polychrome_pen: (Brandon and Sky Phantoblades)
Almost by accident (fate?) I happened to walk into Target on Force Friday. And was forcibly reminded by a million displays that (if I wasn’t already aware from the news articles that seem to come out minute-by-minute) there is a new Star Wars movie coming out this December.

So I think I’m gonna party like it’s 1999. Because that was definitely the last time Star Wars was given such a huge push in our collective cultural consciousness. I remember seeing products for The Phantom Menace everywhere from Taco Bell to Pepsi cans (only a few years ago we unearthed the character-specific cans from Episode I at my parents’ house and finally got rid of them. Heh.)

I feel lucky to have come to the Star Wars franchise at a point in time where it had ebbed in popularity. I first saw Episode IV in the early 90s when my Mom bought it on VHS as a gag gift for my Dad. Well, suffice to say my brother and I were hooked from the moment the Star Destroyer came onscreen. This gag gift led to many years of renting (over and over again, as Mom is quick to remind us) The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from our local Star Video.

The only thing at that time for Star Wars fans outside of dusty VHS copies was the excellent Timothy Zahn trilogy: Heir of the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. (I actually only read those books all the way through a few years ago.)

Then came the now-reviled Special Editions, which really kicked off the modern era of Star Wars as a franchise, eventually birthing the Prequels, comic books from Dark Horse, tons of novels, and action figures galore.

Star Wars is pretty much knitted into the fabric of who I am as a person. I think it was really the first story that I fell in love with, and certainly the first story where I absolutely wanted to know what happened next.

Yet somehow, I never got deeply into the Star Wars EU, and truthfully, by the time Disney bought the franchise and decided to nuke the EU to make continuity less of a pain, I could totally understand their reasoning. Truthfully, I was actually kind of excited. Much like DC Comics and their New 52 reset, rebooting the Star Wars EU meant that I would finally have a good jump-in point to start enjoying Star Wars expanded universe material again.

And of course, I was tickled by the idea that the new material is now considered “canon.” Yes, there are things I wish they had kept like Shadows of the Empire and several of the Prequel-era stuff like the Jedi Apprentice children’s book series, but reading through the five books pictured above made me realize how great it was to read material that was informed by the Prequels, The Clone Wars series, Rebels, and even hints at the new trilogy. Little throwaway comments like the age of a beat-up old ship being “Clone Wars era” instantly helps you date things now. It adds a beautiful cohesiveness to the universe that simply wasn’t there before.



I’m trying to not let myself get completely swept away with Star Wars mania again this time around (unlike 1999, haha). But boy, is my inner kid practically quivering with excitement to find out what Luke, Leia, Han and all their friends have been up to for the last 30 years in a galaxy far, far away.

And after reading those books, I think it’s going to be a fun ride.
polychrome_pen: (Brandon of Winx Club)
Only one more year now until the big three zero next October. I will be expecting my fandom grandpa card to come in the mail about that point.

I spent my birthday at work this year, unfortunately (Plus overtime, argh!) Which is pretty much as lame as it sounds. My coworkers were nice and brought in some pies for my birthday though, which was really nice. Still, it's the first time in a few years that I didn't take my birthday off and go visit my brother or parents. While nothing could compare to seeing Sarah Brightman in concert like last year, it would have been nice to at least get out of town for a few days. As it was my parents and I kind of celebrated a few weeks ago when I was visiting them.

And they got me a Kindle Paperwhite! I definitely need to start utilizing it, because damn if I am not drowning in a sea of paperbacks. Every time I visit a Friends of the Library store, it is pretty much guaranteed I was walk about with $5-10 worth of books, which at the crazy-low prices stores like that sell for, is like five to eight books. So hopefully going forward, new stuff will be on the Paperwhite, while select series will get the hardcover treatment. I feel like I'm kind of over the mass market paperback. The type is too small (fandom grandpa card!), and they just don't hold up that well. It's actually kind of sad, because they used to be my preferred format due to the price, but Ebooks are generally cheaper anyway. My brother also sent along the third Ranma 1/2 Blu-Ray set! Those are really, really gorgeous sets. Viz did a fantastic job on the packaging for them.

