Monday, October 20, 2008

Updates will be slow in coming

Please let me apologize in advance here. This is due to circumstances out of my control. Otherwise known as the reasons why I can never, ever take vacations.

My coworker fell deathly ill - quite literally - on Friday night. There's only two of us covering the entire department. I got a voicemail from him this morning, and he'll be out for three to four weeks at least recovering. So I will be covering everything for that long.
Obviously, this will make it pretty damned hard to update you all on things, and get the last remnants of the trip itself sorted out. I'm dialed in to the office already as the urgent things start piling up.

This is why I can never take vacations.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm Home! 10/18/2008

It's official, they can turn out the lights at Blizzcon. The last person is finally home safe and sound.

Lory and I had a wonderful week in California, and a wonderful drive. I have various entries typed up on my laptop, but I'm too tired and sore to put them in tonight. Later on this week I'll put them up. We have over 8GB of photos from the trip.

For now, I'm tired. I'll be on AIM. imalamuya -at- gmail -dot- com is both my email and my AIM name.

Summary: Too many lines, really long drive back, had a blast, Amana, IA has awesome food, definitely try the Tangerine Chicken, Coco's is epic win, I need to drink more often, and don't stay at Motel 6 if you can afford better - realized after spending the night at one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hello from Utah, 10/8/08

For future reference, I70 through Utah? Avoid at night. Avoid period. "Damaged road" is a cheery way of saying "Bo and Luke ain't got SHIT on you after this. If you survive." "Frequent Deer and Elk Crossings" is "Dodge The Moving Animals," and you get real familiar with "Ranch Exit." Oh, and no services for over a hundred miles.

We're currently in Center City, UT, a touch past I70-I15. We'll be riding I15 the rest of the way into California, and I forget where it goes from there. Not much progress has been made on the costume.

I need to talk to Clover, and see how many gigs of room are available on I have about 3GB of hi res images from Colorado, which is some of the most beautiful travel in the world.

But for now, sleep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Belated Update, 10/7/08

Last Thursday, the main joint between the face construction and the skull broke.

I'm writing this from Fort Morgan, Colorado. I've made every attempt to fix things, but those 5 days without power just ran down the clock too hard. It's unlikely that I'll be able to repair in time, or finish in time now. *sigh* Left on Saturday for Michigan, spent the night at my handler's, then made for points west. Day one ended in Des Moines, Iowa. Let me say two things; Motel 6 wireless sucks, Des Moines rebuilt really quickly, there is a fuckton of corn between Michigan and anywhere west, and if you do not make a point to stop in Amana, IA and stop at the Village Inn, I will personally warstomp you. And don't think I won't; I have hooves.

Trip has been rather uneventful, save driving through some nasty storms and rain. And finding out that most places in Iowa and Nebraska have never heard of 91+ Octane. My Regal is less than pleased with their Ethanol tainted fuel substitute. I will have to draw an illustration of what these farmers can do with their corn.

Might be in Anaheim by Wednesday. Post more when I have time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Picture Update, 9/28/08 - 56K, run away.

Kilowords, etcetera. Too busy working, trying to catch up. Pictures. Have some. A bunch.

Album has more here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Anyone out there...? Costuming emergency.

If anyone is...
I need a mane. Immediately. There was an issue getting the needed materials to the person who was going to do it; neither of our faults, but I just found out today. I urgently need a mane as a result, including the front braids. I have the measurements. I need this immediately, no later than Wednesday; I depart for Blizzcon Friday.

I hate to say it, but if I can't replace the mane.. I may not go. It will mean the Tauren is unfinished, and after all the excitement, I honestly don't think I could show myself. :(

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Picture Update, 9/20/08

Descriptions not necessary.

Yes, I can walk in them. Yes, I have the Tauren walk down.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And we're back!

Still cleaning up things from days without power; 5 to be exact. They pulled a cute little stunt on us. Five trucks all day today, turned the power on to our block for 9 hours. Then after everyone had gotten home and started settling in, it went out again. As they tried to drive off.
Nothing quite like seeing people quite literally swarming into the street screaming and demanding answers. Had they turned off the power when requested on Sunday, we would not have been terrified of them turning on the power prior to today. They did not even secure the high voltage lines until yesterday, and apparently nearly killed themselves clearing the tree that had caused the damage in the process. Had they turned on the lines, it would have electrified quite a bit of fence and the telephone and cable lines as well.

