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Camp NaNoWriMo

Last week, I received a random IM from a friend I used to roleplay with asking if I was planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo. After a few minutes of contemplation I replied, “Er… what’s that?”

Even though I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo (and attempted unsuccessfully to participate… for several years), I’d never heard about Camp NaNoWriMo. She sent a link… and yes, I’m doing it. So what is it?

Similar to NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNo is a month-long event in which the goal is to complete a novel (or other literary work – play, screenplays, autobiographies are all welcome!) by writing a little each day. Camp NaNo is different in many ways, though. You can set your own word count, revisit an old work, rewrite or edit. Camp NaNo provides all the group support and cheering on of NaNo with more flexibility to feel like you’ve accomplished something awesome… because you have.

There’s two sessions of camp, one during the month of April and one during the month of June, which means you still have 4 days to sign up and figure out what you’re writing. You have no excuses for not joining in! So go to campnanowrimo.org and sign up to be sorted into your cabin before it’s too late. I’m excited to see you all there, and if you don’t join me just realize… you’re going to be getting updates – frequently – and I refuse to apologize for it. As usual, you can find me at both Camp NaNoWriMo and the regular NaNoWriMo website under the username enigmalea.

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

 

First, I’d like to take a moment to announce the unveiling of enigmalea.com and my other blog All Your Crafts Are Belong To Us. The website is a simple, one-stop shop that links to my most used social networking websites. The other blog focuses on crafts and DIY projects that don’t really fit in this blog. That’s not to say they won’t be nerdy, they’re just going to end up be more on the domestic bliss side of things. I blame Pinterest for that one.

Now onto the point of this post: I’m already excited for Dragon*Con. We’re still seven months out, and I’m going into that hyper planning mode, already. I do have my membership, and I managed to book my hotel in October. That… was insanity. I’d planned to stay at the Marriott host hotel, which didn’t start taking reservations until October 10th at 9am EST. On October 10th, about 15 minutes early, I pulled up DragonCon.org to get the secret access code, and I hit refresh just before 9am to get it.

All hell broke loose.

I’m not sure whether it was the D*C servers or my crappy ISP or my laptop or the fact that EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER WAS TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING or some combination of the above… but I couldn’t get anything to load. Ish and I were both trying desperately to get the SUPER SEEKRIT RESERVATION CODE and once we had that in hand we were both trying (on multiple devices) to actually get in to make our reservation. I actually had my eyes on a room. I entered my payment information and….

… it was booked out from underneath me.

So then began the frantic search for a nearby hotel which wasn’t charging an arm and a leg and was still in walking distance of the convention. At this time, the overflow hotel information hadn’t really been updated, and all I could do was use a combination of travel websites and Google maps to figure out the best location for the best price. I’d find a place and it would be gone. It was insane! For an hour and 20 minutes, I searched frantically, desperation rising to the point I actually considered paying $420 a night for a Holiday Inn Express! (Oh yes, the prices were going up exponentially.) But FINALLY, I found a good deal at Twelve Centennial Hotel. It’s about 5 – 10 minutes from the convention and was nowhere near the $420.

That challenge conquered, I’ve been researching travel options for the past few months and finally decided on a good ol’ fashioned bus trip. The city I live in does have an airport, but it’s expensive to fly out of here. In fact, it’s about $100 – $200 more expensive to fly from here than say… Washington DC or Greensboro or Charlotte. Looking at those other options, we’d then have to take into account a trip down to the airport – which would include at the very least gas (potentially parking) and possibly a car rental. That brought the cost of travel to around $600 per person both ways. Amtrak was almost exactly the same price. In fact, Amtrak tickets cost one dollar more per person and we’d still have to drive a couple of hours to get to the nearest Amtrak station, which left us with the same hassle as flying.

Greyhound, however, leaves directly from our city and can get us there and back for $148 a piece. The only downside to the bus trip is the fact it takes between 9 and 12 hours (depending on how long we stop in Knoxville). The upside is the fact we don’t have to drive ourselves (YAY NO ATLANTA TRAFFIC ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND!!!!) and we can all sleep during the trek if we don’t want to stay awake.

Those problems solved I now have to tackle a bigger problem: who am I going to cosplay as?!?! I’m thinking this year will be a max of two costumes, both of which will likely be simplistic. Between now and August, I will have started a new job (I’m in training right now) and likely bought my first house and moved, so whatever costumes I come up with will have to be fairly simple. The problem with simple cosplay is that it may not be automatically recognizable as a costume character. I’ve considered dressing as characters from Warehouse 13 and Once Upon A Time and even Supernatural, but none of them would be guaranteed recognizable… and none of them struck a chord with me.

So I’m currently seeking inspiration and calling out to the internet for help. Does anyone have any suggestions? Any costumes they’d like to see coming up this year at DragonCon?

 

After far too long of a break from blogging, I’ve decided to return triumphantly with the conclusion to a list I started last year by bringing you the conclusion to my list of the best web series. I have other exciting blogging related news coming up soon, so stay tuned for it, as well as updates on DragonCon.

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As one of my favorite web series begins airing new episodes – today, actually – I decided to take a look back on internet media and the plethora of great shows that are starting as web series and turning into more. Before writing this blog, I realized I didn’t quite have a large enough list, so I went looking for more, found some great (and not so great) series and then recognized just how many of today’s popular shows either started as web series or had their own spin-offs or episodes which could only be found online. The SyFy show Sanctuary began as a web series. Who knew?

