“Börk börk börk!”

I’m still feeling stunned from Harvey last week, and I wasn’t even directly affected by the storm, but the sooner I can get back to your regular crochet programming, the better! Please continue to donate and help out, and for all you folks in Florida and its neighboring islands, please stay safe in the face of Irma!

You know all those super cool photos in my book Literary Yarns? The clean and stylish page layouts? The formatting of the patterns? The pre-order campaigns that were rolled out? I can’t take credit for ANY of that. When I wrote Literary Yarns, I was fortunate enough to have an amazingly helpful team of folks from Quirk Books to help me through the process and do a lot of the heavy lifting for me. I wrote the patterns, the how-to instructions, and I shot the step-by-step photos in the tutorial sections, but everything else? It was all done by some amazing people. Once the book was out I knew I had to make thank you critters for everyone involved with the book. I’ve already posted some of the thank you critters I’ve made on my social media accounts, but there was one that I still needed to make, and that was for my editor Tiffany. She kept on insisting that working on Literary Yarns with me was good enough, but I kept insisting back that she should pick something. And it just so happened that her pick was also one of my favorite characters:

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“Börk börk börk!”

THE SWEDISH CHEF. I FREAKING LOVE THE SWEDISH CHEF. It always slightly freaked me out that he had these creepy normal human hands, but I still loved him with his nonsense gibberish and his chaotic “cooking.”

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“Heer we håv de choppy chop!”

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“Und heer we håv de chicky! Güd chicky. Tåstee chicky.”

Looks like that chicken’s going to be in some trouble. SAVE YOURSELF, CHICKEN-FRIEND.

And here are the other thank you critters that I’ve made!

Photographer Mike wanted an Alec Guinness Obi-Wan Kenobi:

Editor Blair wanted a fangirl from the cover of the Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Designer Andie wanted a Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls:

Designer Molly wanted a little Glenn Danzig:

And publicist Kelsey wanted an 11th Doctor:

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Literary Yarns couldn’t have happened without all their help, and I can’t think of a better group of people to work with on my first published work!

And just one more plug (with good intentions!)…if you enjoyed seeing my Swedish Chef, maybe help out a food-related cause by donating to the Houston Food Bank! They’re always doing good work around town, but they’ve especially been beefing up their efforts since the storm hit. Feed some folks who need a hot meal, and save some lives. The Swedish Chef thanks you!

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F*ck you, Harvey

I’m safe, my friends and family are safe. My parents are now in a mandatory evacuation area, but otherwise so far so good. Hopefully it stays that way.

I’ve been extremely lucky during this storm. I’ve had some street flooding, but none of it entered my home and I never lost power or running water. I was supposed to go in to work over the weekend, but once the storm started coming down, I couldn’t have made it in if I tried. The Texas Medical Center became entirely inaccessible. Most of the city was entirely inaccessible.

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Many of my co-workers at the hospital I work at ended up stuck and became the ride out team, unable to go home for days. Thankfully they’ve finally been able to go home, and I’ve been called back into work. Continue reading

Castle of Dreams: Studio Ghibli art show

Over the weekend I had some of my work up at the Castle of Dreams: Studio Ghibli tribute art show. It was a small and casual art show, with over 200 pieces of work on display in all kinds of media, free beer, and lots of fun enthusiastic people in attendance. There were paintings, sculptures, painted wood rounds (some of my favorites!), and other crocheted items in addition to mine! Check out all the goodness!

…and then there was my stuff, which looked pretty underwhelming compared to all the other amazing art that was out there.

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But hey, all three pieces got sold! If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this, it’s that I need to learn to present my work better if it’s going to be up for purchase. I’ve gotten used to taking some photos of my critters and then unceremoniously dumping them in public places, so presentation “in the wild” wasn’t on my mind. Maybe I’ll put it all in a nice diorama and price the entire thing instead of having a bunch of sad looking little items in a glass case. One way or another a lot of great art was shared, and proceeds all went towards the Center for Recycled Art! I’ll have to look into more art shows around town, I’d definitely do this again. 🙂

Got plans this weekend? Come see my work!

At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to participate in this, but with a hail Mary last minute e-mail and some generosity on the part of the people running the show, I’ll have some works up at the Castle of Dreams Studio Ghibli art show this weekend! And while I still don’t sell my work, these little guys will be up for purchase at the show, where proceeds will go towards the Center for Recycled Art.

