Friday, June 28, 2013

Top Five Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths

The world of geek fiction is often wrought with more perils than that of the real world—how often do we have to battle hordes of zombies, invading aliens, or tyrannical wizard overlords? Many times, though, deaths in fiction are temporary—which means that those permanent deaths given much more of an impact. Thus, I present to you my list of the five most heart-breaking character deaths. To be part of this list, 1) the character must be permanently dead—coming back to live makes me okay with the fact that you were once dead, and 2) I must still not be over the character’s death—whether it’s because of the impact of the death itself or the fact that I wish the character was still around.

Needless to say, but...


Spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, spoilers for the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series, spoilers for Star Trek: Nemesis, and spoilers for TellTale's The Walking Dead game. 

1) Joyce Summers

Many people gallantly sacrifice themselves in the Buffy/Angelverse. And quite a few of those people actually stay dead after they die for the cause, or for the people they care about. Joyce, though, was never part of the fight. And she didn’t die in a way that made sense in the Buffyverse—you’re supposed to be taken out by a vampire or a demon, not a problem with your body itself. The episode The Body is one that I still have trouble watching, to this day. The scenes where Buffy fantasizes that she made it home in time to save her mom—positioned so that you think she did—still make me tear up. And want to hug my mom.

Runners Up: Wesley, Wash, Fred

2) Fred Weasley

I wasn’t expecting Fred to go out the way he did. And going out when he did—that’s what puts him on my list. The Weasleys had just reunited after three books—with Percy accepted back into the fold—and Fred, George, and Percy had been handing an area of Hogwarts themselves during the battle. Percy cracks a joke, Fred rejoices—and is interrupted by his death. Having the Weasleys—a cornerstone of the Wizarding World as you’re introduced to it through Harry—permanantly split after seeing it made whole again hurts. Having it split because Fred is gone is somehow, in my opinion, one of the worst ways to fracture the Weasley family. This is due to the role that the twins had played over the seven books—the good-hearted, hilarious partners-in-crime. The book leaves you wondering about the family dynamic with Fred gone—and how George will fare.

Runners Up: Sirius, Remus and Tonks, Hedwig

3) Catelyn Stark

I’m a Stark supporter through and through. Which is unfortunate, considering the way that George R.R. Martin treats the Starks. Still, I supported Robb as King in the North, and I was waiting, enthusically, for him to take back Winterfell (which is what he was going to do after his uncle’s wedding in the books, not go after Casterley Rock). I enjoyed viewing Robb’s journey through Catelyn’s POV, as I always thought it was unique to look at a son’s war experiences through the eyes of his mother. Catelyn cares about her children, and you see her suffer as she slowly loses them. Being in her POV at the Red Wedding is brutal. You see her lose everything as the events unfold. Worse, though, is that you slowly realize what is about to occur alongside her. And still, you hold out hope—as she does—until the last second, hoping that things might be fixed and she and Robb can leave the Twins. As she dies, she dies as someone who has lost all that is dear to her, and experience the pain and madness as it sweeps in. It’s certainly a character death that sticks with you.

Runners Up: Why are you all Starks? (And Maester Aemon).

4)  Data

Throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data seeks to become more human. He wants to understand emotion, human motivation, and even the dorkiest of jokes made by his colleagues aboard the Enterprise. At the end of Star Trek: Nemesis—the final TNG movie—the ship is laid to waste, and Picard teleports over to the enemy ship in order to give his life for the good of his crew. Little does he know that Data, the bad ass that he is, freakin’ space leaps from the Enterprise to the Scimitar in order to rescue Captain Picard, and then destroy the Remen weapon the bad-guy, Tom Hardy Shinzon, planned to use to destroy Earth. Data’s become human enough to understand sacrifice, and to sacrifice himself. After years of watching him become more than an android—to become an individual—it’s difficult to see him die. It’s not like then the Terminator dies in T2—Data’s become his own person. Which is why I maintain that he dies and I’m still sad—B4 will never be Data. He may “learn” what Data knew, but he didn’t have the desire within him to take that journey himself, which makes him less-than-Data.

