Flabbergasted Queen!

Flabbergasted. That is the right word for how I am feeling right now. I watched the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody.

O.M.G.

So, I have been a fan of Queen since I discovered their song “Princes of the Universe” was the theme song for Highlander: The Series. Because of that I bought Greatest Hits III. From there I slowly expanded my library to include Greatest Hits and Classic Queen. Then I got to college and found early file sharing sites. Since then I’ve bought every Queen album. I have both DVDs of music videos, the Wembly Stadium concert, and Queen on Fire Live at the Bowl. It is safe to say that I am a Queen fan despite not finding out about the band – outside of “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” – until years after Freddie was gone.

The casting on this movie looks amazing! Gwilym Lee looks and sounds so much like a young Brian May… And Freddie. Rami Malek looks exactly like him so many times during that trailer! And it looks like they’re not shying away from disagreements and showing the whole story. I can’t wait!!!!

Reflections on 2017

Well, the year is almost over. It’s that time of year when we take the time to look back and think about what has happened over the past 365 days. For me, it has been quite the rollercoaster.

Mostly it has been focused around school and classes. I started out the year with a rough draft of one chapter of my thesis done.  A thesis that needed to be completed, approved by my committee, and uploaded by April. Yeah, no pressure at all. But I also was taking a class about the superhero genre in comic books. Yay! I was also studying so I could pass the two parts of the comprehensive exam I would be retaking so I could graduate in the spring. All while continuing to serve as the president of the student organization for Popular Culture scholars and helping to organize our yearly academic conference. There was just a little stress going on.

I buckled down and got my thesis finished. Is it the final product? No. But it is a thesis that satisfied my committee, which was the most important part at the time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start picking away at revising and expanding it so it does reach that final product and I can start looking at getting it published. I went to another graduate student run conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. I got to present my paper on “my descent into Hamilton fandom” and make new friends. I presented my first paper on the intentional representation of Deafness in comics at the Ray Browne Conference on Cultural and Critical Studies, which I had quite the hand in organizing and it went off successfully!

I managed to pass one part of the comps, but still failed the other. I was given one last chance to pass it, and managed to fail again. The bottom dropped away from me. I had worked so hard to get my thesis finished and I wasn’t going to be graduating? How would I start in the fall as a Ph.D. student? I could not take another year off. I had taken so much time off already, I wanted to keep the knowledge coming in. Things finally settled and the fall was laid out for me: I would retake the entire comprehensive exam again in the fall (all three parts), I would also start the American Culture Studies Ph. D. program, I would be able to continue in the spring providing I passed the comps in their entirety. In order to prepare for the comps, it was suggested that I only take 1 class in the fall: theory. I also worked with a wonderful professor over the summer to better prepare for the comps.

Still, I was crushed. I wasn’t graduating with the rest of my cohort, my friends. I had to pass this exam that has been kicking my ass repeatedly in order to graduate and continue my studies. I wouldn’t have a job on campus since I was only part-time. Also, it made sense to simply live at home and just drive up for class once a week. That was great for my budget and for being at home with the hubby. But it also meant only seeing my new cohort/classmates/friends once a week. It sucked.

But as the semester went on, things got better. I gave successful presentations at CPAC and MPCA. I finally passed the comprehensive exams and graduated a few weeks ago. I successfully completed my first semester as a Ph. D. student. I have begun a new research project that I can continue to pick away at in addition to my dissertation work, and has been suggested as the topic of my dissertation, if I didn’t already have one.

There were also the more leisure-fun times. Soon after the year started, I had my adventure in NYC. I went to my first (the second ever) BroadwayCon! I got to be in the same room as so many talented legends, learn so much about Broadway, both in front of and behind the scenes, and enjoy being with fellow fans. And, thanks to giving in to an impulse, I finally went to see Hamilton. It is an experience I will never forget. To really experience the show, you need to see it performed. It truly is a combination of music, acting, choreography, staging, lighting, words… Knowing only one aspect does not paint the entire picture.

Which is part of why I went and saw it in Chicago in September. That and gathering more observations on the audience and the performance. It was completely different and completely the same. That cast has really made it their own. I only wish I could see the tour’s Angelica company in LA.

I had so much fun being on panels and just being at Marcon in May. I got three new costumes together for DragonCon in September. If only I had taken the time to make sure the one fit before calling it finished I could have worn all three! I had a blast at DragonCon, making more friends/professional connections. I even managed to amaze someone that a scholar they highly respect – with very good reason – was on my thesis committee. I watched many cool movies (including seeing Star Wars twice!), and even went to see Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time in the theater. I have met many new people and made many new friends. I have added many books to my shelves – both academic and for fun. I have added so much to my knowledge bank. I have so much more to learn.