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This mini-Totoro is a repeat offender and this time he’ll be around with a pair of soot sprites!

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Kaonashi (aka “No Face”) is also a repeated character and he’ll be at the show, ready to eat everything in sight and take on all the emotions of the world.

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And Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle is the newcomer out of all the Ghibli-related characters that I’ve crocheted in the past, burning away!

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Come to the show to see these little guys along with LOTS of other really cool Ghibli-themed art. I only caught a small sliver of what’s to come when I dropped off my work – I spotted lots of amazing paintings and I saw that someone crocheted an ENTIRE NEKO-BUS. I can’t even imagine how much time that must have taken. I’m excited about this show, there’s going to be food trucks, drinks, and lots of cool Ghibli-themed art! Come on out!

Here’s the info:

WHEN:
Saturday, June 25th – 3PM to 9PM
Sunday, June 26th – 2PM to 5PM

WHERE:
Texas Art Asylum
1719 Live Oak
Houston, TX  77003

HOW MUCH:
$2 per person cover charge (cash only) for ages 6 and up. Kids 0-5 years old are free!

Full Facebook event posting here.

My love letter to Comicpalooza

Oh Comicpalooza. I know it’s been over for two weeks now, but I kind of feel like my recap in the last post didn’t do it justice. It was lazily written and it only served to recap what I did, but not WHY I had such a blast, and why I hope to continue having a blast each year. I really didn’t give it the love that it deserves. So here’s a better recap of Comicpalooza, with FEELINGS. OH THE FEELS.

So for anyone who’s kept up with this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been to my share of geek-cons. I won’t claim to have been to TOO many, but I’d like to think I’ve been to enough that I have an idea of what’s a good geek-con and what’s not. San Diego Comic-Con is of course the biggest and best convention, hands down. It’s not every day that you can say “oh, no big deal, that’s just HUGH JACKMAN WALKING DOWN THE STREET.” It’s not to say that it doesn’t come with its own frustrations, but it’s seriously an incredibly stressful, overwhelming, and ridiculously AWESOME experience. Definitely a bucket list item for any geek out there.

That being said, I honestly feel like Comicpalooza is one of the best conventions I’ve been to. But where are all the big movie stars? Where are all the fancy sneak previews of big upcoming movies and video games? SCREW ALL THAT. The thing that sets Comicpalooza apart is that it has that perfect small-scale convention feel where it’s genuinely about the love of all things geeky and not as much about the big movie and comic book studios trying to pimp out their next product. Because if we had to be honest about San Diego Comic-Con, yes, it’s absolutely celebrating all things geeky, but it’s most DEFINITELY a giant promotional event. “Hey you, look, there’s a new movie coming out with Captain What’s-His-Face, come get a freebie and tell ERRRBODY about it!!” “Oh look, a free video game demo! Make sure you brag to all your friends that you got to play it first and buy the real thing later.” I’m not saying this is a bad thing by any means, but it’s unfair to compare Comicpalooza to something as rich with star power as SDCC.

Comicpalooza is about reinforcing a geek love or introducing a new interest. I’d never painted a figure before, but I had so much fun at the figurine painting table that I missed the first 20 minutes of John Barrowman’s panel. I’ve never seen the movie Gravity but I was absolutely fascinated by the Gravity panel where an astronaut and a NASA space debris scientist picked apart scenes of the movie and explained what REALLY would have happened in space. There were dalek races and they had booths showing off 3D printing workshops and robot building classes. Apparently one of our public libraries has a 3D printer that you can use FOR FREE. There’s a genuine kind of fun that you just don’t get at the big-name geek-cons, and Comicpalooza is absolutely brimming with it. I’m so incredibly proud to have a flourishing geek convention right here in my own backyard, and it can only get better from here on out.

Comicpalooza 2014: The recap!

