Tag Archives: geek speak

Blood of the Demon by Rosalie Lario

“You’re telling me that this book is supposed to create zombies?” -Brynn Meyers

Lawyer turned novelist, Rosalie Lario is a relatively fresh-faced author entering the genre of urban fantasy crossed with paranormal romance. Her latest novel, Blood of the Demon, begins its inter-dimensional tale with Keegan, a stunningly handsome demon, and his three (equally drool-worthy) half-brothers. As bounty hunters for the Elden Council, the four brothers are given the task to capturing their father, Mammon, and also stopping his plans to begin an apocalypse.

Of course, there is always a starring lady. Enter beautiful Brynn Meyers, an art gallery owner who is able to read memories embedded in objects and whose simple touch can drain people of their life force. Unbeknownst to her, until otherwise informed, her abilities indicate demon ancestry and a past that makes her the key to unlocking the powers from an ancient zombie-raising book. To stop Mammon from imprisoning Brynn and summoning said zombies, Keegan and his brothers must work to protect her by any means necessary.

I am pleased that Loria wrote Brynn as a strong female character, regardless of the overdone concept of being tossed into a precarious situation where new worlds, demons and the things that go bump at night exist.

Another good point in the book is the character interactions, particularly in regard to the brothers. Their sibling squabbles and friendly discussions were entertaining; it all leaned heavily towards bromance, and reminded me at various points strikingly of Dean and Sam Winchester — entirely charming, to say the least.

Keegan is a mix of Dean and Sam in a tall, dark and handsome package. He has the older-brother-must-protect syndrome, combined with unnecessary emotional angst towards finding love and moral rights. Part demon, part dragon. Similar to his other brothers, each of whom are part demon, part something else.

Also in this book’s favor are the compelling action scenes, although they were far too few. But what little action scenes there were — more so near the end — were good enough to make me wonder why Lario didn’t include more of this kind of thrilling adventure into her paranormal tale.

But my main problem with this otherwise entertaining novel, ignoring the clichéd plot, is the level of hotness of each character. They are all depicted as beautiful, sexy, steamy — well, you get the point. Not that I have an issue with beautiful people — it just gives the characters a level of vanity I could do without. This coupled with several cheesy lines gave me a good laugh. Case in point: “Would she taste just as sweet?”

In all, Blood of the Demon follows a typical plotline with no elaborate twists or turns. Boy given task to protect girl from evil parent, boy and girl lust-love each other, boy fights parent, girl kills boy’s parent, boy and girl end up together. Lario writes an entertaining novel that is a good, easy read for when days are long and you want to cuddle up with a blanket and cup of tea.

And I must admit that I am curious to read the second book in this series, slated to be released only a month after this one, featuring this time the romantic entanglement of Keegan’s brother, Taeg.

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Starrise at Corrivale by Diane Duane

“Excuse me, Ambassador, but what’s a bedbug?” –Captain Dareyey

Best known for her Young Adult series Young Wizards and, unbeknownst to me, numerous New York Times best-selling Star Trek novels including Spock’s World, Diane Duane brings the much anticipated Harbinger Trilogy from the world of Star*Drive.

The first to write within the Star*Drive universe, Duane has not been the last. TSR’s science-fiction role-playing game Alternity, which I’m slightly intrigued about and may end up playing soon, is brought to life through the protagonist Marine Lieutenant Gabriel Connor.

While I have never read a game-related novel, Diane Duane is a childhood favorite. Add to the fact I have never played Star*Drive, and I really didn’t know what to expect.

What I found was a very much recycled story that revolves around a soldier duped into taking the fall for a sinister plan, disgraced and given the boot. Said character aims to uncover the corrupt system, to regain lost honor, while becoming a hero in the process.

A Marine for Galactic Concord, Lieutenant Gabriel Connor is the typical attractively intelligent man, who climbs the ranks quickly. He has the favor of Ambassador Delvecchio, a sharp-witted women who commands those around her with the wave of her finger at 133-years-old — a character who’s ferocity and personality I quite admire.

