Monthly Archives: March 2014

Las Vegas Supernatural Convention 2014

I had the pleasure of returning to the Salute to Supernatural convention here in Las Vegas again this year. Last year was my virgin run, and well, I guess I came back for more. Cleary I wouldn’t be going if I wasn’t a Supernatural fan, and yes I am a fangirl when it comes to this show. This was the best way to let my fangirl side out for a free run.

I didn’t go for the full four day package this year. I had to at least attempt to be responsible for some priorities in my life, no matter how tempted I was. I opted for the Saturday event, mainly because that was the day that the lead actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki would be appearing. Hopefully next year, and I do plan on going again, I can swing all four days and watch and listen to the other panels of actors and crew.

If you have never been to a convention before, it is pretty much a jammed packed all day event of scheduled panels and activities down to the minute. All you are required to do is strap in for the ride. The panels for Saturday started with our host for the four days, Richard Speight Jr, coming out to open up the day, and sadly for that day, he had to fill in for a sick panelist. Mr. Speight Jr. is better known to the Supernatural fan as the trickster or the angel, Gabriel. The man has only been in four episodes over the now nine seasons of the show, but he is as beloved as the boys.

Matt Cohen and Richard Speight Jr

I should also mention that the convention had its very own house band. I can’t speak for the other conventions, but last year we had the honor of the same band. The band is called the Elastic Waste Band, and their alter ego is the real band, Louden Swain, led by Rob Benedict who is another actor from the show who played the beloved character, Chuck. When they represent The Elastic Waste Band, the band gets into crazy character donning 70s leisure suits and tuxes. They don wigs and accents and completely different names as the play covers and time in with jokes and moments made by the panelists. They know how to get the audience pumped up, make them laugh, or entertain them in general. I believe that they are a great asset and hope they return next year.

Elastic Waste Band

The next panelist was Chad Lindberg who is known to the fans as Ash. His panel mostly focused on his passion of the paranormal and ghost hunting. Thursday night of the convention, Mr. Lindberg led a group of fans on a ghost hunting venture out to the local haunted hot spot of Bonnie Springs. He is very into the paranormal and has been on the reality series, Ghost Adventures, a few times. Even Aaron Goodwin from Ghost Adventures was hanging out at the convention during Lindberg’s panel. He talked a lot about his personal paranormal experiences and how his fascination with it usually drove what roles he chose as an actor. He brought a few gadgets known to the ghost hunting world up with him just to see if they would go off. They did so maybe we it just wasn’t him and us fans present. It was a very interesting panel hearing about his experiences and advising some fans how to handle their own.

Richard Speight Jr returned for his panel with partner in crime, Matt Cohen, and brought along Rob Benedict. It was a treat for the Saturday only guests, because Benedict didn’t have a panel scheduled for that day. I should also mention that Rob Benedict had been recovering from a stroke since October. This was the first con he’s fully been back for since the incident. He was fully recovered and energetic as always, which was fantastic to see. I even heard there was a special welcome back video made by the fans for his Friday panel. We supernatural fans are nothing but love. The group mostly answered questions from fans and promoted their newest work. Special mention for Richard Speight Jr and his short film that he wrote and directed called, America 101.

The next guest was Misha Collins, who plays the beloved Castiel. Mr. Collins is always a delight and just a fascinating individual all around. His energy and wit is always top notch even though his can be very easily distracted. I don’t mind that so much, because those distractions are always entertaining. He spoke a lot about his creative projects that he has partnered on with his wife whether they be in the entertainment business or not. She seems just as creative as he is, which should make for a very powerful couple. This man is definitely someone I would invite to my fantasy dinner table for the interesting conversation alone. Misha Collins was as big of a joy as last year, and I was glad that I got see him, since his panel for Saturday was a recent addition.

Misha Collins 3

My friends and I decided to take a lunch run after Misha’s panel, and since you have to make a life decision on who to miss in the full packed day, we had to choose to miss out on the Osric Chau panel. I had a time constraint with my upcoming photo op and my phone was in desperate need of a charge. As unlucky as it was to miss out on his panel. I did have a slight run in with him later in the day. Nothing fancy or extreme fangirlish, but I did give a smile and a nod as I stood beside him waiting on my friends while they were making a Starbucks run. I personally have this weird thing about celebrities private vs. public time. I just don’t want to bug them on their own time. Yes, they were here for the fans at a convention, so that is what they are there for. I just have my own issues with that kind of thing. I am not the person that will chase down someone for an autograph. I remember meeting Jane Espenson, writer and producer currently for Once Upon A Time and then Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after a lecture she gave at my university during my freshman year. I got a weird look from my friend when I told him that I didn’t want to go up and get an autograph from her. He had to talk me into it. I still have it, but I feel weird about having it. Everyone has the right to want those things, and there is nothing wrong with it. I am just not that person. A point that is even further made when it came to my photo op with Jensen and Jared.

