Friday, October 28, 2011

Life 'n' Stuff

My husband had to go to work in it's almost midnight late and I've been sitting here going through the random "icanhascheezburger" sites, mostly the original and then bronies and my food looks funny.  Just what is it about these sites that are so appealing that I can sit here for literally hours staring at it when I should be doing something creative?  I'm not entirely sure.  I've chalked it up to being similar to watching hours of home improvement shows on TV or maybe re-watching all of the episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or something of the sort.  A year ago I was playing inane Facebook games like Cafe World and Farmville, but I've since stopped playing any of them because even though they were fun up to a point, they really didn't get me anywhere.

I miss the days when there wasn't anything to do on the internet.  Or at least, there was very little, maybe some news to read, some chat rooms to lurk in or perhaps a friend or two to AIM.  But nowadays there's all of this mindless stuff that draws me in and suddenly I don't feel like working on anything really creative.  Well, I take that back a bit, I DID do a pony drawing of the friend who helped me with the brony panel, although I felt kind of out of sorts after doing it because of his initial response to the drawing.  And no one else really seemed to like I wonder if I should have even spent the time to draw it?

His name's Greggo - he does game shows at conventions an on his YouTube channel - hence the microphone.  He'd mentioned that he'd just discovered recently that his cutie mark would probably be a microphone, and it inspired me to do a little bit of drawing.  This, by the way, is one of the very few completely cgi drawings I've ever done.  Usually I draw everything in pencil, ink it, scan it, clean it up and then color it, but I thought to myself 'you have a tablet, you should be able to do it all on the computer'.  So, I did, and overall, it didn't turn out too bad since I'm still new at drawing the FIM pony style.

But I felt a bit bad about it because when I was doing that, to very little results, I could have been working on story writing or drawing other original things, or perhaps even been writing letters to some important people that I should have written letters to.  Like my brother in California for instance whom I haven't even written since before his birthday in September.

Maybe it's not even the lack of creativity... maybe it's the lack of anyone enjoying the things I do.  I guess when I first started writing my novel with the Whatchers (again, where the namesake of this website comes from) I wrote it for myself.  It was a pretty crappy summer.  I'd just gotten out of my first year in Junior High, and if you've gone through it yourself, you know, it's pretty crappy to become a teenager because that's when you get crapped on from every angle.

Fortunately I was pretty naive about the whole thing, so even as I was being made fun of for being fat and being the tidy one, I was also the loner and even though I made a friend that year, I later found out she felt sorry for me.  Whether that was good or bad, I still haven't quite figured out, but we stayed friends for a long time, even through all of my other friends basically dumped me because I'd found a new best friend.  What is it exactly about jealousy anyway?  I thought I could have a bunch of friends, but new friends and old friends have a habit of not always working out together.  So that summer my old friends all hated me and my new friends were all in Girl Scouts and had camp to go to so I was pretty much alone that summer.

So I asked my aunt if I could borrow her typewriter and I learned to type that summer.  Then I asked for my own typewriter and I started to write my own novel.  It was mostly for me, and partially for my brother who was my only friend that summer.  He really was my best friend until things happened and he wound up in California without cellphone, job, etc... (long story for another time)  Anyway, I wrote it for us, or maybe just for me because I was lonely.  I came up with an imaginary friend and I was quite content to fall back on that novel all the way through school until I finished the novel upon graduating.

And then later I started writing stories for friends I met online.  "Mary Sue" stories were quite popular, although I didn't know it at the time, and I had three friends I wrote into stories for a good few years until we had a huge falling out and I lost all of them.  Those were my Highlander years.  Then I got into Trigun (anime) and started writing fanfiction with a friend for that series.  I still have to complete one of those stories, and it's partially that story that I keep moping about finishing while I'm busy reading about memes online.

