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Another day, another cosplay! Yes, it’s the exciting conclusion to my first post regarding our recent trip to Rose City Comic Con. As promised, I will reveal the genius costume idea that my brother came up with.

After toiling long and hard about who the heck he wanted to be, Brother had just about given up on finding a decent costume. He played around with the thought of going as Titus from Final Fantasy, since that was a character that he somewhat looked like, but the costume ended up being far more complicated than it should have been. (Not to mention pretty expensive.)

He hemmed and hawed over this decision until finally — at last! — inspiration struck him. You see, a good majority of his favorite characters just to happened to be female, which initially made him rule them out. Then he finally thought, “What the heck? I’ll just do a gender-swap of my favorite DC character of all time.”

Thus I bring you gender swap Harley (or “Harvey”) Quinn:

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Not bad, eh? He opted for the Suicide Squad version of Harley, since he really enjoyed Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character. (I won’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, and I personally thought it was by far the best live-action version of Harley Quinn that I’ve seen.)

He got a lot of compliments on his outfit. I’d told him how I had seen MANY Harleys the last Comic Con, but no gender swaps. So you can imagine my surprise when we ran into two of them almost right away. Go figure. While we only got a picture with one, they were definitely a fun couple to hang out with:

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And of course, we couldn’t resist posing with another DC character, which was this Batgirl cutie:

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And we got REALLY excited when we found two other Suicide Squad cosplays:

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I love how Brother is totally in character. The other two are appropriately serious, and he’s grinning like the Quinn he is. 😉

But the best part was when we found a legit, absolutely fantastic Batman. So of course, Brother had to ask if Batsy would be willing to play the part of his nemesis for a photo op. Being the gracious guy that he is, Batman was more than willing to comply:

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But I promise, he really was just a nice guy overall. And probably one of the best Batmans that I’ve seen, to be honest.

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See? Just a nice guy.

So that was our overall Comic Con experience. I managed to snag a few more things for my Lord of the Rings collection, which made me happy. (Even though they weren’t nearly as epic as Karl Urban’s autograph would have been.)

All in all, a great time.

In other news, I am SUPER stoked for this week. My parents, brother and I are going to head over to the island state of Hawaii! Woot! This will only be the second time that I’ve ever gotten to go, and it’s going to be nice to see something other than the tourist trap of Honolulu. Not that I’m really complaining about the last trip, mind you. Heck, any time in Hawaii is good, in my book. But this time around, I’ll be able to do a lot more hiking and exploring and picture-taking. It’s going to be superb.

I’ll be posting photos and sharing about our adventures when I return. Plus I’m going to finally share a little more about my latest project. It’s not really writing-centered, but it’s still creative and very fun.

Until then, aloha!

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So I’ve mentioned my brother a few times now. He’s pretty cool for the most part, except when he makes fun of me. But name me one little brother who doesn’t pick on his sister from time to time? (Besides I usually deserve it. Don’t tell him I said that.)

Today, however, I got to actually get a good laugh at him. Poor kid had to work the day after Christmas, which he really wasn’t looking forward to in the first place, but he got ready and headed to his car to take off anyway.

My family has this tradition that we always wave to each other from the window or doorway. It’s a longtime ritual that first started with my grandma and grandpa. As my grandpa went to work each morning, he wanted my grandma’s face to be the last thing that he saw as he drove off, so every time he left the house, she was there at the window waving to him. If it was dark out, he would flash his lights a couple of times to show that he saw her. His other common signal was to hold up one finger, then four fingers, then just three, which meant “I love you.”  Two generations later, my family still carries this out even to this day. Whenever we leave, we always wave to each other, and my dad often gives the sign for “I love you,” just as his dad did.

Thus I was at the window this morning, ready to wave to my brother as he went off to work. This was how I was able to witness the glorious moment when he carefully looked over his shoulder, slowly backed his car up….and ran straight into our garbage cans.

I’m pretty sure that I laughed for a solid ten minutes straight.

He looked very sheepish as he got out of the car, fixed the cans and proceeded to drive off. I was kicking myself for not having my cell phone ready and in my hand, but I still chuckled about it all day.

However, I started to feel kind of bad as the day wore on. Brother had already been kinda down about having to go to work, plus Life had given both of us a swift kick in the @$% recently. In fact, we had just been talking about how we were feeling kinda bummed before our awesome family came over for Christmas and cheered us up.

So I braved the after-Christmas crowds and did my best to make it up to him:

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What you can’t see behind my note is a couple of keychains he’d been wanting too. See, I’m a good big sister. Most of the time.

