ColossalCon 2k17

Colossalcon was fantastic.

I feel like a goof, taking so long to write these entries when I had such a great time, but the past few months have been ridiculously busy, both as far as con prep goes, and real life. I think I explained this in passing in the very belated Anime North post. I’ll try to go into it in further detail later, but first, I’ve got three conventions to write about here.

So, Colossalcon.

I feel like most of the summer’s con plans can be summed up with, “a last minute decision.” As mentioned in the Anime North post, I spent the Saturday of Anime North making plans for Colossalcon. We established rides, hotels, and costume plans. All I had to do was bring shoes, shorts, and a shirt for Team Skull, and the rest was taken care of. Everything was good to go!

And then in the two days after AN and before Colossal, we found out that we were to be joined in our adventure by Jackie! And so more planning happened. I spent the Wednesday before Colossal (also known as “the day I was leaving” oops) shopping for cosplay supplies, and then very hastily prepping my Team Skull shirt and packing while waiting for Toast to come pick me up to spend the night at her place. (And then, still packing while she watched, since I thought I had more time that I did.)

We began our road trip Thursday morning, after I’d stayed up making sure our Team Skull hats and scarves were good to go. You could say I did the…grunt work…

Fortunately, I’m not a driver, so my level of exhaustion was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The trip itself was mostly uneventful, aside from a stop at Burger King where I purchased the Red Lion (a la Voltron), and a Froot Loops milkshake. In theory, this was not so terrible an idea, until we remember that Froot Loops get soggy.

As we approached the hotel, we pulled on our Team Skull hats and turned up the theme song, rolling into the parking lot like a bunch of hooligans. Worth it. We stayed in grunt mode for check-in, while we shopped at the Wal-Mart, and while getting dinner at Sonic. Everywhere we went, shouts of “TEAM SKULLLLLL!” followed. Amazing.

Jackie and I were very fashionable at Walmart.

On Friday, Jackie and I did our Adventure Zone twins, Lup and Taako. We had a minor crisis when the elf ears I wanted to wear were just inexplicably missing, despite everyone seeing me put them in my bag. Fortunately, I had my backup ears just in case. And then, while walking from the car to the convention centre, crisis struck again and my shoe literally broke. I was the walking epitome of a hot mess, and I ended up buying some leather sandals from the gift shop.

We had a blast being these perfect trash twins, and took selfies with so many other Adventure Zone cosplayers. This fandom is so good, and everyone was just so positive. It’s so interesting to me that Adventure Zone cosplayers are so recognizable despite it being an audio medium with very few canon appearance details. We stopped by the Voltron shoot to watch that, and I lamented not bringing Pidge.

After a long day we headed back to our hotel to change into civvies, and then went to Steak and Shake for dinner, which was wonderful and perfect. I had a chocolate-covered strawberry shake, and I could not describe the bliss.

Look at this perfection.

We had some horribly optimistic plan that at some point on Saturday, we’d all end up in Team Skull grunts, so Toast and I started the day in those. Jackie really wanted to wear her Zelda (which is absolutely gorgeous), and had an evening shoot planned, while Trish had photo shoot plans in her Rikku. I’m not sure when we were all supposed to Skull Grunt, but we had fun anyway.

My beautiful roomies and ridemates. <3

Unfortunately, we started the day with me and Jackie missing the shuttle, with the next one not coming for half an hour. We tried calling for a cab, but it would be at least 20 minutes before it arrived so…we walked.

Do not recommend.

After arriving at the con, we spent a good long while trying to cool down and also manage our faces so we didn’t look like we just walked for about half an hour in costume, and then met back up with our other roomies to help with photo things.

Trish is majestic as heck.

We headed over to the outdoor pools to hang out until Jackie’s shoot, and I changed into my super-secret bikini costume, which was the same as my Team Skull costume but with my bikini top instead of my Team Skull top. It was a really nice day for lounging pool side, and it was probably one of my highlights of the con.

Soaking up that sun…in the shade.

Once our day ended at the Kalahari, we headed back to our hotel to take advantage of our mostly empty waterpark. We went on the slides many times, despite one part of the stairs smelling distinctly like pee. Other than that, it was super great, and I’m glad we got some slide time in. We had dinner at Applebee’s, which I’d never been to before. The food was really cheap? It was weird.

We spent the night in our hotel room playing card games; a chill ending to the con.

Sunday morning we went to Joanne’s before hitting the road, taking advantage of those sweet sweet deals that we can’t get back in Canada. I bought so much fleece. We went through the Steak and Shake drive-through, taking our delicious mixed milk beverages to go, and made our way back to Canada.

Overall, an excellent weekend, made so by the wonderful people I spent it with. I’m not sure I would go again if I weren’t staying at the Kalahari though. My previous two trips were both there, and I guess I was spoiled by being where it was happening. Maui Sands was good, and quiet, but…the convenience of being on-site is hard to pass up.

Shout outs of course to Jackie, Toast, and Trish for being the most wonderful people.

Thoughts and Ramblings on “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”

Author’s Note: I was challenged to write a detailed opinion piece this past weekend after I marathoned Dirk Gently. In an effort to do more writing, I took the challenge, and decided to share that piece here. The ColossalCon and subsequent convention posts are coming soon!

Let me preface this by saying that I think Max Landis is a complete and total tool, and while I often have issues with the idea of separating the art from the artist, in this case I was halfway through the series before I even realized that he had anything to do with this. (Please don’t share your opinion about him with me, I don’t really care.) This is not really a review so much as something like an opinion piece. Also, this will likely contain spoilers.

