Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

Here I am, finishing out 2012 with the flu. It's ironic, really, since overall my health has improved drastically this year, but there it is. Still, I was #4 in my family to get it, which is quite an improvement from being #1.

2012 has been a good year though. In addition to the health stuff, I made major leaps in my careers as a freelance costumer and writer. I'll be uploading a post of all my costumes from this year soon on Confessions of a Seamstress - watch for it! And of course, on the writing front there is my installment of Chesterton Press's "The Ruah Chronicles".

Speaking of Confessions of a Seamstress, although I only started it 18 months ago, it proved enormously popular, with my posts on Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time costumes scoring more than 20,000 hits each. My mind still can't comprehend this!

In addition to the novel work, I also took the time to explore different writing styles, coming out with two Doctor Who short stories that I'm quite proud of. "The Contemplations of Martha Jones" directly follows the season four finale "Journey's End" and "The Legacy of River Song" is from the viewpoint of one of Prof. Song's students. Both are short, thematic pieces rather than long plot-driven stories.

I also got to travel quite a bit, spending six weeks away from home in Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia. It was awesome to see so much of the country, but even better to spend time with so many wonderful people.

On the home front, I did a lot of work setting up the lower level of our house as my new living/work space. I came back home because of health reasons, for which I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my parents for making possible. I hope they find it a debt well worth holding! I'm certainly incredibly grateful, both to them and to God for watching over me here.

Overall 2012 was a good year (though not without it's challenges) and I'm looking forwards to seeing what 2013 holds!

Some Blog Highlights of 2012:
Internet Etiquette part one (part two) (part three)
When is "Old Enough" for adult books?
The Names of "Once Upon a Time"
Rumplestiltskin as "The Beast"
Thoughts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Violence in "The Hunger Games"
Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes Her Debut
My Great-Grandfather's Legacy
What's in a Name? (The story behind "Elenatintil")
Being Deaf Is...
Celebrating Disabilities in Fiction
Whatever Happened to Worship Dancing
What Texting Means to the Deaf
ReginaCon 2012
Ruah Chronicles Announcement
Moving Computer Tips
When a Woman Spoke to God
ITV's Titanic Miniseries
Brickfair 2012
21 Must Watch Musicals
The Pickiest Journal Shopper's Club
Dealing With Writing Critique
33 Books Everyone Should Read
How to know if NaNoWriMo is for you
Book Geek Heaven
Doctor Who Rewatch and Rose Tyler
Will OUAT Tackle Snow White and Rose Red?
The Saga of the Scribble Comics
Why I'm Not Seeing "The Hobbit" In Theaters

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Some Personal Writing Answers

Normally I don't do tag back memes... but Una Mariah had some interesting questions, so I figured I'd at least answer them. ;)

How long have you been writing? 
Since I figured out how to write three letter words. Or how to get my parents to write down the stories I dictated  I can't remember which came first.

Which do you find inspires you more: music or pictures?
Probably music, although I do surround myself with inspirational artwork as well. Music seems to move me more emotionally, however.

Do you find yourself writing from a guy's perspective more often than a girl's, or is it the other way around? 
I naturally tend to gravitate towards a female perspective (surprise surprise) but I've done male as well, and I constantly try to improve that side of my craft.

Do you prefer bands, singers, or soundtracks to listen to? 
If I'm listening to anything while I write, it pretty much has to be a soundtrack without vocals.

 Which is your favorite? (in whichever category you pick)
I consistently go back to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. It is just perfect!

Which do you prefer to write in: notebooks or computers?
Oh, computers for sure. Occasionally I will do a short story or something in my notebooks, but I just can't write fast enough to keep up with my flow of thought!

 Do you find yourself hoarding notebooks, even if you barely write in them?
...guilty.

 Have you ever done something really random or weird in public?
Um... this is kind of weird, I suppose. My friend and I were outside the Smithsonian this summer, and my feet were killing me, so I took off my shoes and walked on the grass next to the sidewalk.

Another time another friend and I were in Disney World and we got bored with all the walking around, so we just randomly broke into song...

 Do you keep folders or notebooks full of inspiring quotes or pictures?
Kind of. I have an inspiration board for my costume design, and when I update the pictures on there, I move the old ones into a notebook.

 Do you occasionally pause in the middle of a sentence, and dash off to your writing space, over come with a new idea? If so, do you yell 'YES!!!!' as you run?
No, although I have woken up in the middle of the night with an idea that keeps me awake (but not awake enough to get up and write about it.)

What is your favorite song at the moment?
I just got the Brave soundtrack, so that's kind of been on repeat a lot. ;)

 Is your hair brown? (okay, I ran out of ideas for questions. So sue me.)
*looks shifty* Why do you want to know?

Okay readers, your turn. Answer any of the questions above (seriously, I'd love to know), or throw some new ones at me. Anything writing related is game! (But I can't divulge details about the Ruah Chronicles... sorry!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Doctor Who: "The Snowmen"

SPOILER WARNING SPOILER WARNING SPOILER WARNING

Once Upon a Time...

... there was a lonely man, far from home, who had lost all his dear ones and couldn't bear to love and loose again.

... there were three friends, outcasts of society yet confident individuals, who yearned to help the lonely man find a purpose again.

... there was a curious and intrepid young woman who could fit into two worlds, and was determined to get the lonely man to answer her questions and save the world.

I absolutely loved "The Snowmen." Like all Doctor Who it has its shortcomings, but overall it was a very strong Christmas episode. I loved the return of Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. I loved that they were set up last season, so that it doesn't seem out of the blue now that the Doctor does have some loyal friends, even if he thinks he's lost all. And they're all such marvelous personalities...

But they can't compare to Clara. She's brilliant, bold, clever, and funny (although not without caution and common sense!). She is exactly what the Doctor needs after loosing the Ponds, a fact which he realizes against all of his better sense. And then she dies.

I honestly did not see that one coming. I knew we wouldn't get a clear answer on the Clara/Oswin Oswald connection for awhile yet, but I didn't expect Victorian Clara to be a different person from Modern Day Clara! Or is she? What is going on? Is she some sort of cloned intelligence? Another manifestation of the Flesh? Some fans are speculating that she is a time lord like River Song or Romana regenerated... others think she might be Jack Harkness's daughter. I like the Flesh hypothesis the best, but I think the Doctor would have picked up on that right away.

It's an intriguing mystery, and frustrating that we have to wait until spring to learn more, but "The Snowmen" holds enough goodness to stand on its own. Matt Smith gets a chance to be grumpy and quirky in a way that seems particularily reminiscent of some of the earliest Doctors... a fact which is underlined by the numerous references to classic who, from the revision of the title sequence to the Tardis's new interior - which is terribly similar to it's earliest on-screen incarnations. And even the villain, "The Great Intelligence" is a classic Who entity (for more info, check out the Wiki synopsis!)

And then there are the literary references, with clearly stated allusions to Sherlock Holmes, and less verbal but still delightfully front and center allusions to Mary Poppins (has Moffat been reading our tumblrs???).

