Category: Media

What I’m watching: June 2019

Hooray, a What I’m Watching post that isn’t at the very end of the month! I’ve only watched a few TV shows so far this month – one’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and another is a suggestion of Ross’s that I really liked. Curious about what I’m watching in June 2019? Read on!

Riverdale season 3

What I'm watching in June: Riverdale. Photo features the main cast of the show.
Oh, you silly teenagers, getting into so much ridiculous trouble.

I’ll admit, Riverdale is a guilty pleasure of mine. My mom-in-law first introduced me to the series, and while it’s a little cheesy and over-the-top at times, I love it. For those who haven’t heard of Riverdale: it’s a slightly darker take on the usually cheery Archie Comics. There’s definitely a lot of teen drama in this show, and I often find myself shaking my head and saying “come on, kids, what the heck are you doing?”

The third season of Riverdale, recently released on Netflix, is no different. The gang ends up getting really interested in a roleplaying game, Gryphons and Gargoyles. Sounds an awful lot like Dungeons and Dragons, doesn’t it? However, the plotline takes a sinister turn when what I originally thought was a throwback to the D&D Satanic Panic of the 80s actually ends up involving some seriously evil entities. Season 3 of Riverdale honestly feels like Riverdale meets Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. (Then again, the towns of Riverdale and Greendale are close to each other, so who’s to say Sabrina won’t show up in Riverdale someday?)

While the show took a weird turn this season, I’m still enjoying it, and I’m really curious to see where things go. I’m only about halfway through season 3 at this point, so stay tuned to next month’s What I’m Watching to find out what I think of the second half!

Riverdale on Netflix

Chernobyl

What I'm watching in June: Chernobyl. Image is from the beginning of the first episode, featuring two of the power plant workers.
I kept yelling at the guy in the foreground, Anatoly Dyatlov, while watching Chernobyl.

Ross suggested we watch this one, and said it had good reviews, so I figured I’d give it a try. (Apparently fans of Game of Thrones feel that Chernobyl makes up for the last few episodes of season 8, haha.) And oh, it is good.

When the Chernobyl disaster happened, I was almost four years old, so I don’t remember hearing about it on the news. I’ve always been curious about it, though, and the Chernobyl mini-series does a very good job of putting a human face on the horrific accident. It’s one thing to read about it in history books, but to see it play out visually gives it far more impact. From the people working at the reactor the night Chernobyl exploded to the ordinary people whose lives it impacted, we get to see a glimpse of many different sides of the story.

I found myself on the edge of my seat a number of times while watching Chernobyl, and occasionally yelling at the characters to get out the reactor building or get away from their irradiated friends, because they’d die otherwise. Or yelling at Anatoly Dyatlov, the person in charge of the test that ultimately caused the explosion, because of his very bad decisions. There was lots of TV yelling with this show, heh.

If you’re in the mood for some more somber TV watching, or are interested in the Chernobyl disaster, this show is a great one to watch.

Chernobyl on HBO

Good Omens

What I'm watching in June: Good Omens. Image features Aziraphale and Crowley from the show.
I am so in love with this show, and I’ve only seen one episode so far!

I’ve been looking forward to this one, for a number of reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, for one, and I was also excited to see David Tennant on screen again. It turns out that besides David Tennant, a number of other favorite actors of mine are in the show, including Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman! Good Omens did not disappoint (although at the time of this writing, I’ve only seen one episode so far). It’s very well done, and is one of the best book-to-TV adaptations I’ve seen. Then again, with one of the authors, Neil Gaiman, directing the show, how could it be bad?

Good Omens on Amazon Prime

And that’s the majority of what I’m watching this month! (Aside from Dark Matter, of course. I’ve only managed to watch one episode since the last What I’m Watching post, though. Which is a bummer.)

What to read after finishing Patrick Rothfuss’s books

A photo of myself with Patrick Rothfuss from Gen Con 2017.
I love this guy’s writing so much.

