Sorry about your arms, bro.

I actually wanted to a pre-Halloween reveal of my costume here on the blog but then I… just didn’t. So you get these after-the-fact photos, which is still cool. Alex and I decided that I would be Michonne from the comic/TV series The Walking Dead (which, if you’re not watching and/or reading, come get your life because it is crazy good) and he would be one of my zombie pack mules. If you’re not familiar with the series or wanting to get into it, I’m not really spoiling anything by telling you that Michonne is a dreadlocked, katana-wielding badass who has managed to survive alone and has a couple of “walkers” chained to her at all times as a deterrent from the rest of the undead. “But Bri, how does she keep them from attacking her?”, you may ask (no one asked). Because she’s CHOPPED OFF THEIR ARMS AND TORN OFF THEIR JAWS, that’s why.

My costume was fairly easy to put together – almost every piece of clothing was already in my wardrobe. The final three pieces of the puzzle were a cloak, a sword and the hair. The sword was easy, one of my roommates is a collector. The cloak took a little bit of hunting but I found one on eBay. It arrived and I realized it was wool and thought, “Great, I’m going to melt in this thing!” as at the time, we were still experiencing high temperatures in the mid to high 80s. But as luck would have it, a cold front came through Halloween weekend so I was nice and warm under my cloak as it dipped into the 50s that night.

For the hair, I thought about doing yarn braids in my hair for a more authentic look but I ultimately decided that it would end up taking too long, I’d probably get done with a quarter of my head before I said “(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻” and the whole thing would just be a waste of time and opted for a wig. I thought a dreadlock wig would be fairly easy to find but after hitting up several Halloween/party stores, I was disappointed by the selection. There were dreadlock wigs available at most that I went to but they ended up looking 1) cheap and terrible and not at all what they looked like on the packaging and/or 2) they were attached to some kind of “generic rasta guy” hat. Not exactly the look I was going for. My first choice should’ve been supporting a local business (especially since they’re literally down the street from me) because Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds hooked me up with a decent wig AND the guy who helped me also suggested this big chain for Alex to wear around his neck! I ended up taking one of the links apart and making it into a leash, so it was perfect. As Halloween got closer, I ended up going back to Lucy in Disguise for a cheap plastic sword, because I didn’t want the real one to get confiscated by cops if we ended up downtown later. The only thing left was the matter of figuring out how to get all this under a wig to avoid Predator-head (answer: wet hair, lots of twists, lots of bobby pins and a stocking cap).

Put it all together and what have you got? I don’t know, you tell me. Here I am with a floppy-ass plastic sword:

Photo credit: Me!

Photo credit: Noelle Shelp

Then I remembered the real sword!

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

Also check out Alex’s makeup, which I applied following the official Walking Dead zombie makeup tutorial. I obviously couldn’t hack off his jaw, but he had the brilliant idea to at least simulate being unable to attack with a bandage. Of course, this made eating/drinking an adventure but I admire his commitment. He also had a perfect zombie shuffle.

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

After the party, we went downtown for a bit, where the few people that seemed to get our costumes were very enthusiastic. A couple people even asked for pictures. Is this what ComiCon feels like? Halloween: where everyone’s a cosplayer and the world is your con.

P.S. I got a like on Instagram from the official Walking Dead (the TV series) Instagram, which I didn’t know was A Thing until they liked my picture.

Livin’ a TV Dream

It’s summertime, which means at this point, almost all my favorite shows have gone into hiatus (True Blood excluded, which just started up a few weeks ago). I usually take this opportunity to tackle a TV series that I’ve been meaning to get into for a while or just want to revisit.

Alex and I have been steadily making our way through (rewatching) Battlestar Galactica over the past several months, which we’ve both watched before but is good to revisit. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, so you notice so many little things that you missed before that makes the second (or third or fourth) viewing totally worthwhile. If you haven’t seen the show, don’t let the name or fact that it’s set in space and there are robots scare you away (the same way you wouldn’t/shouldn’t look down your nose at Game of Thrones for being all medieval [kinda?] and having dragons), it’s highly recommended, damn good TV. Whether you’ve watched the series before or not, both are currently available for streaming on Netflix & Hulu.

Secondly, on the recommendation of basically everyone on the planet, I’ve finally watched (most of) The Wire. I know, I’m like, 5+ years too late but please, for the love of all that is good in the world, WATCH THIS SHOW. I’ve just started Season 5 so I’m sad that it’s almost over but I’m too obsessed to slow down. It’s in a league of it’s own, I can’t think of any show like it (or if another one could even be done), which makes it hard to describe to other people wondering what all the hype is about, so I just end up blabbering something about drugs and politics and murder and law enforcement and and and JUST WATCH IT OKAY.

Bodie Broadus, let me love you.

But on that note, I’m almost done with this series so I’ll need something else to watch between now and September, help a sister out with suggestions! As you can probably see from this post and past blog posts about TV, I’m pretty much an equal opportunity television viewer. But I think I’ll want to dive into somewhat lighthearted series, in light of The Wire breaking my heart on a consistent basis lately.

