On Not Being Ready

I was a bit unprepared for NaNoWriMo this year. I’m using an all new, all different approach, because I felt that last year I plotted but didn’t actually worldbuild. So this year I focused on the research and worldbuilding and let the plot find me as I learned more about the period and place (New York City in 1906).  I think I like how it turned out, I have okay characters (I’d like that to improve before I write my next book) and though I have nearly no outline I have a good idea of what will happen and why it will happen and it’s all grounded in the world, which is what bugged me the most last year.

As of this moment I have 2,172 words, which is not great, but between being a zombie for two days (long story. Short version, new drugs didn’t work out) and only writing last night I think it should work out.

If I was unready for NaNoWriMo, that’s nothing compared to how unprepared Apple was when they released iOS5. Abrupt change of topic, I know, but it actually relates.

So iOS5 is all nifty and shiny and stuff, and I do dig the new notification center, sorta.  Except for the part where it’s ruined too many nights of sleep since I upgraded a few weeks ago. You see, notification center is actually great if you’re the kind of person for whom out of sight really is out of mindm because it’ll keep your notifications where you can look at them and dismiss them when you’re done. It’s great, but there’s one major thing missing: a sleep mode.

I’ve got really bad insomnia, I have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, the whole nine yards. So when a feature that is, by far, the least intuitive iOS feature I’ve ever used wakes me up at lest once a week with notifications I don’t remember activating, well, we’ve got a problem. I won’t ever remember to turn the notification center on if I turn it off at night, my reaction to the vibration setting is actually worse than it is to noise, and there’s no way to say “please don’t make any noise between 11pm and 7am.”

As much as I hate to do it, I have to turn off all non-essential noises and badges, including Twitter, which is nearly essential, because taking away my sleep is the fastest way to drive me crazy. I hate it, and as Veronica Belmont says “if you have to turn off all the good features (location, notifications) for it to work, they’re doing it wrong.”

So true. I’ll be over here, writing through a fog of sleep deprivation and waiting for a sleep mode.



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This Blog Suspended Due to Postseason Madness

I would like to apologize for my absence in the last few days. I would also like to apologize for my utter lie in the title of this post. I have every intention of blogging, I just might do it from my parents’ house, while parked in front of their big screen. And I might just talk about baseball.

Of course, I’m not just sitting around while the baseball goes on, I’m also making stuff and doing my nails in elaborate fashion. Lemme show you (in a roundabout fashion, by linking to them on instagram, because the WordPress App isn’t letting me upload pictures)
“Galaxy Nails,” they look like nebulas, but I assume something is wrong with the delightfully alliterative Nebula Nails, so I’ll compromise and call them Cosmic Nails.

It’s not baseball without crafting and the unrivaled craft of this postseason is finger stripe gloves, a tribute to the only issue I have with Dick Grayson’s return to his Nightwing persona: his new costume’s lack of finger stripes. I’ll make a tutorial on these soon, but I haven’t perfected the process yet.

I’m gonna go bite off my elaborate nail polish waiting for the Tigers to defeat evil. Byes!

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First Time in the Files, 1-2 Deep Throat

Sorry about missing yesterday everyone! I was tired for the first time in like 2 months and I just let myself go to bed early and then sleep late. I was super groggy today, but sleep is good, right?

So epidode 2, the first proper episode, unless you follow Joss Whedon’s theory that the first six episodes are get to know you episodes and you can only start doing cool stuff after that. We’ll see if Chris Carter has the same theory, but either way we’re into the series now, including the title sequence, which I either ignored or wasn’t there last episode. I think I like it, it’s creepy in a good way.

Lemme see, lists are fun, I haven’t done a list in like, 20 hours or something. Let’s do one of them!

6 Very Cool Things About This Episode

  1. Scully has gotten very glam since the Pilot. Actually, both leads have much better hair and makeup in this episode. I noticed how nice their hair was at least once every five minutes. Nice hair is very important to me. David Duchovny was maybe as high as tier two hair (there are five tiers, one is the best and five is Cousin It) It’s a really close call. He was somewhere between Matt Murdock (top of tier three, except he’s blind so it doesn’t count against him) and Eric Matthews (low on tier two). For reference, tier one consists of Scott Summers and Dick Grayson.
  2. Scully has been upgraded to actual name status. When she leaned over Dr. Infodump and said “Sucker” I was like, “you have a million pounds of spunk and are not quite completely Babs, though I’d still believe it if your said you were a clone” and that was that, she gets to be Scully from here on out unless she really pisses me off.
  3. SETH GREEN. I actually screamed “OZ!” when Mr. Claire Grant showed up. It was nice to see him! Only a Mark Sheppard cameo would have been more reassuring. Also how oddly prophetic his lines about Desert Storm II were.
  4. It was impressive how relevant the whole conversation about the protection of national secrets felt, and also a little sad, considering how little the world seems to have changed in the nearly twenty years since this episode aired.
  5. The realization that I really want Babs, Hermione and Scully to form a club where they can all be super smart, always do their homework and use it to trap the guys around them, and look pretty fabulous after staying up all night.
  6. Scully talking to someone named Gail on the telephone. I’m assuming this was Gail Simone and it’s confirmation of my “Scully is a Babs clone” theory.

