Year in Review

2017. What can you say about it? In 2016 we saw the death of huge icons, of people we have admired for years. 2017 continued the theme of death. Not of people per se, but of ideals. People that we thought were kind, courageous, and brave ended up being total trash heaps. Our country is in the middle of one of the biggest dumpster fires I have ever seen. That is what 2017 meant to me.

2018 is here and it is full of the optimism, hope, and joy we once wished 2017 would hold for us. Please let that be true. I am not sure I can handle too many more dumpster fires.

It is a new year. It is the same old me. I don’t believe in resolutions. I never keep them. I am however working on being a better person. Here is the list of things I plan on doing for the new year (But I had also been working on them in 2017 as well)

1) Organization

If 2017 was a dumpster fire, my brain is part of the trash heap that had lighter fluid sprayed liberally upon it. I am an organizational nightmare. I worked on this a lot by obtaining a paper planner and started to use that. I did not use it as well as I could have and that is what I want to work on this year. I actually have two planners this year. One for my job, and one for my personal life. Maybe if I organize a little bit better I could have the time and energy to do the things I want to do when I have down time. It might make it easier for me to craft more or organize more activities for geeky baby. To see some of the fun creative stuff I have been doing with my planner, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram.

2) Werqin on my fitness

2017 saw me change my eating habits a lot. I eat (most of the time) like I have some damn sense. I drink more water than I do diet soda. Though I do still enjoy an icy cold Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I make somewhat of an attempt  to bring a healthy lunch and snacks to work that work well with a diabetic.

There_was_an_attempt

I am the most sedentary person you will ever meet in your life. Like I am a total slug. It amazes my husband that he can find me in one spot and 5 hours later I will be in that same spot huddled up with a blanket on doing absolutely nothing. He doesn’t understand it at all. I feel like if I exercised more, maybe I would get some energy back? Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? We shall see. I found some free videos on YouTube and will be using those to start. If I feel like it is something I could go gung ho on, I may get a gym membership.

3) Do Your Homework!

I have been talking about this one or a while. My goal this year is to do every single bit of homework Nerdette assigns throughout the year. You may be asking yourself “Why in the hell would she want to do homework?” In addition to being a nerd, I am an absolute geek. I live for homework. Plus, I have done several of the homework assignments from Nerdette, and I always come away with some knowledge, or at least a good book recommendation.

So yes. These are the major things I have in store for 2018. Do you have anything that you want to grow or develop? Did you have a great 2017? Let us know!

Blackwelder 2164: Must Read Rollicking Sci-Fi for 2018

Blackwelder 2164

By Christopher D.J.

NineStar Press

Blackwelder 2164 is a rollicking, sci-fi adventure, with a brilliantly drawn, lovable (and reprehensible) cast of characters. It is set in a time where warring countries on Earth have been forced to unite in the face of an alien threat. Blackwelder refers to Spencer Blackwelder, a disciplined, sharp shooting sergeant in the Allied Earth Forces.

The book starts off with a bang and keeps up a steady pace throughout. In the first chapter, the reader is dropped right in the middle of action, as Blackwelder’s squadron from the warship AES Barack has been sent to check out an abandoned alien craft. The mission does not go as planned and the stakes are life or death. In the second chapter, the reader learns that Blackwelder’s personal life has not gone to plan either, and he is grappling with a painful decision with no easy solution in sight.

By the end of the second chapter, I was already rooting for Blackwelder. He is clearly a good man and a great soldier. However, he has made choices in his personal life that have led to heartbreak and put his cherished friendships in jeopardy. He has fallen in love with one of his best friends. Due to the small detail of his friend being engaged, paired with the homophobia of his commanding officer, he feels completely trapped and miserably guilty. He decides to essentially run from his problems and requests to be transferred to a remote planet called Triton. Triton is a planet likely to be the target of a first wave of alien attacks, and the soldiers there are woefully unprepared.

Blackwelder’s request is granted and he takes up the responsibility of training soldiers on Triton.  He quickly finds out there are many more layers to this war than he had imagined.  As a top soldier on a prized warship, he was shielded from most rumors and secrets. But on Triton, he begins to see complexity to the war.  Perhaps earth wasn’t so blameless and perhaps an insurgent terrorist group posed more of a threat than he previously thought.  Moreover, a suspicious sabotage leads to a terrifying malfunction in the training arena. As the mysteries pile on, and the stakes rise and rise in the face of an alien invasion, Blackwelder meets a man (a badass, gorgeous, well-connected ambassador with a heart of gold) who helps him move on much more quickly than he thought possible. Triton is just full of surprises.

Blackwelder 2164 delivers heart stopping sci-fi space battles, government intrigue, spies, action, humor, and feels. Also, bonus sexy scenes and romance! I also appreciated that this is a story about a gay man of color, written by a gay man of color. When people write protagonists that reflect themselves, there is an easy authenticity that makes the story more absorbing. In fact, all the characters reflect respect for a diverse spectrum of cultures. And I was delighted as I kept meeting women characters who were written with love and style. A book set in the military with a male protagonist could easily fall into the trap of forgetting women soldiers exist or tokenizing them. But this book has women soldiers and they are written with character, personality, and depth. It is sad how refreshing it is to read a genre book that actually acknowledges that earth is a diverse place.

