

At the booth! Catherine Elhoffer (foreground) and Sam Cross (background)

At the booth! Catherine Elhoffer (foreground) and Sam Cross (background)

It started as a volunteer opportunity helping friend and past guest Catherine Elhoffer at her table. It was her first time exhibiting at GeekGirlCon and I was more than happy to lend a hand. Having never worked a booth before, I had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, I rarely left the table and it was the greatest two days I’ve ever had at a con!

It didn’t take long for people to notice Elhoffer Design‘s table. Catherine had all of her dresses laid out on the table, as well as sample pre-orders on display for everyone to see. By pure chance, the table happened to be right near the women’s bathroom, which gave women of all ages and sizes the opportunity to either try on the dresses in front of the table (no zippers, just over the head!) or in the bathroom should they need to remove costumes or clothing to get a better idea of the fit. Catherine, however, was pretty spot on regarding sizes and more often than not I saw a lot of women, and men, walk away with the right size, perfect fit, and huge smiles.

The biggest selling point on the dresses? Pockets. Not even kidding. I saw more faces light up when they discovered all of the dresses had pockets. Catherine and I even joked about having a camera pointed at people – mostly women – when they found the pockets while trying the dresses on or after we told them about the pockets when it looked like we hadn’t quite sold them on the dress alone. It may seem like a small thing, but trust me when I say women’s clothing has a severe deficiency when it comes to the inclusion of pockets. There have been a lot of studies about the gender politics of pockets, which I won’t go into now, but Catherine believes firmly in the equality of fashion. As she frequently said to anyone perusing the booth, “They [the dresses] have pockets because I’m a fucking adult.” Turns out, women don’t always want to lug a purse around. Sometimes we want to carry our shit in functional clothing. Go figure.banner_geekgirlcon

But above all else, the best part of working the booth was the people. Everyone was welcome to try on the clothes. Everyone. And with each person a new conversation occurred. Fandom, politics, clothing, you name it and we were talking about it. I couldn’t be happier and more proud to have been part of those conversations while seeing so much joy and passion come through. Seattle is a nerd/geek friendly town and they came out in droves to GeekGirlCon 2016. It’s getting bigger and better and I can’t wait to see what happens next year! And I can’t wait for more people to discover Elhoffer Design and Catherine Elhoffer. This lady deserves our support, so, if you can, I encourage you to check out her stuff!

If you’re local to the Seattle area, you should also consider helping Outsider Comics and Geek Boutique. The shop is opening in Fremont and they’ll be carrying Elhoffer Designs as part of their stock. Every little bit helps.

 

And, as always, Cosplay!

Booth Day 1

Booth Day 1

Han Solo

Han Solo

Eliza!

Eliza!

Belle with Tattoo

Belle with Tattoo

Gaston and Belle

Gaston and Belle

Queen/Senator Amidala

Queen/Senator Amidala

Spider-Gwen

Spider-Gwen

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

Cool Korra

Cool Korra

Link

Link

Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer

Enchantress

Enchantress

Cap and Peggy

Cap and Peggy

Uhura Squared

Uhura Squared

40s Unicron w/ disco ball

40s Unicron w/ disco ball

Princess R2-D2

Princess R2-D2

Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff Girls

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

Left to Right: Rebel Fighter, Catherine Elhoffer, and Alexander Hamilton

Left to Right: Rebel Fighter, Catherine Elhoffer, and Alexander Hamilton

RainPoe Dash

RainPoe Dash

Rey

Rey

Steven Universe

Steven Universe

 

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For commissions, visit Elhoffer Designs and be sure to pre-order the Loki Jacket!

 

lokicoat

 

Check out the gallery of Catherine’s work below and be sure to follow her on Instagram!

 

cap dress

Captain America: Civil War

HamilGown-1802

Hamilgowns

Phasma

Phasma

Jakku Rey

Jakku Rey

Jedi Rey

Jedi Rey

X-Wing Pilot

X-Wing Pilot

It’s the start of a new year, so I thought I’d move forward by going backward. Yeah, I know what I said.