6 Weird Things About This Episode

  1. The Military guy who showed up at the beginning and end. Is he the same one from the pilot? he looked different, but I’m not so good with faces that I’m certain.(you can most certainly answer that. I can’t look it up, I have limited resistance to spoilers)
  2. The obnoxious reporter, but he’s actually a security guard guy. He was weird and a little bit Jimmy Olsen-esque. Also, I could totally hear his last line, “It is you who have acted inappropriately” being said by Actor Ozai. I laughed for like 5 minutes at that
  3. Calling everything UFO technology. It just sounded awkward and like maybe the writers forgot the word extraterrestrial.
  4. Why nobody asked for ID when the Men in Black showed up.
  5. How the formerly missing test pilot was wearing a Packers sweatshirt and I practically growled at him. I like to think I’m past all that football nonsense, but clearly I’m not so lucky.
  6. Scully taking Jimmy Olsen captive. She was nervous and jumpy to the point where I expected something to go terribly wrong. She did everything right, basically, as far as I understand these things, but the nerves were plain on her face (because Gillian Anderson is amazing) and it made me worry that something would go wrong before she could recover her shambling partner.

1 Crazy Theory

  1. I think Dr. Infodump has been replaced. Blame Bendis for this, but I really think something happened when he was in that holding facility. I know they gave him amnesia, but if I was running that kind of mysterious operation I would do everything I could to rein in the crazy FBI agent. So basically, Dr. Infodump, I am watching you and your convenient amnesia (convenient amnesia is the name of my next band).

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To everyone I’m missing

Dear Nora, Maddy, Mom and everyone else I no longer see on a daily basis,

I miss you a bunch, things are super boring around here without you, at least they were until today.  Apparently my Mac Gawain is even more awesome than I thought! In fact, Gawain’s been a TARDIS in disguise this whole time*! Of course, he was a little rusty from traveling in a linear fashion for so long, so he’d lose his grip and start to pull me back every time I tried to take a picture.

So I took my TARDIS and flew off to the first place any traveler in time and space would go, the Batcave!

I'm really proud of myself for not punching Damian in the face, or chasing after any other Robins.

I didn’t expect Batman to actually be there, so I got out double time, then headed out to take in the sights of Gotham.

Immediately after this, I put Gawain into stealth mode and took a tour of Arkham. Dropped a crowbar into Jason's old cell and poked joker in the eye.

Gotham’s nice and all, but a little crime-ridden for my tastes. So I thought I’d head to somewhere a little brighter and cleaner, Metropolis.

This is me doing my best Lois Lane imitation. I tried to get ahold of Lois, because she is my spirit animal and how could I not, but she was out and Clark answered the phone, and I can’t lie to Superman, so I just said something about needing to go and left.

I thought a good way to wrap up my travels would be to just pop in on the Earth King, but there was something about Bosco and handstands and a fractured bone, so I just did a little Batsui in front of the palace and headed home.

It was a great trip! I wish you could have come!



PS: Gawain said I visit too many fictional places and that he’d need a break before he took me anyplace else.

*Or I may have discovered the part of photobooth where I can post myself in front of any picture I can dig up with my internet connection and a little Google Fu.

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What Cheesecake Really Costs Us: the DC Reboot and why I own a bottle of Twilight perfume

I haven’t posted about the DC Reboot yet, I’ve been out of work and the books I was planning to pick up seemed like an unnecessary expense. I can’t really write about something I haven’t read, so I haven’t had anything to say.  Then last week’s comics hit and threw the ball into a court I’m a little more familiar with: the visual treatment of women in and around comics.

If you haven’t yet read Laura Hudson’s incredible editorial on Comics Alliance about the treatment of Superheroines in the DC Relaunch, do yourself a favor and check it out.  There have been plenty of other reactions to last week’s comics. Today, an interview with a 7-year-old, via io9 sparked off a discussion on Twitter today about whether it was appropriate for the writer of that piece to be showing pictures like the ones in question (from the T rated Red Hood and the Outlaws) to her child.  I think it’s fine for her to use them as a teaching tool, perhaps because I have more memories of my mom talking about Barbie being an unrealistic representation of the female form than I do of actually playing with Barbie dolls.

Thinking about my mom, about Barbies and about unrealistic representations of the female form made me realize have something to say about this topic. I wanna tell you about Christmas last year.

