Planning for 2020


I’m paraphrasing an old Yiddish proverb here but if you want to make the Universe laugh then tell it your plans.

Actually, I’ve used that as an intro once before and I’m using it again because I reckon a lot of people share that sentiment on some level as they love to crap on the idea of “new years resolutions”, thinking them always doomed to fail. The irony is that many of those same “too cool for school” folks are often harping on about the importance of setting goals.

What the fuck do you think resolutions are if not goals?! Idiots!

Oh wow, first rant of 2020… I’m off to an “on brand” start. HA!

So for all my cynicism, why do I bother with laying out my plans for the following year (and beyond), knowing full well that it all sounds way too ambitious and unrealistic for the 12-month time frame?

Because it’s fun.

No, seriously, I legitimately enjoy planning things out and coming up with fun things to do. And laying them out in this manner is part of that enjoyment. And while not wanting to dismiss or trivialise it, it’s a way to momentarily take my mind off of the current state of the world. When you think about it most hobbies in of themselves are a way to do that in any case.

I don’t view them as a “to-do” list or a “must-do” list, I tend to think of it as a “wish list”. I may not be able to afford/do it now but one day I will. And the only way for it to happen is to at least get started thinking about it. If I don’t think about them then I don’t give myself the opportunity to at least problem solve or lay the ground work for them… if that makes sense?

My Russell cosplay didn’t have a time frame or a deadline. Sure, I did that in secret but I was slowly gathering items as I found them over the course of four years and it would not have happened if I didn’t put it on my wish list and worked on it little by little.

I don’t make these plans public for the sake of accountability (my criticisms are public for the sake of accountability). I don’t make things for other people so I’m not beholden to anyone if I fail to get something done in time. I got past that notion years ago. And before that I was able to turn off the supposed “need” to get a costume done in time for an event. Or even a new cosplay for each event (pffft that was a lifetime ago).

Most recently, I described how I was finally able to un-tick the box in my brain that thought of myself as “just a cosplayer” because that was the final bit that kept getting me down every time I failed to achieve my goals. I was focused on the things I had failed to make (ie cosplay) rather than the things I had actually made (ie everything else!). And with that I realised that I was more productive than I gave myself credit for.

This list will seem familiar to a few people (well anyone that actually reads my stuff anyways) but there are probably quite a few new people who have yet to see what I have planned in the past. Besides, I think it’s important to rollover “failed” goals because very little of what I failed to accomplish is actually out of my reach. I’ll get there but at my own pace…

Cosplay Plans
This cosplay list is almost identical to my 2018 list with a couple of notable exceptions but also unlike 2019, it’s accompanied by some minor shifts in motivation as well as some unusual and surprise re-invigoration (wait, that’s not a word is it?).

The top four ideas are things I’ve either already started or want to get a start on soon as they are still very fresh in my mind. The bottom six (with the question marks) are ideas I’ve either had for ages and they still linger or would be nice to do in a timely manner but there is nearly zero rush for them or they are dependant on a variety of important (or at least important to me) factors.

Part of the fun is articulating my thought processes..

Briarios has been on the list for the last five years and in the beginning his delay was due to other projects taking too long. In the last few years it was my inability to allocate the appropriate amount of time to making him.

However, in the middle of last year I finally hit a breakthrough. One of my problems with this costume was the lack of templates for him (all of them are for different/previous versions) so I was flailing in the water trying to get a satisfying start on him. A lot of my previous work has been able to get a kick start because I had something substantial to work from (a pepakura template, a 3D game model or real world object I can alter and utilise) but all I had with Bri here was a Hot Toy… which I was way too delicate and precious about despite buying him specifically as reference. So I kept making and remaking parts and templates that just didn’t sit right with me.

But I finally figured out a way to create the templates I need without damaging the figure so I at least now have a more confident start for him. It’s that lack of confidence that really derailed my progress on him and has gotten in the way of my other project…

Despite other tiny little projects here and there, this Star Trek uniform will still be considered my largest sewing project I’ve ever undertaken on my own. Problem is I’m once again stuck on the pattern making and I don’t want to fork out AU$200 for the really good pattern that’s out there (although, I’ll admit to being tempted to just buy a costume and alter it to be accurate but that would also drive me mad). This will happen, this will happen… eventually.

