Frizzled Wizard World

If you want to instantly connect with women ages 18 to 40 who are in some way involved in public education, dress up as Ms. Frizzle and walk around a nerd convention.


This is from Halloween of last year, but the costume’s… somewhat the same. Mostly.

My friends and I went to Wizard World Philadelphia recently, and of the three of us I was the only one who dressed up, so the other two had to suffer while teacher after teacher pulled me aside to gush over how much they loved Ms. Frizzle, and take pictures with me.

Well, I enjoyed it.

There were people out there with far more impressive cosplays than me, mind you.


After I took a photograph, as I walked away, I could hear them fluttering about how Ms. Frizzle had just asked for their picture.


I saw this fellow standing off to the side and I stared at him for at least three seconds before I got it. It’s Milo! From Atlantis!


Just look at that. That’s impressive. I honestly can’t tell how old the middle lady is, she could be eighty or twenty under all that makeup and wig. 


Yondu Poppins. He said I wore a dress better than him, but I have to disagree.

Dressing up as Ms. Frizzle was fun just for the bug of nostalgia it infected people with. Vendors stood up in their booth and scrambled after me to get pictures. I heard people shouting (and whispering) “Ms. Frizzle!” to me and to each other all around the convention center. People gushed.

There weren’t many children around, but one little girl desperately wanted a picture with me and I let her hold Liz for it. When my feet started to give out in the yellow high heels and I was leaning against a wall to put on my emergency flats, a mother pushing her little daughter in a wheelchair did a double-take, stopped, and then made a beeline for me.

“Look!” she said to the girl, who didn’t seem able to talk, “See that? It’s Ms. Frizzle! See the Bus? See Liz?”

It took a second, and then the girl’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.

It really sticks with you, things like that. Especially when you’re just an idiot in a dress your sister made you, with one shoe off against the wall of a convention center.


Also, Rose from Doctor Who was there. I took a picture from a distance so that I didn’t have to pay money or talk to people.

Seatbelts, everyone!

When I decide to cosplay at comic conventions, I go as Ms. Frizzle, because I happen to look like her already and also because my sister made me her costume and I’m too lazy to make my own things.


Liz says hi.

I’ve collected bits and bobs for the costume over the past couple of years, but if there’s one thing that’s difficult to match with a cosplay, it’s a purse or bag. Unless the character you’re dressing up as specifically carries some kind of bag, it’s rough to haul your things around the convention center and still look authentic. When people want to take pictures of my outfit, my tactic is usually to drop-kick my purse out of the scene, and hope they’re done before someone steals it.

At last I caved and ordered a school bus bag on Amazon, despite the face on the front looking like the clown from my childhood nightmares.

Fortunately, by pure random happenstance, one of the Amazon reviewers also cosplays Ms. Frizzle, and she had a solution: Paint a better looking face on with acrylic paint.


I wonder if acrylic paint could give me a better face, too.

The only problem, as we’ve established, is that I have the creativity and artistic talent of a walnut with a degree in mathematics. My method of painting was to hope for the best.


I outlined where the new face was going to go with pencil, but I really don’t feel like it gave me more confidence.


Oh God, this is worse, now he’s wearing a death mask.

Having ever used acrylic paint before, I was actually surprised at how forgiving it was. If I made a mistake, I could wait for it to dry and the paint over it, even with white paint.


All up in his grill. I’ll see myself out.


At this point I realized nothing was going to cover that little tip of the original smile on the left, but I also didn’t care enough to change it.


It’s something!

The end result was acceptable for my low standards, which mostly consist of “will it look decent if someone snaps a picture of it from ten feet away?” I spent some time observing it from ten feet away, and it looks decent. Mission accomplished.

Now all I need is a sonic screwdriver and my Ms. Frizzle costume will be complete.

Comics, Cosplay, and Imperial Officers

Can’t afford to bring the kids to Disney? Try bringing them to your local comic convention. Sure, you’re going to run into some real weirdos, and you’ll have to shield their eyes when you walk by some of the raunchier booths, but you’ll also meet some real weirdos in incredible costumes. And some of these costumes will be Disney costumes, is what I’m getting at.

(I say weirdos affectionately. I am also one.)

This convention was the East Coast Comic Con, which was advertising the visiting of Dawn Wells (Mary-Ann from Gilligan’s Island), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore from Ghostbusters), and all the remaining cast of Lost in Space (the people who were under thirty when it filmed).