Harley Quinn makes everything better, right? I think I made the world right again. *puffs chest out*

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, DO IT. Disclaimer: It’s super dark (obviously) and really not a very wholesome movie. But it’s freaking awesome and probably one of my favorites of the year. Won’t be for everyone, but if you want to see a great action flick (and get some Harley Quinn eye candy) give it a go.

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As every good older sister will tell you, part of your job requirement as the eldest is to toughen up your younger siblings to prepare them for the ways of the world. Personally, I like to think of it as both a duty and a perk. I’m extremely fortunate that my younger brother is probably the best one that I could have ever asked for, especially thanks to my consistent torment guidance. Okay, okay, so he’s just an awesome brother even without my help. As he started to become interested in the same things as me (hard rock, manga, video games, etc.), I found a companion who actually understood me. We could sob together over the death of a beloved character in Naruto, beat each other to a pulp on Smash Bros., or squee over the latest Nightwish album. Yup. He’s that cool. Though we’re almost eight years apart, the older we get, the stronger our friendship is.

So now a confession must come from me. (I do that a lot, don’t I?) Anyone who knows me knows first-hand that I love the Zelda franchise with a passion. Or, as Brother would say, a flaming purple passion. (Don’t ask, ‘cause I don’t know where he got that.) The characters, the storylines, the gameplay, everything. I have LoZ decals on my car, a wallet, even a lanyard for my key card at work. So here’s my confession:

I’ve never actually really played or beaten a Zelda game. Ever.

Yeah, I played the original NES one, but I didn’t really understand it. (I was kid, okay? What do you want from me?) The sad fact is, I rather suck at them. I tried desperately when the N64 was released, and even managed to go a little ways in Ocarina of Time. But as it got harder and harder, I found that I just didn’t possess the skills to master such amazing awesomeness. I was great at Mario Kart, Smash Bros., even Mario 64, not to mention that I was a pro at most NES games. So what was I to do? I wanted to see what the heck happened. (Okay, so I really just wanted to see Link as an adult. Pervy elf fancier, remember?) Low and behold, I discovered that my little brother, who was probably about eleven when Ocarina of Time came out, was surprisingly talented at just about any video game handed to him. He started playing OoT, so I started watching. New discovery – we were actually a pretty sweet team together. When he couldn’t figure out a puzzle or couldn’t find an object, I could often point out something that he’d missed. Yes, it was the beginning of something beautiful.

From that point on, I just pretty much let him play every game while I watched. It was like seeing a movie for me. Not a bad deal in the long run. We’d grab some lunch/dinner and spend countless hours poring over the next dungeon or puzzle, oohing and ahhing as the storylines unfolded. Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem were the top two on our “must-play” list.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.


That brings me to my favorite gaming memory of all time. The Shadow Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Let’s just start out by saying that it’s not for the faint of heart. The Nintendo 64 was stretching all of the boundaries gaming-wise at that time, and OoT was at the forefront of the revolution. It changed the way games were played. It had killer graphics for its time. It pushed the 64’s capabilities to the limit. It. Was. Awesome.

It was also extremely complicated, which is why die-hard Zelda fans love it still to this day. But by far, the creepiest aspect of it was the Shadow Temple. You knew it was going to be difficult. You didn’t know it was going to be mind-scarring. Remember that Brother was only about eleven or so when we played this, and I was around seventeen. It’s late at night, on a weekend, if I remember correctly. All the lights are off in the house because Mom and Dad are already in bed and it’s just cooler that way. Creepy music is playing in the background of the game. Brother enters a chamber of the Shadow Temple, unsure of where to go next. Suddenly, we both see this strange, black spot on the top of Link’s head. We stare at it, perplexed as it slowly grows bigger and bigger. The next thing we know, a giant severed hand jumps out and brings Link to an instant, untimely demise.

I’m pretty sure we both screamed like little girls.

My heart actually tried to jump out through my throat. Brother kept whomping on buttons like crazy screeching, “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!” But alas, it was to no avail. That was just one of many difficult temples, but it’s the one that sticks out in my mind the most. Actually, I don’t think I could forget it if I tried. Between the dead hands and the long-necked zombies (I forget their proper name)…yeah. Those gave us both nightmares.

However, it’s still one of my favorite games, and it was the one that sparked both of our interests in LoZ. To this day, I still make Brother play games for me. Yes, I have my Mario Kart and Smash Bros., but when it comes to complicated games that I don’t stand a chance on, he’s awesome and plays for me.

I tell ya, that’s a good little brother.

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See? Mind-scarring.

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