Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sick rant

I've been sick the past few days, and I'm finally starting to feel better. But, while I was sick I noticed a couple of comments that have always bothered me and finally understood why.

The first is "Well, if you're lucky at least you'll lose a couple of pounds."

Like losing weight will make my body's rejection of food any better. Like it will make me thank my lucky stars for the dizziness and sweat pouring out of my skin.

The second is "Haha, maybe you're pregnant."

I don't think I could spiritually handle carrying the messiah at this point in my life.

I think these comments bother me because of the gender based assumptions that Western society throws down our throats. That all women want to be thinner, and that all women of baby making age are at risk of becoming pregnant. (Like pregnancy is a disease, not a choice.)

The people who say these kinds of things don't understand how inconsiderate it is. What if I like being fat and don't want to lose weight? What if I'm infertile or suffered a miscarriage recently and don't want to be reminded of it? What if I feel so wretchedly sick I don't want to look at a brightside? What if I'm a lesbian or just don't see kids in my future?

I wish people would think before they opened their mouths, not only about what they're saying but why they feel the need to say it.

I also think it's interesting that it's women who say things like this. I'm not sure if it's a way of leveling the playing field or a lame attempt of making me feel better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The adipositivity project, or fatties are beautiful too

I was going to write a scathing post on the feral children who wander my street at dusk, pushing their three wheelers around in the road with no supervision and their diapers sagging around their knees. But, that post will have to wait, for I am delight.

I just found adipositivity, which is a project to promote fat acceptance by showing the world how sexy us fatties really are. Here are my five favorite pics from the project; since nudity is involved I've just posted the links.

Jammies.

Is it hot in here?

Lingerie.

Little Red.

Calming nude.

I found my reactions to the pictures and which ones I thought to be attractive interesting. I like larger women, but there are some body types I really like, and some not so much.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Super Sweet 16 grow up in Exiled

I haven't heard good things about Exiled, the show that takes spoiled teenagers from My Super Sweet 16 and pairs them with tribes in remote locations around the world. I stumbled upon it by chance a few minutes ago, and I have to admit, I actually like it.

The arguments I've heard against the series have been valid. It shouldn't be up to other countries to educate spoiled rich kids in what it means to be human. And, spending a few days with a non-Western tribal culture shouldn't be the worst punishment imaginable. Some people pay a good chunk of money to have the same experience these girls have.

The reason I like the show is it gives girls who have spent their entire lives (in most cases) cushioned by the luxury of their parents the chance to expand their worldview. At worst, the girls will go home with a feeling of discomfort they've never felt before, which will make them grow as people. At best, they will find a new strength and determination they never knew they had. And, to top it all off, other Westerners (okay, Americans) will get a glimpse of cultures they didn't know they should care about. One of my biggest beefs about American culture is we're blind to the world outside our own borders, especially if the people in the outside world look and act differently than we do. I think any opportunity to show Americans, especially young Americans, the glorious diversity around the globe is a good thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This season's action dramas and feminism

Between Monday and Tuesday, I found myself being drawn into two action dramas, the returning Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the new Sons of Anarchy with one of my favorite actors, Ron Perlman.

I think one aspect that draws me into both shows is the strong female characters. In Terminator, Sarah Connor is like the MacGyver of modern mothers. She's resourceful, fierce, and a strategist who can survive just about everything. The competing Terminators so far this season are also women (if you can call them that) who are all the more intimidating because under the soft skin and big eyes are really killing machines crafted of an intricate network of wires, steel, and living tissue.

In some ways to me, the journey of the main Terminator, played by Summer Glau, is like that of women through history as she tries to prove her humanity in the face of the doubts of those around her. Last season she discovered art in the form of ballet, which gave the biggest hints that she was on the path towards becoming a human machine, and in the first episode of this season she declared her love for John Connor, and more surprising, she meant it. Through the machine's journey of self discovery, she is becoming more than a weapon, more than a tool, more than a machine, and because of her superhuman strength, more than an ordinary woman.

In Sons of Anarchy, it is clear that Gemma, played by Katey Sagal, pulls some major strings when it comes to her son Jax and Clay, the leaders of the SOA. She's not afraid to kill to get results, and she uses seduction, power, and quick thinking to get what she wants. She is cold and calculating, but you can tell she is tuned in when it comes to her family and will do what she thinks is best, no matter what it takes to see its fruition.

Dr. Tara Knowles has also been introduced as a strong woman. Not only has she had the courage to leave the jurisdiction of the SOA and come back to do good in her hometown, she also was intelligent and hardworking enough to finish medical school. It is clear there will be sparks between her and Jax, but it remains to be seen whether or not Jax will be up to being involved with such a strong, together woman.

Another thing I like about these shows, and it's somewhat controversial, is that the people who make the show are brave enough to put these women in danger. The mothers aren't June Cleaver. They make hard, and sometimes bad, decisions that impact the story lines of the shows. They get hurt, and sometimes women end up with a boot in their face or with an overdose coursing through their veins and making them froth at the mouth. But, instead of being victims who constantly need to be saved by the men around them, at times they save the men. I think this shows a maturity growing in Hollywood, where a gender paradigm is beginning to shift, and people are beginning to rethink the roles of men and women when it comes to power and protection.

If you agree or disagree on any of this, please feel free to leave a comment.

The Terminator series is available on Amazon and pretty much anywhere you can buy DVDs, and individual episodes of Sons of Anarchy are available for download from iTunes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On Sarah Palin and censorship

I'm hoping this will be my only Palin related post, but I can't make any promises.

Palin is anti-abortion, pro-guns, and is in the pocket of the religious right. But, none of that matters to me as much as what I've read on her stance on books. Here's an excerpt from Time Magazine:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.


It was easy for me to decide whether to vote for or against intellectual freedom.

Remember, when you vote for a president, you're also voting for their running mate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New blog for Vampire LARP

I'm moving all posts about the Vampire: The Masquerade OWbN LARP game I play to my new blog. My welcome post is now up at Wendy's Guide to OWbN LARP!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The problem with the new 90210

I'm watching the new 90210 as I type this, and already (23 minutes in) I'd rather be helping a friend move than sitting here in front of the screen.

I wasn't the biggest 90210 fan; I rediscovered the series in high school, think '98 or '99, in reruns. I watched the Walsh twins live through high school angst mixed with real world problems. There was anorexia, binge drinking, drug use, you name it and those crazy, beautiful white kids with problems were getting into it.

In this new 90210, the problems of the cast aren't as believable. The kids look plastic, their worries seem forced. Instead of introducing a pair of kind of shy, kind of ordinary teens from the Midwest into the world of Beverly Hills, an alien world to them, the new show introduces a pair of alpha teens into a town they already know from summer visits and romantic trysts with the hottest boy at West Beverly High.

From what I can tell, there's nothing new to watch in the 90210 zip code; the show seems like a rehash of every other teen show out there. The Peach Pit's been revamped, the teachers are now hotties, and many of the adult cast could pass for high school students.

Even the original cast members can't save this show in my eyes. Add a Brenda, an Andrea, and some other characters that really wouldn't mesh in The Hills, and I might consider watching again. Until then, you've lost me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The makeover of Wendy Withers

I won a full makeover (i.e. hair and facial, etc.) in a contest, so next week I will be transforming into a whole new me!

I will be using this opportunity to make the Wendy outside look a lot more like the Wendy inside. (The Wendy inside has crazy hair and looks pretty darned cool, while the Wendy outside, on most days, looks like she stepped out of her mother's yearbook from the 1950s.)

So, I am excited over a girly thing like a makeover. Part of me is worried about my tomboyish soul, but another part is thrilled that I will be getting an edgy update. I may post pictures, if I can hijack a camera by next Wednesday.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

RPG sickness

At some point, I think my gift for writing has almost become like a sickness when it comes to creating and fleshing out LARP characters. Most of you who read this blog know I role play; I've written about it.

The thing is, after I've played a character for a while, I end up writing elaborate backstories and histories for them.

It's even worse then when I'm creating characters for novels and short stories. I should probably go to this much trouble for my literary works.

Here is the current history for my Sabbat Character for OWbN LARP in the St. Pete chronicle. Now you can see my diseased brain at work.

Just as a caution, this baby's 16 pages long in word, and a part of it is pretty graphic. And, this is probably going to be kind of hard to read, because if I formatted it, I would be up all night. This is just more evidence of my general nerdiness.


Character History Worksheet


Date: 7/28/08
Player Name: Wendy
Character Name: Babylon, Bitch, Monica Stewart
Clan: Lasombra
Concept: Very annoying, vapid Lasombra of doom!

