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1 Day to Dragon*Con: A Melisandre Sneak Peek and More!

1 DAY GUYS.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!  Time for a miscellaneous post of miscellany.

1)  The Melisandre dress is ALMOST DONE.  The neckline just needs to be hand-stitched, but I was able to get a shot of it almost completed today.  It is SO BEAUTIFUL , I cannot WAIT to show it off at Con, and I cannot wait to put it on with the wig and the necklace and the belt.  Seriously, so beautiful.

Yeah look at those sleeves, amazing right?!

2)  If you want to be my Friend via the Dragon*Con app (and I love friends!!!) just let me know, and I’ll PM you a Friend Code, and we’ll all be friends, and it will be great.  You can also follow me on Twitter, @Dilettantista, if you are social media-ish like that.

3)  And now a series of video clips that make me happy.  Many of these were included in the 2010 Dragon*Con Countdown but I don’t care, these re classics for a reason.  And yes, many of these have a Star Trek tinge, so what?

Unngh isn’t it a bummer that Patrick Stewart isn’t coming?  Whatevs, I’ll just reread how I talked to him at Dragon*Con 2009.

4)  Last night I had a dream that I was eating lunch at Dragon*Con and Stan Lee sat with me, and he had a little fat dachshund mix named Alex with him, and in the corner someone was doing a Captain American — Melisandre multi-fandom costume, and it was all very perplexing and amazing and clearly my brain is very one track right now.

5)  And then I just turned on The Today Show (like I usually do) and the ADORABLE two-face kitty was on, clearly it is a sign!!!

All right, back to work for me guys!  I have costumes to finish and packing to do and so many preparations to make!  And I’m also looking forward to making tons of new memories!  Cheeeeeesy right?!

All right everyone, hang in there, one more dawn, one more day, one day more!

2 Days to Dragon*Con: Making the Wait Go More Quickly

How are you doing with the wait, guys?  This whole going to work thing is not easy, especially because I have a number of major deadlines at work this week and I need to get them all done by Wednesday, so I am incredibly busy and really, I just want to look at Dragon*Con stuff and think about Dragon*Con and talk about Dragon*Con.

So here are some of the things I am doing to mitigate the anticipation:
1)  This blog (duh).  Having a place to count the days is certainly helpful!

2) Big giant happy smiley faces scrawled all over Labor Day Weekend on my calendar.

3) Playing with the Dragon*Con iPhone app, lots and lots.

4)  Eyeing the 2012 Dragon*Con photo scavenger hunt list and trying to figure out where to find all these things–my two big person win photographs from last year were running into Dr. Stephen Granade and finding Timmy the ThinkGeek Monkey.

7)  Listening to this podcast on repeat.  So many bands that I liked from my band profling are in it!  CalabreseEgo LikenessI: ScintillaDie SektorCruxshadows!  A really good song by The Extraordinary Contraptions!  So exciting, and a great way to get hyped for Con!

8) Packing (ungh).

9) Futzing with the last little bits of my costumes and my wigs and my makeup and my accessories.

10) Excitedly waiting to go pick up my Melisandre dress!

Again, those are just a few things that are keeping me sane until Thursday morning comes and I can get on the road to Atlanta.  How are you managing these last few days before Dragon*Con?

3 Days to Dragon*Con: Companion Cube (An Almost-Final Shot)



The Enrichment Center reminds you that the Companion Cube cannot speak. In the event that the Companion Cube does speak, the Enrichment Center urges you to disregard its advice.

Here are a few shots from my nearly-completed Companion Cube dress!  I need to add a few more details to the dress, figure out the wig a bit more, finalize my makeup (wasn’t wearing much tonight, and you can tell!) and better affix the cube to the headband…Oh, and put on some damn Spanx.  This is why I rarely leave the house without wearing Spanx–they make you look 10 pounds thinner!!!

Anyways, enough about Spanx, I’ll be wearing them at Dragon*Con!  MORE PHOTOS.

So that’s the dress!  I think it is pretty cute–if not too complicated, which was sort of what I was going for with this costume, since my other costumes are so complicated!  I plan on pairing it with gray tights and silver ballet flats.  SUPER CUTE RIGHT?

I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn’t come, because you murdered him.


4 Days to Dragon*Con: Thanks for the costume help!

I need to pause here to do a big shout out to Nancy over at Hemlock Emporium and Valerie over at Antiquarian Boutique for making my Melisandre costume for me!

Nancy’s doing the dress–I’m headed to Raleigh for final alterations today, it should be ready just in time to pop into my suitcase for Dragon*Con!  I might save the final reveal until the convention so don’t expect any photos, I really think that this costume is going to be special so I’m trying to keep the whole thing a surprise.  This dress has been quite difficult–it took Nancy a long time to find an appropriate pattern, and she likens the top layer of fabric to cobwebs, but it looks like it will come together gorgeously.  I’m a big fan of Nancy because she shares my general costuming viewpoint: try to capture as much of the general look and feel of the costume as possible without forgetting that this is a garment that needs to be worn in the real world.  She’s great at offering suggestions on how to make a piece more wearable, and she also doesn’t look at me like I’m nuts when I ask for changes.  This is my third Dragon*Con with a costume that has been made or altered by Nancy.  I’m so glad I found someone local who I like and who I know will be able to help me with my costuming needs!  Everyone in the Raleigh-Durham area should go get costumes from Nancy, she’s the best!

