My First Time Cosplaying: DisneyBounding!

So what’s a girl to do when she’s never cosplayed before in her life and suddenly she has to find not one, but multiple outfits for nearly a week of filming and photography? Panic. Panic and go through every item of clothing she has to see if she has ANYTHING that is useful. I didn’t need full blown cosplays that take weeks to put together. Hell, I barely had a week to prepare! What I needed was something inspired by Disney characters. But how was I to do that?

The answer apparently is called DisneyBounding.


So what is DisneyBounding? The idea was started by Leslie Kay, who had been a long time Disney and fashion fan and wanted to combine the two in a fun and easy way. Her site even describes the idea as:

DisneyBound is meant to be inspiration for you to pull together your own outfits which work for your body and wallet whether from your closet or local mall.

And that’s it! It immediately reminded me of ‘closet cosplay’ in that you look in your closet and see what you have that reminds you of the character you wish to portray. And that’s exactly what I did when Alston told me we should match our outfits for all our Disney days. He liked what I was doing with The Nerdventurists and wanted to collaborate, I thought that was a great idea and we quickly got to thinking about what we could do. People dangerously left us alone and suddenly we had hatched out a plan to go to all the Disney parks around the world. Yurp. That’s a thing. And not only that, these Disney Adventures were going to be done in style. Cosplay DisneyBounding style.

I sort of panicked. I have never cosplayed before. With curly hair and glasses, there aren’t a lot of options open to me, so I had never really bothered. Alston on the other hand had done amazing cosplays of various sorts, always looked nice, and I was going to be an embarrassment in all our photos. He assured me that I wouldn’t and eventually I sent him a photo of a 1950s red dress I had. Minnie Mouse, maybe? He agreed and a few days later we were off to LA.

DisneyBounding - Very Nerdy Curly -

I was so nervous at first. I kept straightening my dress, fixing my ears, and generally felt super self conscious. But then people kept coming up to us saying how cute we were, they were taking photos of us taking photos. I didn’t feel as weird. I felt cute instead. Yeah, I was a fucking adorable Minnie Mouse-esque lady! We were practically oozing adorableness, we should embrace this! And so we did. By the end of the day I had “got” it. I knew why people cosplayed; point blank, it’s fun! You get to sort of become a character, you get to look good and people tell you that you look good/cute/amazing/insane/etc. Who wouldn’t like that? But at its core, it’s just a really fun time.

DisneyBounding - Epcot - Very Nerdy Curly

So when it was time for Walt Disney World in Orlando, I didn’t have nearly as many reservations. We were going to Star Wars it up by being BB8 and R2D2. The first day was the more casual of the two, and ht eonly thing I had to do was find an orange dress (which was surprisingly not as hard as I thought, and I found this cool sorta military/sciency esque number on sale, hollah!) And even better, Dapper Day was happening while we were there. The level of excitement Alston had couldn’t be contained and he quickly MADE ME A HAT so I could be a 1920s BB8. HE MADE ME A HAT.

Dapper Day was an event in itself because so many people were just dressed SO BEAUTIFULLY!  That whole self consciousness came rolling up again, but I quickly ignored it because I had an amazing hat and felt freaking amazing this day. Even if I was really really hot under that (synthetic) fur. Alston did have a hat… he just lost it on Splash Mountain (RIP R2D2 fedora). But the fact was, we had a lot of fun, people recognized what we were trying to do, and I really just felt quite good about myself. Which is always nice.


I have a lot of respect for people who do this constantly and more extensively. I was stressing out just from this, I cannot imagine having to actually construct outfits and sew them and try and find replicas of things. I am immensely in awe of all of you. I hope one day I’ll graduate from closet cosplay to something bigger, but until then, I’ll have fun with this and see if I can’t do some more of it.

If you want to keep updated on Disney Adventures, head on over to The Nerdventurists, my travel site. Things will be rolling out across the summer for sure. In the meantime, have a funny photo when I got scared shitless because storm troopers snuck up on us.


Noriko Sugiura was our amazing photographer and camera lady and we wouldn’t look nearly as good without her mad skillz. Also make sure to check out Alston’s fashion site!

