Top Five Wednesday: Nostalgic Ships (#T5W)

This week, for Top Five Wednesday we’re talking about the first fictional couples we ever got butterflies over and the couples we used to be really into when we were younger.

“Younger” for me encompasses a pretty large swath of pop culture. So, for this post, I’m going to focus on the couples I swooned over at any point prior to graduating college.

I had a hard time coming up with examples from books. Almost all my nostalgic ships are from movies or TV shows. Maybe there weren’t many ship-able couples in the books I read.

  1. Meg and Calvin (A Wrinkle in Time) — As an inch-thick-glasses-wearing smart girl with not-quite-curly and definitely-not-straight hair, I identified with Meg so much. Calvin was the best pre-teen hero I’d ever seen in a book because he appreciated Meg for who she was and loved her without her having to have some stupid makeover that gave her contacts and made her hair magically straight (I’m looking at you, Princess Diaries). My favorite books in this series are the ones with Meg and Calvin, or the ones that feature their daughter, Polly. I loved that when the series continued with the next generation of Murry-O’Keefes we got little glimpses of Meg and Calvin’s grown-up happily-ever-after. They were #RelationshipGoals before hashtags were invented.
  2. Han and Leia (Star Wars) — “I love you.” “I know.” Why in the hell does that get me every time? I love their banter. I love their opposites attract relationship. They were probably the first on-screen couple that I was completely invested in seeing live happily ever after (only to fast forward forty years and have their stupid son Kylo go and ruin their HEA). Regardless, their relationship is probably what gave me my soft spot for “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder(s)” and rebellious princesses who get shit done.
  3. Sarah and Jareth (Labyrinth) — Honestly, what fantasy loving teen didn’t ship these two? I loved this movie so much that I can still recite her little speech about “dangers untold and hardships unnumbered” by heart. The masked ball scene alone is super swoon-worthy. So she doesn’t exactly end up with him at the end of the movie. You know she’s going back now that her baby brother is safe and all the goblins love her. “If you miss us…”
  4. Andie and Duckie (Pretty in Pink) — I know. He basically stalks her for the entire movie, and she turns him down repeatedly. It’s not exactly a good example for “no means no,” and I can see that now. But back when I, as an impressionable pre-teen, watched this movie at a friend’s sleepover party, Duckie was my instant fave. His whole lip sync was irresistible to pre-teen (and teen) me. Meanwhile, Blane always came off as a douchebag, even when I didn’t really know what that meant. I always thought he was a preppy jerkface who just didn’t get Andie the way that Duckie did.
  5. Rogue and Gambit (from the X-Men Comics) — I started reading the X-Men comics in college. I didn’t really know where to start, so I just picked the relationships I wanted to follow and then followed characters and pairs around through all the relevant comics where they appeared. Rogue and Gambit were a pair that I loved. I tried to read everything I could get my hands on that had them in it. I know they’re planning on making a Gambit movie at some point in the future (maybe), and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get some more Gambit and Rogue at that point (if they ever decide to make that movie).

I hope you have enjoyed this trip back in time to 80s and 90s nostalgic romantic pairings in pop culture. I’m sure there are some I’ve missed. So, I’m looking forward to checking out everyone else’s posts and BookTube videos. Let me know in the comments if you did a T5W post this week that you think I should check out.

What I want from #WonderWoman

Since I can’t go see Wonder Woman until tomorrow, and I’m trying to stay off Twitter to stay spoiler-free, I thought I’d do a post here to jot down some things I’m hoping to see in this movie.

First, let me mention, I don’t really know anything about Wonder Woman as a character, or her backstory, etc. I was too young to watch the Wonder Woman TV show, but old enough to know one existed. I never really got into any of the DC comics. I’ve skipped most of the Batman and Superman and Spiderman sequels, but I love the Avengers, and I was reading X-Men comics before they were making X-Men movies. 

That said, I’m REALLY excited for this movie.

Overall, I really like super hero movies and watch almost all of them, eventually. However, I will say I’ve been suffering a little from super hero overload ever since Marvel and DC started trying to one-up each other with their movie franchises.

