What Is A Super Fan Room, and How Do I Get Involved?

What Is A Super Fan Room, and How Do I Get Involved?

This is my and Paul’s first year as staff at Con-Jikan, and we’re helping to introduce a concept this year that is common in the north part of the US, but a little new to the Southwest. Super Fan Rooms! I did a blog post about a fan suite that we at The KEEP did for three years, but I’ll give you a bigger overview and more ideas on how to run your own.

What is a Super Fan Room?

A Super Fan Room is a party for your 500+ new friends! This can be hosted by individuals, clubs, or other organizations. Hosts provide refreshments and entertainment during the convention.

Where do I start?

Pick a Theme

  • What do you like? Ghostbusters, RWBY, Tea Room, or just a quiet room.
  • Plan activities. Trivia, run movies, music, coloring books, etc.
  • Have some easy to prepare snacks (pre-packaged cookies, veggie tray, punch, etc)


  • Consider your budget.
  • How will you transport it? Will it fit through the door?
  • Where will you store it afterwards?
  • Who will help set up/tear down?
  • Use only the One True Tape (Blue low-tac painters’ tape)
  • Consider a floor covering to avoid stains.
  • Remember: Safety first!
  • Do not block smoke detectors, thermostats, doorways, hallways.
  • All structures must be freestanding to avoid damage to walls
  • No open flames.


  • Keep it simple: pre-packaged cookies, cheese and meat trays, veggies, lemonade mix, etc.
  • No Alcohol at Con-Jikan.
  • If you need any appliances beyond an electric kettle or crock pot please contact Con staff for approval.

At the Con

  • All Con rules apply to Super Fan Rooms.
  • Hosts cannot charge money. Tip jars are OK, but not suggested donations.
  • Do not use the Super Fan Rooms to sell anything. Vendors have their own hall.
  • Check badges. Rooms must be open to all badged con-goers, but not non-registered hotel guests or party crashers.
  • Hosts are responsible for the conduct of their guests, and for contacting security if there is a problem (harassment, etc).
  • Don’t forget to plan for breaks so you can enjoy the con too!
  • Advertise your room with fliers – using only the OTT.


  • Plan ahead, make a checklist. Do you need remote controls, batteries, power cables, door stops?
  • You may block off the bathroom and use it for storage or host use only.
  • Talk to the Con if you need help with chairs, beds, etc.
  • Keep it simple if this is new to you. Don’t make it so complicated that you are not having fun. Plan for breaks.
  • Do what YOU enjoy. If attendance in your room is low, at least you will be having fun.

Following are some of my favorite ideas from CoreCon, CONvergence and Mars Con.

Scene SettersFor Kaiju Dance Battel at the KEEP we used Scene Setters as wall coverings (held on with the One True Tape), and created “skyscrapers” out of cardboard boxes. This was all very affordable.

CONvergence, MN

At CONvergence, Smiling Lune Bellydance held 3 or 4 shows each evening. Note that the pictures are bolted to the wall and cannot be removed. Here they draped the frame to help it blend in with the theme.


This Twin Cities Ghostbusters fan group actually built a false wall so they could show off their prop collection.

MarsCon 201616The Karaoke room at MarsCon has very little decoration at all, just the necessary karaoke equipment, and some extra chairs. Everyone had a blast!

IMG_2616_0041This group created a Japanese tea room in a CONvergence cabana room. Not pictured are the low tables and floor cushions.

IMG_2651_0021Other favorites, which I unfortunately do not have pics of:

House of Toast: Lot of tables with toasters, bread, butter, PB&J. People do forget to eat at a four-day con.

501st Legion: Fantastic cosplay displays and info on the group.

Royal Manticoran Navy: always has a room full of wonderfully displayed memorabilia, guarded by impeccably dressed officers.

Jews In Space: Held a Seder on Friday evening, everyone welcome, and served great matzo ball soup. I regret I cannot find my pic of Optimus Prime wearing a yarmulke and tallit.

The Rack: Rave all night, included lights, music and dance floor.

Worship the Goddess: Themed as classical Greek/Roman decor, women can enter but men cannot enter without a woman accompanying them. Men then worship their goddesses at the altar.

I hope this helps give you all some ideas on where to start! I’m happy to answer questions in the comments! Remember to check out my previous blog post for even more tips, and get a form to apply to Con-Jikan 2018.