The road so far… why can’t I keep up with TV shows?

For the LIFE of me I do not understand why I am currently in my 5th hour of Chopped re-runs on The Food Network, yet I haven’t watched any of the final season of Da Vinci’s Demons. You know, that came out in October… OF LAST YEAR. I was practically begging STARZ to livestream the season straight into my brain, yet when it came out… nada.

The road so far... why can't I keep up with TV shows?

What was keeping me from a mostly shirtless Tom Mison with long flowing locks and a smile that turned my legs into jelly? Why wasn’t I immediately bathing in the production values of this god damn pretty show? I dunno. Suddenly it seemed like too much effort to marathon it and make myself an emotionally available Hallmark card because it was the final season and I wasn’t ready? Maybe. Or maybe it was just easier to see which house a fiendishly annoying middle-class couple would choose on this episode of House Hunters, which I’m pretty sure I had already seen.


When did I become such a passive viewer? I am the bane of the television world in that I never watch live and it takes me weeks… months… god even years to catch up on an episode or season that I let slip by. And I honestly don’t understand why.

I have a very addictive personality and part of me wonders if that’s why I try not to binge watch anything anymore (except apparently EVERYTHING on the Food Network and HGTV, I swear I’ve gained 10lbs just watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives). When I first started Game of Thrones I watched three seasons in a week. Like, I lived and breathed that show when I wasn’t in class or at work. I was left destitute after I’d finished because it would be a whole MONTH before Season 4 started. I managed to keep up with it, but I still haven’t seen Season 5 beyond the first two episodes. Why? Too much effort? I don’t actually want to be Khaleesi??

The same goes for Supernatural. I was determined to finish the ENTIRE SERIES SO FAR before San Diego Comic Con… two years ago. I was making pretty good progress. The first five seasons went down like a fine whisky (because they’re the best, let’s just be clear on that), but struggled through season 6 and I’m still stuck in season 7 purgatory two years later. Season 7… that really did get to be too much effort.


I got so into those two series as I dived in, that I think I drowned a bit. It became too much and I had to step away. It just seems that I just kept stepping away… until I was about thirty miles away with car keys in my hand ready to drive to Tampa. But then it happened with new shows that I was really excited for. Remember all that stuff I wrote about The Librarians? The review, the lists, the interviews with the cast and crew? I was keyed in to that and the fandom from the get go, I could have had a great run with that content wise and I loved the premiere. It was everything I wanted in a television show.

But I still haven’t seen all of the first season.


Yeah, and it’s myself. WHYYYYYY, KRISTINA?! WHYYYY?

I was afraid of getting sucked in I think. I was worried my excitement would switch ovre to it and leave everything else I was already excited about all the time. Maybe?

I was so excited for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor that I fell off the bed when he walked out during the announcement event. I wrote about him quite a few times, gushed about his work, and actively reassured people he’d be fantastic. I still haven’t seen ANY of the last season. Though honestly I think a lot, if not all of it, has to do with Clara and that I despised her and didn’t want to deal with her seesawing characterization and the fact it wasn’t Doctor Who anymore but Clara What.

The road so far... why can't I keep up with TV shows?

There’s a few reasons for all of this apparently, and yet not really a common denominator. Do I just not care anymore? Are my fangirling days and anxiety waiting for the new episode to air over? Or am I just in a (very long) slump and things will pick up again?

If you were expecting this to end with some sort of philosophic claim about the human mind in an age of technology and having too many choices and thus diminishing our desire to become properly engaged with our media, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m sure that’s a think piece somewhere and it probably has a great deal of merit.

Meanwhile, if anyone has any tips for me, I’d love to hear them because people are being stupid on The Food Network.


You Can Now Have Your Dragon Age Decisions (& Mistakes) On Your Wall

I swear, every time BioWare comes out with something new I make a sound that only dogs can hear. You can now log into the Dragon Age Keep, where you record all the decisions you’ve made from all the games, and PRINT THEM OUT. BioWare has partnered with CanvasPop for this and good golly they look gorgeous.

