Stephanie Watches Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2×08 “The Things We Bury”

HAYLEY ATWELL, REED DIAMOND

This week’s episode was overwhelming! Something that this show does right is pacing. They aren’t dragging anything out and just getting right to it. Giving us more and more information to connect all the mysterious dots every week.

This week we learned all about the origin of Daniel Whitehall by way of Bobbi interrogating Bakshi. He let slip that he had deep ties to the Red Skull, leading everyone to do some Scooby Gang style research.

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Stephanie Cosplays Merrill from Dragon Age

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Merrill – Dragon Age

Cons: DragonCon 2014

Status: Active

All of my friends have amazing Dragon Age costumes and tell me about all the fantastic times they have with the DA group at DragonCon, so I wanted to join the fun, especially for my first DragonCon!

Naturally, I had eight months to work on this, so I waited until July to finish it. 8D This ended up being a pretty stressful, time consuming project since my sewing machine blows and my leg guards aka platypi ended up breaking as soon as I tried walking in them and my chain mail also just turned to shreds. SIGH. So, there are some things that need to be redone. But all in all, I think it turned out pretty good for the time I wore it.

I had a great time with the Dragon Age group at DragonCon and had fun in my first ever parade experience! And we all looked awesome at our big photoshoot!

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Costume Details

Tunic: I made a pattern for this. First time ever making my own pattern. Yikes. I didn’t add as much detail to the front of the tunic as I would have liked, but it took me about ten hours to hand sew the trim on the bodysuit (again, a new sewing machine would solve this insane process), so I just didn’t have time for the rest. I secured everything with elastic at the top and sides and shower curtain rings that I painted gold.

Scarf: I found some great flowery yellow fabric and cut it into a perfect square to use as my scarf. Literally the easiest thing I have ever made. Yay!

Bodysuit: I bought a bodysuit from amazon to work as my base.

Chainmail: My homie Josh made a pattern for me from my bodysuit and I used silver net fabric to give it a chainmail effect. This worked in theory… But ended up ripping to shreds when I actually put it on at the con. I blame the hurrying because I put it on just fine at home. Oh well, looked fine without it. (But I am a perfectionist!)

Fur Shoulders: I used shoulder pads as the base and built the fur pieces around that so they would be naturally shaped that way. And more handsewing!

Arm/Leg Guards: I made patterns and cut out the bases with craft foam. I then made various strips of craft foam and layered them/hot glued them in a criss-cross pattern all the way down the pieces. An exacto knife became my BFF. Once the design was done, I used a hairdryer to heat form the pieces so they would be curved to my legs/arms. Then, I Mod Podged/painted everything for eight hundred years.

The arm guards worked just fine because I had built craft foam straps into them.

Unfortunately, the leg guards NOPED right off me as soon as I tried to walk in them. So to fix them, I’m going slice them up and velcro them directly to my bodysuit. TADA! I just don’t want all that endless work with the details/painting to go to waste.

Belt: Also made out of craft foam because I couldn’t find a base long enough. And I made the gold buckles out of craft foam. Hooray craft foam.

Shoes: I wore some sandals. I want to make “invisible shoes” for her someday. We’ll see.

Wig: I bought a black wig from ebay. I used clear elastic ponytail holders to give her hair the mini ponytails.

Ears: I can’t remember exactly which elf ears I bought, but I got them from Ardani Costumes! They looked adorable and stayed on super well.

Face Tattoo: A kind soul had a stencil of Merrill’s face tattoo and then an even kinder soul named Jess drew it on my face since I was so frazzled I couldn’t do it myself at the con. :3

Mage Staff: Kind soul Dale (probably the only time he will be described as such) aka Varric made this for me out of PVC. It is AWESOME.

On to the Photos!

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Other Cosplayers:
Alistair – Kevin
Sebastian – Nick
Inquisitor – Zonbi
Awesome Dragon Age @ DragonCon Group

Photos by: Danny Hunter and Lucky Sevens Craftworks

Stephanie Reads On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

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On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer is a steampunk’d version of the Shakespearean tale The Tempest.

I actually didn’t know the Shakespeare relevance when I began reading it, I simply immersed myself into the world she created with magic, monsters, and spirits. Later, I familiarized myself with the original tale, but I don’t think that took anything away from Grauer’s version. While there are obvious similarities, she made the story her own.

I enjoyed the way each chapter was told from one character’s perspective, which is necessary considering the characters are separated from one another throughout most of the story. We get to know all of them individually and weave through the pieces of narrative, gradually figuring out who could be trusted. Flashbacks are also introduced in a way that provides us with just enough information without giving everything away up front.

The only issue I had while reading was keeping the characters’ names straight. They all very fantastical names and I had to continually flip back to remind myself what role they initially played (as all that pomp and circumstance tends to be stripped away on the isle). Not all of them, but the more minor characters (if they could be considered minor) tripped me up a few times. This is a funny issue for me, considering I read A Song of Ice & Fire and somehow manage to keep those hundreds of characters straight, ha!

Mira’s chapters were my favorite because I felt they were the most vivid and internal, as well as certain surprising relationships that were revealed and developed between other characters. I won’t spoil, just enjoy! I also had no problem visualizing Grauer’s island; everything was described in just enough detail without being overbearing.

For those of you who are familiar with the original play, I think you will be delightfully surprised. This is not a complete conversion from the play. There are many elements that are different and fleshed out from the original story. And the steampunk elements make it even more enchanting.

This is an impressive piece of writing for being a first published novel. Grauer’s respect of the original play is clear throughout, but she has taken it and molded the story and these characters as her own.

If you’re heading to TeslaCon November 7-9, you can pick up an advanced copy!

Otherwise, you can pre-order On the Isle of Sound and Wonder! It comes out November 21st, 2014!

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Stephanie Watches Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2×06 “A Fractured House”

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Agents of SHIELD continues to fool me with happy things and then hurts me again.

HYDRA is masquerading as SHIELD and murdering people of the UN with their fancy disintegrating weapons (I can never remember the official names, so I make up my own!). Talbot witnesses this and goes to talk to Ward’s older brother, who is a Senator. He’s now proposed a bill to kill every SHIELD agent on sight. Yay!

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Stephanie Reads Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 Issue #8

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Return to Sunnydale, Part 1

In this spoopy (yes, spoopy!) Halloween-themed issue of Buffy, the gang discovers the Vampyr book has been stolen! And by none other than their so-called buddy Andrew. So, Willow does a locator spell, which leads them back to crater that was once their hometown of Sunnydale.

They find people partying it up, likely drawn to the energy of the place. Sure, they closed the Hellmouth, but there’s likely so much residual power!

We also learn the story of a Cthulu-like monster that lived happily ever after killing and maiming and eating humans with his Cthulu-wife, until one day a Slayer came to town and killed his wife and released his captive humans. Now obviously he is bent on revenge against ALL Slayers.

And he’s waiting for Buffy at the Hellmouth. Oh goodie!

But what the heck is Andrew doing? We see him head to his old lair that he shared with Jonathan and, ugh, Warren. And from the outsiders perspective, it looks like Andrew wants to raise his buddies from the dead…

But Andrew has other plans.

Pick up your copy from Dark Horse or your local comic book shop!

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I love covers like this! But don’t let it fool you because Clem was totally not in this issue. But maybe he’ll show up in Part 2?