Still, I’m REALLY excited to see this movie.

In general, I’ll also say that I tend to prefer my super heroes either relentlessly optimistic (ex: Super Girl, Captain America) or fairly angsty and not exactly thrilled to be doing the whole super hero thing (ex: Deadpool, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones). I have no idea what to expect with WW, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting chills every time I watch the trailer.

Did I mention that I’m REALLY excited to see this movie? 😜

In a perfect world, this movie would be perfect. I know it won’t be perfect, but here are a few things I’m really hoping for (in no particular order):

  • Chris Pine as “damsel in distress” — I’ll admit, Chris Pine is my favorite Hollywood Chris. But, I really hope that his role in this movie is basically like Natalie Portman’s in Thor. Or even Chris H. when he was in Ghostbusters. Eye candy. Love interest (maybe, though not required). Regular dude. No saving the world. (But it’s okay if he helps a little.)
  • Diverse casting — We already know that our hero and heroine are white. I’m really hoping that this film isn’t completely whitewashed. I’ll be especially salty if all the ladies where WW comes from (already forgot the name of that place) are white.
  • WW is unique but not special — Please don’t give us a female super hero that’s “not like all the other girls.” I’m so over that trope.
  • Passes the Bechdel Test — This should be an easy one, but you never know. Since it’s a low bar, I’m going to add to the “two women talking about something other than a dude” requirement and say “also something other than battle/fight tactics.” Female friends. It’s not a tough concept. Model it on screen in a healthy way, that’s all I’m saying.
  • Be something I can take my nieces and nephew to see — I know. It’s an adult movie and they’re still in elementary school or younger. But, I really want this to be something I can share with them. They need female super heroes. Preferably more than one at a time / one per movie. But, baby steps.
  • LGBTQ+ friendly — I mean, it is Pride month. Could this be the first blockbuster super hero movie with cannon queer characters (Bucky and Cap fanfic aside)? That would be nice.
  • That this is not the last female-led super hero film (or action film, for that matter).

    If you’re already seen the movie, I have two things to say to you. 1) Lucky! And 2) don’t spoil it for me (or anyone).

    If you haven’t seen the movie yet, comment and let me know what you’re hoping to see on the screen! 

    Wishing everyone a very excellent WW Day! 

    Pop update: culture consumed week of 6 February

    I had pretty much decided to stop doing these posts, but I consumed a lot of really good culture this week. So, I decided to make a summary post, if just for my own personal reference.

    I finished three excellent books: Homegoing, Writing the Other, and Home (Binti #2). I’ll write more about these when I do my February wrap-up post, but the links there will take you to my reviews on Goodreads if you don’t want to wait until then.

    I also listened to a bunch of podcasts. Two of my favorites had episodes talking about this year’s Oscar nominated documentaries: Code Switch and Pop Culture Happy Hour.

    Listening to those episodes made me want to watch I Am Not Your Negro, 13th, and (to a lesser extent because I didn’t even pay much attention to it at the time) the OJ documentary series. So far, I’ve only had a chance to watch 13th (because it’s on Netflix). Next up is probably at least a few episodes of OJ (because it’s also on Netflix).

    Everyone seems to be saying that I Am Not Your Negro is the favorite for this category, but I gotta say, 13th is SO GOOD. Seriously, you need to go watch this documentary. After I watched the film, I started watching a bunch of interviews with the director. She’s pretty great. Oh, and, she’s directing the film version of A Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite childhood novels). After seeing 13th, I’m even more excited to see what she does with A Wrinkle in Time

    I also should mention that the Code Switch episode got me listening to “Road to Zion” by Damien Marley, featuring Naz. It’s catchy. I usually don’t like reggae, but I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week. I’ve listened to it more times than I can count, and I’m still not sick of it yet. Make of that what you will.

    If that’s not out of character enough for me, I also read Libba Bray’s “Womanifesto” blog post this week that was making the rounds on “book Twitter.” My husband (who I passed this on to after reading it) pointed out that it’s basically a poem. I suppose he’s right. I hadn’t noticed. But, I don’t read a lot (almost any) of poetry. It’s not usually my jam, but this I enjoyed.

