Comic Con 2014 PowWow

When I was a camp counselor we would gather with our cabins at the end of the day and go around the circle doing a powwow. The “pow” would be the low point in the day, something that was frustrating or disappointing, and the “wow” would be the best part of the day.

This year I managed to snag a badge for Comic Con. I was there for Saturday and Sunday and probably could have planned things out a little more in advance. Like I did with VidCon, I’m going to PowWow each day I was at the convention.

DAY 1
POW: Meeting so many new people at once. Another friend of mine who goes every year introduced me to her rather large group of friends. It was great to have some people to hang out with, but it was also a bit much for my introverted side. I kind of crashed from too much social interaction while we were waiting in line for dinner. Whoops.
WOW: Feeling like I finally got a sense for how the expo hall was set up. Last year I was only there for one day and I mostly walked around in a daze because I was so overwhelmed by it all. This year I managed to find a bit of order in the madness, which was quite calming.

DAY 2
POW: The realization (even though I knew it going in) that I wasn’t going to get to do some of the things I was really excited about. The lines were too long. The crowds were too much. And I was too tired. I definitely git a brick wall of tired on day two around 2:30. I was about to go into another panel when I realized that I should probably start my mini road trip before I got tired enough to fall asleep whist driving.
WOW: The Women of Marvel panel was definitely a highlight. I loved hearing about the female driven titles that Marvel has and the women who write/draw/color/manage/produce them. I’m so excited for the future of women in comics both as creators and creatives as well as the female characters that we see and will be seeing in the future.

All told it was an exhausting weekend, but I’m very glad I went. I am honored to be even a small part in the industry that puts these things out into the world. I’m excited that Comic Con is a thing I go to now, and will continue to be going forward. Every year I learn more and I’m excited to be learning and growing into this industry.

If you’re interested in seeing some of these thoughts in video form, let me direct you to this week’s YouTube video. And while you’re over there maybe subscribe to see more of my videos? I’ve very much appreciate it.

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A “Fake Geek Girl”s Comic Book Fears

While I don’t pretend to be a comics girl (I’m not cool enough for that), I have fallen quite hard for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve seen nearly every movie since Iron Man, and continue to be excited about upcoming films. Joss Whedon heading up the franchise was the icing on the cake for me as a long time Whedonite (check out my series’ on Buffy and Angel).

I’m also using the films as a starting point to get into the overwhelming world of comics. That’s not to say that I’m even close to know what to do yet, but I’m slowly figuring out what to be looking for. Comics is a huge scary world to get into though, especially as a girl.

Part of my fear of getting into comics is that I will be shunned as a “fake geek girl” for joining in now when there is so much hype around the Marvel Universe. I’m tentatively treading into the territory of the Marvel subreddit, but I keep waiting for someone to call me out. I know that I’m not supposed to let that stop me, but I also wouldn’t know how to respond.

All this to say that I’m very excited (and still quite scared) after hearing the news about a female character taking over for Thor. While I am loving the Marvel Universe, Thor has always been the least relatable Avenger for me. He’s a ‘god’ from another realm who has unmatched strength who is all good and has these highly idealistic hopes for the human race. Of course I know I’m simplifying, and if I were to read the comics I’m sure there would be more to it, but… meh.

A female Thor on the other hand? A woman who is just as strong and capable as Thor himself, who’s armor wont be parodied on The Hawkeye Initiative is intriguing to me. What happened to Thor that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mijolnir? Who is this chick? And from the realist in me: How long will this last?

With Age of Ultron coming up on the horizon I don’t doubt that Thor will be back to the man we know by next summer. The majority of the movie-going audience will not be following along with the comics, so for continuity’s sake I’m sure Mijolnir will be safely back in his hands by then. But I’m beyond curious as to how this whole thing shakes out.

Hello, My Name is Rachel and I’m a Crier

Guys, I’m a crier. Always have been, always will be. It’s a trait I got from my mother who cries over The Wizard of Oz (and now I do too). I cry for good things, I cry for bad things, I cry out of frustration, and I cry over TV shows a LOT. Not even always sad moments in TV shows either. There’s an episode in Fringe where Walter’s love for Peter is just so overwhelming I’m sobbing every time I watch it.

I cry when characters get together and when people die and when they live miraculously. Basically when there is an excess of emotion – no matter the feeling – I’ll probably shed a tear or two. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I will be a blubbery mess even when no one else understands why I’m having such a strong response.