Sharknado Synopsis – Are You Ready For The End?

All spoilers here.

Sharknado 6: It’s About Time is upon us. Do you have no idea what is going on? Here are the most basic basics to get you up to speed. I don’t guarantee you won’t be confused, but maybe you will be less confused.


Fin (Ian Ziering) is a former pro surfer who owns a beachside bar. A huge pod of sharks is headed toward Santa Monica, presumably driven there by a hurricane. His BFF is Baz (Jason Simmons), server Nova (Cassandra Scerbo) and barfly George (John Heard) are all present when the hurricane/water spout sucks up the sharks and sends them flying through windows and into the streets where they immediately start trying to eat people.
Fin’s motto is Semper Paratus: Always be prepared. This comes up a lot.
Fin decides he has to leave to get his ex-wife April (Tara Reid) and daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples) out of town to safety. George gets eaten by sharks.
April and Claudia hate Fin for undisclosed reasons, but they decide to leave with him and his companions because sharks eat April’s new BF. They decide they have to go to the flight school where their son Matt (Charles Hittinger) is training.
Stuff happens and more people get eaten by sharks.
They find Matt and his other flight school students hiding in a hangar. During a quiet moment we find out that Nova hates sharks because she saw her grandfather get eaten by sharks when she was a child. Also, Claudia is a brat.
They determine that the sharknados can be dissipated by propane bombs, so Matt and Nova take a helicopter up into the air while multiple sharknados hit, and are successful. Nova then falls out of the copter and is swallowed whole by a shark.
Meanwhile, Fin takes up his weapon of choice, a chainsaw, and everyone fights sharks on the ground. Baz gets eaten by a shark. Interesting note: If you kill a shark in the air it will fall to the ground. ???
They get rid of the sharknados and Fin and April decide they like each other after all. Nova is rescued from the shark.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Fin and April are back together. April has written a book “How to Survive a Sharknado.” During a plane trip to NY, April’s left hand is bitten off by a shark.
Fin meets up with family and old friends, including Skye (Vivica A. Fox), who was kind of a high school sweetheart. She still has a crush on him but he’s with April now so they are just pals. Sharknados hit New York. The propane bombs don’t work as well as last time. They use electricity and freon. Skye is eaten by sharks. Fin finds the shark that bit off April’s hand and proposes. Everyone loves New York.

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Fin and April are remarried and expecting a baby. Fin is honored at the White House for his sharknado heroics when a sharknado happens! April is with her mom May (Bo Derek), and Claudia at Universal Studios. Nova and her new partner Lucas meet up with Fin, because they are now world-class sharknado fighters. Lucas is eaten by sharks. They travel to FL to save the family. Fin’s estranged dad Gil (David Hasselhoff) gets involved because he works for NASA. Gil, Fin and April fight sharks in space with a laser satellite. Fin and April fall to earth having been swallowed whole by sharks. Both are able to cut their way out of the sharks’ bodies, and the baby, little Gil, is born while plummeting to earth inside a shark. A shark lands on April and we all get to vote on Twitter if she lives.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

5 years have passed and the family has moved to a farm in Kansas. April is dead. Gil Sr. gets rescued from space.
Astro-X (Space-X parody) has developed weather control capabilities. Their headquarters are in Las Vegas. Fin and family to go Las Vegas for a family reunion. Matt marries Gabrielle (Imani Hakim), who he met while serving in Iraq. They jump out of a plane together after saying their vows. Meanwhile a tornado hits a shark aquarium in Las Vegas and a sharknado happens! The family tries to escape to Kansas, but the ‘nados seem to be following them, spawning:
A cownado
A hailnado
A lavanado
A nukenado
Astro-X manages to take care of everything but the nukenado.
But April is NOT DEAD! Her mad scientist dad stole her body and made her a cyborg. She returns to meet her now 5-year old son, who rejects her, saying “you’re not my mommy, my mommy is a shark!”
Fin and April lure the nuke/sharknado to Niagara Falls (it’s following them!) to cool it, and fight sharks with a mech suit and lasers. Everyone is swallowed by sharks, but are mostly OK, except for Gabrielle who is killed in the cownado. 😦 April rescues little Gil and he accepts her as his mom.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

It is the sharknado apocalypse. American is in ruins, and the sharknado fighters travel the world fighting sharknados. But it is all for naught. Everyone dies except for Fin, who is left wandering the barren wasteland of earth with April’s head in a hobo sack. But wait! A vehicle is fast approaching out of nowhere. Who is it, but little Gil (Dolph Lundgren), all grown up and from the future! He’s here to get his dad so they can fight sharknados thoughout time!

