Thursday, October 24, 2013

A house spelled T-A-R-D-I-S

I'm actually going to start with the non-real hopes, because otherwise I'm not going to make any sense. See, I love little houses from the outside. I have this image in my head of this little single story, four-ish room white cottage on a hillside, with roses climbing up a trellis next to the door. The problem is, on the inside, my dream house is about as big as the Von Trapp house in Sound of Music.

See what I mean? Clearly I'm going to be living in the TARDIS (which is totally an option, by the way).

For the inside of my house, I'm hoping for a library on an inner wall, so that I can paint windows "out" to various of my favorite scenes from books (I know I want the winter lamppost from Narnia, Bilbo's birthday party, and Hogsmeade for sure, and possibly some others depending on what kind of space I have - and I'll probably have to commission one of you to do the drawing so it actually looks like what I want it to...) under which I would build "window seats" for reading nooks. I also want a large(ish) kitchen - final size kinda depends on who all I'm feeding - and a front parlor that probably would almost never get used, but would just be an extra sitting space. Then there would be an upstairs with all the bedrooms (and a second story to the library that's closed off from the rest of the second floor and you can only access by a spiral staircase from the lower floor library - what?! I'm gonna have a lot of books!), with laundry chutes from each room down to a basement washroom that's next to the man-cave, assuming that by this point there's someone to NEED a man-cave. Oh and somewhere in all this mess there's a hot tub, because why not?

As for the rest of the non-real stuff, hmmmm... I'd kind of appreciate legs on the house, like Howl's moving castle, because then I could travel without leaving home (or worrying about finding accomodation). I'd also appreciate a pantry that always has exactly what you need for dinner, though I don't think I've ever read about one of those somewhere.

*sigh* Someday...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dream House and More!

Interesting topic!

I want a large kitchen, something bigger than a galley that has lots of room and cabinet space. I want the kitchen, dining area, and living room to all open and connected so you can see everyone in the other rooms no matter where you are standing.

No fire places!

I want a reading nook, some little nook where I can I put some cushions and read, and I'd like to have a window so I can look outside or bask in the sunlight. A bay window would be great for this, but it's not necessary.

I want a house without a yard so I don't have to work in it but is situated within walking distance to a park. A community garden would be nice too.

Getting into some crazier stuff.

I'd love a wonky staircase. Maybe it's spiral, maybe it's just a zig zag pattern coming out of the wall that is some how able to support itself and you. I'd like something unique.

There is a blue house with purple accents in Pendleton and I WANT it because it is made of awesome.

I want a ceiling that reflects the night's sky.

I want the crazy smart house in that Disney movie! I have no idea what the movie is called, but the girl wakes up in the morning and realizes she didn't pick out clothes for school and a drawer folds out with an outfit and the house says "sensors indicate this is what you would have chosen." I NEED that.

I'm horrible about getting ready for work in the morning. I need a smart house to pick out my clothes for work, cook my breakfast, and pack my lunch while I'm enjoying my nice long hot shower. Also, there's a scene where the kids clean the house by throwing everything on the floor and the house just sucks up all the garbage (presumably to recycle it). Yes, please!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Morwen Doors and Tower Walls

I want the house on the corner of Court and Summit in Bowling Green. I've never actually been inside it, but from the outside, dream house.

My biggest pipe dream on a house is to have a tower. I'm talking full two-story, round tower right there on the house. The upstairs will be my office, the downstairs will be Chase's man-cave. I will paint my favorite quotes about creativity right on the walls in Ravenclaw colors and build curved bookshelves into the walls and no of course I haven't been planning this tower since I was 13, are you kidding?

But more realistically (I want the tower, but it's not gonna be a selling point), I want a big kitchen, with an island and lots of cupboard space and marble countertops where I can make candy. I've had hole-in-the-wall kitchens too many times in my life -- I want something open and big and spacious.

I also want a room that I can designate "The Library" (money to appropriately expand my book collection is, of course, understood), and if I can't have that, I need to have plenty of room for bookshelves.

I want a bunch of random things, too -- a fireplace to hang stockings from, a secret passageway/secret room, lots of quirkiness, a second-to-first-story slide, and if there was room in the backyard for a meditation garden, I certainly wouldn't complain.

