DragonCon Day 1

Things definitely got better. I think that’s the longest I have spent away from the room in years. Usually I come back at some point in the day to either watch a panel on DCTV because I couldn’t get in or just to take a break.

Not today.

Once Nathan Fillion’s amazing panel was over, I started my loop of the hotels. First, it was over to the Hilton for “Brit TV Classics You Should Be Watching”. It kind of evolved into “Brit TV You Should Be Watching”, but I’m not complaining. I have a new list of shows to find! Then I had a gap between panels, but the next one was still in the Hilton, so I found a great place to hang out near the front doors. They’ve added a bunch of benches with outlets for people to relax in near the front doors. It was so comfy. I even made a friend!

After that, it was panel to panel to panel. First, “Doctor Who Series 10: In Focus”. So much fun spending an hour talking about this past season. It was a little funny. Everyone said that this was Peter’s best season and it felt like they finally figured out how to write Twelve, but they weren’t beyond critiquing the episodes overall. They’re right, Twelve and Bill and Nardole were awesome, but the episodes could have been better.

I left and pretty much immediately got in line for the “Star Trek: The Next Generation Guests”. Despite the long line, I got a fairly decent seat. I also got to ask the second question of the panel! I asked what it was like working with Howie Seago in the amazing episode “Louder Than a Whisper”. Brent said he was amazing to work with. He talked about how he had to learn to sign and got a little goofy about it, but I could tell there was truth in there and told him he did do really well with his signs. It was awesome to ask them that question!!!!

Then, another long line for “Wig Out: Synthetic Wig Styling”. Dax Exclamationpoint, who competed on season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was one of the panelists!!! They simply fielded questions for an hour instead of possibly telling us what we already know. I don’t know if I picked up anything new, but it was a great panel to be in. If anything, it reinforced much of what I’ve looked up online.

Finally, I went to my first panel of the Comics and Popular Arts Conference, CPAC, “Racial Representation in Marvel”. A friend of mine from grad school was on the panel, so I had to be there. It was awesome. He presented on the differences between the comic and portrayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of Robbie Reyes. It really has me wanting to do two things. First, read that run of Ghost Rider. Second, start working on a paper about the differences in portrayal from the comic to the series of Daredevil and The Defenders. That may be what I’ll present at PCA in the spring!

Now, I’m in the room, enjoying the Friday Night Costuming Contest on DCTV. I want to say one of these days I’ll actually go to it. But it’s kind of become tradition to watch it in the room, same with the masquerade. Yeah, the costumes typically look better in person. But the video gets closer than I could. And we will sit and comment as it goes. Granted, hubby’s not here…yet. When I mentioned that Gigi Edgley was hosting – in basically a bikini top – I got a text that might indicate he’s coming back soon.

There is another CPAC panel I wanted to go to. But it starts in 15 minutes and 1) the costuming contest is still going, and 2) the day is catching up and I’m getting tired. Since I have to get up early to do my make-up and get into costume, I should probably stay here so I can crash easily.

Tomorrow is going to be so much fun!

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Hello from DragonCon!

This has been a rocky start to the con. We got here with no problems yesterday, but it took around 3 hours for me to be able to give blood. They were working so hard, there were just soooooo many people there to donate! But last night was kind of quiet since, sadly, our usual roommates couldn’t make it this year. We did get some awesome food from one of the food trucks at the Sheraton. I’ll make note of which one to make sure they get the credit they so wonderfully deserve.

This morning has not gone to plan at all. I put on the skirt of my Star Trek Fangirl and it doesn’t fit the way I needed it to fit. I’m trying to make it work and it just won’t. This is what happens when you put off working on your costumes and you just want to get them done so you don’t take the time to wear the whole thing to make sure it works. Now I have to figure out how to bring the skirt in without ruining it. This is going to be a pain.

But, after pulling out jeans and my Darkwing Duck t-shirt, hubby and I headed out to, hopefully, get in to the Nathan Fillion panel. 40 minutes before the panel and it was already full. Grrrr. So I come back to the room to watch the live feed on DCTV. After 15 minutes, the feed dies. It turns out that DCTV lost main power (thank goodness for Facebook or else I would have just been pissed). Thankfully, it came back for the last 20 minutes. An hour of Nathan Fillion just asking questions from fans. Today’s the only day he’s here, and that makes me love him even more.

I hope the rest of the con goes better than this. Something else major goes wrong – especially with a costume – and I’m going to be very upset.