Back to work. I have a lot of catching up to do, and not enough time to do it in.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


If you or your family or your friend works for FirstEnergy / The Illuminating Company, the outage on Baldwin/Wyleswood in Berea, Ohio needs escalated. It needs escalated until they get a truck out here tonight. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. Not this "after Friday" bullshit. TONIGHT. If I do not get power back in a REASONABLE amount of time, which is defined as nothing even remotely like what FirstEnergy is telling me I can expect - which is that we're being told to screw off period, our storm damage is beyond lowest priority, despite being one of the first called in, and just because we reported downed wires doesn't mean they'll actually do anything to make the area safe and secure. We currently have a very large maple or oak bough literally being held up by wires on a phone pole that saidsame tree snapped in half like a twig.

This may kill the Tauren. I can't work because I don't have electricity and I can't transport all the equipment. And I have nowhere to set up.

Don't believe the bullshit that they have all these customers offline; customers in far smaller groups, which had far more severe damage including destroyed phone poles and transformers were repaired and online by Monday evening. They are treating our neighborhood like third class citizens because we have complained on numerous occasions of frequent outages in the past, subpar service, and yes - outage repairs that go exactly like this. They delibereately ignored our line down reports repeatedly, and cleared our outage reports multiple times Sunday night and throughout the day Monday. I need someone with some authority, to get our neighborhood back online now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You didn't need that electricity anyways... 9/15/08

Thanks to Ike, I now have no power. Yes, I'm in Cleveland Ohio. We got absolutely slammed by the remnants of Ike, to put it mildly. There are power poles down all over the place, trees, the works. A gas station even got it's canopy blown over. I've been told by FirstEnergy that it may be a week before I have power at home again, and it will be at least two days before they can even get someone out to just look at the power lines down behind our houses. More if the poles were damaged.
Despite the "oh gods, I'm going to die" I was actually on track, and confident I would finish in time. Right barely in the nick of time, but in time. Now, I am not so sure. I've been hand sewing the right glove, since it was necessary anyways, but I'm fast running out of glove. And everything else will require that I have power to work on, including the jacket, which is very nearly done. When the power went out, I was setting up the lining on my Bernina for the final stitches before tucking it inside. :(

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Update, 9/14/08

Progress marginal. Left glove 90%, but alterations required. Right glove 40%, no alterations required yet. Body, 95%. Jacket, 98%. Dress, 0%. Purple Blouse, 5%. Slacks, 100%. Belt, need to go buy a belt. For the slacks.
Head still at whoknowswhere. The tail's done, but needs attached, which requires the body being done. Need head bust, but no luck to date. Head is now fully panic mode, but found a lot of weight to save. Enough that I may just be able to pull it off, now that I have SOMETHING to approximate keepout areas.

All travel arrangements are set. We are go for Oct 4th departure.

Back to work.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Picture Update, 9/6/08

Okay, yesterday was my QQ day. Today was a "okay, get back to work, you slacker" day.
So no QQ. Just pictures. Also, I need a new digital camera - I'd like a sort-of basic model, unless someone has something that takes Canon F lenses with or without an adapter under $500. Please send me recommendations! (All my friends with suggestions are pro or semi-pro, and I do not want an EOS 10D or whatever the $1500 body was.)

The #2 most expensive part of the costume; the gloves. Why #2? The boots came in at $$$$$, and did finally ship, it looks like. Was starting to get worried! Pictures next week, with luck. But the gloves? That's real suede and real Springbok there. Gloves just chew up usable fabric because of the complexity and shape of the cuts - I get two glove tops from half a Springbok. That puts the tops alone at $35 of material. Then, they chew up time and expensive thread. Dental floss, waxed thread, 12#, and they devour leather needles. I get a maximum of 4-5 feet of stitching out of one Schmetz 80/12 Leather needle at M1/2 on the 210. By comparison, I've gone through entire spools of thread on a single Universal or Stretch typically. The Evolve can't even touch this with the cutting blade down. The head is #4, as it uses scraps and remainders from the Springbok primarily. The slipcovers for the hooves are #3, as I get nearly to my knee from each Springbok, with a lot left over and almost zero waste.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the prototypes on my hands. They really feel quite nice, and they're amazingly functional - I'm typing in the all suede prototype #13, pictured after prototype #12 which was the final for pattern.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Updated, 9/5/08

Going to be very, very short. I am way behind. I am totally panicking. :(
Gloves are near to being ready for final cuts and sewing. I may have to hand sew the Springbok tops, which is a huge, huge problem because of how much time it takes. The body is going alright, but needs to be assembled, and I've run into a huge, huge problem with the #2 padding assembly on the shoulders. I may dump the shoulder padding completely as a result.
The head is still not even started, having so many ugly ugly problems with it. The gloves are going not so good too, after catching a fatal flaw in the pattern thankfully before cutting Springbok.