In terms of the mystical/magical, I too would like a Weasley clock, but honestly, when I think of magical dwellings, my mind jumps to The Enchanted Forest Chronicles quicker than Hogwarts, and I want a Morwen door. In that series, Morwen is a witch whose house consists of a kitchen with two doors -- one leads to the front steps and one to the rest of the house. The door, in other words, goes wherever she wants it to. If she wants to go to the backyard, it leads to the backyard. If she wants to go to the library, it leads to the library. In other words, Morwen's door makes her house a Tardis. I want a Morwen door.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Bland and the...Whatever the Opposite of Bland is...

Like I said, I've been thinking a lot about my future home, what with the possibilty of me moving out and being on my own actually reachable at this point.

First and foremost, I would like for the home to be located somewhere safe and relatively private.  I don't need prying neighbor eyes...ew...

Secondly, I want a "nerd cave."  Posters of all my geekiness all over the walls, all of my statutes and cool little geeky knickknacks spread out all over it, and an enormous desk where I can draw, write, or work on my computer.  Enormous bookshelves to accommodate my library, a comfy chair in which to read them, and ample lighting.  If it's done right, I'll never want to leave  =)

Thirdly, one of my few complaints about my current house is the size of the laundry room (or lack thereof).  Now, I don't love going to laundromats, but the one thing I did like about them is those huge tables they put out for folding clothing.  I would love a laundry room that has enough space in it not just for my washer and dryer, but also for one of those tables.  Also, lots of storage.

That's another hope/dream:  lots of storage!

Another something awesome would be an outdoor enclosure off the side of the house for my kitties.  Jack-Jack is going stir-crazy being locked inside all the time, so I wouldn't mind paying someone to build an outdoor habitat where I could just let him out and he can roam, climb trees, and run around like he used to.  And they'll be safe from predators that way, too.

Now, for the ridiculousness / awesomeness!  I want a "Weasley Clock."  There's no guarantee that I'll be near to any of your or my family when I get my own place, so I'd like to know how all of your are doing.  Even with all of the technological advances, things slip through the cracks, and one can go from "Hunkey-Dorey" to "Mortal Peril" in less than a second.  There would be hands for all of my immediate family, all of my extended family, all of my pets, and of course all of you.  Hm...I might need more than one clock...

Oh!  Also!  I want the ceiling of my bedroom to have the ability to show me the stars at night, the way they look in the actual sky.  Like the ceiling in the Great Hall at Hogwarts.  I would want it timed to after nightfall and for when I turn off my lights.  In that same sense, it would be great if the ceiling in my living room would reflect the way the sky looked outside.  That way I could get lots of lighting in there if I wanted, and I could know more accurately what the weather is doing outside.  Again, I would want it to be on my will.  I don't want to be watching movies while there's a storm raging above my head.

And a TARDIS in the backyard...with a Doctor to go along with it.  Preferably Doctor #11...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pipe Dreams

This week's topic concerns future homes. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want after I save up enough money and am able to move out of Mom's house. Do I want to have an apartment, or would I rather own something like a condo or even a small house? I know what I want inside said home, but not necessarily what the outside would look like.

So the topic is this: what features would be included in your ideal home? Granite countertops? Walk in closets? Close to work and family? Be creative!

To make things interesting, let's pretend that we're all witches and that the rules of Harry Potter magic apply. This should make it awesome =P

You don't HAVE to pretend that magic exists, but it'll make things more fun.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Related "Research"

Relaxation is hard to come by these days, and yet, this is the time I need it most. Most days I let myself watch something really stupid and uncomplicated on TV while I eat dinner (some one of the channels does Sabrina the Teenage Witch reruns from 6-7: JACKPOT on the brainless zombie-watching front!) I used to read for my de-stressing, and I still do now, but much less. Since the beginning of the year, I've read House of Hades and half of Crown of Midnight. Before school started, I had read at least 75 books, and was on track for making my year goal of 150 (which just seems laughable now, unless I'm allowed to count textbooks). I've found that reading comic books is a good substitute - it doesn't take quite as much brainpower, but still feels like reading. And of course, one of the perks of being in the humanities research fields (especially film) is that I can take a "night off" to watch a movie and still be doing "research" :P

That said, nothing beats a hot bubble bath and a cup of hot apple cinnamon or chai tea. I have had more bubble baths (and cups of tea) this semester than I think I have in the past 5 years or so. For some reason it's the only thing that can make the knot between my shoulders and my near-constant over-tiredness headache go almost completely away!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Going brainless

When I need to relax, I generally need to do something that doesn't require a lot of brain power, like watching a movie or playing a video game. Usually, when I need to relax, my brain is just over taxed, so I need to do something that means I don't have to think about it too hard so my head can just empty of whatever is buzzing around in there. Crafting, reading, or writing don't work because they still require a lot of thought.