The Defenders

On Friday, the culmination of DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage, and Iron Fist – so far – came out: The Defenders. I have been looking forward to this since they announced it. But even more so since Iron Fist. I felt like IF wasn’t bad, but he would be better in this group setting, especially with Luke. If they did it right. But I’ll go into that later.

I’ll keep the spoilers for later and clearly marked. I know not everyone has had the chance to sit down and watch it yet. But between my love of these shows and friends who were planning to marathon it on Friday, I’ve watched it all and I love it! There are so many things to love and some of them aren’t going to spoil anything about the show.

First is the opening credits. Thanks to being a Cultural Studies scholar – specifically Popular Culture – I have many friends who look at the shows differently. One friend wrote and presented a paper on how the city of New York is a character in all of the shows. He explains it much better than I ever could, so I won’t even try. But because of him, I almost squealed with joy over the opening credits. The use of the maps and overhead views of the city in the characters’ silhouettes, which are in the color scheme of the character are brilliant.

Also, when we see each hero on their own, the scene maintains their color scheme. Matt/DD’s scenes are more reds. Luke’s are warm and yellow. Jessica’s are cool and purple. Danny/IF’s are greens; a color scheme I wasn’t quite able to identify in the series, but is clear to me now. They also maintain their own feel, including music. Granted, that’s the most obvious with Luke, but it’s there with all of them. It’s great that they let each character maintain their individuality when they’re not involved with the others. It makes it feel like we’re jumping between shows, instead of just between characters in a show.

Which leads me to the last non-spoilery well-done thing. It’s the combination of the two. When they do the transition scenes between characters, they keep the color scheme. It definitely tones down when it’s more than one character. But if you pay attention, you’ll know who they’re going to next. It’s so well done!

After this point, there are spoilers for throughout the series. Keep reading at your own discretion.

Continue reading “The Defenders”

Comic Books!!!!!

It wasn’t until I was in college that I got the courage up to go down to the comic book store by campus. I initially went to check out the manga section, since this was before bookstore chains actually had manga sections. I am of the generation that would come home from school and watch the Spider-Man and Batman cartoons. I’d only watch Superman if I didn’t have a choice. I’ve never been a big Superman fan.

But anyway, eventually I decided that it didn’t matter what anyone thought, I was going to buy myself comic books! I had been raised with the “comics are for boys” mentality. But I wanted to read these stories. Of course I picked up The Amazing Spider-Man. I was already a fan of the character and it is the main title for the character. Eventually I started reading Uncanny X-Men, inspired by the first movie, and, like Spider-Man, it was the title. Then, because Marvel loves to have stories run across titles, I added The New Avengers and Excalibur (Vol. 3) to my monthly runs. Of course there were the limited stories like House of M and Civil War which would inflate my monthly runs.

After college, partially due to living at home with no comic book store in town or a car or enough money to keep buying comics, I stopped buying them. But I would save up for trade paperbacks and tried to keep up that way. The titles I buy and the frequency have gone up and down over the years. Right now I’m getting back into it.

At the beginning of the month I went in search of America #1, both due to interest in the story and for the Hamilton variant cover. My local shop, Laughing Ogre, didn’t have the variant because of the requirements the distributor put on ordering it (and I can’t blame them at all!), so I picked up the regular cover…along with the first four issues of Buffy Season 11 and an Alexander Hamilton comic.

Today I went on another run up to my new other local shop, Seann’s Anime & Comics. I had to argue with myself over what to get. Well, after I picked this beauty up:

They had the Hamilton variant cover!!! Honestly this is more for having it to reference when I get working on my dissertation later. Seriously, if you haven’t picked this book up yet, you should! This has the potential to be an awesome storyline!

Anyway, after looking around and falling in love with the store, I decided to pick up a few other comics. First, they had $1 comics that are #1 in their series. I saw three I had to grab:

I’ve been interested in Wolverine and the X-Men since I found out about it in researching for my thesis. We just had Laurenn McCubbin at The Ray Browne Conference on Cultural and Critical Studies as the PCSA keynote speaker. She worked on Bitch Planet, and reading this issue has me wanting to hunt down the rest in issue form. I know I can get them in trade paperbacks, but there’s something awesome about having the issues. I’ve also been wanting to read Sex Criminals and the chance to get the first issue for $1 was something I couldn’t pass up! So much so that…

I picked up almost every back issue of Sex Criminals they had. I had to leave two and the most recent due to running out of funds. Also there are a few issues missing here that I need to find, but I am loving it so far! I had a feeling I would since Matt Fraction is one of the authors and his run on Uncanny X-Men is part of my thesis and I’m writing about Hawkeye and his run is a vital piece of that.

