Another overwhelming day at Gen Con. So much so that we were so drained, we didn’t go back for Day 4 on Sunday. *sigh*

But we were very excited to watch the Costume Contest! We were able to get pretty good seats in the fourth row with our press credentials and once again watched the Different Drummer Belly Dancers perform the pre-show. Two of the ladies are regulars from previous years and two were new at Gen Con.

Here’s a link to a video clip of the belly dancers.

My camera had issues focusing last year when I took pictures at the contest. Everyone kept moving so many were blurry. This year I decided to try taking video clips of each person and taking still snapshots out of the clips later. Still not very sharp pictures, but they were the best I could do with my 12 megapixel digital camera. Here’s a link to the full album. And here are a few favorites:

The BEST IN SHOW winner was this dude:

As in 15 previous years, Luke Ski performed the show to entertain the audience while the judges’ votes were tallied. He performs nerdy parody songs, much like Weird Al. This year, he opened with a Dark Crystal number, transitioning into the Marvel characters being owned by Disney song, then a really sweet romantic song comparing his love for a special lady to many of his favorite movie/tv characters/situations. Then he brought it back to straight comedy with a song about classic Monty Python sketches like the Ministry of Silly Walks and took Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” and sang it about all the Jewish characters in the Star Wars movies. He had a follow up concert scheduled for 9pm, incidentally the same time as the Masquerade Ball at Union Station.

Here’s a link to the Dark Crystal song.

After sitting at the show for three hours, we were STARVED. We met up with a couple of friends, walked all over downtown Indianapolis trying to find where they parked their car to feed the meter, then tried to find a place to eat. On the way, we detoured through Monument Circle and found the epic gathering of all motorcycles EVER. Or it felt like that. It was loud, VERY loud.

After finding a bunch of restaurants having a super long wait (on a Saturday night? No kidding.), we ended up back at the mall food court. Again. If you are keeping track, that’s the third day in a row. After having chicken tenders and waffle fries two days in a row, I switched to a Cajun place and got a veggie side and two meats. My stomach didn’t agree with it later.

Our plan was to next go to the AMV contest in the Anime section at the Westin. AMVs are Anime Music Videos. They are created by fans and are really cool to check out and often the audience gets to vote on the winners in a contest. We showed up at 8pm to the room it was stated to be at in the program and…found a bunch of people waiting to go to a “Writing for Television” seminar. That was written on the schedule for two different rooms so they switched to the other room and we waited in our room for 15 minutes without anyone showing up. The schedule outside the door said it was switched to 9pm so we walked around to find something else to do and found……the LIVE ACTION Sailor Moon series!

I could have watched this all night, it was so much fun. It is hilarious and still heart-warming. I particularly loved how they just made the plush cat figure of Luna nod her head up and down to talk and pretended her paws were typing on the computer’s keyboard. It was a point in the series before Sailor V joined the squad and Serena still doesn’t know Tuxedo Mask’s true identity even though he probably knows her’s. At 9, we thought about going back over the the AMV contest or to the Masquerade Ball but didn’t feel like going anywhere. After we had watched enough, we went home for the night.

I asked a friend how her experience was at the Ball and she said the DJs played a lot of slow songs by request and less dance music than previous years. Said friend was dressed as a Tardis so she knows what she is talking about.

Thanks for following me along on these adventures and putting up with my not quite so perfect pictures of the costume contest. It’s been fun, but it’s also exhausting. I’m whipped here sitting on the couch Sunday night trying to sum it all up. If you were there, I hope you had fun too.

Here’s Katniss Everdeen signing off! (this picture was from giving my friends directions back to their car)

Today we started out at a matinee for “The Expendables 2″, I recorded a quick review in the car, and off to Gen Con we went!

Knowing today was the first day of a new event, the World Cup for Magic the Gathering, we headed right over to see if we could watch it happening live. There is greater exposure online than ever before with webcasting and yet it turned out there was nothing on location for those AT the con to follow! What’s the benefit of being here if you could watch it better online at home? We were told by one lady that on Sunday, you could gather around a modest sized flat screen television to watch some. But if it’s just hanging on the wall, why not use it before then? Pretty annoying. There was a crowd gathering around the camera crew’s view screen on the featured match.

(Webcasting)

The standings after four rounds had the United States in 17th place, but later on after 7 rounds, the top places internationally were 1st place – Slovak Republic, 2nd place – Spain, 3rd place – Canada (who is having a great year), and 4th place – United States. Each country has a champion that won a gold medal to be there and most of them were wearing them at the event. These champions serve as captain of their country’s team, but the whole team competes for points to get their country up in rankings. U.S. did a good job climbing the boards today!

