Sympathy for the Past

titanic-bows-railing-shipwreck-underwater-231735-2165x1500I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the “Titanic.” Before you ask, this started before James Cameron’s movie came out and everyone became obsessed with DiCaprio. I’ve always enjoyed reading about shipwrecks, and the “Titanic” particularly sparked my interest because of the unique circumstances surrounding it. This is the only shipwreck that we’ve been able to observe decompose and age, as it sank during it maiden voyage and did not weather the erosion that a more mature ship is privy to. It also sank slow enough that we have a very good idea of the circumstances that occurred on board the ship.

Recently I have begun researching the “Titanic” again in detail. The more I read, the more the tragedy surrounding around the “Titanic” becomes more acute. We’re so used to seeing the “Titanic” as a thing of the past, that we often forget that the people who died were real-life human beings, not actors in a three-hour movie. It’s been fascinating reading the biographies and autobiographies of the characters surrounding the crash. Their writing that they left behind fleshes out their personalities, hopes, dreams, and short-comings. In essence, it allows us to get to know them. This in turn makes the tragedy seem all that more real.

The anniversary of 9/11 has rehashed the stories of loss, tragedy, and heroism of that day thirteen years ago. That day will be forever marked in our hearts, and I doubt any alive that day will ever forget the image of the planes crashing into the twin towers.

Our experience in the present can give us sympathy and insight for tragedies of the past. Studying and familiarizing ourselves with these ghosts gives us the strength and courage to face our own “wrecks” and persevere. These incidents give us pause to self-reflect on our own lives. What is truly important to us? Are we the person we want to be? If we were to find ourselves facing our own grimreaper, how would we act?

Life is unpredictable. While we can’t live expecting disaster to be around every corner, we also can’t live as if we’re going to continue on forever. We must cherish what we have and always strive for the horizon.

Mascara Stubble

Technique: Mascara Stubble

Application Time: ~10min

Tools: Mascara, toilet paper, sealant (optional)


This is a easy, inexpensive way to create stubble or a 5 o’clock shadow. All you really need is mascara and a spare piece of toilet paper. I usually get a dark mascara that’s designed for thick, full lashes. I also prefer to use brushes that have thick bristles, as it helps with the texturing.

I preler Ben Nye's Final Seal. This will seal your make up so that it doesn't rub off.

I prefer Ben Nye’s Final Seal. This will seal your make up so that it doesn’t rub off.

I usually use the mascara for full, thick lashes. It creates a fuller stubble.

I usually use the mascara for full, thick lashes. It creates a fuller stubble.

For long-term use, I usually use Ben Nye’s Final Seal. Otherwise the make up will rub off over extended use.



Okay! Onto the application!

1. Wash your face. Yes, use soap and water or your face wash. You want a clean canvas to work on.


2. Dip your mascara brush into the mascara, and, starting at the bottom of your “5 o’clock shadow” area, brush upwards in small, short strokes. The point of this is to get the mascara onto your face hair.

Start at the bottom of the face, and use short brushes upwards.

Start at the bottom of the face, and use short brushes upwards.

Try to keep the brush parallel with your face, as mascara solution tends to collect at the tip of the brush. Use a toilet paper to periodically wipe the mascara from the tip of the brush. You’ll undoubtedly create “blotches” in your work if you tilt the brush too far forward. Use a bit of the toilet paper to dab it off. Don’t wipe it off, because you’ll wipe off the rest of your work, too.

Use the toilet paper to dab  "blotches" of mascara.

Use the toilet paper to dab “blotches” of mascara.

3. Voila! You now have stubble! It doesn’t take long to put on, and is pretty inexpensive. This photoset took me about 10 minutes total, including pulling out my supplies.


This is one of my favorite techniques for Sven from Black Cat. Again, for con use I’d recommend sealing it. Have fun!!!!



“How Do You Dea…

“How Do You Deal With Haters?” -Jin

I got this as a question on my Tumblr, and I felt I could share my thoughts here as well because it seems it’s something a lot of people can relate to. I hope this comes to helpful to any of you guys reading.

I’m certain there are people who dislike me. Some I come to know through whisperings because I have eyes everyyyyywheeeeere.

However, I don’t feel the need to acknowledge them or do anything about it unless they are causing any real harm, especially to people I care about.