Another November of NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! I'm hoping to attend the kick-off party this year as well, because I totally enjoyed the write-ins last year. They were a great motivator to keep me on track. This year, I'm planning on taking my Genderbent Oz idea through the hellish November ritual. We'll see if I can win again this year!

I've been on a huge Transformers kick lately. It all started with finally finishing Transformers: Prime, the CG show that came out a few years ago now. The best way I can describe it is: this is what you thought you were watching as a kid when the 80s show came on. Great plotting, great characters (and a thankfully smaller and more varied cast that is differentiated enough to keep easy track of!), great production values! Afterward, I watched Season One of the 80s show on Netflix...and kind of had to stop there. It's like, all the cool ingredients are there, but they never really come together well. Without good character writing to drive the story...it's actually a little bit boring? All these transforming robots have made me want to go back and check out the mid-2000s "Unicron Trilogy" of shows, though, which were adapted anime series. And of course my beloved Beast Wars. :D

I've also been checking out some great anime lately through Crunchyroll.
--Chihayafuru was definitely a best-of-decade level title. I haven't enjoyed a series so much in a long, long time. Yes, it's ostensibly about an obscure Japanese poetry card game, but actually it's about the characters and their wonderful interactions. This series made me feel bubbly and effervescent every time I tuned in.
--Love Live! School Idol Project was a great deal of fun too, witch catchy choreographed musical numbers and fun characters that really wormed their way into your heart. The first season concerns a group of girls who become 'school idols' (singers) in order to bring prestige to their school and save it from closure. The second season follows them as they attempt to win an idol contest called (what else) "Love Live."
--Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is a hilarious high school comedy (no really, it actually is funny unlike so many other 'comedy' anime) about a girl who discovers the boy she's crushing on is actually the author of a well-regarded shoujo manga. When she tries to confess, it comes out like she's asking for an autograph, and then she somehow ends up as his assistant. This show lives and dies by its comedy, and let me tell you it is gold. The facial expressions and general wackiness remind me of Ranma 1/2 or Ouran High School Host Club, two of my favorite anime comedies.
--Then there's Glasslip. Oh my goodness was this boring and obtuse. The only good this was the background art. This series was my biggest disappointment in aaages. Being from the people behind Tari Tari, I thought I would enjoy it...but ugggh. All I could think of during this series was Scuttle (from the Little Mermaid) saying "Nothing is HAAAAAAAAPENING." Stay away, friends.

Anyway, that's all for now. Better go to bed and get some sleep before blasting off with NaNo tomorrow!
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
I think I'm a weird Oz fan.  Just throwing that out there to start with.  For most people who like Oz, the love starts (and often ends) with the 1939 "Wizard of Oz" MGM musical.  And while I certainly enjoy that film, it's not what caught me and made me fall in love with the original American Fairy Tale.

It all started innocently enough.  After seeing "Wicked" a few months ago (such an awesome, awesome musical!), I picked up the book "Dorothy Must Die" from the library, interested in how the current trend of going back to classic stories and making everything gritty/grimdark would work on "the merry old land of Oz."  Arguably the poster child for Technicolor. And it really was a fun read - it re-imagines an Oz where Dorothy went back after her original visit and seized control of the Emerald City.  Another Kansas girl is brought to Oz by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to try and take Dorothy and her cronies (Glinda, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion) down.  The book is the first of a trilogy, and it definitely had me interested in reading more!

But it was the little snippets of things in the book that AREN'T related to the movie that had me really interested.  The Good Witch of the North, Jellia Jamb, Mombi, Ozma.  It made me interested in going back to the original stories.  Especially stuff dealing with Ozma, a character that I discovered is central to Oz mythology, but hardly known in the wider sphere.

So I checked out The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz from the library.

Let's start with Marvelous Land.  Dorothy is noticeably absent from this sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was originally written as a follow-up due to the success of the 1902 Broadway musical.  The book follows the story of Tip, a young boy in servitude to the witch Mombi, who escapes with his pal Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse.  They hook up with the Scarecrow and Tin Man, go on lots of adventures...and in the end discover that Tip was actually Ozma, transformed into a boy by Mombi after the Wizard took over the Emerald City.  WUT.  Glinda transforms Tip back into Ozma, and she resumes her rule over Oz.