I’ve gotten used to it, as have many of my close friends. I choose carefully who I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with for this very reason. While there are very few people who can hold a dry eye through that movie, I knew I needed someone I would be about to ugly cry in front of because that was a real possibly (that turned into an actual reality).

On the TV side, the show I’ve been crying over recently is Call the Midwife. It’s a BBC show that has just finished it’s third season (series if we’re being British), and is scheduled to return for a fourth next year. The show centers around nurses who work out of a convent in London’s East End in the late 1950’s. Every episode is filled with a strange, but wonderful combination of beauty and decay as the nurses tend to both births and deaths in the community, along with dealing with their own personal lives and dramas.

This show is gorgeous, poignant, and soulful as it quickly shows both the similarities and differences of the times. One minute the universality of human nature is surprising and wonderful, reminding you that even though these characters are in a time very far removed from us, they are still very much like us. The next minute the changes of the times are starkly clear. A character has an asthma attack and halfway into the thought “Get her inhaler”, you realize that there isn’t one to get.

This show has turned me into an absolute WRECK and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve still got a season and a half to power through and I couldn’t be more excited to cry.

4th of July Television

Guys, I watch a lot of TV. And since I live in the US, a handful of those shows happen to revolve around United States government and policies. I figured that with the 4th of July tomorrow, it would be good to round up a few US themed TV shows that would make for good marathoning this weekend.

THE WEST WING
Topping the list is a favorite of mine, The West Wing. The show last seven seasons and focused on the senior staff of fictional president Jed Bartlet. While, it’s somewhat dated now, if you ignore the bulky computers and reliance on pagers, I think it holds up surprisingly well.

HOUSE OF CARDS
It would be impossible to make this list without including House of Cards, the Netflix show that just put up their second season. This show focuses on the twisted plotting that happens in Washington and features Kevin Spacey. I actually haven’t seen season two yet (though I’ve been spoiled a bit), so this will be my weekend watching material.

JAG & NCIS
NCIS has been going for so long (they start season 13 this fall) that it’s almost hard to remember that it started off as a spin off of JAG. NCIS investigates crimes in the navy and marines, and JAG prosecutes. Either one would be fantastic watching for this weekend, and without even looking I can pretty solidly say that USA network will have an NCIS marathon going.

PARKS AND REC
With all this drama, it would be good to remember that sometimes government can be lighthearted too. Parks & Rec follows the idealistic Leslie Knope and her team at the Parks and Recreation department in small town Indiana. The show will be coming back for a final season in the fall, so nows a good time to catch up!

SLEEPY HOLLOW
This one’s for the lit geeks. In this adaption of the classic short story, Ichabod Crane wakes up in 2014 and partners with a local police lieutenant to investigate strange happenings in Sleepy Hollow. Part history lesson, part supernatural serial, Sleepy Hollow was my favorite new show last season and I’m PUMPED for season 2 to start up.

HOMELAND
I was hesitant to put this show on the list because it’s the only one I haven’t watched, but it fits so well with this theme I have to include it. From what I hear it’s set in the CIA with agents trying to prevent a terrorist attack. I’m sure it is a lot more complicated than that, especially since it’s won a multitude of awards for the series as a whole as well as acting, writing, and directing.

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I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend no matter their country of origin. To those of you in the US, enjoy your day off and stay safe this weekend.

Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that I finally got a job. I’m a receptionist at a small production/distribution company and I’m excited about it and what it could become. I’m glad to be employed, but I know that a job taking up my time isn’t the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately. Even before I got the “You’re hired” phone call I had been having troubles putting my thoughts into posts.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t seem to express myself in the same way that I used to. For the past month or so I’ve written multiple blog posts that have never seen the light of day. I kept trying to be timely and failing. I wrote posts about the How I Met Your Mother finale, the Divergent movie, and Captain America: The Winter Solider. I have so many thoughts on these things, but I can’t seem to articulate them well enough to feel confident in hitting publish.

I want to talk at length about how much I adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie-ness. I want to have deep discussions about the Marvel cinematic universe. What the last few films will mean for the next ones. How they are tying the movies into Agent’s of SHIELD. How SHIELD is finally starting to pull on my heartstrings. But I can’t seem to come up with the words.

Even beyond media I never got around to writing up a post about my writing goals for this quarter. I’m sure if/how they change in balance with working full time, but I can’t even seem to outline it for myself. Using my phone alarms to be on time, a new planner, how I’m dealing with buying a car; all things I’ve written on our thought about writing on, but haven’t gotten out the way I want to.

