Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Halloween or Hallowe'en (/ˌhæləˈwin, -ˈin, ˌhɒl-/; a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening"), also known as All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It initiates the triduum of Hallowmas, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
According to many scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other academics maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots. (Thank you Wikipedia!)


Happy Halloween!  I posted the little bit above because it drives me crazy when people try to say it is an evil and devil worshiping holiday.  It is a christian, and possibly pagan, holiday that has been reduced to a candy grab and parties.  Not that I am complaining about what it has become.  I love to see the kids in costume!  My plans are to take PenPen trick or treating in her pikachu costume.  Tomorrow night I will be in costume for a post-Halloween party!  Yay!  How will you be spending your Halloween?




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Thriller



While it may not be one of Michael Jackson's best songs ever, Thriller is still an amazing song.  A lot of Michael's hits from the 80's were awesome.  The video to Thriller is also brilliant in its own right.  A perfect song to enjoy with Halloween right around the corner.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Octopi

Last night my husband was sweet enough to turn my hotdog into adorable octopi! So kawaii, yes?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: Sanrio Dresses

Super cute, but pricey.  I am talking about the new Sanrio dresses that Japan LA has launched.  They may not seem that expensive to some, but I usually don't spend more than $30 on a dress.  That doesn't change that I think these look fabulous.

Hello Kitty ($65)

Keroppi ($65)

Tuxedosam ($65)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Monster Mash



Are you ready for Halloween yet?  What better way to get in the mood than jam'n to Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Madoka Magica: The Darker Side of Magic Girls

+Madoka+ by Psyconorikan
The Magic Girl genre of anime is usually very light hearted, fun, and often geared towards a very young crowd.  Madoka Magica, while technically part of the Magic Girl genre, is none of these things.  The packaging is very typical with pink, sparkles, and cute outfits.  Below the surface is a darkness.  I got an uneasy feeling very early on, though I could not quite place way.  As the show progressed, the seriousness and hopelessness the characters faced began to weigh on me.  My best quick explanation would be to imagine sitting down to watch Cardcaptor Sakura only to realize the show is actually Neon Genesis Evangelion.  What surprised me the most is just how much I loved watching it.
Madoka Magica by breakbattle
 Madoka is the main character, but the story isn't really about her.  From the very beginning you are lead to believe the story is about Madoka, starting with the opening song.  In a way the show is very much about her, but you don't realize what is truly going on until you are two thirds of the way in.  Luckily, it is a short series.  In the world Madoka lives in there are Magic Girls who are tasked with fighting witches.  These Magic Girls start out as normal every day girls, who one day are offered the chance to trade their soul for a wish/miracle.  Once the contract is made, they become Magic Girls.

What I like about the show is the angle it takes on the Magic Girl genre.  The witches are very two dimensional and individually are unimportant to the story.  The focus is more about what is means to be a Magic Girl.  Is it sunshine and rainbows like more anime would suggest?  Realistically, what is a person giving up to gain that kind of power?  More importantly, what is it they actually become?  These are teenagers, some barely, who must spend the rest of their days hunting and fighting witches in return for one wish.  A perfect example is when Madoka is talking to a Magic Girl named Mami about becoming one.  Instead of thinking about what to wish for or the danger she would face, Madoka spends her time daydreaming of what costume she would want to fight in.

A witch

When a Magic Girl fights a witch, she must enter the witch's labyrinth to find it.  The first labyrinth is when my husband lost interest because of the change in art style, but that is also when I fell in love.  A witch's soul is so full of despair, loneliness, and anger that it cripples her from thinking anything but a curse upon the world.  The witch's labyrinth is a deadly shadow of what the witch used to find happiness in, which may also be their cause for despair.  Though that is purely speculation based on the one witch birth you really get to witness.  Witches can also evolve from another witch's familiar who have killed enough.  They are hunted because a Magic Girl needs the grief seed that a witch drops upon her death.  These grief seeds keep the Magic Girl's soul gem, the source of her power and more, clean.