I am grateful for all my experiences this year, from the very exciting to the extremely depressing. I am looking forward to everything that next year is bringing. But I’ll save that for another post. For now, thank you 2017 for quite the ride. Bring it on, 2018!

Deadpool.

Do I need to say more?

Well, I’m going to.

Last night I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hubby had gone out and bought Deadpool. When we saw it in the theater, we loved it. There was no question that this was going to be added to our movie library. If I could have, I would have bought it the day it came out.

It’s probably a good thing that there’s a 2-hour drive between me and it for the next 24-ish hours. I could watch that movie over and over and over, and I probably will. We watched it last night and I caught things I missed in the theater. Being able to easily take in everything on screen makes things easier.

But I also thought of the different ways this movie could be used in my class in the fall. There are so many great moments, I’m going to have to start taking notes when I watch. At the very least that opening sequence is going to be used! Hmmmmmmm.

Projects galore!

We are busy little bees here at home.

Like I mentioned before, I have my Dresden Files project all lined up once I get my reading list cleared. Or at least down to one other book. And after I read Skin Game, because I doubt I’ll be able to get started on the project before it comes out. Oh darn. I guess that means I’ll be reading it twice fairly quickly.

Books 1-7 of The Dresden Files
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

But yesterday I gave in and made the project a little simpler. Yesterday the first seven books of The Dresden Files were $1.99 for the Kindle. Now the only books I don’t have on the Kindle are 8, 9, 11-13, and Side Jobs. Wow, I have over half of the series on my Kindle now. Cool!

The contents of the Bond 50 collection
Image from Neuron Syndicate

Next weekend is finally when my hubby gets to do his long planned project: the Great Bond Project. A while ago he bought the Bond 50 collection, which is all the cannon Bond films. He is going to watch all 23 movies over the course of Memorial Day weekend to see how the changing culture is reflected in the movies. I will be joining him for most of the movies. This is going to be fun! It’s probably going to give me a few posts for Ianto’s Black Book.

Dogma

I love the movie Dogma, which I was recently lucky enough to see with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes at the awesome Studio 35 here in Columbus. I think he made some really good points that not all Catholics are willing to admit. But there are two things that really stick out to me:

1 – “She’s not really a woman. She’s not really anything.”
“she’s something, all right.”
I absolutely love it! The reason why in scripture and in prayers the masculine is used is because there is no way of referring to the neutral in Latin, which is what almost everything was written in at one point or another. So everything is translated as He and no one’s really been bothered enough to change it. But it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Somehow knowing that makes it not as much of a big deal as it used to.

2 – “He said that faith is like a glass of water. When you’re young, the glass is small, and it’s easy to fill up. But the older you get, the bigger the glass gets, and the same amount of liquid doesn’t fill it anymore. Periodically, the glass has to be refilled.”
So many people don’t realize this. I think that’s why so many either simply fall away from their respective faiths, or they end up converting to another. As you grow up, you learn more, and it becomes harder and harder to simply believe in things like you did when you were a child. Thankfully I have the Newman Center, which constantly offers opportunities to refill my glass. Everyone just needs to find the right place to get their refills from.

And that’s another thing. Not every church is the same. I can’t speak for other denominations, but I’m sure it’s true to some degree. The Newman Center is a much more ‘relaxed’ church than a lot of Catholic Churches. I say ‘relaxed’ because I don’t want anyone thinking that we do things that we’re not supposed to. We’re just as Catholic, but we have chairs instead of pews and kneelers. We don’t have individual books, just a nice big screen where all the songs and some of the prayers and responses are projected. We have no organ anywhere in the building. We do have a wide variety of musicians that not only include orchestral instruments, but electric guitar and bass, and even a drum set. The community is the defining feature for me. People sit and talk and visit right up to the beginning of Mass. Sometimes the priest has to remind us to keep the sign of peace brief because we’re running late. It’s always packed at the noon Mass and everyone sings. Well the majority of the congregation sings and it sounds so wonderful! But I know that’s not the place for everyone. I had friends in college who hated going to the Newman Center. One absolutely refused to go and the other only went if he had no other choice. My sister has been trying to find a place to go where she lives that has the feel of the parish we used to go to and my parents still do. For every person out there, there is the right church. You just have to go out and find it.

Success!

I have had a great weekend so far. Yesterday I treated myself to a double feature. I went to the movies and saw The Hunger Games followed by The Avengers. Just thinking of that movie gives me a geek-gasm. I want to hug Joss Whedon for that movie. I promise I’ll put up posts about them soon. Today I tackled my room. It’s been a mess and I’ve been feeling penned in the way I had my computer set up. Now it’s a lot more open and just flows a lot better. Just a little work in the closet, move things about a foot, and it’s a whole new room. Tomorrow I’m going to do a ton of laundry and get a few pics done of my finished and almost finished cosplays. I’m going to get so much done this weekend! It’s great!

Red State!!