You see, my mom is the Batman of Christmas shopping and she still has us give her christmas lists (due by 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day) because she enjoys the challenge of finding the best price on a set of Rock Band Instruments or whatever. So, while I was putting my list together last year, I added a bottle of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Heroine perfume. It seemed like a great idea because I like a lot of the notes in the scent, I like the idea of helping out the Hero Initiative and I never seem to pull the trigger on buying whole bottles of perfume .

So imagine my surprise Christmas morning when I open a bottle of perfume from my Mom and it isn’t Heroine. It isn’t even a BPAL scent, it’s this. That’s right, it’s Twilight perfume. Volturi Twilight Reign Scented Body Mist in the Romance shade.  Now, I like Twilight a bit, and I would have just laughed it off as a fantastically terrible thing to own if it hadn’t been for my mom’s answer when I asked her why she hadn’t gotten me the BPAL.  “Erin,” she said, “have you seen the picture on that website?”

I hadn’t actually, because I’d read about the perfume on Geek Girl Diva’s blog and she cuts off the picture a bit, making my memory of some generic tough girl with a gun a bit incomplete, see:

Seriously, there are other scents in that line closer to the one I asked for. I already own and use plenty of floral spring scents, what I asked for and needed was something more wintry.The woman in that picture is covering her breasts and her junk and that’s it. When forced to look at the full picture without the distractions of the BPAL website, I’m completely disgusted. Compare it to the Twilight thing on the left, which despite being utter crap as far as perfume goes looks so very much classier.  No wonder my mom chose the one over the other.

And who exactly is to blame for this? No one and everyone. I know Adam Hughes is capable of drawing beautiful women without making them look like porn stars, I know BPAL is a company run by a woman and I assume the folks at The Hero Initiative are pretty darn smart, so why does she look like that? Well, maybe the art is supposed to be a generic comic book heroine and that is what we get in 2010 when we depict a generic female heroine: art that makes my mom think I ignored every one of our discussions about how Barbie is an unrealistic standard of feminine beauty.

This is cost of cheesecake, the cost of the inescapable assumption that depictions of women need to be aimed at the lowest common denominator. Greg Land on the cover of the Women of Marvel trade. Greg Horn’s Emma Frost covers. Star Sapphires. Catwoman. Starfire. It’s the look on my mom’s face when she drew my attention to that picture, her decision to buy a product based on the story of Bella motherfucking Swan rather than one featuring our generic depiction of a comic book heroine.

Whether or not cheesecake is the norm in comic books, it is the face we present to the world too much of the time. I wish I knew how to change that, but refusing to buy cheesecakey things doesn’t seem to be working, so I’m adding my voice to the crowd. I don’t condone cheesecake, it isn’t a defining factor of comics for me, so please stop using it to represent comics.

ETA: I went over time by about an hour writing this, but when the timer rang and I was still in my stride I decided to let myself write until it was done.


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52 Thoughts

I accidentally reread a bunch of 52 today, so let’t see if I can come up with 52 thoughts about that in 30 minutes.

