Friday, May 4, 2012

Anime Central 2012 Recap

It was a very eventful weekend for those of us that attended Anime Central's 15th convention. While this was one of my most memorable conventions, it also seemed to be one giant disaster after another.

* Acen was a month earlier than normal. I am aware of the reasons why this happened - It just sucks that it was earlier in the year. There were a ton of college students that were unable to attend the convention because of this.

* Several panels seemed to be placed in rooms that were completely ill capable of holding the desired attendance. They ended up canceling Anime Bingo so that they could move the LoL panel into a larger room. This was unacceptable for people who wanted to attend Anime Bingo. Acen was aggressive about rescheduling and moving panels without giving any notice.

* The separation of the game rooms was a nice idea, BUT they should have remained in the same area. It was not fun having to go across the street to a different hotel altogether just to find the other game room.

* LM.C ended up running nearly 3 hours later than originally scheduled.

* Overall the Crystal Ball was a total fail. Online it states that formal wear is required, and still, people wearing school uniforms were allow in. I'm sorry, but there is nothing formal about a school uniform. The DJ at the Crystal Ball had no variety to his playlist, and refused to take any requests. The snacks were lame, pretzels and water? For a formal event that you are paying $25 to attend? No. Just no. A meal and drink should be included in the event.

* Failure to mail panelist badges.

* There was one overly rude 'staff' member, Chad Adams. He was just flat out ignorant and I don't think his behavior was appropriate at all.

* Registration. MAPS, you've been doing this for 15 years now. When something doesn't work, you don't just keep doing it and hope it gets better. You FIX it.

* The evacuation of the Hyatt due to a guest removing a fire extinguisher. This cause a bunch of issues for the Masquerade and everyone preforming in it. Yes, the show was canceled. This show is listed as the main event of the convention, and canceling it was unacceptable. To say that people have spent a lot of time and money in their efforts for the masquerade is too much of an understatement. I've been a cosplayer for many years now and I've been there, spending many a sleepless night before the con trying to get everything as perfect as you can. If I had spent hours of my time, lots of my money, and gotten all prepared to compete and perform I would have been absolutely devastated. I know there were issues with the fire alarm and all, but there's no reason why the event shouldn't have continued after the fact. I understand stuff happens, things get delayed or moved, but the Masquerade is a core part of Anime Central.
Yes, the evacuation itself was handled very well. Once outside, though, it was a madhouse. No one knew what was going on, and everyone kept being moved from one place to another and back again.
However, The Department Head of the Masquerade did try and make amends for the issues caused by the evacuation of the Hyatt. You can find the open letter here. They apologized for the situation, and offered comp badges for everyone who was to preform that night.

The good things Acen had this year? There was only one thing that came to mind:
The Anime Central Guidebook App was very helpful, and kept updating through the con. To bad staff couldn't follow their own scheduling.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

By The Sword Inc. Vintage Lady's Boots Review

I purchased Vintage Lady's Boots from By The Sword Inc. a few months ago for a costume I was working on. The are based off of shoes from the Pirate-Era Thru the Early 19th century, and were dead on for the costume I was making. Shipping was fast, and the boots came in less than a week after I ordered them. The boots looked exactly like the picture on the website, and it seemed like everything was well made. I purchased a size 9, and they were a bit snug at first, but they stretched and adjusted to my feet quickly. After wearing the boots for 3 days straight, I can say that they held up very well, and were well worth the $60 I paid for them, but I will be buying shoe inserts before I wear them again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Using Sharpies to Dye a Wig

What you need:
1. 32oz bottle of  70% rubbing alcohol (You want around the 70% strength regular old rubbing alcohol, available in the bandage and health-care section of every Wal-Mart and Walgreens you can find. Do not use 90% alcohol, as it is too strong for the ink and will not work. Anything less than 70% will be too weak.)
2. 5+ sharpies (the more sharpies, the darker the color)
3. A Spray Bottle
4. An Old Soda Bottle or Container to mix the dye

Sharpie Preparation:
1. Break the sharpie to get the ink filler.
2. Cut the ink filler down the side with an exacto knife 

1. Pour half the alcohol in the soda bottle and keep the rest of it in the original alcohol bottle.
2. Place the split ink fillers into the alcohol bottle, secure the cap, and shake a lot!
3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, shake again, and then let it sit again.
4. Pour the dye into a storage container and then put the still clear alcohol into the bottle you used to mix the dye. If any ink fillers fall
out while you are emptying the dye, pick them up and put them into
the still clear alcohol.
5. Repeat the whole setting and shaking process.
6. Put the dye into a common container and shake it up to mix everything.