After the Magic the Gathering hall, we took a turn around the video gaming room where we saw a few open controllers and jumped into a game. Didn’t realize it was nothing like the Street Fighter Turbo I remember playing growing up and I lost epicly. What the heck is up with these Tetris blocks?? And weird timer bombs???

The next event we went to was the Epic Battles in Anime panel run by a friend of our’s and her brother. It was a little like fantasy football. They took characters from three big popular fighting animes: Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, and One Piece. The panel was really packed with around 6o people, 10 of them standing in the back. The format was a lecture on each of two characters in a match up going over their abilities in lots of detail followed by an AMV of both of them fighting…not each other, just characters from their respective series, and then a debate amongst audience members and a vote by show of hands to figure out the “winner.” I only knew the Naruto Shippuden characters, well, the one that was mentioned. There was an epic argument over whether a character that moves several times the speed of sound would beat a character that was the speed of light. Someone got out the internet to settle things (yes, light still wins).

I took a walk around and caught some fun costumes and dragon balloon art!

Last was my favorite event the past two years at Gen Con — Mystery Anime Theater 3000 from Wasabi Anime! This year’s movie was “Sailor Moon Super S” where Chibi-Usa and other children of the world are kidnapped by evil fairies to have their dreams fed to a black dream hole started by a vampire witch space chick unless Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts can save the day. Lots of hilarious, inappropriate humor ensued which is not fit to print, but you should definitely check it out next year if you are able. Films of the past have been “Sailor Moon R” (flowers from space attack and weird alien bromance with Tuxedo Mask) and “Sailor Moon S” (snow queen from space attacks and Luna the cat falls into a scientist and turns human).

And that was pretty much our day! Stay tuned for Day 3 when the big costume contest takes place!…..or else.

 

Although there were some events on Wednesday night, today marked the official beginning of Gen Con. This is my sixth Gen Con. SIX. Wow. I have a special memory from each one.

Gen Con 2007: The year we met Hayden Panettiere and she signed our Heroes poster which is framed in our living room.

Gen Con 2008: The year we did Gen Con and Summerslam in ONE day. Epic wedding anniversary celebration.

Gen Con 2009: The year I was a finalist in the Dance Dance Revolution competition and the first time we met Vic Mignogna.

Gen Con 2010: The year I left Gen Con to go to roller derby practice and injured my knee…taking me out of contention for the Dance Dance Revolution competition. :-(

Gen Con 2011: I cosplayed as Holo from the anime, “Spice and Wolf”.

Now here we are at Gen Con 2012. This is the year of cosplaying as Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games.” I went all over town putting together my costume. I lucked out that I had just bought the perfect pair of pants a week before I started looking so I had those. I found a pair of dark brown leather knee high boots at Goodwill for $2. Score. I already had a black v-neck long sleeve thermal shirt, another win. I had a mockingjay pin from the movie that Dan bought me when we went to see it in theaters in March. I was striking out on the jacket. I went to Amazon, two Goodwills, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Kohl’s, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and any other store in the mall that might have something. It being August was a pretty big problem. I broke down and bought the Hunger Games arena jacket from Amazon which cost a pretty penny for such light material, but all day as I was stopped and asked to pose for pictures, I was asked about the jacket and where I got it and if I made it.

I had some trouble with the bow and arrow combo. You can’t bring realistic weapons to Gen Con I learned so I bought the cheapest kid set I could find and it is pretty lame. Even Angel thinks so.

Upon getting to Gen Con, we picked up our press badges and began to explore. First we went hrough the new game testing area and into the Magic the Gathering hall. There are some amazing displays there including a Serra Angel and the trophy case for the World Cup.

Then onto the Vendor Hall. This year in particular, there were many custom costume items. Leather corsets, lots of steam punk, accessories, weapons, a big black long bow I could purchase for $70….

My favorite booth was the Doctor Who themed one with a full size light up Tardis.

At the Westin, all the viewing rooms were set up. There isn’t much of a selection of anime to view this year unfortunately. I was very disappointed with what they had. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I did spend about an hour watching a documentary called “J, Robot” about Japanese robotics and culture. They don’t strive for robots to look human, just childlike or cute. They also believe that working on these robots gives a bit of their soul into their creations. They have a lot of respect for robots and one girl interviewed chirped, “I want robot friends!” Fun and interesting.