Character’s Mortal Life – Personal Information

Describe What Your Character Looked Like (including sex, height, weight, eye color, style of clothes he/she wears...etc.):
My character was a small time model in Tampa, working mostly trade shows and photo shoots for local businesses and magazines. She was an exotic beauty. She has glossy black hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. She looks like she could have some family from the Middle East or possibly some gypsy blood. She wears the clothes a young feminist women studies major would wear; i.e. tees with feminist slogans on them, long skirts, sometimes scarves in her hair, and other comfortable, casual clothes. She wears a lot of black and blue and either little makeup or dark grungy makeup.

Date Of Birth: 07/24/1984
City and State: Army Base in Germany
Ethnic Background: mutt background
Character’s Religion: Spiritualist
Explain Why Your Character Was Or Wasn’t Religious:
Babylon used to attend one of the spiritualist camps in Florida, where people try to contact spirits. It’s not really religious, but it has some religious aspects. It’s more of a philosophy that has to do with contacting the dead through different divining means. That’s where she learned to be a medium and fortune telling; her parents were spiritualists, which is why she got into it. Since she has amnesia, she doesn’t remember going, but she still retains her skills. At the moment, she is more of an Agnostic and is beginning to believe that power lies within her instead of from an outside source.


Character’s Intelligence:
Average

Was Your Character Educated (circle one): Yes

My character received a standard, high school education. She got okay grades when she applied herself. She became a model before she graduated, so she decided to forego a college education

List Your Character’s Hobbies as a Mortal (examples: reading, writing, painting...etc.):
My character watched a lot of TV and modeled. She started dating in high school but was labeled a tease and decided dating wasn’t worth it. She also dabbled in witchcraft and fortune telling. She met some mages but didn’t really get into it, so she learned a lot about the Tampa mage world but wasn’t a mage herself.

Describe Your Character’s Favorite Place to Hang Out as a Mortal and Why:
She hit the clubs a lot, because she liked to feel others’ eyes on her.

List and Describe One OR Two Relationships That Had an Important Impact on Your Character as a Mortal:
Her best friend was a dumpy girl who lived a few blocks away from her as a child. She liked her, because she felt she could confide in her, but at the same time she knew people’s eyes were drawn to her because her friend wasn’t that attractive. She also had an important relationship with her mother, who was overbearing and controlled much of her life in a stage mother type capacity.

How Sexually Active Was Your Character (circle one):
Not Very

Describe What Your Character’s Opinion of the Opposite Sex Was:
Men were there to take care of her and buy things for her, but not much more than that.

List And Describe Two People Your Character Most Admired as a Mortal and Why:
Oprah: Oprah is self assured, a strong woman, and is always together. She’s also really rich and knows how to get what she wants out of life and from other people.
Dr. Phil: Dr. Phil is a life leader and a top-notch psychologist in Babylon’s view. He’s also really rich and knows how to get what he wants out of life and from other people.

List And Describe Two People Your Character Hated as a Mortal and Why:
She hated bitches who thought they were better than her and people who thought they had all the answers.

List What Your Character’s Two Favorite Books Were and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
Babylon liked The Vampire Chronicles because they were easy to read and were about sexy characters. She also liked Dr. Phil’s book about the seven life laws; even though she didn’t read it all the way through or go through all of the steps, she got a lot out of it.

List What Your Character’s Two Favorite Movies or Plays Were and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
Babylon liked Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Gone with the Wind, because they centered around female role models for her.

List What Your Character’s Two Favorite Musicians/Bands Were and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
Babylon liked The Backstreet Boys and Nirvanna, because she liked the stories the songs told.

If You Could Choose One Song To Represent Your Character As A Mortal Which Song Would it Be and Why that song?
Beauty Contest by No Doubt

When Your Character Was Young What Did He/She Want to Be When They Became an Adult?
talk show host

Character’s Mortal Life – Family Information

Make A Selection That Best Describes Your Character and His/Her Family’s Social Class (circle one):
Upper Class

Describe the Neighborhood(s) Your Character Grew Up In:
She grew up on Davis Island, in an upscale condo. No diversity, no real crime. Just a lot of rich white people.

Mother’s Name: Leslie Stewart
Place of Birth: Atlanta, GA
Ethnic Background: blue blood
Mother’s Age at Your Character’s Birth: 37
Mother’s Religion: spiritualist
Explain Why Your Character’s Mother Was Or Wasn’t Religious:
It was more of a family hobby passed own.

Describe the Appearance of Your Character’s Mother:
Blond, frosted hair in a rich woman’s helmet hair cut, wore the best in rich casual clothing, i.e. well cut suits and tshirts and khaki pants that cost hundreds of dollars each.

Describe the Personality of Your Character’s Mother:
Overbearing and controlling. She needed to have constant updates of Monica’s (Babylon’s) activities and whereabouts.

List A Couple of Hobbies/Favorite Past-Times of Your Character’s Mother:
Charities and social organizations.

Did Your Character’s Mother Have A Profession (circle one)? Yes
What Was Her Profession? stage mother/ PTA mom
If Your Character’s Mother Did Not Work, Explain Why She Did Not:
Describe Any Psychological Disorders “Your” Mother Suffered And How The Disorder(s) Effected “Your” Mother’s Life (at home, with friends, at work):
OCD, perfectionism, made her very difficult to be around her, even though she was very popular.

List Any Addictions “Your” Mother Had, State The Year And “Your” Mother’s Age When She Started Using The Addictive Substance And Describe How The Addiction Started (examples of substances: nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, heroine, LSD...etc.):
Valium, prescribed

Make A Selection That Best Describes the Relationship Your Character had with His/Her Mother (circle one):
Bad

Describe In More Detail their Relationship:
Lesley is overbearing, and Monica (Babylon) has been trying to break away for years but hasn’t had the guts. She’s survived years of her mother picking her friends, picking her hobbies and classes, and picking her modeling jobs.

Father’s Name: Major Larry Stewart
Place of Birth: St. Peter Minnesota
Ethnic Background: Swedish
Father’s Age at Your Character’s Birth: 33
Father’s Religion: Lutheran
Explain Why Your Character’s Father Was Or Wasn’t Religious:
He attended Lutheran church and a Lutheran college until he got married, then he stopped going.

Describe the Appearance of your Character’s Father:
He looks very Midwestern and very Scandinavian. He has close cropped hair and is always meticulously groomed.

Describe the Sort of Personality Your Character’s Father Had:
He is kind of boring and tended to do whatever his wife and daughter wanted.

List A Couple of Hobbies/Past-Times of Your Character’s Father:
target practice, hunting, football

Did Your Character’s Father Have A Profession (circle one)? Yes
What Was His Profession? Major in the Army

Make A Selection That Best Describes the Relationship Your Character had with His/Her Father (circle one): Okay

Describe In More Detail their Relationship:
Babyon likes being able to control others, and her father was pretty easygoing.
Make A Selection That Best Describes the Relationship Your Character’s Mother and Father had with Each Other (circle one): Okay
Explain Your Answer:
Larry did everything Lesley wanted, and she let him.

Describe How Your Character Felt About How His/Her Mother Was Treated By His/Her Father And Vice Versa:
Monica thought her father let her mother walk all over him, and she thought her mother was a bitch to her father.

Did Your Character Have Any Siblings? (circle one) No

Did Any Significant Family Member or Close Friend Die During Your Character’s Mortal Lifetime?
No

Character’s Mortal Life – Profession and Skills

Did Your Character Have a Specific Profession? Yes
If Yes, What was His/Her Profession?
model

What Were Your Character’s Favorite Job(s) and Why?
She liked magazine shoots the best, especially when they were in whimsical locations, like on garden swings, because they made her feel magical and like a princess.

What Were Your Character’s Least Favorite Job(s) and Why?
Photo shoots on the beach. Because of the sand.

List Any Special Skills/Abilities Your Character Had To Help Him/Her In A Professional Career:
She is purty.

Character’s Vampiric Existance – Sire’s Information

Name of Sire: Vinn
Sire’s Clan: Lasombra
Sire’s Apparent Age (mortal years): early 20s
Sire’s Age (total years): unknown
Sire’s Birthplace: unknown
Sire’s Ethnic Background: European
Sire’s Religion: unknown

Describe the Appearance of Your Character’s Sire:
He has long, black curly hair, a goatee, and is overweight. He has dark brown eyes and wears jeans and button down white tshirts.

Describe the Personality of Your Character’s Sire:
He likes to annoy people, but he also likes to teach. He can be eager to please but is also lazy and likes to get away with doing as little as possible, especially if it involves work.