Applying to wig:
1. Make sure the wig is clean and ready to be dyed.
2. Make sure you are able to dye the wig you bought, some won't. If you
do not know I recommend asking the person who sold it to you.
3. Use a fine tooth comb and a spray bottle.
4. Spray the dye and comb it through the wig.

Once you have the dye in the wig, let it settle and then rinse it until all of
the excess color runs out of it. If you wish you can repeat the process.
Do not forget to do a test patch before dying the entire wig. To get the dye
out of the wig you can use 91% alcohol. However, only use 70% alcohol
for the dye because anything more powerful may just dissolve the color. 

For the brightest, most vibrant results - coloring the wig directly by hand is best. It takes a while, but it enables you to be up close and it will be easier to catch mistakes. For a shoulder length wig I recommend up to twelve markers. When you're finished you can rinse the wig in cold water to get rid of any possible residue.
Why can't I just use hair dye on my wig?
You probably hear this all the time, but wigs, especially ones usually used for cosplay, are not real hair. Wigs are plastic, and therefore don't have pores to absorb dye meant for porous human hair.

Can I dye a darker wig to a lighter color with Sharpie dye?
No. A wig can never be lightened with Sharpie dye. Never. Ever. Sometimes you can tint a darker brown or grey wig by hand Sharpie-ing it, but the general rule with dyeing is you can never make a wig lighter, you can only tint or darken it.

Can I dye a wig black with Sharpies?
Yes, you can hand-Sharpie a wig to black, but I personally would just buy a black wig. Black Sharpie ink is not a true black, but a super concentrated purplish, reddish, or brownish color, and if your wig fades, it could turn funky colors.

Should I spray-dye, dunk-dye, or hand-Sharpie my wig?
Spray-dyeing is the most commonly used method, as it uses the least amount of dye mix and is simple and easy to do. You simply put your dye mixture into a spray bottle, spray it onto the wig, and let it dry. Dunk-dyeing is used by some people, especially for shorter wigs, and will take more dye than the spray method. For this method, you completely dunk your wig into the dye bath, remove it, squeeze out excess dye, and let it dry. Hand Sharpie-ing is the cheapest, but most time consuming process, since you literally Sharpie the wig strand by strand to get the color you want.

Can I dye a wig silver with Sharpies?
Though this is still being experimented and debated, the short answer to this question is no. If you mix silver Sharpies with alcohol to make dye, the silver parts will float to the top of your dye, and will not stick to your wig. If you directly hand Sharpie the wig with your silver Sharpie, you are much more likely to get a dark grey color than silver.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to Apply a Wig

1. Pin up your hair. If your hair is long, separate the hair into two pieces, and twist. Cross the two pieces behind your head, and clip them across the top. This is an easy way to even your hair out on your head without a huge ponytail bulge.

2. Pin up any bangs. If you have a fringe or side fringe and you cannot get a wig cap, you may find it helpful to wear a small headband to keep hair from showing under your wig. Elastic ones are the best to use because they are more comfortable and are usually smaller.

3. Put on a wig cap. Use a wig cap on any type of hair length to hold it all in and ensure a smooth fit. Even if you are bald you can use a wig cap - it will help keep the wig on. If you don't have one, don't worry, you can still wear a wig and keep your hair hidden!

4. Put the wig on your head from front to back. There are two tabs on each front/side of the wig. Position these right in front of your ears. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect right away. Go ahead and style/brush it into place the way you'd like it to look. Review

I can say that I will NEVER be purchasing from this site again. I placed an order almost a month ago for the Monica wig in dark brown, and I chose standard shipping (4-7 days.) They charged my debit card, but never sent my purchase. For the past two weeks I have called and sent emails trying to get a tracking number or some kind of update on my order. Both numbers listed on the website result in a busy signal and no one has responded to my emails.

I posted on the Facebook wall, but it was ignored. I also scrolled through the comments, and found that this has happened to other people.

I posted on the message boards here and I got this as my first answer from a user:
"Welcome to the club - they've been having MANY shipping issues for quite a few months now."

I left a message on Kyle Johnsen's Facebook page, (Admin of and I left a new comment on's Facebook page. I posted about how dissapointed I was in the company, and that I would NEVER purchase from them again. One of my emails was returned right after this. However at 3:30pm yesterday Kyle Johnsen said that he would find out about my order and he never did. I have already emailed him this morning asking for the information.