You’ve heard me say it before: Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing author. His writing pulled me into a story told in two parts: the story of Kote, a humble innkeeper, and Kvothe, a swordfighter/singer/magician who has been through a heck of a lot in his life so far. When I first read Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear, I tore through both books over the course of two weeks, eagerly reading whenever I had the time. When I finished Wise Man’s Fear, though, I had no idea what to read next. You might have asked yourself the same question: what to read after Patrick Rothfuss?

Fear not, fellow Patrick Rothfuss fans: you won’t have to go through the reading crisis I went through back in 2013, as I’ve got some good suggestions to keep you occupied until Doors of Stone comes out. (Or at least distract you for a little while.)

Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and Stormlight Archives series

Cover of Mistborn.Brandon Sanderson is a prolific writer.  I swear, this guy is a writing machine.  He manages to get a book out nearly every year, without fail. I am in absolute awe of his writing skills. You might think “okay, he’s cranking out so many books so quickly, but how’s the quality of his writing?” Well, folks, it’s amazing.Cover of Way of Kings.

At a friend’s suggestion, I read the first book in the Mistborn series back in 2017, and I felt the same way I felt when I first read Name of the Wind.  I was so embedded in the story of Vin and Kaladin that I ended up tearing through all the books in no time. The same thing happened with the Stormlight Archives series, which starts off with The Way of Kings. I picked it up as a free giveaway from DAW a while back – while The Way of Kings starts off a little slowly, it picks up after the first few chapters. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different main character, similar to how Game of Thrones was written. Just like with Mistborn, I found myself pulled into the story and didn’t want to leave when I finished each book.

Since I am notoriously horrible at describing book plots, I’m just going to link directly to the series on Amazon, instead of trying to cobble together a plot summary.

The Mistborn series on Amazon

The Stormlight Archive series on Amazon

Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series

Cover of Mistborn.Oh, the Codex Alera series. I’ve talked about this series before on the blog, and it still remains one of my favorites. The series starts as a coming-of-age story similar to Kvothe’s, and evolves into an epic battle to save the people of Alera – and the entire world. Codex Alera shows just how versatile Jim Butcher’s writing style is, too – it’s different from the first-person storytelling of The Dresden Files, but is just as engaging.

The Codex Alera on Amazon

David Eddings’ The Belgariad

Cover of Mistborn.The Belgariad was actually my first foray into the world of fantasy novels, back in high school. All these years later, the series still stands strong and is still an engaging read. It’s another coming of age story that focuses on Garion, a farm boy who lives a quiet life with his Aunt Pol. The Belgariad is an introduction to a much larger story, so if you find yourself enjoying this series, there’s definitely more where that came from.

The Belgariad, Vol. 1 on Amazon

The Belgariad, Vol. 2 on Amazon

Do you have suggestions for books that Patrick Rothfuss fans might like? Share them in the comments!

What I’m watching: May 2019

Welcome to another edition of What I’m Watching! This month I had to try to fill the void left behind by finishing Battlestar Galactica (just in time, too – Ross and I finished it just before it expired on Hulu!), so I ended up watching a little bit of a couple of shows as a result.

Dark Matter

Image of the cast of the TV show Dark Matter.

I’m still watching Dark Matter – I started Season 3 recently, and I love where the show is going. There have been all sorts of plot twists popping up recently that make me curious to see where the show will go. I don’t want to share too much about where things are at in the show, since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I will say I love Android. She’s my favorite character in the entire series, and I love her little bit of android sass.

Dark Matter on Netflix

Lucifer

Lucifer, from the TV show of the same name.

Lucifer made a brief reappearance in my TV rotation – Netflix released season 4 as a late birthday present, and I watched through it in a week. (What can I say? I do a lot of knitting and crocheting.) This season ended on one heck of a cliffhanger, though. I really hope that Netflix continues the show, since I want to see how the showrunners resolve that cliffhanger. I loved this season, though, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely check it out.