I was nervous at first. I actually have never been in the presence of a celebrity before in my life. My run in with Osric happened after this, so I was walking blind as far as my reaction. While I love both the actors, Jensen is my current celebrity crush and has been for some time now. I kept going down the check list of 1. He’s a stranger. 2. He’s a person. and 3. He’s married. I believe I am a sensible person and this should have been enough to keep me calm. Then I kept having horrible flashbacks of my awkward teen years and my love for my Backstreet Boys and Devon Sawa, and the wallpaper their posters created in my room. I have convinced myself that I grew out of that crazy, but what if I was wrong and Mr. Ackles will forever remember me as that Las Vegas Con girl? Thankfully as I was ushered into the room with the other patiently waiting fans and saw them for the first time in close proximity, my first thought was, “They’re not that tall.” Both Jared and Jenson are tall, especially Jared, but for some reason I expected bigger than life giants. That right there was the moment that I could relax and knew I could handle it. When I actually got up to them for my picture, which was very assembly line, I told them both thank you for coming to the convention and doing the show. This was happening as they both ushered me in place for the photo. Jensen smiled and said thanks, but it was Jared that would cause me panic until I actually saw my photo printed later that evening.

Jared decided to engage with more than a simple thank you. He leans down with his 6’ 4” self and says, “No, thank you, baby. You’re why we do this.” If you are a Sam fan, you would probably be melting into puddles of fangirl goo after hearing this. I was startled and not in a necessarily good way. My inner feminist roared up at the moment he said “baby,” and the dialogue in my head went “Who the hell is he calling baby?” Thankfully this was not said out loud, which would have come off very badly. I couldn’t help the reaction. It is way too natural for me. I would like to tell the Sam and Jared fans that I am not now nor was then mad at Mr. Padalecki. He was being engaging and friendly by using an endearment. He just didn’t know me personally. He doesn’t know that I am fiercely independent and practically a feminist, especially one that believes “baby” is an intimate term and should have permission before using it with me always. It took probably five seconds for reality to hit and to laugh at my own reaction and throw it aside as my own personal crazy towards someone being nice. Unfortunately, it only took two seconds after his statement to have the actual picture taken which turns out was before I got over myself. For those who know me, I don’t always have to speak what is on my mind, because my face is usually quick to portray said thoughts and gets me into trouble quite a lot. Being that thrown off by Jared’s proclamation could only guarantee that my face expressed what my mouth did not. After leaving, I was terrified that my birthday present to myself would have me looking especially sarcastic and indignant. Only I would end up doing something like that to myself. I am happy to announce, that picture did indeed turn out well, and I saved myself from immortalized embarrassment.

Supernatural Boys and Me

There were two major panels left in that day. One was with Jim Michaels, Co-Executive Producer of the show. This one was the most fascinating to me. I always love to hear about the development of a show an inner workings. He hasn’t exactly been around for the entire series, but he has put in quite some time, going on five years now. Audience members asked about the current conflict between the brothers on the show and whether it was going to get resolved. This has been a source of discontent for fans this season, because this particular fight between the brothers seems out of character and drawn out, not to mention down right annoying. He answered vaguely saying that there has to be conflict otherwise the show would be boring, but the point was to resolve that conflict, which would happen. It was just a question of when. He also discussed the new spinoff series. The title has been changed to Supernatural: Bloodlines. I am hoping that they drop the “Supernatural” part, but that’s me. The boys actually just flew in from finishing up the backdoor pilot for the spinoff series that will air later in the season. For those who do not know what a back door pilot is, it is where an already existing show takes an episode to introduce and focus on the new characters and storyline for this supposed new show. Usually, there are no definite plans of production of that proposed show, because they want to see and test audience reaction to the episode and gage whether it is worth actually making. Since Supernatural never does the norm, they have been confident enough to begin filming the new series before this backdoor pilot even airs. We will all just have to wait and see.

The final panel of the day was of the boys themselves, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They were, as always, entertaining, busting out on stage donned with a cowbell and a tambourine to join in with the band to sing the con theme song, The Boys Are Back In Town. They were very grateful and playful with the audience and the fans that asked questions. They were asked questions that ranged from story and character progression on the show to what their wrestling tag team name would be as well as finishing move. They could only come up with the finishing move, which they naturally felt needed to be named the Impala. The boys enacted such a finishing move on a fan after he asked why the brothers were currently acting like bitches on the show. It probably made that guys day. They performed and came up with an impromptu haiku at the request of a fan. They seemed pretty proud that they could manage it too. They did state after being asked about the future of the show they were on board for whatever the series had to offer whether it be one or another ten years as long as the story was still good. That was pretty nice to hear, because I don’t want such a good show to keep hanging just because it can and not because it should. Their panel ended with Jensen and Jared doing their best Vanilla Ice, prompted by an earlier joke made by Jared after Jensen used the phrase “to the extreme” in one of his answers. It was a hell of a way to end a day, I tell you.

Jensen Singing with Rob Benedict  Jensen and Jared 2 Jensen being dumb again

That was the end of just one day. Can you imagine what all four would be like? As we were leaving, I decided to ask a girl who dressed up as a “Busty Asian Beauties” cover for the costume contest for a picture, because it was a really original costume that I loved. I even asked her if it was okay to share her picture here and she obliged. Thank you, again, to the girl that made my day with that costume. It was fantastic! For those that don’t understand the reference, the beloved character, Dean, apparently has a specific preference for his porn voyeurism with the “Busty Asian Beauties” magazine. It has been an ongoing joke throughout the whole show. So, hat’s off to you, my dear. That was well done.

Best Costume of the Con

Funny story to end this long account. As I was waiting to take the above picture, someone suddenly came up to me and yelled “Boo” in my ear. Now since facial expressions are my first go to, I was getting ready to throw my best “what the hell” look at the person who did it. When I turned to look, I am greeted by the smirking face of Mr. Mark Sheppard, loved and known to the fans as Crowley, King of Hell. He just turned and continued on down the hall like the boss he is. I couldn’t even get mad at that. The con was a blast and I recommend all Supernatural fans to attempt to go to one at least once. Also special shout outs to Liz and Hilary! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me at the con. It was truly my honor to meet you both!

Welcome…to Night Vale!

I recently just switched jobs. With my old job, whenever I wasn’t on the phone, I listened to music. Since I am perpetually stuck in the 90’s that is what most of my music consists of. Eventually I got bored with the same playlists day in and day out, and decided to branch out.

Me: Does anyone know of any good podcasts?

Friends: This American Life! The Read! Welcome to Night Vale!

Me: What is Welcome to Night Vale?

Friends: Think Twilight Zone with absolute randomness thrown in.

Me: Sold!

I downloaded the most recent episode at that time. I was hooked when Cecil started talking about the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home. In short order, I downloaded and listened to all of the past episodes.

For those of you that have no clue what the hell I am going on about, here is the description by Wikipedia:

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale. It was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, is voiced by Cecil Baldwin, and is published by Commonplace Books. The podcast airs on the first and fifteenth of every month, and consists of "news, announcements and advertisements" from the desert town,located "somewhere in the Southwestern United States".In an interview with NPR, Joseph Fink commented on the creation of the series, stating that he "came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."

Cecil Baldwin is the voice of Night Vale. He is currently dating a scientist by the name of Carlos. Not much is known about Carlos, except it feels like he doesn’t really believe in the conspiracies, he loves Cecil, and he has perfect hair.

Night Vale has recently started a live show tour, and I was truly fortunate (read: when tickets went on sale I ignored all work that needed to be done in that moment and clicked as if my life depended on it) to get tickets to see the show.

I’m going to be honest when I say this: I truly didn’t believe that this would be a sold out show. I only have a few friends that know about Welcome to Night Vale. Imagine my surprise when I pull up to the venue in Irvington an hour early and the line is WRAPPED AROUND the theater.

 

Irvington is a neighborhood (I hesistate to say suburb) of Indianapolis. It is totally quirky and funky like Broadripple with more parking. It has all these neat shops, and the neighborhood looks like has organically grown over the years and not been manufactured like *cough* Carmel *cough*. The Irvington Theater was super funky. I look on the about page of the theater and it doesn’t tell me the year it opened, only the day as far as I could see.

Once we got inside, there was a set up to buy shirts, and posters. I wanted to hurry up and grab seats, as all the ones in the front row were taken. We ended up with decent seats, right behind the sound equipment people. As I sat down and waited, I people watched. In addition to people in WTNV shirts, we had people dressed up. I think I saw more Carlos’ than anyone else. They all had on lab coats.

I am not going to talk about what the show was about, they came out at the beginning and asked that we don’t do that or record anything because they want each stop on the tour to have the same experience as us, plus they plan on releasing the live shows after they get done. I am one that does not want to ruin the expierence for others.  I will however, have a second blog post about some of the audience at a later time. Hopefully this week right after this post.

The show in one word? Amazing. The audience participation was amazing as well. Cecil looked nothing like what he did in my head, nor did Perfect Carlos. Let this be known though, they are both FINE. FIIIIINNNUHHHHHHH. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. After it was over, I did not see them come out to do autographs, which I was hoping to get a picture with them, but it is okay. If they come to your town to do a live show, don’t miss it. They are amazing storytellers!

My Top 10 Favorite Cartoons Growing Up

 

  1. She-Ra Princess of Power

She-Ra

http://www.comicvine.com/she-ra/4005-46389/forums/casting-call-she-ra-princess-of-power-535876/

This is probably what started my fascination with powerful female figures. My most vivid childhood memory is from getting a slew of toys from this show. She-Ra was awesome. She may have been timid when she was Princess Adora, but there was none of that when she changed into She-Ra. The twin sister of He-Man had her hands full trying to reclaim Etheria along with her fellow rebels from Hordak and the Horde. If they ever decided to do a Grayskull movie, can we please have our home girl in it? That would be fantastic. Honestly, if they need a story, they need to look no further than the recent comic book series for He-Man at DC. There is your movie story. Make her the villain and let her grow, just like in the comics. It was epic storytelling. Honestly if Hordak is supposed to be as evil and scary, scarier that Skeletor even, as he was portrayed in the cartoon how in the world did Princess Adora remain so sweet after she was kidnapped as a baby and raised by Hordak. The person she becomes in the comics is much more believable. If you love She-Ra definitely check out that story arc. I just hope they bring her back eventually to become She-Ra in that comic series.

 

       2. Jem and the Holograms

jem-and-the-holograms2

http://www.lowtimespodcast.com/i-choose-fiction-jem-and-the-holograms/

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love 80’s music. Terrible or not I consume all of it, and the music takes me to my happy place. Is it really hard to believe that a show that lives and breathes 80’s music and ran by an awesome chick band would be something I would hold dear? Nope, not really. Jerrica Benton and her friends and sister start a rock bend to fund the needs of a group of orphans. What they ended up having was a hit. With the help of a special computer named Synergy Jerrica was able to create a hologram over herself turning her into Jem. The band not only performs, but constantly foils the devious plans cooked up by rival band, the Misfits, and Eric Raymond. I own the whole series now, and it is always a fun show to revisit with friends and criticize it from an adult perspective. From the girl that wanted to change her name to Kimber this is definitely at the top of my list. I am ecstatic that they announced officially that they are doing a movie. They have opened up a lot of the production facets to the fans, and this girl is going to get in line if they open up the writing. I’m so excited!

      3. Sailor Moon

sailor-moon blog

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/sailor-moon-is-the-best/images/32244147/title/sailor-moon-photo

I can’t remember how many times I got into trouble for watching this show. It came on early in the morning at 6:30 am, and instead of getting up earlier to actually make myself presentable for school, I would waste the time away and watch this only to be yelled at for procrastinating. It’s what I did and barely made it to the bus on time. It is the story of Usagi, Serena for the American version, a clumsy, ditzy young fourteen year-old girl that is the complete opposite of every hero ever created. She gets powers and finds out she is the reincarnation of an ancient moon princess. Her friends, and former guardians from once upon a time, help her battle the forces of evil that come and threaten the planet earth. They don’t ever get far with Sailor Moon standing in their way. She may be clumsy and ditzy, but what she has is a heart full of love. That is what ultimately makes her the most powerful guardian in the entire galaxy. This was awesome for me and I was super bummed when my local station just quick showing it midway through season two. I was probably in late high school when they started showing in on the Cartoon Network. Alas, I had no cable. It wouldn’t be until college that I got to finish the series, not only that, but I was introduced to the Japanese version. That my friends is a whole new ballgame. I can’t even watch the American version anymore. It drives me crazy. They announced recently that the creator is bringing it back. Many fans of all ages including myself is eager for this to come out. I can only hope it will still be awesome.

 

       4. X-Men

X-MEN The Animated Series Vol. 1  DVD

http://collider.com/dvd/reviews/article.asp/aid/11873/tcid/3

This was bonding time for my brother and I. We watched several stuff that the other liked over the years, but this was the probably one of the few shows we were on the same page for. A group of mutants, humans given special abilities due to a specific gene, ran by the compassionate figure of Charles Xavier, Professor X, were constantly in a battle to make peace between mutants and the humans they scared or were hated by. This was never any easy task, but persistence and morality drove them all to constantly choose the right thing to do. That is pretty awesome considering a seven year difference. This was probably the first most serious cartoon I ever started to watch. There was ton of conflict and ton of characterization. I loved the kick ass ladies as well. It has a lot do with why I am a comic fan.

       5. Muppet Babies

muppet babies blog

http://voltronranger.com/muppet-babies-rocked-our-imaginations/

I was a huge Muppets fan when I was a kid, and when this show started, it was epic times. It was all our favorite Muppet characters as babies making each day go by with their vivid imaginations. I doubt this show will ever be released in the US on any kind of format due to all of the special movie and television scenes borrowed by the show, the above picture being an example. That is what made this show so fun. It is unfortunate, but sorting out the rights in our world after everything being bought, sold, and merged is probably a massive nightmare. My parents took me to a live performance of this when I was a kid, and I was still pretty little. I remember walking with them down a hallway and the actors were coming out dressed up in their giant Muppet Babies costumes. I broke from my parents and sprinted towards Miss Piggy. I latched on to her leg in the biggest hug, because I believed at the time that this was Miss Piggy. Bless the actor’s heart, they were really good to me and played along. It is a memory I shall never forget.

          6. Talespin

talespin blog

http://www.digital-polyphony.com/28talespin.htm

Who cares that Disney recycled the characters from the Jungle Book, this was good television. Disney had an exceptional run with cartoons in the 90’s, but if I had to choose from one of the earlier greats it would be this. Baloo is a cargo plane pilot with a courier company that is just hanging in there based in the 1930’s. It was fantastic television and again one of those rare moments where my brother and I clicked. My father was an airplane mechanic and in the Air Force Reserves, so anything that had a plane usually caught both my brother and I’s attention.

 

             7. Batman The Animated Series

batman blog

http://nerdreactor.com/2013/04/07/5-picks-for-best-batman-the-animated-series-episodes/

It is was a dark, gothic, and probably a little more violent than I was used to, but it was an fantastic Batman series. It was the typical Batman story that we saw in the movies and comics. It laughed in the face of the old campy television show. This show was so powerful that it actually altered the comic universe. Characters and storylines were carried over and kept as canon. Who doesn’t love the crazy, psychopathic hench girl of Joker, Harley Quinn. She came from this cartoon. Just this past week’s episode of Arrow had a quick cameo by the lunatic. The cartoon is a must watch for any Batman fan. It is where I first got most of my knowledge of the Gotham world.

       8. Gargoyles

gargoyles blog

http://lezgetreal.com/2014/02/saturday-toons-disneys-gargoyles/

Man was this a good show from Disney. It is one that I would love to watch again as an adult because a lot of the content was pretty mature and deep. I personally loved all of the Arthurian and Shakespearian ties in the show. My knowledge was pretty limited at that time, so watching it now, could really show some things. It is what made the story line so rich. These Gargoyles that have spent eternity as stone due to a spell were once again awakened in modern day New York and only had the darkness to be alive, because the sun would revert them back to their stony personas. This is one of the cartoons that I would love to see as a movie. It has been rumored, but nothing set in stone. I know, it was a cheap pun. I think our modern computer graphic technology would bring this to life in a way that would blow our minds.

       9. Animaniacs

animaniacs blog

http://www.gamefabrique.com/games/animaniacs/

This is one of those shows that had a whole new meaning as I got older. It had the fart jokes for the kids, and we loved it, but it was one of those few shows that decided to entertain the parents as well. It is one of the best from the cartoon gold that Steven Speilberg presented in the 90’s. It is the story of the wild and crazy Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and their sister, Dot. No one knows what or who they are exactly, but they are the menace that live in the Warner Brother studios water tower. They are the mainly focused characters, but the show is broken up into several shorts with lovable returning characters like the Goodfeathers, Rita and Runt, Slappy the Squirrel, Pinky and the Brain, and Mindy and Buttons. I still call my own mother “Lady” to this day because of Mindy and Buttons. They just don’t make cartoons like this anymore.

      10. Histaria!

histeria blog

http://lezgetreal.com/2013/04/saturday-cartoons-hysteria/

It was before it’s time and didn’t get a lot of viewership. I was so in high school when it came out, but this show taught me a lot of history. Most of the history was satire which made it hilarious. My brother also watched this show with me even though he was in college along with my mother. If you knew some history, this show was comedy. Are family especially loved the Viking stories. I still know all of the names of the Tudor family because of this show.

Computer Love part 2

To see the first part of this story click here.

 

Like I said, things were going superbly with Dax and I until I met his parents. A few things to know about me. I come from a blue collar family. My mother is a nurse, my father is a computer tech. At the time of this story, I was working two low level jobs, and getting ready to attend college. A few things to know about Dax. His family is affluent. We’re talking WASPy affluence. So imagine the surprise when said affluent WASPy members find out their little Dax is bringing home, not only a blue collar, undereducated small town girl, but she is brown to boot!

I am empathic. It is one of the reasons it is hard for me to be around a large group of people for an extended period of time. A lot of times I can feel what the people around me feel. When I met Dax’s parents, what I felt was not cool. His father was basically shooting off “What the hell is going on!?” vibes. I maintained my own and stuck it out, and got out of there as soon as I could. On the way home, I explained what I felt to Dax. He brushed me off saying it was fine, and that I was being silly.

A week later, he called to break up with me.

Before everyone boo/hisses about the phone call break up, please remember we live an hour apart. I wasn’t mad at the fact that he called to break up. I was mad that he let his father get into his head about me.

Dax stuttered and stumbled through his break up thoughts. They were mostly that we are different people (I would hope I wasn’t dating myself, that  would be super difficult…and kind of vain), that we were in different places in our lives (I was 23, he was 28.. he had financial and emotional support to go to school and do things in his life. I did not and was getting around to him late. He knew all of this WHEN WE MET), and the kicker was that his father thought I wasn’t very healthy (aka I was fat, and his dad did not approve)  When he got finished I spoke. I informed him that I thought I was dating him, not his father, and if he wanted to break up with me, that was fine. But they needed to be for his own reasons, and not some reasons his father drilled into his head. He got quiet and spoke softly on the phone “I don’t really want to break up.” That settled that. Truth be told, we should have probably broke up then and there. He was family oriented. Really family oriented. I already knew I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with his family, as they had already let me know (through a proxy no less) how they felt about me. What can I say? I was Britney Spears in that moment (“My loneliness, is killing me.”)

Our relationship went on. for a while. He brought up hanging out with his parents again. He told me his mother was fine with us and it would be okay. I rolled my eyes and went along with it. His family had me over to dinner at one point. For some reason, bi-colored corn got brought up by me, his mother stated she thought I said “bi-colored porn.” At this point, I just wanted to go back home. To my hole, and die.

His mother sent me a hand written note to my house to invite me to Thanksgiving. My mom and I read the note together and looked at each other. “Who sends handwritten notes to a family affair? Are you getting engaged!?” my mother screamed at me. “No…LORD NO!” I responded. I kept looking at that note. I felt cynical. I felt like it was a trap.

While it wasn’t a trap, not a more awkward Thanksgiving was had.  I watched what I ate, lest it was said that I was eating too much, I was suspicious of the turkey, as I never saw the whole bird. They took it in another room, cut it up, and served it. Plus, I don’t think his mom cooked much, because she didn’t have a schedule, cooked the bird very first. By the time we ate, it was dry and ice cold. We stayed there the entire day. Long after his brothers left, we stayed. I began to notice some things. His father sort of ran the house with an iron fist. His mother wanted the gas fireplace on. His dad told her to “Don’t be stupid, we don’t have the instructions anymore, we will not be doing any fires.” She just said okay and went with it. Dax’s two brothers weren’t impressed. They were from his mother’s previous marriage, so Dax’s dad was their stepfather. and Dax was their half brother. They started telling me stories of how they would scare the shit out of him when they were kids. Dax’s mood just got darker and darker as they talked. He was bullied as a child and still had a hard time being the butt of anyone’s jokes.

I would like to say that things improved after this day. They didn’t. I started to notice things. Certain things he did, I  was embarassed about. The turning point of everything was one Memorial day. My family had a party and I lied to him and said my family was going out of town. Why did I lie? Because the party was being held at my uncle’s house that had a swimming pool. All of the kids would be in the pool, and I knew if I had invited him, he would be the lone adult in the pool, prompting my family to ask “what is wrong with him?”

The breakup wasn’t mutual, he broke up with me (again). While I was sad for a short while, I feel like part of myself was relieved. I didn’t have to deal with this anymore.

We have both moved on, years later he is married with a child and I am married. I am grateful for the experience of Dax. It made me realize what I wanted in a significant other more than anyone else I had ever dated. I also decided that at that point in my life, men were a distraction I couldn’t afford. I stopped dating when I went back to school. It got a little lonely, but it forced me to focus on myself, and the bettering of myself. It allowed me to make sure that I would never feel how Dax’s family made me feel. I knew back then I was a good person, but I didn’t realize my worth until someone else tried to set that for me.

 

 

Plus Size Fashion Finds

A couple of my friends who are also big girls have been kept in the dark so to speak when it comes to finding plus size fashion. It can be a challenge to find clothes that look fun, are age appropriate, and decently priced. The crass would probably say at this point to just lose weight and alas there would be many options of clothing to buy then. Let me quickly declare that this post is not dictate a certain lifestyle upon someone. If you are happy with what you look like, then that’s all that matters.

Plus size clothing isn’t as readily available if you just wanted to take a Sunday shopping trip to the mall or stores. It isn’t impossible to find clothes but definitely more challenging. The internet offers a lot more leeway, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how would you ever find it? Another challenge is finding the styles that you prefer. I tend to lean towards conservative, but trendy. I do enjoy my nerd shirts, but they are too relaxed for my business casual work attire, which can be the most difficult to find when it comes to age appropriate attire. Below are some of my personal favorites, while some, as a whole, may not be completely trendy and lean towards the “old lady” look, there are still fashions that can be found.

Lane Bryant

This store has certainly come a long way with its appeal towards the 40 and under crowd. While regular prices can considered pricey, but not wholly outrageous, great deals can always be found. They tend to cycle through style lines pretty quickly, so newer items can be on sale or thrown to clearance rather quickly. It just takes a little patience. Not all of the physical stores carry everything either, so checking out the online store is a must. Plus the bras from Cacique are definitely worth the price. I always recommend the semi-annual bra sale that usual happens at the end of June and December. Might I also add that even if you do not have a Lane Bryant locally, but have a Catherines. The stores belong to the same family, and you can have items shipped from the Lane Bryant website to any store in the family for free. Even items can be sent for free directly to the Lane Bryant store from the website. They carry sizes 14-28.

www.lanebryant.com

Old Navy

Old Navy used to carry their women’s plus line in stores as well as online but quit. Unfortunately a lot of my friends never realized that they still sold plus sizes after they were removed from the store. They have a very active and trendy line that is still very much alive online. The prices are still as affordable as the rest of the clothing they offer. They carry sizes 16-30.

www.oldnavy.com

Target

While there is not much in stores, usually a couple of racks can be found and are pretty affordable. I did just recently find a Target store that did not carry any plus sizes, but it was something that they were waiting for shipments to come in for the first time. It was a little shocking, because I could always find something, whether I wanted to buy it or not. While the in store selection is greatly limited, the online store is very vast. Target even has a line of bridesmaid’s dresses for plus sizes that can double for fancier occasions at very decent prices. They carry sizes 14-24.

www.target.com

Torrid

Torrid has been known for its youthful and edgier styles, which were fun but very specific to that genre. They still do have some of these edgier clothes, but they have opened up their styles to add more sophisticated business casual clothing. They have a pretty wide spectrum now. They do have stores in bigger cities, but their online site is just as useful. There prices are pretty comparable to Lane Bryant, not always cheap, but good deals when they have them. They carry sizes 12-32.

www.torrid.com

Avenue

Avenue can be a lot more conservative, if that makes you feel more comfortable, but if that’s not your thing, don’t rule the store out. It offers many styles that are very appropriate for business casual. The pricing for the store is the same as Torrid and Lane Bryant. They carry sizes 12-32.

www.avenue.com

Mod Cloth

Mod Cloth offers fantastic and trendy and vintage inspired clothing for plus sizes, most notably in dresses. While pricing is considered above average the clothing and style variety truly make this online store stand out. They carry sizes 12-30.

www.modcloth.com

Forever 21 and H&M

This may not be as widely known but just like Old Navy these stores have plus size options that are exclusive only online. Their fashions follow the same trendy theme as the rest of the stores. Forever 21 carries sizes 12-20, and H&M carries sizes 14-24.

www.forever21.com

www.hm.com

Simply Be

Simply Be is an online store that boasts it’s fashion following the European trends. The pricing is all over the place as is the variety. You can get an evening gown and something to wear to go shopping in. Business attire is also available. It is a fun little site, and I recommend signing up for a catalogue. They carry sizes 10-28.

www.simplybe.com

Fashion to Figure

Fashion to Figure stores are currently located on the east coast, but that won’t stop you from perusing their online store. It is very trendy and cover the major style needs of business and fun. It is also very affordable. They carry sizes 14-32.

www.fashiontofigure.com

All of these stores are great but keep in mind that the sizes could run smaller or larger than what you are used to. If ordering online, take the time to find the sizing chart and check the measurements before you make any permanent decisions. I hope you all find this helpful!

Sam Winchester, It Is Time To Get Over It

So, yes, I’m a Dean girl when it comes to choosing between the boys on the CW show, Supernatural, but that doesn’t mean that I detest Sam. I love and adore him quite a lot. He just never seems to lighten up. That is a fact about him that has been extremely apparent over the last couple of episodes.

I don’t know what direction the writers are trying to point us towards, but I personally do not like it all. I am a massive fan of this show and have invested quite a lot into these nine seasons. There have been storylines that I have loved and some that I have detested. Just like my writing classes have beat into my head, one of the most important principles about a story is growth, especially a character’s growth. Nine seasons of a show desperately need to keep this concept at the top of their game plans. Otherwise, why would anyone want to continue to watch that show?

We are currently dealing with the brothers, Dean and Sam, amidst another dispute. We have seen several over the years. With only two main characters, they cannot always be harmonious. There will always be the good and bad times and with this will come the fights. They are to be expected. Because the characters are constantly growing, how these fights are handled should be very different.

Currently we have Sam very upset with his brother for going to extreme measures regardless of right or wrong to save Sam. This has always been an absolute characteristic of Dean. His whole life has been devoted to the protection of his brother. When Dean’s mother was killed, this was what he was tasked with by his father, and it has honestly been the only true purpose Dean has ever had. If there has been one thing to count on with Dean it is he will do everything thing, regardless how blatantly stupid, to save his brother.

So Sam is mad and says he cannot trust his brother. He now doesn’t know how to be a brother to Dean because of Dean’s decision on how to save his brother. Had we had this argument before? Yep. I think fans of the show remember season seven, when Dean killed Sam’s friend Amy. Sam was angry with Dean for killing his friend and for lying to him. Instead of the full season moping we have gotten from the brothers before, the boys dealt with the issue pretty quick, which was refreshing since they are known to drag things out. Dean himself had valid reasons for doing what he did, and Sam seemed to accept it and they moved on.

Now we have a similar situation, but with different terms. Sam is upset that Dean chose to save him by tricking Sam into allowing an angel to possess him in order to heal him from the inside out. Sam had been slowly dying over the course of the eight season due to his pursuit of closing the gates of hell through trials. At the end of the season, Dean told Sam that if he completed his task, he would kill himself in the process. He asked Sam to choose to live. Sam did choose this and ended the trials, unfortunately enough damage was done to Sam’s body that he went into a coma and was dying. Last Dean knew was that Sam wanted to live. He was not privy to Sam’s internal decision to let go and be at peace. Dean did the only thing he has ever known to do since he was four years old. He found a way, a desperate way, but a way to save his brother. Everyone, including Dean himself, knew this was an extraordinarily bad idea, but Dean didn’t have another option. It did turn out to backfire, but his brother is now alive and well.

With Sam now mad, we are basically having the same argument as season seven. The only difference is that Dean agrees that what he did was wrong, he just didn’t feel he had any other choice. Sometimes people do bad things when they believe they are doing the right thing. This a theme we have seen throughout this show, and it is a burden that has been carried on many a character’s shoulder. It has been especially carried by Sam himself. No one can forget how Lucifer got out of the cage.

Yes, I believe what Dean did was wrong and a bad idea, but I also get that he believed he had to do it. I understand why Sam is upset with him, and has every right to feel mad. What I do not accept is the show making Sam look like an angsty tween and continuing to beat the audience’s head over with how upset Sam is. Did Sam just suddenly forget the last five years of his life? The show just had a beloved character come back from the dead and tell the boys to knock it off, because it was stupid. I was relieved when this happened, but infuriated when they had Sam run immediately to his room and shut himself inside to, I don’t know, be alone in the dark and get in touch with his feelings and pain. Thank God they didn’t have Dean follow him. I am sure Sam would have yelled at Dean to get out of his room, and I would have had terrible flashbacks of Dawn from seasons five and six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While Sam has always been the more sensitive brother, this is pretty ridiculous even for him.

This past week’s episode was to bring back the fan favorites, Ed and Harry. The Ghostfacers episode was supposed to be funny, because that is what all Ghostfacer episodes are. This was to be their great return. We haven’t seen them on the show since season four, but the writers felt the need to make an example out of the goofy Ghostfacers and have them mirror what was happening to Sam and Dean, so that we could once again attempt to prove that Sam was terribly wronged. That was when the episode stopped being funny. Unless the show was planning on bringing the Ghostfacers in as a permanent fixture in the world, why would you ever want to make them serious? This is not nor has been their purpose. The poor boys were misused by the writers as a sad plot device. Ed and Harry are better than that.

Now I’m just angry. Angry at a show that knows better than to write their characters this way. Upset that this show would waste several episodes on something that just doesn’t match the characterization that has been developed for Sam. I am annoyed. Sam you need to get over it. Hopefully the writers, will let you. Your brother has been through enough, and honestly couldn’t make it in this world without you. He would have no reason to and wouldn’t know how. It has already been proven. Dean could make it in Purgatory. The rules are simple, kill or be killed, Dean can memorize that easily. Sam has even made a comment when working a prison case how well his brother could fit in with the prison life. That life has strict rules as well. For the real world the only rule book Dean got was given to him by his father, John Winchester, and it only ever had two rules. Number one, keep Sammy safe, and number two, follow John’s orders. Dean continues to live by them now.

Sam needs to stop punishing his brother for his decision. Dean does that enough on his own. As far as terrible things go, it could be worse. Sam could not have someone around who cared that much. Not everyone gets that. He still has a brother, and he needs to stop telling Dean that they are not.

So to the writers I say this. I hope you have a plan for putting your audience through these last few episodes. I hope this will all be a part of something and make sense eventually. Right now, it sure as hell does not. I don’t know who you are trying to convince anymore Dean or the audience, but I am officially over it. The only bright shiny hope I can actually hold on to is the scene where Kevin tells the boys off for their woe. I hope you put that in there for a reason. Just please, please stop this.

Mr. Ramis, It Has Been a Joy

Sadly we lost a great man last week, Harold Ramis. Most recognizable for Ghostbusters, many may not realize his true contribution to comedy. His writing and directing credits rival John Hughes, and many of his masterpieces are ingrained in our popular culture.

Below is a sampling of his greatest works. Take some time when you can to revisit some of these classic comedies, and when you do, remember the man that brought them to you. If you have never seen these classics, please do. You are missing out on comedies that continue to shape movies being made today.

Animal House

Considered one of the best comedies ever made and the crowning jewel of National Lampoon’s films, this was Ramis’s first real venture into to Hollywood. Co-written by him in 1978, the movie tells the story of a decrepit fraternity house, Delta house, and the motley crew that call it home. The school Dean has made it his personal mission to remove the ink stain of a fraternity off of his campus to finally claim the clean reputation his school sets out to present. Hilarity ensues as the Delta boys do everything in their power to foil the plans and efforts of the Dean in getting rid of them.

Caddyshack

Partly written and directed by Ramis, this film is considered the best golf comedy ever made. Danny, trying to earn money for his college education, become a caddy at a high end club. With the opportunity of earning a scholarship, Danny is left at the rude and dismissive whims of his superior. After meeting Ty Webb, Danny gets a whole other education and begins to work out what is truly important for him and his future. The laughs are always present between Roddy Dangerfield’s and Bill Murray’s characters. Whether or not you are a golf fan, you can find entertainment in this movie.

Stripes

Not only did Ramis lend his writing talents to this film, but he acted in it as well. This is the story of two friends joining the army for a change in pace.  John at least sells this to his friend, Russell. John is not a by the book kind of man and challenges every statute that defines the military. Bill Murray stars with Ramis alongside him in this creative comedy, one of many team ups by the creative duo.

Groundhog Day

Considered one of Bill Murray’s greatest roles, this film was co-written and direcected by Ramis. Phil is tasked with covering the Groundhog Day event for the fourth year in a row. Exceedingly annoyed by this job, he makes no effort to hide it throughout the day. The tables turn on him when he wakes up the next morning to Groundhog Day again. No matter what he does or does not do, he keeps waking up to Groundhog Day and reliving it over and over. He eventually discovers that he has been given the opportunity to make the day right in every way. He just has to figure out how.

Ghostbusters

Any geek or nerd would risk losing some of their reputation if they admitted to not knowing what Ghostbusters was. Not only that, but it has become the movie that keeps on giving for those who grew up in the late 80’s. The movie you may have watched when you were eight is not the movie you watch when you turn eighteen, and yet both are amazing. That is something very hard to achieve. This is another of Ramis’s great acting and writing examples. Three friends working in a university parapsychology department get their grant taken from them and are kicked out with no money or ideas for the next step. They decide to take what they know and turn it into a ghost capturing business. Taken as a joke at first, business starts to boom, spreading the word and popularity of the self-proclaimed Ghostbusters. They soon are tested with the biggest bust of their lives and end up saving the world to do it.

That is just a highlight of some of Harold Ramis’s work. Honorable mentions of his contributions include:

Meatballs

National Lampoon’s Vacation

Back to School

Club Paradise

Armed and Dangerous

Ghostbusters II

Multiplicity

Analyze This

Analyze That

Year One

I say this to Mr Ramis. Your work has brought me continuous laughter and entertainment. You may be at peace now, but your work will live on and continue to inspire me as well as others. Thank you for that.