After Connor is assigned to become part of the military contingent accompanying a diplomatic mission, in which war has waged for hundreds of years, he is thrown into an unexpected position of handling negotiations between the two worlds. Accused of assisting in a murder, Connor is — as is typical — discredited and told to leave.

Given a second chance for redemption by Concord, Connor grabs the opportunity. Along the way he befriends an alien and meets many interesting people.

Much of the first few chapters are a slow progression, introducing characters and establishing the plot. While space combat is always interesting, Duane is at her best when her characters interact. Delving into the psyche of both mankind and aliens, Duane brings up moral dilemmas and pressing situations.

Duane’s style of writing is quite, even surprisingly, different from that of her young adult novels. If not for the name on the cover, I would be easily duped into thinking it was another author. Duane’s traits for establishing characters and keeping the interest of readers is still within the context of the novel, but the manner in which she describes the scene and foreshadows the future is much more complex.

Slow to start, but action-packed with an intricate political skew, Starrise at Corrivale brings to life a much-beloved gaming universe and makes it work. While this first novel in the Harbinger Trilogy can be considered snail paced at times, it works by establishing the world for its two successors. It does take some free time to read as it gets dense and wordy, but it may be just for you.

However, there are some issues with editing, so if that kind of thing annoys you, stay away.

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Book Review: The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas

“That’s it, is it? I’ll be remembered as a fine speaker, because no one has bothered to write anything else? But then why remember at all?” – Speaker Hyram

Powerful limbs, sleek bodies, leathery hides, strong snouts, block-long wings, jaw-dropping flames… there are many reasons to love dragons. I had my first taste of these fire-breathing creatures when I first read The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, with its humorously blunt dragon — though, admittedly, the idea of a sniveling prince and a heroic princess probably did more to spark an interest in an independent little girl’s mind. It wasn’t until my teens, when I stumbled across Anne McCarthy’s Pern world, that I fell in love with the scaly creatures.

I have picked up many a book about them since, and while each has individually been great in its own way, none have captured my attention for long. It was during a search for some schoolbooks at a local bookstore I came across Stephen Deas The Adamantine Palace. An appealing cover graced the novel: dark with a blueish-white dragon flying across it. Interest sparked.

In a world once dominated by dragons, humans now control the dragons’ minds with well-kept secrets of alchemy and potions. Kept under harness and tightly controlled, dragons turn into domestic creatures, no more intelligent than four-legged mules. This is, at least, until one prized white dragon manages to escape and regain his long-suppressed memories of a time when humans cowered in fear.

We have Prince Jehal, charming, handsome and vile. Ruthless in his ambition to gain power for himself, he betrays, lies, plots and murders to stay two steps ahead. There are moments where you see him slip and you think it’s possible for him to come back; that he can be redeemed. Then he turns around and makes you shake your head in sorrow. We also have Queen Shezira, poised with a strong personality, is not without aspirations herself. Not entirely sympathetic to the quailing of others, she uses her daughters as pawns for marriage alliances, as she was herself, to secure and influence her own power.

Add in a rogue dragon — full of intelligence and fury — bringing back the memories of his enslaved kind and setting the humans to warring and politicking and you have a fast-paced, brutal dragon tale.

Told through the eyes of several protagonists and minor characters, the book reads solidly. While focusing mainly on the conversion of power of the Speaker (an over-king position coveted for its power), his retirement and his heir successor as fought between royalty, Deas cleverly weaves underground passages in the narrative, allowing the dragon element to slowly come back in full force.

Each character is developed through ever-changing circumstances, becoming nastier, stronger, or more determined to seek vengeance. Deas constantly adds another layer, getting down to the gritty details. While certain aspects of this are welcome, the curveballs of supposedly strong females turning into whiny, spoilt princesses does make one wary. I understand the necessity of annoying, naïve characters in furthering plot lines. I do. But I wish there would be less of them.

I strongly detest weak (naïve, stupid, pouty) female characters. Females can kick ass too without being over-sexualized! Paper Bag Princess, come on!Aside from Queen Shezira and (at least near the end), her eldest daughter Almiri, I felt that in comparison to the number of women that were introduced, the number of strong women is sadly lacking. Grudgingly, if I include the evil, two-faced bitch Queen Zafir — who is too ambitious by far — the numbers are still dismal.

