I live in a place where they say innovation goes to die. I live in a place that has become the Mos Eisley of the West Coast. I live in a place where I am discriminated against because I am 50, white, educated, and female. So don’t tell me I have this fantasy magical white privilege nonsense because I worked hard to have what I do have. No one handed it to me on a silver platter with butlers and nannies. If you think I have any kind of elite privilege, then we need to have a conversation about your education.
So needless to say I have been in a situation since 2008 where I have not been able to find meaningful or sustaining work, and I have tried everything that I am capable of. So I have had to move back to the home of my childhood, and I am so lucky to have a roof over my head and loving family members and friends.
So having dreams to help stave off the depression and lend a hand in inspiring goals has been very important. As a child I always dreamed of being a novelist. Don’t ask me why a dyslexic child would want to write, but that has been a dream of mine since I was about 5 or 7 years old. And since I had tried doing everything that made sense to get a job with no luck, I decided to do what didn’t make sense. At least I would be happy doing it and it didn’t incur any expenses upon my family. (I tried going back to school, but they don’t give scholarships to people like me. And I felt bad about the tremendous cost to my senior mother, who paid for the classes. By the way, I got As in all those classes and I did all the work myself.) So I went back to one of my old desires that was writing stories. An old school friend was doing something called NaNoWriMo and it looked like fun. So I started writing stories again pretty much knowing that it would get me no where, but at least my mind could be focused on something positive instead of the constant state of failure that I was in.
I also realized that my SAG membership still existed from when we lived in Las Vegas. SAG is the Screen Actor’s Guild. This was great news because I would love to do work as an extra or even work as an artist in some of the behind the scenes situations. I needed to find meaningful employment that would actually lead in a positive direction. Then I found out that I live in the one place that SAG thinks is the worst place on earth, at least that is what it seems like. No one will talk with you and act like you have the plague. It took a lot to find a reasonable person to be our SAG agent. A lady name Karen McFadden agreed to do it. She didn’t live in the Mos Eisely of the West, but she understood the difficulties and was willing to help while we tried to find a way to move away from the den of scum and villainy. No matter how hard we tried, we could not meet up with this woman. She had so many sad things happen to her that I and my companions started to wonder if they were real and asked around a bit and found out these events to be true. So we soldiered on while her parent’s home was burned down in a California fire, then her father died, then her mother became sick, and then her mother got better, then her office was broken into by vandals. Then her mother suddenly died. We didn’t hear from our agent for a month and I tried many times to get a hold of her. Nothing. Then we contacted SAG and finally heard that she died a day after her Mom died. No one told us. They don’t know why she died. She wasn’t that old. This happened the summer of 2016 amidst the horrible political campaign ugliness. Nothing was going right.
It was going to be a battle to find another SAG agent. And meanwhile I was lucky enough to have someone willing to be my literary agent for the Star Wars story I wrote, but he was a very busy person with an entertainment oriented career of his own. So my lifeline has been this Star Wars story I wrote. Star Wars has been my life preserver during these years, so when behind the scenes people don’t understand why some fans are hit so hard by the deaths of people like Kenny Baker (played R2D2) and Carrie Fisher…. This is the reason why. Some of these fictional places and characters are a lifeline to keep us afloat while the real world just turns uglier and uglier no matter how hard one tries to do the right things. The dark side of the Force is just carrying people away into a state of hate mongering. So the death of Carrie Fisher hit me hard and the people that I am working with….the people that are holding out my lifeline…..my hope….my new hope for a better life are also hit hard by these events because they actually knew these people. And now Debbie Reynolds passed away. She, just like my former SAG agent, died within a short period of time after a loved one died. This is heart wrenching, and I can understand how the friends and family need time to wrap their brains around this intense lose. This is real lose. Having a loved one who is a police officer get killed because they are a cop is heart breaking, to have a loved one killed just because they were mistaken for a criminal is heart breaking, but to complain, cry, and freak out that someone is supporting an opposing candidates is just plain stupid. This is what we saw. We saw people with jobs, scholarships, with the world handing them opportunities have tantrums over not winning during this year.
You know, I have not been winning for the past 8 years, but I have not given up. A few things have gone right and I take joy in each of those positive things, but for everything 1 thing that has gone right, 10 have gone wrong, but I am not sitting some where having a tantrum. I don’t get a safe space. My safe space is to live in a town where I am discriminated against. I may not be happy, but I am not giving up. I will keep trying until the day I die. Stop crying because you are lucky enough to get into a college and have it paid for you and are being exposed to things that may make you unhappy or uncomfortable. That is what college is about. Expanding your mind and learning about things you don’t know. You may not like them, but it is part of this world.
Be a fighter like Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker, who was told that he would die as a teenager. Be a hero like Princess Leia…or like Luke if you like…. but don’t sit somewhere crying because you didn’t get a trophy.
G. Winkler ©2016
Okay, I have engaged in the creative craziness again by wanting to create three new costumes for Halloween. And the party is scheduled for 28th of October, so I have even less time to get things done.
We decided to go Sith this Halloween since we normally play Jedi. My husband choose Kylo Ren and our best friend was told he was playing Darth Sidious since we think he could manage that character along with the costume requirements. He wears a Wookiee mask as Gungi, so he needed a bit of a break from the super hot costume. That left me. I needed a break from the makeup intense Kage Warrior Jedi that I have developed. So I wanted a mask. Love Darth Vader….but to me….he should be a tall hulking and very male presence….I wasn’t going to do that. I can’t pull it off. Darth Traya was a thought but she has the white hair like my Kage and so I didn’t want them to get mixed up. So I selected Darth Nihilus. ……what a truly dark character…..creepy, scary….monster of a being…..
And yes, I am completely stressed about getting these costumes done. My husband and I are working diligently on these projects.