So I guess all of this is to say there’s going to be more comic talk coming! Marvel is launching ResurrXtion later this month and I’ll be getting probably three of those titles every month. And who knows, I may get back into Spider-Man again. I got spoiled. J. Michael Straczynski was the writer when I started and it hasn’t been the same since. Anyway….comics!!!

It’s tea time!!!

It’s here! My replacement shipment is here! Finally!

teasplurge

I am so freaking happy! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I was going through and opening each box. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to taste most of these. The Mary Morstan and TARDIS are teas I’ve had and love, hence the large tins. The Tea-Tox is also a refill. Literally, I have the tin and the only other option is this 16oz refill bag. But that just means I have 4 tins worth of refill, so I won’t have to order more any time soon. This is going to be so much fun!

I won’t be going on over each individual tea here. That would get overwhelming. If you want to know what I think about each individual tea, check out Tea Notes, my tea Tumblr. It’s about to get quite busy again. Yay!

16 Years, 1 Year

It’s been almost 16 years since I’ve been in NYC. Almost 16 years since I’ve seen a show on Broadway. That ends now.

I’m at BroadwayCon!

Tonight, I’m going to be in the room!

But before I get my geek on. A little history. Growing up, I didn’t really listen to cast albums. I knew of Broadway. But I knew about it because it was in the culture. Because my Mom loved old musical movies, many of which were adapataions of Broadway shows. it wasn’t until the 8th grade that Broadway became something real. My high school included the 8th grade in all levels of band. Including the trip they took every other year. For the previous few years, they had gone up to Toronto to see The Phantom of the Opera. My parents felt that 8th grade was too young to go on a trip like that, and I can’t blame them. Also, it was expensive and they wanted to be able to afford to help me go my sophomore and senior years, and then do the same for my sister. I appreciate that still.

My freshman year is when things really changed for me. That year in concert band, our director, of our little Catholic School music program, got a medly of songs from this amazing new musical Rent. She even got the cast album out from the library to play the songs for us so we knew how things should sound.

I was in love. I was probably the reason that disc set stayed at the library for so long. I would get it out and renew it and listen to it over and over and over again. It was the first time I wanted to see a Broadway show, badly. But I knew there was no way it was going to happen any time soon. There was no way we were going to see it on our trip. There was no way I could convince my parents to take me. But I was willing to wait.

The next fall, it was announced that our band trip that spring would be to somewhere they hadn’t gone before: NYC. We would be seeing the sights as well as two, not one but two, Broadway shows! We would be seeing Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Les Miserables. I knew just enough to understand how amazing it was going to be to see Les Mis. I started getting that cast album out regularly as well. Every time I listened to it, it made me look forward to seeing it even more.

Both shows were amazing. They made me even more excited for my senior year when we would be coming back. Our director decided it was silly not to just keep going to NYC. There was plenty to see and plenty of musicals to see. Why change that? My senior year was even better. We got to see Stomp and Annie Get Your Gun! We were doing Annie Get Your Gun as our HS musical, and most of the cast and crew was in band as well, so we were extremely excited. Being those freshman who were first exposed to Rent, we tried over and over again to convince her to let us go see it. Those of us who were under 18 already had our parents chaperoning. But, as much as she really wanted to let us, she knew there would be backlash over letting us go, so she didn’t. Luckily, we did drive past the street the theater is on, so we took a bunch of pictures as we went by. Which was costly at the time, because these were the days before digital cameras and smart phones.

So, thanks to my HS band director and my parents for covering the cost that I couldn’t after fundraising, I was introduced to the amazing world of Broadway. But around exactly a year ago, my love of Broadway was reignited. My friend introduced me to Hamilton.

You can look up on here about how much I have fallen for this show. So much that I’m planning on writing my dissertation about it and the fans that have sprung up around it, including myself. It’s part of why I’m here at BroadwayCon. I’m here to get a feel for the convention so I can come back next year and do real reseach.

Yesterday, on the drive over…yes I drove 11 hours; it’s much cheaper than flying. On the drive over, I decided that if I can find a ticket for around $500, I should go ahead and buy it and go. I’m already in the city. I’d be throwing away my shot if I didn’t at least look. Well, there was a ticket for tonight’s 8p show. I bought it. I still can’t believe I’m typing that. I’m going to see Hamilton! Sadly, unless there’s a miracle, I’m not going to be seeing Javi. He’s still out at least until tomorrow. I don’t want him to make any injury worse, but it would have been cool to see him. But I still get to see this amazing show! Finally!