Sitting with the kitties help, too, but only when they feel like staying on your lap.

I also like to take long hot showers.

When I was in school, I would get really jittery around finals. One of the girls mentioned that she would have a glass of wine while she studied because it helped her relax. I tried it the last couple weeks of school because I was so jittery that I couldn't study at all. It does actually help with the jitters, though you need to find the balance between the jitters being gone and your head being foggy, because then you can't study much either. :-p

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Relaxing? De-stressing?

I'm not always certain that relaxing and de-stressing are the same thing, so I will share what helps me to remain calm in uncertain situations.

Familiarity:  Similar to Katie, a familiar element in any situation calms my brain.  That element can be music that I know well enough to sing along with, or it may just be items nearby with which I'm familiar.  For instance: I just moved to Birmingham, AL.  I brought two suitcases with me, so none of the decorating elements in my home are familiar.  I was using a vacuum that we'd borrowed from our leadership and noticed that it is the same model as the one used at my previous job.  My housing is completely different, the people around me are completely different, but it's comforting to be able to operate this vacuum without any confusion or frustration.  It's an element of mental ownership.  Any time that I can control something in a situation, even if it's only myself and my brain, I stand a little stronger wherever I am. Some people bake and some people craft, some people just need something they can look at and know, "That's mine."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Crafting and Music

How do I relax? Well, I don't know, I'll tell you if it ever gets a chance to happen.

Okay, but seriously.

When I need to relax (which is basically always), I do one of three things, or three things in some combination.

1. I throw on my Soothing Background Music playlist, which consists of Celtic Women, film scores, and The Piano Guys.

2. I cuddle with Chase (Maggie gagging in the background always helps).

3. I craft. I find crafting to be genuinely relaxing, as long as I have the time to do it. But there honestly is something soothing in cross-stitching and making earrings and whatnot.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

*contented sigh*

I have had anxiety and stress issues since I was a little kid, and as I've gotten older, I've learned what triggers those feelings.  I've also grown to understand them.  This is very important because, in turn, I'll learn what makes me calm as well.

My stress is usually triggered by sensory overload and unpredictability - when I have a lot of activity around me and I am unable to predict what is going to happen.  This is one of the main reasons that I have never enjoyed going to night clubs.  The loud noises, flashing lights, crowded spaces, cramped movement...the combination produces an environment that is very unpredictable and very overwhelming.  Sometimes even family parties can have this effect on me, as well as going out to restaurants.  I have even had to leave a movie because the bass was so loud that it was vibrating in my chest, and it triggered a panic attack.  It's also, most unfortunately, why I refrain from visiting a lot of you.  I miss you guys, absolutely, but the idea of going several hours away, to a completely new environment that I am unaccustomed to, scares me quite a bit.

So, to make myself feel calm and relax, I look for spaces and situations that are predictable and quiet.  I enjoy sitting at home, where I know my environment well.  I enjoy the quiet because there isn't anything to concentrate on.  When I am at a family party and I feel some anxiety coming on, I duck away into the bathroom for a few minutes.  There, it's quiet, and I can regroup and tell myself, "Okay, this is what you're going to see when you leave again..."  I prefer hanging out with friends at someone's house instead of out on the town somewhere.  That way we can just sit and talk.

There are more specific techniques that I use, too, when I'm just feeling generally stressed and not necessarily anxious.  For example, I love a good bubble bath.  Bath and Body Works has a fairly new scent line out called Eucalyptus Spearmint, and it's a stress relief scent.  I have used the body wash and foam bath before, and to my surprise, it actually works!  I never used to believe in "natural" or "herbal" cures and remedies, but this stuff seems to do the trick.  The foam bath makes the water feel like it's actually nourishing my skin, like I'm wrapped in a blanket instead of just water.  Warm water has always had a calming effect on me by itself, but this stuff makes it even more relaxing.  Related to this is swimming.  Although the water is cool instead of warm, I love feeling weightless, and yet I'm still working out!  It's a wonderful thing.