I need help with this so bad at this point. But for now, I'm just feeling sick. :(

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tenative Schedule and Update, 8/31/08

Schedule updated 9/1!

Lost almost an entire day's work to inconsiderate people who think they're above business processes. End result, they took down several mission critical systems completely, for going on 8 hours, and forced me to take four hours out of my day just to drive in, sit around waiting, then drive home. I am significantly less than pleased, yes. To say nothing of their whining that fixing it would take a while, because they had planned on doing things today - yes, and certainly I planned to spend my whole day fixing what they screwed up, right?

So, without further ado, our TENATIVE SCHEDULE OF APPEARANCES FOR BLIZZCON 2008! (All in costume unless otherwise noted. Dates and times subject to change. Your mileage may vary.)

Purple Blouse, Jeans or Slacks
  • ~2:00PM-~4:00PM - Ticket Pickup
    Please do not ask for your picture while I am in line!
  • ~2 hours after Ticket Pickup - Photography Opportunity, Anaheim Convention Center, North Entrance
    I will be available for photos in front of the North Entrance. Yes, I will pose with you.
  • ~1 hour, evening - Anabella Hotel, Fountain Area
    Bring your own flash or lighting equipment. This will be a relatively short session.
    Likely to be after 8:00PM.
Red Dress, Red and Gold Jacket, arriving after Denny's Raid.
  • 11:00AM - 11:30AM - Blizzcon 2008 Floor
    I will have an area staked out for photographs on the Blizzcon 2008 Floor. Very short session. I will be leaving no later than 11:45. This is dependent on panels and costume contest length.
  • ~1 hour - Anaheim Convention Center, East Entry - Kid's Shoot
    This is exclusively for parents and their children. Please note the ground rules well, you will not be permitted to join in if you don't. The rules are thus; children must be relatively well behaved, and must not pull on my costume or outfit. Please note that I cannot and will not hold younger children! Families are welcome, of course.
  • After AIMcon Dinner - Blizzcon 2008 Floor
    I'll be available for on-the-spot photographs as I wander the floor. This is dependent on panel and concert schedule. Departing ~9:45 at the latest for afterparty.
Outfit Undecided, Arriving after Denny's Raid.
  • ~1 hour, morning - Anaheim Convention Center, East Entry - Kid's Shoot
    This is exclusively for parents and their children. Please note the ground rules well, you will not be permitted to join in if you don't. The rules are thus; children must be relatively well behaved, and must not pull on my costume or outfit. Please note that I cannot and will not hold younger children! Families are welcome, of course.
  • Evening - Blizzcon 2008 Floor
    I'll be available for on-the-spot photographs as I wander the floor. This is dependent on panel and concert schedule.
    I will be staying until convention close.
By Request.
  • ~1-2 hours - The Aftershot!, Anabella Hotel
  • ~1-2 hours - The Aftershot Continues!, Hilton and Marriot Hotels
  • TBD - As Requested
By Request
  • By request. I am available all day at this point in time.
See you all there!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Update, 8/29/08

Mostly stressing. Mostly mostly stressing. Still desperately need a ticket for my handler, but no such luck yet. Time's about to run out, so I honestly don't know what I'm going to do there. I can't go alone, doctor said "are you nuts? No." So, there it is.
Bodysuit is about 70% done on take three. The fur is not the problem, it's the padding that keeps screwing me up. Stitch it up, check it over, well crap it doesn't sit right. So, rip it out, do it again, repeat. Lots of glue, lots of thread, lots of cussing in frustration. And there isn't too much padding, it's the trick of making it look like there isn't ANY that's such a problem. I will get it though, oh yes I will. Because I have to. And because it is going to so be worth it. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update, 8/27/08

Not been very well the past few days. Still recovering from Monday. Slipcovers are as done as they can be until I get the hooves. New top nearly done, but the cameraphone used is still crap. Believe it or not, there's only three seams to finish this.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Costume Update, 8/25/08