    If I keep this up, the next thing you know I’m going to become a fan of musicals and start listening to jazz… That reminds me of another big name movie that’s getting a lot of Oscar buzz… but, nah… there’s no way you’re getting me to watch La La Land. Not gonna happen.

    I should also mention, I’m caught up on season 4 of The 100 now. So far, it appears to be off to a slow start, but I’m going to stick with it for now. On the other hand, I am LOVING season 2 of The Magicians (even though a thing that I knew was going to have to happen finally happened this week and that makes me a little sad… I’d say more, but spoilers…).

    Oh! I also want to mention this one post on about political structures in fantasy novels vs. sci-fi novels that I found to be thought provoking. I hadn’t even really realized it, but the author makes a good point — most fantasy novels are about restoring monarchies, which is a little odd when you consider that sci-fi is almost never about restoring monarchies. Sci-fi is usually about toppling dictators or evil empires, and establishing republics. I mean, the author doesn’t have data to support this, but these are tropes of the respective genres, which means that these themes are prevalent enough to have become a trope.

    That article has me thinking about my own writing and considering if I’ve unconsciously fallen in line with the established tropes in my novels, or if I’ve done something a little different. In at least one of my fantasy novels, I think I’ve done something a little different. In that novel, there is no monarchy to re-establish in the first place. There is a family who holds power at the start of the story, but the power dynamic at the end is different than it is at the start (no spoilers…). My sci-fi novel, however, may fit the bill for what’s expected re: toppling dictators and establishing republics…

    See? I told you. Lots of really good culture consumed this week… and I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting. As always, if you have thoughts on any of this stuff, or recommendations for stuff I should check out, let me know in the comments.

    Pop update: what’s making me happy this week

    The news is dire and it just keeps coming. I am refusing the urge to ignore it. Instead, I’ve made a commitment to myself to stay engaged and take action where I can (like calling my representatives). But every once in a while I need a break from the madness (see also: “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind“).

    This week, those breaks have mostly been in the form of TV and movies.

    I watched Hell or High Water. Very entertaining, tense at times, but good cinematography and great acting. Plus, Chris Pine is damn fine.

    I adored the first episode of the second season of The Magicians, and I’m so excited for the next episode. I really like how they’ve adapted the source material. The changes they’ve made make the story SO MUCH BETTER.

    And I enjoyed this little Vlogbrothers video “On Motivation.” Sometimes you just need an inspirational quote.

    That’s what’s making me happy this week. I’m planning to do a January wrap-up post in a few days where I talk about the books I read this month and how I did on my goals for this month.

    Until then: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

    Pop Update: culture consumed week of 16 January 2017

    Here is my summary of this week’s culture consumed:

    • Books read:
      • I finished Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day… it wasn’t my favorite, but it was good. I’m just not a big fan of witches and ghosts. I knew that going in and tried it anyway. But I never really got into it and there were some world-building and plot things that I got hung up on. I still love her Wayward Children series and am looking forward to Down Among the Sticks and Bones scheduled to come out this summer. This one just wasn’t for me.
      • Other than that, my reading has been pretty scattered this week… I’ve been struggling to stay focused enough to read, which is very uncharacteristic for me, but understandable in the context of this past week.
    • Podcast episodes:
      • I really enjoyed the final two episodes of Code Switch‘s series on Obama’s legacy
      • I listened to Pop Culture Happy Hour‘s episode discussing Hidden Figures the day after I watched the movie, and I’m really glad I did. It was nearly like getting to gush about this movie with friends.
      • I also listened to episodes from Smart Podcast Trashy Books, Reading The End, and a few others I subscribe to, but Code Switch and PCHH are the episodes that really stuck with me this week.
    • Magazines and other news:
      • As planned, I sort of avoided the news this week…
    • Movies and TV:
      • We watched the Sherlock season finale on Monday. This was a REALLY tense and uncomfortable episode to watch for me… Not my favorite. I liked episode 2 WAY better. Plus, this really feels like a *series* finale instead of just a *season* finale, which makes me a little sad…
      • I devoured the remaining episodes of The Crown on Netflix. I really love this series, and I’m still thinking about it. Sounds like we might get season 2 in November? I can’t wait.
    • YouTube:
      • I watched Oprah’s full interview with Michelle Obama, but now I can’t find anything but little clips of it. It was inspiring, and I loved it.
      • I also caught up on some of the videos from channels I subscribe to and watched a few more fan theory videos about The Force Awakens.

