Make a Mario Costume…or Dr. Mario!

I’ve got a simple little Mario costume that gets a few kudos. I was able to pick up all the pieces online or at local stores for very little cash. First a quick shot of Mario:
Alright, time to break down the pieces:

The dark blue denim suspenders: 15 bucks at Rural King. You can find suspenders at clothing stores or Wal-Mart’s, but they are more premium brands that jump up to 30 dollars. Not for this outfit. It’s also possible to find these at the Goodwill or used clothes store of your choice.

Long-sleeved red shirt: I’ve seen a lot of people using short sleeve red shirts, but you gotta find the long sleeve to do it right! I found mine at Old Navy for 8 bucks. If you have no luck there (because it did take a bit of searching to find it), then the internet is your friend.

Plain brown shoes: Wal-Mart, but this could be an easy used find on the cheap as well.

The hat: Came from Amazon. The one I linked looks the most accurate. It’s the “newsboy” style and it fits great. The hat lacked the iconic “M”, but I picked up sheets of red and white sticky back felt at Hobby Lobby, cut out the appropriate shapes, and slapped them on.

Everything else: As for the mustache, I looked at plenty of professional real hair pieces. But honestly, the best and most accurate one I found was a $4 novelty piece at the costume shop. The plunger was an extra accessory picked up at Lowes. The white gloves also came from the costume shop for a few bucks. DONE.

Sorry I seem to be only able to find doofy photos at the moment, but hopefully you get the point.

There’s really no reason anyone should ever go to “Halloween SuperCity” or any other BS store and buy one of the mass producedoutfits. Also no reason to go to Target to buy one, since they’re pretty much assholes who think families working together to make a unique costume are ghetto-poor and failures at life.

So, there are plenty of reasons that this costume is great.

A) Easy – Look at the steps above for proof.
B) Recognizable – The youngest kid to the oldest adult loses their shit over Mario. After all, he is more recognizable than Mickey Mouse.
C) Comfortable – You’re basically dressed in farm hand clothes. The mustache is the only annoying piece. But hey, it’s a costume.

I wanna talk about one other great part of this costume — customization. Mario can be armed with a plunger, a fire flower, a mushroom, or any other accessory… You can slap on ears and a tail and be a Tanooki from Super Mario Brothers 3 (or a goddamned furry)… You can even make a giant boot or go-cart and be fully decked out…
The options are only limited by the number of Marios you can remember, and there are a ton. As I was on the last second Halloween costume train this year, I wanted to throw something together and possibly integrate Mario. The “OMG I’m Almost Out-Of-Time” idea I have?

Dr. Mario!

Dr. Mario!

This was (and still is) one of my favorite NES puzzle games. I picked up the new version on Wii which is even better. The music, the gameplay, and the competition against friends, all make this a game that many people remember and still love. Mario was really an afterthought once you got into the gameplay. He tossed pills in the bottle, but that’s about it…

So, to make this costume, I’m going to throw nearly every piece of the costume aside except the mustache. I’m borrowing a stethoscope (great to have nurse friends!). How about a doctor’s coat? Well, I actually went to HalloweenTown (after saying not to go there!) and saw terrible pun names burned onto doc coats (Dr. “Feltersnatch” anyone?) The best answer was to drag my ass to a scrub shop where they sell the actual coats. It looks great and has an assload of pockets for Halloween night traveling. As for the head piece, I bought a yard of elastic and trimmed and sewed it up to fit on my head. For the silver part I cut out a circle of sintra (PVC sheets basically) and used silver Rub-N-Buff to make it shiny (letting it dry a day). Then the sintra was glued on the band.