Granted, the male protagonists were equally upsetting.

I suppose this is why I enjoyed the book as much as I did. The Adamantine Palace reveals the coarseness of humanity in its sins and need for power. Deas manages to put life into each personality, and while at times I felt overly irritated with many of the characters and their self-entitlement, lust and greedy fingers, it all does point to the flaws of humankind and the troubles we put onto ourselves (as the history books full of destruction and war clearly show).

Overall, brilliantly written and an excellent read, and a wonderful set-up for the next installment. It isn’t McCaffrey’s Pern (nothing, NOTHING I SAY, will ever come close) but it is certainly the beginning of an outstanding new dragon series.

Oh, and go dragons!

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Cosplay: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s the end of the day and the heavily, layered fabrics weigh you down. Your prop slides through sweat-slicked hands in fading sunlight, while make-up once perfect leaves streaks on your face. The convention is over, your first cosplay is a success and you’ve tallied up the amount of times you were asked for a picture. Score for being recognized!

To best explain cosplay to the uninitiated, it is perhaps easiest — though often misleading — to mention Trekkers or Trekkies, those Star Trek fans who are well known for donning the costumes of various Federation personnel and their enemies. Essentially, cosplay is the act of dressing up as favorite characters from a favorite series, whether they be from anime, manga, novels, video games, television shows or movies.

Cosplaying can be as fun as it can be stressful. It involves much time management, learning new skill sets and the ability to adapt to unknown (and often baffling) situations.

My first attempt at creating a costume came some years back. The subject was Harry Potter. Two and a half weeks after school began, my friends and I realized Halloween was fast approaching. Every day for the weeks leading up to that spiritual, ghost-filled night, I could be found bunkered in my friend’s basement. I told my parents I was studying.

Which, of course, I was. Right.

Long flowing black fabrics, colorful ribbons, painful needles stuck in fingers and sanding of wands. There were several magical… realizations that came right off the bat. Mathematics really is a necessity in real life.

I know, boo, but true.

Finding the circumference of the bottom of a cloak, for example, required a certain lovely formula (c = π ∗ d), as did the amount of fabric required to invert towards the shoulders and the dimensions of the hood. Who knew making clothes was so difficult?

Entering this world, I learned the basics of sewing and how to use a machine, the necessity of keeping said machine oiled and greased and ready for use, how to create pleats and cloaks and ties, brushing up my 1+1 skills and that not everything has to be done from scratch. This light bulb moment came to my friends and I after completing the wands – after having sanded four of varying lengths and thickness for hours on end. Once the wands were deemed “almost done”, a friend who happened to play the drums commented that as drumsticks are already tapered at the end, it would have been much easier to buy the sticks, rather than the dowels. Insert face plant.

We did learn after that and reused old white blouses, bought knee length socks and fought dust-infested closets for old clogs. We also borrowed old ties from our Daddy Dearests. When our costumes were completed, we not only ended up winning our school costume contest (and given props for them being hand-made), but they are still frequently used for each Harry Potter premiere. Oddly, none of us ended up wearing the Gryffindor colors.

In that same year, not too long after that first successful cosplay outing, I ventured into my first anime cosplay. It would be the second time attending Anime North, Canada’s premiere anime convention, and we were absolutely psyched. A group of friends and I had fallen in love with the anime series Naruto, the year before it hit international television and the mass appeal had yet to make its way towards young teenage boys wanting to be ninjas and teen girls infatuated with emo characters.

Our group had many of the main characters: Naruto, Sasuke, Neji, Tenten, Hinata, Shino, Ino and so forth. We were young, enthusiastic and creative; all invaluable assets when beginning the journey of cosplay. After our awe-struck drooling from the year prior, the idea to cosplay lingered indefinitely in our minds. It was at this time we learned about the limitless possibilities of cosplay and a certain set of life skills that is usually hard to come by otherwise.