Yes, you can now have a poster/canvas/MURAL of all your decisions in the beautiful Dragon Age Keep artwork. You have the choice between all your games being shown, or just one or two. You also have the choice between a canvas print or a framed paper print. Just log in to The Keep, load in your chosen world states, and then click Print. There’s also a helpful tutorial when you log in now.

Screenshot 2016-02-26 15.38.37

I went through a did this, curious as to the process and the price. Also it’s funny to see how much MAGE TRASH I am. Look, I wish I could use magic. So I will always play a mage as my canon whatever. If you’re curious, here are my canon world states.

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I clearly have a thing for suffering blondes as well…

So I clicked print to see what was up and my full timeline came into view.

Screenshot 2016-02-26 15.42.34

It’s quite neat to see it all laid out like that. Now, once you get to CanvasPopyou can move things around, choose different images to represent various things, etc. The possibilities are endless and there’s numerous layouts to choose from. The cheapest I could manage was $88 (ouch). Then again, I didn’t think this would be cheap anyways. At least we know the images will be hi-res and beautiful, but I’m interested to see how these turn out to whoever orders them!

In the meantime, I’ll go cry over my bank account.

Pikachu… the Great Detective

Just in case you were worried there wasn’t enough nerdy content on this blog, we’re going to talk about Pokémon. You know it, I know it. The pocket monsters from Japan were my generation’s first great obsession. And the world’s.

My sister and I were enamored, and frankly are still; I got her Pokémon earrings for Christmas for Charmander’s sake! It was something we both really enjoyed and consumed at an alarming level, like most kids our age. We watched the anime, we collected the cards (she still has a binder full of holographics), and we both still play the games on our DS systems. I beat her all the time in Pokémon Stadium on N64 and she’s still angry about it.

It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it?

One of my crowning achievements, to this day, was when I went to see the Pokémon movie in 7th grade with friends; it was the black out just before it started and in an impulsive move (quite shocking for very shy and awkward 12-year-old Kristina) I went “PIKACHU!” in a perfect impression of the electric mouse. Everyone cheered and clapped. They thought it was part of the movie. Nah. It was just me. I’m still proud of that.

So with the 20th anniversary of the franchise this year, I am excited for all the ridiculousness that will be coming, and I mean that in a very genuine way. The fact Pokémon Go, where you can use your smartphone to see, battle, and catch Pokémon out in the wild, is a thing still blows my mind. And with the first Superbowl commercial being released being a very epic Pokémon one… I’m expected great things.

As I’m sure many of you know, one of my great loves is Sherlock Holmes. Soooo, when images and the trailer for Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth Of A New Duo dropped, I may have gasped.


In a deerstalker!


Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth Of A New Duo won’t be getting a 2016 release in the US, considering it’s only just being released in Japan on February 3rd, but I expect hilarious things.

Watch the trailer below to see what I mean.

For one… Pikachu talks! As in, he has a seiyuu and has a surprisingly deep and smokey voice. There’s some relief in that there’s another Pikachu who blurts out its name like what we’ve expected and heard for twenty years. But hey, this isn’t Pikachu Pikachu, this is Great Detective Pikachu, and it seems the latter is just more… eloquent. And slightly scary. But that’s cool.

Also it seems GD Pikachu is a coffee drinker.


The music in the trailer definitely has some elements of Sherlock’s soundtrack, doesn’t it? I wonder, given all the new Holmes out there, that the Pokémon peeps wanted their iteration to follow in the same footsteps and be an anti-hero. I mean, I wouldn’t want to piss Pikachu off, he can electrocute you dead. But hey, let’s hear it for Pikachu Cumberbatch, eh?

Screenshot 2016-01-27 14.36.52

Whatever Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth Of A New Duo brings, I look forward to it. It’s gonna be the very best… see, it’s stuck in your head again!


Cosplaying With Your Grandma


Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite Ghibli films, it gives Princess Mononoke a good run for it’s money. It’s a movie my college roommates and I would watch quite often (and my bestie and my’s sneaky way of getting them to watch anime muahaha). So it has a special place in my heart. I have always had a soft spot for cosplay from it. So when I came across Taiwanese cosplayer Hizuki Aya’s cosplay of herself as Howl and her grandmother as Sophie, I about melted into a pile of goo. Aya is better known as Yao in cosplay circles, and she does most of her work with her friend Alma on their cosplay page.