My frustrations are because I know that I’m not where I want to be. I know I could be doing better. But I’ve lost track of how to do it. So I want to say that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to write, but I’m starting to see that route is going to get me NOWHERE, so it’s time to rethink.

It’s time to plan and organize and figure out what’s reasonable within my new schedule and current commitments. I don’t know the answer yet, but this post it a declaration that I’m going to try. I love my job, but I know that I want to do more with myself than just get by, it’s not going to be easy, but I know I’ll be better for it.

About a Boy, San Francisco, and Filming On Location

Since I’ve clearly documented my love of all things Olympics (here), it will come as no surprise that I spent my evenings in Florida glued to NBC’s coverage. I even watched the entirety of the documentary about the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harrding story, which I am just a bit too young to remember. And since I didn’t have anything else to do, I figured I might as well stick around for the pilots of About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher.

Both were interesting in the how-are-they-going-to-make-a-series-out-of-this sort of way, but I was most interested in About a Boy. I’m not usually a sitcom gal, but it was the setting of this show that piqued my interest the most. San Francisco. Anything filmed on location in San Francisco (and yes, it was definitely filmed on location) makes me ask a million questions.

With any TV show or movie set in any major city there are bound to be geographical and logistic questions. For one, where do they actually live? Of course Will would be able to afford to live anywhere with money to spare from a hit song, but with Fiona unemployed, it doesn’t seem like they would fit in the same neighborhood. Where does Markus go to school? The flier said Oakland, but why would they live in the city and then commute to Oakland? Unemployment rules out private school and the lottery system isn’t THAT crazy.

Beyond that there are the unrealistic convenience factors. We already know that characters don’t look for parking spaces. But even so it’s border-line impossible that Dakota was able to find a parking space right in front of Will’s house, never mind on the same block.

These idiosyncrasies are what makes watching TV shows and movies filmed in familiar cities exciting. I hope that About a Boy will be able to keep filming on location, and I am always excited to see San Francisco or Chicago on my TV. When TV show film on location, the local becomes a part of the show’s character and only adds to the magic.

Sherlock Season 3 and A Question of Ethics

I’m not the first person to question Steven Moffet’s female characters, and I’m sure I won’t be the last, but the opening scene of the Sherlock season 3 finale (pictured above) struck me as particularly revolting. I’ll admit to being a bit behind on the times, but I’ve had this on my mind this week and need to get it out.

Sherlock SPOILERS ahead

Of course they wanted to make their newest villain terrible, and the message came across loud and clear, but another message was sent out as well. Of course, as always, it’s nearly impossible to know another person’s opinions on something from subtext in something they create, I’ve noticed the message of women as secondary – and subsidiary – characters come across in much of Moffet’s writing (Sherlock, Doctor Who, and to a different tune, Coupling)

Reading into the subtext, women – even women in power – are always going to end up submitting to whatever men want. This message comes across clearly to me, but it subtle enough that it isn’t the first thing commented on. Instead, the idea simmers on the minds of viewers without them even realizing it. And because it more or less matches what the rest of society is telling us about a woman’s role, it’s easily falls into subconsciousness.

Even past the opening scene, we see a Mary Watson in a new light. Mary is a powerful woman filled with mysteries that we will probably never really know. She was able to fool Sherlock, which (him being the all-powerful, male protagonist) is no easy feet.

When we are first introduced to this new version of Mary, I was excited. Finally. A female character who is pure strength. Who doesn’t used her sexuality as her defining tool. Finally, some progress has been made and we get to see a new type of lady from Moffet’s pen.

My dream is dashed when John confronts Mary. Instead of seeing a couple who deals with the emotions of a relationship partially built on a lie, John (literally) throws the information into the fire. He claims that he doesn’t care what her past is. What I hear instead is that he couldn’t deal with the idea of what she might be. Mary is an assassin. She is likely a foreign intelligence agent gone rouge. She is a great match for Sherlock and would make a great addition to their team.

And who knows, maybe she still will be a part of the thrilling team that John and Sherlock have become. But the question of Mary’s past and the story of what forced her into hiding, it’s probably never going to be told. And that’s so frustrating to me because I want to know!

The question becomes – since there are many fantastic elements to Sherlock and his adventures – should we submit ourselves to these subliminal messages to be entertained for a few hours with a fantastic mystery? Once these messages are seen, how can watching and supporting the show be justified if the goal of equality is ever going to be reached?