And speaking of blankets, I have a minor addiction to wrapping myself in them.  Feeling warm and comfortable are the best anti-stress feelings for me, and blankies do both, especially if they're made out of fleece or fuzzy fabric  =)  

To accompany the blankie, I love to cuddle up with one of my lap-pets.  Oscar and Blitzie are especially helpful in helping anxiety melt away.  Both of them are usually willing to take a nice long nap with me, and I usually feel much better when I wake up again.  They don't appreciate it, though  =P

I'm sure you guys could probably guess some of the other relaxing activities I enjoy:  drawing, reading, writing, watching TV or a movie, etc.  I escape into a world where my troubles don't exist, and it makes it easier to deal with them when I come out of those worlds and face the scary world of reality.  I'm in a bit of a nerd heaven right now with all the good TV that's out:  Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Sleepy Hollow.  Plus Thor 2: The Dark World and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are hitting theatres within the next couple of months.

But, honestly, the most useful de-stressing technique I discovered is one that I don't get to use as much as I would like:  hanging out with you guys.  I know you all probably don't realize this, but you are the first real friends I've ever had, and just being with all of you made me feel so much more comfortable.  Now, with all of you several hours away, I find myself feeling more and more alone.  I don't know why it's so difficult for us to keep in touch, with all the modern technology at our fingertips. Maybe I'm just scared that we're drifting, and talking to you guys would mean facing that reality.  I could go on for a lot longer about this, but I won't.  It's supposed to be an anti-stress post, after all.  But yeah, that's one of my best relaxation techniques.

As always, I love you guys, and I miss you.  I can't wait to read the rest of your posts.

<3

Friday, October 11, 2013

Relax and take a load off!

Alright ladies, since we've all been complaining about how busy we are recently, why don't you tell us how you like to relax and unwind. Maybe a bubble bath with a glass of wine (which sounds AWESOME right now, btw)? Perhaps a nap, or a television show you don't have to think about (so probably not OUAT lol)? What is your trademark way of getting rid of stress?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Academic Creativity

You are all so creative! I have to admit that while I have lots of ideas for fanfiction I almost never follow through, for two reasons: 1) I'm mostly interested in what happens NEXT, not so much in the what happens on the side, or before, or whatever, and 2) I have a strong aversion to writing AU/anti-canon. So, for example, I had this huge, really awesome idea of a fanfic for the sequel of Thor forever ago. Since I only have a few pages written and it comes out next month I can guarantee you that's never gonna get finished. Also, I don't have time, but you knew that already.

In some ways, this makes me feel like a bad fan. I mean, I look at all these fanfiction that people come up with and I think "I could do that!" I see somebody's cosplay or cute little crafts on Pinterest and think "I love that! I should do that!" And it never happens. I sometimes feel like this somehow makes me a lesser fan than all the rest of you. Like, somehow, I love the thing less because I can't make myself follow through on these physical representations of that love. It's kind of depressing.

But the truth (and what I try to focus on, when it gets me down) is my kind of fandom is a different kind of fandom from yours. Instead of making beautiful arts and crafts, or stories to express my love of a thing, I take it apart and find out what makes it work. I've always had the attitude that if you love something, you should find out everything there is to know about it, and this is kind of an extension of that. So, for example, I'm presenting a topic proposal in my film musicology class tomorrow, and I've found a way to work in my love of the TV show Sherlock: I want to do a character study of Moriarty from a sound perspective and look at why he is such an effective villain, as well as what the music/soundscape does to support him in that. I have about four different angles to use for analysis, and the more I look at it, the bigger it gets. It is absolutely FASCINATING guys! It gets me excited, and it is still a way of being a fan, and that's all that matters, right?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Projects!! LIFE!!!

I have a couple, one is much more huge than the other. In the interest of organization I will explain the less massive one first.

Fanfiction: Firefly/A:TLA crossover
I linked most of you to a blurb snippet on Facebook that I wrote as a bit of an intro to the universe. I have bits and pieces here and there but not a plan for conflict climaxes. When my other project is done, maybe I'll work on it.

LIFE project: MY SISTER GOT MARRIED AND MOVED TO LOUISVILLE!! 
I stayed up for four days finishing our bridesmaid dresses, 8 hours of sleep total. That's why I failed to post the Tuesday prior to the 21st. Then we spent the next half of the week preparing for the wedding, with its execution on Saturday. Then we spent 2 days taking care of cleanup and driving home. Then we moved Rachel and David to Louisville. That's why I failed to post the Tuesday prior to the 28th. Then I prepared for my current project:

I STARTED MY MISSION AND WE WERE SENT TO BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA!!!!!! 
 We arrived in Ohio for training and learned of our teams and assignments at dinner on Friday. I was sent with a team of all girls which I am thankful for, because I do not need to be distracted by bold and beautiful men. Training continued until Sunday when we were commissioned and it was announced to the world where we were being sent!