I highly recommend Blackwelder 2164 for your 2018 reading list. It's a fast, fun, intriguing read. In fact, I hope it gets a sequel. Blackwelder 2164 does end with a resolution to the first battle, so thankfully no cliff-hanger. But earth’s scheming and secrets that Blackwelder uncovered would make a fantastic act 2.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a (Spoiler Free) Geeky Girl Review

You will have more fun in Star Wars: The Last Jedi than you knew was humanly possible. There are scenes so striking, innovative, and flat out magical that you will nearly fall out of your seat. You will gape. You will cheer. You just might cry.

Megafans will debate for years about character arcs, continuity, and whether porgs are adorable or nah.  But what cannot be denied is that The Last Jedi is visually stunning, massively entertaining, and almost never takes the predictable route.

This crop of Star Wars movies has the unenviable task of pulling off the near impossible: honor the past while creating the future. Change is hard. Launching the next generation of heroes and making space for them is crucial, but honoring the deep love that fans have for the original heroes is equally as important. The Last Jedi did both.

Our beloved heroes, Luke and Leia, are still leading the rebellion and bringing hope to the galaxy. They still know how to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Our iconic villain, Darth Vader, still casts a looming shadow even in his absence.  Yet it is clear that the power of the force is not owned by anyone or anything.  The Jedi religion is not shackled to any physical place.  Good and evil are choices, not destiny, and we all get to make choices, no matter our family tree.

The Last Jedi also succeeds making the Star Wars universe more nuanced and complex, even while delivering crowd-pleasing scene after crowd-pleasing scene.  In The Last Jedi, heroes can make mistakes. Legends can have crises of faith. Things that are shiny can be grotesque upon closer inspection. And the girl who fixes the pipes can have a hero inside of her you just haven’t met yet.

The plotlines are equally innovative. There are numerous times I thought I knew what was coming, and The Last Jedi surprised me.

A forty year old franchise that can still surprise you is pulling off something special.

At its heart, Star Wars is an epic, timeless story. Truly valuable stories are living, breathing things that we pass down to our children and grandchildren. When we hoard them and encase them in carbonite, they become more suited for museum display. The surprises and innovations of The Last Jedi ensured that Star Wars is a story that will inspire generations to come.

Still dubious? Stand in my sensible-yet-attractive middle-aged pumps for a second. Let’s go on a journey to 1999. Picture being an overjoyed young adult camping out for a Star Wars prequel--the first in fifteen years. Imagine squeezing into a movie theater with breathless anticipation. The projector turns on and The Phantom Menace appears on the screen. Imagine a void where the soul and charm of Star Wars was supposed to be. Picture acting so wooden you want to feel something but you just don’t. Then you see Jar-Jar Binks. Yikes. What you are picturing is the experience of being fed an aggressively mediocre sci-fi movie dressed in a Star Wars suit. If you didn’t experience that, count your blessings.

I was born the year before Star Wars premiered. I have lived long enough to see great Star Wars movies being made again. These movies have introduced wildly endearing new heroes like Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. They are movies packed with talented people acting their asses off, and with chemistry that sparks off of the screen.

You don’t even have to imagine that last part. Just go see The Last Jedi, and experience it for yourself.

 

Wynonna Earp Fans are Keeping Buffy Alive in Surprising Ways

Art By: Raven of London

When you fall in love with a television show, you cannot predict its longevity in the pop culture consciousness.  Its lifespan depends on the next generation. What parts of your pop culture will resonate with them and thus persevere? That matters to nerds like me. But no one can predict what the next generation holds on to.

As I enter my forties, I’m starting to see answers in the teenagers around me. My son’s friend showed up for a party wearing a Nirvana shirt. I made a mental note. Nirvana made the cut. One day last June, I picked up my nephew from high school. He got into my car and realized Biggie’s Juicy was playing.

“Auntie, how are you gonna be playing Biggie on Tupac’s birthday?”

Touché, young man. Touché. But for every Biggie and Tupac, a hundred more artists I love have been relegated to the dustbin of pop culture history. The same is true of TV shows. My love of Star Trek has been richly rewarded. Star Trek is a juggernaut of merchandise, spinoffs, movies, and documentaries. That means the fandom regenerates like a time traveling alien with two hearts. I get to connect with others who understand what that show and those characters mean to me. Other shows I am devoted to haven't endured in the same way.  But one incredibly pleasant surprise has been the staying power of the little cult show that could: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could fill a novel with the reasons I love Buffy.  

Buffy was a hero. She had a heart as big as a the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes she suffered. Sometimes she gave up. She even fucked up. It didn’t diminish her or her value. It didn’t change what she was capable of. And she always found a reserve of hope. The humanist values, the family you choose, it all hit me where I lived. And guess what? The people who understood and loved Buffy, understood me. Buffy ended, but has remained an important part of my life.

Twenty years later, I watch Buffy. I read Buffy. I buy Buffy fanart. I make friends because of Buffy. Buffy still determines what new shows I will watch. I follow writers from Buffy-and its spinoff Angel-throughout their careers, because I know they tell stories that resonate with me. That is how I found Supernatural, which is where I continue to connect with people around Buffy.  In my Supernatural fan group on Facebook, we maintain photo albums of every Buffy alum that has appeared on Supernatural. We have a files section that lists Buffy/Supernatural crossover fan fiction. Buffy fans created our own subculture within the Supernatural fandom where we connect with people who love the same stories and characters that we do.