When I get self-reflective, especially about my decision to pursue writing, my mind wanders back to what really solidified my love for writing in the first place. And as much as I purport to be passionate about History and my profession as an Archivist, my passion for writing was a result of being a fan of the sci-fi television program Andromeda.A_77544

For those of you who somehow missed this gem of a show, Andromeda is about the adventures of High Guard Captain Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorbo), a man displaced in time, as he tries to rebuild the fallen Commonwealth that once united the galaxies. Along for the adventure are the ragtag crew of the junk ship Eureka Maru – Capt. Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder), mechanical genius Seamus Harper (Gordon Michael Woolvett), enigmatic alien Trance Gemini (Laura Bertram), and Magog spiritualist Rev Bem (Brent Stait) – as well as Nietzschean warrior Tyr Anasazi (Keith Hamilton Cobb) and the Andromeda’s sentient android, Rommie (Lexa Doig).

The series was created by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, based on unused material by Gene Roddenberry, and ran from 2000-2005, though admittedly only the first two seasons are consistently good. Might have something to do with Wolfe’s unfortunate departure from the show during the middle of the second season over creative differences with the studio; the bone of contention being Wolfe’s desire to steer away from primarily standalone episodes in favor of long-form storytelling. Why do I know his approach would have been better? Because when Robert Engels was brought in as Wolfe’s replacement, and the episodes became more standalone, it started going downhill fast. Not that there weren’t good episodes during Engels’s run, but the overall quality of the show took a huge dive in the third season primarily where the main characters were concerned. It’s like when Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing at the end of the fourth season and as season five rolled out under new management it was obvious they didn’t understand the characters or how they interacted with each other. The same goes for Andromeda – I’d invested a lot of time in the friendship of Beka Valentine and Seamus Harper only to watch the two characters, who essentially acted like brother and sister, drift further and further apart. Then there was that whole “Hercules in Space” debacle that was the fifth season, but that’s really not worth your time.

HarperOkay, backstory out of the way, it was around Wolfe’s departure and Engels’s arrival that I started mulling around a lot of ideas in my head; ideas that focused on how I imagined the characters interacting and how they’d react to events within the episodes. Again, I kept focusing on Beka and Harper because they had the most history within the timeline of the show and yet it went largely unexplored. So, this being the early days of internet fan forums and interactions, I found one that seemed to have the most activity and started writing what were essentially tags to each episode focusing on Beka and Harper. Entitled “Coda”, though not to be confused with Wolfe’s own “Coda” script posted after the series ended, it was my way of getting ideas out of my head and exploring what I thought was a fairly rich science fiction universe. Eventually, the forum shut down (I still can’t remember the name of it), but a new one sprung up, the still-operating ExIsle. If you dare, I’m pretty sure a few of my stories are still posted and awaiting someone’s critique of pieces written when I was in high school. I cringe at the thought of all those grammatical errors and oddly worded sentences.

The point is, when I started writing these stories another avenue of creativity opened up to me. I’d written poetry before and a couple of pieces where I experimented with prose, but it was just something I dabbled in, not something I took all that seriously. As I continued to post to ExIsle, I began to focus more on the stories I produced and it was through the process of writing fanfiction that I developed the skills I utilize in my writing even now.

The inner perfectionist in me really started to emerge where dialogue is concerned. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, Harper is a hyperactive, fast-talking, socially-inept genius responsible for a lot of exposition and technical jargon. So, naturally, I became attached to the character but it made for a difficult learning curve when it came to writing him. As a fan of the show, I had the benefit of seeing the finished product, the hard work of the show’s writers and the actor bringing the character to life. I felt then that it was only right to try and at least capture Harper’s voice whenever possible. Harper also had a darker past as a slave on Earth that produced a few prejudices and nightmare fuel when dealing with Nietzschean overlords or fearsome Magog, but it was important, at least to me, to keep his sense of humor intact. It was a tension reliever as much as a defense mechanism and it seemed only Beka, Trance, and to some degree, Rev Bem, who could see through him. I think there was also an unspoken challenge in getting Harper’s voice as close to the television show as possible. His voice stood out, which made him both the easiest to differentiate and yet the hardest to pin down. Being on the forum meant I read as much as I wrote and whenever an author managed to capture what made Harper Harper it made the story that much better. In sins-bekaharp-smmy mind, it meant the author figured something out. They listened to the cadence, the rhythm, and the sound of Seamus Harper and managed to channel it into their writing. It’s a skill I continue to hone as I move towards more prose writing, but it’s just as helpful for writing academic papers as it is reviews. Voice is important; it’s distinctive and if you can figure out a character’s voice, then you can figure out your own.