We packed and left Ohio on Monday morning and reached our destination today! We hit the ground running and have already received appointments to interview for jobs! We expect to have our apartments by Thursday.

My team consists of 8 girls total, split into 2 households of 4 and I am ridiculously thankful for my team, they are all wonderful and we work very well together.

Oh! And my sister and her husband were sent on a team to Dallas, TX!

So that's my current project! I'll keep you updated as we go! Love you love you!

Oh, and here's pictures:

Fanfiction FTW

I have to admit that while I don't comment very often, I do read all of your posts!

While fanfiction is definitely my most common area of fan works, I'm rather proud that I've been branching away from Harry Potter recently into other fandoms.

For Once Upon a Time, I have a RedCricket (Ruby/Archie) fanfic that was surprisingly popular as far as my fanfictions usually go. And I got several reviews from people who said they didn't like RedCricket, but they ship it now. So, I'm very proud of that.

I also wrote a fanfic for Dragon Age, which is a video game. In the game, you discover that one of your traveling companions is heir to the throne. You can choose either to instate your friend to the throne, leave the current ruling Queen on the throne, or convince the two of them to marry. I choose the third option because the two characters each had qualities the other lacked, and together they make an effective ruling team. However, this choice seriously pisses off your companion (because he's not fond of the Queen, and she's the daughter of a man who is responsible for the deaths of a lot of people, one of which is extremely personal to your traveling companion). Even after you save the world, he's still pretty pissed at you. And then, in the companion game, you meet up with him again, and he's actually pretty friendly. And I thought "hmm... I wonder what happened to make him change his mood" (other than the game developers not wanting to code the character for different emotions). So the fanfic is the companion and the queen growing together, learning about each other, and falling in love. That sort of thing.

I've had a number of other fanfics for other fandoms in mind (like the Oblivion movie), but they haven't come to fruition yet. Still, it's rather exciting to be trying new things.

As far as Harry Potter goes, I'm currently working a project involving Harry being sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. Basically, he's the same Harry we know and love, but he's in a different house and interacting with different people. I plan to go through the first two books and rewrite the events according to Harry's house change. It's exciting for me because I get to learn more about Blaise Zabini and Draco and a reinvented Terence Higgs. So, it's fun, though I'm being a little slow in updating.

Also, I have two Next Gen Rose/Scorpius fics, which I count as branching out because I don't usually write Next Gen.

As far as physical crafts, I'm working on some Harry Potter stuff for Christmas gifts. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Projects? What's a Project?

Oh, the projects that I have in mind...and don't have time for...

Most recently, I've been going through my old drawings of my characters for whatever various story, fanfiction, or fanart ideas I've had in the past.  As all artists know, we get better the more we practice, and as I was looking back at my initial character designs, I couldn't help but be a little disgusted.  I was lacking in technique like nobody's business, and some of my ideas were just ridiculous.  So I decided to go back and re-design my stuff.  I'm not saying my technique is perfect now (far from it, in fact), but it's certainly better than it was at the initial design stage.  The project slowed to a halt right now, what with school and all, but I'm hoping to get back to it a little bit in December when I'm between semesters.

I have ideas for themed card decks, too, but that is WAY down the line...like Harry Potter, Super Mario Galaxy, Banjo-Tooie, Firefly,...there are many more, I promise you.

Then there's Christmas presents, which are a project in and of themselves.  Which reminds me, some of you have not answered my Facebook post!  I need, from you, your favorite neutral color (i.e., black, grey, brown, navy, etc.) and your favorite non-neutral color (i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, or variations thereof).  You CAN tell me two neutral colors, but not two non-neutral colors.  Unfortunately, that's not the way these things work  =(  They will be seen together in a something that you will all be receiving for Christmas, so keep that in mind.  So far I have received answers from Cassie, Anne, and Heidi.  Tori and Maggie, I still need answers from you, please-please.