I just finished cleaning up and shutting down for the day. Some days, I really would love a fully computerized sewing machine, but I'm still very happy with my Activa 210. I had a needle break again today, it happens, but this time it took out the plate. Thankfully, I had a spare. Otherwise, good progress has been made. Third try at the underbody is coming along nicely, everything will be cut tomorrow with some luck. The jacket (new top) is very nearly done, but not quite. Some 2 hour project! Of course, I'm also putting on longer sleeves, and putting in a lining, so it's not that much of a surprise. I would also have less time in it, if I had remembered that a certain stitch on my machine causes very severe bunching if I don't remember to set the thread tension to zero. End result, ripping out a significant section of seam stitch, because I didn't like it showing as much as it did. The lining is a lot more forgiving, thankfully, though I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just done that as single cuts. (When it's done, you'll understand what I mean there.)
Also gave myself a bit of heat exhaustion today, so it was slow going over all. It wasn't the temperature so much as the humidity, and me getting too into things to stop and get myself some water. Live and learn, right?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

URGENT! Need ONE ticket to Blizzcon '08 and volunteer handlers!

Excuse me if I am a little.. hyperactive? Excited? Ecstatic? Oh hell with it.

Yes, I'm one of the lucky winners! The Tauren is confirmed go for Blizzcon 2008! I will be there! But there is a small snag. I need one more ticket for my handler. This is a very, very good friend of mine, who will be attending to me while I'm in costume, and also was supposed to get this as a graduation gift. Why do I need him? Well, I cannot be left unattended in my costume for even one minute, due to the severe restrictions on my vision and mobility. Remember, I'm going to be in hooves. He's also already trained on the various signals necessary to keep me out of trouble.

So, here's what you'll get in exchange for just ONE Blizzcon ticket! We think it's well worth the price of admission!
  • A seat in a 2003 Buick Regal with Dual-Zone Climate Control! (And leather.)
  • Arrive in true Horde style with "SHUHALO" vanity plates.
  • All of your meals on the road, paid for!
  • All of your accomodations on the road, paid for!
  • Accommodations at Blizzcon, paid for! (You'll be sharing with us.) - we have a King/Double Concierge!
  • My eternal gratitude and written promise to NOT cry on you.
  • Getting your picture taken with a lunatic in a full-body Tauren costume!

What's YOUR end of the bargain?
  • Have one paid for and confirmed Blizzcon 2008 ticket for someone who can no longer attend.
  • Be located between Cleveland Ohio and Anaheim California!
  • Be packed and ready to go when we show up!
  • Travel relatively light - no more than two suitcases, please!
  • Must be 21+ with a valid and current driver's license for your state of residence!
  • Must not object to smoking in the car, but non-smokers welcome. We try to mind our smoke. Hotel rooms will be smoking or non-smoking by your preference, when possible.
  • Provide occasional assistance to a Tauren cosplayer between panels and events.
    This mostly will be assisting with area control during certain complex movements to prevent injury and carrying an emergency contact card with you.
  • Bring your own camera and towel!
Things we still won't pay for...
  • You'll be responsible for your meals at Blizzcon proper, but we're happy to join you!
  • The six t-shirts and four posters you want from the Blizzard Store.
  • Going out drinking with your friends, though we're happy to give you a ride if you need it.
  • Your admission to Disneyland! We MAY be attending the parade!
    If anyone can put me in touch with a Disneyland employee who can discuss the costume policies, it would be greatly appreciated!
  • No matter HOW awesome that stunt was, we are STILL not going to bail you out of jail!
Still an awesome deal any way you slice it! We'd really rather you don't though, as cars do not work so well then. :)

Volunteer Handlers!
Wanna herd cows? Sorry, I'm the only Tauren confirmed for Blizzcon '08. But you can herd a cow at least! It's pretty easy, as you'll be taking direction from my lead handler. Your primary responsibilities will basically consist of giving me a heads up on photographers, keeping people who want a photo at a safe distance and telling those who want me to pose with them where and when I'll be doing that, carrying bottled water or empties, keeping the populace at a safe distance, and assisting me in getting to "safe" areas in the event I need to remove the head. (The head does NOT come off in public. First rule of the job.)

Leave a comment here, or send an email to yetama -at- error404 -dot- nls -dot- net!