This might be the single thing I find most fascinating about Oz - the Tip/Ozma character.  There is so much possibility for interesting story there, but I don't think it's well-tapped even in the later Baum works.  Perhaps it's really only something a modern audience can look at with a more critical eye?

Ozma of Oz, despite being titled after the princess, is actually the story of Dorothy's return to the land of Oz (well, really, the land of Ev - one of Oz's neighbors).  It introduces some really neat characters into the mix: the head-switching Princess Langwidere, Tik-Tok (literature's first robot?), the Hungry Tiger, Billina the Chicken, the Nome King.  The group has to rescue the royal family of Ev from the Nome King, who has transformed them into adornments in his underground palace.  The book also introduces an interesting concept in the Magic Belt, a magical tool at least as powerful as the Silver Shoes.

Marvelous Land and Ozma were jointly adapted into the 1985 "sequel" to the Wizard of Oz called "Return to Oz."  It featured a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, and even has Ozma appear in the end!  I remember watching this movie many years ago and thinking it was really bizarre, but upon revisiting it after reading the books it's based on, I can say it's a delight to see Baum's world brought to life the way it's supposed to look.  It has really great 80s special effects.  The puppetry and animatronic characters are absolutely fantastic.

The last Oz thing I've been checking out lately are the new(ish) Marvel Comics adaptations.  Featuring adorable artwork by Skottie Young and featuring scripts that hew closer to the original source material, these have been delightful reading.  I just finished Wonderful Wizard and am getting ready to start Marvelous Land.  Definitely check your library for these!

Finally, what really gets me with Oz is the deep richness of the world.  There are tons of "official" Oz books by various sanctioned authors, and so many fan-created works one doesn't even know where to begin!  The Baum books are in the public domain at this point, which makes it nice for adaptations if one wants to do something with all the iconic characters.  I really want to write some Oz stuff now...I'm debating trying a genderbent version that blends the first three books (at least?) together.  It's really been rattling around in my head, and even if I don't write the full novel-length version I'd at least like to try a few short pieces.

So my next question...does anyone have any good Oz recommendations?
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
Greetings all!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and accomplished everything they hoped to this year!  The tail-end of 2013 has felt ridiculous fast to me.  Perhaps because I spent November in a NaNo-induced haze and a late Thanksgiving shortened the Christmas season?  IDK, but I somehow feel flabbergasted that New Year's Eve is already here.

I guess the only place to start with a true review of 2013 would be to go back and review the goals and plans I made for the year at the end of 2012:

Cut for long ramblings! )

Whew!  That was super long!  Anyway, onto goals and generic year-long plans.

January: Finish posting Heart Stone, finish and post Queen Kale.  Start Paleo eating.
February-August:  Work through How to Think Sideways.  Self-publish a flash fiction collection.  Take a bloody vacation somewhere (Anime Expo?)
September-December: NaNoWriMo prep for original story.  Start revisions from first novel.  Self-publish second flash fiction collection or short story collection.

Big goals: Follow paleo eating plan for three months, then evaluate.  Shift original fiction writing into gear.  Spend way, way less money on toys.
polychrome_pen: (Brandon of Winx Club)
Eheheh....so it's been since something like March since I made a personal update here?  I intended to do a little update after Fanime back in May, and then again after my trip in July, but it just never happened.  So now I find myself here on the cusp of September, ready to look back on this summer.
Cut for super long rambling! )
That pretty much brings everything up to speed.

In writing, I've started working through Holly Lisle's "How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn't Suck" workshop, and it's really fun so far!  I've got my first five story beginnings down, and it feels so good to write my own fiction for literally the first time in years.  I'll post beta versions here when I'm done with those.

In reading, I just finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire reread - I've been meaning to reread the last four HP books since I reread the first three last year.  I forget just how good those books are sometimes.  I also picked up City of Bones on my Nook, but I don't have great hopes for it.  Oh, and Crown of Midnight just released!  Super excited to read that.  I picked up two new manga series at Japan Expo - Dawn of  the Arcana, and Bride of the Water God.  Dawn of the Arcana is good so far (if not totally engrossing, it's at least hooked me to get a second volume).

In watching, I've been on a super Star Trek DS9 binge.  Like, the final three seasons in a row.  Guh, I'm actually a little tired of Star Trek at the moment, but I'm veyr much looking forward to the last few episodes.  I also started watching "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" at Japan Expo, and look forward to finishing the rest on Crunchyroll.