Then I discovered Wynonna Earp, and the ante was upped. I watched Wynonna Earp because of an article where the creator of the television show, Emily Andras, talked about her Buffy influences. So I gave the show a try.  I immediately saw Buffy’s –and Supernatural's’--fingerprints everywhere. But Wynonna Earp progresses beyond Buffy and Supernatural in a few important aspects. One is LGBT representation. A main character (not a dead side character) is in a same sex relationship. That relationship is complex, three dimensional, and fully recognized. The cast embraces their opportunity to represent LGBT characters in a positive light, and attends LGBT fan conventions. (Raises eyebrows across the room at my SPNFamily) Secondly, Wynonna Earp reflects a more modern and evolved understanding of feminism. Wynonna is not shamed or punished for her sexual choices by anyone. The men in her life fully understand that they do not own her, even when they are attracted to her. (Sit down, Xander) The male characters--such as the love of my life, Deputy Marshall Xavier Dolls--are fully formed, secure badasses in their own rights and are not threatened by her strength and fire. In fact they thrive on it. So hey, add in all the kicking demon ass, rollicking fight scenes, hilarious one liners, and fabulous cast, and I was all in on Wynonna Earp. I followed/joined/signed up for everything Wynonna Earp fan related. I found a creative, inclusive, welcoming community.

I had to post a picture of Deputy Marshall Dolls. For science.

WYNONNA EARP -- "House of Memories" Episode 112 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shamier Anderson as Agent Dolls, Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp -- (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Syfy/Wynonna Earp Productions)

But it got even better, and even Buffy-ier. A few Wynonna Earp fans (called Earpers) launched a #BuffyEarpers initiative.  I assumed it was just a hashtag with some clever, adorable accompanying fan art. But #BuffyEarpers is an initiative by Buffy fans within the Earper community where they share their love of Buffy with each other, and with the uninitiated. It has art, merchandise, watch parties, social media accounts, live tweets, and a podcast. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and pour in a heaping helping of pure fangirl (and boy and nonbinary) love and devotion.  I listened to the premiere episode of the BuffyEarper podcast last week. The episode opened with the Buffy theme song and I found myself in tears. It dawned on me that some part of this initiative involved Buffy fans in my generation sharing the show with a younger generation.  I find that touching. I have zero time or energy for people who slag off the younger generation. Secondly, that means my show offers something of value to the next generation, who will bring even more creative energy and connection to the community. I don’t  ever have to say goodbye to my fandom. 

Just to put this in perspective to the younger ones, in the 80’s and early 90’s, when something was over, it was over.  Did your family move to a different state? You aren’t ever seeing those friends again. I hope you said goodbye. Did you lose a phone number? A recipe? Google doesn’t exist, bitch, it’s over. That set of encyclopedias isn’t gonna help you. The same with shows. When your shows were over. They were OVER. And you didn’t have a fandom to sustain you because you didn’t have the internet. If your siblings or hometown friends didn’t like a show, tough titties. If they thought drawing blueprints of the Starship Enterprise and learning Klingon was fucking weird, or that wanting to be called Galadriel was childish, well you were up shit creek without a paddle. You got to be the social leper reading dragon books in the back of the bus. (Ahem.) So it wasn’t just that your show that was gone. Your point of connection was gone. Your validation that you were not alone disappeared. Buffy was just on that cusp where the fans and creators were pioneering online communities and fan meetups. But I didn’t have a computer. How was I gonna afford that? I wasn’t Scrooge McDuck.

But of course, things changed.  Remember those long lost childhood friends? THEY. ALL. FOUND. YOU. ON. FACEBOOK.  Oh, hey Devin from 2nd grade, you still exist. Laptops became common. Starbucks, your local library, and maybe your entire city got Wi-Fi. We used the internet to build entire communities along fandoms instead of along geography. Frankly, the latter leaves much to be desired when you are a kid that doesn't quite fit in the box. New generations of fans were born and found each other. Comic Con became a worldwide sensation. And the best part? Some of the things you loved the most, but thought you had to say goodbye to, just. Kept. Coming back. And in that moment, listening to the #BuffyEarper podcast, I realized that even though Buffy may not be the massive phenomenon of a Star Trek or Star Wars, she isn’t going anywhere. Not only is my generation of fans still devoted to the little show that could, we are sharing it with the next generation of fans, who are falling in love too. And they are breathing new life into the fandom. We are going to be here, regardless of whether there are remakes, reboots, and regardless of whether they turn out to be any good. Given the uncommon resilience of Buffy herself, I suppose it is fitting. 

Buffy Lives, indeed.

Fan Fiction and the Real Girl

As I have said in a previous blog, it has been my goal this year to read more. I have accomplished this. I have read way more than I did last year. Also next year one of my goals is to do every single homework from the Nerdette Podcast so that will require me to read a ton more. However one thing that has stuck more than anything else is fan fiction.

I can’t tell you when I started reading fan fiction, but I can tell you how I got started. I read an article on MSN about fan fiction, and they talked about how this particular work of fan fiction was even better than the work it was based off of, which was Twilight. It was called Wide Awake and imagine my surprise that it was a lot of people’s gateway drug into fan fiction. Since then I have probably read over a thousand stories. Most of them are Twilight. Occasionally I will branch off into Harry Potter or even Supernatural. But for some reason Twilight has always felt like home to me as far as fan fiction goes.

