On the Road to Gen Con 2019

This August I will be attending Gen Con for the first time with a press badge! Instead of attending under Bizarre Brunette, I will be attending on behalf of Twin Cities Geek. As a board game and DnD player, I cannot wait to see what Gen Con has to offer. I have already started putting money aside to spend at the con because I want to purchase all the board games. This will be the first road trip me and my brother take together because I invited him to attend Gen Con this year. I’m already counting down the days until Gen Con begins.

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My Gen Con Profile! Screenshot taken by me. 

The road to attending Gen Con began in January 2019. I have a friend from college who used to own a game store. He has been attending every Gen Con for years. I had always wanted to go, but being in college made that extremely difficult to afford. He reached out to me inquiring about whether I would want to go this year. For shits and giggles, I decided to fill out a press badge with full intention of paying full price for a badge in case it didn’t work. In February, I received confirmation from Gen Con that I would be receiving a press badge. I was elated and immediately began to research where me and my brother would lodge for the convention.

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It’s the final countdown. Image screenshot taken by me. 

Speaking of hotels, I started looking way too late for a hotel room. Hotel rooms usually sell out when Gen Con badges go on sale in January. Virtually every hotel I had checked was full. This is where I decided to look for air BnB’s. I found an affordable air BnB northeast of downtown Indianapolis. I’m slightly worried that it’s a little too far from the convention center, but that’s what uber is for. My lesson was learned if I want to attend Gen Con and have a hotel downtown, I need to book it in January.

Last month, the event lists were released. These include various DnD campaigns, MTG 2020 Core Drafts and even a group fitness class titled Buff Barbarian. You better believe I signed up for the Buff Barbarian because that’s the best name for a group fitness class I have ever seen. Besides the Buff Barbarian, I also put down a couple DnD campaigns I wanted to be apart of. However, when I clicked register for events, I was in 6,119 in the queue line. 6119!!!!! It was safe to say I didn’t get many of the events I pre-registered for, however, I am playing in a Harry Potter themed board game, so that’s a win for me. I also didn’t realize events were paid. Each event costs anywhere between $2-$12 dollars. I wonder if that’s to pay for the DM hosting the event? I’m not quite sure. This certainly limited the events I wanted to do because of a cost per each event.

As far as cosplays, I haven’t quite established which cosplays I will bring. I’m thinking for sure my viking Wonder Woman inspired cosplay along with a Harry Potter Gryffindor student cosplay. I’m not sure how many people cosplay at Gen Con or if it’s more of a gaming convention meaning less people cosplay. No matter what I will wear a cosplay because cosplaying is fun.

I cannot believe I’m attending Gen Con as press this year. This is an amazing achievement for me and I hope to spread word about Bizarre Brunette while I’m there as well. If you’re going to Gen Con as well, I’d love to meet up! Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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Pre-Engagement Photos

It’s been more than a month since my fiance popped the question on May the 4th 2019. We really haven’t been doing any wedding planning, but instead basking in the fact that we are engaged. Our intended goal is to have our wedding sometime in Fall of 2020 and to hopefully budget our wedding, so we aren’t spending thousands of dollars. I have already been thinking a maroon, burgundy and orange color scheme though that’s subject to change. When me and my fiance visited his parents over Memorial Day, his aunt brought her camera and took some amazing pictures of us. I’m going to share a couple of them because it’s rare that we are both this photogenic all the time.

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I was never the girl who had her dream wedding planned with a Pinterest board. Now that I’m actively planning this wedding, I’m discovering I’m more opinionated than I realize. I’m really excited to get married, so that me and my fiance will truly be united together.