Before leaving today, we made sure to find the video game area. Times certainly have changed! It used to be you could play any game you wanted any time if you were patient enough to wait your turn. There was tons of Dance Dance Revolution and Rock Band. Now you have to buy event tickets to spend time in the video game room playing around and the selection has been cut WAY down. Check out the classic video game room:

There are two DDR machines and one DDR knock off game in this room. In the CLASSIC video game room. I feel old.

Compare that with the other video game room which is a little more modern and includes sport games, first person shooters, Madden, Rock Band, and one of those motion capture dancing games that I can’t bring myself to do because moving my arms and legs at the same time is hard work. ;-) It would appear that Smash Bros is still a popular game too which I was happy to see.

After that, we called it a day for today so we’ll have more energy for tomorrow. Still three full days of gaming to go!

Here’s the full album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151150225461280.495038.115650956279&type=1

Gen Con Indy 2012 is only two days away! I’m pretty psyched. Here’s a link to my review from last year:

Gen Con 2011

What is Gen Con?

Gen Con Indy is the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world. Gen Con is a consumer and trade experience dedicated to gaming culture and community. Gen Con Indy is the largest annual consumer fantasy, electronic, sci-fi, adventure and hobby game convention in North America. Each year gaming enthusiasts converge to share their love for all things gaming, from tournaments to guest appearances, exhibit hall booths to electronic games, workshops, seminars, anime, art shows, auctions and countless other activities. Gen Con takes place in downtown Indianapolis from Thursday, August 16th to Sunday, August 19th at the Convention Center and also spreads out into other buildings like the Anime section being in the Westin Hotel. You have to buy a badge to get in and can get either a 4-Day, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Trade Day, VIG or VIG Companion option all for different price levels. The best deal is the 4-Day, but if you are on a budget, I’d recommend attending on Saturday because that’s when you’ll see the best costumes and the costume contest takes place. Also if you volunteer your time working at Gen Con, you can earn a free badge.

How do I keep track of what’s going on?

I highly recommend downloading this app that helps you track events: http://www.gencon.com/2012/indy/it/mobile/default.aspx

Cosplay!

Here’s what I’m psyched about this year. First off, I’m going to dress up as Katniss from Hunger Games in her hunting apparel with the arena jacket. I have a mockingjay pin and a toy set of bow and arrows that I hope will be fake enough to get in, but not so lame that they are embarrassing to carry around.

I really look forward to seeing the costumes every year. You can tell by how many pictures I take! Here are a few favorites from last year’s album.

There are three big Guests of Honor this year. Wes BentleyWil Wheaton and Nichelle Nichols will all be there and will be signing autographs for fans on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. An American Beauty/Hunger Games cast member and two big Star Trek names, not to mention Wheaton’s fun stints on The Big Bang Theory.

Would have been fun to shoot an arrow at Seneca Crane’s autograph signing table! hehehe Unfortunately, I just have little lame suction cups at the end of my arrows anyway for the safety of convention goers.

This year, Gen Con will host two global Magic: the Gathering Championships so I know where my husband will be lurking. They are starting with a Friday Night Magic Championship which will start on THURSDAY (Yeah, I know) and will involve 100 players from around the world. Then Friday is the Magic World Cup which brings together the best players from 50 countries in an international competition.

Coverage of the World Cup begins Friday morning with a live video webcast and text coverage running all three days of the event.  Live chat sessions with players, R&D staff, and coverage reporters will take place at various times during the three days on CoverItLive, video content will post to YouTube on the wizardsmtg channel, and you can follow or join in the conversation with the official Twitter hashtag for the World Magic Cup#mtgwmc.

New Events!

New events this year at Gen Con include an Apples to Apples bash, a beer tapping event with Sun King brewing an Ale of Destiny (whoa), and once again you can playtest new games that haven’t hit the market yet like Dan and I did last year with that hiking card game. Gen Con is debuting a new area for playtesting called the First Exposure Playtest Hall which will be in Sagamore Ballrooms 6 and 7.

There will also be live music events! A variety of bands – from rock to nerdcore to video game music to mixed comedy performances – will perform in Grand Ballroom II and III on the second floor of the Westin, just across the skywalk from the Indiana Convention Center on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18.

I’m not nerdy enough for Gen Con.

WHAT?? Just kidding. There are tons of SA or Spousal Activities for those not nerdy enough to partake in the nerdiness that ensues at Gen Con. There is crafting, dance classes, self defense, and workouts like yoga you can check out. Chances are you’ll find tons of fun stuff anyway.

With less than two days to go, all we have to do is wait now….then gamers will descend upon the city! You can follow Gen Con Indy’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/genconindy

Gina from HauntedFlower.com and HauntedFlowerReviews.com reviews “The Grey” based on the short story “Ghost Walker” starring Liam Neeson as a man who survives a plane crash only to have to try to survive the elements in Alaska during blizzards and fighting off vicious wolves.