For me it was an episode full of favorite moments. I love the visuals of Clara climbing the staircase... I love the humor... I love the "One word answer" challenge, and I absolutely adore the banter between Clara and the Doctor. In fact, although I am 100% a Doctor/River shipper, and prior to yesterday had absolutely no intention of shipping the Doctor and Clara, ever... I can't deny that there is some crazy chemistry there. I do hope they're going to handle it right, as - despite chemistry - we don't need another Rose situation. And even though the villains were somewhat underplayed... I think that was appropriate for a Christmas special.

I think Clara is going to be a fascinating companion to watch, and "The Snowmen" is going to rank right up there with "A Christmas Carol" in terms of popularity.

Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas Special

I'd better state this before you even think about scrolling down - there are spoilers in this post. If you haven't watched the episode, don't read it, even if you have somehow heard the biggest spoiler.

Which really wouldn't be that surprising, as the British papers have been pretty vocal about it. There's almost no way to be an American, on the internet, and remain an unspoiled Downton Abbey Fan. But do try, please!

*spoilers below*

I'll admit, I was nervous when I heard that this special would be taking place at Rose's house. I hadn't been thrilled with Rose's character during the earlier episodes and wasn't keen on seeing more of her. However, her character was handled well and the actress was given a chance to really prove her acting chops, which turn out to be quite formidable. Plus, her relationship with her parents and theirs with each other was well written, and both her father and mother were well cast. And at the end it becomes quite clear that Rose is about to become a season regular, bringing fresh youth to the show that lost it's most passionate young bloom this year.

Lord and Lady Grantham remain background figures, but do well in very supporting roles. We didn't see nearly enough of Cousin Violet, but her bits, as always, are priceless.

The dialogue faltered at a few places, particularly during Edith's lines, and it seemed strongly to me to be poor writing, not poor acting. Which is a pity because Edith is brilliant when given decent stuff to do. This whole 'mad wife' editor proposing for her to be his mistress storyline is just frustrating. Seriously, Edith?

Anna and Bates finally got a chance to just be sweet and in love... not dealing with manipulations, downstairs politics, or prison sentences. It was a refreshing change, especially to see Anna looking young and happy again.

It was also enjoyable to see the servants having fun as well, although I'm furious with Mrs. Patmore's slimy suitor. Thankfully the lady is made of stronger stuff than to be laid low by his duplicity!

I'm also glad with the resolution of the Thomas/Jimmy storyline. It allowed them both to show their maturity, and reach a compromise wherein they can live in the same house and even have a solid friendship.

Alfred and Daisy should get married and start a restaurant. Just saying.

Edna... I feel like she was only thrown in there to give Branson something to do. Poor Tom. He just sat around being confused the whole episode. Although it was lovely to see him with little Sybbie... though nothing can compare to the cuteness of Carson playing nursemaid!

And now I have to turn to the best and worst of the episode.

Mary was a beautiful, serene, mother-to-be. It was delightful to see her and Matthew together, anticipating the birth of their child. And then, a happy birth, with no complications... a son and heir! All was right with the world. In my mind, I want to think the show ended there. Some storylines unresolved... but with hope for the future.

And then they killed Matthew.

No warning, except that he was driving too fast, and those of us who had heard rumors of Dan Stevens leaving the show got suddenly suspicious...

Let's be honest here. Sure, Dan has a right to go and do what he wants with his career, and three years probably was as long as he wanted to do Downton.

BUT. His character was one of the most central figures, and certainly the most pivotal. If you'd asked me which characters could not, under any circumstances leave the show, I would have answered Matthew or Mary.

For Dan to leave, now, with such a sudden resolution, really leaves the show in a bind. We already lost Sybil, now Matthew is gone, and with it are two of the most beloved, sweet, admirable characters on the show. I have no doubt they can and will carry on with another season or two, but the show will loose some of it's luster, and already has lost fans. I'm not the only viewer who feels that Steven's move shows a lack of consideration for his co-stars, who have to carry on without him.

Of course, they will manage. In real life, people die, and we carry on. Mary will manage, as Branson has (perhaps they even will together, as some fans speculate). Still, to have such a violent, unexpected death on the Christmas Special is jarring and just plain cruel to the fans.

I will keep watching because I care about the other characters. I love them all, and I'm looking forwards to the addition of Rose to the cast. But it's a grim day. I first started watching the show because of Dan Stevens (who I loved in "Sense and Sensibility") and it will be hard to watch a Downton without him.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I was interviewed!

Hannah at "Ink and Paper Dreams" hosted an interview with me on writing, particularly juggling writing with work and/or school. I think it turned out well, and should be interesting/helpful to other aspiring writers out there.

Read it here.

(I actually really enjoy doing interviews, so don't be shy to send a request my way if you'd like to feature another viewpoint on a topic that you've seen me blog about. You can contact me at elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com.)

American Girl Dolls get Hearing Aids - at Last!

My first introduction to American Girl Dolls came over 15 years ago. Back then there were just five dolls: Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly. No American Girl of Today, no Best Friends, no tie in books, no self-help books, no magazine. Just those original five dolls and their books in a well-loved catalog. Because of my strong Swedish heritage, my first doll was Kirsten and I absolutely adored her. Later on Felicity and Josefina would join her, as would one American Girl of Today doll. Like most girls of that time, I picked out the "Today" doll that looked most like me (and there were not nearly as many options back then!). Brown hair, blue eyes... and a pair of glasses. She was totally me.

Except she didn't have hearing aids.

By the time I got my "Elizabeth" doll, I'd been wearing hearing aids for about five years, and knew I would wear them for the rest of my life. Although I lived in the hearing community, my deafness was never very far from our minds. One year for Halloween we even carved my pumpkin with hearing aids! So, understandably, I was sad that I couldn't have aids for my doll.

If you've never looked closely at an American Girl Doll's ears, you're going to have to take my word for it that there is no way to easily make an aid that will sit on the ear... there just isn't enough 'lip' on the lobe or 'depth' in the ear canal to keep it on, especially as played with by a child. So even though I've always wanted aids, I understood that there was not an 'easy fix.'



Imagine my delight and surprise when this appeared in my facebook page yesterday!

You have to send your doll in to receive a special piercing behind her earlobe to hold the aid on. This doesn't surprise me in the least, and I'm thrilled that girls today will have the option of getting an aid (or two) for their dolls! I do hope they offer more colors, however, as I'm sure there are many girls that would prefer blue, purple or green! (I'd go ahead and get them myself if they came in a skin color). 

I've always been impressed by AG's doll hospital, which is a must when a single doll costs over $100. They do truly mean for their dolls to be heirloom keepsakes after a childhood of hard play and have gone through a lot of work to make this feasible. My three dolls (Kirsten became my sister's - long story) still are displayed in my room, and once in a while I'll still make new clothes for them (Felicity became Jean Grey this year).