And then, of course, there's the Oz/Wonderland stories I've been working on for about three or four years.  I am hopelessly stuck on Wonderland right now, and even a little bit on Oz.  I think I know what I want to happen, but I can't decide, and it's driving me crazy.  I've tried the whole, "let the story talk to you and exist on its own" the way some of you do, but it's just not working for me.  I don't know that I'll ever have these stories done, especially now that I keep drifting off into a trilogy where I also incorporate Neverland.  This is going to be another one that may have to wait until I'm all settled in with life (like, after I get my certificate and a job to go along with it).  To try and mitigate things, I've tried designing my characters, but that's gone terribly as well, so I don't know what to do. It's on the back-burner, like I said.

As always, I love and miss you guys.  I hope everything is going well, and I look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fanfiction is a thing I do

Okay, so I think all of you are aware that I write fanfiction. I've been writing fanfiction since 2003, so a full decade now, which, wow, that took a moment to sink in. Geez.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, my main fandom is Harry Potter, and I am pretty proud of the fact that, in my little corner of the internet, I'm pretty well known and respected as a fanfiction author. I checked my author stats recently, and I had over 12,000 hits on my stories in September alone. I've won some ficfest competitions, and, good gracious it's a small world, the other day Chase was talking to a coworker who admitted to reading HP fanfiction, and when he asked if she knew of Realmer06, her eyes lit up with recognition, and she was a bit starstruck to discover I lived about five minutes away.

(Have I mentioned that Chase got a job here in Fredericksburg so we are officially no longer long distance? I'm super excited about that, but I've been AWOL for a couple weeks, so I can't remember what I have and haven't said.)

Anyway, so yeah. I am pretty damn proud of my little tiny bit of internet fame, and my current project is one I'm really excited about.

I have this habit when I write of always trying to fit everything into the same universe, so that the Percy I write in one story is the same Percy I write in another. It's a compulsion I have. Anyway, over the past five years or so, I wrote a huge Next Gen trilogy about Rose and Scorpius and Albus (I'm well known; I never said I was particularly fast about getting things published), and because so many cousins made vague appearances at one time or another, and I wanted to be consistent, I started to develop my little headcanons of things.

This grew and grew until I had charts and timelines and birthdays and age gaps, at which point I said, you know what? I should just write all this into a project.

And that's what I've been doing for the past year or so. The project is called Pieces: A Story Cycle, and each Next Gen kid gets a chapter, a moment if you will, about what defines them and makes them who they are. I've got everyone clumped into cousin groups, and eventually, I'm going to write longer off-shoot stories like the massive Rose/Scorpius trilogy that started it all, for the rest of the Next Gen kids, too.

My goal is to make this a project that people can be as immersed in as they want. If they want to read everything, go for it. But if a person is only interested in Scorpius as I see him? They can just read Scorpius's moment without missing anything.

I've linked up above to the story if you're at all interested in how I've come to see these characters we know next to nothing about. All the stories on this particular site link in to this specific universe. The stories span from Deathly Hallows to the time between the epilogue to far into the Next Gen's timelines. Honestly, there's something for everyone, and I really am very proud of that.

Also! Tangentially related, I started an Etsy shop, where I sell (supposedly) a lot of my HP craftiness! So that's been fun. :)

Fan Works

I was supposed to pick a topic and I forgot! This week, I want to hear about fan works that you have done in the past (maybe one you are most proud of) or something that you are planning on doing or working on right now (if you are not one of us in school and have the free time). It can be fan fiction, crafts, videos, whatever. Tell us about it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh yeah, that.

I am allowing myself TEN MINUTES to write you guys an update before I go back to deciding which 16 crucial words to delete from a max 500 word paper, and reading 200 more pages before Friday.

School is going as well as can be expected and at the same time kicking my butt. A paper a week is still killing me, especially since once I'm through with research I usually need at least 5 drafts to get it into academic language. Right now I'm see-sawing between needing to add more words to be more specific so I don't get annoying questions about things that I didn't look into (because, seriously, I CAN'T BE AN EXPERT IN A WEEK! I am not Tony Stark!) and needing to cut at least 16 words to make it under my word count. BLURGH!

Otherwise, though, classes are going well. I got to present on Sherlock in my Film Musicology class and it was awesome. I keep getting really good ideas for my own research, but of course I don't have time to work on that right now. Heaven forbid I be doing original research in an area I'm actually excited about! We're still talking about searching in Z-401, though we've moved from search engines (like Google) to commercial databases (like Ebsco)! I am learning SO MUCH in that class *sarcasm*. But hey, at least it's not a ton of extra work right?