Give a Summary on the Life of Your Character’s Sire:
unknown

Describe When, Where and How Your Character First Met His/Her Sire:

He started stalking her after seeing her in a club. She literally met him after she was embraced. She met him at her apartment after he tricked her.

Describe Your Character’s First Impression of His/Her Sire:
Her first impression was that he was black smoke. Her second impression was that he was a tubby slob loser, which was more correct.

Describe “Your” Sire’s First Impression of Your Character:
From afar he was fascinated with her grace, poise, beauty, and power.

Describe What the Relationship Was Like Between Your Character and His/Her Sire Before the Embrace:
n/a

Character’s Vampiric Existance – The Embrace

The Date of Your Character’s Embrace: 01/01/07
Your Character’s Age When Embraced: 22
Describe the Place Where Your Character was Embraced:
She was embraced in her apartment, a sterile environment kept immaculately clean, with leather furniture and chrome accents. Her walls were white and she barely had any art gracing the walls. The color scheme was mostly browns, and she had a giant 50” screen TV.

Describe How Your Character’s Sire Embraced Your Character:
He knocked on her door, said he was the pizza guy, dropped shroud on her when she opened the door, and embraced her after she passed out.

Character’s Vampiric Existance – After The Embrace

Describe How Your Character Reacted to the Embrace:
She was traumatized and fought against him until the feelings of his blood bond began to kick in. Then, she began to dote on him and depended on him for everything. She wouldn’t feed for a long time until she’d fed on his blood first.

Describe Your Character’s First Kill (include a description of where your character first hunted and his/her first victim, how did your character go about doing it and finally was your character successful? How did your character feel afterward?):
They step into the night together, his arm draped across her shoulders. He walks to her right, looking for her perfect target. He needs someone small and weak. They can’t put up much of a fight or a fuss. He wants it to go down outside, with him whispering instructions in her ear. It will be real training. Her future is set; she will be strong. She will be self-sufficient. They will find her limitations, so she will always have the safety of knowing what she can and can’t do.
In the cool night air, he knows they’ll live forever. He’ll continue to fall asleep with her slight form in his arms, her hips pressing against him, his arms wrapped around her, just under her breasts. If she dies, he’ll kill her himself, but he can’t see that in the stars above them. They just twinkle merrily, showing off.
Vinn weighs every woman who walks by against his list of what’s needed. Too muscular, too old, too young, too fat, too thin, too thick- they all get passed by. He does notice Monica seems unaware of the women drifting by. This worries him. While she seemed interested in leaving the apartment, she seems not to care about who’s chosen for her first. He begins to lecture her about the importance of this night as they flow through the stream of night revelers.
“You know, this is the first night we’ve been hunting together. You’re going to have to learn your prey. You’ll have to learn who you can take down and who you should leave for someone stronger. It also isn’t that great to pick someone on drugs or who’s been drinking. That shit can effect you, too. You need to pay attention.”
Vinn gazed at Monica, who was nodding her head as she jumped from one sight to another. She seemed more intent on pulling Vinn close to her and staring down the people walking by than actually listening to what he had to say. Vinn sighed.
“You know, this is important. But, as long as you’re with me, you’ll be fine. Just don’t come out here alone because you think you can handle it. Wait until I think you’re ready.” Vinn places a soft kiss behind Monica’s ear, pushing her hair out of the way with a finger. Monica nods as she turns to stare at a tall, dark man who is walking with his own girlfriend. She snuggles a bit closer to Vinn and squeezes.
Vinn shakes his head, catching movement out of the corner of his eye. He firmly halts Monica and turns her around to watch the woman shuffling away. He’s found her.
The woman is the perfect prey for a beginner. She’s a chubby woman with flab swinging from her weak arms. She’s also simultaneously talking on her cell phone and looking through her purse for something. She has no idea what’s going on around her. Vinn gives Monica a gentle push towards her.
Monica looks back at Vinn once, grinning, then glides after the woman. He watches Monica tap the woman on the shoulder; it appears she’s explaining some kind of inconvenience by the way she’s flailing her arms. The woman barks something into her phone, then takes Monica’s arm as she leads her into a back alley.
Vinn is close behind as he follows them. He watches the woman struggle against Monica as she’s pulled close, but Monica’s stronger even though she’s smaller.
Monica feels into the woman’s mind. The lady grows limp in her arms- Monica can feel her life draining away. She chews at the woman’s neck while reaching out to her. The weight of Vinn’s eyes on her almost makes her miss the small spark she can feel under the mother’s.
Monica stops; she can feel the woman’s breath weak against her chest. Part of her is repulsed, but the repulsion is soon dwarfed by the curiosity she feels. It’s not as if it makes a difference.
Monica curves her hand into a clawed paw and scoops into the woman’s stomach. The woman’s breathing ceases as Monica explores the warm, gory contents of her body. Finally, she pulls out a small lump in a sack.
It didn’t survive past it’s mother’s death, and is uninteresting to Monica. She shrugs as she tosses it back towards the body. She turns around to the sight of Vinn backing away.
They walk back in silence. Monica is jittery; she thinks Vinn is disappointed in her for something. Maybe she should have let the woman live longer. Maybe she took too long. She goes over what she did over and over, trying to find a better strategy.
Vinn is more horrified than disappointed. He thinks of what he should say to make Monica understand the importance of life, even though they are bringers of death. He’s never brought a woman over- perhaps she’s taking to the life better than he realized. It’s impossible for him to erase the picture of Monica standing over the pregnant woman, her eyes wide, arms covered in gore, staring at the baby that only took up part of her palm out his mind.
(From the first draft of the short story “Monica,” published in Arrhythmic Souls Magazine.

Describe Any Changes in Your Character’s Appearance After the Embrace:
She has fine, dark features. She is paler and leaner, which makes her dark eyes and hair stand out more. She wears street clothes more and carries herself differently, so she isn’t noticed as much as she was before, and when she is it’s usually by an entirely different set of people. She often looks like she’s looking for a fight.

Describe Any Changes in Your Character’s Personality After the Embrace:
She still tries to control people, although now it’s more through pop psychology. After her bout with amnesia, she is jittery and wants to get in the middle of action more often. She is also searching for herself, so her current philosophy is that she should try everything once to find out what she likes as well as try to find out who she used to be. 
Explain Any Changes in Your Character’s Religious Beliefs After the Embrace:
She sees herself more as the center of the universe than ever before. She also depends on her fortune telling more than before and the snatches of memory she has of the occult. She is drawn back to that world because it is something of an anchor in a storm; she is searching out other supernatural creatures and trying to find ways to give her life meaning.

Did Your Character’s Sire Abandon Your Character After the Embrace? Yes
If the Answer is Yes, Explain What Your Character Did After He/She Was Abandoned:
She searched for him to bring him back, and she came back with amnesia, her sire’s resentment, and an enemy.

Did Being Abandoned Strengthen Or Weaken Your Character? Strengthened

Explain Your Answer:
She had to depend on her own resources and break away from her codependency. She also doesn’t remember her mortal life, so she doesn’t have to deal with horrors like her mother dying at her Sire’s hand or know that she was ever dominated by another soul.

How Long Did Your Character Stay with His/Her Sire? 8 months
Which Best Describes the Relationship Between Your Character and His/Her Sire After The Embrace:
Okay

Describe How Your Character was Treated by His/Her Sire After The Embrace:
She was treated as a servant; he gave her the name Bitch; his words were “Bitch, get me a beer.” When she started to complain about disrespect, he told her that was her new name. Even though she was blood bonded to him before they rejoined the Sabbat in St. Pete, there was a constant war of wills.

Describe Where Your Character And His/Her Sire Stayed/Lived:
They lived in her apartment until they moved into the Apathy pack house. The apartment started to decline as Vinn made more and more messes and Bitch decided to stop cleaning up after them, and even worse still after he got her puppy that added to the mess.

Describe How Your Character was Educated on Kindred/Cainite Affairs:
Vinn told her very little, then took her to St. Pete so she could learn by doing. She knows even less now that she has amnesia, but she tries to hide it.

If Your Character Did Not Receive Kindred/Cainite Education or was Purposely Misinformed Explain Why:
Her Sire was lazy and didn’t care. He was also probably more than a little spiteful.

Did Your Character Part Ways With His/Her Sire On Good Terms? No

Describe the Scene of Your Character’s Departure:
She doesn’t know what happened and possibly would not recognize her Sire if she met him on the street.

Describe How Your Character Felt Being On His/Her Own:
At first she panicked, then she set out with a purpose. She was going to find her Sire and fix him.