5) Lee Everett

In TellTale’s The Walking Dead, the player spend five “episodes” of the game as Lee Everett, protecting and caring for a young girl named Clementine. At the end of the game, Clementine sees her zombified parents and, in the following chaotic moments, Lee blacks out. Clementine was able to get him to a safe area, where she find that…Lee has been bitten, and is turning. After spending hours in this expertly written world, you find that you’ve fallen short in your duty to protect Clementine. She is now facing the zombie-infested world on her own. Not only have you failed in that respect, but you have to choose how to last “protect” her—in ways that can also hurt her. Do you have her shoot you before you turn, making her kill the last person she has in the world? Or do you have her leave, hoping she can get out on her own before you, or another zombie, attacks her? Granted, you’re handcuffed to a radiator, but you’ve learned not to take “safe” for granted in this game. You’ve spent the entire game being Lee Everett, making his every decision and caring for the little girl in front of you. When he dies, you can’t help but think you’ve fallen short.

There are many more characters that I wish I could have put on this list, but I kept it to one character from each title/world. Some authors or writes have killed off tons of characters, making me very sad—I’m looking at you, George R.R. Martin, Joss Whedon, and J.K. Rowling—but I had to only feature one. Who would you have included in this? Which character deaths do you still deny?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June LootCrate Unboxing!

Here is the video of my June LootCrate Unboxing!

In other news, does anyone know how to get to the custom thumbnails on YouTube? Because I have some SERIOUS bad luck with getting the most unflattering generated thumbnails in the world.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY: T-Shirt to Tank Top!

Hey everyone! Here's a new Summer of T-Shirt Surgery DIY! Here, I first attempted to make a tank dress that has a cut similar to the new Her Universe dressed (examples here and here). Unfortunately, I had a slight issue--and it wasn't a problem that I created myself. Unfortunately, when you're 5'10", even XL shirts aren't quite long enough to turn into dresses. But I can reach the top shelf of my cabinets, so I guess the trade-off is alright. So my tank dress became a tank top.

I began with a Star Trek TOS t-shirt I bought at my local Gordman's. This is the first time I've actually hemmed arm-holes (can you even call them sleeves with a tank top?) and neck holes, so they're not the best, but it still looks fine on. Yay me, learning new things.

I first began the way I usually begin--cutting off the sleeves and the neckband, using the seam as a guideline.

I then put the shirt on and marked where I wanted the straps of the t-shirt to be. After that, I took off the shirt and cut along those likes, leaving about a 3/8 seam allowance for the hems.

The next step consisted of cutting up the side of the shirt in order to take in the sides. After cutting, I pinned the edges of the tank top and sewed a new seam (with a 3/8 in seam allowance).

Once the sides were sewn together (you can use a French Seam, but I didn't because I typically don't use that with a knit material).

I then used a zig-zag stitch to hem the arm holes and neck holes. The left side of this picture shows the sewn side. The right edge is now sewn, but pinned. You can see approximately how much I folded over here. I just folded over the knit material and sewed it that way. I didn't make cuts and folded over the seams--the stretchiness of t-shirt material didn't make that type of approach necessary.

Here's the tank dress when I thought I was done! Then I tried it on...and realized how short it was.

Why, yes. That is too short to wear as a dress.

The arm holes for my tank top are kind of low. That's part of what comes from using an XL shirt. You can cut and sew the tank top to avoid these large holes, but I'm crazy and I don't like the armpit of my shirts anywhere near my armpits (thus all the shirt surgery I do). So the cut here is a personal choice.

I wasn't exactly happy with just a plain tank if it wasn't long enough to be a tunic or a dress. So I cut a couple lengths of machine-washable red ribbon (about 9 inches worth, but I just eyed the length and didn't measure). I tied the front of the straps with bows (and reinforced with with stitches through the middle), and BAM! Here's the final product.

Ta-da! So that's the end of this DIY. Hopefully everything was clear, but I feel like I don't have enough pictures of the actual process... On Thursday I'll be posting a blog entry that I've been thinking about for the past few days (and just started writing). It's entitled The Five Most Heart-Breaking Character Deaths. I think I have my five narrowed down, but if you have any suggestions, let me know! I might include them, or give them an honorable mention, or think you're a little crazy (probably not the last one).

See you Thursday!

(I'm playing Mass Effect right now. Yay, Mass Effect! My fem!Shep kind of looks like Jill Valentine).

Follow These Links for More T-Shirt Alterations:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Out of the Box: The Lord of the Rings--The War in the North (Special Edition)

Hey everyone! Here is my first (non-LootCrate) unboxing video! I'm taking on my new Special Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The War in the North. Now I own every LoTR video game ever made!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Con Prep: Painting Props

The costume I have planned for the Friday of Chicago Comic Con requires a shotgun. I bought said toy shotgun at my local Gordman's the other day (yeah, who'dve thought?), and today I went to work making the $12.00 toy look...well...better.

