Tag Archives: geeks

Hello, Harry Potter!

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As I mentioned previously in my English/Paris summer vacation, I paid a visit to the incredible Harry Potter Studio Tour near London, and I took a ridiculous amount of photos so I made it into its own post! I am avid Harry Potter fan, but I will admit, I haven’t read the books. (I’m not a huge fan of books! Sorry!) I think I will tackle them one day, but I do love every single movie in the saga. Alan, on the other hand, actually had never seen the movies or read the books (Brit fail!) so I tried to get in as many of the movies as we could in our free time in the UK before we went. While we didn’t get to finish it, Alan found the tour to be quite impressive even for the non-fan.

The tour has only been open for about 2 years, but it is so insanely popular that bookings must be done online only through their website and bookings fill up incredibly fast. As I was trying to get days off to extend my holiday, I kept having to change plans because every time I went to book, the days I had available were already full!

Upon entrance, you are greeted by three amazing Wizard’s Chess pieces!

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The introduction starts with a seat in a small theater, and a short video with Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint addressing fans and then the screen lifts to the entrance of Hogwarts. Every inch of the tour was just as magical as it seemed to be on the screen!

The ceiling is absent because it changes and so is designed with computer graphics.

The ceiling is absent because it changes and so is designed with computer graphics.

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Once you left the dining hall, you were free to roam through the tour yourself. It roughly takes about 3 hours!

Some of my most favorite bits were the costumes!

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It was amazing to see how the sets looked quite small in comparison to on the big screen.

Boy's dormitory in Griffindor

Boy’s dormitory in Griffindor

Griffindor common room

Griffindor common room

There was also an array of random props and artifacts gathered around.

Collection of wands

Collection of wands

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Dumbledore’s office:

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Throughout the tour, there were various supplementary video screens full of information and cool secrets. For example, the various moving portraits found throughout the school include some of the crew and staff!

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And prop crews found it entertaining alone just trying to fill the mysterious jars and vessels you see in Snape’s potion making classroom.

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Chamber of Secrets!

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The Weasley home

The Weasley home

Deatheater costumes!

Death Eater costumes!

Various prints and candy boxes – a graphic designer’s dream:

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Dolores Umbridge's very pink and very kittied office

Dolores Umbridge’s very pink and very kittied office

 

 

Tasting butterbeer and hanging out outside Harry's house!

Tasting butterbeer and hanging out outside Harry’s house!

On display were an amazing array of the various prosthetics and other makeup/masks…

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And of course, Diagon Alley itself!

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This smaller scale model of Hogwarts is used when filming the building from a distance!

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And of course, can’t leave until we find a wand…

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Maybe this one?!

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Lastly, I was a sucker and hopped on a broom, and YES, I bought the photos… there was a video, but I opted for just the photos. 🙂

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Upgrading to New Horizons

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Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been quite some time since my last post I see. I have started up some new projects during my absence, such as getting back into the cosplay circuit, starting up a new geek community in the Middle East, having various family visit, and most importantly, I just completed two weeks of training to move into the role of Senior Flight Stewardess, beginning as soon as June 3. I have one more flight working in business class to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it will be my first layover in Colombo, since I have only been to Hikkaduwa on holiday and only spent time in Colombo to get to the airport. So to highlight some of the above mentioned stuff… In past entries and my bio, I have mentioned my geeky side, as well as attending the first ever Middle East Film and Comicon, as well as the second one last year. I also may have mentioned my past in cosplaying at various events in the US, most specifically, the San Diego Comic-con International for multiple years. Even though I was lucky enough to go back in 2012, I hadn’t really made any significant new cosplay, and I don’t really count the last minute female Louis from Left 4 Dead I made to join my family’s group cosplay!

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My brother and his kids make up the remaining Survivors of one of my favorite zombie video games.

Many factors had kept me from coming back to cosplay – the fact that I didn’t know WHERE to find supplies, what kind of events I could wear them to, the dress-code factor of the Middle East, and most of all, not having my mom around the guide me. She had been the mastermind of all my cosplays – she was a self-taught and talented seamstress who manage to create the perfect patterns and alterations that is the crazy world of cosplay. I could do a lot myself, but when I was stuck or needed help, she was the one I could go to. Because I no longer had her, I felt emotionally blocked from attempting to cosplay again.

My mom helped design the structure of this top - keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

My mom helped design the structure of this top – keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

I eventually met a friend who was currently cosplaying in Dubai, and she helped me find places to buy supplies, and I must say, AMAZING supplies that really inspired me to get back into cosplay. So with the comic-con coming up in April, I finally decided to start on a costume I had been wanting to complete for years, since I played the game in 2009.

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Momohime from the Wii game, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

While I did encounter many obstacles, I did try to think back at how my mom might have done things or what kind of solution she would have came up with. Getting back into the creative world of cosplay was so therapeutic for me, and I felt like a small hole in my geek heart had been refilled! I even managed to get in touch with Yaya Han (yayahan.com), a well-known cosplayer in the US I had met a few times and did a cosplay group with once, who was coming the MEFCC as a guest and offered to take her on some sites around Dubai.