  1. This is all Evan Shaner’s fault, first he posts a beautiful cover for his dream Captain Marvel/Shazam series on Comic Twart and then he links to the first cover in the series with an extended commentary.
  2. Then he won’t say who the girl on the Magic of Shazam cover is, but after a little work I look her up and decide to take a look at her appearance in 52 (which no one mentions, but I remembered)
  3. So I grab my trades off the shelf, I’m working on collecting the floppies (I’ll get to why) but right now the trades are easier.
  4. Now here’s the amazing thing about 52, for me at least, it’s a new and revelatory experience every time.
  5. Seriously. I had next to no idea what the DCU was when I finally gave in to Mookie’s emphatic recommendations and burned through the ENTIRE series in one sitting, but I loved it.
  6. This was before the trades came out so I was reading the floppies, which is important, because the floppies starting doing these amazing little two page summaries of everyone
  7. Between those summaries and the intense and emotional experience that happens whenever you read 52 the DCU managed to get its hooks embedded in me pretty deeply.
  8. So much so that I’m starting to think 52, for all that it seems to be a continuity heavy behemoth is actually a perfect comic to hand to newbies.
  9. I mean anyone is gonna know who Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are, so the premise is a really easy sell,
  10. What happens when all three of the heroes are gone for a year?
  11. It works because none of the people in the comic know who anyone is either.
  12. The writing is superb and they hand you everything you need to know while those with a deeper knowledge of the DCU will get a richer, but not substantially different experience.
  13. I should not have chosen a list for this but I’m gonna continue along my disjointed way.
  14. Seriously, I just caught the Birds of Prey cameo this time around, but I would have understood what was going on with no help.
  15. Also the cameos are a humungous help
  16. You’re always wondering who’s gonna show up next, you think, “isn’t it time for Diana to show up?” or why can’t Nightwing be a main character (I know, that one’s just me)
  17. The other amazing thing about 52 is how serialized it is (I lover serialization, get used to it)
  18. Seriously, I think they knew that it would only work if you had to stop between bits of stories before plunging on to the next one.
  19. That’s why the little summaries are in the floppies
  20. it’s also why commentary happens at the end of every issue, instead of at the end of the trade like DC usually does
  21. The commentary in the trades is worth the price of admission, really
  22. They do a nice job of covering everyone’s angle really nicely, which is vital for such a huge and well run team
  23. Massive kudos to Steve Wacker, editor extraodinaire for this and then following it up with his huge success on the thrice or twice monthly Amazing Spider-Man
  24. Either way, the writers/artists/trade designers manage to make you turn a few pages at minimum to get to the next bit of story, causing an artificial break that simulates to some extent the week people had to wait the first time around
  25. I hate that I had not yet realized how important it is to read serialized fiction with breaks the first time I read this.
  26. Still, the fact that I read the series in less-than-optimal conditions and it’s still one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read in comics is an amazing tribute to the skill of the whole team.
  27. That being said, I totally want to finish my collection of the floppies before I try to make anyone else read 52.
  28. I think that 52 works as a conversion book that way, with the origin stories included.
  29. the commentariy sections of the trades (much as I love them) are a bit inside baseball for new readers
  30. whereas individual issues are not, somehow.
  31. Running low on time, some quick character squeeing then I’m hitting post
  32. out
  33. of
  34. time
  35. out
  36. Holy hell Cassie! I had no idea who you were before this read. I knew what you were, but not who. Aw sweetie.
  37. out
  38. of
  39. time
  40. out
  41. Tim, timmy, timmy, tim, tim, tim, tim you really made Bruce wait a long time before adopting you. I had to rejigger my mental timeline a bit for you.
  42. Also, Tim, your last appearance in 52 will always kill me. Endless tears, bro.
  43. out
  44. of
  45. time
  46. out
  47. Yeah, I gotta read more Captain Marvel.
  48. time
  49. out
  50. of
  51. time
  52. In conclusion, I love 52 and it’s something I can always revisit and find something new, without invalidating my original experience. It’s incredible

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First Time in the Files, 1-1 Pilot

Here we go!

I think I’ll like this show quite a bit. I’m reminded in the first few minutes of a lot of the things I enjoy about Bones, which I’ve watched most of and enjoyed, mostly.  There’s a nice juxtaposition between someone who feels and someone who thinks and in both cases this plays against stereotype. It’s also a procedural and I’m finding I like procedurals (we didn’t really watch them in my house as a kid, so I’m exploring now), especially when you have something like House, Castle or (I hope) X-Files where the writing is crisp and smart.

My major feeling for the first half of the epidsode? HOLY COW IS SCULLY BARBARA GORDON OR WHAT? If you told me that Barbara Gordon regained the use of her legs, got a medical degree, joined the FBI and changed her name to Dana Scully I would believe you 100%. I would also believe that one Mr. Timothy Jackson Drake-Wayne had been at the cloning tanks again. It might be the gigantic pile of B-List Bat-books I read this past spring (mostly Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey), but Scully reminds me of how Oracle appeared in the 90’s and early 2000’s, especially when she’s writing at her computer, which had the feel of a routine in the making to me. She’s also got a lot of Bab’s spunk, which is good because I’m not liking Mulder much yet.

Seriously. I may just start calling Scully Barbara Gordon all the time.

So. Babs.

This is where the comparison breaks down for me. Though my feelings about Nightwing are well known, I don’t find David Duchovny all that attractive, which means the Nightwing comparison falls down a bit. There might be some similarities in an optimistic spirit or something, I just don’t know how I feel about Dr. Infodump yet. That was some trip to the department of backstory, dude. It’s nice to know about your sister, but I’m not sure it was handled elegantly enough to suit me. I’ll wait to see if that’s a personality quirk or just awkward writing in a pilot where they have to set up everything.

I do quite like the team though. They play off each other well and if Mulder shutting Scully down when she was ready to jump off a theoretical cliff with him over the dirt on the comatose guy’s foot, he knows how much he needs her.  I was slightly bothered by how quickly their partnership coalesced and how well they worked together right away, but I have a feeling that they’ll either find an in-world explanation for it or it’ll cease to be an issue after a few episodes.

As for the plot itself? It felt pretty standard, though I totally dug that we got no answers one way or the other about whether the murders were because of aliens or something more mundane. I think that’ll be important for this show and I really dig the difference when I was expecting a Scooby Doo ending.

In summary: Scully is Babs and I’m withholding judgment on Mulder until he stops being a total plot device and starts being a character.

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