We did a lot more adulting today to sort out the mortgage, solicitors, and so on – and then decided to go pay a flying visit to Lady S. We got there just on time to join her to go pick up the cub from school, and then spread some joy with some presents from MCM.
There was a particular Funko Pop that the cub had wanted, but as they were away on holiday we’d picked it up as a Con exclusive. I’ve never seen someone hug and kiss a Funko box before, so that was an experience.
We had badges and pins for everyone, and an extra Funko for Lady S whose health hasn’t been fantastic recently. Like Lady M she’s coping with fatigue and pain through her body – which has dampened her spirits considerably.
Even so, with Lady J joining us to chatter, we all had an afternoon that passed in animated conversation and that I don’t think any of us wanted to stop, even with meals, medications, and tiredness hitting us.
We’ve been renting for about nine years now, and saving as best we can for most of that time to get a deposit – and despite a few setbacks along the way we’ve finally got to the point where we’ve been able to negotiate a price and sort out all the associated paperwork. So today, once we’d got the obligatory hospital trip out the way for a scan on Lady M’s knee, has been a day of digging up all sorts of details for a wander to our broker tomorrow.
Don’t tell anyone, but I think we might be accused of adulting
Well, I say that but its actually been really busy. In addition to general post-MCM blues and tiredness I had a job interview for an acting up role (unsuccessful) and have spent a lot of time ferrying Lady M between walk-in centre, GP, and hospital appointments.
In addition to ongoing problems with her knees, we’ve also discovered that she is currently suffering from shingles. As a result there was a flurry of messaging and calling people we’d met recently to warn them – especially checking they’d already had chickenpox .
I’ve started updating the site, mostly with pictures and commentary around my cosplaying under the name Tango Mike Cosplay. There was already a tag for it on the navigation bar at the top of the page, but I’m in the process of making sub-pages to that, each with a gallery of images to peruse.
If you follow me on any other social media, or know me in real life, you might have noticed that I’m drawing and doodling and sketching and painting, and generally being an expressive soul all over the place. I have work colleagues who are reassured to see my doodles all over scraps of paper as they know I’m based out of that location for a while, and others who in the past have zealously gathered up those scraps before I can throw them in the bin to keep hold of them.
I mention this because I’m starting to return to writing and drawing in my journals, especially as I’ve been gifted with, and also acquired for myself, a number of different sets of brush pens and other lineart tools. It has prompted me to develop new refinements of my artwork. It has also meant that I’ve returned to drawing around odds and ends that I’ve written in the books as I can’t stand having wasted space in them.
Sometimes these are fiction fragments or bits of a story that I’m working on, and sometimes they are more thoughtful pieces that I’ve written – often while the black dog is barking and worrying at my heels.
I write these pieces to ground myself and force myself to acknowledge the positives and available options around me. Sometimes they are light and fluffy, and sometimes they are from a lower and more stubborn place, plodding along like a donkey pulling a cart through the mud.
Many of these pieces end up on Instagram to break up the flow of selfies, cosplay pictures, book covers I’ve enjoyed encountering, or other random facets that I highlight in any given day. I present them “as is” without comment, simply because I want to preserve them somewhere, and I like some aspect of technique or design and want to show it off. I certainly don’t expect to enter into long conversations about them as they’re usually just dashed off while watching tv or something.
This piece however got a response from someone who read the text and found it spoke to them – that it was what they needed to hear at that point – and that even though they often use writing for similar purposes they don’t feel the confidence to post them online. This spoke to me – partially in recognition of the power of similar moments as I’ve encountered them, partially being glad to have been able to give someone a lift in that moment, and partially a disbelief that I have been able to affect someone in that way. Its humbling and more than a little cool to receive that kind of feedback, and I hope I managed to not sound completely awkward in responding to that person.
We’re just back and recovering from our first Con of the year. We’re not doing many this year as we’re also saving up to buy our place, so I’ve been looking at the Cons earlier in the season with longing. We’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest draw to conventions for us is meeting our friends, whether in cosplay or not, and enjoying catching up with them.