The teaser poster for Red State, Kevin Smith's latest film
I can't wait!!

I’m listening to Kevin Smith’s Red State of the Union Q&A and it’s got me looking forward to the movie even more than before. It starts off with the trailer, which is only audio on the podcast, and it sounds so creepy and amazing. Then listening to people talk about how awesome the trailer looks and how it reminds them of a 70s horror film makes me want to see it even more! Recently my hubby has gotten me to watch more horror films and now I enjoy them. Somehow I always equated horror with slasher, but they’re so not the same. But with Red State, knowing some of the plot already, it’s going to be an amazingly creepy and scary flick. I can’t wait for it to come out. It’s going to be awesome, and I might even get hubby to go with me.

It’d be interesting if that ends up being the first Kevin Smith flick I’d see in the theaters. I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan, if you haven’t already figured that out. But hubby isn’t so much. So when Clerks II came out he didn’t want to go see it with me and I didn’t want to go alone. Same thing happened with Zack and Miri. But for Red State I’m hoping that he’d be willing to come since it’s going to be the type of film that I know he likes already. I just hope this post isn’t killing my chances. If it does, I’ll just go see it by myself if I have to. I can’t wait!

A Comparison: V for Vendetta

The cover of the V for Vendetta graphic novelI can’t help but compare the graphic novel to the movie. The movie is a very good interpretation of the book. It definitely keeps the spirit of the book, but does make quite a few changes that I still don’t understand. I like how the Voice is over the radio and not on TV. The way that the people think that it really is the voice of Fate and not a person adds to the whole theme and feeling of the time. Then when the Voice of Fate is kidnapped and ultimately changes, it is one small thing that starts the people feeling uneasy and possibly distrustful of the government. You don’t get that feeling in the movie. Also it’s just creepier that he doesn’t kill Prothero, but leaves him broken and scarred.

Also I think the order of the buildings getting blown up should have stayed in the same order as the book. The blowing up of parliament on the 5th of November at the beginning makes a better statement, I think, than making it the last building at the end. Also, I could be wrong, but he doesn’t have quite the same scene with lady justice atop the Old Bailey in the movie. It’s a great scene and really gives us insight into who V is.

The V for Vendetta special edition DVD coverThe movie also really downplayed the reason for the camps. It was basically if the Nazis had come to power in England. Anyone who wasn’t within their definition of “normal” were sent there: blacks, Jews, socialists, disabled, hippies, anarchists, homosexuals. When the movie goes into the actress’ story, it becomes more apparent, but not really until then.

The other major difference I see in the movie and the book that I really dislike is what has happened in the world. In the book it’s a case of nuclear war and entire continents are gone yet somehow Britain still is there. I can’t quite say survives, but it’s still there. In the movie they’ve turned it into this whole virus thing that the ruling party created to isolate Britain from the world. It doesn’t quite have the same impact.

One thing I did enjoy in the movie that wasn’t in the book was his alliterative introduction to Evey. All those Vs just sounded wonderful. But it did come after a much longer fight than necessary, and longer than the book. Also the whole fight scene at the end of the movie and how the leader and V were killed was so unnecessary. It was probably just Hollywood being Hollywood.

Really, in the end, the movie really simplified the book. They took this wonderfully complicated and deep plot that had many characters all weaving the story and stripped it down and changed it to say what they wanted. It’s not the same message as the book, but in the end it is still in the same spirit.

Since the successful adaptation of Watchmen, I think it’s possible to make a faithful adaptation of V. And with all the reboots and remakes, I hope that someone will do it sooner rather than later.

Comparison: The Hours

As you already know I finished The Hours the other day. Saturday I felt like watching the movie. Was not a horrible idea. For once.

There are quite a few stretches that are almost right out of the book. It’s wonderful. One thing that was different but I liked was the way they jumped between the three. Being a movie they could jump around more, but it still worked. It worked really really well.

There were a couple of changes they made that I didn’t like. The tension between Sally and Clarissa bothered me. I like the feeling you get from the book. In the movie they’re a bit strained because evidently Clarissa’s still in love with Richard. Another change I don’t like. It was better for them both that she moved on when she did in the book. And what is up with her breakdown when Richard comes over? She is so on the edge of a breakdown in the movie. I really don’t like that. I like the confident Clarissa from the book much more.
Laura was a bit more on edge as well. It bothers me that they had her going so close to actually committing suicide. They also downplay the bookworm-ness of her.
Virginia was different, but I think it’s in a, possibly, more accurate way.
Oh, and they switched the times for the party and the award ceremony, but that’s not a big deal.

Despite all the differences it still kept the feel of the book. Casting was amazing! When listening to the book and heard the part about the movie star, I had to laugh since she’s in the movie! It’s too bad they left it out. But I have to say it’s one of the best movie adaptations I’ve seen of a book.