    Queued up next…

    • From my TBR: I don’t really know… I may just have to drop everything that I’m currently reading and start The Star-Touched Queen
    • On my podcast app: Other than Writing Excuses, I may go light on the podcasts this week… Lately, podcast time has been during commute time, and I think this week I may want to focus more on using that time for reading rather than podcasts.
    • Streaming on video: I’m so excited that The Magicians returns next week for season 2 on the SyFy channel! (I’ll be watching online)

    If you have thoughts on any of the above, or recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

    Pop Update: culture consumed week of 9 January 2017

    Here is my summary of this week’s culture consumed:

    • Books read:
      • I haven’t finished any books this week because I’ve divided my attention between a few different ones and I spent more time than usual watching TV shows and movies…
      • I was reading Come As You Are, but put it aside mid-week to start Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day because I pre-ordered this novella and it came out on Tuesday. I’m hoping to finish one or both of these this weekend.
    • Podcast episodes:
      • I caught up on a LOT of podcasts this week… too many to name them all…
      • The one that stood out from the others was the first in a new series from Code Switch on the Obama legacy, “Obama’s Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?”
    • Magazines and other news:
      • How I Got My Attention Back by Craig Mod (via @RianVDM) — about how we’ve allowed technology to seize control of our attention and why that’s a problem for thinking critically and creative work
      • From back issues of The Economist:
        • Against Happiness” — about the ridiculousness of forcing people to put on a happy face at work
        • Proximate Goals” — about the Earth-like planet found orbiting Proxima Centauri
    • Movies and TV:
      • So, I finally watched The Graduate. It’s streaming on Netflix and, when I mentioned to my husband that I’d never seen it, he insisted that we watch it. Turns out he thinks he watched it on a double date in high school. He thinks much of it was lost on him at the time. I wasn’t that impressed. It was fine, but I couldn’t help thinking of it as a fancy, expanded version of a Simon and Garfunkel music video.
      • It only took us until mid-week to get around to watching episode 2 of Sherlock season 4. I really enjoyed this week’s episode. I have no idea what they’re doing with Mrs. Hudson’s character, but I like it.
      • I also watched the first four episodes of The Crown on Netflix because I figured out that I could download them onto my phone so I could watch them on my commute. This took away from my reading time, but I’m not at all sorry. The politics and tension and emotions in the plot, paired with the excellent acting, makes this a great series.
      • Last, but in absolutely no way least, hubby and I saw Hidden Figures on Sunday night. The last time I left a movie theater feeling that excited about a movie, it was probably Mad Max: Fury Road. This movie is SO GOOD, and it was exactly what I needed to see right now. I HIGHLY recommend going and seeing this movie. I don’t usually watch movies in the theater unless they’re the type of thing better seen on a big screen. I am so glad I made an exception for this one.
    • YouTube:
      • I’ve been leaning more into “actual” TV and movies this week, but I did enjoy at least one YouTube video this week…
      • Rey is a Kenobi popped up in my suggested videos, probably because I’ve watched other fan videos that support this reasoning. I’ve been convinced of this since I watched TFA, and this new video adds a bit more fuel to support this theory. If you don’t agree, or you do and want to see how this guy supports his case, check out this video.

