The Dilettantista in 2014 or A (Non)-Response to that Steampunk Post

Posted in Nerds, Steampunk, Writing on January 7, 2014 by The Dilettantista

Hello!  I am coming out of hibernation in response to a sudden uptick in readership because of this post on Steampunk I wrote in September 2011!  Someone posted it on Facebook and evidently it is making the rounds and causing a bit of a stir. It gave me my busiest day ever yesterday, with 931 views on my blog from 704 individual visitors.  Today I already have over 350 views on the blog.  This is a lot  for me, especially since this blog has been dormant since the fall!

When I wrote that post in 2011 I obviously intended it to cause a stir–I was making a statement that I knew would not be popular in some circles, but it was how I felt at the time.  A few people commented on it and that was that.  Now, two plus years later, I’m really bemused that the article is having its moment.  Obviously I am thrilled about the new readership, but I wrote the post over two years ago and I am really far removed from the emotions and experiences that inspired it.  Because of that, I’m not really in a place to engage actively in the conversation–Steampunk, in my current world, is just a thing that exists that other people do that looks cool.  I don’t feel strongly about it either way anymore.  People can do what they want, there are lame individuals in every fandom, and one for all and all for costumes!  Basically all I can say to the new readers who have stumbled on this blog because of an article I wrote a few years ago is welcome, and thank you for the comments, the clicks, the links, and the shares.   I really appreciate it!

In this spirit–sincere appreciation for the uptick in readership and a general welcome to my corner of the Internet–I wanted to let new readers know a bit more about The Dilettantista in 2014, and some of the major differences between the author of the Over Steampunk article and the author today:

This is me with a statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  I did not attend UVA nor do a I have an unusual fondness for President Jefferson, I just like this picture of me.

This is me with a statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I did not attend UVA nor do a I have an unusual fondness for President Jefferson, I just like this picture of me.

1) In the fall of 2011, when I wrote that article, I was unemployed and pretty bitter about it.  I got a great job in my field of choice later that year (and am soon leaving that job to start another great job, also in my field of choice, but I’ll post about that later!), but being unemployed left me a lot of time to poke around and snark on the Internet while seething about minor injuries.  Because unemployment is the worst.

2) When I wrote the article I was living with my boyfriend, Jon.  I still  live with Jon, but he is now my pre-husband and we’re getting married this summer (yaaaaaaaaaaay).  I’m super excited to be marrying My Person (baaarf yes I am one of those people now).   If you are sappy and like engagement stories, here is ours! Wedding planning has taken up a lot of the free time I kept for blogging and playing on the Internet, which is another reason for the radio silence on this end.

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Awwww.

3)  About a month after writing the Steampunk article I got my second little black cat, Minion.  Before that we’d only had Dexter.  Twice the kitty is twice the fun and twice the litter boxes!

My cats on December 31st, 2013.  Dexter is in the front, Minion is in the back.

My cats on December 31st, 2013. Dexter is in the front, Minion is in the back.

4)  I haven’t been to a convention since 2012, so I haven’t had much reason to costume since then.  I still love looking at other people’s costumes and have booked my ticket and hotel room for Dragon*Con 2014, so costumes are not over for me!  I already have some great ideas for what to wear this year…and no, it will not be Steampunk.

5) I still really love Captain Eo and I FINALLY got to EPCOT to see it (for the first time since I was a little kid) a few weeks ago.  Behold:

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1514561_10104548835005001_1846058781_nI should probably post about that soon too.

So that’s me, in a…in a really abbreviated nutshell.  I hope you poke around the blog some–there are lots of fun articles on nerd culture and Dragon*Con and pop cultural things.  You might not agree with this little corner of the Internet, but it is mine, and full of odd and sundry things.

Thanks, again, for visiting, and thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoy what you see.

2013 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2013 by The Dilettantista

Guys, I only posted five times this year.

That is pathetic.

Granted, I made an entirely new blog for my wedding which has pages and posts, but that’s no excuse.

Blog stats below–still drawing readers despite the lack of new content…yay…?

Next year needs to be better.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

On Not Attending Dragon Con This Year.

Posted in Dragon Con, Nerds, Wedding with tags , , , , , , , on July 28, 2013 by The Dilettantista

A large reason why things have been quiet blog-wise is because I am not attending Dragon Con this year (yes, they have lost the asterisk,  read more about that here if you are interested).   I know, I know, this is the worst.  This decision is a combination of finances and schedule.  The finances issue is part lack thereof, part my trying to get a reasonable amount of savings in order for both general emergency purposes and Honeymoon 2014.  The schedule has to due with the Jewish High Holidays being crazy early this year, September 4-6 for Rosh Hashanah, September 13-14 for Yom Kippur, and also my not being able to take off work for Dragon Con *and* the High Holidays in the weeks before CenterFest.  The combination of all these things has led me to make the responsible adult decision (boo) to not go to Dragon Con.