Sharknado 6: It’s About Time premiers tonight, August 19, 2018 on SyFy.

Poshmark: A Closet Cosplay Review

Poshmark: A Closet Cosplay Review

Bombshell Cheetah

I decided I wanted an easy, COMFORTABLE, walking around cosplay, so I assembled another closet costume. As a foil to last year’s DC Bombshells Wonder Woman, I dressed as Cheetah this year. As you can see, it’s not perfectly matched, but I feel it is a good representation of the character.



First, a list of items, top to toe:

  • Pith Helmet, $20.75, Forestry-Suppliers.com
  • Goggles, $25, purchased at Con
  • Necklace, $5, made from parts purchased at Michael’s
  • Shirt, $6 + $6.95 S&H Poshmark
  • Bra, $22, purchased at Kohl’s and covered with animal print fabric
  • Gloves, $10 + $6.95 S&H Poshmark
  • Sash, $5 made from fabric purchased at JoAnn’s
  • Skirt $8 + $6.95 Poshmark
  • Socks, $3 clearance at Target
  • Boots, $25 + 6.95 S&H Poshmark

Adding everything up, it is $157.55, which yes, is kind of expensive for a closet cosplay, but I can justify it by saying I can still wear a lot of this every day or for other costumes. As a side note, Cheetah normally does not have a bag or any sort of purse, and I needed something to keep my stuff in, so I got a pouch. I’ve been having some issues incorporating it smoothly. You can see I have a regular belt underneath my sash to keep the pouch on, but everything keeps sliding around. Still working on a solution there. I did not include a rope, knife or binoculars, partly as a personal choice and partly because I didn’t want to deal with peace-bonding anything.


If you are not familiar, Poshmark is a new and used clothing web site where people can buy and sell what they are not using in their closet. Originally it appears to have been for designer brands, but everyone sells everything there now. Normally I like shopping at thrift stores. You can find some fun and unexpected things there. But I was looking for some very particular things, so it was much nicer to be able to shop from home and use the filters to find clothing in my size.

In a nutshell, a seller puts up an item in their store with all of the specifics. You purchase via PayPal or ccard. Poshmark holds the payment. The seller then has 7 days to ship it. If they do not ship it within that time frame you can cancel your order. They do not get paid until you confirm that you have received the item in good order. All shipping is $6.95 (unless you bundle, or there is a sale on shipping). I appreciate this policy because there is a certain amount of security in knowing you can get your money back easily. It’s easier to deal with in that respect than some place like eBay or Etsy.  I attempted to buy those boots from one seller, but they never replied or shipped them. So I cancelled – it was just the click of a button – and found another pair from another seller on the same site.

That brings me to another point: some sellers treat Poshmark like it is their job. Others post and then forget about it and don’t log back in for weeks or months at a time. At least you have some protection for your payment. My gloves arrived wrapped in tissue paper with a thank you note. The boots were jammed into a manila envelope. One particularly curious thing about the site is that you can leave “love notes” for sellers who do a good job, but the public cannot see bad reviews. It appears that the trick is to check the number of sales vs the number of “love notes,” and if those numbers don’t add up then they may not be great.

Poshmark has also morphed into a social community, which frankly I don’t really have time for, but it’s cool if you are into that sort of thing.

In conclusion:


  • Ease of use, convenience
  • Secure payment


  • Sometimes inconsistent sellers
  • Shipping costs can add up
  • Unable to see negative reviews

I have some clothing for sale on Poshmark myself, @enchantingerica, and will be adding more soon. I haven’t sold a darned thing yet.

Note: Steve Madden boots are crazy uncomfortable! I was actually limping for several days after the first con I wore them to. I added insoles later, and that helped, but seriously, if you buy them go a 1/2 size up and add insoles.

Why I hate this T-shirt

Why I hate this T-shirt

Your Wife/My Wife

I’m taking a little break from my DC Bombshell Wonder Woman cosplay blog posts to rant about this T-shirt. I have seen it going around social media and I really hate it a lot. Why? Patriarchy.