Anyhow, long story short, I am delighted by this new option, as well as another new disability sensitive offering - dolls without hair

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Changing Hearts

I feel that writing about anything would come across as trite after the shootings in Connecticut yesterday.

So I'm going to take this post to extend my prayers and sympathy to the victims, their families and their community. I can only imagine the grief, fear, and questions they must be dealing with right now. May God be with them.

It is when we see these things happen that we feel the call in our heart to raise a better generation. To be there for our friends, to raise up our children, to share the love of Christ, so that lonely, mentally ill people will not resort to these horrific acts for attention or revenge. This statement isn't about changing laws, it's about changing hearts.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

But I am still /excited/ about "The Hobbit"

First off, I want to say thank you to everyone who read and commented on my explanation of why I physically can't go see "The Hobbit." I am thankful to live in a world where people can be open and want to learn about what makes everyone different, and how they can help those with physical (or any) handicaps.

That said, even though I probably won't be able to see the film for at least half a year...

I am extremely excited.

I was not yet 15 when "Return of the King" was released in theaters, and it was the only LOTR movie that I was able to see on the big screen (before captions were really available at all). It was an utterly magical experience...

I'd first seen "The Fellowship of the Ring" some 18 months previously, and fallen completely in love. I had, of course, read the book first, and scoured magazines for pictures to drool over the visual feast Peter Jackson and his crew had created. While there are places where the adaptation angers faithful fans of the book, I think it is hard for any of us to argue with the design decisions.

There were rumors about the "Hobbit" being translated to screen as well almost immediately, but a rights war started and for a long time we pretty much gave up hope that this film would ever happen.

Guillermo del Torro was signed on to direct at last, which was exciting news as his film aesthetic seemed like it would be a good fit. But the waiting got too long even for him, and he had to move on with other projects (for which none of us can really blame him, poor guy).

And then it really began happening. They wrote the script, which turned into two movies (and later, three), and started casting. We were thrilled to hear of all the returning actors, and book fans should even geek out over Legolas's reported appearance at his father's court in Mirkwood, a detail I was certainly hoping they would not overlook.

We worried about finding the perfect Bilbo (we shouldn't have), and how the dwarves would be portrayed, and whether the darkness of the films we already had would intrude on the more youthful tone of "The Hobbit." But we knew early on that Jackson would be including stories from the appendices, and though it will forever change how we view "The Hobbit," it is, in the end, I think a more faithful choice for translating the history Tolkien created in its fullness to the screen.

I could be wrong (and I'm sure there will be things that frustrate me), but all in all, the posters, trailers, and news stories seem to indicate that this is going to be a fantastic new trilogy. I am thrilled that eventually I will get to see it, and that tonight old fans will flock to the midnight opening with new, younger fans in tow, and a new era of Middle Earth love will begin.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I'm Not Seeing "The Hobbit" in Theaters

I'm a huge LOTR fan. Like all good fans, I've read the books multiple times, (including the Silmarillion), read countless of Tolkien's other writings, biographies, etc, watched the movies too many times to count, made my own fan film, studied the Elvish language, and watched the progress of the Hobbit since before ROTK was even released.

However, I'm not going to the midnight opening. I'm not even going the next day, or the next week. And it's not just because movie theaters can give me migraine headaches.

It's not even because there isn't a close-captioned version to see.

Most of you know I'm deaf, and absolutely /must/ have subtitles to watch any type of video. (Many thanks to all you YouTube-rs who subtitle your films! Love you guys!). Movie theaters have struggled to provide technology that is both cost effective and accessible for the handicapped without pushing out the non-disabled.

Rear View Captioning was a pain in the neck, sometimes literally. Using a mirror on a stick system that Leonardo da Vinci would have been proud of, it was difficult to adjust properly, and shook annoyingly whenever you shifted in your seat. Forget getting up to go to the bathroom, or letting anyone pass you, it meant readjusting the whole thing, and even then you had to look back and forth between the mirror and the big movie screen. Awful, but better than no captions.

Open Captioning was marvelous. The words were right there on the screen. My family members who were used to captions didn't even notice they were there... however I know people who complain about subtitles and would have avoided those showings.

Both of these instances keep the available watching options limited, as there were few theaters with the space and/or money to arrange/install the necessary features. Usually only one or two movies would play at a given location in a week, and unless you live in a metropolitan area, good luck finding an accessible theater. The closest to me even now is 20 minutes away - beyond that it is 45. When I lived in Fargo? Nothing.

New technology is working to overcome this. It features a headset you wear, that beams the words 'onto the screen'... or so it appears to you. They're displayed inside the goggles. Non-intrusive, and run by an infrared signal that goes through the theater, they can be worn in any movie, at any time. Suddenly the options are limitless.

Or are they?

Take a look at the eyewear we're supposed to wear.

For some people, wearing goggles is no big deal. But for most people with hearing aids, we already are carrying a lot of weight on our ears. Adding something more to that is not an option. I personally have to wear the lightest prescription glasses my eyeglass provider carries, and I still have to let my hearing aids dangle off my ears every now and then to give my ears a rest. (Yes, I do know my hearing aids are hanging out, I put them there!) When I explained the system to my deaf aunt, she was likewise frustrated and annoyed, saying that she hoped they'd go back to open captions which she also preferred.

Likely this will work for some people. The theaters love it, as every theater within driving distance of my house have now implemented it. I now have no choice - no movie, no subtitles, or painful ears and head.

I expect at some point (when my health has improved further so that I'm no longer afraid of migraines) I will give this technology a try, just to be 100% fair. But it's not an experience I'm looking forwards to, and not something I think I would undergo - even for the Hobbit.

Hopefully over time better technology will open options... or DVDs will release at the same time as the theater versions. Movie watching is an ever-evolving scene and who knows what the future will hold?

Looking for Christmas ideas?

I've collected some of my favorite gift ideas in this post. All of these are unique, awesome, and absolutely worth buying! Plus they are all sold by small, family owned businesses, so not only do you get great presents, but you are supporting some wonderful people as well! 

Jewelry? Check!

My friend Shaylynn (who has been featured a few times on Confessions of a Seamstress) is an enormously talented young lady and runs a store on Artfire to host her whimsical creations. She specializes in wirework, with a steampunk and fantasy flair, and also offers religious pieces. I love how she uses everything from watch parts and guitar strings to rhinestones and beads to create her effects!

Some of my favorite pieces:




Books? Check!

This year Catholic author Regina Doman and her family expanded their publishing company, Chesterton Press, to begin carrying titles by other authors. I've loved every single title I've read, and I'm looking forwards to reading the others!

Titles I love?

Fairy Tales retold... I don't think I will ever be able to convey how much I adore these books. If you haven't read them yet, pick up copies for yourselves as well as any teens on your shopping list! 

Ben Hatke is a talented artist and writer, and his first book has been received with enormous delight by young readers. Perfect for kids of all ages, and tons of fun to read as a family as well! I read the whole thing in one sitting and can't wait to read the second volume, which is also carried by Chesterton Press.