One thing I have to suggest is if you are sewing from the Kylo Ren pattern, don’t do the goofy sleeves with the zippers. Use stretchy knit fabric that will flex when the wearer bends their arms. I like being comfortable in my costumes. I want them to be like clothing. Here are some quick pictures of the process we used for the altered sleeve design. It does take time, but saves a lot of stress and anguish later on.
You will need about two yards of black knit fabric depending upon the size you choose to make. Pick some substantial knit fabric and nothing too wimpy. Make sure the direction that you pleated the fabric will be the same of the stretch of the fabric. Check the fabric before you purchase it. Here are some quick pictures to help you get the idea. We pleated the fabric before we cut the sleeve. The pleats are sown to make sure they stay pleated.
The Darth Nihilus mask is such an important part of the costume that I decided to order it from a mask maker in Canada. I knew I could not make this mask the way I wanted it to be with such a short amount of time, so I opted for this investment. It was well worth it. The mask maker is Khro’s Nest. They also have a facebook page where I was able to chat with the mask maker, who was amazingly helpful. Kim at Khro’s Nest even made sure I was able to find the specs from the 501st concerning their requirements for making the costume. Below are a few pictures of my preparation for getting the mask ready for use in the costume.
Then I hand painted the the red and the silver onto the mask with acrylic paint. The lines are not perfect but I don’t do well with painting over stencils although I was able to use the ones I was given to get the correct shape of the lines. I will give the paint some time to cure before putting a protective coating over the paint work. I am pleased with the results and think my first Sith costume will be a lot of fun. I still need to study the history of the character before going to the party. It’s important to understand who you are dressed as. 😉
Hopefully, I will have some updates of the costumes soon and can share what the end results of the projects has been.
G.Winkler © 2016
I am back from attending a small anime event called SNAFU, which stands for Sierra Nevada Anime Fans Unite. I went last year and was not impressed. That was their first year at the Nugget Hotel location and several other 21 and older Halloween events were also occurring at the site at the same time. Needless to say 2015 was disappointing and several of us had to be talked into attending the event again by a colleague. He really pushed to attend the event again and we agreed to give it one more try. It was worth it, and if SNAFU continues in this positive direction they will have an amazing event worth traveling far for. So you might ask, what was so much better this time?
Let me list the ways…..
Did all the concerns that I had from the previous year get resolved? I have no idea. We chose not to stay at the Nugget again since our rooms last year had black mold in the bathroom, so we did not have the option to attend some of the late night events that we did last year. But the problems with the hotel facility is not the fault of the event staff, and hopefully the new owners of the Nugget will work to improve the condition of the aging casino. This single event should be a wake up call to the new owners that these multi-generational, multi-media, multi-interest types of events are an attraction and to be taken seriously in years to come. The Reno area has lost the annual Wizard World Comic Con event and SNAFU is just one of a few smaller events that could blossom to fill a void that has been left by the lack of entertainment in this market area.
I look forward to seeing this event in the future.
G. Winkler ©2016
-Heavy respiratory breathing then deep voice – I have brought my TIE Fighter.
I hope you enjoyed another one of my Star Wars oriented photo stories. 🙂
G. Winkler ©2016
Went to South Shore Lake Tahoe in California the other day for a bit of relief from the heat and to enjoy the lovely water there. It is my favorite lake. There were some strange guys there…..
Not sure why an Assassin Droid wants to sun bath, ….but I don’t want to run afoul of the nefarious Fett either. So I am not saying anything.
Hope you got a good chuckle out of those pictures. 🙂
G. Winkler ©2016
Just got back from the Sacramento Wizard World Comic Con.
It was different from last year. Some things have changed. Not sure how I feel about the changes, so I think I will just list out what I recall and let you decide if you like those changes.
This is how the Sacramento event went.
All in all this left us feeling like it was a very mediocre event. I actually felt depressed the next day and not exhilarated from having a great experience.
We had our own difficulties and disappointments that were no one else’s fault. I worked all week to get the new Gungi mask completed. I finished it the day we left. Put it in the box for safety and drying. It looked pretty good. It was better than the old Wookiee mask. I was excited to unleash our Gungi creation onto the world. As our friend put the costume on, he started to feel sick. The glue on the mask had not dissipated in it’s odor. He could not wear the costume, and since we had driven two hours to get to Sacramento, there was no way to go home and get the old mask. I was crushed and I felt really bad for our friend, who looks forward to his role as Gungi, the only Jedi Wookiee.
We do have some quick photos of him in the hotel room. Not sure where we will go to present our new creation, but hopefully it will be soon.
My own costume had some improvements since last year as well. I am on my fourth white Jedi undershirt. Nothing has worked right until I found this store bought item and modified it. It may need another snap to be better. Also, I have been trying to find better makeup. I don’t normally wear makeup in my day to day life except maybe some blush or mascara, so the putting together a makeup kit has been hard. I also have many allergies. Then the braids are the latest addition to the look of my grey Jedi. Big improvement. Star Wars females rarely have hair that just hangs, so figuring out how to change the wig into a proper hairstyle has been great. Strange thing was that two people thought I was another character from the Old Republic. I did not recognize the name. I need to research that. My grey Jedi is a Kage female Padawan that escaped the General Order 66.
Our Mandalorian, who plays my twin brother, also made enormous changes to his gear as well. He purchased a new helmet and repainted all of that, made a new girth belt, new pistols and rifle, repaired his chest plates, got a new jumpsuit and customized it, and made a new neck plate as well. He has plans for more improvements to be made to his gauntlets. His costume was originally started in 2006. It was his gear that inspired my character and our suggestion that our friend go as a Wookiee.
If anyone has some west coast suggestions….I am all ears.
G. Winkler ©2016