But recently all of those fanfictions and fanarts that I used to do have fallen to the way side.  I wanted to do something original, but you have to be good for people to care about those.  Fan stuff is popular but when I pulled away from it I've found myself largely ignored by the online populace.  And now even when I do try to do some fan based stuff, I rarely get any comments on it.  Well, just the fact that I'm working on this blog and at this point I have a whole two followers and one is my husband, that kind of proves the point.  Of course the few of you who are actually reading this, thank you.  I'm trying to learn to write for myself again, but it's nice that you're here for the ride.

Tonight I was sitting reading Trigun Maximum and thought to myself, this is good stuff.  I remember how it made me feel when I was reading it for the first time.  And that's why I used to write fanfiction on it.  And maybe I'll do so again.  There's only just so much pony hairstyling one can do after all:

Rainbow Dash turned out pretty good, her hair looks a bit funny but I like it that way.  I even managed to get some of the orange into her bangs.

What's a bit funny for someone my age is the fact that I went into Hot Topic the other day and bought a "This shirt just got 20% cooler" and a Nyan cat shirt. I'm not quite sure what the gal at the counter thought of me, but then again she was pierced to the nines and still wearing flip flops when it was raining with a high of 50 degrees outside... but I don't care, I like the fact that I can wear a shirt about something I love.  

Then there's Pinkie Pie.  Her hair didn't turn out too badly either - her curl is a bit huge, but I like it that way.  It's starting to fall a bit since I didn't use any hair gel or other styling things, but the trick was definitely to cut her hair first before curling because otherwise the weight of all of that hair just pulls the curls into waves instead.

What in the world am I doing anyway?  I'm not sure why I'm this age and yet I still surround myself with toys and goofy things... they make me happy, mind you.  And maybe it's because when I work I get enough of the adult crap out of the way every single day, so the only way I can relax is to be goofy and young again.  Capture that childhood over again...who am I kidding, I've never stopped.

I can't have kids, I wouldn't be able to stand sharing my toys with them.  Heh heh heh.

Nights like this, staying up late and just wondering why the heck I should write stuff like this to post online... I guess once in awhile it's good to get it out and put it out there.  At least to do it for myself.  I need to be happy with myself first, right?

Monday, October 17, 2011

More on Ponies

I keep saying that I'm really not an expert on My Little Ponies.  In fact, I'm probably pretty far down on the totem pole when it comes to this series because I got into it kind of late in the game.  Actually, the first season was over and done, and THEN I got Hub and started watching it.  And then I started collecting the ponies as well because, well, they're cheap.  In comparison to how much I used to lay down on manga in one month, these are just a drop in the bucket.  I gave up five books and got this whole set.  Heh.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting this is just because even though I helped host a Brony meetup, I was kind of like the only one who didn't have a life altering experience from watching the show.  I'm too new at it.  I just happen to be older, with a good job and probably too much expendable income...not THAT much mind you, but you'd be surprised at how good of a saver I am.  (I even used coupons on the Celestia/Luna set and made sure I didn't buy one of these at more than $5 a piece, for example).  I felt really out of it during the whole thing, and far too embarrassed with the whole thing ever to watch the video of it, just knowing what I was thinking as I was speaking makes it unbearable.

Surprisingly though, I've met a few other people who are just as new to it as I am, or maybe newer.  That's what's weird about this show, that it's still collecting fans even though it's in the second season.  People are realizing that it's a pretty cool thing.  And they're buying the toys and styling the hair.  I got an message tonight asking about tips for making them 'show accurate' which is something I myself have been fiddling with this last week.  Take Fluttershy for instance:

I can't bear yet to trim her hair to the correct length of the show, but I did flatten it out quite a bit to get it to lay better.  She's so adorable.  I'd love for Fluttershy to be my favorite pony, but it's really Twilight Sparkle.  I'm most like her - in fact, when taking a "which pony are you like?" quiz I turned out to be Twilight Sparkle.  And why?  I have organization and leadership qualities.  If you've seen Winter Wrap Up, then you'll know a little of how I worked my magic to sit 300+ people at Tsubasacon's cosplay.  And really I could have done a lot more with a notepad and a quill!

