Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! Sailor Moon Collectible Card Game

Moon Crystal Power Make Up!!!

Today, June 30th, is the birthday of Tsukino Usagi, aka Sailor Moon! For this week's Tabletop Tuesday we played the Sailor Moon Collectible Card Game (CCG) to celebrate the birthday of the pretty soldier in a sailor suit, Sailor Moon!

Happy Birthday, Sailor Moon!!!
I was introduced to Sailor Moon by my best friend around 1998. Growing up without cable meant that I didn't get to watch it on TV, and she lent me her VHS tapes of episodes she had recorded off USA. I was immediately hooked and have been a fan ever since.

The Sailor Moon CCG was released in 2000 by Dart Flipcards and is based on the English-language version of the 1990s anime. Cards were sold in a Starter Pack, Character Decks (themed for the different senshi), and booster packs. This game is now out of print, but you can find new and used decks for sale online. I've seen listings on Amazon and eBay, and they are priced around $20 for the Starter Pack.

Follow the jump to read more!

Friday, June 26, 2015

#Fandom5: Fandom Guilty Pleasures, June 26th, 2015

Happy weekend! It's Friday, which means it's time for another Five Fandom Friday!

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it or follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

This week's topic is: Fandom guilty pleasures!

I'm actually struggling to write this post. I'm a pretty private person, and while very few people are aware of how geeky I can be, I don't have many guilty pleasures. There are certain social and professional situations where I don't advertise that I make cosplay costumes and go to conventions and have a comic pull list and meet up with a group 1-2 times a week to play D&D... but if those people found out, I wouldn't be embarrassed. I don't know what it is, but I am very comfortable in my geekery - and I am happier since I embraced myself as a person who enjoys playing games and getting uncontrollably excited about movies and comics. This comfort with myself and what I like to do, expectations be damned, has only appeared in the last couple of years, and I credit this blog, the Twitter/blogger community I'm part of, and SDCC for having a hand in that.

What are your guilty pleasures? I'm very curious to see where there's overlap among people's posts.

1. Grey's Anatomy
I've seen the whole series several times (daily reruns, Lifetime is an horrible enabler). I have no idea why I keep watching it - it's not that good! And I hate most of the characters! It's campy and stupid and gets more unrealistic with each episode. I've even charted out a timeline of events - this crazy show, everything in the first 2.5 seasons takes place in a single year! That means Izzie was jilted by Karev, fell in love with Denny, Denny died, and then she hooked up with George, destroying his marriage, all in less than a year! How freaking unrealistic is that? How meaningful could any of those relationships have been?

The Boyfriend calls it "Disaster Hospital 9000" which is a much more accurate title. But I watch it, and I love it, and it's great background noise while I work on my dissertation.

2. Fan fiction
I don't post it anywhere, but yes, I have written Asgard fan fiction. And Star Wars fan fiction. And Indiana Jones fan fiction.

3. My super secret Pinterest board
I have a super secret Pinterest board. It has over 1000 images. This board will never be made public. No one knows about this board... until now. The topic: a super yummy British actor. You can probably guess who it is. Go on, guess.

That's... pretty much it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SDCC 2015 Preparations: the Con schedule

It is almost upon us... the release of the 2015 schedule for San Diego Comic Con!  The official SDCC panel and event schedule is released one day at a time, two weeks before the Con, so the next few days should be very exciting!

How I Make My Schedule
Last year I made a spreadsheet to compare the panels The Boyfriend and I were interested in. This helped us compare what panels we both wanted to see, which panels were located in the same or nearby rooms, and the timing of the panels so we could factor in travel time, time spent in line, and when we could go to off-site events and the Con floor.

For example: We decided to do Geek & Sundry in the morning, line up for Room 6A by noon, and made it in for the Outlander and Vikings panels! After, we planned to check out the Jobs in Video Games panel, but forgot about it and went to the Exhibit Hall instead. That evening, we grabbed dinner, then went to the Geek & Sundry MTG party!

The first thing I do is have The Boyfriend pick out everything on the official schedule that he might like to see. Then I plug those into the spreadsheet, along with my own choices. Everything is color coded and organized by time and location. I also look at the panels that occur before and after, to gauge how hard it might be to get a seat and how early we should line up. This helps maximize the number of panels we can see.