The biggest news here is that I got a job! I'm working 12 hours a week cataloging scores for the music library. This is the ideal position for me - it gets me valuable experience I can put on my resume and gives me practice at something I didn't get to catalog much at my old position. It'll also give me a little bit of spending money - minimum wage in Indiana is way higher than minimum in Ohio! At first I was concerned that it might be too much with everything else, but I'm finding it really nice to have a couple hours a week where I can do something that I know I'm pretty good at, that distracts me from the pretty much constant feeling of a sour stomach from nerves, and that I have no chance whatsoever at getting an F on!

And that's it, time's up! I hope you're all doing well (I'm writing this three days early, so far it's just Katie's post) and I hope we don't have weeks like last week too often!

EDIT: Remember how I said everything was fine? (Okay, fine-ish. Okay, not really fine, but I'll live.) Well that was until somebody decided to shut down the government! Because, apparently, government shutdown means EVERYTHING, right down to the Library of Congress website. I mean, I get that you can't get in the building, but they TOOK DOWN THE FRICKIN' WEBSITE! That's, like, 90% of my sources for original research! (We do have others but none are nearly so comprehensive.) Every paper since the first week has included at least one manuscript from their digital resources. Now, normally, I prefer to stay out of politics, but I draw the line when it starts interfering with my HOMEWORK! (As a side note, this isn't the only class that's affected - I had an email from a professor of another class that there was a section of our homework we wouldn't be able to do if we hadn't started yet, so just skip it.) I'm not siding with anyone (personally I think they're all being morons for not being willing to compromise on SOMETHING) but will somebody, PLEASE, put the right people in time-out until they stop sulking and WORK THINGS OUT?!?! (I also fail to see how punishing those of us who have nothing to do with the process by, for example, impeding our research and making us fail an assignment, is going to get anything done. Let's punish the idiots that got us into this mess instead! I'd suggest starting with a docked allowance - that seems to work on others who typically behave in this manner!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful

Yay, catch up week. Nothing new is going on with me. I'm still working my temporary job, and things are going as well as they could be. I finally watched "Oz the Great and Powerful" the other night. I was hesitant to see it since I'd heard so many negative things about it, and I'm sad to say I wasn't wrong in my expectations. I wanted to post my review of it because there are just some movies that are made that make me wonder how anyone could have thought they'd had a good storyline.

The main problem with Oz the Great and Powerful is the main character (Oscar, or Oz for short) is ultimately unlikable. We are introduced to him as a con-artist. He works as a magician and takes more than his fair share of the proceeds, is flippant with his helpers, and is constantly winning over women in ways that are just insulting to the intelligence of women.

SLIGHT DEVIATING RANT

Every single girl he comes across is given the identical music box and is told it was the possession of his deceased grandmother who fought in a painfully obvious made-up battle in a war that took place when women weren't allowed to fight. Really, due? This works for you? Where do you find these brain-dead women?

There were reviews that claimed this movie as incredibly sexist, mostly because the three most powerful women in Oz are looking for a man to save them. While I have no desire to jump on that bandwagon, Oscar's come-ons make it hard for me not to question the mindset of the writer. 

Oscar's plays shouldn't work, but they do. And the fact that these women actually believe such ridiculous and obvious lies makes me wonder. Did the writer think this would be funny? Because it's not. It just makes me want to gag myself. I was jumping up and down in my seat when Glinda finally entered the picture because she's the only woman he puts the moves on who doesn't fall for it.

SLIGHT DEVIATING RANT OVER

Oscar gets a little credit when his long-term sweetheart appears. Turns out she's been offered a proposal in marriage, and she came to get his thoughts on the matter. He tells her to accept the proposal on the grounds that she deserves better than him. But this otherwise applaudable moment is brought down with the girl's insistence that she believes he could be better if he wanted to be. The fact that she knows all of his dirty secrets and still wants him because she believes he could be better is just too reminiscent of women in abusive relationships. I want that girl to run out of there and never look back.
Due to Oscar's nature with women, an unhappy boyfriend appears with the intent to rip him limb from limb, and Oscar escapes by getting into a hot air balloon that is sucked into a tornado that takes him to Oz. Once there, he discovers there was a prophecy about a wizard coming to Oz from a far away land who will save the kingdom from the wicked witch. Naturally, everyone believes Oscar is this man.