Lucifer on Netflix

Star vs. the Forces of Evil

Star and Marco from Star vs the Forces of Evil.

Ross and I were so far behind when it came to watching Star vs. the Forces of Evil – we hadn’t even started with season 4 yet, and it started airing earlier this year. However, we’re back on track now, and it’s good to see everyone’s favorite Mewni princess back in action again. I’m still wondering how they’re going to solve the big problem that ended Season 3, but I guess we’ll just have to watch more and find out.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil on Hulu (seasons 1-3)

Star vs. the Forces of Evil on Disney Now (all seasons)

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

 

Harvey, Sabrina, and Nick from the tv show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is another show I’ve been watching lately. It follows the daily life of Sabrina, a teenage girl who’s half-witch, and how she handles balancing the two very different sides of her life. It’s an interesting take on the story of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, but if you’re expecting something similar to the 90s sitcom, this is not the show for you. It’s much darker, and sometimes I feel like it goes over-the-top, but if you like your TV shows on the creepy side, then you might like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. And for those of you who like the show Riverdale but haven’t seen Sabrina, I suggest you give it a try – it’s set in the same universe as Riverdale, and has the same visual feel.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix

And that’s what I’ve been watching this month! Come back next month to see if I’ve discovered any new TV shows!

What I’m watching: April 2019

Hey, it’s still April, right? I didn’t miss posting this month’s edition of What I’m Watching!

Granted, one of the shows I’ve been watching this month is not a surprise: Battlestar Galactica.  Ross and I are finally in the home stretch, close to the end of season 4 – and we’re trying to finish it before Wednesday, when it’s due to expire on Hulu. I can’t let it disappear from Hulu without finding out what happens to Space Dad and President Mom! (or Adama and Roslin, heh.) Once we’re done, I’ll likely write up a long post about my thoughts on the show – and believe me, I have many thoughts about this show. Battlestar Galactica is amazing, and I love it.

I’ve also been watching Dark Matter, a show that Netflix recommended to my friend J – we figured that we should give it a shot, since we do enjoy sci-fi and space shows.  Dark Matter starts out with six people waking up from stasis on the starship Raza, with no memory whatsoever of who they are or why they’re on the ship. Since nobody has any clue who they are, they end up referring to themselves by the order in which they woke up from stasis – and their goal is to find out who they really are, and why the heck they can’t remember anything. What they find out early on ends up shocking them – apparently most of the crew of the Raza is wanted for murder or heinous crimes of some sort, which of course none of them can remember, and only one of the crew is innocent. (Or so we think.) So, in addition to trying to recover their memories, they also have to dodge the law and avoid getting caught by the Galactic Authority. I’m really curious to figure out what exactly happened to everyone.

I found myself getting attached to most of the characters really quickly – especially Android, who I just love. She’s got a little bit of humanity in her, just enough to show a little bit of sass and a sense of humor. I’d be fine with the crew leaving Three on a space station somewhere, though – he’s kind of a jackass. (It’s like he’s trying to be Jayne from Firefly, but without having any likable qualities whatsoever.) I’m currently midway through the first season, and some of the characters are starting to learn a little more about their history – aside from the fact that all of them except Five are some sort of criminal, that is. It’s definitely an interesting show, and if you like sci-fi space shows, you might want to give this one a try.

Battlestar Galactica on Hulu (until Wednesday, anyway)

Dark Matter on Netflix

What I’m watching: March 2019

Here’s the March edition of What I’m Watching! Only two shows this month, but I’ve got a lot to say about both of them.

First off, I’m still watching Battlestar Galactica – I’m in the middle of season 3, and oh my god the feels. Not just about what’s going on in the show, but about the entire show in general. I’m not sure how many of my readers have already watched Battlestar Galactica, so I’m not going to talk about potentially spoilery things, but I will talk about some of my favorite aspects of the show.