Once I have done this, I make a couple of different plans, run them by The Boyfriend (who actually doesn't care that much, he's a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy), and then create a final schedule with some back-ups. Our Plans B and C account for long lines, room shut-outs, or if we want to spend extra time at an off-site.

While it seems like I put a lot of work into our schedule, it takes very little time to prepare and gives us a good guide of where we want to be, travel time, line time, and what else there is to do. As SDCC n00bs last year, this really helped us maximize what we did each day and we left the con feeling like we got to do everything we wanted.

The point of having such a detailed schedule, for me, is not to rigidly adhere to it, but to know what other options are available if Plan A goes to pot.

There are plenty of resources to help Con goers figure out how they want to spend their time.
  • The MySched app will record your personal panel schedule/choices and give you an idea of how popular a panel is. 
  • The SDCC app has a zoomable map (and works without a wifi or cell signal!)
  • Off-site events are listed on blogs like the SDCC Unofficial Blog and Crazy 4 Comic Con
  • Those blogs and other forums are also filled with tips on how much time to plan for lines, when the Con floor is the busiest, and other useful information.

Here are a few tips I found helpful last year:
  1. There is so much to do that no matter what you choose to participate in, you will be missing some other awesome panel or event. Do NOT get too bummed out by this - that's just the nature of a Con this big!
  2. Look at the map ahead of time and download the SDCC app, which has a zoomable convention center map that you can access without a wifi/data signal. If you do need to change plans on the fly, you'll at least know which direction to walk in!
  3. Leave plenty of time to stand in lines and walk between panel rooms and off-site events. Also remember: trolleys happen. You will get stuck waiting for a trolley crossing at least once if you leave the Convention Center (also, obey crossing rules and be nice to the crossing guards and police - they are there to help keep you safe!)
  4. Related to #3, look at what panels are scheduled in the room before and after the panel you want to see. If something popular is scheduled immediately after, you may lose out to someone who is waiting for a later panel and arrived in line earlier than you. Unfortunately, how early to line up depends on the room and panel, and anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours may be required.
  5. If you are panel camping, please be courteous to the other Con goers - someone sitting next to you is probably very interested in the panel going on and doesn't want to hear about how hungry you are and all the toppings you want on your cheeseburger (true story).
  6. Your personal schedule is not set in stone - if you happen across something cool and want to check it out instead of visiting a panel, do it! And sometimes you get to meet cute guys in kilts!
We forgot there was a panel we wanted to see and went to the Con floor instead... Boy, am I glad!

How do you prepare your SDCC schedule? Do you plan and prep like me, or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person (like The Boyfriend)? What are your favorite things to do/see at conventions? What are you looking forward to at SDCC 2015? Leave a note in the comments!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! Forbidden Desert

Welcome back to Tabletop Tuesday, my weekly post about all things tabletop! This week's post will be a review of the board game Forbidden Desert, a sequel of sorts to last week's game, Forbidden Island.

Like Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game by Gamewright. It uses some of the same mechanics as its predecessor, but is not merely Forbidden Island 2.0: This Time It's Harder and In a Desert. Rather than a rehash of the original game, Forbidden Desert offers a very different game experience.

Follow the jump to read more about the mysterious Forbidden Desert!

Friday, June 19, 2015

#Fandom5: Characters with great fashion! June 19th, 2015

Happy Friday!

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it or follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

Today's topic is: Characters with my favorite fictional fashion. Now, I'm not sure if this means characters with great fashion sense, or characters who live in a fictional world whose costumes you love, but probably wouldn't get away with wearing every day because it's so far removed from how our society dresses. So I opted for a little of both and selected characters whose wardrobes I want to steal.

1. Princess Leia
If I could dress like Princess Leia every day, I would be so happy. The hair. The dresses.
(No metal bikinis, though.)

2. Bernadette
Bernadette always looks so nice in her dress and sweater combinations.

By Polyvore user MorePlease

3. Penelope
I love the vintage inspiration and mix of patterns and colors found in Penelope's wardrobe. I also love this movie, which is a modern fairy tale that puts a spin on the true-love-breaking-a-curse standard.