For those who don’t know, the story is basically a young woman named Sophie is magically aged by a woman known as The Witch of the Wastes, transforming her into an eldery woman. She leaves her home to try and stumbles across Howl’s Moving Castle, a crazy steampunk castle-monster-thing and home to the infamous wizard who is rumored to eat the heart’s of beautiful women. She poses as his new housekeeper and is brought into the crazy world of politics (there’s a war going on and the king is calling all witches and wizards to come to the country’s aid), Howl himself (he can turn into a giant bird, but turn too many times and you’re stuck forever), and the fantastical mismatched family he has (a young apprentice, a fire demon for a fireplace, and more). It’s a really lovely story and basically it’s a tale of seeing the inner beauty rather than the outer and it’s a magical tale that has Sophie discovering love, family, and herself. And of course it’s beautifully animated.


Just looking at the images above, the pair make a fantastic Sophie and Howl. They’re practically perfect in every way actually. But moreover, what I love the most about this cosplay shoot, is the fact it’s a family affair. Here you have a granddaughter participating in her favorite thing with her grandmother, involving her in something that she loves. Likewise, you have a grandmother supporting her granddaughter in a beautiful way.

Not to mention they’re just. so. perfect!

Do check out the rest of Yao’s cosplay because it’s AMAZING. Seriously. Girl’s got skills. Check out her Facebook.

There’s Rey

Despite being the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey has been very absent from most of Hasbro’s tie-in merchandise. They’ve had every sort of excuse for that from saying they didn’t want to reveal spoilers than she was important (heaven forbid people learn a WOMAN is a main character in a franchise) to that the toy set in question didn’t need her. Right.


Not only is she the main character, she’s a fierce young woman who is strong, independent, and relatable. She’s a great role model for children and adults alike and she’s been inspiring more than one girl who has exclaimed in joy at seeing a woman kick ass on screen. You hardly need me to tell you this.

Sites had to go out of their way to find Rey merchandise. This shouldn’t have to happen, but at least the internet has the ability. Consequently you can find such a list here.

Hasbro promised more toys in the future after #WheresRey gained traction online. The hashtag came about as people, especially young girls, realized they couldn’t find any Rey merchandise in stores. Female action figures and toys from films are notoriously underrepresented and you’d think with how big Star Wars was that Hasbro would capitalize on the fact people would want Rey merchandise. But apparently not because… boobs.


The latest, and perhaps largest, outcry came from Rey being excluded form the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Monopoly edition that was released. There was no Rey figurine but there was a Darth Vader piece… who isn’t even in The Force Awakens.

Fans took to twitter and Facebook in annoyance, anger, and exhaustion to chide Hasbro for omitting her. They came back saying they didn’t want to reveal her as being important enough to the movie, which is an excuse that is both hysterically idiotic and telling of how much Hasbro doesn’t think people want female merchandise. I could continue ranting about this, but the power of social media has spared you because #WheresRey has worked.

Hasbro will be including a Rey game piece in Monopoly going forward. Granted it’s later this year when they make a new run of the game, but it’s something, and proof that if you’re upset about under representation in merchandise, you can say something about it and something may actually happen.

Thank goodness.

Oh The Places You’ll Go.


I was sorely tempted to just write a thousand words on my immense Star Wars feelings, but the last thing the world needs at the moment is yet another Star Wars review. In short, I loved it to pieces and beyond and I cannot properly express my delight that the largest film at the moment (and possibly of all time if projections are correct) stars a woman, a black man, and a Hispanic man. Like… that’s amazing, and how much I reacted to Rey and how empowered and happy I was after my now two viewings of The Force Awakens speaks volumes of the importance of representation in media. Especially epic franchise media. Also BB-8 is the cutest and purest thing in the world and I NEED ONE.


But that’s what I’ll say about Star Wars. Perhaps in the new year I will solidify my own theories about who is what and what is going to happen, etc. In the new year a lot of things will be happening. And that’s why I’m going to take a step back for the rest of the year.