According the accepted conventions of ranking, a cosplayer begins as a novice, and depending on how talented you are with your fingers, a sewing needle or machine and glue, you rise to the rank of journeyman. From there your choices of anime, manga, video games or movies become more intricate; more difficult. You take another leap to become an artisan. Years pass by, bloodied fingers are a thing of norm and before you know it, the rank of master is labeled.

A master is not made by the length of time they’ve cosplayed, but by the minute details and striking features of the costume they’ve made. At least, that’s my definition. I have seen the work of masters whose costumes should be labeled as a journeyman at best.

If you’ve never cosplayed before, I recommend it. For all its challenges, it is a really fun activity to share with your friends. However, I do have some words to the wise for anyone considering starting out…

– When you’re a novice, don’t pick an anime, manga, or video game that is overwhelmingly detailed. You’ll only end up strangling yourself with the expensive (and completely unnecessary) fabrics you’ve decided to buy. Choose something that is feasible. Naruto, despite all its latest drama and confusion, was once upon a time a wonderfully exciting manga to read. The costumes are simple, yet completely unique to each character. Done properly, the cast is easily put together.

– Despite the appearance of simplicity — such as in the case of the black and white uniforms from manga series D. Grey-man — monotone colors usually indicate surprising elements of difficulty and several lurking issues. I have seen many costumes from this manga that have failed due to the lack of attention (and skill –but that’s another matter).

– Pick a character that you will have fun embodying. If you and your friends decide to cosplay as a group, as my friends and I frequently do, keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of each person. If someone is talented at sewing and another prefers to create props, assign roles. There is always time to pick up other skills at other points in the journey of learning to cosplay.

– Now, the harsh truth. Your body and the character’s body are not the same. Do not create the costume for the character, but for yourself. Many of us are average sized, some taller, some shorter, some bigger, some stick thin. It you’re a girl, take into account your bust size. You want to accentuate yourself through the angles and cuts of the costume by altering the design. Keep the dimensions realistic and not to the character’s unrealistic body. You need to be comfortable in the costume. Not in the sense of be constricted by the collar or squeezed at the waist, but in yourself and what you’ve created.

Some more helpful tips that every beginning cosplayer should know:

– Don’t be afraid to pick up a “how to” book or surf the ever-trusty internet for forums on what to do.

– Learn the basic stitches, front and back. If stitching doesn’t work, fabric glue and fray check are your best friends when working with trim or layered fabrics.

– Don’t waste your money on expensive fabrics that you will end up damaging in your steps to learning. I’m not saying you will, but it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution.

– Old clothes in your closet can be used as templates for future creations. They are also great for cosplaying itself, depending on the cosplay. Old Halloween costumes are fun to fix up — after all: reduce, reuse, recycle. Along with using clothes as templates, fabric paint is very useful in stenciling the intricate details. Sometimes fabrics can only be cut in certain ways.

– Especially in anime, manga and video game cosplay, you really have to use your imagination. This need is prompted by the mangaka — the writers — themselves. When they create their characters, they invent gravity-defying clothing and weaponry for them, hoping for the character to be recreated in life.

– Real hair can be a pain. Wigs are capable of being styled and flared, dyed and cut in ways that your own hair cannot. Also, it’s usually worth it to pay a bit more for a better quality wig.

– Once you’ve learned more, go ahead and add your own flair to the cosplay; if a costume doesn’t have something you think it should have, it’s okay to elaborate on it. If there are various versions of the anime, manga, game or various sequels, keep the majority of obvious signature items, but feel free to crossover various elements into your own costume.

– Always remember why you started to cosplay in the beginning and never forget that the simplest costumes can be the hardest to pull off.

– Most importantly, have fun! There will always be moments of stress, where you want to pull your hair out, or scream and hit something. Take a break. Even if it’s down to the wire, with only an hour left on the clock, take a walk. Sometimes the best approach to completing your costume is to remain objective and keeping a level head.


There is a certain sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with finishing your first costume by yourself. The straight, precise stitches done by your mother’s hand are missing, but nevertheless, those bloodied stitches are your own. Over time, you begin to feel a sense of entitlement, you develop an almost elitist attitude towards cosplaying. You can tell who put effort into their costumes, who is just beginning and who has been around for a while. And it’s okay to hold others to a high standard, but remember: you started from scratch too.