The Twilight fandom also paved the way for a lot of people who wouldn’t normally have gotten published to actually be published. Snow Queens Ice Dragon, or as you guys know her as E.L James burst onto the scene with her 50 Shades of Gray books. This further expanded the universe for people. Say what you want about those books (I read the initial one when it was still a fan fiction), she helped show the publishing world that there are other ways to find new talent. It also helped to show the world new voices and new genres of works. I wanted to write here that gay shape shifting animals chopping wood is a new genre, but then I thought of Anita Blake. It’s totally not a new genre.

Anyway, with this post today I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite fan fictions and authors.

Debra Anastasia – Fire Down Below

Crack fiction is a type of fan fiction not a lot of people rock with. In crack fiction (crackfic) the sky can be green. Your favorites are doing everything completely out of character (ooc) everything is silly and depending on how you feel about it is enough to make you bust a gut. Debra (Ms. Anastasia if you nasty) burst on the scene with the hilarious story of Gynazole, a crackfic featuring all of our Twilight friends. Fast forward a few years and Debra Anastasia is a published author with several books under her belt, most notably the Poughkeepsie series. I lost touch with her on twitter several years ago, but recently made contact again, as I was reminiscing about Gynazole to some friends, and they informed me that she published it under the name Fire Down Below. I went ahead and purchased it, and the second book, and spent the next few days howling laughing. I was doubled over with tears in my eyes at the hilarious antics of Dove Glitch. I now keep bugging Debra to make a third book. I’m fairly certain she is going to block me on twitter any day now.

 

Twist and Shout – Supernatural Fan Fiction

Over here at Geeky Girl’s Guide to Life, all three of us are Supernatural fans. Kim was the one who encouraged me to watch, and it took some years but I finally did. Rebekah…girl, I am not even going to go there. She is a fanatic. They have both been to cons, and that is how they actually ended up meeting in person. Like I said before I typically stick to Twilight fan fiction, and I am not entirely sure what possessed me to read this one. But I am so glad I do. This fan fiction (which is a Destiel paring) took my heart out of my chest, squeezed it and put it back in. To refresh myself I re-read it a couple of days ago, and my husband found me laying face down on my desk sobbing. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Dean and Castiel are heartwarming and refreshing with true conflicts that match the age in which this store was placed (the 1960’s-80’s). Make sure you have tissues on hand if you pick this up.

The Cannabean Betrothal

So look. I struggled to add this fan fiction. It is going to sound ridiculous because I have read it multiple times. It keeps me entertained. However, I am not a huge fan of the characters. I can’t decide if it is because of Edward, the religion, or what. However, I do know that I would be remiss in not adding it. It is a well written story. The characters are well fleshed out. But “The Cannabean Way” makes me so irrationally angry. LET THESE WOMEN LIVE! Stop being a spoiled bitch because you didn’t get to have sex Edward. STOP HOLDING OUT ON INFORMATION THAT BELLA NEEDS CHARLIE. Man, I hate the Cannabean religion. It isn’t even a real religion, and I hate it. Read this story. Then message me.

The Selkie Wife

Look. Lissa Bryan did her homework. The history in this story is impeccable. This story was one of the things that helped me realize that I enjoy historical fiction. I enjoy the eventual love that Bella and Edward share. The mini stories that play out in this story are also wonderful. I didn’t know any of this history before reading this work. There is a part two to this, but it is unfinished. I have spoken with the author, and she does plan to get back into it. She just has some things going on right now. I can’t wait.

So these are just a few of the ones that enjoy. Do you read fan fiction? Are there any that you recommend? Have any of your favorite authors been published?

Doing all the things we can do

“Ugh Leslie, why do you listen to that white girl music?” my “friend” said as I bounced around to Brittney Spears. I slowly stopped dancing and sat quietly.

“Leslie that is white people shit.” another “friend” said to me as I exclaimed that I wanted to climb a mountain some day. I let myself fade into the background. I was already a target at school with hair not quite right, being fat and not being able to find or afford fashionable clothes, and just being on the fringes of everything.

I am an adult now. We’ve all grown up. I’ve long since cut ties with friends who sought to point out my differences with disdain and not joy and wonder. I also tend to be confident in who I am now. I stumble sometimes, but don’t we all?*

Because of the experiences that I’ve faced as a child, teen, and young adult I find myself floating towards POC’s that are out here doing things you typically don’t see POC’s doing. I wanted to talk about two of those people today.

The Blackalachian

I forget how I got the book, but I own one of The Little House on the Prairie books. It is the one where Almanzo and Bess have taken their daughter Rose and moved to the Ozark Mountains. From there, that got me reading about mountains again, and people hiking mountains. Then I started to read about the Appalachian Trail. That lead me to watching videos of people hiking the Appalachian Trail. One of the things I noticed right away was 99% of the videos were all of white people. I watched quite a few of their journeys. I took in their injuries, how they were eating, the camraderie that that shared. One day I signed onto YouTube and in the suggested videos there was one of a Black man called the Blackalachian.

