Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
We were super excited to attend this con (in only its second year) because we found out Briumbra Photography was going to be there. I planned a new cosplay for it--Justice League Dark-- and we were even more excited to find out that they were having a costume contest both days so that we could enter two sets of costumes. The tickets were a sweet deal 4 adult tickets for both days for $100 plus kids under 12 got in for $5 on Saturday and were free on Sunday. We bought the tickets, booked a hotel (more about that later) and I started sewing, this was back in June. I sewed for 4.5 months on this new cosplay and wasn't finished till 4pm on Halloween. There weren't really any guests we were excited to meet except for this one filmmaker that we'd never heard of, Christopher Mihm.
We redid Flash Gordon on Saturday with no wig for Seth, a wig for Sarah and more bling for Ming. At Greater Austin Comic Con, Seth forgot to wear his Timex watch and Sarah forgot to wear her white plastic belt. Her white shoes literally fell apart as we were walking in, so we had to get her new ones after the photo. And because I was sewing right up to the last minute, I didn't get any of the gold trim on Ming before the con, so I did it all afterwards. I also didn't like the way the weight of my belt was making it fall way down over my tummy so I safety pinned it through the elastic on my skirt to the keep it up high. Seth had a pants-tastrophe because his pants from June didn't fit anymore, so we had to go to Walmart and buy him a new pair that morning. But we entered our costumes in the costume contest and Ming won first place and Aura won second place. They wouldn't let us enter as a group since they didn't have any other groups enter. Maybe next year. Ming's prize was 6 free two day passes to next year's con and a free photo session with Briumbra Photography. Aura's prize was 4 free two day passes to next year's con and another free photo session with Briumbra Photography. Of course we'd already paid for our photo that morning, so we used it the next day to get our photo of JLD.
Sarah helped me do everyone's makeup and hair and then went around taking photos to document. Unfortunately we were so busy trying to get packed up and check out of the murder hotel before we were murdered, she didn't get one of me. We were going to compete in the costume contest with these costumes as well on Sunday, but since we already won 10 passes for next year and one more Briumbra session than we had costumes for, we decided we'd rather just get back to Waco as soon as possible and maybe get some sleep in our own beds, since no one slept a wink in the murder motel either night.
Christopher Mihm, Filmmaker extraordinaire
We got to meet the director/writer of a series of 13 amazing homages to 1950's B movies. We were able to see three of his films and we were so tickled, we bought all thirteen of them and crowd funded the upcoming fourteenth one. Christopher threw in a free poster. Over the course of two days we saw The Giant Spider, The House of Ghosts, and The Monster of Phantom Lake. We talked to him and his merch team a lot and he's going to be coming back through Texas in January is looking for another date to go in between two cons he's already set up to do. I mentioned we have a theatre in Waco that does stuff like this, The Hippodrome and that friends of mine are in a shadow cast of Rocky Horror that perform there sometimes. I thought it would be great to get the two of them together and have an all day science fiction double feature of his films and then Rocky Horror at midnight. I'm trying to set that up for him.
Other fun stuff at the con
Lone Star Wars does Star Wars art out of Lone Star boxes and cans. Rob bought a T-shirt from him. Here's a link to his website. They travel to a lot of cons, including Alamocity and Bell County. Rob spent a lot of time talking to the artist.
Art REDO and Canady's Wands share a space in the old Unfinished Furniture building on LaSalle in our hometown of Waco. It's funny how sometimes you have to travel to another city to find people in your hometown. Dylan Canady and David Jacobs were great fun to talk to and have really cool things to sell you. They are open every day except Monday. David at Art REDO collects junk and turns it into functioning sculpture like ray guns, Robbie the Robot, clocks, fans, and lamps. Dylan Canady works in wood to make beautifully handcrafted Harry Potter wands and other magical items like Daenerys' dragon eggs, potions and spells. This is where I spent most of my time.
