Author: The Dilettantista

On Not Attending Dragon Con This Year.

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!

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

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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Doctor Who Video Mash-Up Possibilities

Okay Internet, I have zero video-editting capabilities on my computer and I also do not have access to a wide range of Doctor Who video clips, so I’m throwing this out there to provide you with inspiration. You can use this inspiration as you see fit, but if you do make something as a result of this inspiration just, um, you know, link back to this post on my blog please.  Thanks.

Someone needs to make Doctor Who mash-ups to the following two songs:

The first one is pretty obvious–Justin Timberlake‘s “Suit and Tie.”  So many possibilities for the 10th and 11th Doctors, right?

I actually love this song, it makes me want to dance and such.   And I think it’d provide a great backdrop to a montage of Doctor/Companion shenanigans.  But mostly I am just thrilled that Justin Timberlake is making music again–the world is a better place, yeah?

So the second video that must happen is 11th Doctor specific, and this is also an amazing song, one of my favorites really:

OutKast‘s “Bowtie” guys!  Come on, guys, this is such a no-brainer right?  Lots of Matt Smith, adjusting his bowtie, all “Bowties are cool,” being a double-hearted pimp in the TARDIS.

Someone make this happen please just, yeah, give me credit, thanks.

Be Like MLK, Give Back to the Community!

The arts non-profit for which I work is currently having an Indiegogo to help raise money for our Emerging Artists Grant program, and I would LOVE for you to contribute to it.  Money raised during the Indiegogo will go directly to the sixteen artists who received the award this year.  Here is a bit about the program:

“Durham Arts Council seeks your partnership and investment to help launch and develop the careers of highly skilled and promising artists who have mastered the basics of their discipline, and are at a critical development moment in their artistic lives where they need funding, encouragement, and recognition of their work.  The DAC’s Emerging Artist Program serves artists in visual, performing, literary, and media arts in five North Carolina counties in the central Piedmont area and has been a vital part of developing artist careers for 29 years.

Each year, 12-16 grants are awarded to artists selected from a highly competitive applicant pool of over 100 artists who apply from Durham, Chatham, Orange, Granville and Person counties.  Each grant of approximately $1,500 funds a project pivotal to the advancement of the artist’s work.”

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To learn more about the program, including this year’s winners and also PHOTOS and VIDEO and PERKS, please go to the Indiegogo site.  If you care about the arts AT ALL you’ll want to contribute to this program.  A city without art is not a city, and these artists make our cities awesome in so many ways.  Also, please spread the word around your own communities, we need all the help we can get!

And here is one more link to that Indiegogo site, please go check it out!