Cosplaying is fun and is a great way to pay homage to your favorite fandoms, but it is so much more than just dressing up. It can also help in revealing your own identity; it shows you who you are. It teaches you what you are comfortable doing, and being, in public, and how driven you are, how much patience you have, how much determination and ambition. It teaches you kindness, attention to detail, and life-skills that can rarely be picked up anywhere outside of Project Runway. . It also helps refresh your high school math.

But more than all of this, through cosplay you will you find new friends each year who will accept you for being the über-geek you are.

And help you dress like it.

MY COSPLAY TO DATE: Naruto, Bleach, Fruits Basket, Shaman King, .hack
franchise, Pokemon, Soulcalibur IV

FUTURE COSPLAYS: Tales, CLAMP, Dynasty Warriors

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Diary of a Cosplayer

Picture this. It’s a beautiful sunny day. The sky is blue, and white clouds stretch off into the horizon. You’re sitting in your car, leisurely making your way to a destination unknown. Looking ahead, you notice various groups huddled together on the sidewalks, posing and making strange gestures in the air. Weapons and props stand out like sore thumbs, along with the fact that people are dressed in costumes in blistering Summer weather. Vibrant orange fabric drags on the ground behind a person, like a train on a wedding dress, as parts of tattered silk material float into the air when a gentle wind breezes by. Cars slow down, either to honk or to get a closer look. You hear random phrases yelled out to random people. Frantic calls and shrills of excitement can be heard from either sides of the road. “Look! It’s Sasuke-kun! Kawaaiiiii!” Immediately after, a poor soul is lost in the midst of glomping fans.

This, my friend, is the world of cosplay.

A blend — surprisingly enough — of “costume” and “play”, the word can be traced back to the Los Angeles WorldCon in 1984. Founder of the Japanese manga house Studio Hard, Nov Takahashi, coined the term after being impressed by the many costumes worn at the convention. Cosplaying has since become a common phenomenon that not only takes place in sci-fi venues, but is also increasingly to be seen at anime conventions. Conventions (or ‘Cons ’) occur several times a year, and provide an opportunity for a bunch of overexcited, sugar-filled, star-eyed cosplayers to get together, show off their often handmade creations, and, above all, have fun. Cosplayers and conventions go hand-in-hand and can be compared with Halloween — the main differences being that conventions don’t only take place on a chilly October night, and there is no age limit.

Which brings us to today.

Neon green lights flash 5:00 A.M. The sewing machine continues to plow its way through fabric and the hot glue gun is dripping onto the floor. Colorful bolts of cloth, elastic, scissors, pins and measuring tapes are spread over every available surface, consuming the family room and making its way into the kitchen. Threads stuck to clothing follow like trailing woodsprites in Avatar.
It hasn’t happened in a while, but we’re pulling an all-nighter. FanExpo — Canada’s biggest convention for gaming, anime, science fiction, horror and comic books — starts in less than four hours, after all. With our costumes slowly coming together, me down with a cold (after passing out for several hours from my mother’s insistence on the consumption of drugs) and my friends already struggling to stay awake from accumulated late nights, we are hard-pressed to finish.

This year’s FanExpo promises to be especially big, considering the guest list. Last names only: Lee. Glau. Shatner. Cronenburg. Amano. The first alone will make you drool and the additional guest list is not to be scoffed at either. Not something any geek will want to miss.

Our plan is to leave the house at 8:00 A.M., reach the Expo in an hour and take an hour (or so) to change. For once, the first since I began cosplaying in 2005, I contemplated not cosplaying to a convention. I blame the drugs.

Without a doubt, this summer was rushed. Between part-time jobs and volunteering, unexpected sickness and home renovations, trying to complete a costume is a hard task.

Each year my friends and I choose an anime or video game to complete that we feel fits us at that time. As we attend two big cons per year (not including the smaller cons: DTAC, MTAC, etc), we choose one for Anime North, and one for FanExpo.

Our first cosplay decision was Pokemon, because we can all agree they kick ass and dominated our adul–youth. Our second, for FanExpo, is the video game Soulcalibur IV.