4. Peggy Carter
Can I have one of everything in her wardrobe, please? I really like mid-century vintage inspired clothing, so of course I adore everything she wears and I can't wait to see what they have her in for season 2! It'll take place in LA, so I'm hoping for bright prints and fun sunglasses.

5. Elf/Ranger Fantasy Fashion (eg. Arwen, Eowyn, Robin Hood, Merida)
Fantasy is probably my favorite genre, and the costumes the characters wear in the Lord of the Rings and other fantasy films are definitely on the list of things I want to wear. Tunics, flowing dresses, crowns, capes, jerkins, boots... I want to be an elven ranger! I'm more comfortable in a tunic and chain maille than I am in business casual.

For a spin on this fantasy costuming that's more accessible today, I really love the mix of modern and medieval in Marian's wardrobe from the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series. Actually, even though it is horribly inaccurate to the time period, I love the costuming for this whole series, especially the use of layers and hoodies. It looks so comfortable. As someone who lives in t-shirts and shorts, comfort comes first for me on my list of fashion must-haves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! Forbidden Island

Welcome back to Tabletop Tuesday, my weekly post about all things tabletop! Except this week's post is on a Wednesday because I forgot to upload my pics and hit "post"... it was a busy, busy weekend, full of highland games and D&D.

This week's post is a review of the board game Forbidden Island, a cooperative game by Gamewright. It retails for about $15 and can be purchased at hobby shops, on Amazon, and I'm pretty sure I've even seen it at Target.

Follow the jump to read more about the Forbidden Island!

Friday, June 12, 2015

#Fandom5: Favorite Fictional Fathers, June 12th, 2015

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it or follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

This Next Sunday, June 21st, is Father's Day here in the US, and this week's Five Fandom Friday topic is celebrating our favorite fictional fathers! (true story, this blog post made me think Father's Day was a week earlier...)

1. Darth Vader, Star Wars
Ok, so maybe he wasn't the best father, but he's always the first one I think of. And in his last moments he was reminded of what he once was, and sacrificed himself to save Luke during their fight with the Emperor.

2. Bob Belcher, Bob's Burgers
He supports his family, letting them be the quirky people they are while offering advice and tasty, tasty burgers. He accepts his children for who they are and is always there for them. I love that about him.

3. Eddard Stark, A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones (HBO)
He loves and cares for all of his children, teaching them honor and the values of their house. He acknowledges his children's strengths and desires, understanding that they need or want different things. I think this is really represented in his interactions with his daughters when they go to King's Landing - Sansa gets to attend tournaments and be the fine lady she dreams of becoming, while he arranges "dancing lessons," ie. sword fighting lessons, for Arya. He's not perfect - he's honorable to a fault, and it is eventually his undoing - but he is a good man.

4. Terciel, the Abhorsen, Sabriel
Even when his daughter, Sabriel, is at school south of the Wall he finds a way to meet with her regularly, teaching her Charter Magic and taking an interest in her life at school. He loves his daughter and offers as much guidance and training as he can, all in an effort to protect her, the Old Kingdom, and the people south of the Wall. And he trusts in his daughter and her abilities. Fanart by Bryce Homick, via the Old Kingdom Wiki

5. Henry Jones, Sr., Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indy and his dad didn't have the best relationship, but they bond over their shared love of history, archaeology, and the search for the Holy Grail. By the end of the movie they reach a point of mutual understanding and respect.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dragon's Loyalty Award

I was nominated for a Dragon's Loyalty Award by Gwen! Her blog is Like Gwen Stacy, and she also writes about books over at The Book Nosher. Thanks for the nomination, Gwen!

The Rules:
  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog with a link.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself that other bloggers might not know.
  4. Nominate up to 15 other bloggers for a Dragon's Loyalty Award, linking to their blogs and notifying them.
  5. Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

How fun! This is a lot like the Liebster Award.

