Sunday, June 30, 2013

[JT] More than a year later...

Holy crap...  I did not even realize that it has been over a year since my first post went up.  On May 8th 2012, this site started with a farewell.  Since then, I've been going back and forth like a sine wave with my productivity here, but I've been getting the itch to write more.  I'm not certain if it's because of my recent foray into the Modern format in Magic, or if I'm just doomed to cycle through cranking out posts and not; hell, maybe I'm just a masochist and love giving my self more work when I am the busiest I have been in months.  Who knows?  But I couldn't think of a better way to kick off a new year [albeit a little late] and a new spurt of drive than to review what has happened over the past year; both the good and the bad.  It's time for me to lay bare everything...
MtG card art: Lay Bare
I'm warning you now, this is going deep, a lot deeper than I have gone into my personal life before, and it's not all pretty.  So if you want the typical (trying to be) happy go lucky JT, he'll be here, but it's going to be after I get the crap out.  I will be completely honest: this post is more for me than for you, I just figured I would let you along for the ride.

Let's dive in, shall we?

Since May 8th of 2012, a lot in my life has changed.  Like I told you then, I officially quit school to pursue my true academic passion; teaching.  Now, I am enrolled back in my undergrad alma mater, Mercyhurst University; this time as a grad student to get my Masters in Secondary Science Education.  I'm taking two online classes right now with Sarah, who you just met.  This is what I meant by creating more work during the busiest time I've had in months.  The classes are easy but they eat up a LOT of time; added to the fact that I am still at Target until I move and I want to come home and do nothing but lay in bed (hence my lack of posts, or at least that's a part of it).

My drive was also sapped out of me by some other things that have been going on...  *breath*...  so, when I moved home after graduation in 2011, I moved back to my parents at each others' throats; a constant cycle of arguing and silence.  It was so bad that I couldn't even sleep right; any little noise I heard outside of my room made me hold my breath and hope that this was not another argument about to start.  Combined with the stress of finding a job to pay student loans, eventually finding one that makes me run around like crazy, and applying to colleges, I ended up losing about 30 lbs from sheer stress since the beginning of January (I'll admit that the drop in weight was nice, but I'm not proud of how it happened).  Finally, a few months ago, right around the time that my Target store opened, my father moved out; I've only seen him twice since them.  We still talk, but it's still weird.  I can't even go visit him yet because it's so odd. 

The good thing is it's quieted down in my house.  I'm starting to get used to everything again.  My weight has stabilized.  Work is somewhat less stressful now that I don't have to worry about what I am coming back to. While we're on the subject of a good thing, let's forget all the crap, shall we?  Let's dive into the thing that has kept me sane through this all and why I continue to try and push this blog forward:  all the good that has come about in the past year.

I already told you the first: I got accepted back to Mercyhurst!  I wanted to go to Seattle Pacific University, but I got wait listed, and the familiarity and sure thing of Mercyhurst was too much to pass up for the remote
possibility of SPU.  I'm not one to go for familiar when it comes to decisions like these, but I left my heart and soul up at Mercyhurst, so going back felt right.  I still intend to end up in Seattle; just not yet (and you can be certain all of you will be seeing that journey unfold).  What makes it even better is not only did I get accepted back, I got my old job back at our Performing Arts Center!  For those of you that don't know, for the last two years of high school, I did stage crew.  Then when I went to Mercyhurst, I spent all four years working as a stage hand, seeing some of the most amazing shows and meeting some of the most amazing performers; you don't know surreal until you get to speak Japanese with real Japanese Taiko drummers!  Now I'm back, and as the GA of the center, meaning I'll have more responsibilities doing the one thing I love more than teaching that is not in my realm of nerddom.  My return to Mercyhurst could not/cannot have gone better.  Oh yeah, did I mention Sarah also goes to Mercyhurst?  We're going to be the freaking Jessie and James of that campus!
Wasn't sure if Sarah or I was Jessie or James, all I know is Jas is Meowth.
I've also had the chance to go to some pretty awesome events recently that I did not forsee happening when I first started this blog.  First, I went to freaking GP CHARLOTTE, the largest Magic event in his- ...  Ok, so it was upstaged (read as: "obliterated") by GP Vegas last weekend, but whatever.  I got to meet some heroes of mine, three out of the four dorks from The Mana Pool, and got to see my best friend and our favorite nerd noob, Caitlin.  Hands down this was the best week of my life.

