Posted in Ramblings

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

No. We can't.

A few months ago I was having a conversation with someone that didn't understand what the hub-bub was all about when across the country states/cities started to vote to remove civil war statues from certain areas. I tried explaining why it was time and that it was a great idea to move them. (Not destroy – move them to a less prominent place for example a museum.) [not that museums aren't important]

I'm not sure that I managed to give an explanation that satisfied their question. Often these conversations end with "I don't care what 'they' do. It doesn't effect me personally." 'They" being whomever it is being discussed at the time. This mindset baffles me and at the same time doesn't surprise me. It is very much an American mindset.

What bothers me is the eventual question of "Why can't we just get along?" That gets asked. You don't want to hear that the reason is because you don't care (unless it effects you). Because that means you have to acknowledge your privilege (and understand what that is) whatever it may be and where it comes from. And admit that everyone is not treated equally or even fairly. In order to get along you have to care even if it doesn't effect you.

I know I am privileged. I also know that I can not compare my experiences to others when it comes to things like BLM and LGTBQA Rights – but I know that I will always stand up and fight for them. Because in my mind it's the right thing to do. Just as I will always fight for Women's Rights. Social Justice… Equality.

The events that occurred in Charlottesville this past weekend were not about equality or social justice. No. They were about fear and hate. And if you think that the events don't effect you or anyone around you. You need to wake up. Because this effects us all.

….more later.

Posted in Ramblings

A-Kon 28

And here we are. My post about A-Kon 28.

 

Before I get started here’s a little history:

I’ve attended Leesa and Me at A-kon 9this convention once before. Way back when. Seriously. I went to A-kon 9. I was 23. I remember the year because it was the first time I dyed my hair purple.  (That  is a story by its self.) Here’s one of the only pictures I have from the convention.  What I remember most about A-Kon 9? Tons of Neon Genesis Evangelion (I may have purchased every single OA music cd ever), and finding Ryo-Ohki (Tenchi Muyo!) to take home with me, as well as having a great time at the Hard Rock cafe in Dallas.

 

Flash Forward:

A few months ago I was approached by the Copsplay group DatCosplayYo to fill a gap that had formed in their cosplay plans.  They wanted to know if I could step in as Slyveon, one of the 8 eeveelutions of Eevee, a Pokemon; they were planning on entering the cosplay contest at A-Kon 28.  I agreed and then learned that the portion they were entering was in fact the Skit. A category which they won last year.

I scrambled to get things together. Because this cosplay was gijinka it was decided that Sylveon would be Lolita.  I wanted it to be as authentic as possible which meant I needed to talk to someone that was familiar with Lolita. Enter Mandolin Cole. Aside from being an amazingly creative person that I consider a friend, I knew she was immersed in all things Lolita – especially clothing. With her assistance I managed to pull together an authentic Sylveon Lolita cosplay.

Here are some progression pictures:

For the record: the JSK and the blouse were purchased and then altered to fit.  I restyled the wig to add more curls and painted the “tails” of the ribbon. The ears were made with craft foam, fabric and lace.  I also added a sash.

A-Kon is now a 4 day convention, this year was the first year it was held at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It’s certainly not fair for me to compare A-Kon 28 to A-Kon 9 so I won’t.

We arrived on day 2. Just in time for the photo-shoot that DatCosplayYo had set up with ROXAS Studios for their Legends of the Hidden Temple cosplay. Shane, the photographer, was totally chill.

After walking around for a few hours in the Artist Alley and Dealers section we found a space to go over the skit before heading back to the hotel to finish last minute details. Because on day 3 we would have a full day.

Day 3 dawned hella early for several of us. We almost didn’t make it to pre-judging on time. Almost. Pre-judging is when the judges look at how the cosplays are made etc. By the time we talked to the Judges my ears were like this:

IMG_4974

Not really what you want to happen, even if it does look “cute”. I’ll be re-engineering those ears before cosplaying Sylveon again.

After the pre-judging we wandered as a group. And were stopped a lot. And by a lot, I mean every 10 ft we moved. We managed to grab some food and roam the Dealers section, where I lost my wallet. No worries, a vendor found it and sent it to the Lost and Found. The back and forth to locate where it was in the end was amusing. I was lucky that I had only stopped at a select number of vendors and it was easy enough to back-track the possibilities of where I had lost it.

3 o’clock rolled around and we set off to get ready for the actual competition. Normally the stage folks have enough time to let everyone walk the stage before the show actually starts, but things were delayed and after putting everyone in chronological order we were told that there wasn’t going to be time and essentially were expected to do the show cold.

Skits are the last portion of the Cosplay Contest. This year there were a total of 5 skits. We went 3rd. And oh my word….