Seven Facts About Me

  1. I was in a sorority in college. It was... an okay experience. ಠ_ಠ
  2. I don't have any tattoos. I have a couple of ideas I like, but don't feel compelled to act on them.
  3. My favorite weather is gray and breezy/chilly. I love thunderstorms.
  4. I homebrew as a hobby and give 6-packs to friends as gifts. We name the beers after my dog, Stormageddon.
  5. I want to hike the West Highland Way. It's only 96 miles and takes about a week to walk, depending on pace (compared to the Appalachian Trail at 2160 miles). I have friends in Cornwall who I would love to do this with someday. These are the same friends who spent a year traveling the world, so I'm sure they'd be up for it if we could coordinate schedules.
  6. I took dance lessons for 15 years - ballet at the beginning, then tap until I graduated from high school with a few years of jazz scattered in for technique/flexibility. I even used to compete.
  7. My favorite bubble tea flavor is taro. Unfortunately, my favorite shop closed and the only other option is more than twice the price...

I nominate...
Cate at Cateaclysmic
Katya Owu
Gaby at Whimsy and Noir
Alice at A Nudge In the Right Direction
Deidre at Geek Pilgrimage
Rosa at Gingerbread Sagas

Friday, June 5, 2015

#Fandom5: Five Comic Characters That Deserve Movies or Series! June 5th, 2015

Hello and Happy Friday!

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it or follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

Today's topic is five comic book characters you would like to see with their own TV series or movies!

Writing this post made me realize just how many Marvel comics I read, and how many TPBs I need to order! I also really need to organize my comic collection...

We'll finally get a Captain Marvel movie in 2018, and the success of Daredevil, the Flash, and Green Arrow has shown the viability of TV and streaming as a medium for series based on comic characters. So who are those characters we want to see on-screen? Mine are:

1. Black Widow
Why don't we have a Black Widow movie yet? #WheresNatasha???

2. Hawkeye
I love Matt Fraction's Hawkeye series and it would be awesome to see that version of the character in a TV series, along with Pizza Dog and Kate Bishop.

Alternatively, I also demand a Budapest movie, with the MCU versions of Widow and Hawkeye. I must know what happened!!!  TELL ME!!!

3. The Rat Queens
Rat Queens is one of my favorite comics, even more now that I play D&D weekly. I would like to see this comic treated to a series, but I think something along the lines of a web series (like The Guild) or a Netflix series would work really well for this comic, much better than a movie or TV show.
(fyi the 2nd TPB finally came out this spring!)

4. Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan is a wonderful character - her comic book is funny, touching, and relatable as Kamala learns about her powers and who she wants to be. Kamala will appear in the new season of the Avengers cartoon series this fall, but I would like to see a live-action version of this character with a possible cameo in a future MCU movie.

5. Saga
This comic has depth, and I'm not sure if a series or a movie would suit it better, but if any comic is worthy of the word, "amazing," it's this one. It's a complex story of politics, romance, and action, and I was hooked hard three pages in.

And one more: I've never read the Young Avengers beyond their overlap with Kid Loki and what I've learned about Kate Bishop, but I think that book would make a neat series, too.

Ok, so which characters are overlapping among our posts and when do we start the letter-writing campaign?  "Dear Marvel..."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! Gloom, a card game of death and despair...

Welcome back to another Tabletop Tuesday! Sorry for the delay, but it's been dark and rainy here, making it especially hard to photograph the cards for this week's game... which is actually quite appropriate, since this is the perfect game to play on a dark and stormy night...

This week we played Gloom, a card game by Keith Baker and Atlas Games.  We first learned about this game at San Diego Comic Con in 2014, when we received a bonus card at Geek & Sundry in a free Loot Crate. Shortly after, we found the game for sale in the exhibit hall and bought a set!

Gloom can be played by 2-4 players, each representing, "an eccentric family of misfits," such as the families of Castle Slogar and Hemlock Hall, the Blackwater Watch clan, and the circus freak troupe known as Dark's Den of Deformity.  Each family has five members, and the objective is to plague your characters with horrible events until they suffer a tragic death.

Sounds pretty morbid right? But the humor of the mishaps (Plagued by Poodles! Sickened by Salmon! Beaten by Beggars!) and the storytelling aspects of this game make it a lot of fun.

Read on to learn more about Gloom, the Game of Inauspicious Incidents and Grave Consequences!