Here’s a blurry photo I snapped real quick of everyone but Ernie Hudson. They’re in there, I swear. I think you can even see Dawn Wells there, to the left of the guy in the red shirt. I just didn’t want to pay for a photo or an autograph.

This comic convention was specifically comic-related with other geeky undertones (as opposed to a fantasy or sci-fi convention, which is more broad), so most of the booths were just rows and rows of new and old comic books. I, personally, have only ever read ElfQuest and a few random issues of The New Teen Titans, so I was mostly there for the other things.

Like the cosplayers.


Look at that Two-Face. Look at it.

Cosplayers do some incredible things with their time and money. It also helps, of course, when you look a great deal like the character already, which is why I can get away with cosplaying Ms. Frizzle with minimal effort.


On that note, I’m not completely convinced this guy wasn’t actually Tony Stark. All he had to do was show up with his suit and his neatly groomed beard and you could swear he was the real deal. He’s standing in front of the convention doors here because every time he tried to move forward, someone would stop him for a picture.

I have a great friend who’s a phenomenal cosplayer (hi Avery!), so you’d think I’d be used to it, but really these people continue to amaze me.


While I was taking a break in the lobby, I saw a woman and her little daughter approach this Merida. “Can she take a picture with you?” the woman asked. “You’re the only one she’s not scared of.”


This guy had the most ramshackle cardboard costume ever, but boy did he ever have the Wolverine swagger down.


I didn’t actually know who this was at first (because, again, not really a comic person) until someone in the background yelled “Mr. Freeze!”, but I had to take a picture regardless. That’s dedication. He had to get help to take the bubble off when he wanted to eat.


There’s cosplayers, and then there’s professional cosplayers like the fellow above. He spoke to me in that soft Obi-Wan voice the entire time after he let me take a picture, and then fished out a business card for me after- hence, he’s the only cosplayer I can name.

I also ran across the 501st Legion, the “bad guys doing good.” They’re a (apparently pretty large) volunteer charity group that I’d never heard of before, and it looks like they do some great things in great outfits.


They had a booth and they brought a trash compactor with them. You could take pictures in it.

I participated in the “droid hunt” they had going on, wherein they gave you a badge:


…And had you wear it around the convention. If the patrolling Imperials spotted you, you were “forced” to hand it over in exchange for a raffle ticket.


It took me about half an hour to be spotted by the Imperials, during which time I found a 3D printer merrily chugging along. It was printing another copy of the little pink Yoda you see up top. The future is here, and soon I’ll be able to get my own Earl Grey out of a replicator.


In the end, I was caught by this lot. I’m jealous of their hats.

I didn’t win the raffle, but that’s all right because there was a mother of approximately fifteen squirmy small things there who won twice, and I feel like she needed it more than I did.


The 501st Legion lined up for a picture too, which was nice. They’re good people. I feel like what really makes them work is that they’ve got just the one Darth Vader, but a whole lot of underlings running around. Really adds to the authenticity.

James couldn’t go with me, which was a pity because the Mandalorian bounty hunters allowed you to put a bounty on anyone’s head for a mere five dollars, at which point they were drag the target in and put them in an actual cage for “a minimum of five minutes, but no more than twenty.” Classy.

All in all, if you have a comic convention happening near you, I highly recommend you attend. Just don’t do it like I did, go and get pictures with celebrities and listen to panels and whatnot. There’s more to be found than cosplayers.


Just as I was leaving they were organizing the D.C. hero picture. All these guys would soon be on the steps. It was good I left when I did.

The Weekly Report

Though I had the weekend off, Mr. Doctor is away and Mrs. Doctor has just called me from a boy scout meeting to tell me that she needs to take one of the younger boys to the emergency room to have his foot looked at, and could I please put the rest of the boys to bed when she gets back?

This isn’t really a problem. The boys are easy to put to bed; this is probably because I’m on the more terrifying side of the nanny spectrum, and no I won’t sit in your room with you for forty minutes after I read you a book. Your parents do that because they enjoy having no time to themselves. Go to sleep.

(They always go to sleep. They know who they can play and who they can’t.)

Anyway, I’ve already failed miserably at reading a book a week, because The Doomsday Book is surprisingly slow to read. The general premise is that time travel is available for historical scholars, and one such scholar is sent back to the incredibly dangerous Middle Ages to, you know, see what it’s like. Was everyone covered in mud and dying of the plague all the time? Let’s find out!

It’s been an interesting book, except it’s split evenly between her interesting experiences in the Middle Ages and the significantly less interesting bits where the rest of the scholars try to sort out a lot of problems in the modern day. The modern day is right outside my door, let me hear about the Black Death!