As usual we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, so that we could nip back and forth during the day if needed. The weather forecast was for hot weather, and we knew from last year that the area outside the ExCel is a formidable heat trap. It was a good decision – even with reasonably simple cosplays it was a huge relief to be able to step back into air conditioned coolness over the course of the weekend. This was especially useful when Lady M overheated with heatstroke from the fierce sun on her first day.
I had three costumes lined up: Friday saw me wandering around as Obadiah Stane – the villain from the first Iron Man film, as depicted by Jeff Bridges. I have a bit of an obvious headstart on that costume, already having a beard and having my head shaved – and I hadn’t really expected much of a response to this one as he’s relatively unknown and not particularly flashy.
I made two props: a massive cigar, and his patented paralysing device, which combined with my suit and a suitably expansive and expressive way of approaching Tony Stark cosplayers. A quick spray of white dye over the beard and I was ready to stride the convention floor with gusto. It was great fun. Within moments of getting into the queue I heard people asking each other if I was Obadiah Stane, and from there on out I had nothing but praise and enthusiasm from everyone I met. It also helped focus attention when talking to security and to convention staff.
Saturday had me wandering round as a very casual version of Booster Gold: time-traveller and self publicist extraordinaire. (And protector of the time-stream, but not many people know about that.) This was fun for so many reasons, partly because he’s such a relatively unknown character – except for people like myself who have an avid appreciation for him and his hidden history.
So many people are used to my normal appearance that the wig and dyed beard completely threw them. People who know me and my cosplays well, were still shocked to hear my voice – a few actually flinched a little when they worked out who I was. Essentially though this was a jeans, tshirt and leather jacket ensemble so it was easy enough to moderate my temperature. Mid afternoon I still gave in and removed the wig so I could take advantage of cooling breezes off the water.
Sunday was a return of my Captain Boomerang – an old favourite for messing about as one of the Suicide Squad and one of the Flash’s Rogues.
As might be expected of such an inveterate thief, I also included props from the previous two cosplays – Obadiah’s cigar, and the Legion Flight Ring worn by Booster – I’m starting to accumulate items from various costumes and characters to wear as trophies for this one, which is fun as a form of refinement.
This was definitely the hottest costume to wear, with multiple layers – and by mid afternoon I decided I’d had enough, so swapped out into a Squad UK vest to cool down.
Was the Con perfect? No, there were a few inconsistencies with how a couple of security people interacted with us – and we made a complaint on that front – but broadly there were no hitches. There weren’t so many large displays from the main comics companies, but the Comics Village was well represented, and we enjoyed ourselves hugely, and bought a lot of merchandise.
Thank goodness I’ve booked all this week off to recover, I’m exhausted
I was on a course today delivered in partnership with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust which looked at some of the principles and methods you can use to be mindful of your personal safety when working on your own. It was nothing to do with self defence, but was aimed at provoking thought and preparation in processes, awareness, and communication within an organisation and between colleagues.
I found it useful, and in parts challenging. Some of that challenge was to my perception and assumptions, and some of it came from the memories it evoked of past events. What was, to my mind, more interesting though was the defensiveness that some of my co-attendees exhibited around personal responsibility.
There was anger at the way some information had been hurriedly rolled out about changes in procedures – but it felt misdirected at the person delivering the course who was from a third party – and I had to bite my tongue a few times as I recalled working in the first years after my degree in a very rough estate on my own, including carrying cash to the bank on foot and regularly ejecting armed youths from the premises.
I have had to remind myself that everyone has different stressors and thresholds, and that I can’t measure their fears against my experiences and outlook.
I may still have rolled my eyes mentally a few times, but I am determined to be as positive and constructive manager of people through it all as I can.
I shall no doubt continue to work on my response to people not taking responsibility for their own safety in therapy.