I bloody loved Avengers: Endgame. As I said in my review, it’s perhaps the most satisfying film I’ve ever watched. It’s also the first Avengers movie to introduce an Iron Man suit that I liked enough to want to cosplay.

The Mark 7 in the first Avengers film didn’t excite me, neither did the three suits in Age of Ultron (Mark 43, Hulkbuster, and 45), and the Mark 50 in Infinity War didn’t exactly light my fire either. The Mark 85 both looks great (to me at least) and has visual connections to its origins but also has meaning not only in regards to the film and what it represents.

My major hurdle for this (as has been with the Mark 46 down the list) is my weight loss has been a lot slower than I had hoped and I will get into that in a bit.

Before I made my War for Cybertron Optimus Prime cosplay, I wanted to make a G1 or G1-inspired Prime. And there are plenty of candidates to select from but in 2018 I finally settled on the giant toy made by Toys Alliance (pictured above). I joked that if I couldn’t afford it I was going to make it anyway.

Since then I have actually been able to obtain the toy (twice but that’s a long story) and it pretty much solidified my selection. Getting started on it depends on getting the other projects ahead of it done first.

EV Suit – Star Trek: First Contact
This has been on my to-do list for nearly a decade and I’ve loved the design for over two decades. But it will need to come after the standard uniform.

Master Chief – Halo Infinite
I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t another Chiefy on the books. Although, despite Halo: Infinite launching this year I’m not sure I’m in a rush for this (also I’m not much for deadline when it comes to these things).

I love the look of his armour in this upcoming game but the reaction from some supposed fans still clinging to the old days were claiming it’s a return to the glory days of Bungie. When in reality the armour really resembled the Forward Unto Dawn design (which I loved and was a 343 Industries production) just with a Halo 2/3 helmet.

And it’s that sort of “real fan” nonsense that tarnishes things for me so I’m a touch bit conflicted.

Praetorian Guard – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
In a similar vein, I absolutely loved The Last Jedi but as I re-write and edit this section, the Star Wars fandom has given me yet another reason to wash my hands of these sad fuckers what with the gatekeeping and death threats to LucasFilm employees. I don’t think it’s worth the effort anymore.

Marcus Fenix – Gears of War 4 + 5
Gears of War 4
was a fun, if safe, re-entry into the world of Sera. As a fan of the series I always appreciated those bombastic armour designs that looked amazing in part 4. GoW 5 blew me away in terms of story telling and again made me want to make this version of Old Man Fenix even more and continue the trend like I do with Chiefy. It’s just a matter of finishing the other ideas first.

Iron Man Mk46 – Captain America: Civil War
Civil War is one of my favourite Marvel movies because it depicts our heroes at their worst, which is kind of refreshing. Also, despite the marketing focusing on there being two sides of the debate, the film is written in such a manner that no side is completely wrong or completely right. It’s that nuance in what would otherwise be a straightforward superhero flick that I’m so in love with and being “Team Iron Man” this suit (apart from looking cool) represents that for me. There is a caveat and I’ll get to it…

Sub-Zero – Mortal Kombat X
For nearly 28 years, I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat and in all that time Sub-Zero has been my absolute favourite. Having cosplayed the movie version before I want to tackle a more complex design and one that I feel best suits the ice ninja. In the last 2 decades, when they moved away from simply palette-swapping the ninjas, there weren’t that many designs of Subby that thrilled me until MKX.

However, like the Iron Man suits, Sub-Zero is low on this list because he’s dependant on my ability to lose more weight.

Some ideas have fallen off this portion of the list, such as the Promethean Knight, mainly because the problem solving is beyond me at the moment. And then there are ideas that have fallen by the wayside because I’ve lost interest or other factors have turned me off them.

But this is what I’m willing to reveal and talk about. There are some ideas that would be considered high up the list that I’m keeping to myself.

Weight loss
Now this might be an odd topic to put in a list of “geeky” projects but along with the premise I suggested earlier of “if I don’t talk about it then I don’t think about it” I reckon it makes sense.

My weight has fluctuated over the last decade. In 2016, I was at my heaviest ever as a result of a bit of a “low period” in my life, which I was able to turn around later that year by being more active (which took the form of regular toy hunting). Ironically, before that in late 2011/2012, I lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time due to trauma and a depressive episode. So it’s never really consistent.

