Things have been pretty same-same back home. I’m working far too much (I have, what, three jobs that I’m staying on top of now?) to savesavesave for the ongoing overseas volunteer travels, our tanks at the farm I live on have been filled a bit by rain recently, and the weather is getting progressively colder much to my dislike. Cooler temperatures tend to hinder some of the plans I make with good intentions to keep myself busy while I’m not working. Yes, I know – for my friends reading this I know it exasperates you to hear that I have this strange urge to ‘keep busy’ with little projects when I’m not off overseas or working silly hours. “But you don’t have time as it is!” While I consider myself a quiet person I suppose I also have this desire to feel productive in my life. But with winter steadily coming along I can guarantee I’ll be more inclined to keep cosy inside when I can. This girl is a Summer baby, I don’t tend to thrive in the cold.
I like to think that I have at least one or two interesting hobbies that seem to satisfy this hunger I have for a vibrant life when I’m not traveling. I have talked a bit about my earliest experiences with LARP (Live Action Role-Play), and have mentioned a few times the enjoyment I get from being a part of creating interesting images (see my sea-nymph post or earlier scribbles about these image collaborations in general). I seem to have put the two together, in a way, and by doing so have opened myself up to a whole new world altogether. I’ll tell you what I mean:
I’m not sure when I opened a comic book for the first time, but I knew it was something I took a liking to straight away – despite it being a ‘weird’ thing for a girl to like in most of the social circles in school. Thankfully I’ve been out of school for a long time now and have more than embraced the old playground tauntings of “geek” and “nerd”. Geekery really does seem to be in fashion these days, especially for females. Since moving in on my own about a year ago I found I no longer had to cater for anyone else’s tastes but my own. It also gave me extra opportunity to explore these hobbies of mine, and that’s something I seem to be enjoying more as time goes on.
One of my favourite ‘superheroes’ is Batman. I’m not too sure why his stories appeal to me more than so many others that are out there – I don’t relate to the guy, but I like the way he is currently portrayed to uphold his air of mystery and how he conducts what he does. Naturally, being partial to adventure/story-based video games here and there, I ended up playing a couple of recent Batman video games (Arkham Asylum and Arkham City), and really enjoyed them. In these games one of Batman’s most well-known enemies, the Joker, is prevalent – and he’s not alone. His female side-kick, Harley Quinn, is also part of the show.
To be honest I didn’t know much about Harley Quinn before playing these games. I had heard her name, seen her picture – I knew about her, but never took much interest in her. For some reason, though, this poor, misguided, terribly enamored ex-doctor really grew on me. She is epitome of a fool in love, and will do absolutely anything for the Joker – he is, of course, the reason she became a ‘villain’ in the first place. She follows him blindly with a larger-than-life personality, but instead of pitying her I almost view her with a kind of strange respect. Though I do need to point out I’m no expert on comic book characters by any sense, and the opinions I’ve formed of her have come from the limited amount of resources I’ve encountered.
Well anyway, one day I decided I wanted to bring her to life in my own way. I spent some time slowly piecing together an unconventional costume involving a tutu, and finally chatted to my friend Brett at Creative Photography who I have worked with in the past. He loved the idea, and so we made it happen; we took over a couple of different locations around Auckland city, and Harley came out to play. Scroll down to have a look – there was a huge selection of photographs, but I have included some of my favourites for you in this post.
Of course, that wasn’t enough for me. I love the creativity inspired by LARP, but I think deep down having a character to play is also a way of hiding behind a safe mask; something that is not myself and helps me decrease my vulnerability to the outside world. Over the weekend that has just passed there was the first of several expos this year in NZ that is dedicated to so-called geekery. Here in New Zealand we don’t get those huge, incredible conventions like we hear about from overseas. But we do have something at least! Armageddon is its name, and I had only been to one or two of its events previous to 2015. I remember walking around, seeing video games on display, seeing people in costume, learning to play different card games – but this year I decided to don my Harley outfit and see how it went.
And I can’t begin to describe how much of a buzz it was! It was nerve-wracking at first; of course I was worried my less-than-accurate costume would come under scrutiny. But I very quickly discovered that the people I was meeting were warm, welcoming and extremely encouraging. This was part of NZ’s cosplay community, a community I had never been involved in before now. Suddenly I was meeting all these people – other characters – the Joker, Batman, other Harley’s – it was a blast, and the people were wonderful. However, I don’t see myself as a cosplayer. Over the weekend I met some incredible cosplayers, and I wouldn’t think to count myself in their ranks. My costumes are less accurate, more artistic takes on particular characters. I’m not sure if the definition of cosplay includes accuracy – I’m very new to all of this – but perhaps readers could shed some light on it for me. :) In summary, though, I think I can say I have found another hobby.
Below are some of the shots from Harley’s day out about Auckland. I hope you enjoy them.
On a side note – I really, really, really think if Harley Quinn and Deadpool were in the same universe that they would make a pretty hilarious/amazing couple (that’s if Mr J. wasn’t around…). So, of course, Deadpool was one of the characters I had hoped to run into at this weekend’s Armageddon. There were a few Deadpools out there, but here’s one low-quality snap from my phone.