COMICPALOOZA! This was my second time going to Comicpalooza and I still stand by my belief that it’s easily one of the most fun geek-cons out there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about geek-cons, it’s that bigger does NOT mean better (see my recap of New York Comic Con for evidence). Right now Comicpalooza is at that perfect size where it’s big enough to bring in some big names, but still small enough that it’s not overwhelming. Late for a panel? No problem, it just means you’ll have to sit a little farther in the back. If it were San Diego Comic-Con it’d be like “LOL you mean you didn’t get in line 6 hours ahead of time?? N00B.” Comicpalooza has only been around for a handful of years so far and I’m already excited that it’s only going to get better from here on out.

But first, the critter roundups! I had three critters to drop at Comicpalooza. Let’s see how they fared:

Spider-Man:

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Status: FOUND!

Spidey’s sticking around right here in Houston! Woohoo!

Iron Man:

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Status: FOUND!

Iron Man had a successful adoption too! He’ll be hanging around in the suburbs of Houston.

Wolverine:

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Status: Unconfirmed 😦

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back on Wolverine. If you or someone you know has Wolverine, please check in with me! Keep in mind that if you have a protected twitter account I won’t see your tweets, so please e-mail me at geekyhooker [at] gmail [dot] com if you’ve got a protected account!

Otherwise, ON TO THE CONVENTION!

SPECIAL GUESTS:

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STAN THE MAN. OMFGWEIOFJALSDKFAKLSD.

Oh, is that Stan “the man” Lee, holding a little Spider-Man that I made for him? Yes. YES IT IS. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see his panel on Friday, but I showed up Saturday morning to get a picture with him. I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to get a photo with Stan Lee because I’ve never been willing to pay for a photo op. Once I realized that this man’s appeal would probably never die, and that I wouldn’t have many other opportunities where I could easily get a photo with him (compared to bigger geek-cons where I’d have to be in line for HOURS), I decided to go for it. And dammit, if I’m going to get a photo with Stan Lee, it’d be wrong of me not to gift him a critter. So in a last minute decision, I stayed up late and crocheted another Spider-Man to give to Stan Lee, and the next morning I sleepily waited in line for the photo op. Once the line started moving, the photo op went BLAZINGLY fast. Stand in, smile, and you’re gone. Not even a chance to say anything more than a quick hello. So when my turn came around, I kind of became that asshole who held up the photo op line, even if it was just for a few seconds. I told Stan I had something for him and handed him little Spidey, and after exchanging thank yous (no, thank YOU, sir, for influencing so many generations!) it was all shouts of “ma’am, look at the camera” before I had to scurry off. My tiny little victory was when I saw his handler try to take the little Spider-Man away from him and he snatched it away and put it in his pocket as if to say “NO, MINE.” Stan Lee now has one of my critters in his possession. VICTORY!

THE PANELS:

Sure, Comicpalooza doesn’t have nearly as much pull as San Diego Comic-Con and it’s not going to have the likes of Tom Hiddleston or Hugh Jackman there. But they still had some heavy hitters show up and it was AWESOME. The quality of the panel guests is pretty much what will determine what the experience is like, so you know you’re in a good panel if you can still enjoy it without knowing anything about whatever show/movie that person might be famous for. I’ve sat through some star-studded panels at San Diego Comic-Con that were AWFUL because the guests were terrible speakers. Thankfully Comicpalooza’s guests were all fun people and it was a great time for everyone.

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  • Gravity Panel: Nope, not a panel with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney! Since this is Houston, OF COURSE we’d bring our nerd on with some folks from NASA. This was a panel with astronaut Stan Love and space debris scientist (how cool is that?) Sue Lederer. They explored the movie Gravity, picked apart various scenes, and explained how things REALLY would have happened in real life. It was like a giant geeky show-and-tell for adults, complete with pieces of space debris up for display. Super fun and absolutely fascinating. And if you thought the movie was pretty terrifying, the reality behind the events are much, MUCH worse. Like “heads exploding in helmets”-worse.

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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel: I actually don’t watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I watched the first few episodes and quickly lost interest. But it was still a fun time at this panel just seeing the cast joke around with each other, and the best part….
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    Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno crashed the panel! I love that Ming-Na Wen was geeking out and trying to get a selfie with him. 🙂

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  • Billy Dee Williams panel: I walked in late and walked out early. Sound quality in the room was awful and I couldn’t hear anything but muffled babbling from where I was sitting. I eventually walked out because I had no clue what was being said. On the other hand I SO wish I was there to see the guy who mistook him for Carl Weathers because that sounded GLORIOUSLY hilarious. Anyone got a video to share?