Why I’m Getting My Harry Potter Tattoo

I’m excited to share with you all that I will be getting my first tattoo in September of this year. My artist is still finishing the sketch, but it will be a Jame’s Potter’s stag patronus in that ethereal blue and white fading down into a Deathly Hallows symbol. Since high school, I had been talking about how if I were to get a tattoo, it would be a Harry Potter themed one. After going to Universal Studios in February, I realized why shouldn’t I get a tattoo now instead of holding off and waiting years to get something I have always wanted. This will be my first tattoo and I wanted to share the process of finding the artist along with the reasons why I want this tattoo.

Once I decided I was going forward with my Harry Potter tattoo, I started researching different shops. My first requirement was to find a shop that supports women, but also the LGBTQIA+ community. As a consumer, it’s my due diligence to ensure my money wasn’t going to someone who was actively trying to degrade the rights of an entire group of people. I settled on Jackalope Tattoo which is one of the few shops in the Twin Cities owned by women or non-binary individuals. The shop itself was beautiful with a variety of different plants everywhere and privacy between the different booths. The artist I picked specializes in water color work. My tattoo will have this blue / white look to it and I had a specific image in my mind of how I wanted this tattoo to look.

Now I will go into my reasons why I have always wanted a tattoo:

Harry Potter Made Me Love To Read

Reading has been a huge hobby of mine which started from reading the Harry Potter books as a family. My dad’s side of the family has a cottage in Minnesota that we would travel to in summer. As we read the Harry Potter books late in the evening, we would hear the lapping sounds of the waves hitting the shore. My dad used to work in radio, so he would have this soothing, calming voice whenever he read the books. He also used to do sound effects like if he was reading Hagrid’s lines versus Harry’s. My love of reading grew from Harry Potter. 

To Remember My Father

Part of this, is to remember my dad. This is however, not the sole reason I want a tattoo. The permanence of a tattoo is a great way to remember my father forever. I think it’s incredibly meaningful to have an artist draw up a memory based on a person and blend it with a childhood story.

To Remind Me To Love Everyone & Judge Less

The Harry Potter book series has many adult themes as I’m seeing when I’m doing my re-read this year. One theme is how bigotry can ruin a society. The bigotry is seen with “mud-bloods” and “pure-blood” wizards. In the height of the Second Wizarding War, “mud-bloods.” were being put on trial or executed based on their magical family history. The Harry Potter series teaches how if we are more accepting and open to everyone, it leads to a more peaceful way of life.

September cannot come fast enough. I’m proud of myself for going through this instead of backing out or putting it off. If you have any first time tattoo tips, please them in the comments!

 

The Insecurity of Not Doing Enough

One bucket list item I haven’t achieved yet is leaving the United States. I have always wanted to travel to Europe, Australia, Japan and more. Travel is a huge passion of mine as I like to experience new places and go on mini adventures. The most difficult part for me to accept is the expense of travel and not being able to financially support the trips I want to do. The reason why I bring this up is I constantly think about how I’m not doing enough meaningful things in my life. When I think about this, it send me down a really dark hole.

Speaking of “dark holes” last night, I was researching buying a new smart phone because my current phone has screen issues. Looking at how much that would cost me was slightly disheartening. I would rather put that money to airfare or to an air B&B somewhere than spend it on a new phone. I also need new pairs of workout shoes as my other pair has holes in them. Workout shoes are also quite an expensive purchase. It’s thinking about all of these things I need at once and recognizing how I need to spend money on them instead of travel ideas.

When I reflect on my travel, I need to keep a couple things in mind. The first would be that all my trips have been self funded. I never got a “2,000” payment to go to Mexico for Spring Break while I was in college. I’m not trying to shame anyone; I’m happy you had that experience, however I’m proud to say I was able to travel all on my own. Another thing I have to be thankful for is that I’m here. Every day I hear of another school shooting or violent outburst. People are ripped from this planet at younger ages than I am. I’m sure they would want to be here going to work and spending time with loved ones while I’m over here complaining about my situation. I’m attempting to improve on this attitude I have that I’m not living a meaningful life.