 

By the time I finished the video, I was hooked and attempted to watch from the beginning. He radiates such light and positivity, it is hard not to see an alert he has a new video without smiling. While I have posted the video from day 100, he has made a lot more since then. It has been amazing to see him grow as a hiker and deal with a few issues that non POC would probably never have to deal with. I hope to get a chance to interview him some day when he comes back to civilization. I believe so much in what is he is doing that I kicked a few dollars to his GoFundMe. He has recently flipped his hike (I can’t remember what it is officially called) where he stopped wherever he was, went to Maine (where the end of the AT Trail is) and is hiking the opposite way, so that he doesn’t miss Maine in the fall. We here at Geeky Girl’s Guide to Life wish him the best of luck.

Crystal Vanner

If you follow us on Instagram you will notice I post a lot of paper planning things. I attempt (very poorly) to draw, I have added a lot of planner Instagram pages that I follow. I belong to a planner group on Facebook. One of the ladies mentioned on there about living out of her van and traveling.

At this stage in the game, you have heard of the Tiny Home lifestyle. You’ve seen these elaborate tiny homes that people live in. Some people like Crystal are taking it a step further and creating homes out of their mini vans.

One of my goals is when I retire to partially live in an RV and travel the country. Crystal is traveling all over the place in her van. This nomadic lifestyle truly facinates me. It is not in the cards for myself right now; In addition to having a toddler, the job that I do (infrastructure IT) is not conducive to not being on site. So I live through Crystal’s vlogs. In addition to the jobs that she does, she also designs shirts. You can pick up one right here.

These are just a couple of the POC out here living their dreams and not being bound by what society thinks they should be doing. I commend them and I am always on the look out for more people to watch, read, and discover what they are doing.

 

*The first part of this post was incredibly hard to write, simply because I do not like talking about the time before I grew up and realized that people don't always has your best interest at heart.

Supernatural Season 13 Season Premiere Recap and Review: Two Men and a Nephilim

Let's Laugh, Cry, and Cuss about Supernatural Together

Episode Name: Lost and Found

Air Date: 10/12/2017

*SPOILERS* DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT *SPOILERS* SERIOUSLY I MEAN IT *SPOILERS*

"That bitch said I'm a Becky, Sam. That's not ok."

Hi my name is Rebekah and I’m a Supernatural addict. If you are reading this, you have probably watched 12 years’ worth of Supernatural, so we’re in the same boat. Welcome, fellow sucker for punishment! Feel free to let it all hang out.

Last night I eagerly watched the Season 13 premiere of Supernatural. I don’t start every season of Supernatural eagerly. But I enjoyed the hell out of the Season 12 finale and the set up for Season 13 was right down my alley. Creepy as hell, a parallel dimension, and the promise of seeing some old favorites. Also, the acting in the show has reached Oscar caliber. No exaggeration. Jared and Jensen inhabit these characters and make you feel like they are old friends. The delivery of their lines feels real, raw, and impactful. That’s a tall order considering it is a fantasy show and you can get burn out from the constant trauma. But the writers can put in the most absurd plot line and those boys sell the shit out of it.  These guys know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it on a cult favorite CW show so they probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.

So just for set up purposes, Season 12 finale ended with the boys losing everything and everyone they love. Again. It wasn’t as traumatizing as it could have been because as y’all know, the boys lose everything all the time. And characters have the tendency to come back. Also, there were some character deaths I was ready for. (Sorry. I love Mark Sheppard but the writers didn’t know what to do with Crowley anymore, it was painful.) Additionally, the few scenes in the parallel dimension were a joy. We got to see Bobby, which, it’s always a good day when you get to see Bobby. And he mentioned Rufus. Almost nothing makes me happier than Bobby and Rufus. (Safe House, written by superbae Robbie Thompson is one of my favorite episodes they’ve ever done.) So Season 13 was set up to be very cool, which after 12 years is impressive.

Season 13 Episode one opened up exactly where we left off, with Sam standing in the cabin gaping at the ENTIRE GROWN ASS ADULT Nephilim that was born FIVE MINUTES AGO crouching in the corner naked as a jaybird (are jaybirds more naked than other birds?) with glowing eyes being CREEPY AS FUCK. Like, genuine chills down your spine creepy. Sam tends to use his words so he tried to communicate with the Nephilim. Dean walks in and instantly whips out his gun to shoot the guy. Dean had just left Castiel’s dead body so he was not in the mood. Sam knocks his arm out of the way. Which was probably for the best, because Dean, what’s a regular ass bullet going to do to a Nephilim? Well, that pisses ol’ dude off and he yells and the blast of his power picks up both of the boys off the ground and throws them into the wall. So, he is hella powerful. Then he gets away.

"Who's my daddy? No, really. Who's my daddy?"

The boys give chase. For stunningly gorgeous Greek god looking model types, they look like shit. Bruised, dirty, depleted, bags under their eyes. Dean was reacting to the crushing loss of Cas by being enraged (appropriate reaction) and that was manifesting partly by him uberpissy and barking at Sam. Even his most pissy retorts crackled with grief. Sam obviously knew he was grieving and didn’t give him any pushback. There is this unspoken understanding that Cas’s death is more Dean’s loss than Sam’s loss. Part of that is because most of the writers are Deanboys, and partly because Dean and Cas have a more profound bond. They’re boyfriends. Or they would be if the Supernatural powers that be had the sense God gave a fruit fly. But I digress.

The Nephilim ends up in a police station. He’s confused and bewildered. He’s trying to figure out who he is, and what feelings are. He tries nougat for the first time. It’s intense. He’s in turn adorable, off-putting, and terrifying. The actor is fantastic.  It’s hard to make these kinds of characters work.  It’s easy to lean a little too hard on the crazy or on the bewilderment.  But he was perfection. I truly hope they keep him around. He infuses the old SPN dynamic with new life.