The Grey

Gina from HauntedFlower.com and HauntedFlowerReviews.com gives her opinions of last week’s release of Oscar nominations for 2012 and mentions which animated film got snubbed as well as her predictions for the winners. 

Indymojo is proud to present a screening for “Big Miracle”!

Inspired by the true story that captured the hearts of people across the world, the rescue adventure Big Miracle tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore) who are joined by rival world superpowers to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Local newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski) can’t wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it, too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost, the one who worries Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she’s also his ex-girlfriend.

With time running out, Rachel and Adam must rally an unlikely coalition of Inuit natives, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales. As the world’s attention turns to the top of the globe, saving these endangered animals becomes a shared cause for nations entrenched against one another and leads to a momentary thaw in the Cold War.

Trailer

Here’s what you have to do to get tickets!

1. Join our Indymojo movie lovers group to always be first to find out about new listings.

2. Go to the event link for “Big Miracle” and click that you are attending.

3. Since the Youtube links haven’t been working the past few days, we’re going old school and posting pictures!! Post a picture of your favorite movie animal of the sea in the comment section below! (whale, dolphin, etc) (How to Post a Picture on Indymojo)

**Don’t Forget Step 4!!**

4. Finally, e-mail gw4mojo@gmail.com with the subject line “Big Miracle” and your Indymojo screen name in the text (ex: “Big Miracle – hauntedflower). I will add you to the list of winners and a couple days before the screening, I will e-mail the winners a PDF ticket good for a family pack of 4 you can print out (print 2 copies). DO NOT SHARE this PDF, the studio reps will have a guest list to check tickets with. Then show up at the theater at 9 am (1 hour early) on Saturday, January 28th because seating is limited even with tickets.

See you at the movies!

Gina from HauntedFlower.com and HauntedFlowerReviews.com reveals her list of the top 10 BEST movies she saw in 2011 followed by her list of the top 10 WORST movies she saw in 2011 and the top 10 best Anime she saw.

Indymojo is proud to present a screening for “Red Tails”!

1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options – including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world.

A high-flying action epic inspired by the heroic exploits of the first all African-American aerial combat unit, the Lucasfilm Ltd. production of Red Tails will launch on January 20, 2012, released by Twentieth Century Fox.

Red Tails stars Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Oscar nominee Terrence Howard (Crash), Emmy® winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Nate Parker (The Secret Life of Bees, The Great Debaters), David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Tristan Wilds (“90210”), Grammy® Award winner Cliff Smith aka Method Man (“The Wire”), Kevin Phillips (Pride), Rick Otto (“The Wire”), Lee Tergesen (Monster), Andre Royo (“Heroes”), Grammy-Award winner Ne-Yo (Stomp the Yard), Elijah Kelley (Hairspray), Marcus T. Paulk (Take the Lead), Leslie Odom Jr. (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Michael B. Jordan (“Friday Night Lights,” Chronicle) and Daniela Ruah (“NCIS”).

Here’s what you have to do to get tickets!

1. Join our Indymojo movie lovers group to always be first to find out about new listings.

2. Go to the event link for “Red Tails” and click that you are attending.

3. Post below and share a trailer for your favorite World War II movie. (How to Post a Youtube Video on Indymojo)

4. This event will have a Gofobo code which you can use to print up to two passes. I will send it out to your mailbox on Indymojo so check your inbox! Then show up at the theater an hour early at 6:30pm on Thursday, January 19th because seating is limited even with tickets. The theater location will be ON your tickets.

See you at the movies!

Indymojo is proud to present a screening for “Man on a Ledge”!

An ex-cop and now wanted fugitive (Sam Worthington) stands on the ledge of a high-rise building while a hard-living New York Police Department negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down. The longer they are on the ledge, the more she realizes that he might have an ulterior objective.

Here’s what you have to do to get tickets!

1. Join our Indymojo movie lovers group to always be first to find out about new listings.

2. Go to the event link for “Man on a Ledge” and click that you are attending.

3. Post below and share a trailer for your favorite movie that has a person threatening to or actually jumping from or off a building. There are enough of them, shouldn’t be too hard to think of one. (How to Post a Youtube Video on Indymojo)

4. This event will have a Gofobo code which you can use to print up to two passes. I will send it out to your mailbox on Indymojo so check your inbox! Then show up at the theater an hour early at 6:00pm on Wednesday, January 18th because seating is limited even with tickets. The theater location will be ON your tickets.

See you at the movies!