Now to the accessories to make this recognizable. In the game there are usually only 2 things people remember…the pills and viruses. First the viruses. I drew several from an image I found on net onto sintra. I carefully cut them out, sanded the edges, and painted them their appropriate blue, red, and yellow colors. It was a bit of a rush job and if I did it again I’d take a little more care. For the pill, I’ve seen a couple people make a two-dimensional pill carried around or taped on an arm. I really wanted an actual giant pill. For this I purchased a cheapo wood cylinder at Hobby Lobby, along with a clear plastic sphere that split into two pieces. Conveniently, each half of the sphere fit closely on the cylinder. They were a little big, but I had an idea to fix that problem. Getting them home, I hot-glued one half sphere to each side of the cylinder. Then I wrapped and hot-glued a cut piece of foam around the cylinder to fill in the gap. After that, I painted the pill, first with Guesso as a primer, then with a couple of layers of red and blue paint. Considering the rush, I was happy with the pill. Check the image below:

Click to Enlarge

It’s a good trio with liquor and the mysterious beaker.
Also, here’s the final outfit, with the viruses velcroed to my doctor’s coat:
Dr. Mario

Click To Enlarge

So that’s about it. Simple, easy, and fun. Sometimes it’s good to get a costume out of the way so you can get on with the good times. The pill was certainly the most popular accessory of the night. Warning, most people treat it like a suppository. Yeah.

GMX 2010 – Geek Media Expo Roundup!

GMX Pool PartyThe 2010 Geek Media Expo (GMX) wrapped up in Nashville this weekend and was a great time. It was the second year for this con, held at the Nashville Opryland Radisson. Billed as “48 Hours Of Cool”, GMX tries to cram as many interests as possible into a smaller, friendlier convention (check out their site here for examples of their events and panels). They had Steampunk ghostbusters, an 80’s dance party, comics, a pin-up contest, and a huge party each night in a special suite upstairs. This and more, all contained within a few hundred square yards. There was a good variety in panels as well, with your standards (Star Wars/Trek etc.), instructional sessions (learning ’bout leatherwork), and just plain good time panels (beer brewing, geek speed dating, Tauntaun race anyone?) At a con this size, you get a great chance to run into celeb guests as well. Chris Judge, Garrett Wang, and Dominic Keating were all very chill and mostly hung out the whole time.

The always accessible video game room gave you something to blow some free time on. Let me put it this way…my girl and I wandered out of a party for a brief break, 2 rounds of DDR, and then right back upstairs for more partying. Pretty damn awesome. Bored? Play a round of Halo Reach, STFU, and then get your ass back out there.

Also, I’d like to mention the hotel. Basically no matter where you were in the Radisson, you could get to your room in about 90 seconds. There are only 3 floors and the stairs are right in the middle of the main atrium, so you can always see your room. I don’t think I remembered my room number the entire weekend. I just pointed at the door and said “I’m in THAT one over there!” The pool and hot tub were cool as well — see the pics of the impromptu superhero bikini pool party if you don’t believe me. Even though there are a couple of ghetto elements, like the odd musty grandma smell and funky sleep number beds, the hotel fit well with the size of this con. Oh, and you better learn to love Applebee’s. Because you’ll be eating there a lot…unless you dress in anything that scares the manager. In that case you’ll be kicked out (true story: friend was asked to leave due to apparel being too “skimpy”. We just assumed the manager was fat and ugly ;-p)

Supergirl can't save dinner...


Orion Slave Girl Auction: Brave ladies and men dress up as sexy slaves, steampunk heroes, and just “odd things” and put themselves up for auction. Highest bidders are allowed photo ops, dances, dinners, or whatever the slave’s conditions are. Best part — they raised a huge chunk of cash for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. People were dropping over $100 for some participants. Wait, the best part was the auctioneer, Garrett Wang (Star Trek Voyager). Obviously still fresh from his gig running the Trek Track at DragonCon, Garrett riled up the crowd and kept the auction hilarious the entire time, even when the person up for bid looked a little creepy or smelly… He even took a few opportunities to snap his own photos. This guy is friggin’ awesome.

501st Star Wars Party (don’t remember the real name): This party was going long after I left around 3AM. Bar2D2 doled out shots, women (and men!) wrapped themselves around the stripper pole, and con celebs stopped by to party as well. Bumping music, bubbles, fog, and free drinks all in one little suite? Yes please!

Villians and Heroes Get Along at GMX!

Race of the Tauntauns: Get a line of geeks together and have them hop around the atrium, all the while leaping over Jar Jar obstacles and shooting a Fett or two while the crowd hoots and hollers. Gotta say it one more time, Garrett Wang stepped up for this event too. Each participant was required to stop at Wang’s table and get a “photo op”. All ages were allowed to look a little ridiculous while trying not to fall on their ass.