Did Your Character Travel? Yes
List the Places Your Character Went, When and How Long He/She Stayed:
She traveled in teh SouthEast and then headed for Mexico to find her Sire, where she traveled from Sabbat stronghold to Sabbat stronghold. She woke up on a cruise ship coming back from Mexico with amnesia; she only knows about her past from her diary.

What Was Your Character’s Favorite Place and Why?
Her favorite place is the fairy bar, because she can get high. She also liked being on the cruise ship, because of the nightlife and the feeling of the waves.

What Was the Worst Place Your Character Traveled To and Why?
She had to go find some sort of relic with Jack Castor in the sewers, but she doesn’t remember that now. Now, the worst place she’s been was a ghetto house.

How Did Your Character Pass the Night Hours Away?
She watches a lot of TV when she isn’t looking for a fight or new experiences.

If Your Character Has Made Any Friends/Allies Explain Who They Are, How Your Character Met Them and Why They Are a Friend/Ally to Your Character:
She spends a lot of time with Dante because he is a link to her past. The only person she actually thinks of as a friend is Craig the BSD; she is fascinated by his werewolfness and wants to ghoul him as an elaborate experiment. She is also drawn to his darkness and what she sees as his deep philosophy regarding life. She met him at the mage bar.

If Your Character Has Made Any Enemies Explain Who They Are, How Your Character Met Them and Why They Are an Enemy to Your Character:
Her sire is an enemy, and it has to do with her trip to Mexico, when she followed him.

Describe One Positive Experience Your Character Had During His/Her First Year or So On His/Her Own:
She stole a giant screened TV from the Snack Pack. Now she throws away their invoices when they send them.

How Did Your Character Benefit From This Experience?
She thought it was fun and that she was pulling something over on the Snack Pack, plus it made Dante happy.

Describe One Negative Experience Your Character Had During His/Her First Few Years on His/Her Own:
She was attacked by another Sabbat member during a large battle with an important Camarilla figure. He put her in torpor.

How Was Your Character Affected By This Experience?
She distrusts other Sabbat members.
***Choose 2-4 key moments in your character’s Kindred life. Include the date and a detailed description of the event that occurred***

1. Joining her Sire’s pack and leaving his blood bond behind. It made her question her relationship with him and begin to pity him for his general unhappiness. It also led to her following him when he left, because she already felt superior and wanted to help him through his problems.

2. Receiving her first bow, which symbolized her ability to defend herself. It was made from the leg bone of a human (by one of Tony’s old characters); she felt as if she was a deadly weapon with it.
3. Rejoining Apathy and listening to Dante’s stories about her past, like when she killed a Methusula. It made her feel like she could find a home for herself even if she couldn’t remember her past.

4. Any of the times she spoken with Craig. She believes he offers a unique world view and is fascinated by him as a person as well as him as a werewolf. She is sure she can transform him into some sort of super werewolf vampire hybrid if she ghouls him.

Character’s Vampiric Existance – Your Character’s Sire Presently

If Your Character’s Sire is Still Alive Answer the Following---
Presently, Where Does Your Character’s Sire Live? she doesn’t know
Does Your Character Still Stay In Touch With His/Her Sire? No
If Your Character No Longer Speaks to His/Her Sire Explain Why:
She has amnesia, so she doesn’t know where he is or much about him.

Character’s Vampiric Existance – Your Character Presently

Describe the Current Appearance of Your Character:
She’s kind of edgy, but not edgy enough to be taken seriously. In fact, no one could mistake her for someone to take seriously by looking at her or speaking with her. She wears a lot of band and feminist shirts and long skirts as well as long stockings and canvas sneakers or boots.

Describe Your Character’s Personality Presently:
She talks to much about everyone’s feelings and their problems. She likes hearing the sound of her own voice and thinking she’s helping people. She currently struggling against her own humanity. She follows the beat of her own drummer and doesn’t really take into account what others want or feel when it goes against her own needs. However, she is very soft hearted when it suits her and has a bleeding heart, especially for children or people who might be useful to her in some way. It’s more of a sickly sweet fake softheartedness.

List A Couple of Hobbies/Favorite Past-Times of Your Character and Explain Why He/She Has These Hobbies/Past-Times:
She spends a lot of time at the Mage bar drinking fairy blood and getting high, when she’s not watching TV. She would probably be surprised to find out she was a conservative prude as a mortal. She feels more from controlled vampire blood substances than she did with anything when she was alive. She is also still interested in fortune telling and the occult.

List Your Character’s Two Favorite Books and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
She’s still into Dr. Phil’s Life Lessons, and she reads a lot of feminist magazines. The Bitch feminist reader is a favorite.

List Your Character’s Two Favorite Movies or Plays and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
Now she likes The Matrix, because she feels it explains her existence in some ways. She also likes Queen of the Damned, because she can relate.

List Your Character’s Two Favorite Musicians/Bands and Explain Why They Were His/Her Favorite:
She thinks No Doubt adequately explains her worldview. She also says she loves Ani DiFranco, even though she doesn’t think she’s heard their music.



If You Could Choose One Song To Represent Your Character As He/She is Today Which Song Would it Be and Why that song?
“Too Late” by No Doubt.

She thinks her feelings for the BSD are on par with Romeo and Juliet.

Name of the City Your Character Currently Resides In: (This is your Home Chronicle)
St. Pete

Date of Your Character’s Arrival to the City: reentered in May
What was the Last City/Town Your Character Reside In? Tampa

What Made Your Character Decide to Travel to This City?
finding her past

Does Your Character Know Any Kindred or Kine Already Living in the City? Yes
If So, Who Are They And How Does Your Character Know Them?
Dante, in her pack
List and Describe At Least Three Goals Your Character Wishes To Accomplish While In the City:
Find her past and therefore herself, ghoul the BSD, help people with her own brand of pop psychology

Out Of the Goals Previously Listed, Which Is Currently The Most Important for Your Character and Why? Right now, the BSD, because she is creepy and obsessed.

Character’s Vampiric Existance – Character Opinions

What Does Your Character Have To Say About the Camarilla?
Those poor people are misguided and uninformed.

What Does Your Character Have To Say About the Sabbat?
Lofty goals, but at what cost, if they’re willing to attack their own for no reason?

Lasombra: At least someone can add some class and substance to existence.
Tzimisce: Kind of creepy, but they come in handy in a pinch.

What Does Your Character Have To Say About the Independents?
Maybe they have the most freedom, but where’s the safety in numbers?

What Does Your Character Have To Say About Mortals?
They have their purposes.

Character Sheet Information – Negative Traits. Merits, Flaws and Derangements

List Any Addictions Your Character Still Has and Describe How They Affect Your Character:
She is becoming addicted to different magical bloods.

List Any Other Of Your Character’s Flaws and Explain How and Why Your Character Has Them:
She is soft hearted towards useful people and children, she has amnesia from when she went to find her sire, she has an enemy from when she went to find her sire, she is vengeful when crossed, and she has sire’s resentment from when she went to find her sire.


List Your Character’s Merits and Explain How and Why Your Character Has Them:
She has medium from when she was a spiritualist, she has daredevil because it’s a part of her personality and possibly from her amnesia, and she has catlike balance which added to her grace when modeling.

List Your Character’s Negative Traits and Explain Why You Chose Them For Your Character:
She is condescending because she believes she is the center of the universe, she is impatient, and she is oblivious, because she is really, really naive and stupid.

Character Sheet Information – Backgrounds and Influence

**Fill in the dots for the backgrounds your character has and then explain when, how and where you got them and also who they are.**


Street 3
She keeps her ear to the streets more than anything; since she left for so long she lost her occult and other contacts.


Haven 3
She is working on decorating and fortifying the Apathy pack house.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dr. Wendy's Read Along Blog



For those of you who live under a rock, I have some advice.

Go watch or download Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog! Right now! No, really! Do it!

Do it!

Do it!

So, Joss Whedon has made another musical, this time about a geeky mad scientist who falls in love with the girl next door. Umm, I mean the girl at the laundromat. And, only he can save her from the evil (umm, I mean good) Captain Hammer.

Filled with catchy tunes and witty one-liners, the internet show made me laugh out loud, even though I'm sitting at home sick. Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion are super awesome.

The third installment comes out tomorrow (Saturday July 19), and you only have a limited window to view the whole miniseries before it's taken down. I downloaded the episodes from iTunes, so I could watch them over and over again for the rest of my life, and I'll probably buy the DVD when that comes out. (By the way, this is my disclosure. I'm a super geeky Joss Whedon fan.)

So, like I was saying, check it out. Otherwise, you'll be missing out on knowing why for the next few months I'm going to be annoying my friends by telling them "My hammer is my penis."