So, for everyone who will be seeing me for the near future, I’m sorry. I’m going to be talking about this for months! Eeeeee!

Still processing

So, The Hamilton Mixtape was finally released on Friday. I’ve listened to it a few times. But I’m still processing it as a whole. It is a mixtape. The songs have been put in a specific order for a good reason. I’m trying to figure out for myself why they are in that order. There’s an article out there that’s about the songs and the album and I’m avoiding it like the plague. I want to try to and figure out the structure on my own before I go reading why Lin put it together the way he did.

Part of why it’s taking me a while is…well there are a few reasons. One of which is the fact that I’m taking a class, have a thesis to work on, and am teaching a class. Or to put it simply, I’m a graduate TA who has no life. The other is because it took me a few times to remember something important: it’s a mixtape! I was listening to each song individually instead of as a whole. It’s probably partly due to the fact that we only had a few tracks to listen to for a while, so I wasn’t thinking of them as one long story. But that is what they are. They are an amazing, beautiful, moving, and awesome story. Now if I can just figure out what that story is…

Music of my life

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Hamilton music. Like many others, I have The Hamilton Mixtape pre-ordered. It comes out on Friday, but Lin-Manuel Miranda has been releasing a track or two here and there over the past couple of weeks. We’re currently at 6 tracks released. And if you pre-ordered it, you get those tracks and pay that much less when the rest comes out.

It is amazing. Some of my favorite tracks are some of the more recently released ones. “Wrote My Way Out” is amazing. It’s got four different artists talking about their own experience and how they “wrote [their] way out” of their circumstances. It’s inspiring to listen to. Usher’s “Wait For It” is my other favorite, right now. I love the song to begin with, and his take is just beautiful. Seriously, just go listen to it now. It’s out there on Spotify. Go. Listen.

The whole thing is just amazing. “Satisfied” has multiple levels of awesomeness, including Queen Latifah. “Helpless” has Ashanti and Ja Rule, which is so beautiful. I feel like I cannot do it justice because I do not know these artists very much if it all. If you go on Twitter, people are fawning over this amazing music.

But…anyway…

Today I tried something new. When I listen to Hamilton in the car, I find myself having moments of inspiration about my thesis. The two are nowhere near related. But I think it’s somehow either inspiring the scholarly side or I’ve listened to it often enough that it’s allowing me to zen out and freeing my mind to think about my thesis. So I decided to see if that’s the case of if somehow driving is a part of it. When you’re on a decent drive, it can be a very zen, freeing experience, mentally. I sat down with the laptop and decided to focus on one section of my thesis and write. I didn’t worry about citing or finding the information in books. Basically I was aiming to lay a solid foundation I can go back through and flesh out with the books and graphic novels and such later.

It worked.

I wrote over two-thousand words this afternoon. And they’re really good words. I recently transferred that section over into Word and formatted it accordingly. I wrote almost eight full pages today. That’s without any citations or headings or anything. Just eight pages of words. It’s giving me hope that I can get at least a solid first draft done by the end of the semester to give to my committee to get feedback on. I think I could get a solid draft of the entire thing done over Winter Break when I have no teaching materials to prepare, reading to do for class, papers to write for class, or grading to do.

So, evidently Hamilton needs to be in my rotation for writing music. Who knew?

I found it!

Earlier I wrote about how I’m approaching writing for my thesis (One-thousand words). I mentioned that Seanan McGuire, one of my favorite authors, posted about how she uses a d10 to track her writing. But I couldn’t find where.

I FOUND IT!

Still excited that I have an awesome use for my ASL d10 my wonderful sis found for me a few years ago! Thank you, Seanan, for that!

It’s been one week

…since the end of DragonCon. It’s interesting going on Facebook. So many people are lamenting the fact that DragonCon is over. Granted, that happened right after the con was done, but it’s picked back up.

It happens every year: post-con funk. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Mine is to treasure those four/five days that happen every year in Atlanta as the unique, fun, amazing experience that it is and look forward to next year.

Some people wish DragonCon could go on forever. For them, it’s not enough that the con goes on for four to five straight days. But I have to disagree with them. Part of what makes DragonCon the wonderful experience it is is that it does end. It is only for a short period of time, which makes us treasure it. If DragonCon went on all year, it would lose that special-ness. It would become part of everyday life. We would lose the reason to go: to escape everyday life and be ourselves for however long we are there.

I am grateful for my annual five days of geekery in Atlanta. I wouldn’t change it for the world.