Most recently there was AnimeNext, where Sarah, Jas, and I roadtripped to New Jersey for a weekend of cosplay debauchery (read as: they cosplayed while I took pictures, and then we were old fogies and went back to the hotel room early each night....   >.> <.< >.>  did I just say fogies?  F*ck....).  Don't worry, those cosplay pictures will be up soon.  I know I still owe you them.  What was great for me during this trip was we tried out something completely new for us: we recorded end of day wrap-ups and posted them, unedited, on here.  I never thought this site would go beyond text, but if you liked it, I definitely would not mind trying more.  It was also great just going to a con because I really thought that after undergrad, my con days were over.

So, a year later and here we are.  I've gone through my own personal hell and made it through with a smile.  Even if this site is not huge and even if it never will be, I'm going to keep bringing you more content as I can.  Like I said, I have a picture update for you, I'm working up some new CGCs and I'm sitting on a few posts from the rest of the gang too.  This was just year one of who knows how many more, and I really hope you are going to see this through to the end, just like I will.

I'll keep writing if you keep reading...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

[Sarah] Cosplay Groups: Family You Choose

 [JT's note: CUE THE TRUMPETS!  I finally... finally... get to introduce you formally to Sarah, our newest author and Jas's other half.  As a matter of fact, Jas wouldn't be on this site if it was not for Sarah (I met Jas because of her).  She will be doing a multitude of different things; anime, manga, etc...  and of course, cosplay...]

                First, I’d like to introduce myself. Hello, nice to meet you all; I am sure you have heard lots about me! I am Jas’ cosplay partner Sarah and the eternal ghost presence of this blog. JT has been begging me to write a segment for ages, but I haven’t had the time, inspiration, or will power until now.
                I decided my first contribution will be some boring and philosophical (or not, probably it’s just going to be some word vomit [JT’s note: Deeeefinitely more likely…]) about cosplayers and the behind the scenes loves and terrors that occur within, what have rightly been categorized as, cosplay “families.” I have often heard people refer to their cosplay friends as family. I myself consider my cosplay friends as a second family (love you Jas BABY <3). But it is the overflow of tacky banners and hipster-esque captioned pictures with the message that got me thinking about my own cosplay family and the dynamics of others I have encountered.
                Unlike any other sport or hobby cosplay is virtually an unorganized phenomenon when it comes to fashioning groups and partnerships. There are no group leaders, teachers, councilors, or coaches to push cosplayers together and have them socially interact. No one is there to intervene when we have problems, or guide our activities, and there is no one there to pat us on the back when we do a good job. In numerous ways this can be considered a plus. Many people, myself included, as a result become more self-motivated, responsible, gain better interpersonal skills, and learn how to collaborate as well as lead in a group setting. Due to this freedom from authority cosplayers are also given the privilege to construct their own ideal team; their own perfect family.
[JT's note: Cue multicolored smoke?]