But as I said, things fluctuate and in the last two years I’ve been able to shed the winter weight again (for a while that wasn’t happening) so it’s given me enough of a positive boost.

I need to make it clear though that I don’t want to lose weight just so I can fit into my cosplays. That’s not a motivation I can live with. I’m approaching 40 in a few years and I need to be better about my health. While the BMI is a crock and “weight is just a number”, it is still a simple number for me to use to keep track of progress. And if it also happens to benefit my creating a better silhouette for a couple of cosplays then that’s a bonus (most of those on the list above are not dependant on this).

Also, I’m not after any suggestions. While I appreciate the interest, it’s actually more likely to put me off . I’m taking my own path in looking into how to accomplish this and make it work in my situation. And the fact that I have lost 11kg previously simply by being slightly more active than I was is positive re-enforcement for me. I just need to learn how to keep it off is all but I’ll get there in my own time.

Most likely related, something I didn’t mention in my 2019 in Review was how I reduced my alcohol consumption. In my 20’s I used to go out almost every weekend and drink. Later that was every other weekend and in the last few years that decreased even more (most of the money I saved went into collecting). In all of 2019, I consumed alcohol a total of four occasions and even then it was at most two standard drinks each time.

And I never deliberately set out to do this either. Toward the beginning of last year, I noticed that I had lost a taste for it. At certain events held at clubs or licensed venues I ended up simply preferring a soft drink or I didn’t feel like having a beer with my pub meal. It was only after I noticed that I thought to maybe continue. And for what it’s worth I feel it has contributed to the ability to lose weight again.

YouTube Channel
As previously stated, one of my favourite achievements of 2019 was upping the content on my YouTube Channel.

It’s a terrible time to try and “make it” on YouTube but that’s not the goal (besides, none of my videos are monetised anyway and they are not likely to be in future). It’s simply another outlet to share my interests and I’ve been enjoying producing these videos as it’s another way to exercise my creative skills. I plan on doing more and hoping it’ll grow from there.

However, these do take a lot to produce and the other stuff I want to create will require even more effort and resources (again, ambitious as always). I’ve resisted any cosplay or maker stuff as of late because they can take a lot of effort (and I’m a one-man operation) and tutorials don’t really interest me nor would they stand out in an ocean of better videos out there. There is an overdue cosplay-related video I’ve been working on for months but haven’t quite cracked the script for (it’s about a popular cosplay of mine and done in a similar vein to the Optimus or Chief videos).

Of course I’ll keep doing the cosplay music videos as a showcase for Adelaide talent, that’s kind of why I wanted to get into video in the first place. Also the toy hunting adventures will continue because they are just a heap of fun. And I may even go back to the more thoughtful videos like I used to do with the “sermons” a few years back. Not to mention the other ideas I want to keep to myself for now. My channel is not about any ONE thing but all of my interests really.

I already have a handful of videos on the go for the first month of the year so look out for those very soon.

Toy Collecting and Bargain Hunting
Not sure what to really add here about this. I’ve already mentioned the toy hunting videos will continue as appropriate but also my weekly finds will obviously continue to be shared on my Instagram.

It’s always been fun to share what I find with others. I enjoy and appreciate that people might recognise something from their childhood or their own interests and fandom. It’s also a way to help illustrate that collecting doesn’t have to be overly expensive or that this type of bargain hunting is not only about finding stuff to flip.

And secretly I also get a thrill about showing off and gloating about how little I paid for something or that I beat one of the bargain hunting vultures to it first. Teehee…

I will admit that in the last quarter of 2019 I wasn’t at voracious a collector as I have been in the past as I’ve had to re-evaluate my finances. In fact despite there being so much still being found and posted about, it’s actually a lot leaner than usual, also it’s probably a testament to how good I am at bargain hunting (I have had to start listing items for sale on FB Marketplace so go check that out just in case I list something of interest to you).

Oh and as a bit of an update from the previous year’s plans, I still haven’t yet completed a custom toy as of yet (been repairing some though), but I have been collecting various bits and pieces for the projects I have set out (primarily 1/6 scale figures for toys I either cannot afford or don’t exist). So that will be another list of projects I hope to get to eventually.

Word Spews
Well, I don’t call them “sermons” anymore since I’ve retired the branding (although I did have to bring it back once most recently) and I guess I deliberately call them “word spews” in an attempt to downplay what I do and not get too pretentious.