Naturally I am bummed out by this, and I’ve been even more bummed out recently since Comic Con just happened in San Diego, and since my Facebook feed is aflutter with Dragon Con costume-preparation statuses, and since I just got the Dragon Con 2013 progress report.  I mean, I know in the end that this is the correct decision–my wallet and my sanity will thank me–but the past 4 summers I have looked forward to Dragon Con, and it just feels off to not have that this summer.

To compensate I’m going to endeavor to check out some smaller, local conventions this fall–namely the Escapist Expo and NC Comic Con.  NC Comic Con is having a film festival at the Carolina Theatre (my favorite) and they are showing awesome movies, like The Crow, so of course I am there.  Hoping these two local cons, and also Halloween, can help me get my costume uber-nerd fix.

In the meantime, here are some photos I have been meaning to post.  I have Carolina Theatre connections through work, and in March I got an invite to the early-premiere of the first episode of this season of Game of Thrones.  HBO came in, rented out the theater, provided swag, and had a little photo booth.  Of course I pulled out my Melisandre costume, because when else am I going to wear it?  Made for some fabulous photos at the Iron Throne green screen photo booth:

 

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The last photo is of Nancy and me–Nancy made the dress, it was fun to hang out with her in a non-sewing studio setting!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we set a wedding date (yay!)–June 22nd, 2014, in Sarasota, Florida.  So, you know, I do have something for which to plan!

 

I return, bearing news!

Posted in Durham, Family, THE BEST! with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by The Dilettantista

Hi Internet! I’m not going to make any excuses about how I have been so busy blah blah blah, because they don’t exist. I just didn’t feel like writing! Work was work and life was life and none of it felt particularly blog-worthy (although there were a few blog-worthy moments that I will endeavor to capture now that I am reappearing) so I decided not to worry about it.

But guys, something totally blog-worthy happened this past weekend! Jon and I got engaged! YAY!

This wasn’t particularly a surprise–we’d picked out the ring together in February and Jon was keeping me mostly-updated on the ring’s progress in terms of its being made and returned to him. Due to timeline issues (his not getting the ring back as quickly as he would have liked, my working last weekend for the Durham Art Walk, and both of our parents going out of the country this past Saturday) I was 99% certain it would happen sometime on Saturday. Lo and behold, I was correct!

I don’t have any pictures of the actual proposal because that’s sort of weird (I once witnessed a proposal at Duke Gardens–not like, on purpose, I was just there when it happened–and there was a photographer that the groom had clearly hired to snap pictures of the scene, said photographer was skulking around in the bushes like a stalker and it was extremely off-putting). In lieu of photos I’ll try to set the scene:

Jon commanded that I be up and ready to enter the world (hair, makeup, Spanx), at 9:00am on Saturday morning. Usually I am at the gym then so I said “okie dokie” and rearranged my schedule. I came downstairs to find Jon cooking up a breakfast storm. He’d set up our little patio with a table cloth so we could eat outside (weird mid-April cold snap be damned). Mid-way through my eating he was all “I’m going to get a napkin!” Because I am an over-analyzer I initially thought “Oh he’s totally going to go get the ring” and then I thought “No that would be too obvious he’s just going to get a napkin.” But, nope, he got the ring guys (In case you can’t tell I don’t really like surprises and I am also incredibly hard to surprise–he claims he proposed at breakfast to throw me off but, nope, I don’t miss anything). Actually, he got a little Russian Nesting Doll that he had custom-ordered and then hand-painted with amazing and awesome detail:

 

 

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LOOK HOW TALENTED MY SPOUSAL CANDIDATE* IS!!! He paints Warhammer 40K and other small figures for fun and he’s in dental hygiene school so I shouldn’t be surprised by how good his detail work is but I still am because he’s the best. These pictures are of the individual pieces of the Nesting Doll–obviously they were assembled when he brought it out. The top layer is lots of little pictures of us throughout our relationship, including photos of our families, cut out and then sealed onto an incredibly elaborate background. The middle layer is a black cat, because we have two black cats with whom we are obsessed duh. The bottom layer has Personal Sentimental Message of Significance that I will not share with you and it also had the ring on it (as demonstrated above). How awesome is that guys? Jon is so awesome. Here is another photo:

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So uh, I think I took too long analyzing each layer because Jon was all: “Keep opening it more layers!” and then next thing I knew he was on his knee in front of me doing that whole ask the question thing and I think I said “yes” and then “duh” and then I was like “Are you supposed to put this on me? I’ve never done this before.” And then he put the ring on my finger and we were engaged and now my left hand looks like this (what, you thought you weren’t getting any ring shots, even blurry ones taken with my phone? I totally thought I wouldn’t be That Person but you only get engaged once**) :

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And a profile shot because it shows off the stone really nicely.

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So since we got engaged super early in the morning we were able to call our parents before they went on their trips (not a bad way to kick off their vacations), and then we called a lot of other people, and then we put it on Facebook and got a bazillion messages (oh, social media). That was fun.