Anyway, I ought to update here more frequently!  Cheers all.
polychrome_pen: (Default)
So I've made it halfway through my first Rotation, and have come to some conclusions.

1. Nuclear Pharmacy is not for me.
2. I actually miss seeing patients.
3. Though I don't miss dealing with their crappy insurance.

Seriously, I'm bored at this place. My preceptor is on vacation, so I find myself struggling to find things to do. You can only fill up syringe boxes so many times a day, after all.
I like the kickback attitude in some ways, though. I'm still very exhausted from the end of last semester and being on my feet all day at this place, so not having oodles of reports and projects to do when I get home at night is nice. I've been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and reading the Ranger's Apprentice series.

Though not all is fun and games. We have quizzes and a professional poster to work on for our bi-weekly regional conferences, so I still have to study somewhat. Definitely not what I feel like doing after being on my feet all day. I got some insoles to help with the feet/leg/back pain, so we'll see how those go during the week.

I still miss home, though it's not quite so bad anymore. My Sac Home is starting to feel more homey (getting that bookcase and filling it up definitely helped me feel better!), so I suppose I'm adjusting. Still, when Sunday night rolls around, it's hard for me to get in the car and return to Sac Home. I cherish my weekends back Home with the family. :)
polychrome_pen: (Default)
Well, that's a big relief - I passed all of my classes this last semester, and will be moving on to Semester Five of Pharmacy School come January. :D

Somehow every semester by the time I get to finals, this complete terror at failing out comes over me. I think it's because for some classes, the amount of time I spent studying seems to have no effect on the end grade. And of course, it never helps that the information we're learning is unlike anything I've ever studies before. Seriously, Fourth Semester was pretty brutal, if only because we finally moved into the therapeutics side of pharmacy as opposed to the basic science. But at least it finally feels like I'm learning things that will allow me to actually give good care to the patients at my pharmacy.

But at any rate, I am thoroughly enjoying my break so far. I don't go back until January 5th, which is amazing. It's definitely nice to get out earlier and actually be able to enjoy the Christmas season instead of taking a final three days before Christmas. XD

As usual, I have made a giant list of things I want to accomplish over this break. Here are a few samples:

1. Rewatch Winx Season 2 (already through half of it!)
2. Various writing projects (two Winx fics and continuing the work on my Jewel Riders fic)
3. Reading all my Peter Pan books (the original, Peter Pan in Scarlet, and the two Dave Barry Peter Pan books I have)
4. Sit down and edit some of my old home movies (ready to start this last Saturday, but then I found out the connection on my laptop are not quite right; I need to go hunting for an Firewire adapter)

There are of course, about triple that amount of things on the actual list. We'll see what I can actually get accomplished in four weeks (aside from trying to make up for months of lost sleep and ridding myself of caffeine dependence and dark circles under my eyes lol).

I'm also super excited about the upcoming Sarah Brightman concert that I have tickets for. She's performing on the 16th, and I can't wait! Also, there is a local production of "The Princess and the Pea" that I'm thinking of going to if I can pull someone along with me. :D
polychrome_pen: (Aladdin and Jasmine - my OTP!)
So, I have spent last night and most of this afternoon doing something kind of shameful...
...

...

...

Watching home movies. (You though it might be something else, didn't you! :D)

My parents were away for the weekend, and when I'm alone sometimes I become rather nostalgic and contemplative. And I'll admit, nothing assuages my feelings of nostalgia quite the same way that lugging out the old camcorder and tapes does.

It also makes me miss Lodian Singers, y'know? There were lots of things I didn't like about that school, but I think I'll always have a soft spot for Singers and my time spent in it.

I am done being nostalgic for at least another 6 months now. But of course, whenever I have to lug out the camcorder to wallow in my old movies, I am reminded that said wallowing would be 10x easier if I transferred all the stuff to DVD. In all my glorious spare time, of course. ^_~

I have also ordered Twilight and The Host by Stephanie Meyer. This is mostly due to [livejournal.com profile] tanz_fanatika's chapter summaries, and a general curiosity about something that has become the latest YA phenomenon. These will also be read in all my glorious spare time, in addition to the 75+ books I own and have not read.

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