The definition of meaningful is having a serious, important or useful quality or purpose. Even though I want to travel more, I could argue my life is meaningful every day. The impact I have with people I see week to week at my day job or continuing to support my mom by driving her to her dentist appointment. These are all important facets in my life. I’m sure I have an impact on many people I interact with, but I suddenly forget about that when I think of my travel plans.

I wanted to write this personal post because I figured I can’t be alone in this. I wanted to say, you’re enough. Every day is a blessing to have you on this planet. I need to remind myself of this more often as I want to remind my readers now. To anyone who took the time to read this whole post, I thank you. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be able to express my thoughts or feelings. Hopefully this post serves as a reminder, but also to say that if this is something you have been feeling too, you’re not alone.

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A year ago, I was celebrating Mother’s Day in Boston. A year later, I’m engaged and went to Harry Potter World. 

May the 4th Be With My Engagement

Last Saturday, on Free Comic Book Day & May the 4th Be With You, my boyfriend proposed. Marriage was something me and my now fiance discussed, but I didn’t realize it would happen this past Saturday. It’s difficult to express into words how much I love my fiance. The way he proposed was immensely personal and respectful to me. I didn’t want anything public because in my opinion it can be seen as manipulative due to being forced to say yes because you’re in public. Many couples may enjoy public proposals, however it’s not for me. I wanted to recap this special day because of how important this means to me.

This Saturday, I drove from work to The Source Comics & Games to wait in line for Free Comic Book day. When I approached, the line had wrapped around the building. It was at this moment that the boyfriend texted me saying he had a surprise for me. I replied back saying, “great, I’ll be there when I’m done shopping for comics.” It took me about thirty minutes to get inside the store, browse for comics to purchase and pay for them at the counter. I texted the boyfriend telling him I was on my way home when he replied with something along the lines of “come home quick, this will change your life.”

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Rose petals were EVERYWHERE. The book is front and center. Pictures taken by my fiance. 

As I drove home, my heart started to beat exceedingly fast. I wasn’t 100% sure if he was going to propose, but I knew he had something important waiting at home for me. Sure enough, I entered our apartment and out of the corner of my eye were rose petals laid out on the dining room table. I set down my stuff and walked to the table where I saw a bottle of champagne, a photo of us and a book.

I was trembling as he handed me this book. The book is an actual bound book describing our love story. HOW CUTE IS THAT!? I was impressed with the attention to detail because my character in the book is wearing a Gryffindor scarf. As I paged through the book, I was reading the last page which asked if I would marry him. By this point, the boyfriend was on one knee. I didn’t cry, but my face blushed into the color of a bright, red tomato. I said yes and kissed my fiance as he held me in his arms. After he put the ring on my finger, we started calling everyone we knew to let them know the good news.

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I SAID YES! The shock on my face is all too accurate. 

As far as wedding plans, me and the fiance are thinking sometime in Fall of 2020. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and our actual dating anniversary is in October. I’m incredibly thankful to be in a relationship with someone who has always adored me for being… me.

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Celebrating at my mom’s house! May the 4th Be With You. 

Since I posted about my engagement, I wanted to thank everyone for their love and support. My social media feed blew up with family and friends who were happy for us. Once the initial news of our engagement dies down, we can start looking forward to wedding planning. For now, I’m still getting used to looking down at my finger and seeing the sparkle from my ring as I finish typing this blog post.

War of the Spark Pre-Release Summary

This weekend was the War of the Spark pre-release for Magic the Gathering. As each set releases, there’s always a “pre-release” where players can play the set before the release date. I previously attended one pre-release where I didn’t win a single game. However, I was pleasantly surprised to say I won 3 games. YAY I’M STILL SO EXCITED AND PROUD OF MYSELF 😀 😀 😀 I wanted to summarize the deck I built and my general experience of the pre-release.

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This was my pre-release kit. This contains all the cards I need to build a 40 card deck. Photo taken by me. 