Recovering Musicalaholic

I am no stranger to talking about my guilty pleasures on this blog so it should come as no surprise to anyone for me to announce that I LOVE MUSICALS. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are watching and singing along with The Sound of Music (and Mary Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks & The Wiz, et al.) with my mom. To this day, I still think Julie Andrews is the Queen Bee. When I got older, I joined choir and I even dabbled a bit in musical theater (chorus member in high school productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Fame, here) and even got a lead role as Lucy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown in a community theater production. But by the time I was a sophomore in high school, my interests had shifted from performing to writing so I haven’t danced or sang for an audience since (outside of karaoke).

Despite my lack of performing within the last 12 (!) years, musicals still hold a soft spot in my heart. While I am not a big fan of say, Glee (although I can see myself being really into it if it had debuted when I was 14), when I saw the preview to NBC’s Smash after last spring’s upfronts to say that I was immediately hooked from the first few notes of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” would be an understatement. I knew that this was a guilty pleasure show right up there with True Blood (which thankfully comes back next month) for me, regardless of how bad it turned out… which as it turns out, can be pretty bad sometimes a lot of the time. So maybe Katherine McPhee isn’t a good actress and it isn’t always believable or even entirely coherent or but when Smash is good, it’s really good, which is almost entirely thanks to the original music. The songs are so well-written that I would actually pay to see “Bombshell” (the show within the show based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, for the uninitiated) if it were real. I may or may not have caught myself listening to some of the songs during a Spotify private listening sessions, that’s all I’m saying.

But regardless of my feelings about the show, what I really wanted to write about was Karen Cartwright’s (Katherine McPhee) dreamy boyfriend black handbag with gold studs that I’ve been lusting after for the past few episodes. Apparently, I’m not the only one because the first result for my Google search of “karen cartwright purse handbag” came up with a link to the blog Justified Obsession, who tracked it down.

The brand is ROMYGOLD and the Drew Stud Hobo costs $495. Karen’s version is black with rose gold studs but it comes in a few other color combinations. But really, Smash? Struggling up and coming performer, $200-a-week-workshop-salary Karen can splurge on a $500 bag? Or was it a gift from her dreamy successful boyfriend or the movie star, Rebecca Duvall? I had at least an inkling of hope it might be the kind of bag that I a girl like Karen could pick up at Macy’s or JC Penney or Forever 21, you know, somewhere where poors shop. Way to dash my dreams, television. Truly nothing in the entertainment industry is what is seems.

Anyway, Smash just wrapped up for the season so now most shows are going on summer hiatus, you can probably catch up on Hulu or, if you’re so inclined. And what the hell, this post also gives me an excuse to post a picture of Raza Jaffery, who plays Karen’s boyfriend, Dev, on the show. I forgive him for that embarrassing Bollywood number because he looks really good a suit.

Endless Summer (Reading)

I’m just going to accept that I’m terrible at blogging but still update this thing when I feel like it, for some reason. Is my web presence spread too thin and that fact the reason why I can’t keep up with this thing? Probably. I have an irrational impulse to sign up for every social network/Internet thing ever. Speaking of which, I’m on Pintrest, follow me if you’re into that sort of thing!

(via… yes, that’s me.)

Summer may technically still be a month away but it’s already started in Texas. I had my first swim of the year last weekend, which was oddly, my very first visit to Barton Springs Pool, even though I’ve lived in Austin during and toughed out four blazing summers before. I know, it even shocks me. I anticipate several trips back as the oppressive heat continues to terrorize us (just checked the forecast and it’s supposed to get up to 100 today… and it’s only May).

Because I work a weird schedule that makes it pretty much impossible to be social during the week, I end up spending the bulk of my free time consuming various forms of media (a LOT of podcasts, Hulu, Netflix, etc.). Now that most of my TV obligations have closed out their seasons for the summer (my favorites, of course, being Parks & Recreation and Community and my guilty pleasures, Grey’s Anatomy* and Private Practice), I’ll have more time for other stuff, like my ever-growing Summer Reading List AKA books on my Kindle that I’m “”getting around to”” reading (in no particular order):

  • Currently Reading: How Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley
  • Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith
  • We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
  • Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, and An Early Cry for Civil Rights by David Margolick
  • Decoded by Jay-Z
  • The Commitment by Dan Savage
  • The Kid by Dan Savage
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
  • No Turning Back by Estelle Freedman
  • Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
  • Spook by Mary Roach
  • Undoing Gender by Judith Butler
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Tales of the Beetle Bard by J.K. Rowling
  • Goat Girls by Francesca Lia Block
  • Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block
  • Help! a Bear Is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • John Dies at the End by David Wong
  • All of the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
  • Black No More by George Schuyler

Here’s hoping to make a dent in it, at least until True Blood, The Walking Dead and Louie come back.

* I swear I had kicked the habit several years ago because it was so bad but within the last two seasons, I’ve somehow gotten sucked back in. It’s still bad, over the top and ridiculous but entertaining.