The science fiction environment of Andromeda was a huge factor in the type of fiction I read and tried to write early on. The worlds and people created for the show were fairly simplistic, but also grounded in particular traits that gave me a good baseline: Nietzscheans were genetically minded brutes, Nightsiders were greedy opportunists, Perseids were peaceful scientists, and the Magog were straight up nightmare fuel. Easy enough. Then you factor in the collapse of civilization (on some planets) after the fall of the Commonwealth and the efforts of some, not just Dylan Hunt, to rebuild albeit in less than ideal circumstances. The show definitely covered all of the typical tropes used in every science fiction show at some point, but there’s nothing wrong with tropes so long as you at least try to bring something new to the table. The most fun, however, was creating the technology. I’m not a super-techy person but writing fanfiction for Andromeda let me stretch my imagination to make up tools, vehicles, weapons, and ephemera that could “logically” fit into the universe. The worst, though, was explaining how tech worked, especially the inner workings of the Andromeda herself. Again, it went back to keeping in sync with the show. How did they describe slipstream (their method of faster-than-light travel)? How was Rommie the android separate from the main A.I. of the Andromeda? What the hell was that string of words Harper just put together that sounded vaguely important to keeping everyone alive? I felt it necessary to have a base understanding and maintain some authenticity to the show as a means of laying the foundation for my own creations. I applied the same tactics when I wrote fanfiction about Stargate: Atlantis and Lord of the Rings. But that’s just me. Not everyone feels that way. Besides, when push comes to shove, who’s going to argue about the improbable things in a fictional setting? Oh, wait…

andromeda-1d1Thankfully, I was never on the receiving end of angry diatribes about how true I remained to the world of Andromeda or whether or not I depicted a character poorly. I was lucky at that moment in time because no one was policing me and my creativity and fan forums were mostly civil. Above all, the people on ExIsle were encouraging and supportive. At one point I had two ongoing stories that I wrote while in college and I tended to publish both on the same day to the point where the frequent readers dubbed that day “Sam Update Day.” It was sweet and it came along at a point in my life where I didn’t have a lot of friends so getting that kind of support and encouragement from people who had the same love for the show as I did meant a lot. Having that connection and the ability to critique without attacking meant I could experiment with the stories and not feel like someone was going to immediately dismiss the premise or a new character. I returned that kindness as well; commenting on stories, giving my opinion, but also being encouraging of new writers and new ideas. We were bound by our shared love of Andromeda and that was all of the credibility required. I really wish it was the same now, but I know that’s not entirely true.

So, yeah, that’s pretty much where it started. Every person finds their spark of creativity somewhere, mine just happened to be with wonderfully flawed sci-fi show. I’m certain all of you have one as well!

Sam is joined by Sean and Miguel to talk about The Legend of Korra finale and the series as a whole.

Legend-of-Korra-The-Last-Stand-10

 

In this episode, Sam talks with Sienna Morris, the artist behind Numberism. The two talk SCIENCE! and history as well as the challenges facing education in those fields. And then they geek out over Sherlock!

numberism

Links:
http://www.fleetingstates.com/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/SiennaMorris
https://twitter.com/MrsSiennaMorris

Intro music: “French Kiss” by Mrs. Howl
http://mrshowl.bandcamp.com/
http://www.reverbnation.com/mrshowl

Sam records live at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery to talk with Friday Elliott and her daughter Audrey. They talk about tea, custom blends, and hop around from Harry Potter to Supernatural.

Links to Friday:

Friday Afternoon Tea

Twitter

Facebook

Etsy

YouTube

 

Into music: “French Kiss” by Mrs. Howl

Sam talks with the Ink-Stained Amazon herself, Jennifer Stuller. The two talk about women as they’re portrayed in movies, television, and comic books and talk about the future of women in media.