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.

Post-DragonCon Recap

Every year I go to DragonCon with specific plans. Every year I come home from DragonCon having had an amazing time without following those plans. Sometime soon I’m going to start a page of tips for conventions, not just DragonCon. There are just so many basic things that apply to any convention.

Anyway. While, thanks to someone deciding that another Star Trek convention needed to happen (and on Labor Day weekend), there were not many Trek guests, there were plenty of Trek panels. I went to at least one Trek panel per day. I think I went to more Trek panels this year than I have in all the previous years combined. It was great! There were panels that were more academic in nature, looking at economics and various sciences, and the more fan-based panels. All of the ones I attended were great. It was a lot of fun and they were quite informative.

Of course there were other panels and events. I wanted to get into the Charlie Cox panel at 10a on Friday, but between the elevator and loosing track of time, I didn’t make it. Luckily, they showed it on DCTV, and someone asked him what I was hoping to ask: how did he learn to act blind so well? He worked with a man who has been legally blind for 20 years. He observed him doing everyday things. This taught him that his eyes should not look ‘dead’, which is why he is always ‘looking’ somewhere. That made me so happy to know! I was tempted to try to get to his panel Saturday morning, but decided against it. I had my answer. While it would have been cool to be in the room, it wasn’t enough of a reason to go.

Friday afternoon I got to be in the room with two amazing people: Gigi Edgley and Brian Henson!!!! They did a Farscape panel that was a joy to be in the room for. Gigi is such a fangirl over Henson and Farscape. It was so cool to see someone who was part of the main cast fangirling out over the show. Brian said, among other things, that they are working on writing a Farscape movie, and are trying to get it right, which is why it is taking so long. When he said that, there was a feeling of relief in the room, as well as an unspoken “Take your time. We’ll wait for a good movie!”

Saturday was a lot of fun. I decided on Friday that I wasn’t going to do the parade. I have been in it for 6 straight years. It had become something that I felt I had to do instead of wanting to do. I’m glad I decided not to. I’m excited to do it again next year and to get at least one costume done for it. Hopefully I’ll have two options finished by then.

Instead of the parade, we had some fun. My hubby figured out a few years ago that the best time to go to the dealer’s room was during the parade. So many people are either in the parade, watching the parade live, watching the parade on DCTV, or asleep that not many (relatively) go to the dealer’s room. He was right. I’ve seen that room busier on a Monday than I did Saturday morning. It’s nice to know that the option is there, but I doubt I’ll be doing it too often.

After that, hubby, myself, and a friend headed down to the Artemis setup to be a part of the crew for a time. It was so much fun. We were destroyed fairly early in our first run, so they reset it and let us have another go. A few people switched places and our friend was Captain. He had done this before and it showed. Everything ran much smoother and we got a lot done. It was so much fun! Also, the three of us showed up in original series uniforms. 😀

That night was my panel where I was told by everyone that I did quite well. I felt so nervous during my presentation, but the Q&A part was a breeze. It went over quite well with the audience and I did what I always hope my work does, informed people about Deaf Culture.

Sunday was a day of fan fun. Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and comic books. So many geeky discussions. It was wonderful. The geeky discussions extended into Monday. That was assisted by the fact that we did not have to check out until Tuesday. If you can afford the time and money to do so, I highly recommend it. We were able to go to every panel we wanted to. We made another trip to the dealer’s room. We took our time packing. We took a nap before heading out. The time it took for a bellhop to arrive with a cart so we could get everything to our car was minuscule. It was wonderful.

It was another wonderful DragonCon. The one thing that always makes it wonderful is seeing our friends. It’s the only time every year we are able to get together and it makes DragonCon. Even if we all go our separate ways during the day, we all end up at the room at the end of the day and have a blast sharing what we’ve done and just hanging out watching DCTV. We could probably spend the entire weekend in the room and never set foot in the con as long as it is the four of us. But I doubt that’s ever going to happen. The con is just too much fun.

DragonCon Prep: Learning from the past

Every time I go to a convention, DragonCon particularly, I realize how much I’ve learned from the past year. That really is the important thing when going to any convention. When you are preparing to go to your first convention, many, including myself, go to the Internet to see how others prepare for conventions. But honestly, after that, you should pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.

I was just commenting to my hubby how much we took with us that first year. We took a ton of food and drink. I took a ton of costumes and spent a bunch of time walking back and forth between our hotel and the convention to change. We ended up bringing at least half of the food back with us.

Every year it’s different. I’m usually down to 4 costumes at most. Lately I’ve been taking 3 since Monday is also the day we head out, I’m not always in the mood to be in a full costume when driving home. This year I’m only taking 2: my Star Trek science officer uniform from the original series and Osgood from Doctor Who. I’m taking every other piece of Star Trek clothing I own with me to wear, and, of course, something professional to wear for my presentation at the conference.

The big difference I’m personally noticing this year is food. This is our 7th time going to DragonCon. It’s at least my 13th convention overall. I’ve figured out what food I need to take with me and what can be bought there. I’m taking enough snacks so I can snack my way to dinner, which will be something from the food court taken back to the room. I’m going to just have one of each with me each day instead of taking multiples. It’s going to save space in my bag, make the bag lighter, and help me have a steady supply of energy throughout the con.

I’m also planning to go do my academic shopping on Friday. That way I don’t have to worry about saving money for it later. This is going to be so much fun!!! I just hope I have enough money… Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s possible when it comes to DragonCon.

The Annual DragonCon Prep has begun!

It’s that time of year! The packing list has begun. The schedule is out and I have to choose what I want to go to and what is backup. But this year I have something else I need to do: prepare my presentation.

Yes. Yours truly will be presenting at the Comics and Popular Arts Conference (CPAC) at DragonCon! I am going to be presenting Saturday night on a panel about disability and trauma in comics. I am so excited! I just found out that this conference existed last year and now I’m presenting at it. It’s going to be great to meet the other scholars and hear what they have been working on.

But, it’s also going to be so much fun going to DragonCon again! This year is going to be our 7th DC. It’s always fun to be there among all those other geeks/nerds/fans and to see friends we only see at DC. It’s also fun to go to fan panels with a room full of other fans. While I am an introvert, there’s something about DC that isn’t draining. If anything, it can be recharging. Of course I’m going armed with my trusty bottle of St. John’s Wort to take the edge off of the anxiety so I can truly kick back and relax.

I am hoping to be able to post daily from the con about what I’ve done for the day. This is going to be so much fun!

Okay, back to prepping…