Costume Envy

I am sure you’ve heard it before. You say that you do not have time for something important or self-indulgent and someone says, “You have to make time for it.” There is certainly some truth to that. I do not have time to do even a small fraction of what I would like to do, but I have found solutions to some of my time problems. One small thing I do to ensure that I get in at least a few of my favorite podcasts: I listen to one of them live.

I usually subscribe to podcasts through iTunes and try to catch up on long drives, but a few months ago I discovered that Skeptically Speaking‘s chat room is quite a fun place to be while the show is on the air. I have fallen into the habit of logging in as soon as I arrive home Friday evening (5:00pm Pacific Time). I listen, I chat, and I get at least a little bit of “me time” wedged between my son’s music lesson and dinner.

The most recent in Desiree’s series of the most interesting and entertaining guests was Jonathan Strickland of Now, I admit to being a bit of a junkie (I blame my kids and their science projects) so I was certainly familiar with their Senior Writer. However, I was chatting with his charming and funny father, bradfromgeorgia, for nearly half an hour when it was revealed that he is sci fi author Brad Strickland. Brad is a very proud father and when he offered pictures of Jonathan and his sister dressed in costumes, I thought he was the kind of proud parent who does not think twice about embarrassing his kids with goofy photos of their childhood. I started constructing a blog post warning people to beware of parents with internet connections.

I was so wrong.

Somewhere inside these amazing costumes, which were created by the obviously multi-talented Barbara Strickland, are a young Jonathan and his sister Amy. Dad tells me that Marvin the Martian (Jonathan) and Daffy Duck (Amy) won first prize in the children’s division at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1986 and Danger Mouse (Jonathan) and Opus (Amy) won several first place prizes including an Opuscon, circa 1988.

I was expecting the “wow” factor to be big for any prize-winning Marvin costume. That can’t be an easy thing to design or make. But I have to admit that I am most impressed with Opus. I mean, look at it. It’s Opus! It’s not “almost Opus” or “trying to look like Opus” or “Opus with some kid’s face”. It’s Opus!

Although you will probably never see me in costume, even at Dragon*Con, you should know that I am a bit of a costume fanatic. I have some pretty high standards, though, having been raised by a could-have-been-professional seamstress who saw every special event and school play as a personal challenge. As a result, I have spent many hours constructing Halloween costumes and props for school presentations for my boys. When I do not have time, I call my mother.

So why won’t I show up as an Orion slave girl? Because I would spend hours mixing the perfect shade of green, then obsess over it, then give up on it a little too late and end up looking like one of the pirates instead. I simply do not have the time or talent to do it as well as I would like, so I tend to throw my hands up unless one of my kids is the intended wearer.

The Stricklands’ garb puts my Teletubbies and dragons to shame and, sorry Mom, but they even trump the magnificent cockroach costume you made for my oldest a couple of years ago.


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