7QT: Costuming, Conspiracy, and Counterfeiting

7QT: Costuming, Conspiracy, and Counterfeiting October 31, 2014

— 1 —

Guys, I have some exciting news.  Here’s how I feel about what I’m going to tell you:



Here’s when I’m going to tell you: November 5th.


And here’s what…. 



….well, that would be telling.  For now, let’s just say you’ll find out what Janet, the sunk cost fallacy, and Japanese pottery repair all have in common.


— 2 —

But, if we’re speaking of deadlines, let me remind you that today is the last day to comment and tell me that you’ve gotten your flu shot, so that I and the generous matching donors can tally up what we’re going to donate to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (one of GiveWell’s top-rated medical charities).

And once you’ve done that, I think you deserve a nice little health-and-Halloween themed treat!

So why not learn which creatures have blue, green, and violet blood?  And why!

Compound Interest put together a nice explainer of why not all living things with blood bleed crimson.  Not too late to update your Halloween decorations accordingly!

— 3 —

You can’t squeeze blood (of any color) from a stone, they say, but that’s sometimes the work that’s asked of debt collectors and cambists.

Don’t know what a cambist is?  Neither did I til I read Daniel Abraham’s “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” which originally appeared in Loghorrea: Good Words Make Good Stories (an anthology where all the stories were prompted by underused words like ‘cambist’).

I chortled more than once while reading Abraham’s story, and I think a great many of you will find it delightful.

— 4 —

But perhaps you’re still too worried about somehow assembling a costume for tonight, with no advance planning, to take joy in anything (even fun facts about blood or elegant short stories).  Well, perhaps the What to Wear When… tumblr will cheer you up and give you a flash of inspiration.  This fashion blog has you covered on what to where when:

The site tells you how to assemble the appropriate ensemble and adds some helpful comments and advice:

This spiked faux-undercut, with its badass-looking double braids, will give you and your girl gang crew members a fun social grooming exercise to pass the long hours between hypersleeps — and the end effect will make it clear that you’ll commit violence if you have to, but only for the greater good. ”Is that Natalie Dormer? I didn’t realize she was [your human or alien race],” hardened stormtroopers will wonder in the nanoseconds before your perfectly-placed ray gun blasts knock them out. “Wow, she looks great with [your hair color]. Hey, hold on a sec, if Natalie Dormer is involved, I must be in the wrong here.” This will minimize resistance.

But seriously, just remix what you have in your closet with a short tagline to go with it (something of the “together, they fight crime!” variety) and some bold makeup, and you’ll be good to go.

— 5 —

Ok. now that you’re feeling a little better, can I interest you in a fascinating tale of dressing things up like what they are not?

This time, I’m not talking costuming, but counterfeiting.

GQ has a feature I couldn’t put down on an enormous counterfeiting operation, with an unexpected conclusion:

Frank’s self-image may be described as not merely healthy but hyperpituitary. When I asked him where he found the lunatic gumption not only to enter into the risky business of counterfeiting but to do so at the unheard-of scale of hundreds of millions of dollars, Frank replied with a shrug: “I can do anything I want. I can go to the moon. I’m good at figuring out stuff. I could do a heart transplant if I wanted to.”

Are we to take Frank at his word? Should he be allowed by NASA to attempt a lunar landing? Should he perform your father’s triple bypass? I will say only this: Do not discount someone who apparently launched a currency-fraud scheme so cunning that he was able to rook the Secret Service and the Canadian government and then walk away from the whole mess a free and wealthy man.

— 6 —

I do want to give you one proper, Halloween-y thing to read.  Preferably by candlelight and cocoa.  (Or, if you prefer, kvas).

I adore Leigh Bardugo’s spooky short shory “The Witch of Duva.”  It’s set in the same world as her Grisha Trilogy, and it’s what caused me to pick up her novels in the first place.  Here’s how it begins:

There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls.

It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.”

— 7 —

And speaking of Bardugo, it’s time for the final update on my costume, since I’m going as the protagonist of her trilogy: Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner.

Now, that honorific carries a certain kind of expectation with it, and, although I can’t show you pics of the costume complete until after I take them at my party, I can show you the instructable I put together, to show how I was able to ape Alina’s power.

So, off you go, for your own Happy Halloweens and All Saints’ Days.  If you have photos of your own costumes, I’d love to see them in the comments.  And, in the meantime, we can all enjoy this delightful cosplay vid from a London Con:


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Browse Our Archives