Chesterton Press offers some really good adult fiction as well, but so far Rachel's Contrition has been my favorite. Powerful, evocative and well-written, it is a fabulous choice for any of the women readers on your list. 

Soaps? Check!

The Goat Milk Soap Shop is run by my friends Amanda, Megan and Teresa. Although I've not yet tried the soaps myself, they're on my list, especially since they carry bars that are fragrance free, which is wonderful for those of sensitive skin! They also carry goat milk soaps with essential oils, and regular fragrence soap made from high quality organic, natural ingredients. If you've got any questions about the soaps, the girls would be more than happy to answer them!

I'm looking forwards to trying:

Scent free and made with goat milk - sounds like the perfect soap for the allergen-plagued! 

Made with essential oils, this also looks like it would be a great smelling choice to add to my list!

And if chemical scents didn't bother me, I would love to try the delicious sounding Cherry Almond!


Baby stuff? Check!

I have a few baby quilts left, and I'm selling them each for just $35! If you're interested in one of them, just send an e-mail to elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com. (They also make great lap quilts!)

 Blue Stripes

 Honeypot

 Pink Power

 Violet Flowers

Southwestern Evening

Like the quilts, but don't see a design you like? Custom versions start at $50 apiece.

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for your Christmas shopping and perhaps made the whole process a bit easier! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Restoring Faith in Weddings

Went to a wedding last night and boy am I exhausted!

I've been sick this week (reaction to paint fumes which knocked out my immune system and allowed a nasty virus in) but thanks to vitamins and prayers, I was able to not only make it to the wedding, but dance at it! I even felt well enough on Friday to finish sewing my dress for the occasion! (Pictures and diary coming soon on Confessions of a Seamstress!)

While most of my paternal cousins married several years ago, this was the first wedding among my maternal cousins. Which was a bit odd, since I'm the eldest cousin, but the groom is the next down and he and his bride are such sweet, lovely people that it was truly a joy to see them united. They've dated for several years, so we've been able to get to know her well over many Christmases and family gatherings.

The ceremony was traditional Missouri Synod Lutheran. Everything moved smoothly and the minister's words to the couple were wise, humorous and of the perfect length. I was surprised by the opportunity to sit in the front row with my aunt and uncle (parents-of-the-groom), a rare privilege of being deaf, so I had an excellent view of everything.

We then transferred to the reception locale, which was a newly opened and absolutely lovely winery. The reception hall was huge (but not in the least ostentatious!), with perfect decor and lighting (always difficult to find the right balance!). The food was unusually good, and my gluten-intolerance has improved just enough that I was able to enjoy one of the gourmet cupcakes.

Seriously, cupcakes! They're a growing fashion among bridal couples and I think they're fantastic. They're the right size to be a smaller serving for children and sugar-conscious, but two of them makes a perfect larger serving for those with larger and stronger stomachs! Plus you can easily make them in various flavors, so everyone can have their favorite. Literally the only option I didn't see was an allergy-conscious version (and I suspect more and more weddings will offer this as gluten, dairy, nut and sugar allergies rise in public awareness).

Oh, and did I mention the live band? Always a fun treat at a wedding! And thanks to the venue's capabilities, there were also plenty of disco lights to delight the numerous, adorable children. A bit loud, but worth enduring for the chance to go out on the dance floor with my family! (Even Grandpa!)

It's been a year in which I've seen much of the dark side of weddings, enough to make me grow to dislike them in general. But last night was a really lovely event that went a significant way towards healing that wound.

So I'm thankful for it, but even more thankful for my cousin and his wife, that God brought them together and is giving them a future together.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Making of Downton Abbey and a word for Anglophiles in General

After the news of a new addition to the royal family made all anglophiles squeal, we're in need of some extra British-loving stuff, right?

So you might really enjoy pursuing this extensive article on the making of our favorite historical drama...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2240438/Downton-Abbey-Broadcast-100-countries-scenes-look-making-costume-drama.html#ixzz2DqHG4S2R

Or, if you're sick of "ENGLAND IS PERRRRFECT" (or a resident/former resident of the UK who is tired of misconceptions and idealizations about their home), you might want to check out "The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British" by Sarah Lyall. Warning - contains profanity and sex detail. Worth pursing anyhow if you're an adult who wants to really understand or write accurately about modern life in the UK but can't afford to move there. It's definitely not all Jane Austen and tea cups (but there's tea... lots of it.)

Don't get me wrong, I've been in love with all of the British Isles since I was 11 years old, and I've been dying to go back since my first trip when I was 16. However, I do know that the expansive gushing Anglophile craziness is annoying some Brits who are tired of being misconstrued and idealized. Case in point... when I visited England, my group of homeschooled teens was not allowed to turn on any television. It was all too risque. We may love England, but it's not all Downton Abbey and Beatrix Potter.

(Fun fact, "The Anglo Files" details how Beatrix Potter made the hedgehog a universally adored critter in England. True story.)

Or, y'know, you could just make a mug of tea and settle in for a marathon of Doctor Who as you count the 20 days until the Christmas Special...

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's official... Royal Baby is on the way!

Buckingham Palace announced today that Prince William and Princess Kate are expecting their first child! No word on when the due date is, but obviously sometime before the end of next summer. Kate is suffering from extreme morning sickness, which is a rare and really horrible but totally treatable problem. 

Congratulations, Will and Kate! Wishing you all the best!

This birth will go down in the history books because it will be the first English royal child born that will immediately be assured of his or her place in the succession, even if it is a girl (in the past, girls would always be proceeded by any brothers, even if they were younger). 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

OUAT 2.9 - "Queen of Hearts"

Spoilers lurk below!!!



WELL. I had some trepidation heading into this episode, but over all, I think it did a great job of answering the most important questions of the season, tying up some storylines and starting others... definitely a better constructed plot arc than last season!

For one, I was not expecting the use of the lake. It's great writing, but I'm not used to OUAT being so good at set-up. It was a perfect way to use two portal instruments that were otherwise useless - the powder and the bean. And obviously it was very well foreshadowed.

It was really nice to get some more flashbacks. We saw clearly how Hook and Cora began their partnership, and surprisingly Regina has a part in that history, as does Belle! It'll be interesting to see how those two women react when Hook shows up in Storybrooke.

Speaking of Regina, she's really starting to grow on me as a character I genuinely like. The more we see of her past, and the more we see of how genuinely she is trying to reform, the more hope I have. This episode was obviously a pivotal place for her, where she finally put Henry's desires over her own feelings.

While we got only glimpses of Aurora and Mulan, I felt their lines were handled more deftly and they were better directed. Mulan actually showed some emotion, and Aurora is positively adorable! I'm looking forwards to seeing them in their quest for Phillip, who hopefully is not lost forever!

