2021: If You Want to Make the Universe Laugh, Tell it Your Plans

Last year, I used that title as the opening for outlining my plans in 2020 and uh… yeah.

I had a long think about whether or not it was worth putting anything into words this time around. Most of us know just because the calendar changed it doesn’t mean the world has magically gotten better. Sure, there have been bits of positive news and better things on the horizon but we still have quite the incline to trek.

Generously speaking, there was a naïve hopefulness last year in the way people assumed the pandemic would blow over in a few months. And I’ll admit I even wished for that myself but that went against what I know to be true of human nature: whether it be legitimate mistakes, incredible incompetence, or just outright belligerence, other people will find a way to cock it up for everyone else. In fact all these things made sure to extend the pandemic longer than it could have been, causing new spikes, new clusters, new outbreaks and second waves (or in some parts of the word, the first wave never ended).

So is it even worth making plans in 2021?

Well, if you want to get somewhere you have to have a destination… i.e. a goal.

I still don’t know why we shit on others for making “New Year’s Resolutions” when in reality that’s just another word for “setting goals.” And we value the importance of goal setting when it comes to change or growth and any attempt at achieving something. The problem isn’t that they don’t follow through on them, I could not care less, the problem is the way in which we overvalue hard work implying that any failure to achieve is the result of the individual not working hard enough. And this was of thinking and shaming completely ignores the many factors that either facilitate or obstruct a person from attainting their goals and potentially even discourages them from even trying.

If 2020 reminded us of anything is that you can work as hard as you can and still lose your job, your business, even your life. And a lot of that has to do with the incompetence, ignorance, and belligerence of other people.

Getting a tad grim there again but my point is that goal setting even in an uncertain time is perfectly fine to do despite the uncertainty. If it doesn’t pan out then there is nothing to be ashamed of and there is hopefully another chance to try again.

That ever-growing to-do list I never seem to make a dent in
Even before the cancellation of events in 2020, I long let go the mentality of getting my cosplays done in time to avoid the stress and anxiety of “cosplay crunch” and mental health wise I think it was better for me. Deadlines are important but my mental health is much more important.

My lack of motivation last year was less to do with no where to wear my pretty new dress to but more to do with how seemingly difficult it was the get the parts and tools I needed during that first lockdown. Hell my printer died in April(?) and no one local had any affordable stock and deliveries were not only exorbitant at the time but also out of stock. That normally wouldn’t stop me altogether but when you have other priorities (which I will lightly touch on later) you begin to reprioritise.

The only thing that was anywhere near crossed off of last year’s cosplay to-do list was the Star Trek: First Contact uniform and that was only because I bought that once international deliveries were a thing again. And honestly, it was pretty good for what I paid for it.

With things slightly more on track going into this year, I am still hoping to get something from this list done. I may have shifted a few ideas, binned some of the more problematic projects, but I haven’t given up on these just yet. I still love making stuff and I prefer to do it at my own pace.

You can read about these ideas in a bit more detail here.

From life-size to mini-cosplay, some of you may remember me talking about my plans to make a few custom 1/6 scale figures, and I finally got a start on a couple of them… but I messed one of them up. I documented it in my Instagram Stories, I was working on Duenan from Appleseed Alpha and… well, you know in Rugrats how Angelica has that doll named Cynthia with the crappy hair that she clearly cut herself? Well it ended up like that. And it being so early during lockdown meant ordering new parts was going to be a pain. In fact one costume set in particular (multi-cam set) took over three months to get back in stock and arrive from China.

Slightly more successful has so far been my attempt at cobbling together a 1/6 scale Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) from Doctor Who.

So far it’s been somewhat straightforward as all I’ve had to do is find the various pieces to match the version of Twelve I want to make (burgundy/maroon jacket version) however all I have left to do is basically sew a tiny burgundy coat (I’ve been relearning how to sew by making masks so there’s that). I’ve got his various sonics (screwdriver and sunnies) and maybe even one day I’ll make a matching 1/6 scale TARDIS for him and Clara too! In any case I’m rather pleased with how this has come along so far.

This is still an ongoing thing and I’ll get back to Duenan at some point soon as well as finish off the Doctor. Mr Freeze may not happen anymore only because I now have a 1/6 scale Animated Series version by Mondo so I’m satiated with that for now.

I do have a variety of other maker projects I would love to get started on, some toy-related, some much larger (even large toy related but I’m getting ahead of myself) but I think once I get a better handle of this year I may reveal them on my social media as they come to fruition.

The Tube of You
My YouTube channel is still very miniscule but I am pleased that it got some minor traction in 2020. And that was where the bulk of my creative energy went last year too. Even without major events to attend I was able to create something I enjoyed producing.

And I still plan to continue adding to this channel. I felt as though I was already busy last year but along with more toy-related videos, the potential for events to return this year will make things even busier than before so please head on over there and check out what I already have as well as subscribe for future videos.