I’ve been trying to find out my place in time and space the past few weeks, most in terms of work and thinking about what I really want for the future. I think I have a plan and I’ll know better before the end of January. But for now I am going to decompress.


There’s only a few days of 2015 left and as always, tis the time of contemplation. 2015 was good to me more or less: I became a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, I graduated with a master’s degree, I got a job on-air in radio, I did the Mongol Rally and drove across 17 countries in 33 days, I raised a bunch of money for charity through various events, and I actually get paid to write things now with a fantastic group of people. 2015 was very good, but I want 2016 to be great. I want to take what this past year has given me and apply it to my future. I want to create again, I want to save money, I want to keep exploring, and I want to be excited.

I want to keep going.

This morning on my show I told people to get a head start on their New Year’s resolutions, to start now instead of waiting. If you’ve already got 11988317_786218729872_9167482284402599353_nsomething in your mind, just take that step in the moment. Don’t wait. If you wait it’s less likely you’re going to do it. Find a way to do it now. I started. You should too. No matter what it is. Do it now. I realize a lot of this is quite cryptic, but that’s because my plans aren’t 100% set in stone. Also I’m down and out with a cold sinus-y… thing so nothing totally makes sense at the moment. But what I am clear of is that we are all responsible for our own destinies as it were. Things can knock us down, drag us down even, but we have to push ourselves and make the choice to keep going and to go forward. Sometimes we’ll have friends, old and new, that will inspire us. Sometimes we have to chart that journey alone. So whether you’re Finn, afraid and unsure, or courageous Poe, or Rey, independent, brave, and yet still wary… know that you have it in you to do whatever you want to do. It may take awhile, but the journey has to start somewhere.

So May the Force Be With You (and also with you… you can leave the church but damned if that phrase will never leave you), and come on 2016… I’ve got expectations of you.

Tea: Therapy Of A Different Kind

Today is International Tea Day, and while I could argue that every day should be International Tea Day, perhaps it’s best us tea enthusiasts don’t drown the common folk in our favorite blends and water boiling gadgets every day of the year. I’d happy go on about my favorite teas to you all, but there’s something I wanted and felt compelled to write about today. Tea is actually very important to me. And I’m not kidding. It was what saved me more than once. And I want to share that story.

I had my first cup of tea, real tea, when I went to London for study abroad in my junior year of undergrad. An internet friend and her family picked me up from the airport and brought me, a jet lagged and terrified nineteen-year-old who had never left the US, to their lovely home in Tea1Essex. The first thing offered, other than to bring my massive bags into the house, was a cup of tea. I had been warned that I would be offered a controversial amount of tea, but I was excited. I quickly learned that a cuppa was an intrinsic part of being English. And while there were many types of tea, when it came down to it, good old traditional black tea was still KingQueen. I was instructed on the proper way to make a cuppa during my time there and quickly became an enthusiast… even if not an expert. It also started a love affair, not only with the country itself, but with the drink that would become increasingly important to me.

It would also give me caffeine poisoning. Because it turns out if you drink too much caffeine (and if you leave green tea bags in your cup for longer than twenty minutes the potency doubles) it poisons your blood stream. Oops. SO if you have the shakes for like… a week. You probably have caffeine poisoning. Just an FYI.


This infatuation would only grow as I moseyed about the world, moving to Japan after I graduated. Ironically, I would move to Shizuoka Prefecture, famed for its green tea fields that rolled into the distance. Shizuoka tea would flood my cabinets and was the tea of choice at the high school where I taught. I would learn what matcha was most of all. A decadent frothy version of green tea that’s whisked, matcha is popular in Kyoto, the cultural epicenter of Japan, and very popular with yours truly. It’s a rare treat indeed, mostly because I have been spoiled by having matcha in its home, made by people who know what they’re doing. There are a few things that give me total comfort andmatcha is one of those. If you ever have the opportunity, please try it. It has a bitter, but silky taste that’s very powerful and is meant to be enjoyed with great respect. There’s ceremonies devoted to its preparation after all.