There is a popular quote that I like referencing for this topic, which gets the message across in a charming way:

“You can be a juicy, ripe peach and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches, so you can either submit to someone’s criticism of you, or you can get on with the business of being your own amazing self who attracts other like-minded people that appreciate you.” — Dita Von Teese

I used to be affected if I found out someone didn’t like me, but I’ve come to learn that people can have very irrational reasons for hating someone.

Sometimes it is simply because your personalities and tastes are not compatible. And that’s fine and normal.

Other times, they can take a part of you and twist it and build up their own negative perception and convince themselves that they are right to hate you. But it doesn’t mean that what they think about you is true. Their image of you that they force upon themselves could be due to their own insecurities.

Although I sometimes say this jokingly, I find that in certain cases it’s not just simply “Haters gonna hate.” I also dislike it when people jump to the conclusion, “They just hate you because they’re jealous.” While it can be true at times, it’s not the ultimate answer. Let’s be real here. It is not surprising for people to feel a sense of dislike towards someone who is truly being a terrible human being. Did you do something that merits you being considered a terrible human being? If the answer is no, then good.

Here’s what you can do: If someone openly throws some harsh words at you, take a deep breath and try to objectively consider what they have to say. Maybe you can ask yourself things like:

- Are they actually trying to offer constructive criticism but are lacking in tact and eloquence? If they seem interesting or intelligent enough, try to converse with them to understand. Maybe you’ll learn something new. If they are just bigots or trolls, pity them for a second, don’t dignify them with an answer or any more of your time, and move on. Be the better person.

- Are they pointing out something you may have done wrong that you weren’t aware of? Do you think they are right? If they are, be humble enough to consider that you might have something to improve on. If they’re not, then just don’t mind them. If someone is really set on disliking you, you’re the last person they will allow to change their minds.

These are just general ideas, because it always depends on the context. But in the end, what’s important is that if you truly believe you did nothing wrong, then disregard them and walk away with your head held high. Hopefully you aren’t a sociopath.

You can’t please every single person in the world. And that’s okay. The people whose happiness and opinions should matter the most are your own, and those of the people you care about and care for you. If you focus on being your own fantastic self, you can feel sorry for your haters because they lost the opportunity to get to know the wonderful person you are.

Jin of BehindInfinity on DeviantArt posted this recently. I found it thought provoking and well thought-out and wanted to re-post it here.

Be sure to check out his DA!

The Nerdtastic World of Japanese Comics

tumblr_m36p76hube1r6h499o1_500Recently, Wil-o’-th’-Wisp was invited to my mom’s Catholic middle school to give a presentation to the kids. They’ve recently discovered anime and manga, but don’t have anyone to talk to them or help them, so they’ve gotten into some very mature series. They’ve also blended the line between reality and fiction, which has caused a lot of problems at school. This has also led to rampant cyber-bullying. We were asked to give a presentation about what anime and manga is, to remember that “you are what you read”, and to address bullying.

Fishie wasn’t in town, so EarMuffs and I drove up to talk to the kids. We went in casual cosplay, sporting Sanosuke’s jacket and the Attack on Titan half-cape. It went very well!

anime_mangaAfter giving a general overview of what Anime and Manga is, we talked about the differences between Japanese and Western cultural morals, and how those differences are reflected in anime and manga. It isn’t bad, but it’s good to be aware of. Whenever you read popular media it’s important to have a good understanding of what you believe and find important, and to find series that match.

After talking about morals and cultural norms, we talked about the story behind the story, that is, the morals and ideas the story reflects. You are what you eat, or, in this case, you are what you read. If you only read one particular type of story, you’ll eventually start believing what it holds. I’ve seen this time and again. After explaining this concept, we went over a couple of case studies and talked about the ideas behind Death Note and Pokemon, two of the more popular series in my mom’s classes.

tifaAs they were thinking about this, I told them about a test that I’ve been using for the past fifteen years the “Hero Test” (when I mentioned that I started using this fifteen years or so ago, I got some strange looks. That’s when I remembered that they weren’t even fifteen years old yet…). Think of someone you really admire and look up to. This is someone you emulate. Then imagine showing them your favorite series, books, music, etc. How do you feel? If you feel embarrassed because it’s “kiddish”, then that’s okay. It’s fine to like things that are “below your level.” But do you feel ashamed or uncomfortable? Why is that? After using this test, I’ve dropped several series, simply because I’ve realized that it isn’t healthy for me, and is contrary to how I want to be as a person. I want to watch and read things that are true to what I believe.