Note: This post is way shorter than the one I had initially written, but there is so much to unpack, and so many other cultural issues it relates to, it’s just too exhausting.

If you saw the Wonder Woman movie, or read the comics, etc, a big component of that is about the wonderful things we can accomplish WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER. This T-shirt plays into the old divide and conquer. Pitting women against each other. “You’re not like other girls.” I’m sure a lot of us have heard that. Because it’s a competition, I guess. Because life is a pageant and the prize is the approval of others. Because there is a right way and a wrong way to be a woman. And no matter what we do, we can’t ever win.

It also plays on the fact that many men view women as generic unless they know the woman personally. I mean, the graphic is right there.

I’m sure you all think it’s harmless, but it continues to feed into that culture. It normalizes it. If you take the time to look around, to listen, you will eventually realize how widespread and insidious it actually is.

I’ve also seen this shirt:

WW Wife Tshirt2
I asked God for strength and courage. He sent my wife.

See? A spouse can show appreciation for his/her wife without dissing other women. Being a woman, being a person, isn’t a contest. I don’t care if you lift weights, practice Judo, run, pole, belly dance, or sit on your butt watching TV. Maybe you like boxing, and maybe you like glitter. Maybe you like both. You do you, and this T-shirt can suck it.


*Although I do have some trepidation about viewing a woman as a “gift from God,” because then we get into a property vs partner discussion.

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 2 – Experimenting with Thermoplastics, Trial and Error

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 2 – Experimenting with Thermoplastics, Trial and Error

bracer in the white

I am very new to thermoplastics. If you are not familiar, I’m talking about Worbla, Wonderflex, EVA foam and craft foam. I decided for this first project I would start small, and try a few different mediums. Trial and error. Mostly error. I promise I was not drunk when I did this, just not very experienced.


I decided to make my bracers out of craft foam, mostly for comfort. This is the kind of foam you get at the craft store for kids’ projects. It’s super cheap and easy to manipulate. Remember: your wrist is smaller than your forearm, so you will actually be cutting out a trapezoid, not a square. Measure twice, cut once!

The next step was to find a pattern online that approximates the pattern on DC Bombshell Wonder Woman’s bracers. I am not very good at freehand drawing, but I’m pretty good at tracing. I was able to find one on Bigstock, and it was actually meant as a graphic notebook doodle. Now, how to get the picture on to the foam? I only have a black and white laser printer. “But wait,” I thought, “laser printers heat set the ink onto the paper, so maybe if I use an iron I can partially transfer that on to the craft foam.”

bracers transfer

Um, kinda? Also, craft foam shrinks a little when you apply heat. Oops. Gotta use low heat. I’m going to say I would not recommend this. It would probably work better with an ink jet and that special transfer paper. I used my task light and squinted a lot, and I managed to trace all of it out with a black ball point pen. The pen leaves an indentation and mark, so you have a textured effect. Great! But, I was using the thinnest sheets of foam, and the pen was leaving an impression on the back side. Hmmm… better add another layer of foam on the inside for stability. Luckily, hot glue is the perfect adhesive for craft foam. This would be a good time to form it around your wrist. Use the iron to heat it a little and you can wrap it around your wrist while it cools. Remember, the inside layer will need to be slightly smaller than the outside layer! Just like a racetrack! I just glued it in and then trimmed the excess.

bracers tracing pattern

At this point the edges looked like crap, so I needed to put edging on it. That’s just strips of craft foam glued on. No biggie.

bracer parts

bracer in the white

OK, it’s pretty much assembled the way I want it. Now I need to paint it. Always prime first! I just used gesso, because I’m an art school dropout and had a bunch left over. I understand you can also use Elmer’s white glue. Or possibly, if you have a well-ventilated area, Plastidip. But gesso worked fine for me.

bracer primed

Then I just added a couple layers of silver craft paint, and dry brushed with black to give it some depth.

bracer painted

Then I added Velcro strips to the inside with hot glue.


bracer image

I actually think they turned out pretty well, in spite of my issues. One thing that puzzles me though, is that over time the indents where I traced with the ball point have turned a sort of yellowish color. I may have to repaint.