What else did we do on our Engagement Saturday? Well when we finally got out of the house around 12:30 we went to Geer Street Garden, in Durham. Though it has been open nearly two years I have never been, but I had a pretty delicious grilled pimento cheese sandwich. Then, because that wasn’t enough dairy for me, we went to The Parlour’s new brick-and-mortar store on Market Street (HOORAY SO GLAD THEY HAVE A STORE) where I deviated from my normal Salted Butter Caramel and tried their Ginger and Dulce de Leche ice cream which was so unbelievably amazing I can hardly stand it. There was some sort of bourbon and crawfish festival happening in the plaza outside of The Parlour but we did not go because lines, lines, lines, although we did hear some off-brand faux-Second Line Band New Orleans-y music. Saturday was beautiful, sunny and in the 60s, and so naturally we decided to spend the rest of it indoors at the Carolina Theatre’s Evolution of the Groovy Movie film festival. We saw Little Shop of Horrors (with the original director’s ending where everyone dies at the end and can we also please have a moment of silence for the brilliant Howard Ashman) and we also saw Weird Science (which I had never seen before–I know). When the movies were over we wandered over to Fullsteam for a bit to have drinks with some friends who were over there. And then we went home, ordered Thai take-out, and watched The Borgias and the first episode of the new SyFy show Defiance (fun and silly). So, you know, basically it was an awesome day.

And now I am engaged and that’s my little engagement story! They don’t tell you this in Life School guys, but the proposal moment goes by really fast–although that just could be because my brain got fuzzy when I saw the Russian Nesting Doll because despite expecting the proposal I had feelings (those are all the sentiments to which I am admitting). I’m going to try to have this not be a wedding blog for the next year or so but no promises, you know? I’m a planner (and I do a lot of event planning for a living) and I love talking about plans and getting married is exciting!

Anyways, at least the next few posts won’t be wedding-related. I have some fun Game of Thrones photos to share, and maybe I’ll start posting about my Triangle adventures again, who knows? Just wanted to share this little life event with y’all on the Great Wide Internet!

*Jon and I don’t really like the term “fiance.” I once saw someone jokingly spell the word “feyonce” on a wedding blog site and that made me laugh, so sometimes I use that term in writing. However, I read this Offbeat Bride post about other terms to use in lieu of “fiance” so I’m testing a few of them out. Although I totally failed today, y’all, someone with whom I am vaguely acquainted asked me how my boyfriend was and I chirped “fiance!” and then held up my left hand and then I felt ALL THE SHAME because I was *that person* and so I hid my hands beneath the table for the rest of our (blessedly brief) conversation.

**Hopefully!

RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 5, Episode 1

Posted in RuPaul's Drag Race, Television with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by The Dilettantista

Hold on to your wigs hunties, the best reality show on television is back!  Who will have the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent to take home this season’s top prize?  Time to check out this year’s queens:

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The ladies, in order of workroom appearance, with my brief thoughts on their debut outfits.

Detox.  Love her bumblebee corset look and feathered headpiece.

Roxxy Andrews.  Pageant queen.

Jade Jolie (FROM GAINESVILLE, GO GATORS!!!).  I want to like her but she’s looking a little cray.  She looks and sounds like a lady out of drag too, which is a bit disorienting.

Serena ChaCha (from Tallahassee iiiiicccck). Self-described “Fine Art Drag”

Alyssa Edwards.  Self-described “The Vanessa Williams of Drag.”

Jinx Monsoon.  This season’s Tammi Brown, no question.

Penny Tration.  Token big girl–and the People’s Choice Winner in the online voting.

Vivienne Penay, Dita von Teese drag. Also a little Jujube.  Love her look though.

Alaska.  Sharon Needles’ boyfriend, yeah!  She came in wearing a horse mask, also, and is wearing trashbag couture.

Honey Mahogany.  Busted.

Ivy Winters.  Wearing garbage.  Used to work as a clown.  Still does.

Monica Beverly Hills.  Dita Ritz?  Is that you?

Lineysha Sparx.  A PR queen, wearing a goooorgeous yellow sculptural thingamajigger.

Coco Montrese.  In leopard print.  She and Alyssa Edwards have some history involving not speaking in two years, a pageant tore their friendship apart.  This is going to be fantastic.

Fourteen girls enter, only one will win.  I can’t wait!

Mike Ruiz is on hand for the girls’ first photoshoot–an underwater glamour shot.  Serve fish, Mike says.  So clever.  The girls have to look glam and fab as the water destroys their wigs, this is joyful.  Jade Jolie says she was giving Helen Keller drowning realness.  Detox gets a GREAT shot.  Jinx Monsoon can’t swim, loses her contacts.  These photoshoots are engineered for maximum queen humiliation and this one, of course, does not disappoint.  Also, Alaska quits the photoshoot?  Whoa.  I figured a theme this season would be: “Can Alaska fill Sharon’s giant shoes?”  I just figured that it would develop a bit later on, not this early in the show.

Hahaha, Jinx just described herself as Seattle’s premiere Jewish narcoleptic drag queen, oh she’s going to be entertaining.  Anyways, Detox wins the photoshoot challenge–unsurprising, her photo was great!  Drowning bumblebee in paradise!

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