For most of these kids this is their first foray into the wide, wide world of nerds. Most of them don’t know how to express themselves without hurting others, so we talked about fandoms and how to interact with people. Pretty simple things, such as respecting others, not to bully, think about what you’re doing, and that it’s okay to be different. Then we gave several examples of how to show your love of series, such as finding like-minded friends, creating clubs, fanart, fanfiction, fanmusic, and cosplay.

This led us into a conversation of how to be a nerd with others, and went over real-world examples of what happens when things go wrong: elitism, shipping wars, fandom wars, and isolation. We ended with encouraging the kids to be themselves and not to feel obligated to like something or to force others to like things. After all, don’t sweat the small stuff! It’s our differences combined that make us strong!

Don’t get so worked up over small details that you loose yourself. Remember to separate fiction from reality, and celebrate what’s most important in your life. “Let it Go!” It’s a much larger world than just what’s found in anime and manga.

This was a great opportunity to talk to the kids. They were very excited to talk about their favorite series and to ask us questions. They didn’t feel like they had anyone to talk to. I assured them that I had my mom well-trained, and that she would be happy to answer questions or just nerd-out with them.


Special thanks to EarMuffs for helping me with this presentation! Check out her DeviantArt (!

Mineko Ohkami’s Dragon Knights




Dragon Knights  was the first manga I ever got into. I distinctly remember bringing it into class. My friends had no idea what to make of it! Ohkami’s drawing style is very different, and it takes a while for the store to start up, but IT IS AMAZING! To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite series.


Dragon Knights

Dragon Knights

Dragon Knights tells the tale of a war between the benevolent Dragon Tribe of Draqueen and the evil Demon Lord Nadil, who wishes to bring the world into darkness.  The Dragon Emperor, Lykouleon sends his powerful Dragon Knights, Rath, Thatz, and Rune, to battle Nadil and his armies.  They defeat and behead him to prevent him from being resurrected more powerful than before.  And this happened before the story even starts!

I can’t believe that there’s going to be a sequel! I’m am SO EXCITED!!!!


Have some Dragon Officers. On the house.

Have some Dragon Officers. On the house.


WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. This was a popular phrase when computer icons first became popular after the old DOS, command-line based systems. You see an icon on your screen, and you know exactly what it is. No more guessing command-lines. The system’s so commonplace, that the term is hardly used anymore.

It’s funny how topics tend to ebb and flow in popularity. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about what is proper conduct given one’s gender. What can boys do that girls cannot and visa versa. Is it okay for boys to play with dolls? Should girls really be cross-playing? What’s wrong with boys who like “My Little Pony”? Girl’s should stick to fashionable, form-fitting clothing.

There has always been pressure on boys and girls to act a certain way and to like certain things. It was very proper for girls to like princesses and big poofy dresses, while boys were supposed to be rough and tumble on the playground. Our society has set standards for how people are supposed to be. If anyone fell outside of that cookie-cutter image, people tend to get anxious and uncomfortable. My question is, who set this image?

In the large scheme of things, does it really matter if a boy enjoys more feminine activities, or if a girl is more tomboyish? To me it shows a very well-rounded individual that had many different ways of thinking. This person can probably understand a wide-range of people, and relate to them. I think that these would be traits we would want to nurture, not condemn.

An individual is very complex, and not everyone is going to like the exact same things. For example, I am a cosplayer who cosplays male characters (cross-player), I collect action figures and swords, and wear my hair very short so that I don’t have to deal with it in the mornings. This does not make me any less a woman than my friend who wears dresses, has long hair, and gets her nails done every month. We’re different individuals with different tastes, but are still very comfortable with our gender.

Lately it has been becoming more acceptable for women to have more tomboyish tendencies than men to have a more feminine flair. Society is so wrapped up in their obsession with manliness, that they tend to reject anything that can tarnish their image. Get over it! Society has become so obsessed with “how things should be”, that they’re blind to how things actually are. If they keep closing their eyes, they’ll never see the beauty in others, or the opportunities they add to the world.

Everyone is different. What you see is what you get. We shouldn’t feel obligated to hide who we are just because we’re different than the norm. If everyone was the same, then this would be a very boring world.