This was pretty detailed. I got an image of the buckle online and started making a pattern based off of that. I used several types of plastics, and it did not turn out like I would have liked. But I will probably re-make it at some point. This is more of a cautionary tale I guess.

belt buckle image

First I made the base, which is just an oval. But the oval also has a raised edge. I made an oval out of Wonderflex. Then I thought that it would not be thick enough and I ended up adhering a piece of craft foam on top of it. That was a mistake, because the craft foam is easily marred. Then for the raised edge I cut out a strip of Worbla and wrapped it around the outside. It turned out very uneven. I have since received some very good advice on this, and what I should have done is just to keep the Wonderflex base and cut out an oval in Worbla, like a picture frame, and adhere it on top. Next time.

belt buckle base-1


For those of you who are not familiar with these materials, Wonderflex and Worbla become self-adhesive when exposed to heat. Wonderflex on only one side and Worbla on both sides. Worbla can be molded like clay. Use a heat gun to mold it. There are tons of YouTube videos that can explain better than I can.

I made the eagle entirely out of Worbla. I actually cut out two basic shapes, then I carved out the second shape and adhered all the bits on top of the basic shape for the details. There were tweezers involved. Also, I ended up molding the eagle head a lot with clay tools because that was just the only way to do it. It’s tiny!

belt buckle cut out

belt buckle eagle finished

I have read, and seen tutorials, indicating that you can prime Worbla without needing to sand, as long as you put the primer on thick enough. You are supposed to use wood glue. This advice is inaccurate. My buckle ended up being highly textured, and I wanted it very smooth. I may try to use Plasti Dip over my existing buckle, or I may just sand it if that doesn’t work. Anyway, that did not work for me.

I painted the base and the decoration with gold craft glue, sealed them with some sort of sealant I had lying around (I’ve moved since then so I probably don’t have it any more). I then glued them together, and then glued the whole thing to a $1 elastic belt I found at a thrift store. The belt was secured with Velcro. Is there anything Velcro can’t do?

belt buckle finished

I actually think it didn’t turn out too badly, especially from a distance. I will certainly make modifications to it before the next time I wear it though.

I didn’t go into any great detail on technique here because I’m not an expert. There are tons of experts on YouTube and other blogs who can take you step-by-step through the process of working with these mediums. One of my faves is Kamui Cosplay. I’m just telling my story here.


Additionally you will notice I have my magic lasso at my side. This is utility rope I got at the hardware store. Interestingly enough, when I bought this it was con season locally, and Batman was in line ahead of us. As he left, the clerk turned to me and said “you don’t see that every day!” Well, actually…

Also, why is it so hard to find plain red circle earrings? I ended up getting them off of Etsy. My wig was also from Etsy.

My next entry will be my struggle with boots, approximately whenever I have spare time.

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 1 – The Closet

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 1 – The Closet

WW full costume editI’ve been Wonder Woman since I was about 6 years old. This picture shows my latest costume, Wonder Woman from DC Bombshells, and the costume my mom made for me when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I guess you could say I’m a fan.

In this post I’m going to show you how I put together the fabric portions of this costume. A lot of this is closet cosplay, with modifications. My posts assume that you have a basic understanding of sewing. I apologize in advance that I did not have as many pics as I would like.

THE SHIRTWWshirt-finished

I had this red button up shirt that I used to wear to work. And then I didn’t because I didn’t really like it that much anymore. It was from NY&Co. It still fit, I just didn’t really wear it anymore. This was a great opportunity to give it a second life.

The first thing I did was add the logo. I found one online, then sized it in Photoshop so it would fit on my shirt. I traced it out in tailor’s chalk, being careful to note how it would look with the buttons in place. I ironed on interfacing to the inside for stability, and just sewed over the chalk in a satin stitch. I made the logo in black, and then outline in yellow, as indicated in the original art.

WW shirt applique 2

WW shirt applique

This was a long sleeve shirt, so I chopped off the sleeves just above the elbow (because that’s how long I wanted it!). I added fake cuffs at this point. That just required measuring around the sleeve and making a rectangle that was the right length and width, plus seam allowance. I added interfacing to the cuffs so they would stay rigid instead of falling down. Then I just folded over 1/4 inch to finish off the edges. Easy peasy.