The immense amount of interest has already made the Dr. Horrible site and Whedonesque go down, so you should probably enjoy it while you can.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Joining the George Carlin bandwagon

I know, I know. Everyone's been babbling about George Carlin's death today, mourning the comic in a blog cloud of sorrow.

I'm not going to mourn his death so much as a dying breed of comic. Carlin made sure to put everyone on edge, something you don't see all too much these days. To me, it seems like young comics who rail against the system do so to make those who support them cheer and those whose views oppose them draw back in horror and rage. Plenty of other comics keep to politically correct topics.

Comedy is getting bland, and it's our fault. When a comic tells a joke that offends a particular group of people, we get together in our mob-think and crush them. No black jokes, fat jokes, gay jokes, ____________________ <- (insert your subculture here) if you know what's good for you. Unless, of course, you are a card carrying member of whatever group you're joking about. Then, it's all fun and games.

Life in general is getting surreal and fuzzy around the edges. It's going to be interesting to see where we end up as a species.

I think I'm the only girl I know my age who has listened to the hippie dippie weatherman on their own record, playing on their own turntable. (The same can be said about Django Reinhardt.)

While you watch endless YouTube clips of the comic mastermind and read all of the reports on his death, take a few moments to think about what he stood for. Think about his constant struggles against society, and then thank the people who carry on this tradition all around you, because they're what makes America great.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Queer as Folk and the cult of the modern woman

I’ve finally gotten around to watching the last season of Queer as Folk. I only have one disc left, and then I’ll be finished with one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

When the series first came out, I actually didn’t want to watch it. I’d heard too much about it in the media, and I thought it was another Will & Grace. (At the time, I thought Will & Grace was a televised abomination, only to become addicted to it a few years later in reruns. I was against the character of Jack, who I thought was a parody of real gay men and was invented for cheap laughs.)

Then, I was working at a Hollywood Video in North Carolina, and I could rent DVDs for free. My coworkers, women ranging from their late teens to middle age, were raving about the show. Some of them couldn’t stop talking about it; I even heard about QAF parties going on around the country.

So, I took the plunge and rented the first season. My ex husband and I were instantly addicted, sucked into the lives of Michael, Brian, and their gay universe. Back then, I didn’t really identify as bisexual, but I was still sucked into their world.

The argument can be made that QAF is so compelling, so mesmerizing, because of the acting. Hal Sparks, Gale Harold, Sharon Gless, and the rest of the cast drew viewers in with believable and touching performances. The argument can be made that the controversy of the subject matter, from gay sex to relationships with minors, drew viewers in with promises of voyeurism. The argument can also be made that the series came out at a time when the gay community was finally gaining ground in being recognized as just another group of regular people by other Americans. But, none of this explains why the show appealed to so many straight women, whether they be married, single, old, young, mother, or barren.

I don’t really have the answers, but I do know why I started watching QAF five years ago and why I’ve continued to watch it to the point of obsession to this day.

The characters in QAF aren’t compromised.



The writers of QAF don’t judge the characters they write. Brian and Justin love each other throughout the series despite their respective ages. Emmet is flamboyant and fabulous. Michael owns his own comic book store and can be tender and loving. These characters grow throughout the show’s run, but it never feels like the writers are forcing them into their roles.

QAF shows men being tender with each other.



I suspect this is a large reason why so many married women watch the show. They can watch men show tenderness. Even more amazing, they can watch men show tenderness with each other. There are no stereotypical men characters, although the characters do fall under common archetypes in the gay mythos.

There are strong female characters.



From Justin’s mom to Debbie to Mel and Linds, the women speak their minds and make their own decisions. Even if it goes against what society or their families want, they do what they feel is best for them.

The show covers a lot of very old material.



Call it a soap opera. Call it a modern take on a Greek tragedy. Call it whatever you want, but QAF includes a lot of themes found in stories written since the beginning of literature and drama. Characters deal with repercussions from their own hubris. They tempt the gods and fate and live to tell the tale. There is doomed love on an epic scale that screams for us to care about these people and their lost chances. And, the characters all go about their daily business oblivious to the fact they’re living the classics.

I know that I’m a little late to jump on the finale bandwagon, but all of this has been knocking around in my mind the last few days. Especially about the universal appeal of this series when it comes to women.

So, dear readers, why do you think a series that revolves largely around gay men is loved so much by a broad audience of women?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

:/

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep this blog up. I think this blog space is going to die a slow death due to my new site. So, check out the site (in the very first birthing stages) and stay tuned for much awesomeness.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nerdery Week, The End

I was going to post pictures of my LARPing last night for the last day of Nerdery Week, but my camera died, and the few pictures I did take were too dark. (Boo, camera, boo.) So, instead I'll just write about it.

Imagine a group of 20-30 20-somethings standing around outside at a college campus. They seem to be organized into loose groups, and most are talking pretty loud. There might be two or three women in the group, but most of them are men.

A couple guys step forward and start talking about the goals they have for the city. Then, a few visitors are presented, and everyone goes back to arguing and talking amongst themselves. Suddenly, someone pulls out an old sheet of paper that's falling apart at its creases, unfolds it, and gets into a fighter's stance with one hand behind their back. Their foe mirrors them, and anyone else who wants to get in the fray.

"Okay, one, two, three." Someone calls.

At three, everyone throws out a hand, some have it balled into a fist, some have it laid out flat, palm down, and some have it with two fingers sticking out of their fist.

"Okay, Brian's rock beats Gabe's scissors, but Gary's paper beats Brian's rock."

Did I mention that these people are dressed up in costumes? The rock paper scissors determines who's won a particular round of battle. The papers carry the stats for their characters, and they usually stay out for four to five hours then go for pizza and continue talking about the game and strategizing.

This is what I do at least one day a week.

This is OWbN LARP.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nerdery Week, Day 5

I thought today I'd show off my religious nerdery and my new nerd space. Sorry guys, no video today.

My friend, Orianna Kurrus, gave this chest to me when she moved a few years back. The chest sports a host of cave type paintings and a Pope head superimposed over a Shiva body. Buddha and Quan Yin are hanging out together, and I've got my menorah set up. I also am a big fan of incense and candles, so they're all there, too. Jesus decided to join the party, even though he's slowly being buried under an avalanche of stuff, and yes, that is a stuffed sperm off to the side. The painted tray was painted by my mom.



The top of the chest holds an assortment of religious statues and artifacts for ritual. The Shiva/Pope is shown in better detail, as well as the Prehistoric cave painting designs. The blue fairy was a Christmas gift from my mom.


In one special section, I've got a stone with a Star of David, pottery from Israel, a pet rock, and a squirrel carved from some mystery substance.



I just set up my new computer desk/work station. I've got both my laptops side by side and am currently watching the first episode of Red Dwarf on Netflix. I think I'm going to like this setup a lot more than the old one. I can watch movies on my computers from my bed and keep both laptops on a safe, level surface.



I've got my computers set up with a portable keyboard and mouse, so my wrists stop aching.



You also might want to check out Nerdery Week days three and four.

Other showoff nerds can be found at:

Tappity Tappity
This Man's World
Blue Birdland
Caryle's Corner
The Poisoned Apple
Uvulapie and His Amazing Hillbillies
Unhinged
Susan Sandmore
The Bookshelf Muse

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Something's Holding Us Back: The beginning

Jenna Walsh slumped over a dented, rusty office desk in an office piled high with comics wrapped in shiny plastic and invoices dating as far back as 1988. She was the lone female employee at Merlyn's, the only comic book store in a three county radius. She scanned an online order form on an IBM reject from the 90s; she was trying to decide how many issues of the latest Dark Knight comic would fit in the store's budget. For the past two hours, she had been visiting sites of independent comic publishers, trying to find the next top seller for the store. She was still trying to live down ordering 100 copies of The Devil’s Panties. She found out the hard way adolescent boys in Mabel, Florida wanted to feast their eyes on heroes battling villains and big-breasted babes, not a geeky female comic book artist dealing with the realities of bills, biker boots, and cottage cheese thighs. So far, only five copies of Jennie Breeden’s comic had sold. This was a disappointment for Jenna, who was one of thousands of readers who regularly browsed Breeden's site. Chuck, Jenna’s boss, saw the comic as wasted space in the store.

Jenna’s cell phone buzzed in her pocket; she jumped at the sensation. Once, twice. At the third vibration, she pulled it out and flipped it open. She did not recognize the number, so she hesitated before answering. Phone calls were rare.

“I can’t hate you. I’m sorry. I can’t do it any more.”