I find Madoka Magica to be both beautiful and dark.  Even if you typically do not like Magic Girl animes, I ask you to give this one a shot.I will leave you with the ending credits.  They are spoiler free and give a great feel for the tone of the show.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Natsume's Book of Friends

Natsume by Verity-Niwa
 One of my favorite finds on Hulu so far is an anime called Natsume's Book of Friends.  This show, which can also be found on Crunchy Roll, is about a boy who can see spirits.  Takashi grew up isolated, much like his grandmother who could also see spirits.  Much of the isolation has to do with the fact that he is not just different, but also without a home.  His parents died when he was young and after that he would get bounced around from place to place because he would talk about the odd things he would see.

The show opens on Takashi living with a family that seems to truly care for him.  Due to his rough past, he doesn't seem to have to ability to fully understand just how welcome and wanted he is in his new home.  He has also learned that if he wants to live any sort of normal like that he must keep any interactions with yokai, the Japanese word for spirits, a secret.  The show is rather bitter sweet because of this.  His new "parents" are not the only ones who want to give him unconditional love.  A few people find out his secret as time goes on.  In fact, he meets other people with similar abilities.  These people are all very accepting of him, even when they may have conflicting views of the world.  Unfortunately, Takashi's past seems to have scarred him enough that he cannot see this.
Natsume's Book of Friends by Fuugen


The main plot revolves around the Book of Friends, an item he inherited through his grandmother.  For all of Takashi's social failings, he is not as bad off as his grandmother was.  Reiko shunned herself from most humans and took out her anger on yokai, even if she befriended them.  She would often challenge a yokai to a duel, and upon their loss they would be forced to write their name on a sheet of paper.  When a yokai write its name down it relinquishes itself to that piece of paper and who ever is in possession of the paper.  Basically, Takashi becomes the owner of a big book of monster slaves.  Unlike Reiko, Takashi does not care for the idea of possessing yokai and decides to free each one.  This is quite the undertaking since the yokai must be present, so most episodes revolve around a yokai who has come to retrieve their name.

Yokai, like humans, cannot be generalized as good or evil.  Each is unique.  Some of the yokai Takashi encounters are not those whose names are in the book, but rather wish to possess the book so they can have the power over those whose names are listed.  Madara/Nyanko-sensei is one who wishes to possess the book.  In the process of trying to obtain the Book of Friends, Nyanko-sensai makes a deal with Takashi.  He will be the boy's bodyguard and assist with Takashi's quest to release the names of the yokai in the book to their rightful owners.  In return the book becomes Nyanko-sensei's if Takashi should pass away before complete his mission. 

Natsume + Tama by sunny-Momo-chan

Bittersweet is truly the best description for the show.  Even the art style feels bittersweet.  There are four season total, each season being only 13 episodes.  I started watching last weekend and I am already into season 3.  I will admit a few episodes have even made me cry, not that it is hard to do so.  If you like the works of Hayao Miyazaki, then you will probably like Natsume's Book of Friends.  Think of Spirited Away and all the yokai and gods and you can get an idea of what to expect.  I also find it a nice way to learn a little about Japanese lore.  I will leave you with the opening to season two.  watch it carefully.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Warcraft Players, Beware of Scammers and Hackers

My husband and I have authenticators for our World of Warcraft/Battle.net accounts.  I used to think they were a waste of time, but a few years ago my husband's account was compromised.  Then mine was.  Both times were made easier with the wonderful employees of Blizzard who were able to restore everything.  In my husband's case, the employee really pushed the authenticator.  When it happened to me, I was advised to change every password I had to be safe.  This week I have run into a new attempt by those who wish to steal my account.  I have received two emails in the last 24 hours that are pretty sad attempts to gain access to my account.