I don’t know the answer, but I ask questions like these constantly. In fact, Sherlock is only the most recent television show to bring the question up. Similar questions can be asked about the majority of written, produced, and distributed content. A combination of ‘how can they make that?’ and ‘how can I support it by consuming it?’

#Sochi2014

Oh Sochi! I feel that with all the political and social and economic parts that are moving in sync – and out of sync – with these games, anything I say for or against them is going to be considered a statement of some sort. Can we agree that the only statement I want to make is on the comradery and the together-ness that the Olympics can bring? Okay? Okay.

I’m not really one for sports, so for the most part when people talk about football or even baseball my eyes glaze over a bit and I tune out. The Olympics on the other hand are a completely different experience. I love nearly everything about the games from the opening ceremony (I cried) to the stories they weave in about the athletes (more tears) to the events themselves.

Part of me being so excited about this year’s games might be because I was hardly able to watch any coverage of the 2012 games in London. I spent the two weeks of those games in final preparations for What Moves You? and then traveling from there. While I appreciate the Olympic experience while traveling, this time is different.

Watching an Opening Ceremony with hundreds of people in the heart of Berlin is fantastic, but I couldn’t help but be frustrated when the overlaying commentary was in German and it drowned out what I could understand in English. I only caught snippets of events from hotel lounges and bars as Allason and I travelled. When the games ended we watched the Closing Ceremony in our hotel room in Rome.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that I was traveling and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for all the Olympics coverage in the world, but watching these winter games has made me realize what I missed. So I cleared out my DVR to make room for as much Olympic action as possible.

I am continually moved by the power and grace that these athletes display. I can’t even imagine doing some of the things they are routinely practicing and performing in, but am simply in awe of their talents.

This Has Been: January 2014

This month has been my first of the “real world”? There’s a question mark there because I’m not even sure I know what that means. Am I a part of the real world now just because I’m done with school assignments? That doesn’t seem right? What world was I in before? Nevermind that though, we can leave the philosophic musings for another time.

Some highlights from January include:

Going Snowboarding for the first time in a few years. I never got a chance to go while I was at school in Chicago (the midwest is far too flat), but I finally got a chance to go to the mountains down here in SoCal. I’m excited to go again and for the many other adventures that are sure to come.

Started to write a DONE list in the evenings, reminding me of the things I did get done instead of beating myself up over procrastination.

Brought my scooter in for a tune up. Not sure that this is really a huge high point, but my scooter is cleaner and runs better now than it has for the last few months, so I’m pretty happy with that.

Got back to blogging. One of my new years resolutions is to get back into the habit of blogging (more on my new years goals in my one little word post, here).

Came up with a routine to start following and have been tweaking it and reorganizing it ever since.

Lot’s of reading! Ton’s of TV! I’m still reading some of the stuff books I got for Christmas and I’m searching for new books almost every day on my Kindle. Gotta keep my eye out for those deals.

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Overall it’s been a weird month. I struggled a lot this month with not having a schedule and the same structure that I’ve been so used to for the past 16+ years of my life, but I think I’ve figured out a way to rebuild that structure and am getting to a better place for it.

Characters Don’t

I’m always amazed when I read books and watch television at the grand scope of the lives of the characters that I become entranced with. Tally Youngblood stops a war and causes the mind rain in the Uglies Series. Joan and Sherlock of Elementary spend their time detonating small bombs and putting away bad guys.

When I put my kindle down and turn off the TV the only thing that awaits me is a pile of dirty dishes and a message from a friend asking if I want to hang out later. What will be my grand moment? Graduating college? Seems a bit trite compared to solving crime or saving the world.

The only times we ever see characters in fiction doing the normal, boring, everyday chores we are constantly bogged down by is at the very beginning or end of scenes. Before or after the more important and vital portions of the story are mentioned.

Just for today, let’s take a moment to imagine them being done by the main characters from some favorite TV shows.

Leslie Knope looking for a parking space.
Alicia Floric washing dirty dishes.
Abed Nadir taking out the trash.
Patrick Jane going to the grocery store.
The Doctor checking the mail.
Will MacAvoy watering plants.
Any of the Downton Abbey characters watching TV.

These people’s lives seem richer and fuller than ours, simply because they’ve cut these parts out. I’m not saying that we should change the way these things are made. More that we should imagine our lives with all these parts cut out. Yes, we have to dust the furniture, and cook meals for ourselves, but if our lives were as fantastical as those of the character we love? We would still have to do those things, we would only be so much more focused on the fun, romantic, or adventurous portions of our lives that we wouldn’t even notice the mundane background tasks.