The Wrath of Cons
I can only make (hopeful) predications about the state of events here in South Australia apart from the fact that having international guests coming into town is probably going to be near impossible even with a vaccine being rolled out (albeit slowly). But I love to be proven wrong.

Here in SA we have quite a few events on the ticket and even with the state being as “good” as it is, it will be interesting to see how things turn out. One of the first is already the previously cancelled AnimeGO Japan Pop Culture Festival that will now be held on the 16th of January. I’ve only been a few times myself but I enjoyed and think the size and atmosphere is perfect for an event at the beginning of the year (I’ll get to why I deliberately say that later).

Free Comic Book Day on the first Saturday of May has a much better chance of happening this time around. Now specific large scale events being planned but I’m sure more than a few of us will head to Rundle Mall and mill about from comic book shop to comic book shop in our cossies.

After ReedPop did a runner and the brand being bought out by another large scale events management company, Oz Comic-Con still appears to be on track to returning to Adelaide in late June and I’m very much looking forward to that. There is obviously concern regarding interstate travellers (same for Supanova) but hopefully that will be properly managed by then.

Focus on how you’re feeling right in this moment post New Years. Now double check your finances post Christmas. If you’re feeling both energetic and have no issues regarding money, you are way too young to be reading the stuff I post. When AVCon originally changed its date to the 10th of January it was, at best, a misguided move. It being “the only date they could get” was immediately proven false when they ended up going back to their usual July position. My biggest disappointment was when the usual cult members would defend the original decision regardless of how important the criticisms were.

How is AnimeGo’s 16th date any different than AVCon originally set for the 10th? Quite easily AnimeGo is a much smaller event, possibly a tenth or even less in size of AVCon and is quaint by comparison. Regardless of what you THINK you know of my opinions on the event, AVCon is a major event and a big deal and that requires a lot of stamina in not only organisers but attendees. Failure to realise this on BOTH sides is why things go swry.

Personally, I am glad it’s not so early in the new year because many of us will not have the energy for such a major event and with fewer people likely to attend that would all but ensure AVCon’s demise. Remember, it was admitted by the committee that if the 2020 show underperformed like it did in 2019 then it may be the last AVCon. I don’t want AVCon to end because I value its importance to the local community but what I want may be at odd with what needs to happen.

And then there’s Supanova, sweet naïve Supanova. I’m being facetious because watching their dates flip about the place was amusing until it wasn’t. People were more cynical about the attempts to push forward like nothing was happening rather than sharing in the hopefulness that Supanova were trying to instil. If anything it was more about keeping the few employees on the payroll busy in the dog’s breakfast that was 2020. Still, I have thoroughly enjoyed Supanova in Adelaide these past few years and am looking forward to it again in November.

Then there are the toy fairs with the Mega Toy Fair hopefully back at Wayville in early June and I’m hoping to set up shop again at the Adelaide Comic & Toy Fairs in April and October (that’s my favourite to set up at as it’s just big enough to get a decent crowd but not too big to wear me out too much).

There’s probably other stuff I’m forgetting but for Adelaide these are some of the major events I’m crossing my fingers for in 2021.

On the home front
What I didn’t cover in my wrap-up of last year were things of a more personal nature. I still don’t feel comfortable revealing all of that here just yet but one of the hurdles I had to face early in 2020 was a major financial set back. Now, that has been rectified for the most part but it does also limit what I can do going forward. Having all the usual events last year cancelled certainly helped in regards to less expenditure as well as not spending money on cosplay materials. And while it may not look like it I have actually been spending less on toys and collectables, it’s just that I’m very good at finding bargains. I did sell off quite a few items in my collection but that became harder to do in lockdown and early in that financial snafu the toy fair I was going to set up at had to cancel for obvious reasons so a major injection of cash was gone at a crucial time.

It just means I have to do a lot of rearranging and reconsidering in what I want to achieve in the new year and as always I find ways to do that. It’s slightly easier to tackle this because these are my hobbies not my job, and while I would love to transform them into something more than that, realistically my circumstances don’t allow for it. The content I produce isn’t paid for nor do people really demand it in a sea of so many others doing similar but better. All I do is share for those that still enjoy and appreciate what I do. I do it for fun, I do it for expression, I do it for my mental health.

In any case, if you would like to help make things a little easier then you can contribute to my tip jar at ko-fi.com/oldtrenchy.

I may not be very good at it but there’s a catharsis in writing. There’s a release in any sort of expression really whatever form that may take. And in making plans or setting goals there’s a feeling that emits from oneself when you reveal that outside of your own mind. Whether it be word spews like this, writing it on a whiteboard, setting up a “mood board”, or even posting something on social media, it’s a statement of intent regardless if the audience is thousands of strangers or just you. It’s the start of something that may not always play out the way you hope it will but it doesn’t play out at all if you don’t have a place you want to go.

Here’s to climbing over the very low bar set by last year.

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