Any who, the most significant thing is that when he hears voices in his head (angel radio), it hurts, and he reacts by throwing folks around. But he doesn’t know how it happens. He doesn’t have control over his powers just yet. Which makes sense, because he’s like three seconds old. The boys catch up to him. Sam spends some time with the Nephilim (the audience knows his name is Jack at this point) and realizes that he is an innocent. Also, Jack reveals that Castiel is his father, which was a brilliant little twist that hurts sooooo badly because you know that beautiful Castiel is dead. Poor kid, Dad killed while he was making his way into the world. But wait, wasn’t Lucifer the father? Apparently, Jack’s mom found the concept of fatherhood pretty flexible. She said since Castiel would be the one to protect him, that he would be his father. And since Jack was conscious in the womb, he was always hearing Cas take care of him, so he cosigned that (extremely solid) choice.

"I just really want some more nougat."

Then the dicks show up. Ok that sounds weird. But any SPN fan knows what I’m talking about. According to Dean, angels are dicks. And the group that shows up lives up to that less than stellar reputation. They are there to kidnap Jack and to use him for nefarious power-hungry purposes. There are some really cool, creative fight scenes. Only in Supernatural do you laugh during a fight scene. They are often sly and inventive. Ultimately, Sam and Dean prevail. The angels are either sent to heaven or ganked. But before the last one is stabbed, she stabs Jack right in the heart. It doesn’t take. He pulls it right out. Yes Jack is innocent, but also menacing and scary, mostly because we don’t know what his powers are yet. He doesn’t know what his powers are either. But we do know that he can be stabbed in the heart and not even ask for a band aid. He’s like. Hm. (kanyeshrug)

The boys head back to the bunker and take Jack with them. Which I thought made sense. Jack is a loose cannon and you don’t really want him bouncing around out there. Sam mostly wants to look after him. Dean mostly wants to kill him. They only thing stopping Dean is that he has no idea how to do it. Dean still doesn’t see these decisions on whether to kill folks as a democratic decision between him and Sammy. If he wants to gank somebody it doesn’t really matter what Sam wants.  And of course, you can see both of their viewpoints. Dean is sick as shit of these supernatural creatures killing his boyfriend and his family.  But to be fair to Sam’s point of view, rational thought generally makes for better strategies. Also, there is no real reason to believe that Jack will be evil. Lucifer is not a demon. He’s an angel. His villainy was purely a conscious choice, not his genetics. Also, Dean saying his job is to kill the supernatural is a bit disingenuous. Because in reality, the boys have a long storied history of partnering with supernatural creatures (You know, like Castiel? Or Crowley? Or Dean’s ex Benny? I could really go on). But Dean is completely over it. Which. You can’t blame him there considering what they just went through. So that’s where we are.

Then we get the thoroughly heart wrenching scene where Dean prays to God to bring Cas back. Here is what he says:

Okay, Chuck… or God, or whatever. I need your help. See, you– you left us. You left us. You went off. You said… You said the earth would be fine because it had me… and Sam, but it’s not, and we’re not. We’ve lost everything... and now you’re gonna bring him back. Okay? You’re gonna bring back Cas, you’re gonna bring back Mom, you’re gonna bring ‘em all back. All of ‘em. Even Crowley. ’Cause after everything that you’ve done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So you get your ass down here and you make this right, right here and right now.

--Dean Winchester

Ugh. Now that is writing. Interesting to note that Dean explicitly refers to Cas as his everything. And if your heart can survive that, you should probably check whether you have a pulse at all. Maybe you are a vampire. Then Dean asks for his mom back, and even Crowley! He wants to turn the fucking clock back. Like. Takesies backsies the whole thing. As I mentioned, Jensen is just a masterful actor.  He’s always been good at grief. (As well as comedy. As well as singing. As well as being the most beautiful boy in the world. *shakes fist at sky*) After all, he inspired the ‘single man tear’ meme and subsequent song. But Jesus Christ he just gets better and better. He barely needs to use body language or gestures anymore. It’s all in his eyes. How does he do that?? He can barely flinch yet rip your heart out by the roots. (do hearts have roots?) Then he wraps Castiel’s body for a proper burial and if you thought his prayer was devastating, watching him wrap Cas’s body is a punch to solar plexus. Jensen is JUST SO GOOD AT THIS. And Castiel’s face IS SO GORGEOUS. Just. Come ON with that face, Misha Collins, you have GOT to be kidding me.

Then during the body burning scene, Sam asks Jack if he wants to say anything. Jack of course doesn’t know which way is up yet. So he asks what Sam what is normally said in these situations. And Sam’s answer had me in tears.

You say thank you. You say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness, or pain. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye. --Sam Winchester.

The simplicity of the writing is perfect. Jared Padalecki's delivery was phenomenal. Jared Padalecki why are you trying to kill all of my feelings? I swear to Chuck, man. When the writing and the acting is on point, no one has a prayer of getting out without crying like a goddamn baby.

Then the last scene is a short one where you see that Lucifer spared Mama Winchester’s life in the separate dimension. Why? I guess we’ll find out. He says he needs her. Which he clearly doesn’t, unless he’s up to something. What is that something?

So this episode. I was all about it. Clever. Well written. Great fight scene. Genuine emotions. The guest stars had distinct personalities and you cared about them right away. The cop mom and her teenage son were everything. The head of the angel gang had some hilarious, very SPN-ish one liners. And the prospect of seeing some friendly faces in the parallel dimension has me excited. Andrew Dabb mentioned Missouri Moseley at the SDCC panel this year and I am all about it. Let’s face it, Loretta Devine is a goddamn gift and I’ve been wanting to see her again since the last time we saw her in season one.  Of course Supernatural often handles female characters, particularly WOC characters, atrociously, so consider me down on my knees praying they get it right for her. Maybe they will actually HIRE some women of color writers (imagine that) and we can do this thing. (God, are you listening? Wait. I’m atheist. Whatever. You know what I mean.)

"Somebody get that kid some more nougat before he kills us all."

Now, as the supernerd and fangirl that I am, I always check who writes the episodes regardless whether I like them or hate them. This one was written by Andrew Dabb, which makes a lot of sense. Andrew Dabb is particularly adept at taking the stories, which are in a heightened world of fantasy and melodrama, and making them emotionally impactful in a way that you identify with. He’s like a heat seeking missile of finding the most searing and relatable human emotions and journeys the boys are experiencing, despite whatever plot is happening. He also hits that very particular soft point of Supernatural fans--people who deeply connect with the family dynamic and the experience of surviving trauma and chaos together. Also, he is great at creating compelling supporting characters. My only quibble is that he is a Dean boy, which isn’t a sin or anything. But one day I’ll find an SPN writer who centers the emotional journey on Sam and lets him drive it.  Not that I don’t love Dean. Of course I do. How could anyone not love Dean? What are you a monster? (Careful, he’ll stab you in the neck.) I just feel that Sammy consistently gets the short end of the stick and functions as the support for Dean's journey. But that’s how I’ve felt for almost the entire run of the show and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

When all is said and done, though, here is the final thought I’ll leave you with for ‘Lost and Found’. It is Season 13 of Supernatural and I still care about the Winchester boys. That’s kind of extraordinary.

Disclaimer: This article reflects my personal opinions, not the opinions of my fellow Geeky Girls, who are also Supernatural super-fans and (who knows!) may want to banish me to purgatory for my views.

Photo credits: All photos are promotional photos from the CW

CORRECTION: My previous version identified the writer of the episode as 'Adam Glass' as opposed to 'Andrew Dabb'. I have literally no excuse except for the fact that my brain is terrible and I didn't do a terribly careful edit because I didn't think anyone would especially read my article ahaha. Andrew Dabb is the showrunner, and has written the all time classic favorite episodes like Yellow Fever, Afterschool Special, Weekend at Bobby's, and Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside of the Moon in particular is notable for a few things: 1) Being PAINFULLY accurate about siblings and about how, despite growing up shoulder to shoulder in the same home, experience things suprisingly differently 2) The way that those siblings deal with the trauma of childhood can be so different it causes the other pain and pushes them apart 3) Being so heart rending that my sister Michele can't watch it unless she is feeling very strong and 4) Giving Wincest shippers the joy of their lives when Ash says that only soulmates can share a heaven, and there Sam and Dean are, sharing a heaven.  There you have it. My excessively verbose correction.

I Hate Musicals How Did this Happen to Me in Ten Easy Steps; or, Learn to Humiliate Yourself by Crying about Eliza Hamilton at Work

Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the cast recording of Broadway’s Hamilton. During those two years I moved from absolute resistance on day one, to a complete mess on day seven hundred and thirty.  Come make the same journey with me. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, Hamilton.

 

  1. See fifty headlines about Hamilton. Investigate briefly. It’s a musical. You don’t need to read those articles. You hate musicals. Well, except for the Buffy musical of course.                         
  2. Be worn down. Finally click a link. Read that it is a hip hop musical. You would rather scoop your own eyeballs out with a spoon than see a stage full of white musical theater nerds rapping about the continental congress. Try again to ignore it.                 
  3. Notice that your Blerd friends are obsessed with it. Investigate. Ok. They hired actors of color and actual rappers.  Still. The founding fathers are overdone. Anyway, you hate musicals. Well you DID love belting out ‘Under the Sea’ as a little kid.  Ok, you probably still remember the lyrics.                                                                          There was a lot of floor work.
  4. Decide you are at least allowed to read articles about Lin Manuel Miranda. You get to know the brilliant Latinerd with a heart of gold. Your heart grows three sizes. You’ve never been so in love. You watch every interview, you follow him on any social media he posts on.     
  5. Look up the Hamilton cast online. Their collective charisma, talent, and good looks are so overwhelming that you momentarily black out. You jolt back to consciousness mumbling something about Daveed Diggs.                    
  6. Relent when your sweet Midwestern friend looks at you with eyes as wide as saucers and asks to play it for you. Well, you can’t exactly crush the dreams of a sweet Midwestern girl, can you?                                                               
  7. Think wow, this is clever, catchy, and deadly accurate.  The cabinet battles are perfection. These guys were savage. Still, why did your friends act like this changed their lives? Come on guys. Who cries because of Hamilton?                                                                                                                                                                                      
  8. Resist listening again even when the catchy songs and hilarious one liners come back to haunt you. You are already a fantasy/sci-fi nerd. You are already a political geek. You don’t need to be a musical theater nerd too. There has to be limits to this.  You have to draw the line somewhere. Also, you HATE MUSICALS! Ok, Edelweiss was a beautiful song. But that’s mostly because Captain Von Trapp was a freaking fox.  
  9. Decide that you need something new to listen to at work. So you listen just once more. You catch so many more words. As you listen, you sink into thought, connecting their battles and drama to the present day. The founding fathers all agreed to fight, but they were not fighting for the same things. They disagreed vehemently about what America meant. They set the stage for warring ideologies that are still playing out today. You think about the casting choices. The founding fathers were white land owning men and they only freed themselves.  Yet LMM cast a troupe of actors of color to claim this story as their own.  LMM could have written a musical about an inspiring American of color.  But he chose to tell a story about the white founding fathers and had people of color lay claim to that story.  You can’t stop turning over the multiple layers of this. And it. Is. Catchy.                                                                                                                
  10. Fine, you listen again. You absorb even more nuance. You sink deeper into thought about the human condition. How does a human being live with taking soldiers into battle? Creativity, intelligence, kindness and anything else a soldier could offer America is snuffed out because the meat of his body is good for stopping bullets. What do you do with that guilt? And what about the omnipresent grief? How did parents go on when so many of their babies died in childbirth and childhood?  STAY ALIVE. And on top of the losses the world dealt them, the people they loved were often the cruelest, just like today. What were the virtues of making history at the cost of their families? Isn’t family sacred? God, none of us know what the fuck we are doing, do we? WE HUMANS ARE RIDICULOUS. We are so sure, we put everything on the line, only to be humbled and humiliated. Oh God, the orphanage. Not the orphanage. Eliza, you precious precious woman. You deserved so much better!                                                                                                      