In a pre-release, there are “promo” cards. The cards are randomized with each promo being foiled and listing the date of the pre-release on the card. As I opened my kit, I’m looking at what my “pulls” are. The pulls are the unwrapped cards from the booster packs. From there, I’m expected to put the cards together in a 40 card minimum deck. This is my favorite part of a pre-release. Every player is on an even playing field. A skilled player could put together a mediocre deck or a novice player like myself could make a powerful deck. I “pulled” some bad-ass black creatures, so I created a black / green deck with emphasis on graveyard retrieval along with powerful planeswalkers.

Let’s discuss planeswalkers. Planeswalkers aren’t creatures, but they serve a purpose. They grant abilities to creatures, allow for card draw and more. This is one of the few Magic the Gathering sets which prominently feature Planeswalkers.

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I’m on cloud nine 🙂 🙂 

As I mentioned, I won three games. I accomplished this by playing more aggressively than I had played in the past. I used several planeswalker cards to trigger abilities which included destroying my opponent’s creatures and dealing damage to my opponent directly. My favorite cards I used were Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted and Massacre Girl. I also liked the Price of Betrayal and Ob Nixilis Cruelty.

Ultimately, I felt a boost of confidence in my ability to play Magic the Gathering. I had been feeling insecure for a long time about my skill in the game, but this assured me that I have potential to improve as a player. My next goal in a pre-release is to win a match which is the best two out of three against an opponent. Hopefully this post wasn’t too detailed, but I felt it was necessary to sum up my pre-release weekend. If you play Magic the Gathering, let me know what you pulled in this pre-release.

 

Shazam! Pre Screening No Spoilers

Right before me and the boyfriend started dating, we chatted on Tinder about the Justice League. The DC universe is one of the fandoms me and the boyfriend have in common. Ever since the trailer dropped for Shazam! at San Diego Comic Con, we have both been  awaiting the release of this movie. Shazam is a superhero that could work well in a movie, but it also could go horribly wrong due to Shazam’s back story. I’m thrilled to say this movie lives up to the hype and you all should see it Friday April 5th 2019.

As I mentioned, there won’t be any spoilers for this movie. Instead, I want to focus on Shazam’s back story. Billy Batson is a troublesome, homeless kid found sleeping on the subway or being transferred between foster homes. Despite his upbringing, Billy has a good heart and defends his other foster siblings from bullies at school. This leads him to being transported to a mysterious throne where a very old man is sitting. This man is the Wizard Shazam using the powers of all the gods to fight evil. As he is aging, he recognizes he needs to pass his powers to someone else because eventually he will die. Billy says the name “Shazam!” and he is transformed into the ultra powerful being.

Shazam! takes inspiration from the New 52 series. In 2012 Geoff Johns rewrote the character as being from Philadelphia instead of New York. Johns also introduced Doctor Sivana early on in the series along with Black Adam. I’m thinking in the Shazam! sequel if there is one, Black Adam will be the main villain.

Shazam is truly a kid at heart even though he looks like an ultra buff Superman. This is where the movie lies in a delicate balance. Zachary Levi, Jack Dylon Grazer and Asher Angel were perfectly cast. Levi and Grazer have amazing chemistry together and Grazer’s humor adds to the comedic tone of the film. One of my favorite parts of the film is Shazam! testing his powers with Grazer’s help as he films him and adds it to Youtube.

Doctor Sivana is the main villain in this movie played wonderfully by Mark Strong. Doctor Sivana is a mad scientist of sorts. I felt Strong did a great job with the role, but I don’t think there’s anything particular unique about Sivana. He follows the stereotypical movie villain prototype.

Even if you’re not a DC fan, Shazam! is a fun movie to see in theaters. I feel bad for Warner Bros. since their DC movie universe is in shambles. I hope they get their shit together because Zachary Levi was fabulous as Shazam. Let me know you’re thoughts are with the movie in the comments below.

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Shazam! opens Friday April 5th 2019