But the real reason that I'm doing a blog on ponies today is that I started liking MLP since I was a little girl.  And when I say little, I mean LITTLE - 5 years old or maybe younger.  I have quite a few of the original mail order ponies and quite a few first generation ponies.  I later got a second generation (it's soooo ugly) and apparently I found one third generation and bought a second one about the time I moved in with my future husband.  I just remember a time when there weren't ponies, and also a time when they were everywhere.  I have dreams about finding that elusive pony in some shop that no one knows about.  MANY dreams of just that, you have no idea.  When ponies weren't being released there for a time I scoured flea markets and second hand shops so I could 'save' them.  My collection isn't huge, it's far from ever being complete, but it makes me happy.

What didn't make me happy, however, is finding out during the Brony meetup that there was a third generation and a "3.5" or what they call "Core 7" that I didn't have even one example of in my collection.  It was merely a fluke that I stumbled into a Rite Aid pharmacy on the Thursday before Tsubasacon and I found, of all things, a Gen3 Rainbow Dash.  I could NOT believe my eyes!  I picked it up and bought it. It had probably been in that store since 2007 like the copyright stated.  But alas, those ugly 3.5 ponies with the giant heads still alluded me.

It was last Friday I ran into my CVS just to pick up a prescription and in the back of my head I thought, 'You should just check the toy aisle,' and of course I'd already struck out at other pharmacies I'd been looking at in the area just because those are the hidden gems recently... and there was Pinkie Pie, Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, all in their big-headed glory.
Mind you, I only bought Rainbow Dash, as both Pinkie Pie and Scootaloo actually had their names printed as part of their cutie marks and that was LAME.  But Rainbow Dash was cute even though it boggles my mind that Rainbow Dash went from being the stylish girly prissy one of the ponies to the boyish one of the group!  Of course she got wings and her cutie mark changed slightly, but the body color and hair remained pretty much the same (with the exception of making them all rainbow colors versus pastels).  I'm glad they made the change of course, but it's amazing to think that this particular character pretty much turned into Rarity (who has a very familiar looking shop if you look at the old pics of that cartoon) and now has a 20% cooler attitude (actually, make that 120%)  ^_^

So, that's what I wanted to share.  That I found all of these Rainbow Dashs by almost accident but isn't it cool ?  I think so anyway.... now off to style her hair!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Enter New Challenger: Mina-chan!

Sometime before Tsubasacon, my husband and I were debating about adopting a second cat so that our little Olivia would have someone to play with.  But we decided because we were so busy that we hardly had time to play with Olivia it would be best to just wait until Tsubasacon was over and done before attempting to find one.  It's kind of like having one child and trying to decide whether to have a second.  Sure, an only child gets spoiled rotten, but they're rather more lonely than a child with siblings, and there's always that possibility that just because we got her a friend Olivia might not be the same afterwards.  Lots to think about.

Well, Tsubasacon is a week past now, and we talked to one another just about the day we got back.  Should we go look for another one?  Should we wait?  And as we were laying down for bed one night I put my two cents in - if we get another cat, it'll have to just show up or fall in our laps.  Let's not go out and actively try to find another cat, because we might pick the wrong cat.

Now, if you don't know me very well, you might not know that I was born and raised as a Baptist and that even though I'm not the best Christian there is, I do believe strongly that God is out there and He watches over each and every one of us.  The more we trust in Him and the more we do things to honor Him, the better our lives will be.  Trust me, with the things I've seen over the years, I really believe in God.  And so I prayed about the whole thing.

That conversation between my husband I took place on Monday night after the convention.  I spent Tuesday at home doing catch up on chores and laundry, and then turned around and went to work on Wednesday.  On Thursday, a co-worker asked if I was still thinking about getting a pal for Olivia.  I kind of shrugged it off, that yes, sort of, we'd been pondering it but only if... "Well, we found a little kitty for you."