But by far the best part of the episode was getting to see Emma and Snow be badass. Snow is an absolutely lethal fighter, and Emma, despite her lack of formal training, manages to hold her own, and even defeat Hook - way to go girl! Who else thought that Cora was really going to kill Snow? And then who thought - for the briefest of moments, that Emma was going to die? I couldn't imagine how they were going to write their way out of it.

But now... now we know that Emma being the "savior" and being the "product of true love" is more than just ending the curse. She's got enough magic in her to instinctively force back Cora, who is arguably the most powerful magic-user in the series (even Rumple is afraid of her). It'll be really interesting to see this develop over the second half of the season, which will probably return to the Storybrooke/flashback format of season 1, now that Cora and Hook are sailing into town... it remains to be seen how Aurora and Mulan's thread will be integrated into all this, but hopefully we'll get to see more of their backstories as well!



Friday, November 30, 2012

Just who ARE Aurora and Mulan?

Like most of the OUAT characters, we know the Disney versions of these iconic princesses. However their backstory on ABC's hit show has obviously followed a different path - and I'm not just talking about Aurora's dress.

We know Aurora's been asleep for 1 year... or 28, depending on who you ask. We know Mulan was also in love with Phillip. We know Aurora is somewhat timid and uncertain (but is growing) and Mulan lives for honor, but keeps her past and her personality a tight secret. Beyond that, we know nothing.

How did Mulan and Phillip meet up? What kingdom to Mulan and Aurora come from? Do they have connections to any other characters we've met previously? Neither of them recognized Snow, and Snow didn't recognize either of them, which seems a little strange considering that Regina knew Maleficient... questions, questions, questions!

Well, that's not new. We always have questions. But considering how early on Season 1 gave us some backstory for all of the major characters, it seems really strange to me that we're at the mid-season finale for season 2 and we haven't had a flashback for either Mulan or Aurora. Really? Two of the four new major characters introduced, and neither of them get a single flashback, or get tied into/mentioned in someone else's flashback? What is going on here? Is it shoddy writing... or something more sinister?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Historical Fiction of Michelle Moran

I love good Historical Fiction. Books that are well-researched with three-dimensional characters and gripping plots, that just draw you into the reality of a distant time and place. Unfortunately, these books are hard to come by.

When I was at the Half Price Books Clearance Sale last month, I picked up a copy of Michelle Moran's "Nefertiti." While it wasn't what I'd call "Five Star Historical Fiction" it was good enough that I wanted to read her next book. And since "Nefertiti" was her first book, I thought there was a good chance that she would be even better in the next one.

I was right. "The Heretic Queen" (which follows Nefertiti's niece, Nefertari and her marriage to Rameses II during the Israelite Exodus) was better. But it was the third book, "Cleopatra's Daughter" (About Kleopatra Selene) that really pulled me in and secured my admiration. I loved it, and immediately recommended it to my mother. I've read several books about the Rome of Augustus Caeser, and this was the equal of any of them. Plus, despite being accurate about the horrors of the time period, it was seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl, thus toning down some of the graphicness included even in factual historical accounts of the era.

Moran's fourth book, "Madame Tussaud," follows the life of a woman we know for her famous waxworks museums. And the waxworks are amazing (I've seen some of them) but her life is even more fascinating. She lived during the French Revolution, and she and her family were friends with both the revolutionaries and the royals, a rare situation for anyone in that era. The result is an extremely complete look at the period that is rarely seen in fictional accounts. The only issue I had with the book was that it got a tad too long and detailed - otherwise it was a fantastic work.

Book #5 had the opposite problem - it was too short. Entitled "The Second Empress" it is the first of the books to utilize multiple narrators. Voice #1 belongs to Maria Louisa, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and the niece of Marie Antoinette. At just 19 she was forced to leave Austria and marry the man who had humiliated her country, and who was 30 years her senior. Voice #2 belongs to Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's promiscuous sister who is obsessed with ancient Egypt and more than half mad. Voice #3 belongs to Paul Moreau, Pauline's Chamberlain, a mulatto from Haiti who was a close personal friend to both Pauline and her brother.

UPDATE: I've since reviewed Book #6, "The Rebel Queen" here.

Each one of these books is a fascinating and captivating look into another time, and it feels as though you are really living with each of these very real personalities.

One caveat for younger readers - this is adult fiction. "The Heretic Queen," "Madame Tussaud," and "The Second Empress" all include sex scenes. They're short, well-written and sparsely utilized compared to most historical fiction, but they're there. "Madame Tussaud" and "Cleopatra's Daughter" are both set during extremely immoral and violent eras and are completely truthful when they relate some very difficult facts and scenes. I would not recommend any of these books for anyone under 18, or who was not comfortable with sex and violence.

However, these are a treat for any historically minded adult reader, and I am eagerly awaiting Moran's next novel, "The Empress of India."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

OUAT 2.8 - "Into the Deep"

THE WINTER FINALE IS NEXT SUNDAY????

Okay, breathe, back up, spoiler warning.

SPOILERS LURK BELOW. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

It's interesting, that for an episode that didn't focus on a given fairy tale or contain a single flashback, there certainly was a ton packed into this episode.

Henry and Aurora got a chance to be heroes in this episode - but neither chances lasted for long, with David choosing and Snow forced into taking their places.

Mulan got to do a little more than be the grunt this episode, but not by much. Is anyone else getting really curious to see her backstory? I did sort of think we'd get more on either her or Aurora before the midway point.

I have to say, it's pretty fun to see Gold and Regina teaming up for once. They work well together when they're not double crossing each other, and make a fun and sophisticated duo. Plus, throw David into the mix? A trio not to mess with.

Although now David's gone into a sleeping curse. It's not a surprising move, but it certainly ups the stakes, as he'll be out of action (presumably) until Snow gets back. Only I'm confused... hasn't he already been under a sleeping curse? At the very beginning of season 1 he was in a coma, and I guess I assumed it was sort of magical in nature, since it was enacted by the Curse. Shouldn't that have counted? Ah well, it's a gray area and they couldn't have both David and Snow get into the Netherworld by the same means.

Which, by the way, their reunion in the flames was pretty epic. Last season I was annoyed by a lot of their love story, but here we get to see the passion and pure love that makes them a couple to love. Definitely got me more emotionally invested in them and the show than I've been for awhile.

Who else got the mermaid reference? We know Ariel is supposed to appear at some point, and this could be a good intro for her if they end up having to get this ink by some route other than the vial in Rumple's old cell.

Cutest scene? Rumple and Belle at the cafe, eating hamburgers. Adorable!

Worst scene? Cora taking control of Aurora. What has happened to the real Aurora? Is she there but suppressed  Will she be able to fight it? Or has her soul gone to another place... like Cora says Phillip's has gone. Will we see Phillip again??? Here's hoping!

Doctor Who Rewatch and Rose Tyler

When I first was introduced to the Doctor Who fandom, it was in a completely haphazard order. I started off with "The Pirate Planet" from the 4th Doctor's run, then "The Voyage of the Damned" Christmas Special with David Tennant, and then skipped around in seasons 3, 2 and 4 (pretty much in that order) of New Who.