Both e-mails try to make it look like they were sent by noreply@blizzard.com, but you can clearly see the Gmail accounts that the emails were sent from.  The cherry on top is that Hotmail caught the second one and flagged it.  I tried to look into forwarding these to Blizzard in case they would be at all useful.  I was unsuccessful because I could not locate any proper contact information for this sort of thing.  Since I cannot send it to them, I am posting it here to remind people to keep an eye out.  Don't let scammers steal your account.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Baby Cosplay Made Easy Part 3

This week we are going to look at what Etsy has to offer.  Sometimes Etsy sellers are of a higher quality because they are handmade.  Often you get more creative ideas than what you find on the mainstream costumes sites.  These are some of the more fun examples.

Shizune's Ton-Ton Baby Pig Cosplay (Naruto) by TheSneakyGeek


Totoro Onesie by MithrilSheep

Yoda Crochet Hat by ImSewCrafty

R2D2 Onesie by meandmy3boys

Pikachu and Pokeball Mommy and Me by MammasMilk

Alice in Wonderland by myIRAandLUCYonETSY

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: tokidoki x Pullip Luna

I recently discovered Pullip dolls.  Basically super expensive Barbie dolls for adults, though that is probably a very bad description.  What caught my eye was they have a collaboration with tokidoki, named Luna.  The other dolls are super cute and all, but I have a particular love for all that is tokidoki.  Like the tokidoki Barbie doll, Luna comes with tokidoki clothes, accessories, and ink.  Normally Luna seems to go for $180+ on official sites, but I found a store on Amazon.com that prices her at $139.99.  Sadly, that is still out of my price range.




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Toucha Toucha Touch Me (Glee Version)



What cracks me up the most about this version is that they "clean up" the lyrics at the beginning, but it gets pretty dirty visually.  Two staff members at a high school are grinding and stripping while some students hide and watch.  I am not sure why they even bothered. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fun at the Great Wolf Lodge

Posting via mobile again. Honestly, I am using this app because it is slightly less aggravating than posting without it on a mobile device.

I spent Sunday having a mini vacation at Great Wolf Lodge. No baby, no dog, and no responsibility. Just my husband and I relaxing. That did not stop us from constantly mentioning how much PenPen will enjoy going when she gets older. Over all, the place is pretty neat. Much more bear decore than I would expect in a “Wolf Lodge”, though.

Enjoy the mass dump of random pictures.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Picture Post: Dress'n It Up

My computer is doing better, I think, but this is still a mobile post. Enjoying a child free evening at Great Wolf Lodge. I have some best pictures to share tomorrow. Until then, me in a dress.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Starburst. . . Candy Corn?


I am a huge candy corn fan for as long as I can remember.  It is one of my favorite Halloween candies.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw a new spin on my old favorite at the grocery store.  I know some people may wonder what I was thinking trying something like this.  If you have ever had Starburst's jelly beans, then you know why I was curious. 

I am not really sure what I was expecting before I took my first bite.  My best description for Starburst Candy Corn is different.  When I say different I do not mean bad, I genuinely mean different.  It taste like Starburst but the texture is candy corn.  Basically it is exactly what the package says.  The combination can be startling at first.  Once I got about a fourth of the way into the bag the shock wore off and I really began to enjoy the candy.  Normally pink/strawberry is my favorite Starburst flavor, but the red/cherry is so delicious and juicy in candy corn form. 

If you like Starburst then this is definitely a candy you should try.  If you experience a bit of texture shock like I did, keep eating.  Your brain will adapt.  In fact, go out and buy some and then leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baby Cosplay Made Easy Part 2

Last week we looked at a few choices for baby and toddler cosplay ideas.  If you have been attending conventions as long as I have, or longer, then you may have some reservations about buying a costume instead of making it yourself.  Don't feel bad.  I have personally noticed a growing number of purchased costumes, either commissioned or from generic costume sites.  As long as you aren't entering a contest at a convention, most people don't care.  Plus, there are some really cute options out there now.

Baby Spider-Girl (For those who do not like when their girl is confused for a boy.)

Boy Ghostbuster

Girl Ghostbuster

Baby Batman

Baby Wonder Woman