Valerie I found on the Game of Thrones costuming group on Facebook (yes it exists).  I was publicly bemoaning the difficulty of Melisandre’s giant neckpiece, and she quickly offered to make it for me and I happily accepted.  A few months later I received, in the mail, a handmade full neckpiece complete with the shoulder parts, and a belt, and they are great!  The pieces are very truthful to the screen version but they are light weight and fairly easy to wear.  Again, no close-up pictures from me yet, but Valerie took some good pictures that you can see in this album.   She really did an incredible job with a complex, highly-detailed commission.

Thank you so so much Valerie and Nancy!!! I’m so excited to put all the Melisandre pieces together!  This is going to be such a baller costume, I can feel it.  For the night is dark and full of awesome!

5 Days to Dragon*Con: The Malazan Book of the Fallen


I’ve been into sci-fi and fantasy series since middle school, when I read all the Pern books and lots of the Ender books and all those other series, but I started hitting the heavy fantasy (Tolkien withstanding) in the later 2000s, when I picked up A Song of Ice and Fire one summer.  After finishing that series I realized that I had a Wheel of Time sized hole in my fantasy cannon, so I spent about a year reading through that and learning about how Nynaeve likes to tug her braid and how Elayne likes to smooth her skirts and, really, is that series going to be done anytime soon?

I picked up these long, epic fantasy series because I was pretty unhappy with my job situation at the time, and if I don’t do something useful I go into a huge, existential funk.  These series enabled me to escape into a fantasy world that I could live comfortably in for months at a time–I hated finishing the series, and saying goodbye to the books, their worlds, and the characters within them was fairly distressing.  So, I was always on the look out for the next unbelievably long epic fantasy series in which to invest.

And then several friends of mine told me to pick up the Malazan books, and I’ve been living in them ever since.   Since November of 2010 I have been working my way through Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont‘s Malazan series, starting with Erikson’s incredible Malazan Book of the Fallen and branching off into Esslemont’s parallel stories from the Malazan world (Yes I have taken breaks to read other things, such as The Hunger Games Trilogy, Tina Fey‘s memoir, and a few autobiographies of women who were raised in and then escaped the scary Satmar Orthodox Jewish enclave in Brooklyn, but mostly it has been all Malazan all the time!).

Malazan Book of the Fallen
Malazan Book of the Fallen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main core of the Malazan books is Erikson’s ten volume Malazan Book of the Fallen.   I can’t really summarize it for you–telling you too much information would give the incredible scope and breadth of the series away.  It is nominally about soldiers and their brotherhood, it is about trust and friendship, it is about gods who walk around as men and it is about alien beings from other planets who may or may not be gods.  It is about how one can become a god, if mere mortals believe strongly enough.  It is about magic, nominally, but also how that magic can be corrupted, or how that magic corrupts.  It is about broken things.  It is some of the most devastating, beautiful fiction I have ever read.

Erikson, like George R.R. Martin, isn’t afraid to kill his darlings.  People die, good people die, and that is no fun.  Erikson also trusts his readers, which I love.   Mid-series, I think it is book four or five, Erikson jumps us to an entirely new continent with an entirely new race of people and just trusts us to pick up his thread and go along with what he is doing.  And, because we trust him, we do, and it is great, and we are rewarded for our patience.

Erikson, Steven - Reaper's Gale (2009 PB)
Erikson, Steven – Reaper’s Gale (2009 PB) (Photo credit: sdobie)

The Malazan books are a dense read–there is a reason why it took me forever to get through the core ten.  Erikson’s prose is quite good, and you can see that he has fun with language.  I’m also a fan of Erikson because of his discipline–he produced one book a year for ten years until the series was done. None of this playing with our hearts (like certain authors we know and love).

Ian Esslemont’s writing isn’t as good as Erikson’s, but his stories are solid, and they expand upon the world.  It isn’t necessary to read his books to understand the core story of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, but they do supplement some character backstory and general world history, and it is nice to be able to fall into Esslemont’s books when you are done reading the Erikson novels.  I’m currently on Esslemont’s most recently published book–I’m happy to report that his writing has gotten much better and I am thoroughly enjoying the book (one of Esslemont’s books, The Return of the Crimson Guard, was so torturous to get through, oi).  However, this is the last published Malazan book, eeee!!!  When I finish this I’m going to have to wait awhile until Erikson or Esslemont produce something new–lucky for me, those plans are in the works!

In the meantime, I plan on starting The Kingkiller Chroncle.  And you should totally get a start on the Malazan books!