                The truth of the matter is, rarely is a cosplay group ever a perfect family and in fact many are far from it. Because there is typically no true authority in a cosplay family many lack a mediator to quell rising tensions that inevitably arise. Forming a circle of friendship in cosplay is like making new friends in Kindergarten. Usually it begins by awkwardly shuffling up to someone who you admire or has a similar cosplay and gushing over their perfection secretly hoping they take some sort of ironic pity love for you (I mean what? That’s not how you make friends? [JT's note: No... Just her...]). Although; rather than asking your new friend if they will let you sit next to them at lunch like in Kindergarten, you are asking them to endure your presence for a 2-4 day long stress filled weekend in a room that is most likely meant for two but is currently holding six. GREAT TIMES RIGHT?
The people who will tolerate (and love) you're crazy ideas
This is why there is often “con drama;” or in clinical terms the emotional catharsis of whiny babies on the first day of con. As fun as conventions are they are also extremely stressful especially when you are packed into a room the size of a sardine can with an inappropriate amount of people who have an inappropriate amount of fragile luggage. It’s crucial to find friends who are compatible since cosplay can be an unpredictable hell of a hobby all the way from the hotel room to the con floor. You want friends who will not only consider each other as “people they’d like to be with over family” but people who treat other AS family. What do I mean by this? I mean friends who can work well around each other, respect each other’s decisions, care for each other, and compromise for each other. For example: Say Jas is putting on her pants and I ask her to help me put tape on my boobs I’d like her to say; “There is nothing in this world I’d rather be doing than putting my hands on your chest.” Not, “Can’t you do it yourself I’m busy! You are so needy, you whiny baby!” And, hey, it’s true I am a whiny baby. In fact my nick name among my cosplay family is “Problem Child.” But rather than be malicious and get frustrated with my more than apparent air-headedness my friends carry super-glue, Velcro, scissors, and whatever else I may need and I do the same for them when they wear a complicated cosplay.  
Will you paint on my abs? I'd love to.
Our family!
               Now that this has been written out it all seems to be very obvious but, no one likes to awkwardly walk by a cosplayer crying into their latex gloves exiled from their hotel room. In order to live harmoniously we have to pick our teams well and know that a good friend will not always make a good group or roommate. What I have learned is just like growing up through trial and error eventually you find the perfect friends and the perfect roommates; for me they were ones who eat well, sleep well, take care of me, are responsible, and love me (*uglycrying* My babies). Although, what is perfect for me may not be perfect for you the important thing in finding a cosplay group or even a set of roommates is finding people who respect you and your life style whether that means working around it, complementing it, or matching it!

[JT's final note:  And there you have it.  Hopefully I can convince Sarah to write things a little more often (not like I have room to talk right now).  I hope you enjoyed her first batch of word vomit...  does this make her literately bulimic? ...  Anyway!  Look forward to more from Sarah, and more from NP in general.  We aren't dead yet; hell, we have a fifth heartbeat now!  >.>  <.<  >.>  Maybe we should get that checked...]

Sunday, June 9, 2013

[ConView] Anime Next - Day 2 and 3: Thats a Wrap[-Up]!

Ok, here's the final wrap-up from ANext.  

Let us know what you think of these.  If you enjoy them we will try to do more for other cons/event/random musing.  If not, well we might stop; we might not.  That's up to us : P

Oh yeah, here are the links:

Oh So Iffy Cosplay

NerdPop Twitter (@NerdPop140)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Anime Next Day One Wrap Up!

Ok, everyone.  This is the surprise kind of cool/fun/maybe-totally-lame-but-we-don't-care "project" that I hinted at at the start of the week: at the end of each day of Anime Next, we are going to record a wrap-up video.  This is the first time we have done anything like this, so be gentle ;)


Sunday, June 2, 2013

[JT] A faint pulse... I mean update

Hiiiiiiii, everyone! :3

Yes yes; I'm not dead and I apologize for no updates lately.  Work has been leaving me pretty drained and with no drive for much other than watching Let's Plays on YouTube recently.  I'll have a nice long LifeDate for you all soon to explain everything a bit more in depth about what's been going on and what it might mean for things here, but rest assured that we are NO WHERE near done with this. 

That wasn't the only reason I'm updating you guys though!  This weekend is AnimeNext in New Jersey, and I wanted to tell you all that Jas, Sarah (who yes, you still have not officially met yet), and I will be going!  We have something kind of cool/fun/maybe-totally-lame-but-we-don't-care planned that we haven't done yet that I'm really excited to do/share.  Of course Jas and Sarah will be cosplaying all weekend; I'll tweet pics of their cosplays all weekend (and any other cool ones I see of course).  Since I'm not a cosplayer, I'll just sort of be tagging along with them, but I'll have a multitude of different card game decks with me if you want to play a few games; namely Magic, Pokemon*, and Yu-Gi-Oh!*.  It'd be pretty sic if we could get a giant EDH game going... just saying.

So yeah, just wanted to give you all a heads up.  It'd be pretty cool to meet a few readers ^_^ and if you aren't going, you can always follow @NerdPop140 on Twitter and get things from my POV all weekend, or at least as much as I can update.

See you there!

*These will probably be casual/traditional; i.e. not just using recent sets in PKMN and using the traditional list in YGo (I won't have any broken combos).