Mightier Than The Sword

Quotes are marvelous things, aren’t they. There are memorable quotes that everyone knows, such as, “To be or not to be. That is the question, (Hamlet)” or “It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest I go to, than I have ever known. (Tale of Two Cities)” These quotes have made their way into our culture such that people know them without ever reading the book.

I love quotes. I collect them in notebooks, on scrap paper, and on random documents on my computer. They consist of words that speak of my thoughts more eloquently than I could hope to. I also have many quotes of reminding me how I want to live my life. It’s surprising some of the sources these quotes come from, but they’ve stuck with me. Here’s just a couple of my favorites.

…while some things are just plain awful, most things in life can be seen either tragic or comic. And it’s your choice. Is life a big, long, tiresome slog from sadness to regret to guilt to resentment to self-pity? Or is life weird, outrageous, bizarre, ironic, and just stupid? Gotta go with stupid. It’s not the easy way out. Self pity is the easiest thing in the world. Finding the humor, the irony, the slight justification for a skewed, skeptical optimism. That’s tough.” ~Animorphs

Like most kids in the ’90s, I was a huge Animorphs fan. Before I knew it, I had read all of the Animorphs books in the library. I loved the concept: kids transforming into animals to fight a secret alien invasion. While most of the books weren’t serious, this quote stuck with me since I first read it. Before I knew it, I had simplified it to: “Life gives you two choices: laugh or cry. I’d much rather laugh.” Life can be very cruel, but I’ve found that even in the bleakest of times, you can find things to laugh about. If you keep looking for the humor in life, the dark stuff seems that much more manageable.

When you’re falling off a cliff, you might as well try to fly.” ~Babylon 5

This line was from one of John Sheridan’s speeches during a climatic moment in the TV show Babylon 5. It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s stuck with me. After all, when nothing seems to be right, what does it hurt to try to fly? There’s hope in every situation, you just have to reach for it.

Our greatest hope is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Confucius

See! I get quotes from more than just TV shows and kid’s books! A friend of mine gave me this quote in high school when I was having a tough time. It’s easy to fall and stay down, it’s that much harder to stand back up and keep moving forward. Life doesn’t get any easier, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. I’ve recently gotten through some difficult things, and I now draw strength from the times I had fallen, because I found the strength to get back up.

Natsu and GrayI don’t know what the future brings. That’s why I live and laugh in the present.” ~Fairy Tail

There’s no way for us to read the future, so there’s no point in worrying about it. Sure, it’s fine to plan for the future, but you shouldn’t spend so much time stressing over it that you miss the times here and now. I’ve seen so many people looking to the future that they never realized what they had. Don’t miss the precious moments now by pining for things that are yet to come. After all, we may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy. Oh, divine Master! Grant that I may not so much as be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” ~Prayer of St. Francis

This is one of my favorite prayers, and it is how I strive to live my life.

Quotes can become such an important part of our lives, that we often forget that they were written by a stranger. I guess that just goes to show that we are all more alike than we’d ever like to admit.

All Hallow’s Eve

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”

~Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the time of year when everyone forgets about being self-conscious, dresses up in costumes, and pumpkin-flavored goodies arrive in coffee shops. I try to make the most of it every year. This year was no different.

Every year I throw some sort of Halloween party. I began planning my party in mid-September, getting my party games and associated prizes planed to perfection. Of course this year life decided to get in the way, so I didn’t get any actual planning done until the week before the party. The same could be said of my costumes. I had begun making my General Cross jacket in September, hoping to finish it in time for my friend’s Halloween party the Saturday before the 31st. As I started getting underway, life happened and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish it. This happened with three other costumes until I realized that it was the night before the party. Oops.

Vampire Rath takes to the streets

Vampire Rath takes to the streets

I ran through my cosplays, but none of them seemed quite right for a Halloween Cosplay Party, so I decided to sleep on it. As I was drifting off to sleep, I had a revelation: I would go as a Vampire Rath from Dragon Knights. I already had the wig, and could pull the rest of it together easily. Besides, I had a frilly shirt I had been wanting to wear for a while….

My friend’s party was about 2 hours north of me, but I was going to stop part way to pick up my friend and have lunch. Of course, it was no question that I was going to wear my costume all day. We decided to have lunch with a couple of friends at a Japanese place. We waited in a narrow hallway for lunch, shuffling to the sides when people had to leave. At one point a family with a little girl finished and turned to leave. We pulled up against the wall to make room, but the little girl couldn’t stop staring at me. She was mesmerized by my fangs and wig, and then ran smack into the wall. She shook her head, and then toddled out, turning to stare at me every few steps.