Obviously this is supposed to be a redemption story, but one of the flaws is the redemption takes too long. Oscar starts his journey in the land of Oz with the same greedy, womanizing nature he's had the whole beginning of the movie, fully taking advantage of whom the people believe him to be. As a viewer, I don't like him, I don't like his actions, and I cannot enjoy a movie where I want to slap the main character every five seconds.
About halfway through the movie Oscar finally meets up with Glinda who is the only person in Oz who sees him for exactly who he is and isn't afraid to let him know it. Glinda knows he's a fraud, but she also knows the people believe in him, and she knows that belief can go a long way. She convinces Oscar to help her rally the people so they can be led against the wicked witch to take back the throne.

(This is why the sexism argument doesn't work for me. It's Glinda's quick thinking and ingenuity that saves Oz. Though she needed Oscar's training in illusion and misdirection to do it, and just because she steps into the background and let's Oscar take all the credit, does not mean that she wasn't the one pulling all the strings all along. Oscar never could have been motivated to save Oz without Glinda's guidance, and there's no way he could have faced the wicked witch one on one and cast her out as Glinda does. The way I see it, Glinda is the real savior here, Oscar's just a tool.)

Glinda and Oscar work together, and when he has the chance to chicken out he sticks it through, and he even manages to make some friends. Things turn around for him, and this is the place where his character-changing redemption should come through, but ultimately the redemption story falls flat because of a certain wicked witch.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT

When Oscar arrives in Oz, he meets a young witch named Theodora. She believes him to be the prophesized wizard and is excited to take him to Emerald City. On the way, Oscar wins her over and, according to some online speculation, may even sleep with her. After one night of meeting this man, Theodora is convinced the two of them are going to spend the rest of their lives together. This is very awkward for Oscar since of course he wasn’t intending on anything but playing her. He does nothing to disillusion her however, and brushes the whole thing off with the notion that she’ll forget all about him once he gets as far away from her as possible.
Later, Theodora's sister, Evanora (and current caretaker of Emerald City), lies to Theodora and alludes that Oscar had spent that night with her. Theodora is crushed, and in a moment of anguish, Evanora convinces Theodora to curse herself so that all the pain she is feeling (along with all the goodness in her) will go away. Theodora agrees, and as her heart is "withered away," she becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

It is hinted that Theodora had some wickedness in her to begin with, but all we see of it is one instance where she gets angry and lets a fire ball lose. This does not exemplify wickedness, just a girl who has trouble controlling her emotions. Ultimately, Theodora is characterized in near complete innocence. Her transformation can be seen as pure manipulation on the part of Oscar and Evanora. And that's why the redemption story doesn't work.

Theodora's transformation from an innocent young woman to the wickedest witch there ever lived does not endear me Oscar in the slightest. Regardless of any other factors, he is at least in part responsible for what happened to her. He chose to play with the delicate feelings of a na├»ve girl and then cast them aside as though they meant nothing to him (as he has done with countless other women), and he never owns up to this fact. The movie may end with him making friends and becoming a generally more likable person, but the fact that he puts the moves on Glinda at the end of the movie just reinforces the sinking feeling that he ultimately changed very little from his time in Oz.

SPOILERS OVER: IT IS SAFE TO CONTINUE

The movie completely neglects to do the frame story where Oscar would wake up and realize he had been dreaming and that all the key people in his life had been in the dream. I think if the movie had done this, a lot could have been accomplished in the way of his redemption. Perhaps he goes after his sweetheart (whose double is Glinda in Oz), or apologizes to his working partner (who doubles as the monkey he befriends) for treating him so horribly. He could even own up to the women he's been manipulating, which would show at least some understanding of how his womanizing actions were wrong and could make up at least a little for what happened to Theodora.

The movie does have elements of a dream, such as him putting the china girl doll back together being reminiscent of the cripple girl who saw his magic show and asked him to make her walk. But without the frame story where we see how his ordinary life changes, we don't ultimately see him learn from his experience in Oz. He changes, yes, and grows. But has he truly become a different man, one the audience can like? Does he truly embody "goodness" as Glinda claims? Does he become the "great man" the people of Oz were looking for and the audience was expecting by the end of the movie?
The ultimate answer is no. The movie does have some good elements, but the redemption story is too week for those elements to follow through. And that's why the movie falls on its face. Its namesake simply doesn’t hold.