Picture Update, 8/23/08

I was struck by a pattern I found, which uses abuses quarters to make a jacket. So I found some quarters I'd picked up just because, ran out for a lining, and should have it done later this evening. This may eliminate my need for a neckpiece, which would save me a ton of time. More importantly, it DOES save me from the bracers, which were going to account for a whole week of work. So a good chunk of leather may end up going to waste, but I'll live. If there's time, I'm definitely doing the neckpiece.
The picture really doesn't do the fabric or the lining justice at all, it's badly overexposed. The reds are darker, and the lining is barely-transparent shimmery black. Very showy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Status, 8/21/08

Rough day physically. Too exhausted and in too much pain to do any work. Tried to finish glove pattern, fell asleep on work table. G'night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Question and Answer, 8/20/08

I just finished cleaning up for the night - tonight was mostly working on cutting the padding out in preparation for gluing and stitching. I noticed some questions, so I think I'll try and do a Q&A post every Wednesday - post your questions in the comments, and I'll answer them, plus I'll collect interesting ones from other posts.

From the comments elsewhere, benjamin slayter sort-of asked "Also, if you are interested in selling plans for said costume, we'd be interested."
How about I one up you a bit there, benjamin? For the Tauren proper, you'll need a pattern you can buy, and a pattern you can't buy. The pattern you can buy is Simplicity 2853. The pattern you can't buy is the one for the slipcovers for the hooves, and I'm not allowed to share it myself. I'm not ready to share the pattern for the gloves, because I found a fatal flaw in it. Of course, the Simplicity 2853 pattern leaves you going "well frak, that doesn't look ANYTHING like a Tauren." It also has problems, so here's a quick overview of the modifications you'll be making to set A for a Tauren.
  1. You'll be keeping the "belly" (cut 2) with the 3/8" seam allowance on the outer edge only. You'll need fur and lining cuts. Instead of two pieces, cut this as one by tracing all but the flat edge, and joining there. Normally the zipper goes there, and you don't want it there.
  2. For female Tauren, you'll be keeping the belly as two cuts for the lining. Use a 1/2-1" binding, and sew in your cups. I recommend additional padding to suit generally. For the fur cut, first trace your pattern to fabric, then fit it. You WILL have to play with this.
  3. The zipper is quite simple; just find your centerline, and cut down the back. Problem solved! (You've accounted for the zipper slack with the front modifications.)
  4. Pad it however you like. I recommend a mix of 1-2" closed cell foam for a base, polyfill to suit, and then quilt batting over top. Sew this into your lining; it will give you a more realistic look, and be more resistant to crush and shift.
Because I'm using a lot of natural materials, I run into the fatal flaw of natural materials - you can't really use patterns with them. You have to follow the nap of the fur, which might not agree with your pattern. In fact, it almost NEVER agrees with your pattern. Because of the way the head has to be constructed, it's very individual, so it can't be patterned anyways. What I recommend is to build your framing or foam out first, and making adjustments as you need. Now grab yourself a lot of non-stretch (VERY important) fabric or Swedish tracing paper, or whatever you like. Test how it lays across your head to figure out the pattern for your head.
There are some catches and tricks with the head. For Tauren, the nap (direction of the hairs of the fur) goes from nose toward mane, and there is a somewhat sharp cut where the muzzle ends and the eyes are. You want to avoid having a cut in the fur where these two points join, as it will show, so give yourself room.

Someone (sorry, I forgot your name) asked, paraphrasing, "what equipment do I need to build a Tauren?" Also, the question has been posed, "what equipment do you use?"

Using the pattern above, you'll need a basic sewing machine, lots of thread, lots of fur, lots of glue, lots of foam or wire, lots more thread. You don't necessarily need a Serger or overlock, but I strongly recommend it. That will get you from point A to point B, but will rely heavily on your individual skill for the quality.
Because I work with leather and natural materials frequently, and do other sewing, I use quite a wide array of equipment. My basic sewing machine is a Bernina Activa 210; I chose it because it is very utility oriented, and is one of the few electronics capable of sewing leather. It can and will go through Springbok hide easily. Its support in the utility role is a Bernina 1008, a fully mechanical sewing machine, that I find myself using less and less these days.
For Serging / Overlock, I use a Baby Lock Evolve - the absolute top of the line for serging, especially decorative stitching. More stitches than you can shake a stick at, but you will pay. Most folks just do not need an Evolve; mine replaced a Bernina 700D, and I could have easily done this with a 700D. However, unless you've been serging for a while, I recommend a standard sewing machine with an overlock stitch. Fur is incredibly difficult to serge.
My other frequently used tools include an assortment of hand needles, Gingher dressmaker's scissors, an assortment of measuring tapes, four utility knives, leather scissors (these are different from regular scissors,) two Olfa rotary cutters, an Olfa point cutter, a large mallet, some iron I found on sale at Sears, some ironing board I found at a garage sale, a rubber mallet, and enough presser feet and needles to entirely restock the sewing shop I frequent. :)

So bring on your questions, just leave a comment or send an email to yetama -at- error404 -dot- nls -dot- net with "Q&A" in the subject, and I'll answer as many as I can next Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thoughts, 8/19/08

No pictures again, sorry. No real progress to show tonight. It was a rough day at work.