I have been using this shop for years, but now I will NEVER PURCHASE FROM THEM AGAIN. This is unacceptable behavior, and now how a business should be run.

Update: 4/23 I was given a full refund after two hours on the phone, and they shipped out my wig for a 'rush' delivery. (This took 5 days) When I opened the package I found that they sent me the wrong color wig. I purchased the wig a month prior so that if something like this happened I would be able to return the wig for the correct color, but now the convention is only 3 days away.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mad Moxxi

Who is Moxxi, and why is she Mad?

Moxxi is a character from the game Borderlands. Moxxi has been married at least three times to different husbands. Mr. Shank from is her second husband, and her third husband was Marcus Kincaid. She was also involved with Lucky Zaford according to her son Scooter, but there is no indication as to whether or not he was one of her husbands, though it is implied that he may have been. She created The Underdome to keep herself occupied until she finds herself a new husband. She has at least two children, Skeeter (her unseen daughter) and Scooter (her son named after her daughter). It is also implied that she is bisexual.

Moxxi's appearance draws inspiration from characters in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The top hat with a card in it is symbolic of the "Mad Hatter", while the card itself, her preference for red clothing, the tattoo on her left breast, and her sadism all invoke images of the "Queen of Hearts".

"My first husband was a dirtbag, and a cheat. My second husband was fun. I figured by then, that I deserved a toy, all for myself, and that's what I got. Still wish I hadn't broken my toy. My third husband was good with numbers... and his hands. We’re still friends, kind of. We're civil. I'm looking for my fourth, you know, on the prowl. I don't know when I'll meet him, or where I'll meet him, but he's out there. For now, I'll get my jollies off on bringing pain this way... or maybe this way. And in the end, the crowd will love me for my brutality. I'll make them yearn for more and more of my pain. I'll be cruel and enjoy myself. When the thrill wears off, I'll leave and find a new toy. Until then, not too different than matrimony, come to think of it. Maybe the coliseum is my fourth husband, in a way." - Moxxi

Miss Moxxi is my next cosplay endeavor, and after much planning I have broken down her appearance and clothing to help others who wish to create her look. I will start at the bottom and work my way up.

Footwear: After an hour of searching I was able to find the perfect boots for Moxxi. They are from By The Sword, Inc, and were close to $60 with shipping. She also has one striped stocking, and one torn fishnet stocking. These are quite easy to come by, and costume shop or Hot Topic will have them.

Moxxi wears a holster around her waist, attached to a brown belt. This will be made from Wonferflex and brown material. The Holster reads "Rubi" and she does not carry a gun.

Pants: Moxxi does not wear pants, or a skirt, just her blue panties. This will be an easy find. Check Walmart.

Jacket: Moxxi wears a red ringleader type of jacket with striped cuffs and yellow trim, she also has blue and yellow buttons (One is bigger than the rest, and she is indeed missing one of them on her jacket) I ended up buying wooden buttons and will paint them as soon as possible. I used a fake velvet for her jacket and pirate stripes for the cuffs and collar. Her black bra is visible.

Jewerly/Gloves: Moxxi wears a velvet choker and black fingerless gloves. Both can be found at a costume store.

Hat: Moxxi also wears a tall red top hat. I bought a base for the hat at the costume shop, and used left over fabric from the jacket so that it matched. She has three feathers and a queen of hearts playing card tucked into it.

Megaphone: At first I was going to order a megaphone online and just paint it accordingly, but I found that another cosplayer had used a lampshade and a hairdryer to make hers. I was able to find the hairdryer at a thrift store and the lampshade was from an overstock store. Both will be painted to match Moxxi's and then pieced together once dry.

Makeup: The final touch for Moxxi will be her makeup. Start with a clean face and coated it with white hairspray, before polishing it with a coat of white powder. Lots of black liner, pink cheeks, and red lips to pull the look together. Oh, and extra long lashes as well. Here is a makeup tutorial for Miss Moxxi's look.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Steampunk Fashion

Steampunk is Victorian science fiction. Historically, this time period saw the development of many key aspects of the modern world, and steampunk uses this structure and existing technology to imagine an even more advanced 19th century era. By remixing styles from the Victorian era, classic Goth, gypsy, and industrial fetish, steampunk fashion creates a unique and beautifully disturbing look.

Untitled #2