The voice on the other end of the line made Jenna think back to phone calls made late at night, years before. Conversations that ended in screaming matches, where tears would stream down her face and burn her skin with salt. The slight whispers of the small white desk fan in front of her and the whir of her computer disappeared until the voice on the phone was the only sound she heard.

Nerdery Week 2008, Day 4

This being Nerdery Week, I've decided to show off my fiction side a bit. Think of this as a look into the nerdery of my mind.

Due to working on a school project, I may have to postpone my religious nerdery until tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll post the beginnings of the first two chapters of the novel I'm working on. I'm also going to post the first two pages of the first chapter of the novel I'm finishing up. I plan to send the first three chapters off to agents in the next few weeks.

So, here they are:

Chapter 1 Preview



Govi’s eyes shone clear blue as he squinted against the blinding sun. His lips pulled back against two shiny, alabaster rows of teeth. His smile was bright; his shoulders were loose as he sauntered towards a tight cluster of muscular men surrounding a petite, petrified woman. All he could see of her was the top of her head, covered with sleek black hair.

There was no sulfurous odor emanating from him, his eyes didn’t glow red, and he didn’t have black talons crusted with the blood of innocents. He certainly didn’t have bestial, cloven hooves peeking out from under his trouser legs. Instead, he had supple skin with a youthful glow that translated into a warmth which radiated out to any fingertips daring to caress him. Even his scent was honeyed with the lemon juice and cinnamon his attendants added to his bath water.

“Relax, you don’t have to fear me. One day, I would like us to be friends.”

His voice was velvety smooth and barely a whisper.

It was clear- the legends were wrong.

Chapter Two Preview



Claire sat still and breathless in an overstuffed, dark crimson chair. The armrests were glistening oak; the cushion sat so high off the ground Claire’s feet hung almost a half foot above the polished marble floor. The dusty air of the room hung in her throat and created silvery, glittering motes in the morning sunlight streaming through the window that faced the garden below. Wrought iron bars separated the room from the glass and created black shadows stretching almost to Claire’s chair.

Claire’s muscles trembled and ached as she forced her body not to move. Not to make a sound. She could feel the sharp point of a quill biting into the bottom of her right thigh, but she still did not move. Even when she swallowed the burning bile rising in her throat, the movement was cautious.

The sound of footsteps could be heard outside the formidable solid metal door. Claire imagined the smooth black leather of Govi’s boots advancing towards her. The air she held in expelled from her lungs as her heart began to thud.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nerdery 2008, Day 3

Okay, I'm officially a little late on this. But, better late than never.

See, this week is the new, official nerdery week, where nerds show off their nerd lairs. And, I have the perfect nerd lair to be shown off.

So, I don't have the cool poster layout or menagerie of action figures of Thomas Kingsley Troupe or Matt of Blue Birdland's many video games. (I used to have Earthbound and a SNES, but let's not bring up that horrible mess.) The other nerdery showoffs are Susan Sandmore, Catherine J. Gardner, Dan, from This Man's World, Caryle of Caryle's Corner, and Jeff of May The Force Be With Y'all.

Now, for the juicy stuff. Here's a special video intro, complete with celebrity guest stars.



And, now for the pictures of my main lair, which I hope to rearrange before the end of Nerdery Week.

On the wall behind my bed, which (unfortunately for my wrists) has become my home office, are pictures of me and my friends. At the very top is a pic of me and Nathan Fillion. The painting is by Orianna Kurrus, it's "Blood and Milk."



Next to my bed is a purple trunk I also got from Orianna Kurrus. The Hello Kitty doll my mother got me for Christmas live on top of it, as well as my GRE practice book, my Stitch 'n Bitch day calendar, and some other random stuff.



Next to the trunk is some wire shelves that hold some house plants (not pictured), a few videos and DVDs, and knitting projects. Waterworld lives on one of the shelves, as does Ranma and Animation Show.



My mom knitted me an afghan for Christmas. And, I couldn't help but take a picture of my pink and blue Chococat goggles (by Panzer Kitty).



And, my newest obsession is knitting socks. I just finished my first one and am almost finished with my second.



Stay tuned for tomorrow, where I show off my religious nerdery.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday's Fantastic Feminist

If you guys liked the Friday Fat Chicks better, let me know. I'll change back. But, I had to write about one of my favorite artists. Even better yet, she's a feminist who makes cute little boobs and vaginas for people to wear as jewelry.

She's Tangerined!


So far, she has an Etsy account and Myspace and Blogspot blogs that pretty much say the same thing, so pick your poison. In addition to her woman parts necklaces, bracelets, and charms, she sells acrylic paintings made with recycled materials and all manners of horns and sculpted wearable art. She's definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stalking Nathan Fillion p. II

I am an amazing writer. So amazing, that I wait weeks to write the second part in a two-part series. So long, that I'm sure no one cares a whit about it any more.

And, it's Valentine's Day! I'm having an undead Valentine's party, but right now I'm focusing on my writing, for online and for my gender class (I'm skipping to write and catch up for the weekend, so Monday and Tuesday I'm not stressed out when the computer lab messes up printing out the paper, again).

Enough babbling! Here's the grand finale of "Stalking Nathan Fillion."


It's fitting that I'm listening to Tales from the 'Verse as I write this. I found the podcast on iTunes a couple weeks ago. For those of you who've never checked it out, it's a podcast of Firefly and Serenity fanfic.

We left off in my previous post with me leaving FXShow on Saturday, thwarted for the day. After a nice dinner and a fitful night's sleep, I woke up late, to an overcast gray sky that tricked me into thinking I woke up much earlier than I did. I checked out of my hotel and drove to the con, plopping down another $10 for parking across the street and a few blocks away. I walked to the convention center lugging my purse, my laptop, and two digital cameras once again past the Wendy's convention and their giant, inflatable version of me.



My first stop, once inside, was to pick up the picture I took with Fillion the day before. I found it amongst a pile of pictures of people with all of the celebrities at the event, from Adam West to Nicholas Brendon.

I sighed as I peered at my own goofy smile and Fillion's slightly unhappy face. I zipped it into my computer case for safe keeping.

I looked for Katie Jarvinen, my contact with the con, and asked her whether I could schedule Fillion in for an interview. Her answer?

He was booked for the rest of the day. No Fillion interview.

Instead of admitting defeat, I interviewed a number of writers and artists. I also got video footage of the Whedonverse Q&A; once I get it edited, I'll throw it up, I hope in the next few days.

Was I a touch tearful that I couldn't interview Fillion? Not really. It would have been nice, but the interview Nicholas Brendon granted me provided a nice highlight to the con.

And, I'll always have the memories from the three seconds I did come in contact with the elusive star.

And, the picture.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stalking Nathan Fillion, P. I

I arrived at FXShow in Orlando and immediately knew something was up. There was a line that stretched from the double doors leading into the main convention room to a small makeshift room made out of red and white curtains.



After asking around, I found out the line was for photo opps with Nathan Fillion, a.k.a. Captain Tightpants from Firefly and Serenity of the Whedonverse and one of the celebrities at the event. On impulse, I decided to shell out 30 hard-earned bucks to get a picture with him and see if he'd tell me who I could talk to to schedule an interview with him.

Adding to my impulsive decision was the fact I'm a Browncoat. A picture with Fillion couldn't hurt.

The line moved fast; the staff members inside the makeshift photo room were fast and efficient. Every shuffle brought me closer to my quarry as I listened to the people around me talk about Fillion and Whedon related news and gossip.

As myself and three other people were herded inside the photo area and handed over the tickets that promised us each a pose with the star, I was struck by how strange the event was. Fillion, ever affable, reminded me of a congenial politician kissing babies and wooing voters. Either that, or it was like a sideshow where two-bits extra could get me in to see the two-headed cow, or in this case a picture with a man who, up to this point, existed in my fantasies of living in a run-down transport ship at the edge of outer space.

"Hey sweetheart, how're you doin'?" He asked as he put his arm around me and smiled for the camera.

"I'm with the press," I blurted as I thrust my press pass towards him. The corners of his lips began to turn down as he glanced at me, so I continued, the words tumbling forth from my mouth. "Do you know who I can talk to to arrange a short interview with you?"

"No, I'm sorry I don't," he replied.

We both smiled and glanced back at the camera right as the flash went off. I could feel sweat build over my body as I began to tense up.

"Okay, I'll ask around." At that moment, I just wanted to get out, but our picture didn't turn out very good, even for speed shot standards. The photographer looked at his digital display and looked back at us.