This list is varied with comedy, sci fi, drama, reality, and even even a little bit of romance mixed in. The shows are quirky, sometimes bizarre, and definitely not the same boring thing you’re used to watching. The truth is when it comes to web media, there’s something out there for everyone; you just have to find it.

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I’m still recovering from my first DragonCon and have already started thinking about next year. While most people are blogging recaps and reliving an amazing nerdy experience, I’ve decided to take a different route and focus on recapping my DragonCon experience by imparting the knowledge I picked up to next year’s incoming DragonCon virgins. Why? I did my best to find out certain information before I went and if it was out there on the internet, I simply couldn’t track it down. No matter how much I read, researched, and planned, nothing prepared me for the actual convention. Hopefully, the advice here will make all the difference for you. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and relax. You’ll need to save up the energy.

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There are probably a million and one mod guides for this nifty little Nerf gun called the “Nite Finder”. Why? Because it’s fairly futuristic and inexpensive which makes it any time traveler/steampunk/mad scientists wet dream. They run between $9 and $15 as of the point I’m writing this mod and can be found everywhere from Wal-mart to Toys R Us. I first picked one up for my Steampunk River Song costume with intentions of using it as an homage for her Alpha Meson Blaster.

River Song Alpha Meson Blaster

The inspiration piece. River Song’s Alpha Meson blaster.

As you can see, River’s gun is very, very close to the shape of the Nerf NiteFinder without any modifications at all, so the fact I stumbled upon the NiteFinder was fantastic.

For a while I simply looked at pictures of her gun, and stared at my own. To be honest, the white/light gray of the original is slightly boring, and even the more detailed version in the second picture doesn’t excite me very much. I thought about staying as close to the original design as possible, but then I thought to myself “why bother?”. After all, I’m not doing an exact cosplay of River; I’m creating a steampunk version. I looked at a few mods online and pondered and pondered and eventually I just got to it.

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It’s been a while since I actually updated about my DragonCon preparations, mostly because I’ve been so dang busy actually doing the preparations. I’m about 11 days away, but my 11 days is shortened to about 3 in reality, because I have to work 8 10 hour shifts between now and actually leaving. Who’s overwhelmed and panicking? This girl.

Here’s what I actually have left to do:

Cosplay

  • Finish painting Jack and River’s guns.
  • Finish River’s Nerf Steampunk Alpha Meson Blaster mod.
  • Attempt to alter the hemline of River’s skirt.
  • Purchase boots for River’s costume and holsters for both Jack and River.
  • Style River’s wig.

Food

  • Make onigiri.
  • Make two main dishes for bentos.
  • Pack and freeze four bentos.

Other

  • Pack. (Funny cause I actually have to UNPACK from where I house sat for a friend for two weeks first so I can repack. Also, I probably need to buy a suitcase or two and potentially laundry.)
  • Check the DragonCon app for updates and PRAY it did not lose all of my data like it did the last time it updated. Finish marking panels I want to attend.
  • Blog about the Alpha Meson mod, final costume pics, and make-up design.
  • Prep my scrapbooking stuff to take with me.
  • Have a breakdown and cry.

And that’s it. No big deal right? OH GOD WHO AM I KIDDING?! I’LL NEVER GET DONE IN TIME. Oh, look! I can mark “Have a breakdown and cry.” off my list. I feel accomplished already.

I’ve been trying for weeks to write a review of the Dark Knight. I promised listeners of Talk Nerdy 2 Me Podcast I’d do it within days of it coming out. I still haven’t done it. Why? A lot of what I think can be found in Episode 2 of the Podcast if you listen. I honestly can’t remember if we said anything naughty in that recording, but it’s possible, so you may not want to listen with the kiddos around. But because I promised my listeners something I just can’t bring myself write, it seems I’ve backed myself in a corner. I don’t want to disappoint them, but I don’t think I have much more to say. View full article »

In my prep for DragonCon I seem to have taken two steps forward and three steps back. My sister spent a week vacation going through her closets and doing spring cleaning. She ended up with 4+ garbage bags full of clothes she no longer wears. My sister and I are fairly close to the same size, so I was able to go through the bags and get a ton of clothes both for everyday and for cosplay. I walked away with the following:

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I’m very excited to be attending my first convention ever. I’ve always wanted to attend a convention and have dreamed of attending NYCC or SDCC for years. However, I always thought I should start small and work my way up by going to something cheaper, smaller, and less expensive close to home. I’ve been planning for a little while to attend the next SheVaCon as my first con, but all of that was tossed aside one fateful night at work. How? Why?

Simply put, I had an e-mail conversation with a co-worker that went something like this:

Him: Barrowman and Eve will be at DragonCon.
Me: When?! WHERE?!
Him: September something. Atlanta.
Me: I’m going!

By the next morning when I’d gotten off from work, I’d contacted several people about potentially going together, got a confirmation from one other person, ordered my ticket and started hyperventilating and fangirling over the guest list. It is officially the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done and for a long time I didn’t even know what to do to get started. By now, though, I’ve started getting things together and hopefully, I’ll be ready. So how exactly am I preparing?
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