After lunch we climbed back into my car and went to the party. It was a lot of fun! I don’t get to see these friends nearly as much as I’d like, so we spent a lot of it catching up and eating delicious food. Man, you really gotta love potlucks!

Those long straps were too tempting to play with...

Those long straps were too tempting to play with…

I had a day’s reprieve from the festivities, and then Monday drove back to San Jose to visit a Fishie, who was on break from school in Florida. Of course, as per tradition, we pranced about in costumes, drawing strange looks and stares. One of our other friends joined us for our jaunt. Fishie had pulled out her AkitoGito, but those long straps were far too tempting for me and our other friend, and pretty soon we were dragging her long the road by them. We were simply looking out for her well-being. I don’t think she was too amused….

By this time I had a couple of days until Halloween, and I needed to figure out what to wear for Halloween day. I was working in the morning, so I needed something easy enough to move around in that I could fit a backpack. My original plan was to go as a Jurassic Park worker, but the patches I had ordered wouldn’t get there in time for Halloween, so I moved onto Plan B. I had started making a Tigger outfit, but there was no way I could sew it and paint it in time for it to be ready and still get sleep, so I began to get a Katniss Everdeen ready. I probably could have finished her coat, except that the night before Halloween I realized that I had the wrong sized zipper and a horrible headache. Once again I decided to sleep on it.

The next morning I decided that I could just do a casual Katniss. Besides, I already had the wig. And then, twenty minutes before I had to be at work, my patches arrived. I hurriedly pulled out my shirt and hat and ironed them on (I’m SO glad it was iron -on!) before leaving for work. I was so excited! This was the costume I REALLY wanted to do! My main regret was that I didn’t have time to grab my dinosaurs from my parents’.

I love scar make up!

I love scar make up!

I love my job. Almost everyone dressed up, so we ended up paging everyone by their costume rather than their name. Our computer systems also decided that they would play a Halloween trick, so the first few hours of the day the registers didn’t work, so we had to check everyone out manually. Haha.

I got off work early so that I could get ready for my party. I hurriedly cleaned up the house, and, after applying Velociraptor scratches on my neck, ran out for last minute errands. While I was in Target one of the associates started following me down the aisles. Finally I stopped as asked, “Can I help you with something?” She hesitated, and then asked if I was okay. I had forgotten that I had my make-up on, and said that I was fine. She hesitated again and, pointing to my neck, asked, “Were you in some sort of accident?” I laughed and let her see my make up.

My party was set to start at 6:00 pm, but I had posted everything in military time, so people had very mixed ideas of when the party was supposed to start, so most of the games began around 9:30ish. Between costume contests, monster relays, the limbo, and bobbing for apples, I think that everyone had fun. I had a lot of friends drive down that I don’t get to see very often, so it was great seeing them and introducing them to my friends from the area.

Halloween was amazing fun this year! I can’t wait to see what spooooky surprises next year brings.

The Day the World Catches Up

DocHalloween: The Day the Rest of the World Cosplays. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, after St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas. It’s just plain fun planning out the costumes and then dressing up! Even as a kid, planning and wearing the costume trumped getting candy. I’d spend months planning my costume, and working with my mom to figure out the construction. I had so much fun once a year that I decided to make costumes year round, which led me to the discovery of cosplay and conventions.

I’ve been an avid cosplayer for quite a while now. I’ve attended tons of conventions and have entered many a contest. The funny thing is, despite all of that, choosing my Halloween costume is one of my hardest costume choices of the year! Maybe it’s because on this one day most people dress up, or it could be my history with the holiday. Regardless the reason, I usually have to put a lot of thought into my choice.

This year, like most years, I ran through my list of 20-some active cosplays, and decided that not one of them would work for Halloween Day. I could modify one of them for use at a cosplay party, but I needed something special for Hallowee, especially seeing as I’ll be working ON Halloween.  True to cosplayer tradition, I decided this a couple of days ago. Once I decided on a costume, I realized that I wouldn’t have enough time to pull it together (shipping and all…). I can pull together a new costume in a couple of days using nothing but scraps, right? In between planning my party, carving pumpkins, and working, of course.