I actually watched the first episode a few months ago with my roommates, and then mostly forgot about it in the whirlwind of real life. Having finally gained a Netflix profile to actually keep track of My List, I decided to go back and actually watch the whole thing – especially given that I’ve had a few friends both lament the lack of news regarding a second season (apparently it’s back in October), and lament the lack of people talking about the show.

Having only watched the first episode before, I had no idea where the show was going or what to actually expect. This isn’t a judgment call on the show itself, but instead I found that feeling of uncertainty almost sums up the show as a whole. I often felt like we were figuring out what was unfolding at the same time as our protagonist, Todd (played by Elijah Wood), and saw a lot of my confusion toward the events reflected on-screen. Unlike Todd, I did not feel betrayed by the other characters when the events started revealing themselves, but I am also a bystander and thus significantly less personally invested than an actual character in the show. (I also recognize that sometimes we do get hurt and angered by the actions of fictional characters, but I didn’t experience that at this time.)

I don’t know if I could reference specific moments when trying to explain why I liked this show, but I wrote down some of the feelings and ideas that came across over the 8 hours I sat watching. The most important of those is the idea that everything is connected. This is literally stated by the holistic detective, Dirk Gently, and the holistic assassin, Bart Curlish, referencing the “interconnectedness of all things” when describing their professions. And while, of course, we see this in the wildly improbable events that occur, what struck me most was the connections between the characters themselves. I’m a sucker for supportive female friendships, and I absolutely adored the dynamic between Amanda and Farah, and Farah and Lydia. (Okay, I basically just loved Farah’s character overall.) Amanda initially swooning over how absolutely badass Farah is, and later coming to realize that Farah might actually be crazy, was so important in the development of their friendship. (Honestly, that they were allowed to have a friendship at all is something I still find refreshing.)

The other big theme, that I didn’t actually pick up on until close to the end of the season, is the idea that some things can’t be fixed. Obviously we see this with the main plot, where no matter what he did, Dirk could not save his client, Patrick Spring. (As a side note, this show had one of the best representations of time travel that I’d seen in a long time.) As the season ends, we find not all the relationships have happy endings. Todd and his sister did not have an amicable parting. When confessing about his disease (or lack thereof) to his sister, he mentions that he wanted better timing, and she makes a retort about how there isn’t really a better time. A “better time” wouldn’t have changed the words or softened their blow. Todd did a bad thing, and better timing, paying her off, or trying to keep her safe wouldn’t fix the mistake he already made.

As the eighth episode was rounding up, I did find myself unhappy with how most of the plotlines had been resolved, but the Blackwing operatives hadn’t shown up in quite a while. I had started writing this, mentioning the “loose ends” when Riggins showed up in Dirk’s hospital room, and then Friedkin showed up with Estevez and all hell broke loose. It felt a little like the last ten minutes or so took all the neatly resolved storylines and threw them out the window to set things up for season two. It reminded the audience that, oh right, there’s still the issue of cleaning up the psychics. Apparently we’ve got some pretty big names to look forward to in season two, with Alan Tudyk, Amanda Walsh, and John Hannah joining the cast.

The way the show mixes comedy with some pretty dark themes, while still maintaining a vibrant colour palette is refreshing, since many shows and movies are still ascribing to the grimdark equals good mentality. (Though it does seem like media is starting to finally veer away from that and learn about colours again.) The visuals were eye-catching, and the dialogue was funny and smart. It felt like the writers respected the characters and respected the audience, and I can’t think of a time where the jokes felt forced or fell flat. I will admit to partial ignorance with the source material, being familiar with Douglas Adams’ work, but not specifically with Dirk Gently, so I’m not sure how much of that was him, and how much of that was the scriptwriters.

There are some things I did want to mention specifically, because they either stood out, or were my absolute favourite. For example, I loved the Rowdy 3. I love that they are thrown in without explanation, and even Dirk has no idea who they are. I love that even when we do get more information about them, we still don’t really know what they’re about, other than that they are another Blackwing project gone wrong. I was initially wary when they showed up around Amanda, expecting terrible things to happen to a female character as is common in…most media. Instead, they completely surprised me by not only helping Amanda manage her disease (in a way that was initially self-serving, but seemed to evolve into something they did to help her), but by also taking her in and making her part of the group. They looked out for her when they needed to, but they also let her kick ass and cause her own destruction. It definitely helped that Osric Chau played one of these rowdy boys, having been a fan of his sort-of through Supernatural, and sort-of just through the geek community in general. He’s a great actor and also a great dude, so seeing him attached to a show that’s actually pretty good is always a bonus.

On that Supernatural note, I’m a little disappointed that Dorian (Todd’s landlord played by actor Ty Olsson) was such a short-lived character. I did really enjoy him as Benny in Supernatural, and wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him. I’m also interested in the dynamic his character could’ve added to the show had he been allowed to stick around longer, even if I definitely get that his character and death was there to serve a very specific purpose.

Also shout-out to Aaron Douglas, who is most notable for me as “Chief” from Battlestar Galatica, as well as just being a general good Canadian dude to apparently hang out with at conventions. He is nearly unrecognizable as Gordon Rimmer, and a lot of that isn’t so much in the appearance as in the performance. We see a little bit of Aaron as we know him when he’s explaining that he was Luz Dujour, and he loses the demeanor and the voice he’s adopted as Gordon, but then it’s back into the character within the character that he’s playing once his explanation is over.

tl;dr: I liked Dirk Gently, and I’m excited to see where season two takes us.