So, instead, some random thoughts on Tauren. Firstly, why did they have to let horny 14 year olds design our chests? Pamela Anderson would have trouble filling them out properly. On a very related note, cutting foam is a pain in the neck when you lack an electric knife or a hot knife. I'm still trying to figure out how to stitch the padding properly so that I'm not overstretching the lining. The outer layer will be easier, since I can cheat by slicing down the middle and using a binding. I still don't understand all the people who made non-refundable reservations for accommodations and flights before August. You don't really get that much better pricing going that far out, and it's usually easier to get refundable tickets that far out!

It's also easy to let yourself get distracted when you encounter difficulty, like by updating your blog.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Design, 8/18/08 (8/19?)

Good evening, or morning, depending where you are. Sorry, but no photos tonight. Instead, I had a stroke of luck on my way home. I decided on a whim to stop at the local hardware store, since Home Depot and Lowes had both been absolutely no help on two previous occasions. I asked the wonderfully helpful staff, and they walked me straight to what I was looking for! Heavy gauge support wire/cable, and treated binding wire! At very, very reasonable prices too. This has been holding up head construction totally, so it can now commence - and not a moment too soon. Though I am starting to worry more and more that it's a moment too late.

So tonight I'm going to talk about designing the head. Most people will tell you that cutting foam block's fine, and for most applications it is. Others swear by building up various materials around helmets and hats and such. For this Tauren, the only reasonable choice was a wire frame head. What's a wire frame? Glad you asked.
A Basic Frame Head
A Complex Frame Head
Let's go into differences briefly. A Basic Frame head consists of a very simple or abbreviated frame - the bare minimums to establish the shape - and sculpting materials over top of it. This requires heavier pipe or wire for the framing, which is harder to work with and requires more specialized tools.
A Complex Frame head consists of something closer to a complete 3D wireframe, providing the bulk of the structure. Because there is more wire, you can use smaller gauges. Again, you'll find materials sculpted over top, but most often you'll find flat surfaces lashed to the framing itself, which provides the shape. This is harder to construct due to the number of wires involved, and lashing them together, but requires less special tools. Just a good wire snipper and two pairs of needle nose pliers.
Both have the advantage of offering a much greater open area inside the head, which translates to more cooling, more room for additional cooling equipment, room for electronics, you get the idea. As a disclaimer, I do not have time for complex electronics this year. Without giving anything away, next years will have a more advanced electronic support system.

So, this Tauren is using a Complex Frame combined with Supported Structure. I'll get to Supported Structure in a minute, as puppeteers are more familiar with it than I am by far, so I'm probably using the wrong term. Regardless, the choice for a Complex Frame came about due to materials. The head will be covered with Springbok hair-on hide ( Those of you attending Blizzcon, please use care when petting, and remember that other people may want a turn. :), horsehair mane, and horsehair braids, plus steer horns. This means a great deal of weight savings need to be found, and quickly. By going with a Complex Frame, I eliminated almost all of the sculpting. The sole exception is the nose. (Note to myself; I need to pick up more suede.) It also allows me to unbalance the head by adding a great deal of additional cooling. The exact design there is proprietary, but I may share it after Blizzcon '09.

Supported Structure means is that the structure will also rest on my shoulders, due to the weight - nearly 20lbs! - being unsafe for neck support alone. A large part of the weight comes from the materials being used. This solves the weight problem, but leaves the balance problem. I will be unbalanced severely to the front, because of the way Tauren themselves look, even before the cooling! This mandates some sort of supporting harness underneath. This is part of the design I had failed to consider, and am having some difficulty finding resources on. If any of you know puppeteers, they're far more familiar with these, and I could definitely use a hand.

With some luck, I should be able to start covering this weekend. I just need to figure out a way to make something roughly the size of my head to do the proportioning. The hardest part of the whole setup.

Thoughts, 8/18/08

Maybe pictures later tonight. I owe a repost from something I said on the Blizzcon forums.

'Twas my pleasure. Wonderful resource, and I wish I'd known about it before. The head is going to be a major crunch, but I honestly believe I can pull it off. I hope. I need somebody who actually knows how to braid.