Soulcalibur IV has horrifically detailed costumes and characters that are varied from psychotic to noble to somewhere in between. So much so that we had to play the game to sketch out every little bit of it. The process went something like this:

Me: Sweep-kick me.
Friend: (Presses button)
Me: Pause, okay, move right, right. A little more. Nope, too far — move back.
Friend: Damn it. (Moves back.)
Me: Great! Crap, my pencil broke.

One friend has completed her costume, another is almost there and mine, I’ve decided, was going on hiatus. As Talim, I had not finished the hat, properly assembled the intricate portions of my two bladed tonfas, nor was my small pouch done to my satisfaction. The hat and pouch, small but important details, complete the overall image of my character. My costume — while everything else is great — fails to meet my expectations after many years of cosplaying.

It’s 8:00 AM, and it’s time for hair and make-up.

Now, for those who know me, I’m a huge tomboy (insert: Then why the hell did you pick Talim?!?) and I struggle immensely with putting on make-up. For cosplay, I will do many, many things. Including, but not limited to, baring skin, wearing heels, and, worst of all, learning how to put crap on my face. It’s a difficult task, I assure you, but it has to be done.

Me being me, I have a horrible tendency of unknowingly rubbing it off then cursing at myself. Repeatedly. Many times.

It’s 10:00 AM and we’re ridiculously behind schedule.
As I drive into downtown Toronto (it’s 11:00), my friends and I stare at the long line. Wondering, pondering, questioning: “Why is it so long?” and “What is it for?” and “That can’t seriously be the entrance line?” Staring intently at the patiently waiting fans (more so than the road in front of me, I have to admit), I point out a very well done throw back to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ villainous Shredder and Bebop .

We see the typical Sailor Moon group, some Browncoats, a daring Catwoman, and, oops, red light. I stare some more. Held in the arms of Superwoman, a mini-Superman swishes his cloak around. I’ve never once said Superman was cute, but the little tyke had me.

Seeing a green, I follow signs to underground parking. Despite the expense, it was the right decision. The next was looking for a washroom to change. After being pointed (by staff and volunteers no less) up and down, left and right, we finally find signs pointing in the right direction.

It’s 12:43 P.M. and we’re dressed. Sort of. My friend with the “completed” costume realized she was missing the vital cross-strings in the back to hold it up. Yes, we struggled with safety pins the entire day.

After skimming the Exhibitor Area, because it’s sardines-in-a-can and that’s all you can do, spotting a few friends, playing cosplay bingo by spotting other dressed cosplayers and posing for pictures without whacking innocent bystanders with our weapons, we squeeze our way downstairs to explore panels and booths.

When choosing a costume and its coordinating weapon, you think that it will be legen–wait for it… wait for it–dary. Logistics don’t focus on how you’re going to carry it around or avoid hitting people (because that’s a given); rather it’s more about trying to make sure it won’t break before the con is over. The bigger the weapon is, the more the eye is drawn to it. Which means it can’t be two slabs of painted wood together. The intricate details and elaborate curves need to be in place. Something mine is sadly lacking.

For one reason or another, including a terribly empty stomach, no batteries, and the need for fresh air, we head outside. Confused, the already tired volunteers ask us: “Are you sure? You’re going outside, you know?”

To which we reply: “Yes, we know.”

They shake their heads. “Well, okay.” Holding the door open and letting us out, the volunteers fail to mention that there is a long wait to get back in.

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

If you weren’t there, perhaps you’ve read about the fiasco and ridiculously long line-up that went around the corner. After paying for a deluxe pass months prior, you would think they would give priority and stop selling tickets when the centre is already over its limit.

An hour and a half later, we’re back inside. The biggest upset?

Stan Lee at FanExpo.
(Photo: Karen Santaro.)


We weren’t the only ones. Friends who stayed inside gloated.

This year’s FanExpo, due to scheduling conflicts and other political stuff, was moved from the larger South building to the North. Mistake number one. Mistake number two was continuing to sell tickets to event goers then sending them to the end of a gargantuan line. Mistake number three? Well, let’s not dwell on all the problems that arose, because there were too many.