So is GMX a good time? Absolutely. It’s impressive that so many different events can get thrown into one 2-day event in a tiny hotel. For twenty bucks (pre-reg) I got my money’s worth. Kudos to the staff for keeping it together and keeping so laid back and cool. I will certainly be back next year as I’m positive that the event this year was a huge success. There were more people compared to last year, but I was never stressed by a “con-crowd” the entire time. Hell, I think I only walked by ONE smelly con-goer! What are the odds?

Check out ALL the photos my girlfriend and I took at our flickr site (link)

P.S. Hope to have a video up of a few highlights soon as well. Come back soon or follow me on Twitter to get the update.

Hotels and the Wrath of Dragon…CONNNNNN!

Wow. Friday morning at 7AM hotel rooms were made available for reservation at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta for next year’s DragonCon (Sept 2-5, 2011). The nerdrage due to webpage failures, calls on hold, and inability to get a room have been the most I’ve seen since the DragonBall Z movie.

Let’s break it down:

-The passkey website that Marriott used for the reservations was down at least 5 minutes before the start time. People that were able to crawl to the final reservation page ran into multiple database failures and “unable to load” pages.

-Phone calls to reserve rooms were hit or miss (or miss, or miss). You either got right in, was put on hold for 15-30 minutes, or told that you were too late. Rumor has it that the calls went up to Canada, so you hopefully got overly apologetic people to tell you that the rooms were sold out (or would they say “oot”).

-The aftermath, or actually the “duringmath”, was insanity. Many of my Facebook friends, of whom I’d say 40% were planning on attending DragonCon 2011, posted stories of failure. People were bouncing ideas off each other and reporting from the field of battle. It’s surprising that the traffic didn’t take Facebook down as well. For the most part, the updates teemed with frustration. With good reason I’d say, as they each got up early, started their attempts at the start time, and all deserve to get a room (because all of my friends are f’ing awesome unlike your friends that suck.)

If Facebook looked like Best Buy on Black Friday, then Twitter was the free KFC grilled chicken fiasco X 20. Look at tags #dragoncon #MarriottFail #passkeysucks for 3 examples of how many people struggled. Here’s a couple choice ones:

doginthewild Here it is, 11 months to #dragoncon 2011 and I’m caught with my pants down and all the hotels sold out. WHAT THE FUCK CHARLES

aeontrin I really tried to get a reservation at the Marriott Marquis for DragonCon 2011, but was no joy after multiple failed attempts

EidolonBird How much do I hate @MarriottIntl and Passkey right now? More than Twitter’s word limit will let me say. #dragoncon 2011 better be worth it.

So now we’ve got the annual shift and swap and double-check going on. Friends try to find friends that were able to hold extra rooms. People immediately jump over to the Hilton then the Hyatt trying to find space, some of them saying “Screw the Marriott the (insert hotel name) is the new place to be!” and others saying “Well this sucks, (insert hotel name) it is…”

What’s the answer to fix this? Usually there’s a college football game going on the same weekend, and this last DragonCon was overrun with jerkwad fans from LSU, home of the LSU FUCKING BASTARDS (their official mascot I’m told.) But the word this year is that the teams weren’t announced yet. So that should have cut down on “those” people. It sounds like mobs of us nerds crammed it to the brim in 15 minutes. So once again, any suggestions? I heard some ideas about only allowing pre-registered attendees reserve rooms first, but won’t that just increase the pre-reg line and still fill up the rooms immediately?

For now it sounds like the answer is still luck and persistence. Hopefully anyone that really wants to go will find a friend or catch a break that will get them where they want to be. Keep checking the Marriott site, call them back throughout the day, and hit up acquaintances that might have lucked out.

Yes, I got a room. But I won’t be dancing naked around the house or spamming Facebook about it because, damn, there’s a lot of upset people and I’m not one to rub it in (I just like to rub it out WOOAAAAAHHHHH).

Oh, and seriously, football fans, GTFO of my DragonCon.