In its original form, the shirt had a pretty standard collar and buttoned all the way up, but the costume needed a white collar with a plunging neckline. So I faked it. I cut out a piece of white fabric the same size as the existing collar, added 1/4 inch, and just covered it.


Then I tried on the shirt to approximate where I wanted the lapels to land. They are just two triangles, stitched on over the button section. They end at the point of the “W.”


And that’s about it for the shirt!



This was the easiest part of the whole costume, because I just bought the shorts from PUG. It’s not as easy to find high-waisted shorts as it should be, and not as easy to find patterns for them as it should be either! I found star buttons at the fabric store, and then I found a piece of scrap denim in my vast collection of fabrics to create a loop, put Velcro on each end, and there you have a place to put your lasso. Done.



This was an interesting piece of engineering, because as the Rosie the Riveter-type headscarf is drawn, it defies logic. A square kerchief will not have the tie next to the pointy part. So I basically made a headband and added a triangle.


I measured around my head, noting the way it would be positioned. I also noted where I wanted the star/triangle portion to sit. Cut two, stitch wrong sides together, turn right side out, finish ends, top stitch. I added Velcro to the ends, ironed on a purchased red star, and to complete the illusion, cut out a small piece of fabric to create the tie at the top of the headband. That is actually a separate piece.


Most of the sewing is straight lines or zigzags, and all of the measurements are just my specifications, or to fit the shirt. There is a bit of variation to the DC Bombshells art, so I don’t feel compelled to be perfect. There is no exact way of making this, depending on who is drawing that issue. I will have 2 more segments for this costume: props and boots. I will finish this approximately whenever I have time.

Harley Quinn’s Mallet for Raks al Assaya

Photo courtesy Douglas Klettke

Con season is upon us again, although there’s never a bad time to cosplay. In December Bad Weather Burlesque had a FAN-tastic theme show, wherein I did a Saidi-inspired Harley Quinn number. I had just taken a Saidi workshop from Jasmin Jahal and I LOVED it! When you love two things they often have a lot of crossover. If you’d like to see the whole costume you can check out how I made it here.

The great thing about this method is that it is pretty easy to build, the materials are easy to find, and if you whack someone in the head they will only be mildly irritated rather than concussed. It’s also pretty light, so carrying it around won’t be taxing.

Want to make a mallet of your own? Here’s what you need:

  • 1 wooden dowel, 3/4″ diameter (depending on the size of your hand), approx $2
  • 1 roll bubble wrap, large bubbles, approx $16
  • 1 roll red duct tape, $6
  • 1 roll black duct tape, $6
  • 2 sheets red duct tape, $2 each
  • 2 sheets black duct tape, $2 each
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Scissors
  • Saw (for cutting down the dowel)




My first concern was that for Saidi Raks al Assaya (dancing with a cane) my prop has to be light enough to swing it around and still control it. I also needed to make sure the head of the mallet did not whack me in the leg while I was spinning it. So I checked the clearance between my swing radius and my leg, both with length and diameter. The weight can shift so that the mallet turns sideways. If you are not dancing with this prop you may disregard this note and make it as big or small as you like.

Don't hit yourself in the leg
Don’t hit yourself in the leg

Apologies here, as I did not take a lot of pics during the process. At this point I secured the roll with a couple of pieces of red duct tape to keep everything in place while I did the ends. Learn from my mistakes here, as the ends will be very bumpy if you do not put something flat under your sheet of tape. Cut a circle from something that is at least the thickness of cardstock and put that underneath your sheet as you stick it to the end. If your mallet is larger than the sheet of duct tape you may need to use multiple pieces, or just use the tape from the roll. I do the ends first so that the edges of the duct sheet can be covered and secured by the tape. At this point wrap the red tape around and around and around the roll to cover the whole thing. Be careful to overlap so no bubble wrap can be seen.

Not bumpy
Not bumpy
Add a stripe!
Add a stripe!

At this point you should have what looks like a red cylinder. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH END IS UP, because we are going to affix our harlequin shapes to the ends. You want to make sure it looks good when you are posing with it so the harlequins shouldn’t be all kittywampus with respect to the handle, or each other. This is where duct sheets are extra handy. Draw out your pattern on the back side of the duct sheet, cut them out, and carefully stick them on. I actually just cut squares from the grid pattern and turned them sideways. If you want further embellishment wrap around a line of black duct tape near each end.