Classes probably are easiest, since I don't see many of us going in anything other than Tier armor or as NPCs. More opportunity for me to stand out, so hopefully I can figure out some way to get people to pay more attention to my legs and hooves. I'm most proud of them, moreover, being able to move in them somewhat.

To be honest, I'm kind of surprised. This is my first costume of this sort; I've done commissioned RenFaire stuff before, but that's a whole different type entirely. The body and head truly have me struggling, and in hindsight, I'm almost wishing I hadn't said anything. Then again, all the publicity I can get helps me get to Blizzcon right now. I'm all the way in Ohio, so it's more than a little bit of a trek.
But goddess.. I honestly didn't expect this kind of reaction from everyone. I really figured some of the more experienced folks would be doing Tauren this year, and that I'd have to stand out by going with the dress and hooves. I've just been so overwhelmed by all the folks who can't wait to see it, and who are wishing me luck. I've never had anything like this before.

It's been a very, very chaotic week for me, and I'm just now realizing what's going on. It's .. really really overwhelming. As realization dawns, I just don't know how to react, still. My whole plan for Blizzcon was basically, build costume as far in advance as possible, get tickets, get hotel, plan driving route. Then I lost two of my three handlers due to family things. Then the whole ticket fiasco happened. I needed to vent, so I came to the official forums and joined in. I was miserable, distraught, depressed - my whole plan was shot, and I just wanted everyone to have fun. And I've just been so excited about the opportunity to bring my character to life, that I guess I spread it to everyone. And it's just such a startling thing.

So, thank you all, so much, for all your well wishes. It's so horribly inadequate on my part, and the hopes of getting Blizzcon tickets are very dim at this point, but I really just don't know what else to say, or how to properly express my gratitude. I'm going to see this Tauren through, Blizzcon or not. I just hope next year goes better; we have even bigger plans, and I really hope I'll get to share the end result with you all.

-Yeta, who is.. well.. just stunned and overwhelmed still.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Picture Update, 8/17/08

Today's photo covers some of the accessories and accoutrement of the costume. Many shiny beads and the like will be hung from braids and horns. Yes, those are real steer horns in the picture; Tandy Leather just started getting them again about two weeks ago. I couldn't have been happier when I found them in my local store.
If anyone is knowledgeable about sources for bulk horsehair, please leave a comment here or email me at yetama -at- error404 -dot- nls -dot- net; I need help constructing the mane.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Picture Update, 8/16/08

My Baby Lock Evolve, one of the primary tools of the trade. Threading was set up for 3 thread Wave stitch.

Materials. Going from left to right..
Springbok hide (1 of 3), genuine Suede, Alligator hide, Zebra and Leopard dyed rabbit fur, 8oz Tooling Shoulder (1 of 2.)

Sorry for the poor quality, I can't find my good camera, so had to take these with my Q.

Friday, August 15, 2008

UPDATED For Trade: Your Blizzcon Travel + Expenses for 1 Blizzcon Ticket

(Bumped DOWN on 8/23/08, one ticket confirmed, thanks Diablo III DB!!)
(Bumped up on 8/22/08)
ONE TICKET CONFIRMED! THANKS Diablo III DB! Need ONE ticket for my handler!
Good afternoon, all. Interesting title, isn't it? Sit back, and I'll tell you a tale. A tale of depression and desperation.

I am one of the many thousands who got screwed over by Blizzard's incompetent IT staff and the smarmy little "Oops" page. What has followed since have been repeated fruitless attempts to contact customer service, my bank, and customer support. Blizzard customer service won't give me a straight or consistent answer, customer support just says talk to customer service, and my bank says "hang on, we have some people working on just these Blizzard screwups."

I am at this point, pretty much positive the lottery holds no realistic hope for me. I'm insulted by Mike's apology delivered by middle finger. I'm also desperate, because I have been planning on going to Blizzcon since February. This will be my first actual vacation in 12 years where I am not off for 3 days or less, still on call and not allowed to leave town, work will not be able to reach me, and I and I have invested a large amount of time into planning and preperation, exactly to avoid the kind of disaster that Blizzard produced by fiat. But enough of the sob story, there's enough QQ in the forums, mostly from people who didn't plan beyond "get Blizzcon tickets."

What it is, is simple. I am offering you two seats, room for luggage, meal expenses, and hotel expenses to and from Blizzcon 2008 in exchange for 2 tickets that your friends or family can no longer use for whatever reason.