However, when I break down the reasons I write it does (in my opinion) serve a useful purpose: I write because I want to inform and educate, as well as clarify and counter the misinformation out there, to share my experiences and opinions with like-minded folks, to hopefully change or even challenge a person’s harmful way of thinking, to celebrate the things I love and to hold accountable the things that do cause harm, and most of all to simply express myself as a person.

I tend to stick to geeky, pop-culture stuff and rarely do I ever get overtly political, or at least not on my public Facebook anyway. My personal profile, my Insta, and especially my Twitter are much more so. Although it must be pointed out that a few of the things I have talked about in the past actually do tackle some heavier issues. I don’t give a toss about losing followers or pissing people off, I’m just exhausted by the types of people who demand to be debated with.

Maybe I’m not making any of my progressive views clear enough because I still have followers who think they can casually spew any sort of bigotry on my posts and somehow I would agree or approve? Maybe I should tackle heavier topics…

As I said previously, I’m not anybody important and if I ever was that stock has continually been decreasing over the years. None of that matters to me. I just feel that if I can make some sort of positive difference then that will make it worthwhile.

Also, this is my third write-up this week and I am knackered!

Upcoming Events
There’s not a lot in Adelaide anyway and despite one of my all-time favourite creators coming to Melbourne, I’m not going to be able to travel interstate.

There is some confusion and uncertainly though in regards to at least one event, Supanova, as they have not been forthcoming in solidifying plans for this year but from what I’ve been able to find out the 2020 show in Adelaide was never in danger but the 2021 show was still up in the air, which may add fuel to the rumours it’s up for sale.

AVCon is of course still set to go ahead and despite last year’s PR disaster I’m still hopeful and supportive of it. I’ve been going every year since 2009 so I’ve seen it at its best and at its worst so I know what the event is capable of (on either end of the scale). Having said that, this is a show that struggles to keep up with the rising cost of doing business and so it has also failed to make its money back in recent years (keep in mind it’s a not-for-profit so all it has to do is make its money back). I refuse to predict its doom and instead will push for its continued presence in Adelaide.

With the recent sale of Oz Comic-Con, people are hoping for its return to Adelaide and Perth but sadly that may not be very likely as the company taking over may have only purchased the event based on the costs of doing three shows. There’s no incentive to come back.

As I opined in my end of year rant, I am hoping Free Comic Book Day could be a bigger thing but that’s an uphill battle.

I’m still planning on setting up shop at the two Adelaide and Comic Toy Fairs this year as I always have fun at those and turn a nice profit too. And as always I’ll be pissfarting around and spending way more money than I should at the Mega Toy Fair (not setting up there).

Spare some change?
I was never deluded to think I could instantly make a living off of any of this but I was hoping there was be more of an uptick. Some people have been wonderful and generous and so far I’ve been able to pay off a few months of Netflix subscriptions.

I know things are tough and even more so as of late but if you do enjoy any of my work then I would really appreciate the support. If donating to my “tip jar” is not possible then I would also appreciate just sharing my work around to combat the “dreaded algorithm”. I’ve seen memes I’ve posted do so bloody well but the shit I spend hours, days, and months making barely make a blip sometimes.

And it’s frustrating but it’s also part of the hustle so I get it but it would really mean a lot for an extra little push now and then.

My output is all about the stuff that interests me. It isn’t just cosplay, it isn’t just toys, it isn’t just video games or movies or whatever. There is a lot to me and what I love to do and how I love to express myself and I do that so I can share with others in the hopes that others share their passions too. That’s how people connect.

My plans are always in a state of flux, and yet they are always there for me to latch onto to keep busy, to keep grounded, to keep creative. I have had many days where I am too exhausted to think about any of this and that’s okay. There are also days where I cannot stop thinking about these ideas and need to turn off. And I love it.

I thought that not achieving what I set out in previous years meant that I failed. What I did fail at was recognising the things that I did actually achieve that may have not been on the to-do list. Plans are great for making a start but they’re also a jumping off point too to something greater.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this long-winded beginning for 2020. And I hope you’ve got some amazing plans for the year ahead. Whatever it may be, make it amazing!

Again if you enjoyed this word spew you can drop a few dollars into my Ko-Fi account.

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