Here's a picture of the original end of the gun. You can see the wood-grain texture, but only barely. It looks like a cheap toy.

Here's the shotgun from further away. Plastic-y!

I brought out the wood grain and darkened the plastic using the technique highlighted by the amazing Jen Yates in this blog entry (btw, if you don't read Epbot, you're missing out on EVERYTHING). Jen brings out the texture by painting the plastic with a darker shade of the color, and then wiping the paint off. This leaves the dark pain in the nooks and crannies of the plastic, and makes the thing look great.

I used a brown color called "Dark Chocolate"--but it ended up being too light, so I darkened it with a little bit of black. I also let some spots be more worn and others have a darker build-up, in order to try to replicate the look of an older, often-handled gun. This picture is immediately following the work on the wood-grain. The light spot is an inlay.

Once I finished with the "wooden" parts of the gun, I pained the inlay gold (I know, this gun is super fancy).

So, here are the "after" pictures! What do you think?

Further away.
Here, you can see the smooth spots I added where you'd hold the gun.
Also, all the essential crafting supplies (read: hard cider)
Here's a hint as to what my costume is going to be! If you have a guess, leave a comment! :)

Hint: Think "video game"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

4000 Pageview Giveaway!

Hey guys!

I mentioned on my Twitter that I wanted to do something special when I hit 4000 page views. Well, I got to 4000 (actually, now I'm over 4000, but still), and here it is!

If you've seen my Etsy page, you'll know that I make geeky throw pillows. I'm going to be giving one of these away in a random raffle! I will contact the winner once he or she is chosen, and make the pillow of your choice! Here are the ones I currently have for sale, so that you can get an idea of what I do. Of course, your pillow doesn't have to be one of these designs.

This is available here

This is available here.

This is available here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The only rule, unfortunately, is that this contest is only available to people in the U.S. Sorry!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Top Five Video Game Weapons (for Use in Case of Zombie Apocalypse)

There are two things that I geek out about: zombies, and video games. Zombie videogames are, naturally, a lot of fun. However, I particularly enjoy imagining which in-game weapons I would like to wield in a real-world zombie apocalypse (fine, fine… “real world” zombie apocalypse). Here are my top five zombie apocalypse weapons.

Blades of Chaos (God of War)

The Blades of Chaos are two bad-ass short, edged weapons. They’re super sharp, and can hack through most enemies—zombie flesh wouldn’t even be a challenge to these bad boys. Their best attribute, however, are the chains. The Blades of Chaos can be thrown to slash through an enemy, and the chains cause them to retract back into the bearer’s hands. They can also be spun on the chains, covering all possible areas of attack. The undead wouldn’t stand a chance.

Plasma Cutter (Dead Space)

A plasma cutter is an essential tool for any space miner. It’s also Dead Space’s answer to Gordon Freeman’s crowbar—but, of course, deadlier. And slice-ier. The plasma cutter would be a great short-range weapon, though it would be rather messy. I’ve mostly included it here for the cool factor, but you have to admit it would be effective.

Spread Gun (Contra)

The Contra spread gun in the only gun on this list—mostly because I think guns would be kind of boring, and this is a fantasy list. It’s also the only weapon from a game I haven’t played—though I’ve watched my boyfriend play it. (Ugh. Typing that sentence made me cringe). This gun shoots multiple bullets, which then spread out to hit multiple targets. You could take on most of a horde with this gun—though it starts to shoot off fewer rounds if you shoot it too frequently, which could cause problems in a full-fledged zombie attack.

Incinerate! Plasmid (Bioshock)

What would be better than pyrokinetic powers during the zombie apocalypse? The Incinerate! plasmid would give you those powers, and the ability to set entire zombie hordes aflame. Fire is extremely effective against zombies, and shooting fire at the undead would be a feel-good solution to the scourge. The only downside is the potential for collateral damage—fire spreads.

The Ripper (Dead Island)

I know I’ve already professed my love for zombies, video games, and zombie video games. But I didn’t really enjoy Dead Island. I pre-ordered it, played it for a while, then put it away until I eventually sold it back to Game Stop. The Ripper—the Game Stop exclusive weapon—can be created by a character at a work bench. It’s a combination of a baseball bat and a spinning saw—you hit a zombie and the saw slices it apart. It’s nicely effective, even in large crowds.

Well, there you have it—my Five Most-Desired Video Game Weapons (In the Event of a Zombie Apocalypse). Do you think I missed an obvious choice? What five weapons would you choose? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments!