Sarcastic Saturday :: on holiday shopping days in retail

4 Jul

If you go shopping
To take advantage of sales
Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t complain that
Other people had the same
Idea you did.

Don’t treat the displays
As your personal trash cans
Or laundry baskets.

Don’t drag your screaming
Progeny into a store
Where others have to hear.

Today’s July 4th.
Steve Rogers’ birthday and stuff.
Be someone he’d like.

–your fangirl heroine.

justifiably sullen

Fashion Friday :: look at this superhero whose birthday was yesterday.

4 Jul

Such a superhero Skye (Chloe Bennet) is!!

Cheers Hoping Top

This mimics a neckline of one of Skye’s other outfits and I’m obsessed with it.  Cheers Hoping Top, ModCloth.

Leather is just a very correct thing for Skye.  Circle Around Town Skirt in Black Faux Leather, Pinup Girl Clothing.

A Row of Bows Boot

And these are just precious.  A Row of Bows Boot, ModCloth.

Arm warmers Armwarmers  fingerless gloves - Belinda - Black floral lace gothic flowers boho bohemian nior gypsy belly dancing lolita vampire

And a nod, though these being pinup and also non-MacGuffin are just pretty and lace!  Arm warmers by Mellode at Etsy.

'Ramone' Studded Cuff

And it is important to throw a bracelet on and also studs.  Ramone Studded Cuff, Hayden-Harnett.

–your fangirl heroine.

seriously no

Things in Print :: academic applications of graphic novels in high schools

2 Jul

So I had this really interesting idea to look at graphic novels that are taught in school and analyze it. We found a list and then I realized I… had read exactly 1 out of the 111 items on the list.  But hey!  I can talk about that really quickly, then hand it over to my drift partner.

The one I can talk about is Batwoman: Elegy.  I have read this exactly once, almost exactly… gosh, I want to say three years ago, because I read it when my friend lent me her copy while we were sitting in a park eating terrible food waiting for a fireworks show to start on the Fourth of July.  I was very fond and I should probably acquire my own copy at some point.  The way my friend got me to read it was by informing me that Kate Kane, Batwoman, is in fact a lesbian; I mean, I would have probably read it anyway, but I’m always on the lookout for queer characters, especially queer female protagonists.  And it did not disappoint.  It read very quickly, in my opinion, but in a good way, combining both an origin story and a fight-the-supervillain story, full of training and relationships and really interesting developments and twists.  I can imagine irate parents telling their children’s teachers off for making them read this, because irate parents are afraid of the gay oftentimes, but I think it’s great.  It’s a fairly standard narrative with a fairly unstandard protagonist.

And I have read 22 of them! Although some of them not since high school so my memories are fuzzy and I’m going to pick and choose about which to comment on. I definitely agree with the inclusion of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, because while he went off the deep end in later years (do yourself a favor and never, ever read All-Star Batman and Robin), in his prime he was very, very good at telling Batman stories. TDKR is a strange animal because it was a flash-forward comic back when those weren’t common at all; it posits a world where the Caped Crusader retires and Gotham basically goes to shit because of it. Eventually, of course, he realizes that he must return to work, taking with him a 13-year-old named Carrie Kelly. She becomes the new Robin and he the Batman once again. Another interesting thing about this comic is that, while Batman is the protagonist, he is not always painted in the best of lights. Frank Miller is really good at writing steely protagonists that must make Hard Decisions and how much you’re able to put up with this can vary, but in TDKR it works really well. Batman is world-weary, he is angry, and he makes a lot of mistakes in this comic that are very unflattering. It’s one of the more interesting takes on the character that I’ve seen. At the time, it was revolutionary, and it’s an important part of graphic novel history.

There are several more superhero books on the list that I think are worth endorsing, including Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb, which functions both as a spectacular mystery/suspense book and as a parade of Batman’s Greatest Hits, and is probably objectively one of the best comics I’ve ever read; All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison, which is truly Superman at his best and could be used in discussions of, for example, fate vs. choice in fiction as well as the appeal vs. necessity of superhero stories; and Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon, which is an accessible introduction to anti-mutant prejudices and a solid story (fun fact: the Cure plotline in this story was what inspired X-Men: The Last Stand, so if you want to see that idea actually done well, read this comic). There is also one that I’m frankly appalled that anybody thinks anyone, but especially teenagers, should be reading, and that is Mark Millar’s The Ultimates. At this point, making fun of Mark Millar is old news, but I feel it needs to be done as often and loudly as possible. Mark Millar does not understand any of the Marvel characters and that he was allowed to write them for so long is a mystery to me. Mark Millar’s idea of drama is writing everyone horrifically out of character so they can be assholes to one another for no good reason. I’m not 100% sure whether he originated the idea that Hank Pym beat his wife Janet, but it sure left an impression on me regarding that character at age seventeen. Oh, and he’s where the Maximoffs incest meme came from. Thanks, Mark Millar. (Warren Ellis gave him the best possible burn, though.)

As far as non-superhero fare on the list goes, Persepolis is a very important story because it offers a look at Iran mid-and-post revolution. Author Marjane Satrapi wrote it to be autobiographical, and I know that when I read it in college it helped me to understand a great deal of things I was never taught about Middle Eastern culture and what it’s like to live through such a dramatic period of history. I think this one is sometimes taught in elementary and middle schools, and in my case I read it during a class on middle and high school age literature. As I understand, it gets challenged a lot, which surprises me not at all, because different is scary or something. Sigh. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan is a beautiful, tragic story about a group of lions who are accidentally freed from the zoo during a bombing of the city. It’s a great look at the realities of war, from a very different perspective. It might be a bit much for more sensitive students (I cried) but it’s important.

And, finally, there were several comics on this and other similar lists that I strongly disagree should be suggested for high schoolers: Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, and Alias by Brian Michael Bendis. These are all great comics, ones that I will recommend until I’m blue in the face. But I think that their subject matter is a little over the heads of high schoolers, frankly. Y might be the least difficult, since it’s a fairly simple plot: every man and male animal in the world is suddenly struck dead by a mysterious disease, except for Yorick and his Capuchin monkey. Now he must figure out how to exist in the world, while trying to get back to his girlfriend. It tackles a lot of important issues like gender and morality and feminism and the needs of the many vs. the few, and it would be a great jumping off point for discussion. But I could see a lot of parents being offended by some of the more extreme elements (there are fairly graphic sex scenes and a lot of language), and like I said, it might be slightly too sophisticated for the average high schooler. Sandman is DEFINITELY too sophisticated for high schoolers to analyze for a class – I didn’t read it until sophomore year of college and I still feel like I didn’t understand parts of it. It’s a gorgeous, important story, but one that you need a little more life experience to be ready for. And Alias is a detective story about ex-Avenger Jessica Jones, who now runs a PI agency and takes whatever cases she can. Think Veronica Mars all grown up and more prickly. Again, great comic – really emotionally dark, deals with a lot of Issues, and probably not something high schoolers are prepared to discuss for a grade. Also, language out the ass. Literally the first page has a great big FUCK on it. It was the first in Marvel’s Max line, for Serious Adults. Jessica’s getting her own Netflix series sometime this year and I couldn’t be more excited, but if the comic’s anything to go by, it’s definitely going to be an adult show.

I didn’t see Watchmen on the list either, which is perhaps an indicator of how inappropriate it is for the classroom outside of college (that is another Serious Adult Comic), but that and V For Vendetta are ones that always get mentioned when the art form of the graphic novel is under question. They’re good stories, though they have their problems. Again, too sophisticated for high schoolers, but worth mentioning for completeness’ sake.

This post is a bit scattered but, essentially, I think that graphic novels in the classroom are most useful when they’re presenting real world concepts in a fantastical way, or telling the stories of real life people who don’t often get a chance to speak (I hear American Born Chinese is very good at this but I haven’t read it yet). And sometimes, it’s important to talk about why people love heroes (All-Star Superman) and why those heroes are tremendously flawed (The Dark Knight Returns).

Whimsy Wednesday :: in which Chibi-Usa is Loki, Prince Grant Ward is defeated by the power of love, and the clipshow is surprisingly meta

1 Jul

“Believing in Love and the Future” indeed.

OH drinking we should drinking.

  • -creepy Demande
  • -attacks/etc. these things are important what else?
  • -super heterosexual things?
  • -drink every time it reminds us of other shit distinctly and citably

“Could it have something to do with that weird phenomenon?” Naru asks.  “If there’s anything I can do to help, just ask.”  “I won’t ask any more questions.”  Oh gods Naru just gave me feelings.  Tomorrow

“God if you’re there please hear my plea, please protect Usagi and the others” GOOD GRIEF

The flashing spoopy skull good grief indeed.

“I’m worried about Tuxedo Mask who [went I forget] inside” “Anyway, our only hope is to get in there.”  Yup.

Oh gods “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to say when the time came” Ami-chan saying her last thing to say before they go off and die GOOD GOD

“Let’s protect peace and have cake!” I support this catchphrase.

Also, “let’s put our hearts together” well all right then.

Transformation waterfalling.

Wow many drink

Such alcohol!

“Sailor Moon, it’s dangerous to walk around in here!” Mercury exclaims, right before Sailor Moon falls into a wormhole and Mercury gets her glasses on to science it.

Welp Demande is creepin’

“Show your allegiance to me, Prince Demande, with a kiss” lolololololol jesus

Creepin’ Demande waterfalling

“Obey me and become mine!” DEAR GOD WHAT THE HELL PRINCE GRANT WARD

“Love achieved through your sort of trickery isn’t true love!”

“Haven’t you ever thought about coexisting?” she asks plaintively, and really this is all it takes for Demande to realize he has in fact been tricked by Wiseman.

There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

“I have no use for a fool who listens to the word of a girl!” Okay, John Garrett.

DYING

“Destroy Earth and turn it into a dark world” well then

“It would seem I was mistaken”  OH WOULD IT SEEM WOULD IT REALLY

“You’re crying tears for me?”

Yeah you didn’t really think that was going to kill the spoopy ghost man did you really?  That would be very easy.

Welp Tuxedo Mask and Black Lady joining together to spectacularly incest?  That’s a terrible illusion to invent, Wiseman.  That’s like, especially evil even for you.

“…everything will be turned into a darkness filled with hatred!”

“Hey, you evil people” really, that’s going to work you think?  Really?

He actually literally just muwahaha’d though.

“Darkness is all that exists in this world.  No one loves me.”  Chibi-Usa have you been listening to a lot of Evanescence lately.

I’m an asshole for laughing.

“You’re a dear friend we can’t be without.”  Saving Chibi-Usa with the power of friendship you guys can do it it’s possible!

“Let’s overcome this test with our love.”  This is one of those nights where it’s just time to quote everything a lot because it’s all golden.

“We will save you now.”

“You poor, love-starved bunny.  Don’t be fooled by their nice words.”  That just sounds so wrong???!?!?!

So basically, she’s Loki.

There is a lot of that going on.

“It made me feel really warm inside.”  Chibi-Usa you are filled with fluff.

Mercury offering vague medical advice though.

OH IT’S SERIOUS NOW THERE ARE ELECTRIC GUITARS AND ORGANS BOTH

AND DRAMATIC SINGING

“Back then, did the Silver Crystal enter my body?”  Golly gosh, do you think it might have done?

The Silver Crystal apparently also gives you that one dress.

A miracle!  A canonical miracle!  My goodness.

So what’s she going to tell Naru tomorrow at school?

And now the future is pretty again!  And there are the guardians of the future waiting with Chibi-Usa’s mommy and daddy, and the guardians of the future look… pretty much exactly like the guardians of the present, except they have lipstick on.

Aww, that’s nice.

Since this season is an uneven number we’re just going to blast through all three of the last episodes tonight!!

“This is a very special episode!”  Holy shit and they’re playing the images from all four theme sequences at once.  This is very special indeed.

I’m not sure how many notes I’m going to have about what’s… a clips show, basically.  But gooooosh do I love the upcoming season so there will likely be intermittent squeeing

NEPTUNE AND URANUS THAT IS WHO THAT IS

EVIL SCIENCE DOCTOR

“But what is her relationship to those two?”  Well, that depends, I would say.

This is the strangest combination of a flashback and a flash-forward.

These are not clips from the new series.  These are still old clips.  Lies.

Rude!!!!

“Being the heroine isn’t really my thing.”  “They aren’t really my best scenes, but useful evidence.’  Ami baby.

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP DOCTOR DADDY

There is also a slight level of very basic meta behind this.

I like how even the clip show is about learning a lesson.

Of course it is!  The lesson about how they’re most powerful together.

–your fangirl heroines.

precious thing

Television Tuesday :: two Game of Thrones cocktails, because.

30 Jun

Because I invented these cocktails and then I opened up a map of the South of Westeros and picked places basically at random that sounded good for drinks.

The Roseroad
1 shot orange curaçao
1 shot peach schnapps
1 shot crème de cassis
1 shot cake vodka
Apple juice

The Roseroad is in the Reach which is Tyrell territory which I use apple juice for the bases of.  Sure.

Honeywine
1 shot peach schnapps
1 shot raspberry liqueur
1 shot lemon vodka
1 shot honey vodka
Lemonade

Honeywine, a river, can also be used to describe alcohol with honey flavor in it, sure.

–your fangirl heroine.

yeeeeah okay sure

Music Monday :: my thoughts on Venus

29 Jun

All right!  Joy Williams’ solo stuff.  Let’s give this a go.

“Before I Sleep.”  It said it would be more pop in the notes.  Definitely getting that right off.  But also Joy Williams’ voice is different enough that this is more like, on the Delta Rae-type pop end of things, like parts of After It All for sure, than the Top 40 tip.  That is actually a strong comparison.  This is very Delta Rae, and I do like it, and now I want Joy Williams and Brittany Holljes and Elizabeth Hopkins doing a collaboration please.  Also, Robert Frost, so that’s fun.

“Sweet Love of Mine.”  The almost weirdness of Joy Williams’ voice makes this especially interesting, although I feel like the instrumentation is sort of reminding me of Michelle Branch or something.  Which is not a bad thing, just a thing.

“Woman (Oh Mama).”  There’s a… Southern spiritual feel to this.  Not bad, I don’t dislike it, I’m just having a hard time trying to think of how to describe this without sounding like it’s appropriative.  It’s an interesting song though, and good freaking grief Joy Williams has a cool voice.  I can’t even explain exactly how I mean this but I really do.

“One Day I Will.”  Suddenly all I can think is Vanessa Carlton.  Which I also say with love in my heart, but piano ballad, that’s where I go.

“Not Good Enough.”  And suddenly suddenly it’s like… keyboard approximating… vibraphone?  I am not good at my melodic percussive instruments.  But it’s a certain sound that’s very vintage.  This suddenly sounds like the 80s.  Like a John Hughes movie.

“What a Good Woman Does.”  I am prepared to judge this song based on what it declares that a good woman does, in fact, do.  Don’t you leave.  “Don’t feel sorry for yourself, you’ve got everything you want.”  Hm.  “I could tell the truth about you leaving, but that’s not what a good woman does.”  Uh.  No.  I… no.  I am uncomfortable.

“Until the Levee.”  Let’s let this pick it up.  “I see a ghost out on the water, I swear it has my face.”  Yes, here we go.  Tripping back into Delta Rae territory, vibing more Southern Gothic for sure.  And clearly it’s in the grand tradition of songs about water and ghosts and creepy shit.  “I’m gonna stand, I’m gonna stand here in the ache, until the levee, until the levee of my heart breaks.”  All right.

“You Loved Me.”  More in the 80s style, drum machine-type percussion and all.  It’s nice though.  Very pleasant.  None of this is hitting me electric like, say, Civil Wars stuff did at times, but it’s nice.

“The Dying Kind.”  This also has the potential to vibe Southern Gothic, with a title like that, and I admit I’m hopeful.  The wispy creepy “aaaah” repetition helps.  “From the earth you are made, to the earth you return,” ah yes.  Come on come on you can do it.  “Taste the good and evil” well okay!  Come on come oooon “every rose has its thorn every thorn has its crown” oop oh come oooooon yes.

“Till Forever.”  This sounds like it should be the song on the end of a Disney animated film.  Also meant fondly, I think.  “We go stronger for breaking apart” that’s nice.  There’s an “underneath the covers” though maybe not entirely Disney.

“Welcome Home.”  This is the end song for some movie, anyway.  Possibly a movie about white people almost kissing.

–your fangirl heroine.

not saying anything

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: my thoughts on Inside Out

28 Jun

So as I before have mentioned, psychology was one of my big focus areas in college.  I’d taken a class or two in high school and it hadn’t really done anything for me (largely because of my teachers and classmates, I’m sure) but then I took another one toward the beginning of college and fell in love.  Psychology, I have always rationalized, is important to understanding characters when you’re writing (as well as understanding people when you’re interacting, but people are less happy about being analyzed, generally).  I got genuinely interested in the more technically neuroscientific end of it, too, which I’ve also mentioned; I find it all fascinating.

With all that said, I was initially very excited about Inside Out.  I had a period of slight anxiety based on the way Disney was rather aggressively merchandising it even before its release, but I think a lot of that is because I usually fall hardest for movies that are rather under-merchandised and I’m not used to it.  All of that said, it was a very nice movie!

Okay, “nice” is kind of a weird adjective, probably.  I did feel things!  I emoted plenty.  I also really appreciated some of its overall points:

  • emotions can and should coexist (happiness is strongest when complemented by sadness, etcetera)
  • expecting people to continuously be happy regardless is in fact a little wonky
  • catastrophic events alter one’s personality
  • as someone ages and develops their processing becomes more complex
  • memories and emotions change and you know what that’s okay

The voice talents were nice, the layout of the emotional brain was fascinating (good metaphors!  Easy-to-relate landmarks! Again etcetera), overall very sweet very good.  Thank you for a nice film!

–your fangirl heroine.

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