    Queued up next…

    • From my TBR: I’m itching to get started on either The Star-Touched Queen or The Obelisk Gate, but I should probably finish my in-progress stuff first…
    • On my podcast app: The second episode in the Obama legacy series from Code Switch, “Obama’s Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts”
    • In the news: I haven’t been very good about keeping up with my newspaper subscriptions. Although, this week in particular, I think I kind of want to hide from the news…

    If you have thoughts on any of the above, or recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

    Pop Update: culture consumed week of 2 January 2017

    Last week I kicked off what I’m hoping will end up being a weekly blog post on what I’m reading, watching, and listening to — in other words, my “culture consumed” for the week. Here’s a link to last week’s post, if you missed it. And below is a (slightly more organized than last week) summary of this week’s culture consumed.

    • Books read:
      • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (Kindle) — My first book read in 2017! I’ve had this one for a while, but have been saving it because it’s about ballet, and I’m a sucker for a good dance book. If you are also a sucker for a good book set in that intense and somewhat insane world of professional dance, I highly recommend this book.
    • Podcast episodes:
      • I listened to a bunch of Code Switch episodes, starting with the first episode from 31 May, “Can We Talk About Whiteness?” I also listened to the post-election episode, the one about the crowd-sourced letter from the younger generation of Asian Americans to their parents about race and #BlackLivesMatter, and I listened to the “What’s So Funny About The Indian Accent?” episode. This is quickly becoming my new favorite non-writing podcast.
      • The first episode of the new season of Writing Excuses promised another excellent year of craft talk. I am very excited about their plans for this year.
      • I listened to the 2016 wrap-up and 2017 resolutions / predictions podcasts from Reading the End, Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Smart Bitches.
      • And, I listened to the second half of the Sub Pop podcast’s season 2 finale interview with Father John Misty.
    • Magazines and other news:
      • Teen Vogue article on the problematic treatment of consent at the core of the new sci-fi movie Passengers — sounds like I can skip that one… nice reporting, again, Teen Vogue!
      • The latest in the “Women of Harry Potter” series at Tor is on Minerva McGonagall
      • I started reading The Economist Holiday Double-Issue. There are SO MANY good articles in there, I think it’s going to take me a while to get through this one…
      • I saw this article on Book Riot’s blog, and it had a link to a template for tracking your books read. After going through the hassle of having to export my data from Goodreads in order to run stats on what I read last year, I thought I might adopt this tracker for my purposes and see how it goes. I’ll probably still log and review books on Goodreads, but this spreadsheet will make it so much easier to calculate all my various reading stats.
    • Movies and TV:
      • Miss Representation documentary about how women are portrayed in the media and how this effects them socially, economically, and politically. (available via Netflix streaming)
      • I didn’t get around to watching Sherlock season 4, episode 1 until yesterday. This is especially frustrating because we actually bought the season on Amazon streaming because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to stream for free (we don’t have a TV/Cable). But, now it looks like you can watch the full episodes on PBS online. So, I sort of feel like an idiot. Well… at least I didn’t have to watch any ads, and I can feel good about paying artists for their art. Right?
    • YouTube:
      • Thoughts on Tomes “gush” review of The Magician King and spoiler free review of The Magician’s Land — making me consider reading the third book after all…
      • Boho Berry’s bullet journal set-up video for Jan 2017 — I’m still not sure I’m doing this whole “BuJo” thing right, but I’ve been messing around with it for a couple months now and it seems to be something that’s working for me (sort of? I’m not entirely sure?). Every once in a while I watch one of these videos on YouTube to get some ideas or to try to figure out if I’m “doing it right.” Inevitably, I walk away shaking my head, half-convinced that people are taking a concept that seemed pretty straight forward and making it WAY more complicated than it needs to be… BUT… The “spreads” are just so pretty…. After watching videos like this, I end up with “BuJo envy” (is there a cute internet term for that yet?) and my creative brain wants to get crafty with my mostly utilitarian version of this trend. But, as it is, I struggle to find enough time to update the bare-bones version I’ve developed.