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With cosplay legend Yaya Han, her boyfriend Bryan, and my family.

Any cosplay fans, please check out my Facebook page, Jinx Cosplay, and Like and share. 🙂 In addition, I started up a website to try and link all geeks, whether local or expats, in the Middle East region to network and socialize. It’s still under construction but please take a look!

The Middle East Geek website, The Middle East Geek Facebook.

My sister, cousin (who lives in Bahrain) and his parents came to visit during MEFCC, and a month later, Alan’s brother and his girlfriend came to visit from the UK, so I will be highlighting those visits in my next few posts. Keep an eye out! I do also have a few new destinations I will be posting up soon. In the mean time, I’m still trying to analyze and understand all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout the last two weeks in my new role as a senior onboard. Being on ground for two weeks was a huge change to my body clock but I am back to flying in the early hours tomorrow morning! Thanks for those that stayed with my blog, even when it was dead for a while. 🙂

Middle East Film and Comic-con

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Having left my life as a geek culture blogger and video game reviewer back in the States when I left to take my current job, I was totally stoked to discover that there were actually enough geeks in Dubai to necessitate its own geek convention. I was a repeat visitor for many years to the original comic-con held yearly in San Diego, and I of course have been missing out the last two years overseas. Being the first of its kind, however, it was small and the guest list was limited, but hey, everything has to start somewhere, right?

The MEFCC was held on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21. I realize this entry comes months after the fact, but we already know what’s been delaying me.  I had to fly on the 21st, so I only spent a few hours wandering around the convention floor on the 20th. I waited for a friend to come with, and she had been working in the morning so we went in the afternoon. The only guest I was interested in was Laurie Holden (Andrea from The Walking Dead TV series) but I’d missed her signing earlier in the day. My friend, upon making plans for the con, had asked, “OMG what are you going to dress up as?!” and even with my history of cosplaying (costume-play – a term used in Japan for dressing up as anime and video game characters) and costuming at many events in the past, I thought, “Noooo way am I dressing up here.” I did, however, regret a last minute change of mind when I was visiting home back in March. I had a lovely custom made retro pinup dress my ma and I had made out of vintage Transformers bedsheets that would have been perfect, but I panicked, thinking my bags were overweight and pulled it out. Really, what would it have weighed? Less than 1 pound? Anyway, instead I donned my favorite zombie T-Shirt (courtesy of AquaRed, a local geek artist from my hometown) and met up with my friend in her adorable “warrior” outfit – “I’ll just say I’m a female Thor”, she said.

This is definitely coming back with me next time I go home!

The venue was quite small –  it was located near the yacht club next to a beach bar I frequent (and you could definitely differentiate between the patrons of each facility) but I was surprised to see the place packed and crawling with cosplayers. I was shocked and amazed to see how comics and geek culture really affects everyone around the world. Granted, Dubai is made up of a good number of expats, but glad to see there are still many of them who can proudly call themselves a geek.

It’s not a Comic-con without stormtroopers..

The crowd. Just as the temperature is rising.

With only a few hours at our disposal, having arrived late and me having an early flight in the morning, we didn’t get to do much but roam the convention floors, check out some of the activities, and look around Artist’s Alley. My friend got pulled up onstage to play a game hosted by the local Virgin radio station, and we perused the various toys and books for sale. Most of the products for sale were a bit overpriced – as is most everything in Dubai compared to the US so I left empty handed. We did discover a local manga, called Adam 101, produced by Comic Pro, LLC, a company that started as a small manga lovers fan club. It’s the first manga to be produced in both local language and English, and focuses on a half American, half Emirati student who starts his new life at the American University Dubai. Even more amazing, most of the artists are female – and there were a few at the booth doing signings and sketches. We couldn’t stay for a sketch but I picked up a copy for myself and am interested to see where the storyline goes from here. In addition to the local manga, the local artists here are thriving and it was really great to see many of them female.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick around to watch the costume contest, but based on what was walking around the convention floor already I was bummed to have to miss it. Famous Filipina cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao was in attendance as a guest, and it seemed like a lot of the attendees were keen to impress her.

And like every good nerd convention, it included a gaming zone featuring electronic, tabletop and card gaming. Who knew the middle east harbored enough of a variety of nerds and geeks to produce an all-round geeky convention to please all the geeky masses? Unfortunately, due to my early wake up call the next morning, I had to skip the rest of the evening, leaving with only my locally produced manga and a few key contacts, and of course, missed out on a swell afterparty hosted at one of Dubai’s newest and hottest clubs, Cirque Du Soir. But I’m definitely looking forward to MEFCC 2013, and who knows, I may have a few new costumes whipped up by then..

I think this is my end…..! Forgot my chainsaw 😦