I will be departing from Cleveland, Ohio no later than the morning of October 4th. My approximate route can be found by putting Cleveland, OH to Anaheim, CA into Google Maps. I can easily adjust this route to swing by and pick you up.

Sounds interesting! What exactly do I get?
  • Two (2) seats in a 2003 Buick Regal with Dual-Zone Climate Control! (And leather.)
  • Arrive in true Horde style with "SHUHALO" vanity plates.
  • All of your meals on the road, paid for!
  • All of your accomodations on the road, paid for!
  • Accommodations at Blizzcon (TBD), paid for!
  • My eternal gratitude and written promise to NOT cry on you.
  • Getting your picture taken with a lunatic in a full-body Tauren costume!

What do YOU have to have and do?

  • Have two paid for and confirmed Blizzcon 2008 tickets for people who can no longer attend.
  • Be located between Cleveland Ohio and Anaheim California!
  • Be packed and ready to go when I show up!
  • Travel relatively light - no more than two suitcases each, please!
  • Must be 21+ with a valid and current driver's license for your state of residence!
    We will grant an exception for an under-21 if they're travelling with a parent, sibling, or guardian over 21!
  • Must not object to smoking in the car, but non-smokers welcome. We try to mind our smoke. Hotel rooms will be smoking or non-smoking by your preference, when possible.
  • Provide occasional assistance to a Tauren cosplayer between panels and events.
    This mostly will be assisting with area control during certain complex movements to prevent injury and carrying an emergency contact card with you.
  • Bring your own camera and towel!

Surely there are things you won't pay for?
Indeed there are.

  • You'll be responsible for your meals at Blizzcon proper, but we're happy to join you!
  • The six t-shirts and four posters you want from the Blizzard Store.
  • Going out drinking with your friends, though we're happy to give you a ride if you need it.
  • The side trip to Disneyland, though we might join you!
  • Bail. ;)
Generally, if it does not relate to the car, your hotel room or eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, you would be responsible for buying it yourself, just as we would be. We just ask that we work together to keep these reasonable. That means we are not eating at every steak house on the way for every meal, but if people are hungry we will find somewhere agreeable.

So why should you consider my offer? For starters, selling your ticket on eBay? Risky. You have an army of angry people who want to lynch you, and will report you, and a dangerous new feedback system. Craigslist? Who knows. Forums? Most of them are cracking down on it. And you still have to be there in person to pick it up, otherwise, you risk the joy of mail fraud. And hey, since you're already at Blizzcon...
And to touch on the costs briefly; just the hotels will easily run $500-600 for Anaheim alone, before air fare or gas, rental car, plus still more for food. I would say a fair estimate of the value is at least $1,750.

But I'd like the major reason you consider my offer, to not be what your alternatives are, but because of the reasons I present here. As I said above, this was going to be my first real, genuine vacation in 12 years. I have put a tremendous amount of time into planning this vacation. As part of it, I began building my costume in May of this year, deciding to go with my 70 Tauren Shaman for something new, and hopefully amazing and astonishing for all to see. I have over $3,000.00USD invested in this costume in materials and supplies alone.
My primary reason for going isn't the exclusive mount, an excuse to get away from work, or even really because I'm particularly zealous about World of Warcraft or any Blizzard property. I like Tauren. I didn't think I would like WoW, and I got proven very wrong, and I've loved every minute of it. I decided to go to Blizzcon this year because it presented me an opportunity to move my character off the monitor and into the real world to some extent, and share it with a lot more people. Yeah, sounds cheesy, but it truly is the case. I thought it would be a nice trip to drive, even with gas prices what they are, and I could enjoy being a bit of a spectacle among friends.
Am I some old school hardcore raider type? Not really. Hardcore RPer? Nah. PvP omgh4x? Uhm, no. I try to enjoy all parts of the game equally. Have I been in WoW since day one? Not really. Does it matter? Not really, I don't think. I'm just someone who enjoys the game a great deal, and was looking forward to an opportunity to share something I enjoy with a bunch of people I've never met. Now, that's in severe doubt. So, I turn to the folks who did get lucky. Sure, it's a long shot, and it's desperate, but yeah. I do want to go that badly.

If you're interested, you can reach me by leaving a comment here or sending an email at yetama -at- error404 -dot- nls -dot- net; this is a forwarder, as the character will be remaining a surprise. Everything is open to discussion, and we'll do what it takes to make it work, and make it an enjoyable trip for everyone as much as we can.

(Posted 8/15/08, date will be adjusted to stay at the top as needed.)