    Queued up next…

    • From my TBR: My library hold came up for Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. So, I think I’ll be reading that next. In case you are one of the few people who hasn’t yet heard of this book (it made the rounds as highly recommended on so many blogs I read and podcasts that I listen to, I can hardly believe anyone hasn’t heard of it yet), this is not a book about Nirvana. It’s a pop-science book about the science of female sexuality. So far, I’ve only read the introduction, and I’m fascinated. If you are curious about the content but not sure if you want to buy/borrow the book, I recommend listening to the “Smart Podcast, Trashy Books” episodes #186 and #201. The first features an interview with the author and the second is an encore, follow-up with listener questions. So. Good. These are what initially got me interested in reading the book.
    • On my podcast app: Monday is Writing Excuses day! Can’t wait to listen to the second episode of the season!
    • In the news: Got this week’s issue of The Economist yesterday (the first issue of 2017), and I’m looking forward to catching up on the news in long form.

    If you have thoughts on any of the above, or recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

    Pop Update: What I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week

    I’ve been keeping a list of what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week and making note, especially, of the stuff that makes me happy and feeds my creative soul. I’m going to try to post on this weekly. We’ll see how it goes.

    Here’s what pop culture I was consuming in the final week of 2016:

    • On the way home from Christmas in Portland, I listened to the final Writing Excuses episode of the year. I loved their Elemental Genre podcasts this year, and I have to say, this is possibly my favorite podcast.
    • I also been loving the second season of the Sub Pop Podcast. On that same trip, I listened to the first of the final two episodes, featuring the first half of a two-part interview with Sub Pop artist Father John Misty.
    • I tried a few episodes of a new-to-me swimming podcast, and it’s okay. Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but for a podcast called “Swimming Science,” I don’t feel like there’s enough science or data driven info in these episodes to make it worth it a listen.
    • I am, however, finding a ton of useful, educative content in the pages of SWIMMER Magazine (free with membership to USMS, but also available online if you can deal with the crummy website design…). While cleaning up, I found a stack of these laying around that I hadn’t read. So, I caught up on all my back issues this week.
    • I’ve also been catching up on my back issues of the RWR (Romance Writers Report) magazine (free with RWA membership). If you write romance, you should really join the Romance Writers of America. The community is fantastic, and this magazine is chock full of useful and encouraging content.
    • As for other news, Alyssa Rosenberg’s article about all the celebrity deaths this year really resonated with me. It put into words a lot of the feelings I’d been having about all the great entertainers we lost this year.
    • I caught up on TOR’s “Women of Harry Potter” series and was reminded of Luna Lovegood’s relentless optimism and awesomeness. She really is possibly the best underrated character in the series… I highly recommend this post and all the other posts in Sarah Gailey’s series: the evil Dolores Umbridge, the fierce Molly Weasley, my hero Hermione Granger, and my favorite Ginny Weasley. They posts make me want to re-read the entire series with fresh (older) eyes.
    • After that, I finally got around to reading an article by Anil Dash that I’d had open in my browser for a couple weeks. The title pretty much sums up what it’s about: “It’s time for Asian American men to stop being the “Model Minority” in tech.” He makes some very interesting points that I hadn’t previously considered, or even realized, but that make a lot of sense to me based on some things I’ve experienced working in the tech community. If you’re at all interested in diversity in the technology industry, I highly recommend this read.
    • Because I had some extra time on my hands this week, I caught up on some of the YouTube channels I subscribe to… my two favorite videos this week were 1) this Vlogbrothers guest post from Tessa Violet on fear in art, and 2) Jenna Moreci’s “10 Worst Female Character Pet Peeves.” Note: I also liked Jenna Moreci’s “holiday writing tag” video, but I’ll save that one because I might respond to her question prompts as a separate post.
    • I finished two books and two comics trades this week. Here’s what I read (links take you to my Goodreads reviews):
      • Alterations by Stephanie Scott (Kindle, pre-order) — This book was so fun! I really enjoyed seeing how the author adapted the original (and re-make) movie, Sabrina, into this modern-day romance. Definitely recommend.
      • The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Kindle, library) — This book was a slog. I really enjoy the world building in this series, which is why I keep trying to enjoy these books. But, I hate the characters and the plot is way too predictable. There’s just too much snark and not enough sincerity for me in this series.
      • Saga, volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (trade paper) — I am so late to the party on this one, but I LOVED this so much. If this has been on your list for a while and you haven’t read it yet, go check it out immediately. It hits the trifecta of excellent world-building, characters you care about, and compelling story/plot. Highly recommend.
      • Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda (trade paper) — The art in this is stunning. The story was a little hard to follow at times. However, you definitely get the sense that there is depth to the plot and complexity to the characters, and that pulls you through the narrative until you start getting more of the backstory. I’m still unclear on a few points, but otherwise very much enjoyed this. Definitely recommend.
    • My first issue of my new Teen Vogue subscription arrived while I was in Portland. No, I am not regressing to my teenage years. I have a lot of respect for teenage girls (having been one myself and knowing how tough it can be), and I think Teen Vogue and Rookie Magazine are providing the quality journalism that their audience (and really everyone) deserves. I love the December issue just as much as I thought I would. An annual subscription is only $5 and well worth the money.
    • And, finally, I watched two documentaries. The first was a graphic, disturbing, but ultimately important documentary about the US policy on torture called Taxi to the Dark Side. The other, called Grizzly Man, was about a guy who spent 13 summers living out in the Alaskan wilderness with grizzly bears, before finally being eaten by one at the end of his final summer. Both were fascinating, thought provoking, and probably not films I would have selected if left to my own devices, but I’m glad I watched them.