I remember this day perfectly, because it was probably my best day ever at the school. I didn’t teach a lot because I only taught oral communication and my high school being a high level one, they were more concentrated on writing and reading for university exams. But on this day I had three classes, got to see some of my students perform in a recital, and was invited to sado, a tea ceremony demonstration and session. I was on a high all day and it was great. Some months later the teacher who had invited me gave my a CD from the day and I still think of it fondly. It was the first time I really connected with the culture in a practical way. Sadly I wouldn’t get another chance, and a lot of this probably had to do with the feeling of sadness that overwhelmed me for much of my time in 日本.

While I was living in Japan I was diagnosed with panic disorder with depression and insomnia. I was a desk warmer at my school and felt horribly useless. I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath and it got so bad I made the long distance phone call to my mother, crying that I couldn’t breathe. This continued and eventually I had to go to my supervisor and try and explain to her that I was having trouble breathing, that my chest hurt. While she spoke fantastic English, this wasn’t something easy to convey. After a few doctors visits and health scares and such later, it turned out I had Panic Disorder and Depression with Insomnia (as my very frank Japanese doctor put it… you have psychosis and depression). It made a painful amount of sense and explained the outbursts and fear I felt for a lot of my teenage years. I knew where it had all stemmed from — a toxic and horrible relationship with a thankfully now defunct and divorce step-father — but it had grown into a many headed beast in the years it took me to finally realize I wasn’t supposed to feel this way. I was put on all sorts of medications in Japan, some of which I would later find are actually illegal here in the USA of all places, but they helped. I was able to finish my year without much more issue, but with a pain in my heart and a frustration that had I figured it out and asked for help easier I could have enjoyed myself more.

One way that I would calm myself and take comfort would be with cups of tea. Every morning after the morning meeting in the staff room I tea7would wander back to the little rest area and get myself a cup of green tea and hold it to my chest. The warmth of the tea would comfort me like nothing else and it would ground me.It’s okay. Tea would become solace, relaxation, and strength for me. The photo to the left was taken and edited in Japan and at the time the difference in colors was just me trying to be artsy, but looking at it now, it means so much more. Tea was what I had to really keep me alive. And even as I write this, gazing at a younger me (with alarmingly large hair), I’m getting a little weepy. I want to go back to her and hug her and tell her she’ll make it through the rest of that year and the harsh two years that’d follow. And I want to give her more tea, because she probably should have drank a bit more.

To this day I still hold tea cups to my chest. It’s instinctive now. Sometimes it’s because I am feeling low, but other times it’s because I like the feeling of it or it’s just written into my muscle memory. I’m not on meds any more. After failing at my first MA and having to jump back and forth across the pond (I ended up returning to London multiple times) I went back on them for a period of time before working myself off them. Meds work for people and they work for me, and I will never disparage anyone seeking out medication for their brain. Brains are awful and sometimes they need help to be less awful. I decided I wanted to try without meds and it’s worked for me, but it doesn’t work for everyone. So to anyone reading this, never feel inferior for having to use medication to help you stay you. Never.

The last time I moved to London it was to do my MA in Radio, which I finished and graduated from this past February. It was a very different experience from my first MA wherein I was isolated and a horrible mess. I had moved from Japan to England almost immediately and it was not a smart decision. I had no time to adjust, reverse culture shock destroying my will power, and my inability to connect with anyone in my course made it a truly miserable experience. I found companionship and a reason to wake up in the morning by the creation of The Baker Street Babes, but in the end I had to head back to the states.  But this time it was different. I had friends, I had a purpose, I had an amazing course and colleagues, and I had tea.


Tea and various tea companies have brought me endless happiness. FromAdagio and they’re amazing contributions to all The BSB has done with SherlockeDCC and beyond to David’s Tea cold remedies staving off the cold from hell that plagued me for three months, these damn tea leaves have done a ridiculous amount for me. I also started collecting tea pots and now have these vessels of happiness from Japan, Korea, Cambodia, England, and the US.