I have performed at the Medieval Fair in Norman for years. There is something so very very unnerving about performing on a stage. The skit lasted all of 3 minutes. Each of the eeveelutions had roughly 8 seconds of stage time. Everyone hit their marks (even if I did end earlier than practiced) and from what we could tell, every part we hoped that would get a response received a response. It was over quickly. I’m not sure there is video of of it, but I will share it if I ever come across it.

Then we waited for the results backstage. We discussed the other skits and what our chances were. It was hard to hear when things were announced as the audio was facing the audience and we were not in the audience. But we could watch on a projection screen. It was really inspiring to see all of the different cosplays that entered and those that won. And then we heard DatCosplayYo called to the stage. For Best Skit. For the second year in a row they had won first place.

picture courtesy of Kyle McNiecepicture courtesy of Scott Fischer

It is an experience I will never forget. All of the members of the cosplay group are super nice and I am happy to have had the chance to work with them.

After winning we caught up with Shane, who was kind enough to take a quick shot of the group. (Not the above picture.) Then we walked about for half an hour before heading back to the hotel. I changed and packed my things as I was headed home that night.  And thus ended my A-Kon 28 experience.

 

Posted in Ramblings

Dallas FanExpo 2017

Hello! As promised here’s my post about the 2017 Dallas FanExpo.

This year, just as I did the last two years, I stayed at the Omni Hotel to make attending easier. (Seriously, if you don’t live close by to the convention center spring for one of the hotels close by or ATTACHED to the convention center. Makes things like finding parking unnecessary and you don’t have to contend with traffic. Of course this only applies if you attend all three days.)

Earlier in the year when I learned that Mark Hamill was going to be a guest I mentioned it to my friend Viviane who lives in New Orleans and is doing amazing things. It only took about a week to convince her to come for a visit and go to the FanExpo with me.

With some coordinating we each planned two cosplays to wear. This year I did a punky Harley Quinn and the Red Queen. Viviane decided on a French Mime and a Steampunk Lady.

Now, if you follow my personal IG account you have probably already seen the progress of the Red Queen and how she came together. Creating the harness was an adventure all on its own. And some of my ideas didn’t work out at all. In the end though I was happy with the results.

 

I fell in love with the wig I purchased  from arda wigs. This particular wig is called Victoria. I also found that my favorite piece of this cosplay was the choker that I made, even though it kept poking me in the throat (the heart crystal came to a point on one side) and wouldn’t lay exactly as I wanted it to.  The day I wore the Red Queen I handed out little heart charms as gifts.

posted with permission from Viviane WolfeViviane’s Mime cosplay was super awesome. She brought along a crocheted arigumi and he hitched a ride whenever he could.

The cosplays that we saw on Saturday were many (naturally) but my favorite this year had to be a girl that cross-cosplayed Jareth. She was attending the FanExpo with her parents and I had a chance to talk with them before snapping a picture. I asked the girl why she chose to cosplay Jareth and her response made my heart pitter patter and give props to her parents. Later when we ran into each other at a Vendor (the same one that I purchased my mini tophat from last year) we joked about following each other.

IMG_4378

 

 

Saturday night Viviane and I went to the 80s Dance Party that took place at the Alamo Draft House down the street from the convention. This was my first time attending an After-Party and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Before the party, the Alamo screened Rocky Horror Picture Show which was introduced by the original cast. We caught a glimpse of them while we waited next to an honest to goodness Dolorian time machine and watched a look-a-like Marty McFly talking to people. It was eerie listening to him. He had the mannerisms and speech patterns so completely memorized. If I had cash on me, I would have taken a picture with him and the car. But I didn’t.

Viviane and I decided to totally punk my hair out and give me a faux hawk. It was glorious.

The shindig was a lot of fun and we met some amazing people. Yes, Cap’t Jack and a Stormtrooper had drinks together. We danced, We sang. We drank. We did eat. We started the evening as strangers and ended the night as…acquaintances, if not friends.

Going back in time…. Friday… I cosplayed the Punky Harley and Viviane cosplayed her steampunk lady.

I took elements from last year and mixed them together. I didn’t bother with a wig or change my hair. It really was a mashup of different Harleys. What I found interesting is that I was recognized as Harley Quinn and several people thought my actually hair was a great idea.

Other than wandering the Vendor Hall the only thing that Viviane and I planned on doing on Sunday was seeing Mark Hamill  – It was after all the reason I convinced her to make the trip. The only other panel we managed to see the entire weekend was the Shadow Cast performance of Rocky Horror Pictureshow.  (Which was great!)

Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy were going to be sharing the stage and talking about the animated Batman series. Unlike the special panel that happened on Friday night that Mark Hamill had (Special Event Tickets required)  this panel was free. And we were pretty sure that everyone that didn’t go to the panel on Friday would show up on Sunday so we had to be early enough to ensure getting seats.