    This list is a little longer than usual because I had more time on my hands this week than I usually do… I definitely don’t expect every week to have this much content.

    As for what I’m looking forward to diving into… Queued up next:

    Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things I Love about The 100 (tv show)


    Trying something new this week… I thought I’d give the Top Ten Tuesday writing prompts a go. This week’s topic is: “Ten Reasons I Love X.” Since I just finished watching the season finale of The 100, that was immediately what came to mind when I saw this prompt. So, I give you…

    Ten Reasons I Love CW’s The 100 (tv show):

    1. The writers are consistently and equally cruel to all the characters. — No one likes to see bad things happen to their favorite characters, but good writers know you have to make your characters suffer in order for the really good moments to be emotionally satisfying. What’s great about The 100 is that no character is exempt from this rule. I can’t name one that hasn’t lost someone that they deeply cared about (usually in some horrific way, and sometimes at their own hand due to some awful choice they had to make that had no good solution).
    2. No character is 100% “good” (or 100% “bad”). — Similar to reason #1, I love it when books, movies, and tv shows can pull off sympathetic characters that are morally all shades of grey. This is one of the reasons why I love Game of Thrones, and I think The 100 does this equally well.
    3. The languages are fantastic. — I love that the same guy (David Peterson) who did all the languages for Game of Thrones also did all the languages for this show. Every once in a while you catch an almost-English word in the Grounder language and it sounds like something that really could have developed over generations in a post-apocalyptic future which makes it feel really authentic. I heard this guy speak about how he comes up with these languages and he is amazing. Seriously. Check out this video if this is at all interesting to you.
    4. It’s hard to predict what will happen next. — I love trying to guess plot twists. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But the writers of The 100 do such a great job keeping me guessing, or doing the complete opposite of what I expect will happen, that I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out where they’re going and I’m just enjoying the ride.
    5. I wasn’t expecting (and really enjoy) the AI backstory / plot development. — This is a good example of reason #4, above, and it’s probably a spoiler if you haven’t watched past the first two seasons. I had no idea this would be a thing, but it makes so much sense. When they finally did the flashback shows this season and it all came together, I just loved it.
    6. The adults have a lot to learn from the “kids.” — At nearly every turn the adults seem to find a way to mess things up. The original 100, or at least what’s left of them, worked so hard to put a life together on the ground. Then the adults came down and screwed everything up because they thought they knew better. It’s infuriating, and perfect.
    7. The Grounders are badass. — Sure, they’re brutal, but that’s how they survived. And did you see Lexa fighting in the season finale? I mean… badass.
    8. Lexa. — Speaking of my favorite Commander… Lexa is awesome. RIP.
    9. Clarke. — While part of me wishes I could be as badass and coldhearted as Lexa, deep in my heart I know, in terms of leadership, I’m basically Clarke. I know this just like I know that, because of my tendency to put a premium on loyalty, integrity, and “doing what’s right,” I’d definitely be “House Stark” (and probably ended up like Ned and/or Robb). I can totally relate to Clarke and 9/10 times I’d probably make the same (flawed) decisions that she’s made.
    10. The diversity! — I know it’s not perfect, but have you seen the diversity on this show? And it’s not a “thing,” it just exists, just like humans exist, in all their colorful and varied forms, abilities, and sexual orientations. Characters aren’t stereotypes. They’re human and multi-dimensional. I don’t really know of another show, or movie for that matter, that’s doing this as well as The 100 does. If you do, let me know. And again I’ll state, they aren’t perfect, but they’re doing a lot of things right and I appreciate that.