You hear a splash and pause. You look down.  Those big drops of water on your desk came from your eyeballs. There is snot. Mascara streaks. Are you sniffling???!!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!??!  You silently curse Lin Manuel Miranda.  You look sheepishly at your coworkers and grab some tissues.  Ok, you like SOME musicals.

You could never be a twit, my queen.

Now to check out the fandom.

 

Making the Introductions

Today is a momentous day. It is not the day that I have realized my (most current) dream of chartering a bus, filling it with boy band enthusiasts, paying only boy band music down to Florida, where we all go to Joey Fatone’s restaurant ‘Fat Ones.’ Nor is today the day I meet Lance Bass. However it is a wonderful beautiful day because our friend Rebekah joins us on the blog.

Rebekah and I met after a mass exedous of a certain website. The commenters got fed up with the way they were being treated and formed a group of their own. I was one of the people to jump ship as was Rebekah. Though Kim had been singing the praises of Supernatural for YEARS, Rebekah and her sister brought it to the forefront of my mind again, causing me to watch all of the seasons. I am once again behind a season though.

I introduced Rebekah to Kim via Supernatural and they clicked as well. Fun Fact: Kim and I used to live in the same town and work together, so we have met. Rebekah is an online friend that I have not met. Kim has met Rebekah through Supernatural conventions. Kim is the link!

Rebekah follows a lot of fandoms. I know her most current one is Wynonna Earp. She recently won a contest and got to meet the fans. She went to SDCC and I hope we get to hear her thoughts and experiences on that. I just wanted to welcome her to the team and to let you guys know to look out for her writing soon!

Reading Hard in the Paint

When I last left you, I had made a resolution of sorts. I wanted this year to be better than last year as far as reading. Last year I barely read anything I havent read 10 times over. I barely picked up any books for fun. I just didn't have it in me. I feel as if part of that was from the job from Hell I escaped from last year. In my new job I have a lot more support and responsibilities, and I am loving it, and feel more at ease at home as well. This makes it easier to sit down and relax with a book rather than wallow in pity.

In the last post I gave a list of the books I have either checked out from the public library, have a request in for also at the libray, or was currently reading. Here is that list:

  • I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
  • Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (thanks Nerdette!)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey
  • Books 1 and 2 of the Archived Series by Victoria Schwab

The ones that are purple I have read. I am currently writing my thoughts on them, but those posts will take some time, as I have a lot of thoughts. I am trying to write them while I am on my lunch at work, but I go to lunch and want to just stare into space for an hour. Since the post I have also added some new books to my list. Shall we?

  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
  • Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (My local library did not have this in ebook form, so I actually had to jaunt to the library.)

I've also checked out two book on activities to do with toddlers. I am not going to list those here unless you absolutely want to know what they are. I find them funny however. When I was in high school, I was in vocational for one semester to get a certification to teach at a daycare center. I ended up dropping the class because the teacher was a horrible racist pig of a woman. The final straw in her class had to do with these notebooks. You had to find activities to do with different age groups of children. The notebook had to be formatted a certain way. I got a D on mine. When I compared it to a (white) friend, mine was superior and even the friend noticed. The friend encouraged me to ask the teacher why she had scored me so poorly compared to her. When I gave her the books, she gave me some weird reason, I forget at this point. I got angry. It was rare I got angry in school. I launched both of those books across the room and told her what she could do with herself. I ended up filing a complaint with the school. It didn't do a whole lot of good as I graduated from high school over 10 years ago and the woman retired just two years ago. Oh, memories.

Anyway, I am still reading, still chugging along, and I hope you are as well. Are you reading anything? Do you have any suggestions for my reading list?