"One more time, guys," He told us. We smiled wide, and Fillion pulled me back to his side for a second pose. Then, I was out of the stifling photo room and gulping the climate controlled air of the rest of FXShow. The whole fiasco behind the red and white curtains couldn't have taken more than a minute, and it felt more like ten seconds.

Ten seconds of failure. But, I was persistent. I love a good challenge.

After talking to three or four members of the FXShow staff, I was granted an interview with Nicholas Brendon (the resulting article will be posted soon) and told that Saturday was a busy day for Fillion, but it was likely I could talk to him on Sunday, when things slowed down.

Sunday worked well for me; I had a hotel room waiting and wanted to talk to as many artists and authors attending the con as possible. So, I explored the con to get my bearings, set up a couple of interviews, and drove to my hotel to check in and eat dinner, knowing the next day I could pick up my 8x10 of me with Fillion and have another crack at an interview with him.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Greetings from FXShow

I'm too tired to type it all out again. Here's what I've been up to.

Off to FxShow

And, I'm heading off late and alone (my photographers bailed). I've got two digital cameras and my MAC; both photographers offered up a camera in response to me kvetching.

Also, my Artist's Passion email went kaputz, so I don't have any big-name interviews set up (also because none of the talent agents involved called me back) so I'm going to try to get into some autograph lines and attend the Whedonverse panel on Sunday, but other than that I'm going to be focusing on artists and crazy people in costumes.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday's fabulous fat chick: Figure magazine




I look through magazines like Cosmo and Vogue and instantly become indignant because of the waifish, sickly women strung throughout the pages. Collar bones and ribs on display for everyone to see.

A flip through Figure, on the other hand, provides a cuddly good time with the big, beautiful girls out there who are making it the big, bad, fat-bashing world.

Sure, Figure isn't as edgy as MissBehave or Bust or as future-minded as Bitch. But, what it lacks in trend appeal it makes up for in the way it mirrors other mainstream fashion magazines, only with a fat girl angle.

There are bland features on exercise and diet alongside celebrity interviews. Fashion spreads show off the latest styles in career wear, sportswear, and lingerie. Yet, instead of anorexic models picked for their slender form above all else, Figure provides readers with sumptuous curves and happy faces.

The most recent issue, with Camryn Manheim on the cover, included a feature on advice for what to do if a stranger shoots off a fat hating comment in your presence. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the link to the article online, but it reminded me of an article I recently read on the Utne Reader Web site.

"Love Your Fat Self" explores what it's like to be a fat girl in today's society, and it specifically showcases the life of Gareth, an active, involved, and tuned-in woman who is beautiful and fat. It shows how others see and treat her despite her accomplishments and pleasant personality.



Photo of Morgan

The woman plays with yarn. What's not to love about someone who crochets?

I'm glad I picked up the new issue of Figure when I did. With graduation the need for a real job looming, my morale has been at an all-time low. Especially when I'm confronted with the other students in my department (many of them look like they've been bred specifically to be botoxed and augmented news anchors). I hadn't picked up an issue since high school; it helped me remember that a good magazine doesn't always have to support a cause or showcase innovations. Sometimes it's good to cuddle up with a warm cup of hot chocolate and look at sexy pictures of big girls in lingerie.

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Some good advice

Thanks to Some Go Softly for posting this. I may actually get off my computer at some point today.

The image “http://somegosoftly.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/getout.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Also, in my new age of MAC, I've discovered iTunes and podcasts. I'm becoming an NPR nut.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My LOL for the day

I'm trying this out on my new MAC with ScribeFire software for Mozilla Firefox. It's going to be weird posting until I get Microsoft Office installed on this computer if I ever decide to. I might just keep the old computer and back text files up on jump drives until it goes kaput.

Now, back on topic:



I found this picture here. Finally, LOLs for G-D.

And, so fare, ScribeFire is awesome for moving pictures from one place to another. I'm becoming some sort of tech geek.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fido, my new favorite zombie movie




Zombie movies usually aren't that great. I admit that. It's one of the reasons I like them. Either the premise is good but the production itself is "B" quality (think my all-time previous favorite, Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town) or the production quality is good, but it's nothing more than a slick action flick (think Dawn of the Dead).

Then, along came Fido.

Fido is a Canadian film reminiscent of the American '50s. It's about the perfect nuclear family living in Suburbia. But, instead of worrying about the Cold War, they worry about the zombies outside their fenced-in town. And, instead of owning a cute border collie, they own their own zombie slave.

The film does a good job of exploring human nature, our ability as humans to dehumanize our enemies, the possibilities of love, and the multifaceted nature of being a zombie.

These aren't just moaning and groaning sacks of rotting flesh. They're beings with feelings who just happen to have the natural impulse to chomp on human flesh, thanks to some sort of radioactive dust.

Why is it that Canada comes up with so much of the stuff I want?

Friday, January 18, 2008

PAINTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few years ago, I was on duty for the security firm I used to work for. I was posted at a gate situated on a very dusty dirt road, making sure paintball teams were entering the fields and the fans were staying out at a local tournament. That was my first taste of paintball; because of errant pellets from the teams' guns, I had little bruises all over my body and paint splatters all over my company-issued polo shirt. Surprisingly enough, I loved the unexpected surprise of getting hit by random paintballs. Thus begun my infatuation with the sport.

I haven't played much since that day, but when I have it's been memorable. Even though I think of myself as the ultimate pacifist, the thought of sneaking around and shooting people with hard capsules filled with paint exhilarates me. The added pain when a pellet hits makes it a lot more exciting than laser tag.

Like everything else in my life, paintball is limited by my lack of funds. And, most of the guys I know don't think of asking the lone girl to come with when they play. So, paintballers out there, if you have a girl friend who hangs out with you a lot, think of asking her to come along the next time you go out to the field.

I've been nosing around Ultimate Paintball, and I think if I were to shell out the money for my own paintball set, I'd go for one of the spyder paintball guns. The sets available wouldn't set me back too much, and I'd get pretty much everything I'd need to get started. Then, of course, with paintballs, cleaning kits, the special playing clothes, and different upgrades (all available through Ultimate Paintball), paintball would slowly eat away at all of my money until I was forced out onto the street. Computers are already doing this to me, so I guess I can always dream.

This post has been sponsored by Ultimate Paintball.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wendy's tip of the day

Don't lick hot things.



Last night, I made Thai spring rolls for the first time. I stir-fried some veggie lemon chicken (it was wonderful, I'm planning a post just about that) with Bragg's and some mushrooms. In a fit of pure genius, I licked the metal spoon I'd been stirring with. That was yesterday; my tongue is still swollen.

Today, I woke up with my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth in a huge amount of pain. So, I skipped my creative writing class's office hours, went to my second class, and ate cold foods today. Sandwiches, potato salad, and ice cream. My tongue feels a lot better now.

So, don't lick hot things. Last night was grumpy; there was lots of foot stomping.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New developments

After writing the post about my suckie bed (even though I love the people who gave it to me for free) I finally decided to bite the bullet. But, I didn't buy one of those thousand dollar mattresses. I bought a down alternative feather bed. For $60. I could feel the tension in my back unknotting a few minutes ago. It's heaven.

And, I am now an intern. A virtual intern. (I swear I'm a real girl.)

Paul Bradshaw, who writes Online Journalism Blog, just started Journalism Enterprise. I'm going to be writing reviews for JE and doing basic intern things when he needs them. The power of the internet is exciting.

PPP versus Pepperjam

It's kind of funny that Pepperjam would use Pay Per Post as a way to create buzz about their product. You see, Pepperjam is another Affiliate Marketing company. I guess, in the weird way of the internet, it makes sense.

There are some advantages to Pepperjam. They list some big-name clients, like Jelly Belly, Sesame Street, and New Line Cinema. They also boast features like chat rooms and a knowledge base affiliates can use for research.

They also have their own blog to keep affiliates abreast of the latest industry and network news, and joining is free.

However, in the info I received from them, it states, "Pepperjam Network has its own affiliate program that pays out up to $7 per approved publisher application."

I make more than that on PPP. It could be an upside, if you consider the minimum amount PPP pays out is $5, but I usually end up writing posts that pay out $10 or more. PPP limits the number of sponsored posts per day and the number of sponsored posts you can have in a row up on your blog. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Pepperjam does this, so I can't really compare their price with PPP's.

With all of their bells and whistles (i.e. chatrooms and knowledge base out there to help bloggers, which PPP doesn't have) this looks like a great site to start writing paid blogs for. Before making a decision, I'd check out their Web site to see if it's the right fit for you. Here's what their press release has to say:

Pepperjam Announces Launch of Next Generation Affiliate Marketing Network

Pepperjam, a two-time Inc. Magazine fastest growing company and industry leading full-service internet marketing agency, today announced the launch of Pepperjam Network, a proprietary next generation affiliate marketing network.