    I will freely admit that the first season was a little hit or miss, and I don’t really know what exactly kept me watching. I know plenty of people who’ve bailed out and stopped watching it. Probably nothing I say will change their minds. But I’m so glad I stuck with it. This is definitely one of my favorite of all the currently airing tv shows.

    March in Review

    March was mostly a writing month. I didn’t get much reading done. In fact, I didn’t touch my Kindle for the entire month. Instead, I read one comic and one audio book.



    I never got to read the one book I wanted to read in March (The Story of a New Name), and I had to return it to the library. 😦 I’m now going to have to go back to the bottom of the hold list at the library. But it’s okay. I don’t have time to read it now anyway.

    My TBR for April is basically the same as my TBR for March. I’ve filled it with a bunch of short books that I think will be fast reads. I’m hoping I can use them as distractions from my writing projects when I need a break.


    TV and movies:

    I haven’t had a ton of time to watch TV and movies this month. But I did manage to get caught up on The 100 and Super Girl. I’m not as worked up about The 100 and I LOVED the Super Girl / Flash cross-over episode. I don’t watch The Flash, but those two were so cute together I feel like this should be a regular thing. I’m still watching The Magicians, and I still think it’s better than the book (at least the first book in the series, which is all I’ve read so far). I need to get caught up on the rest of the season, and I need to catch up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., if for no other reason then to finally decide that I no longer need to watch that show.


    Something had to give this month. For the first time since I started swimming competitively again, it ended up being swimming. I’ve bailed on all the in-season swim meets this year (except for two ill-advised races at Rinconada). I’m still training hard, but I’ve cut it back to about 4x per week, and I decided that giving up my weekends for all-weekend swim meets is not the best use of my time right now. This means no more races for me until July or August. It’s not a huge sacrifice, considering that I plan to keep racing for as long as I’m alive. I’m planning on being one fast 90+ age-group breaststroker. But right now, I need that time for writing.


    Something unexpected (and really good) happened that has kept me VERY busy with writing this month. I entered The Lost Empire (my YA epic fantasy novel) into a contest, and I was selected to work with an editor (we’re name twins) in preparation for an “agent round” in April! I still can’t believe it.

    I also started using a new way of tracking (and rewarding) my writing. I’m dabbling with the “calendar method” (borrowed from V. E. Schwab) where you give yourself a sticker on the calendar to represent writing days. Each sticker is supposed to stand for a certain number of words written. This is what March looked like:


    I decided to give myself a foil star for any days with over 500 words written. I gave myself a foil circle for days I edited at least one chapter. I may be more generous next month and make each star worth 500 words and each circle worth one chapter of edits. Then I’d give myself more than two stars if I wrote 1000 words, or two circles if I edited two chapters, etc. But that just seems like overkill at this point.

    As you can see from the calendar, I got some writing done in the first half of the month, and I spent the second half working on edits for TLE. I like the changes I’m making and I think the novel is getting better. But I probably won’t be done with edits until mid-April.

    If I have time for writing in April, I’ll probably be working on a short story for Camp NaNoWriMo. But I also plan on trying to post more short blog posts in April. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying your spring!