The reason for this was that I've always been sensitive to frightening images/ideas. After watching "The Girl in the Fireplace" I could hardly sleep that night thinking of the Clockwork Men hiding under one's bed. And yes, I was 21 years old at the time. So my friends helped me figure out which episodes would be least likely to disturb me and I watched them as I could get my hands on them. I loved every one.

Then there were no more that were "100% Elizabeth safe" so I started branching out, reading Wikipedia synopsises before watching them. I never had a sleepless night over Doctor Who again. Not even with "Blink". I think it was a combination of growing tougher by exposure, and getting healthier so that my sleep patterns were more regular and less likely to be influenced by frightening thoughts.

Ashamed to admit this? Maybe a little bit. But after all "hiding under the couch from the Daleks" is considered a British tradition.

Anyhow, the 1st season was the very last one I saw. And the first episodes in which I saw Rose were some of her worst appearances, where she seems petty and incapable. Plus the first friend who introduced me to her didn't like her... and I naturally loved Martha because she is the most like me of all the companions.

So, yes. I was definitely biased against Rose.

This fall I started getting Netflix (now that they're captioning almost everything) and have unlimited access to all of New Who. I decided to watch the whole thing, in order, to properly see all of the character arcs once and for all.

And you know what? I'm liking Rose a whole lot better  now. I know she's still going to bug me in some episodes, but I genuinely like her in season one, and I like 9 as well. I don't know how to explain it, but it works very well, and it's fun. Maybe it's partially a breath of fresh British air after the high action 'Americanized' recent seasons, but I'm enjoying it far more than I did the last time through. And I felt it was worth acknowledging.

However I'm only up to episode 3 (The Unquiet Dead) so we'll see how my feelings progress as I continue...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Journey into the Darkest Friday

I loathe consumerism. 

On the other hand, I love shopping. 

I hate that stores are starting Black Friday on Thursdays.

But I like the principle of Black Friday itself... SALES SALES SALES!

In recently years as friends have shared their Black Friday stories on Facebook, I've had a growing urge to check out the hype. The problem has been that November is one of the worst months for me health-wise, and I've been way too sick in past years to even think of venturing out on the craziest shopping day of the year. 

However, this year I was really excited about some sales at JCPenneys and JoAnn Fabrics and my father was willing to help me navigate the madness. So, at 5:00 in the morning, we woke up, drove through the dark, and arrived at the doors of JCPenneys just as the crowd was allowed in. It was pretty crazy, and I had to do a bit of ducking and diving to get the pair of boots I wanted, but it wasn't nearly as horrible as I'd expected. 

Then we went over to JoAnn's, which was also very busy, but still manageable, so long as you didn't need to get fabric cut. I avoided this (8 yds of pre-cut interfacing for $2.99? Give me six bolts!), but my father needed fabric for curtains in his office, so we did get in line and moved about five feet in twenty minutes. But we were together and it went okay. 

Surprisingly the check-out lines went really quickly in all the places we stopped, and the employees were calm and smiling, for which I give them kudos. The customers were obviously sleepy and intense, but the people at JoAnn's are nearly always nice, and stayed true to this rule. One lady even let us go ahead of her in the cutting line! 

I would never want to sit out all night in front of Best Buy or any place like that. High end doorbusters are risking a miserable night for a lot of disappointment. But for overall good sales, it was definitely worth going to JoAnn's. I saved over $170 by doing that, and honestly I could have gone a couple hours later and still had a good selection of stock. 

Summed up? I had fun. But I'm glad it's a once-a-year thing. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Words have Power. How will you use yours?


Something to think about...
Words have power.
Negativity tears people down.
Positivity builds people up.
Why would you want to tear someone down without good cause? (i.e. they’re a terrible person and need to be torn down and still that’s something you should only do with careful thought.)
I love the internet. I love the people I’ve met, the art, movies, stories, tutorials and everything else that I’ve gotten to know because of it.
But sometimes the hateful, thoughtless comments that I see (or even that are occasionally directed at me or my loved ones) make it almost not worth it. And I know that I get way, way less internet hate than most people. (Partially because I try really hard not to write/post stuff that could in any way be hurtful, and partially because I stay away from most controversial issues). And if the miniscule amount I’ve gotten can affect me so strongly (and I’m talking really bad pointless stuff, not like an intelligent, mature discussion that we all appreciate), how on earth do those who get worse cope? 
Words have power, peoples. With power comes great responsibility. Will you use yours for good or for evil? Will you help make a better world?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red"?

So far ABC's hit show has stuck mainly to fairy tale kindergarten - i.e. the Disney classics we all grew up with. And then they deviated a bit this season by throwing in literary and legendary characters, like Lancelot, Captain Hook and Dr. Frankenstein.

But apparently they've talked about wanting to use more obscure fairy tales, news that is sure to delight any fairy tale fan. And 'obscure' doesn't mean unknown, not by far. In the last decade fairy tales and fairy tale retellings have been enormously popular, from big screen remakes, to hundreds of novels, and even comic books. So what fairy tales are popular enough to still have audience draw, but still fit the 'obscure' label? I think "Snow White and Rose Red" is a good contender.

They've already paid a pretty overt homage to it with Snow and Red's friendship. The two girls are like sisters already, and they go around in symbolic white and red cloaks. In the most recent episode we heard them planning to find a cabin in the woods together - exactly the setting for "Snow White and Rose Red." All we need is a dwarf to enchant a prince...

Think about it! Rumplestiltskin could easily cast an enchantment on Charming, perhaps at the bidding of King George?

Or it could be a totally new prince, one who will win the affections of Red. (And then die. Because all attractive single men die on OUAT. It's like a law or something.)

And, although it has never been made into a Disney film (or any film, for that matter, if you're not counting my independant film "The Shadow of the Bear"), it is still fairly well-known among young female readers - and guys know it too, as is apparent by the fact that Bill Willingham chose those titular sisters to play the heroines in his popular comic, "Fables."

Actually, "Fables" is the one reason why we might not get this particular fairy tale retold. Several years ago, ABC was in talks to produce a show based on Fables. That deal never worked out, but some people accused OUAT as being a rip-off to avoid rights fees. Willingham himself has gone on record as saying that this is completely untrue, and the show writers have also made it clear that they developed the idea independently  Still, there is good reason for them to wish to distance themselves from "Fables". They've already said that they had to change the original identity of Sheriff Graham to avoid rights issues, and since fairy tales aren't copyrighted, it's my private theory that they wanted him to be the Big Bad Wolf - which would have been very close to infringing on the copyright of "Fables" (which stars the Big Bad Wolf as the sheriff.)

So... will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red?" I think it very much depends on how long the show continues. The longer it goes, the more space they have to cover more stories. While I could see them holding off on this particular story for awhile to distance themselves from" Fables", I think it would be a real shame if they didn't incorporated it eventually, especially since they already have the perfect set-up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Doctor Who - 2012 Christmas Goodness and Teasers!

