PAX East

soldoutToday was the day I’ve been waiting for actively for months. The day tickets for PAX went on sale. Despite everything I did to ensure I could get badges, I had to walk the dog at the wrong moment, and when I got to my computer I saw badges had gone on sale a few minutes earlier. I immediately freak and select my badges, only to receive an error message telling me there is a problem with my selection, as “3-day passes are no longer available.”

Leading up to today I’ve been reflecting on PAX in general, especially with the skyrocketing price and shrinking availability of badges. $95 per person is not something I think I can continue to afford simply for admission, and over the past several years I’ve remarked on how I would’ve been unable to get tickets if I had been working at the time. Factor in other things and attending at all starts to seem less and less worthwhile. I didn’t think it was possible that tickets could sell out faster than they did last year when they outright announced the time in advance. I was wrong. As I write this Saturday passes are probably selling out and it’s not even an hour yet.

Assuming prices DO NOT increase again next year (which is an extremely foolish assumption), I’m only planning on trying to go a maximum of two days. The third day will simply be spent in the comfort of my own home with as many of my PAX friends that I can convince to come here and play games for free without the cover charge and parking fees. We spend most of our time in Tabletop HQ anyway, and it’s not like there’s a game out there worth playing that Suzi doesn’t own. I’ve got Twitch for the main theatre and if I’m lucky for the other panels I’d want to see.

I’m glad I’d been kinda working on this plan before today. I’ve never been unable to get 3-day badges before, and I’ve certainly never had tickets going on sale ruin my day until now. Now I can say with certainty that this will be my last full-PAX for the foreseeable future. I just hope that Saturday passes for 2016 don’t sell out in 30 minutes.

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“I’m so offended!”

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People will get offended by anything. Just look at the bottom half of the Internet. Sure, quite often, especially on the internet, you run into people outright trying to offend. Just look at Tosh. Tosh is not my style of comedy, so I don’t watch his stuff. I haven’t seen the video from his stand up, and I don’t remember what he said that offended the woman specifically, so I can’t argue whether or not his original joke was potentially funny. However I think we can all agree that his statement that the offended woman should go get raped was way past the line. Any and all outrage in that situation is warranted.

However examples like this are the rare extreme of people taking offense, and when easy targets like this do not present themselves, people will search for anything to feel slighted over. Take Joss Whedon. This is a creator who is admired and adored by many and frequently has powerful women at the center of his stories. I’ve been seeing the criticism recently that Joss only writes strong women with flaws, such as River being crazy or how much Buffy hates her life.

The thing that people miss when they make these complaints is that ALL of Joss’s characters have flaws. Simon Tam is a wasp with no street smarts whatsoever. Jayne has a 2-digit IQ, Derrial Book is badly haunted by his past, and Wash once lost a fight to a paper bag. In Buffy, Xander was useless most of the time compared to everyone else around him. Angel was a douche-bag, Oz eventually became a werewolf with anger issues, and Giles had trouble being hands on with any problems he didn’t outright cause. Joss tries to create real people, and real people are going to have flaws, male and female alike. Just because his characters aren’t perfect doesn’t mean he hates women.

The worst examples of this are when people take innocent if off-color statements and hear what they want to hear, for both sides of an argument. I now turn the topic to Penny Arcade. They were making fun of the way quests in an MMO like World of Warcraft work. They had a character freeing slaves until he reached his quota, where he’d leave the rest to be abused and beaten repeatedly by their jailors. Naturally Mike and Jerry created the most horrifying situation for these slaves to be in as possible, to show how MMO “heroes” are jerks.

The “rape jokes are never funny” crowd immediately took issue with the comic and used it as proof of how two people who worship their wives hate women everywhere, and started calling themselves Dickwolf Survivors. To make matters worse, a group of people trying to support Penny Arcade started calling themselves “Team Rape” and quite shortly thereafter death threats were made from both sides. Shit got way out of hand, Mike and Jerry had to tell everyone to shut the fuck up and pull the Dickwolves merch, and it’s really too bad. At this past PAX East I watched as a straight white male attendee walked up to Mike and Jerry and thanked them for the Dickwolves comic. He had been sexually assaulted, and their comic aided him in his healing process, and he was extremely grateful to them for that.

If you’re going to be offended by something, that’s fine. Someone is always going to be offended by everything out there. But before you start railing against the source of what offended you, remember that’s a person on the other end. If everyone could stop being dicks to each other, and if people had thicker skin, life would be a lot more pleasant.