Leaving London last year was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I had a life there, a life that was growing and one I really wanted. But visas expiring and the inability to find a place who would sponsor me to stay and work ended with me having to say goodbye. Tea3The place I had called home for the better part of three years was letting me go. It was the place that gave me my passion, inspired by travel, and gave me tea. The final thing I did in the airport as I flew out was order a pot of tea with my breakfast. I had to. I needed to. It was my farewell in its purest form. And it was a thank you. Thank you for introducing me to a simple but vital thing that would get me through so much. Thank you for sharing a part of your culture that fostered friendships and companionship. Thank you for giving me the joy of making tea for hardworking friends and colleagues as we collaborated. Thank you for the warmth, for the caffeine, and for that special feeling in my chest when you grounded me.

There are many types of therapy in the world. For me, tea is the best of all.

Happy International Tea Day. And thank you.

The Creepiest Christmas Carols You’ll Hear This Holiday Season

For those who celebrate Christmas, and those subject to its mass commercialization, carols flood the airwaves on every radio station and in every store. Back in the day when I use to work at Barnes & Noble, I would dread the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, it was the hell hole known as Black Friday, but it was also the start of constant Christmas carols being played overhead. They’d repeat so much that it would eventually turn into white noise… until a new CD was put into the system, and then the torture would begin all over again. And this isn’t to say I don’t like Christmas carols, I do. But please save me from hearing them everywhere.

However, as I was cruising the interwebs this morning, I came across some carols with a minor twist. Chase Holfeder is a singer on YouTube who in addition to his own work, offers covers of various songs, and most interestingly, minor covers of major key songs. I actually first heard his minor key Star Spangled Banner just after he started his channel and was immediately entranced. I played the clarinet in middle and high school… very badly, and i never had any interest (or talent) in music theory, so I had no idea that changing the key of a song would have such an effect. But boy does it, especially when applied to normally cheery Christmas songs.

Collaborating with fellow YouTuber Kurt Hugo Schneider, Chase has given us a creepy All I Want From Christmas Is You that is equal parts melancholy as it is rocking.

Last year he covered Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas in an equally creeptastic fashion, and it’s just begging to be used for a horror Christmas film. Those things exist, yeah?

You can check out more of Chase’s work on his YouTube Channel .

5 Fandom Friday: My Very Nerdy Christmas Wishlist!


Ironically, the last time I did one of these 5 Fandom Friday posts (created by my friend Megan at The Nerdy Girlie) was around this exact time last year. And it’s pretty much on the same topic. One day I’ll do these weekly. But for now tis the holiday season, and as such, here is another nerdy wishlist from yours truly!


  1. こたつ! Kotatsu! I’m cheating a little because I know I’m getting one (that you Mommy!!!), but this traditional heated Japanese table is the number one thing on my wishlist for the past six years… basically ever since I had to leave mine behind in Japan. It’s a table with a heater under it, and you put a blanket between the heater and the table top and then you find nirvana. It’s the coziest and happiest place on earth, and when you live in a basement apartment like yours truly, it’s a must in the winter. If you’d like more of an explanation and history of the こたつ you can check out this adorable video.


2. I can’t drink wine. I’m either allergic or very intolerant to tannins in addition to having an alcohol intolerance to most of the world’s adult beverages (it’s a sad and very long story), but I love this glass. I spied it on Your Joyologist and just fell in love. I try to challenge myself daily, to do the scary or the crazy thing. So this mantra is something I both live by and need to hear ever so often when I get cold feet. Plus it’s classy as fuck.


3. Gudetama!!!!! The lazy egg from Sanrio is the cutest and weirdest thing. When I was in Japan in September I discovered him with help to one of my former students. It was love at first sight and I now own quite an array of Gudetama merchandise. I don’t know what it is about him, but he gives me life. I only have a few Pop!  and Funko figurines, but he needs to join them. He had a series of shorts thanks to Sanrio on YouTube. They’re all delightfully odd.



4. Nug Plush! If you’ve spent any time here, especially on my twitter, you know I’m obsessed with Dragon Age. Nugs are the cure little wrinkly rabbit-like things that parade all over the place. I seem to have a thing for odd yet cute things… hmmm. I can’t have a real Nug of my own, but I can get myself a fuzzy plushy one from the BioWare store.



5. Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (Canon) A repeat from last year because one day I’ll be able to afford a nice camera again, and when I do, it’ll be from the Canon Rebel line… because they’re the best. Fight me.


What’s on your nerdy Christmas list??