Executive Inn and Suites, aka The Murder Motel
The reason we chose this hotel is because we normally cram all 5 of us into one hotel room with two queen or king beds and a pull out couch. We are always stepping over each other's stuff, there's never enough room, and the kids make us super grumpy arguing all the time. So after last time, I decided we'd just stay at a cheaper place and get two rooms instead so everyone would be more comfortable, even if the rooms weren't as nice. I did check reviews online and the ones for Executive Inn and Suites were better than the ones for Motel 6, plus you got a free breakfast. The EIAS were slightly further away from the con location than Motel 6 but we felt that the free breakfast would more than make up for the extra half mile of driving.
The Executive Inn and Suites in Waxahachie that's right off I-35 is a home for meth heads, Stephen King's Pet Semetary, and a burial ground for potential murder victims. People who are unhappy with the state of their hotel room clearly don't survive long enough to post a bad Yelp review. Don't stay here. The free breakfast is just three different types of cereal and a honeybun. It's not worth it. We were lucky to escape with our lives! I'm not even kidding. We took photos of all the things wrong with the room when we arrived after dark. The parking lot was full of a herd of feral cats all fighting with each other and yowling like they were being murdered themselves. The stairwells were full of garbage, the steps were broken, the landings were uneven and made you feel like you were drunk trying to walk around up there. The door lock was half pulled off and then screwed back down. There was no dowel rod for the toilet paper, the toilet seat was the wrong size for the bowl, the knob on the bathroom door didn't work and we were afraid to pull the door shut because we weren't sure we'd be able to get back out. The mirror was cracked, the "repainting" was sloppy. Sarah said everything was red to hide the blood. The enamel was peeling off the tub, there were stains on the walls, the furniture, the carpet, and the ceiling. There were live bugs in the drawers and dead bugs behind the furniture. Sarah never got in her bed, just slept on top of it with her blanket and pillow that she'd brought with her. Sylvan brought a sleeping bag and just slept in it. The beds were hard as rocks, they felt like they'd been stuffed with hardback books and sawdust and they creaked really loudly every time you sat on them. The boys beds were short-sheeted. The phones were from another chain of motels--in our room it was from Knight's Inn and in the boys room it was from Hampton Inn. The bathroom floor was the only thing I felt clean standing on.
Because we got there after dark, we didn't see the rest of the grounds until we got up to get our free breakfast the next morning. There had been a pool, but it had been filled in with dirt and someone left a shovel in the middle (for digging your own graves) and many black plastic garbage bags (filled with dismembered body parts). God knows what was in the pool shed that was locked and moldy, but the rest of the rooms facing in towards the pool were also moldering, crumbling, and falling apart. There seemed to be a crematorium on the grounds and more trash than the city dump. Feral cats were still there in the morning, probably feasting on all the new bodies that had been thrown out during the night. Sarah pointed out the large variety of red mushrooms that were growing by the crematorium, probably soaked in blood.
No one slept the first night what with the filthiness of the room, the howling of the cats, and the midnight banging on the walls coming from next door. We were looking forward to the free breakfast, but it was literally only three kinds of sugary cereal, bad coffee, and pre-packaged honeybuns. We had a cup of the free coffee, (it was bad) and the boys got honeybuns (they were in cellophane which is the only reason I let them have one) and then we high-tailed it out of there and went to IHOP for real food with protein. We went back to the room, managed to get ready quickly, and spent the rest of the day somewhere else-- at the con, eating out, driving, literally anywhere but at the motel. We wanted to go see Bohemian Rhapsody, but didn't make it out of El Fenix in time to catch the 7:30 show, so we ate as leisurely as we could and sadly went back to the hotel.
The second night we had a giant thunderstorm and that's when we realized that there were holes in the roof because the rainwater dripped on Sylvan's bed all night. No one wanted to sleep so we ended up watching The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, a Samantha Bee rerun, and SNL. We slept badly, but not as badly as Sylvan, who slept like a victim of Chinese water torture with rain water dripped on his head all night. Of course the time changed this weekend, which is really what we'd been looking forward to, an extra hour of sleep at our nice hotel, but it just meant an extra hour of no sleep at our murder motel. We ate breakfast at Waffle House, a place I generally avoid because of all the drunks, but was a welcome alive and happy place comparatively. We had a fantastic waitress who took care of us very well. We rushed back to the room, got ready, packed our crap as quickly as we could and got the hell outta dodge before the meth heads killed us for our stuff.