Once back in, we check and double check the schedule and make another round of the Exhibitor Area. Less packed now, it’s more salmon-going-upstream than sardines-in-a-can. The second floor is split into sections with sci-fi, horror, gaming, anime and comics.

But what really draws my eye, besides the deals and discounts of comics and manga, are the talented hands and creative minds in the Artist Alley. It’s an array of hand-drawn fan-art posters, bookmarks, buttons (you’ve got to love buttons), model-magicked creatures, sculptures, funky gadgets and more.

Plushies in the Exhibitor Area.

While the Exhibitor Area dealers run around and pull their hair out (I’ve seen it!) during the mad crush of buyers, the artists always welcome questions, comments and are happy to chat with you. Unless they are bogged down by commissions from eager fans.

A quick glance at my watch tells me it’s time to make our way to see the much beloved vampire, Spike. James Marsters is his charming self, answering questions with humor and self-depreciation. For those who missed Marsters’ late night concert the day before, he performs an acoustic melody that gives fangirls a reason to swoon once again.

It’s 4:30 P.M. and we rush downstairs. Summer Glau is about to make her appearance.

There’s a (relatively short) line-up outside the doors to the panel and I heave a sigh of relief knowing we haven’t missed it (not another one!). As the doors open, you can see the stars light up in the eyes of many male con-goers–though the same can be said for their female counterparts.

Summer Glau.

For those not aware of Glau’s psycho/emotionally scarred (yet somehow endearing) characters, she first made her debut in an episode of Joss Whedon’s Angel before he cast her in his series Firefly. She went on to play teen Terminator Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and a fractured computer genius in Dollhouse.

In person she is sweet, quirky and fresh. She retells humorous stories of times on set and her choices in choosing her roles. Throughout the panel, Glau is cursed with bad microphones, sending the audience into (not-so-) quiet snickers when the equipment would work flawlessly for the panel’s host. After exchanging one for another, someone in the audience yells out advice to hold the microphone in the centre. The audience shares a laugh as she quickly remarks about learning new things and appreciating her fans.

Summer Glau is as lovable in person as she is in character. Sigh.


It’s near 7:00 P.M. and things are wrapping up. Dealers are closing shop and buyers make a last ditch effort to purchase longed-for items. The remaining hours continue with smaller panels, a romp through the Exhibitor Area and Artist Alley, before concluding with the Masquerade. After picking up the ticket for entrance earlier that day, we make our way to the room. Lo and behold, another (very, very) very long line. Deep breath. What’s one more for the day?

The Masquerade is always an end of the day treat. Usually two hours, it is cut down this year to include a Steampunk Fashion Show. While everyone is entertained by cosplayers of different ranks shown by the quality and state of dress, the main attraction is the amusing host, Gord.

Gord. Oh, Gord. Comfortable in his role after many years, Gord, with his sarcasm and (not-so) slight perversion, fills the empty spaces and awkward moments easily. As a women sashays her way on stage in a skin-tight suit, like many before and after her, the crowd relentlessly calls out. Not in antagonism; rather, the expectation of ga-ga eyes and a chuckled, eye-brow wiggling statement from the host: “I love my job.” Because, mentioned multiple times, he does love his job.

Beginning with junior cosplayers under the age of 13, what follows does not go by rank (novice, journeyman, artisan, master) but by who signs up first. While entertaining as always, I find that the quality of this year’s cosplayers isn’t quite up to the standards of previous years. Don’t get me wrong, there are stunning costumes that made your jaw drop, but there certainly aren’t as many that meet the mark.


However, the inaugural year of the Steampunk Fashion Show is, to my estimation, a success. Corsets, puffed dresses, feathered hats, suspenders, gears, gadgets and gizmos, it is an amazing throwback into the past, a glimpse at the Victorian and 1960s-80s era brought back to life. There are hoots and hollers from Steampunk supporters and it’s a laugh all around.

It’s near midnight and I’m exhausted.

Time to go home and get some sleep. Time to get out of my costume and take off my make-up, relieved I won’t have to wear that gunk anymore.

Not until Anime North 2011, anyway.

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