She described this little black ball of purring fur had been left out behind her house after being treated unkindly by a little girl.  Apparently she was seen being dragged around by this little girl, sometimes being put into a box and dropped.  Dropped!  Crazy stuff, but my co-worker saved her and had been feeding her over the weekend.  I didn't find out exactly when this happened, but it's a pretty short time frame to be a coincidence, you know?

Anyway, I called up my husband who said, "You're joking, right?  After you just said that the other night?"  I assured him that it was no lie (unlike him, I tend to tell the truth on things, it rarely occurs to me to lie or joke), and that my co-worker was going to bring in a picture the next day.

Yesterday I pretty much had made up my mind that we would take her so we made arrangements to go pick her up this morning.  The kitten was just as friendly as my co-worker had insisted, but definitely not a male like she had first assumed (although it would have been nice since we already have one female) and definitely had a lot longer hair as well.  Which, is okay, we have a cat hair brush already my husband bought on accident for longer haired cats.  We even had enough time to make arrangements with the vet to bring her in and get her checked up.

So as we drove back with the little one in the cat carrier, we discussed names.  By that time we'd pretty much felt the kitty was a she, so we started tossing around female names.  Astrid was out.  Mike thought about it since we'd named Olivia after the Fringe character.  Mike didn't like Nina (after Nina Sharp), so I started to dig into my vast collection of names since I wanted to be the one to name her this time (Mike had pretty much named Olivia.  We'd decided on the name for a different kitten and I think for a time Olivia wasn't Olivia, it was Elizabeth...both of us accidentally called her that, but I do believe she's settled into her name now).  Anyway, I threw out Mina.  The name comes from Getsumen Miina (look it up, it's a kind of random anime that spun off of Densha Otoko) - from the main character.  I like the name, plus it has the "meee" sound, and cats, I'm told, come better to names that sound more like "Meows/Nyao" since it's closer to the 'language' they speak.

After the vet visit where we were assured she was a she and not a he, we brought Mina home to see her new house.  Only a part of it, I'm afraid, she's got ear mites and fleas, and even though we introduced her briefly to Olivia, they'll have to stay mostly separated until Halloween.  Surprisingly it wasn't Olivia who first started hissing.  It was Mina!  I'm very surprised the little one has so much spunk.  Olivia was actually pretty timid.  So I'll be curious to find out which one becomes the fat cat and which one is the more shy, skinnier cat.

For now, however, it's going to be like I'm living two separate lives.  One with the little kitten in her room, and another with Olivia.  Ah, more to do and just after we had stopped having to worry about all of the convention stuff for awhile!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hidden Messages

To those of you who have never heard of an anime convention, let me sum it up as briefly as I can.  Anime is "Japanese animation", and it's a bit different than American cartoons because it's prettier, for one thing, usually has a well-rounded story-line, is usually made for adults, though there are many made for children as well, and except for a few of the better known series, usually consist of about 12-26 episodes.  If you've heard of Pokemon, Sailormoon, Naruto, One Piece or Bleach, you've heard of an anime.  An anime convention, therefore, is for fans of this genre.  They can come together to meet for a day or a weekend, buy things that have something to do with anime or Japan, watch anime, talk about it, and also play games and dress up like their favorite characters.  Anime conventions are a lot like Star Trek conventions, but they tend to cover a whole lot more than one or two series, and each year people will concentrate on a new series rather than the same one year after year.

Okay, at least I tried to make that short!  I'm sure many of you who are reading this, knowing who I am, also know about anime and all things goofy and childish.  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe you just know that I'm pretty goofy and childish when I'm not being all managerial at work.  During this time of year, especially, I'm working on all different parts of an anime convention that my husband runs.  Not two months after he was given the reins of Tsubasacon, he met me at Ohayocon (Columbus, OH) and before I knew it I was going to all sorts of conventions with him, giving him ideas of what conventions were like and how things ran and what to concentrate on to make it 'just right'.