It's that time of the year again... today the BBC released a short prequel to the DW Christmas Special for Children in Need, followed by the first trailer for the special. Exciting stuff!

The Prequel
(Transcripts by Megs - Thanks honey!)


 Matt: Hello@ And welcome to a special Children in Need Mini-sode of Doctor Who! And not just ANY mini-sode, that's just what we call them, this is a prequel to the Christmas Special. Now, remember, when last seen, The Doctor said good-bye to his best friend Rory and Amelia Pond. The woman who will never be replaced in his hearts.
Jenna: Hi.
Matt: Hi.....
Jenna: Oh don't worry she's not watching.
Matt: Of course not!
Jenna: She's in LA
Matt: Exactly! Roll the mini-sode!
Jenna: Do we REALLY call them that?
Matt: Yeah! Mini-sodes! That's what they're called! It's a cool name! Roll the mini-sode!
Narrator: In London in the time of Queen Victoria, there were many stories told about a man called The Great Detective, a friend of Madame Vastra , the lizard woman, and her remarkable adventures, with (Sorry..he talked really fast..I didn't get the whole sentence!) her beautiful assistant, Jenny Flynn, and Scratx, whose appearance was too terrible to photograph. There was also a fourth member of the gang (Can't get the name of the gang! Argh..sorry!) A shadowy who's assistance was only required at the direst of needs. 
Madame Vastra: I'm so glad you came! We have news, we think, of particular interest to you. There was a meteor shower in the midwest, I have a pretty sure chance that it came because of alien intervention.
Well....maybe 24% chance? Okay..it could JUST be meteors but it's worth looking into! There is a very pleasant tea room in the area.
Jenny: There's also a professor who is going to cut the world open with a giant drill through the thinnest part of the Earth's crust! I think we should investigate! He doesn't have a giant drill, and he's not really a professor, and he was drunk and singing a bit but------
Scratx: I've decalred war on the Moon!
Madame Vastra: Oh do be quiet!
Scartx: For too long the Moon has been up there unmonitored in the sky! It is gaining enormous technical advantage!
Jenny: There's no one living there!
Scratx: So it's CLEARLY time to act! They won't suspect a thing! 
Jenny: WHO won't expect a thing?
Scratx: MOON-ITES! (HAHA! Oh my gosh......so funny!)
The Doctor: Why do you keep doing this? What's the point? I told you. I KEEP telling you! I don't do this anymore. I've retired. 
Jenny: There's a man with an invisible wife! Well...maybe he just doesn't have a wife....
The Doctor: You're wasting your time.
Jenny: Merry Christmas!...You think he means it?
Madame Vastra: Yes, my dear. I rather think he does. 
Scratx: Damn moon!!!!!!
Matt: And there you go! The Doctor has retired! This Christmas is in terrible, terrible danger! BUT as all humanity hangs in the balance, will anybody be able to persuade the Doctor to save the day?
Jenna: Yes....
Matt: So much for dramatic tension! Blimey Jenna......stay tuned for the very first showing of the Christmas trailer!
Jenna: See ya later!



The Trailer
Matt: Now ladies and gentelmen, boys and girls, here's the very first look of the Doctor Who trailer! Which is, of course the very frist episode to feature Jenna-Louise Coleman!
Jenna: Second....
Matt: Oh right.....you were in the Dalek
 one, weren't you. You died....and got turned into a dalek...that's awful.....played a different character.
Jenna: Yeup totally different character.
Matt: Yeah......so you couldn't be the same character. at Christmas..That would be..just impossible.
Jenna: No way.....
Matt: Roll the trailer!
Clara: There is a called The Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky. And all he does all day, every day, is to stop all the children in the world from EVER having bad dreams.
Child: Am I gonna have the nightmare tonight?
Doctor: If you see something brand new in the world, something you have never seen before what's the next thing you look for?
Clara: DOCTOR!
Scratx: A grenade!
Madame Vastra: The Doctor doesn't help people
Doctor: What's you name?
Clara: Clara.
Man: What is this?!
Bad guy: I said I'd feed you....never said who to.
Doctor: Listen to me, the snow is feeding off your thoughts! It will build an army of ice...it will be the last day of humanity on this planet.........


So what do you think? I'm thrilled that we get Madam Vastra and Jenny back, and love how they are all trying to cheer the Doctor up.

And Clara! She looks to be so awesome! I think it's fantastic that she's a governess. It works so well for a single woman in the Victorian era, and really gives her a different background than any of the previous companions.

And oh man... Moffat is going to make us afraid of SNOW! Seriously that man is evil...

Lastly, a bit of humor I couldn't resist scribbling down!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Neverland

If you're not a regular viewer of the SyFy channel, you probably haven't heard of last year's adaptation of James Barrie's "Peter Pan." Well, when I say adaptation I mean 'prequel.' And when I say 'prequel' I mean an origins story that takes a more science fiction look at the world...

The basic premise is this: Neverland is a planet at the very heart of the galaxy, inhabited by pixie-like aliens who have the power of flight, longevity, and healing. Long ago, an orb was created that drew people from Earth to Neverland, and Pirates, Indians, and a troop of Oliver Twist orphans ended up trapped there.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm somewhat of a story purist. I heartily dislike retellings that miss the point of the original all together (although I love good parodies because they're not intending to be taken seriously). And Peter Pan is a story that most people seem to get wrong. Which is a shame because it's a perfectly magical book.

Still, this retelling works. Why? Because the director isn't intending to actually explain the origins of Neverland. Check out his explanation from Collider.com.

You know how when you really get into something and you’re mesmerized by that world? I’m one of those people that, when I read or get encapsulated by a world, I want to live and breathe and be there. I started to wonder, “Where did he come from?” There’s a line in the book where one of the Lost Boys says to Wendy, “Lost Boys are the babies that fall out of their prams, and their nannies forget them,” which was like a little joke, to me. It started to make me wonder, “Where did they come from? Why are they Lost Boys? Why don’t they want to grow up? Where in the hell did that pirate come from? What’s he doing there? Why are there Indians?”

Since I’ve grown up, I now know that it’s all to do with J.M. Barrie and the boys, and playing those games as kids. You imagine all the characters that boys like to imagine – pirates, Indians, mermaids and fairies – but at the time, when I was a kid, I had no idea. So, I wanted to know that, and that’s what motivated me to write the story. I wanted to figure out how it is that these characters got to that point, and how it is that a little boy doesn’t want to grow up. I remember that feeling, lying in bed and thinking, “I never want to grow up. I want to be like this forever.” But then, the next day, I wanted nothing more than to grow up. I was intrigued by what it is that gets a boy to that place. (Emphasis mine)

Nick Willing understands where the magic of Neverland is. He's using this miniseries to give us an alternative backstory using science fiction rather than children's imagination, but it's purely a 'what if.' And it works.