If you prefer, you can skip down to the handle part first and then come back to the decorations. Doesn’t really matter.

Lots of little pieces of tape
Lots of little pieces of tape

Now we are going to add our handle. If you are actually using this to dance Raks al Assaya, measure from the ground to about 2-3 inches below your navel if you keep your elbow in when swinging and cut the dowel to that length; or if you raise up your elbow then cut to whatever length is comfortable. Wrap the dowel in duct tape, alternating red and black. I made it striped by cutting a lot of small pieces and wrapping them around one at a time. If you want to try to wrap it at an angle, best of luck to you. That did not work for me with alternating colors. Important to note: if your hands get sweaty the duct tape can get slippery. Alternately you can wrap the handle in ribbon and just glue it down with craft glue. Make sure to cover the end too so it looks finished!

Finesse the handle in
Finesse the handle in

At this point that whole “which end is up” thing becomes important. Find the bottom center of your mallet head and mark it. Then get a pair of long scissors or a long thin knife and stab it a bunch of times to make a hole for the dowel to go in. Keep your movements straight up and down and be careful not to stab through the other side of the mallet head. Test the depth by sticking the dowel in the hole you’ve made. If it is too tall, keep stabbing. Or you might have to re-cut your dowel. This part requires some finessing. Once you are happy with the connection get out your hot glue gun, set to high, squeeze some glue into the stabby hole, then quickly stick the dowel into the hole. The high temp should cause the bubble wrap to melt a bit and you’ll have a really secure hold.

Give it a twirl, you’re done!



Lindemann: Skills in Pills – I just need to talk about this album – NSFW

Lindemann came in the mail today.
Lindemann came in the mail today.

WARNING: Every link in this post is NSFW.

So anyone reading this who knows me well is aware that Rammstein is my most favoritest band in the whole world. Since they don’t have anything in the pipeline at the moment (except for the tour DVD – on order!) of course I have to check out everything that their members produce.

I was not sure what to expect when I first heard the Lindemann project was happening. I have listened to Emigrate, which is OK but kind of mainstream, and also Eisbrecher, which I do rather like. Both lack that special Rammstein magic though. No offense, it’s just when all six of them get together it’s special.

I was particularly apprehensive when I learned that Till that would be singing in English. The German is part of the magic and authenticity of the band. It is also part of the plausible deniability, because Rammstein lyrics can be pretty messed up sometimes. I saw the video for Praise Abort, which is beyond messed up and completely grotesque. At first I was sure I was not going to pick up Skills in Pills because it was just too much, even for me. Just imagine all the most offensive things you can think of, and then multiply by ten, and then put it in a blender. But then I found that the song was stuck in my head. In spite of the grotesqueness of the imagery it was hooked into my brain. So I broke down and ordered the album.

Just the other day Paul alerted me to the fact that the video for Fish On had been released. At first I was scared, and a little horrified, but if you are a viewer who started watching it and then stopped because you were afraid of what was going to happen next I am here to assure you that it is OK, what you think is going to happen does not happen. I mean, it’s still crazy, but it’s not that bad.

So anyway, the album came today and I have been listening to it, and man is it good. I love this music. The lyrics are extremely sexual and/or drug related, and unfortunately that plausible deniability is gone. They even included a book of liner notes with all of the lyrics. And there is a photo for each song. It is disturbing and grotesque and wonderful.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of Peter Tägtgren in the creation of Lindemann, but I don’t listen to as much death metal as Paul does so I’m not as well versed in his work. But maybe I will be soon.

So buy it. Or don’t buy it. I don’t know what your sensibilities are. I’m just saying, you’ve been warned.

Sharknado 3: A Serious Discussion on Modern Cinema

Haha, no. But also, yes. Spoilers galore ahead.

I’ve had a little time to digest last night’s premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh, Hell No! and read some reviews and thought pieces on the phenomenon. I have also been thinking about the reactions of people who have not seen the first two movies, but out of curiosity were finally ready to see what all the fuss is about. I have come to a few conclusions that actually surprised me.