A short history of Tsubasacon - started, I believe in 2004 by someone else, it started to a tiny little crowd, didn't even have an artist alley (although the one artist who randomly showed up made a killing I'm told) and the next year the con-chair basically screwed up big time, they got kicked out of the Charleston, WV civic center and the name was given to my husband to dig out of the ashes.  He even had to salvage website rights and I'm told had to put a lot of bandages on different things in order to get it to run again.  Plus he had to borrow money from his parents and grandparents to even start the thing.  He went on and began again in 2006, this time in Huntington, WV, with a handful of friends who basically knew very little about anime or conventions.

Shortly after his first successful convention that I was unable to attend since they had it the weekend after Thanksgiving (and if you know how retail works, no one gets those days off!), we moved in together the very next year and I've been helping ever since.  It's only been getting bigger and bigger ever since.

I'm not saying I had anything directly to do with that, but I will say that I've been that little shadow in behind everyone since 2006 when I was suggesting ideas to the guy who ran main events (who introduced me to my future husband) some of the stuff that we still run today.  

"So," you might be wondering, "What does any of this have to do with the picture at the top of your blog and with your title 'Hidden Messages'?"

Namely this - since 2007 I've been doing the programs for our convention.  It's pretty cool.  I like having control over this publication once a year, and even though it is a huge pain in the butt... I still get some satisfaction with saying "I did this."  This year the cover art was mine, since I had such a hard time getting people to give me artwork to do the cover.  AND...maybe just a bit because I've been putting my own artwork on the cover for a few years now and it's kind of a special thing for me.

The character you see above is named "Mitsuki."  She got her name...two years ago I believe, probably 2008.  She first appeared on the 2006 cover, drawn by Tiffany Grant (different last name now, maybe, she just got married).  I think her very first sketch was very rough, but shortly thereafter appeared a logo that we only later discovered had an uncanny resemblance to a Japanese drawing.  That character appeared on both 2006 and 2007, then by 2008 I put my own artwork on the cover.  Only 2010 had Jen Lee Quick's artwork.  "My" Mitsuki has purple eyes rather than the original Mitsuki which was more maroon.  If you ever search up information about the character or you ever look at various drawings of her, you can see the difference.

Again you ask "so what about the title?"

This year, our game show host Greggo announced that there will be hints of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in his game shows.  Apparently, we found out just about a month ago, he's a Brony.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically what male fans of the series call themselves.  I didn't know what the whole hoopla was about, quite frankly - I'd seen little clips of MLP:FIM and thought it really silly (that was when you could watch it any time you wanted on YouTube, but they've since locked much of it down) and suddenly my husband said, "I think one of my co-workers is a Brony."  

I blame my husband, and also Time Warner cable for giving us the Hub - because of those two things I have the entire cast of My Little Pony on my desk at present.

Finally I've come to the reason for this huge blog today.  Number one - the theme of this year's Tsubasacon is balloons.... if you've seen any of this My Little Pony series you'll know the bounciest, funniest, off-the-wallest pony is named Pinkie Pie, and her 'cutie mark' (the mark on her flank) are balloons.  Pinkie Pie is my husband's favorite pony (if he has one, he's not a real fan of the series, but has been forced to watch a few with me.)  There is also another pony named Rainbow Dash - and if you notice behind Mitsuki at the top, the rainbow behind her is in honor of her.  The stars in the background are for Twilight Sparkle (also Mitsuki's dress which is purple and pink).  Two orange balloons are in honor of AppleJack.  The glittery dress is in for Rarity and her glittering outfits.  And the gentle sweeping wings are for Fluttershy.

Also hidden within the pages of the program is the "Mitsuki Pony" I posted last month.

So...if you've a pony fan, or a Brony - we're also having a Brony meetup on Saturday at the convention.  And there will be buttons with the Mitsuki pony on them.

Now you know what the "Hidden Messages" title means.

And now you're either that little bit smarter for it...or you think I'm really insane.  And that's okay, I like it that way.