The Revan Cosplay Story

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While playing SWTOR I may have had to steal a certain relic from a collector. Unfortunately my character was unable to keep it, but it got me thinking, that would look really fucking cool on my wall, and you can find anything on the internet.

Enter My Wicked Armor. This guy does absolutely amazing work. If I had Romney’s money, I would get almost everything he makes. Unfortunately I am a serf, so I commissioned just Revan’s mask. Considering my KOTOR obsession for the last decade, it seemed like a good idea and wasn’t going to destroy my wallet like the full outfit would have.

I don’t know who came up with it first, but either myself or Bunny thought of cosplaying as Revan for PAX East, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it. Anyone who’s dealt with me and costumes knows I absolutely loathe to half-ass something. If I’m going to dress up as something, I’m going all out. No jedi-robe-t-shirts or dumb shit like that. Fortunately my nerd-level is high enough that I’ve been carrying around a Jedi robe for seven years. It typically lives in my trunk in case I break down on the highway.

So, now with a cloak and a mask and three weeks before PAX, can I get a worthwhile costume put together? I wanted to wear the custom robes my character always wore in KOTOR I, but that was just going to be too complicated for the limited amount of free time I had. Instead I chose to go with movie-style robes in the colors I used for the custom tunics. I found Twin Roses Designs online making tunics in the general design that I wanted, but they were too costly plus I didn’t have enough time to special order what I wanted. At this point I’d done enough research online that I was confident I could make the tabard myself, and really didn’t want to have to try and get the under-tunic right, so I bought one from them, and got the fabric I needed for the tabard at a local fabric store.

Next I needed pants and boots. I wanted to get a certain color of pants that should’ve been a pain in the ass but Kohl’s had exactly what I needed. In fact, they’re my normal work pants in a different color. I enjoyed the convenience. Bunny and I took a trip to the Army Surplus store in Salem, MA, and got boots. Now I just had to put the damn thing together…

With a balaclava and the mask and robe I already had promising results. Next I needed to make the tabard. Lots of geeks debating the best way to do it online made it easy. I cut out a rectangle the size I wanted the tabard to be, and then taped it to angle properly at the waist to lie flat. I then made a pattern from that paper and started cutting and sewing. It was even easier than I hoped.

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Now that the front pieces were done, I had to figure out what I wanted to do for the back. In KOTOR the movie-style robes looked the same on the front as they did on the back, and that drove me insane. I greatly preferred the solid back on the robes that were standard in the game. I decided fairly quickly to go with the solid back. Once I made that piece, it was time for the super-fun task of putting it all together with presentable seams.

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After a lot of effort I managed to make it work out with the tabards still the correct length and the seam line where and how I wanted it on the shoulder. This I think was the hardest part of the entire outfit. With this part assembled I could finally make the obi to finish the piece. At first I tried to use just eye hooks to hold it together but I was having too much trouble getting them anchored well with the thread so I put in a zipper for extra support.

Back when I was a lad who had a job but didn’t have to pay rent, I could afford to spend my money on silly things, like Force FX lightsabers…Image

They’re glorious toys and I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth, especially since I bought each one for half price on eBay. However I had a problem. Back when I bought these they didn’t make them with detachable blades, and I had no interest in carrying one of these around with a 3-foot polycarbonate blade that looks far less cool in daylight. And I had just as big a problem showing up unarmed. I needed a solution, and the internet provided once again. And so, at the age of 27, I built my first lightsaber (although I’ve owned 8 before building any).

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The belt I had been using to hold things together while I tested the tabard was covered in quicksilver logos, so despite it being a decent belt type for the outfit, I had to go with something else that I later regretted, but I was doing this on the cheap. After all this work, I was fairly pleased with the final result…..

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I got LOTS of people stopping me for pictures. These two were sent to me but dozens were taken. It took ten minutes to get to and from the bathroom, really messing up my time budgeting. I was really glad so many people thought it was worth stopping me for photos. The downsides? Extremely limited vision, and DAMN that outfit was warm. After about 4 hours I started feeling ill and had a migraine not long after. I retreated to the car and passed out after taking painkillers. Luckily for me I didn’t miss any panels I’d been planning to go to, and was okay to catch the Dragon Age movie. I’m still tempted to put it back on (after some minor tweaks) but I can’t think of a way to fix the overheating problem effectively. What I really should do is ditch the WOOL cloak but the head is fairly ruined without the hood. So far I haven’t found any solution I like, but maybe that will change.