Lines are a thing at FanExpo. This year they were particularly bad. In order to ensure we would get seats we found out where the line was going to form and then waited until the line that belonged to panel before ours went in. Lining up immediately following them. Viv and I were 3rd and 4th in line and we waited roughly an hour. By the time we started to go into the room where the panel was, the line had snaked around 4 times. I have never been so happy to have been there that early. We were stage left but in the first row.

I was amused by the number of questions that were asked about Star Wars and how adept Mark Hamill was at steering everything back to Batman and Joker.

At one point Mark Hamill’s daughter came out with his puppies and they snuggled on the stage. It was adorable. (Kevin was absent because he had to pee.)

IMG_4424 This year there were several aspects about the FanExpo I wasn’t too keen on, but the events and such that I did attend were a lot of fun and I am glad I was able to share the experience with Viviane.

Goodbye/Hello

I was going to write about the fanexpo and all the neat and amazing things. I even have part of a draft saved. But I put it on the back burner because I ended up really busy. You might notice that THIS post isn’t coming from loose endings. That’s because I’ve spent the last week redesigning and prepping looseendings.com for a new home. It’s time to take the fledgling(and tbh floundering)business that I initially created to support a yarn habit and turn it into something that I can look back at in the future and be happy with.

No. This post, to get back on point, is coming from room7609.net my newish blog home for everything that’s not related to what I am doing with loose endings. Why newish? Because I’ve actually held this blog name on wordpress.com for far longer than I’d like to admit. Given the work I was doing for loose endings, I decided to give the blogsite a little loving attention.

You will still be able to find all the blog posts before today from loose endings here. I “archived” them. It was too much of a pain to import them and format them to the new site. You can search the archive or just check out the category list…uh on second thought… everything was filed under Ramblings unless it was food related and then it went under The Kitchen Goddess Diaries. Looking for something specific might take a bit of digging if you aren’t looking for recipes.

And if you put loose endings on your blog roll to follow you will have to add room7609 to the list if you want to follow me here. You know, where I talk about food, cosplay, makeup…anything really.

I will get to that fanexpo post. No promises on when it will show up. And if you look about the blog I’d like to see if you know where the inspiration for the name and ah…title themes are from. So an inadvertent POP QUIZ!

-Charlie

Posted in Ramblings

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Apparently 9 years ago today I registered my first blog with WordPress.  Not that I actually remember the date. WordPress was kind enough to let me know that it was my 9th anniversary.

It’s been quite around the blog for a multitude of reasons. I’ll be sharing my 2017 FanExpo convention experience once I transfer pictures as well as my cosplay adventure. I’ll also have some updates about Loose Endings.

 

 

Posted in The Kitchen Goddess Diaries

Shepherds Pie-Up Graded

If you are looking for an amazing stew type meal look no further than this recipe. I came across this recipe via Blue Apron. Of the three meals I received a few weeks ago this one was by far the tastiest, easiest, and an immediate favorite.

It is at its essence a shepherds pie given the ingredients. It’s just upgraded. Instead of mashed potatoes you have Parmesan covered roasted potato slices.  And the meat mixture is lamb and beef (although if you don’t like lamb just use all beef.)

While the recipe I am sharing is meant for just two servings, I think it wouldn’t be very hard to double or triple the recipe. The next time I make this I’m making a triple batch and freezing it for future meals.  Simply pull out the stew and make the potatoes. Easy peasy.

 


 

Ingredients:

  • 10 Ounces Ground Lamb & Beef Blend
  • 4 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms
  • 2 Scallions
  • 1 Pound Russet Potatoes
  • 1 Stalk Celery
  • 1 Bunch Chives
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Glaze*
  • 1 Tablespoon Lamb & Beef Spice Blend (All-Purpose Flour, Mustard Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Fennel Seeds, Ground Savory & Ground Dried Thyme)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup of Water

 

*Made from soy sauce and seasonings which have generally been mixed with a thickening agent, like cornstarch, soy glaze is an easy way to add richness to meats, vegetables, soups and dressings. It has a powerful, tangy flavor with a touch of sweetness, and brings delicious, Japanese-inspired complexity to any recipe.

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the potatoes; thinly slice into rounds. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the potatoes on the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast 18 to 20 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on. Carefully top the roasted potatoes with the cheese. Return to the oven and roast 4 to 6 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven.

While the potatoes roast, wash and dry the remaining fresh produce. Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Small dice the celery. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Thinly slice the chives.

While the potatoes continue to roast, in a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground lamb and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Add the mushrooms, celery and white bottoms of the scallions to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and softened. Add the spice blend and tomato paste to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

Add the soy glaze and 1 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 5 to 6 minutes, or until thickened.

Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the finished stew between 2 dishes. Top with the parmesan potatoes. Garnish with the green tops of the scallions and chives. Enjoy!