If you are an advertiser or affiliate and would like to sign-up for Pepperjam Network please visit www.pepperjamnetwork.com.

“Pepperjam Network represents an evolution in affiliate marketing. The creation of Pepperjam Network represents eight years of research and development and the combined ideas, feedback, and intelligence of hundreds of affiliate marketers and advertisers. Pepperjam Network will forever change the face of affiliate marketing by putting power back in the hands of affiliates and advertisers to build long-term, profitable partnerships through better communication tools and transparency,” said Kristopher B. Jones, President & CEO of Pepperjam.

Among a variety of affiliate marketing enhancements, Pepperjam Network addresses the two primary shortcomings of other existing affiliate networks, namely (1) poor, unreliable communication tools and (2) lack of affiliate transparency. With Pepperjam Network, affiliates and advertisers can communicate in real-time via Pepperjam Chat™, thereby providing a reliable communication system to build stronger, more profitable partnerships. Pepperjam Network also provides advertisers with an unprecedented measure of affiliate transparency, which helps to establish trust, protect brand integrity, and lays the groundwork for open, long-term, profitable relationships.

Pepperjam Network also introduces pepperjamADS, which is a first-ever affiliate marketing widget that affiliates can use to serve customized contextual ads from one or multiple Pepperjam Network advertisers at the same time.

Pepperjam Network was designed to make the experience of affiliate marketing profitable and educational, with the goal of allowing affiliates and advertisers to truly understand and maximize the critical affiliate marketing channel.

Unlike the traditional networks, Pepperjam Network uses Web 2.0 technology to provide affiliates and advertisers with an easy-to-use, cutting-edge interface designed to facilitate and optimize the affiliate marketing process. For instance, Pepperjam Network offers industry leading source-level tracking and reporting - this robust technology is especially beneficial to search marketing and sophisticated super affiliates that want to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology available to track commissions at the keyword level.

Here is just a sample of what many industry experts are saying about Pepperjam Network:

“Even after all these years using Commission Junction on the merchant and affiliate side, I still find it terribly clumsy to find what I want. With Pepperjam Network it is quick and easy. Pepperjam Network is what an affiliate network would look like if it were built from a wish list from both the affiliate and merchant perspective,” said Shawn Collins, Cofounder of Affiliate Summit.

“As both an advertiser and a affiliate, I am on the lookout for affiliate marketing systems that meet all our company’s needs. Pepperjam Network is without a doubt the most comprehensive, practical and useful affiliate marketing system I have seen to date. Pepperjam Network demonstrates that it is possible to combine style with substance in a network that provides site owners and advertisers with tools and resources to increase their bottom line,” said Joel Comm, New York Times Best-Selling author and CEO, InfoMedia, Inc.

About Pepperjam:

Pepperjam is an industry leading full-service internet marketing agency offering marketing services and advanced technology in the areas of pay-per-click, search-engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and online media planning and buying. The company was founded in 1999 by internet marketing expert, accomplished speaker, and published author Kristopher B. Jones. Pepperjam has received numerous awards and achievements, including recognition by Inc. Magazine for two consecutive years as one of the fastest growing privately-held businesses in the United States. Learn more at www.pepperjam.com.


This post was sponsored by Pepperjam Network.

How Stuff Works

I admit it, I dislike Wikipedia with a vengeance. I even know two guys who work there, yet I have no love in my heart for the online encyclopedia.

Here's the reason: the two times I looked at Wikipedia for information, the information was wrong. Once was with Jonathan Safran Foer, when I was writing an article about him for The Tampa Tribune. In a talk he was giving at the Jewish Film Festival, he told us the information I'd just looked up that afternoon was incorrect.

So, I'm biased.

But, I do love How Stuff Works. It doesn't have any super verification process that I've seen. However, I've never been told the information I regurgitate from the site is wrong.


I used it for my LED post. I've used it before in articles about scientific happenings at my university. It's never let me down.

How Stuff Works has links to consumer guides, shopping sites, encyclopedias and maps. It's like one stop shopping for people who want to be in the know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Creating warmth for the holidays


Since I was in high school, my mom's big thing for the holidays has been her Mickey Mouse Christmas topper. It's an animated robot Mickey who waves a lit lantern around in the air. Anyone who falls asleep while the Christmas tree is plugged in is sure to drift off with the creepy "whrr whrr" of his robot arm in their ears.

This year, even though there was trauma when Mickey's lantern burnt out, the focus wasn't the horrific topper of Disney doom. It was LED christmas lights. This was a typical conversation between me and my mom:

Me: I'm worried about school. I need a job, and Tampa isn't the best market.
Mom: Do you think I should buy LED lights for the tree? I think they're having a sale on them at Kmart.
Me: Ummm... They save energy. Maybe. Didn't your tree come lit?
Mom: What? (She's hard-of-hearing.)
Me: (louder) What are you going to do with your old lights?
Mom: I'll throw them away. Don't these LCD, LUD, whatever lights stay cooler than regular lights?
Me: (still louder) LED. I don't know. LED lights are used in lots of stuff. My computer has an LED monitor.
Mom: Oh, well, do you think I should buy them? They're on sale.

Then, we went to my sister's house, where she does have LEDs on her tree. The tree was beautiful; I couldn't really see any reason not to buy them. And, after checking out How Stuff Works (which I'll review in my next post) I found out LED lights do save energy. They are cooler. And, they don't burn out as quickly. So, LED it is.

The possibilities for my own use of LEDs are pretty much endless. About two years ago, my room in my old commune-type-college dorm was covered in Christmas lights that cast a rosy glow over my room, transforming it into either a very festive place, or possibly some sort of love den. I love decorating with string lights; I hope my landlady doesn't mind holes in the ceiling.

This post was sponsored by Holiday LEDs. They offer Halloween, wedding, and rope lights. The picture was taken by me, and it is a picture of my tiny all-year tree next to my mother's Christmas tree. Next year, I'll take a picture of scary Robo Mickey.


New focus

I'm starting this year with a new focus. I'm going to be trying to focus topics and improve my writing in Artist's Passion and My Musings 2.0. I'm going to try to include more in-depth interviewing, more researching, and more linking.

I've noticed I haven't included very much feminism in this blog lately. It's partially because nothing has infuriated me or made me jump for joy lately. I'll still be including feminist theories and rants, starting with a shout-out to an Utne article I read a few days ago. I'm wondering if I should integrate more powerful women in Friday's Fabulous Fat Chick and open up the topic to all women I look up to.

In the future, I'd like to incorporate more video and audio into my blogs. Today, I learned how to do some basic editing in Media 100. Soon, I'd like all of my interviews to be video recorded.

I'm thinking a computer-upgrade is in my near future. I'm going to go to the campus computer store tomorrow to see about my options. I'm pretty sure I want a MacBook, since I'm going to be using for design and multimedia editing.

That's about it for now.

User-generated content and YawpBox

Just a few months ago, I was dragging my feet about user-generated video. I know videos get millions of hits, but I just wasn't into it. I mean, if my mother can get all excited about the skateboard riding dog and the people out there who made their wedding party dance to Thriller, how cool can online videos be?

Then, I realized how easy it is to upload videos to these sites. How easy it is to embed them onto my own sites to show potential employers that, not only do I know how to make videos, but hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people are interested in seeing them.

Now YawpBox has a way to reach millions of viewers in a format that brings user-generated videos to the world audience in a viewer-friendly format. Every week, they show a new episode of YawpBoxTV, featuring the best videos from their network, with the hosts Lex and Terry discussing the footage. The show gives anyone with their own video camera a chance to compete with others for their own 15 minutes of fame on the show, 15 minutes that could potentially reach millions of viewers, producers, and company heads.

For YawpBoxTv, YawpBox has a special Lex and Terry challenge page, where users can see the video topics Lex and Terry are looking for for the show. The topics range from "Have you ever had a mullet" to "Show us your craziest holiday footage." It makes me think YawpBoxTV will soon become an America's Funniest Home Videos for the digital age.

It also gives millions of people the chance to have their voices heard on important topics. User-generated content gives everyone an equal chance to speak for and against the topics they are passionate about. Think about Joy Nash from Fat Rant. A few years ago, the only outlet she would have had for her rant was friends and family, maybe the men and women who read feminist magazines. Now, her rant has gone world-wide.

Even better, user-generated videos allow us to see what others are watching and share what we like, even if it is a dog riding a skateboard.