This week has been one for disguises. I did another “look like someone else” on Wednesday, but didn’t post about it because it was slightly underwhelming. My eyes are blue, and this Wednesday was going to be brown hair and brown eyes, but sadly the Japanese contacts I purchased are- surprise- made to turn already brown eyes a different shade of brown, not to completely darken lighter eyes.

So instead of rich brown eyes I had watery dull eyes that looked as though I was going blind, which might have been the case if I had left the contacts in.


I very much liked this wig. It was a cross between “futuristic female from dystopian society” and “toddler funfun music band mascot”.

I also spent an hour before the Halloween party on Friday running some errands in my Ms. Frizzle costume, just to see if anybody recognized me. No one recognized me.


The Dunkin’ Donuts people wouldn’t stop giving me Looks, though, so at least I managed that “crazy cat lady” look if nothing else.

My friends on The Facebook are getting more and more desperately political as the election time draws near, and this is interesting because my friends from Idaho are largely Conservative and my friends from the east coast are largely Liberal, and everyone’s equally frenzied, but fortunately none of them can see each other’s posts because I never like or comment on any of them.

This is the first presidential election I can vote in, having been sixteen the last time it came around, and I’m wondering if political fervor comes with age. Like a second puberty: One day I’ll wake up and have all these strange urges to debate the merits of various candidates and to slander the opposing party on the World Wide Web.

I’m a late bloomer.

Brunches and Bashes

As the leaves change colors and the cold seeps in, my friends rustle their wings and drive south to eat brunch on the regular.

I was very excited at the idea of brunch, because I had never seriously eaten brunch before. “Gosh,” I was thinking, “what an amazing concept! Instead of eating breakfast or lunch you can eat one big combination in the middle! How revolutionary!”

So myself and seven of my friends planned on going out to eat brunch this morning. 11:00 sharp, they said. I could hardly wait.

As 11:00 neared, a group text was sent out, explaining that even though we had a reservation, a reservation of 20 people had pushed our eating date back to 11:30 to 11:45. All right, that’s fine. We can wait that long, what’s the rush?

So at 11:30, we showed up at the restaurant and were told they could not seat us until all of our party was there. This seemed fair. We were only missing one person, and the restaurant was so crowded that there was a line out the door. While we waited for the last arrival, we wondered why this restaurant in particular, a rather generic looking place, happened to be so woefully crowded. No conclusions were drawn.

At 11:45, our last member collected, we approached the podium again, only to be told that our table wasn’t ready because the previous group of people were still eating. Well, this wasn’t the restaurant’s fault. Some prodding on the part of our ringleader made the hostess reluctantly say that it would be another twenty or thirty minutes.

Well, 12:10 wasn’t so bad. We dispersed, walked around the pet store, poked through the sewing shop, chatted a little. When 12:10 came by, we headed back to be seated.

“We’re sorry, but the previous table is still there,” the frazzled hostess announced, pointing at the monitor, which displayed a blurry group of individuals who were apparently part sloth. “It will just be a little while longer.”

The sloths were in an intense “who can eat the slowest” competition, and showed no desire to leave. Because the restaurant was so crowded, my friends and I shivered outside and stared in through the windows at the sloth party, pretending to be starving British paupers dying of Poor Disease.

At 12:45 the sloths decided it was probably time to leave, and only stayed another ten or so minutes. At 12:55, the waiters cleared the table and set it. At 1:05, we were finally called in to be seated, and drink orders were taken. I ordered a tea.

At this point I was seriously considering whether brunch was worthwhile. “This doesn’t seem all that great,” I mused silently. “Brunch time is too crowded to be-”

And then I was presented with a masterpiece.


Instead of sugar, they gave you a rock candy stick to stir your tea with.

This was the most amazing thing I had seen in my life. I brandished the rock candy stick in everyone’s faces. “Look, guys!” I exclaimed, in pure rapture. “I can stir my tea with a rock candy stick! My tea! Rock candy stick!”

My friends were less than impressed.

All in all, I think the wait was worth it simply for the joy of being able to stir with a rock candy stick. Imagine that, like it was a spoon and everything. Amazing.

This is also the time of year when my friends throw Halloween parties, and despite the cold and the wind and the rain and the mud and the threat of all of this worsening, there’s an outdoor party being held tonight. I tend to put off my costumes until the last minute, but fortunately I had a cosplay costume my sister had made for me leftover in my closet.


I enjoy being Ms. Frizzle because it’s the only time having frizzy red hair and a large nose really come in handy.