Peter is the Artful Dodger, running a group of pickpockets in the streets of Victorian London. Their Fagin is Peter's father figure, the fencing master Jimmy. One night a heist gone wrong strands them in a strange and magical world. Jimmy is seduced by the charismatic pirate captain, Elizabeth Bonny, while Peter and the lads find refuge with a tribe of Kaw Indians. Both the Indians and the Pirates are originally from earth, but due to separate encounters with the Orb, they've been stranded on Neverland for hundreds of years. Oh, and they never age. Tiger Lily has been a teenage girl for 100 years!

It's a nice twist that explains how pirates and Native Americans from drastically different time periods are trapped in the same place as 20th century London children. It explains why no one ages, and how Hook, who dresses like and crews a ship full of 18th century pirates nonetheless speaks and has a code of honor similar to a 19th century gentleman. Further adventures explain the Crocodile, why Peter is the only one who can fly on his own, why Peter and Hook hate each other so fiercely, and why Peter doesn't want to grow up.

No, it's not the Neverland you grew up knowing. But it's a well-written, fairly acted imagining that is worth the viewing time and perhaps a rewatching or two. It is also the only version of Peter Pan I've ever seen that includes the Indians, respectfully. ("Hook" avoided the problem by leaving them out altogether). Is it perfect? No, there are a few parts that are a bit too "strange" and I personally don't' feel they fully brought Peter to the mischievous fun-loving Pan we know. But it's still very good.

I, for one, would love to see Willing continue the premise of this story in a sequel, and how he would treat the addition of the Darling children.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Saga of the Scribble Comics

Last spring a conversation with some friends sparked my creative juices and I scribbled down a rough comic for their amusement. To my surprise, this simple comic (which I entitled "Thor and Loki Hair Fight") became pretty popular, garnering over 1000 views on DevientArt. I realized that though my drawings might not be the most polished, they adequately conveyed a humor that was appreciated. I love making people laugh, so drawing "scribble comics" became a semi-regular activity of mine.

So far Marvel remains my favorite universe to explore with humor, but Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings have also made appearances. Below I've shared some of my favorites, but you can see the whole gallery here. And stay tuned, I've got a new piece coming up that Star Wars fans will enjoy...


New Technology at Downton Abbey by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Old Meets New by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Scott Summers vs. The Box Office by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
To Which We Owe This Power Outage by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Buffy vs. Twilight by ~Elenatintil on deviantART
Haircare Anonymous by ~Elenatintil on deviantART

Sunday, November 11, 2012

OUAT 2.7 - "Child of the Moon"

Huzzah, Ruby's back to a starring role in this week's installment of "Once Upon a Time!" But first of all, a SPOILER WARNING!

So far in FTL we've seen Ruby as she discovered her wolf side, and then much later as she supports Snow and Charming in their search to be reunited and recover the kingdom. Turns out there's another story in between... how Ruby got control over her wolf powers.

However, in Storybrooke it has been 28 years since Ruby last ran on four paws, and she's worried that this moon will turn her into an unwilling murderer. At first it seems her fears are well founded... but then we learn there is something more sinister behind the attack.

I love that they chose this storyline. It would have been something they could have just glossed over, but they didn't. I just wish Ruby's recovery wasn't so simple - this would have been an interesting story arc to continue over time. Ah well, so many characters, so few episodes... I do hope we get some more detail on Ruby/Granny/Anita at some point. There's more to that history than Ruby's been told, and I want to know it all!

And OUAT continue's it's streak of introducing promising guys only to kill them off. This week we got Quinn the wolf, (who I was secretly hoping was Ruby's half-brother) and Billy/Gus the Mouse. Okay, first of all, Gus the Mouse! That's so adorable! Please tell me we'll get another Cinderella flashback and get to see him as a mouse! Secondly... Gus the Mouse is dead! *passes around tissues*

On the upside, now that we've gotten rid of lamesauce Storybrooke David, we now have our badass Sheriff, and he's much more interesting to watch this way. It was the perfect move to have Charming step in as Sheriff.

Regina was kind of adorable this episode... I still hate her guts, but she does seem to be trying to reform. And who didn't go 'awww' when Rumple gave Henry' the necklace without a price? Is it really free, though? Or is Rumple genuinely being helpful because Henry reminds him of Bae at that age?

Speaking of Henry's dilemma... looks like we were right! Aurora and Henry are in the same place and their communication is going to prove vital. Which is really reassuring because -

KING GEORGE BURNED THE HAT. Seriously what is that guy's problem? I hope we get an episode this season that explains more of his evilness, because he is the most selfish, unredeeming character in the entire show - even Cora has more justifiable motivation for her evil actions than he does! (And I detest Cora.)

Oh, and this was the first episode where we got to see Belle on her own as a supporting character, and not as a heroine or in relation to Rumple. Huzzah!

We've got a two week wait until the next episode... and then it looks like we're in store for - zombies???

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fiction and Non-Fiction

So... I didn't want to post on Tuesday, because it was election day. And I didn't want to post on Wednesday because it was the day after election day (I try to keep this blog politics free).

So that brings us to today. Which was mostly sewing. Oh, and setting up the new tripod I got for my camera. I'm finally reading more of the instruction manual and wow, there's a lot I need to learn. I also need to read the instruction manual for my sewing machine and see if there is anything more I can do with it that I haven't discovered in the 10 years I've owned it. Instruction manuals actually have a lot of interesting information in them... er, helpful information? I find them really boring to read.

Actually, surprising fact about me. Although I'm a huge bookworm, I actually have a terrible time reading non-fiction. Give me a fiction novel and I'll gobble it up in record time. Give me a non-fiction novel and... well if the subject is /really/ interesting I might get two chapters in before I get bored and go back to a fiction novel. Which isn't terrible with some books, like sewing books or drawing books because that sort of information is good to take in chunks. And if I'm in the right mood I can sometimes swallow a really good biography about some interesting influential woman. I want to read more theology and the like, but the best way I've found for that is a chapter with my morning devotions. Hey, it works! I finally am nearly done with Mere Christianity which I've always found hard to finish...

Basically my brain likes bite sized info. And once it gets that info, it'll hold on to it, but try and overload and my brain shuts down. However, give me a good story and I'll disappear into it so completely that you won't see me for a week.

Well, you'll see me, but not my face because I'll have the book in front of it.

I love learning stuff though, which makes internet or magazine articles an ideal way for me to pick up the non-fiction part of life. Which of course is important for a writer... what will you have to write about if you don't understand the world around you?

So if you want to buy me a book, you probably shouldn't be picking up the non-fiction one, but rather giving me a magazine subscription. Or, you know, gift cards. Gift cards rock. Or take me out for coffee and let me pick out a book. Yeah, that'd be a great Christmas present...

Anyhow. I find this whole fiction/non-fiction thing interesting, because I've met few people that have it to the extreme I do. Most people seem to read more non-fiction as they leave high school, and move steadily into the realms of 'serious important adult stuff.' I mean, plenty of adults read fiction, but they balance it out.

Thoughts?