First, I think the self-awareness of the franchise has somewhat changed the feel of the story. The original was what it was, with no real expectations of greatness, beyond any other movie by The Asylum. #3 was super campy and self-aware. But also, who cares? I mean, really. At the end of the day it is a movie about a guy who fights sharks in a tornado. And if the franchise eventually fails? Again, who cares? They haven’t invested much money in it, and nothing lasts forever. I and my husband, admittedly, may care more than some people as we participated in the crowdfunding of Sharknado 2, and named one of the sharks in the movie “Mrs. Bitey.”

Did you think I was kidding? This is a real thing!
Did you think I was kidding? This is a real thing! Look for the red circle.

I have read some comments, and also heard from my friends who are new to Sharknado, that they were a bit confused by some things in the third installment (beyond the basic concept). I didn’t realize until then that there is actually some real continuity to the ongoing saga. I was happy to see Nova return and had wondered why she was not in Sharknado 2. April has upgraded her hand to something more sophisticated and has almost become a likeable character. There are a lot of scenes that are self referential, like Fin filleting a shark in mid air, the baby being essentially born out of the shark, for example. I never thought I would say this, but it really does help to see all of the movies in order.

A lot of the popular appeal is its silliness, and the ridiculous number of celebrity cameos. But probably even more so is how The Asylum and SyFy have integrated it with social media. Twitter is the place to be on Sharknado night. In fact, I suck at Twitter, but I Tweet for Sharknado.

But, the thing that took me a little while to realize was that Sharknado 3 was really for fans of The Asylum. There was a lot of stuff in there just for us. Some casual viewers may not have noticed that SyFy was running all of their insane shark movies all this week: Megashark, Mechashark, Megashark vs. Mechashark, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Malibu Shark Attack, and the premiere of Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf, just to name a few. There is a whole subculture of fandom that is devoted to these movies. SyFy typically runs them during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. They are for people who enjoy absurdist theatre. Plain and simple. Some of these are franchises on their own, and sometimes those franchises are crossed over just so that Debbie Gibson and Tiffany can have a catfight at a barbeque. Did you notice, that when GRR Martin was eaten by a shark, he was at the time watching Three-Headed Shark Attack? Did you realize that when Lukas tells the soldier “at least it isn’t zombies,” that the soldier is in fact played by Kellita Smith from Z-Nation? My husband, a fan of Z-Nation, also mentioned that the show did a spoof of Sharknado that featured a zombienado, and in that episode one of the characters says “at least it’s not sharks!” Secretly, this movie was for us. I love that.

I have given this a lot of thought and this is what I want to see in the future:

  • An explanation as to why Fin is at the center of the Sharknado issue, preferably involving a multi-generational pirate curse. Think Ginger Snaps Back (but with pirates).
  • The return of Vivica A. Fox, possibly as a cyborg, or possibly in a prequel related to the pirate curse as mentioned above.
  • Sharks colonizing space. I have not yet been able to find Raptor Planet on DVD, but you know, like that per the description.

None of these ideas is ridiculous. You know it’s true.

My only real criticism is that, in spite of it being a really good mascara, the Benefit They’re Real mascara product placement was a little out of control. And I would not use it as ammo because that stuff is expensive.

What do you think? Don’t think too hard.


Hey Erica, What Have You Been Up To?

Wow, I haven’t posted here in forever! But, ’tis the CON season, and I was at Fargo CoreCon last weekend.

Erica and Brenda get horny with a priest.
Erica and Brenda get horny with a priest.
I got to wear on of my favorite outfits.
I got to wear one of my favorite outfits.
I danced with some Jack O' Lanterns (thanks for the pic Debi).
I danced with some Jack O’ Lanterns (thanks for the pic Debi).
And with Mistryl Shimmy Guard (MSG - bringing the flava!)
And with Mistryl Shimmy Guard (MSG – bringing the flava!)
There was a Furry Parade!
There was a Furry Parade!
And a marriage proposal (under duress? Darth Vader is, like, right there).
And a marriage proposal (under duress? Darth Vader is, like, right there).
Spiderman and Spider Gwen made it all the way from San Diego
Spiderman and Spider Gwen made it all the way from San Diego
And then this thing happened
And then this thing happened
But was defeated by this thing
But was defeated by this thing
And there was some comedy
And there was some comedy
And then we all had a nice nap.
And then we all had a nice nap.

Also Voltaire was there, which was really cool but I didn’t get any good pics. Same with Christopher Mihm, who did some great panels. Love his movies. The end. See y’all at CONvergence!