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  • Power Rangers panel: IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME! I showed up to this panel on a “why the hell not?” impulse, and it ended up being a lot of fun. Walter Jones (the original black ranger) hasn’t aged a SINGLE FREAKING DAY since my days of watching him on TV. What the hell are you eating, dude?? The first question asked was “Can you morph for us?” They all groaned, but they were good sports and did it at the end of the panel anyway…but not without calling the guy out for asking the worst question of the panel, haha.

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 They’re so unamused. I love it.

  • 1-DSC05030John and Carole Barrowman panel: Admittedly I’m more of a fair-weather Doctor Who fan. I like it enough to appreciate the fun of the show (it’s been on for 50 years for a reason!), but not enough to go nuts over seeing Captain Jack Harkness in person. I also haven’t watched Torchwood or Arrow, so any questions about those shows were lost on me. That being said, remember how I said a good speaker will still make for a fun time even if you don’t know anything about the shows/movies that made the person famous? John and Carole were HILARIOUS. Some of the questions were lost on me, but that didn’t matter because these two would go off on insane tangents to the point where the question didn’t even matter anymore. They were good about bringing it back to the question at hand, but not before going off on something absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately I walked into the panel late, but I heard there was a same-sex proposal that happened during the panel too! Wow. Such geek. Much love.

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  • Cary Elwes panel: AS YOU WISH. Of COURSE he had to utter that line at least once during his panel. Cary is by far the nicest celeb I’ve seen in a panel, for three big reasons:
    1) He went out of his way to ask each person their name first and would greet them before they asked their questions. He probably won’t remember any of these people, but I’ve NEVER seen anyone go out of their way to greet each fan by name before.
    2) When a few nervous fans started rambling on about how much The Princess Bride meant to them or how much his other movies influenced them he would hop off the stage and go give them a hug out of appreciation. I mean, this guy VOLUNTARILY gave his fans hugs! How awesome is that??
    3) The panel actually ran 15-20 minutes OVER the allotted time. Sure, he had the last panel of the day in the room so there was no rush to get out, but at almost every panel I’ve been to the guests are usually itching to get the hell out of there, even if they’re having a good time.Super sweet guy, indulged us in LOTS of stories involving everything from his days filming The Princess Bride to Robin Hood: Men in Tights, down to humoring us all by doing his awkward “claw” from Liar Liar when he was asked to do so. And he’s got a book coming soon about his time filming The Princess Bride! MOAR STORIES!

THE LITTLE THINGS:

It’s the little things that REALLY set Comicpalooza apart from other geek cons. And it’s the little things that make me want to see Comicpalooza grow, but not grow TOO much. Arcade consoles were set up for anyone to stroll by and play a game, you could sign up for sword fighting lessons from Miltos Yeromelou aka SYRIO FREAKING FOREL from Game of Thrones, there were workshops on how to build your own dalek, and my favorite: a figure painting table where the first figure is free, and any additional figures you paint are $1 each. That would NEVER happen at a bigger convention. There’d be utter chaos with people waiting for a painting spot, or people losing/spilling paints and damaging painting supplies, etc. I was able to walk away with a fun little souvenir because of awesome little events like this going on at Comicpalooza.

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My blank slate!

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And the finished product! Couldn’t resist taking the badass with a chainsaw amongst the elves, orcs, zombies, and other fun little figures.

Thanks for another awesome weekend, Comicpalooza. I can’t wait to see what will come in the future, and I’m proud to have one of the best geek conventions in Texas right here in my own backyard. 🙂

Yet another critter for Comicpalooza!

You know what? Because I’m a glutton for punishment and I like you guys so much, I made another critter to drop at Comicpalooza!

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Sorry Spidey. Houston’s skyscrapers aren’t quite as climb-able, but I’m sure they’ll do.

That’ll make a total of 3 critters that I’ll be dropping on Saturday and Sunday!

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All together now!

As per usual, if you want to try your hand at snagging one of these little dudes, follow me on either twitter or facebook to track my drops! I just ask for two things if you find a critter: 1) Send me a photo of your new friend! 2) Let me know where the little buddy’s new home will be! Good luck, and happy hunting!

The Geeky Hooker