One of those favorite aspects is how insanely talented the entire cast is. I may dislike some of the characters – Gaius Baltar, I’m looking at you – but gods, when it comes to playing Gaius, James Callis does an amazing job of bringing that beautiful idiot to life.  It’s the same with all the actors – I can’t think of a single one that makes me think “ugh, this guy again?” Plus, all the characters are so human – the entire show is full of the characters doing what they think is right.  There’s no black and white, no absolute wrong or absolute right. President Roslin, Admiral Adama, Starbuck, and Lee, everyone’s so human it almost hurts at times. Everyone’s just trying to do what they think is right. And each actor looks like they’re pouring their heart and soul into their roles, and it makes for one hell of a compelling story.

Speaking of characters being human: I love how Admiral Adama is a father figure to practically everyone on Galactica. (There’s a reason I call him Space Dad!) Sometimes that results in rough situations, especially with Lee, and sometimes it results in such heartwarming scenes that it almost makes me want to cry.  Space Dad is best dad.

I haven’t just been watching Battlestar Galactica, though. I’ve also been watching The 100, a show I started a few years ago when only season 1 was available on Netflix. I recently picked it back up again, and I’m really enjoying this show too.  So far, I’m in the middle of season 3, and the show definitely evolves over the course of the episodes I’ve watched – it’s gone from “juvenile delinquents doing stupid things while trying to survive in the woods” to a really solid and interesting sci-fi drama.

The show takes place almost 100 years after a nuclear disaster wipes out almost all life on Earth, and starts out in space: specifically, on the Ark, which is a massive space station constructed from existing stations after humans fled the disaster and went to space. Humans have been living on the Ark since the nuclear disaster occurred, and things aren’t going all that well when the show starts.  Overpopulation is becoming a problem, and while steps have been taken to try and slow down population growth (couples can have only one child, and criminals are sentenced to death by getting sucked out an airlock), the Ark is still in trouble: specifically, their oxygen supply is dwindling, and drastic measures must be taken to keep everyone on the station alive. Chancellor Jaha and his advisory council think that maybe Earth might be an option, but they want to make sure that the planet is safe before they send everyone down there to make new lives.

Enter the 100: a collection of kids and teenagers who’ve been put in detention for various crimes they’ve committed, all waiting until their 18th birthday to be re-evaluated and either released back into the population, or “floated” out an airlock. Instead of keeping all these kids and teenagers around until they hit 18, they’re chosen for a special mission. The 100 are sent down to Earth to see if the planet is livable again. The first part of the first season focuses on the 100 as they deal with their new situation, and find out that they might not be the only humans that survived.

The cast is full of talented actors, and includes some of my favorites, like Alessandro Juliani (also known as Felix Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica) and Henry Ian Cusick (who played Desmond in Lost). The story is really gripping, and I really love where the writers are going with the plot.  Speaking of writers: The 100 is based on a series of young adult fiction books by Kass Morgan, and I definitely enjoyed the books – but after book 1 and the first part of season 1, things really start to diverge.  It’s been interesting to see how very different the show is from the books, and see what the show writers do with the source material that Kass Morgan wrote.

And that’s what I’ve been watching this month!  Stay tuned to see if I ever finish Battlestar Galactica, or to see what other shows I end up picking up along the way!

What I’m Watching: February 2019

I’m back with another edition of What I’m Watching! This month, I’ve got three shows in my TV-watching rotation, although what with being sick this week, I’ve been binge-watching the heck out of one of these shows.

First off, I’m still working my way through Battlestar Galactica – somewhat slowly, because Ross and I have had a busy couple of weeks at work and by the time we get home, we don’t have much energy to process an exciting and action-filled episode of BSG.  We’re just about to season 3, though, and I’m still loving the show!

Another show I’ve been watching this month is RWBY! You might remember that I started watching this last year, and I ended up having to take a break from it because I had a bit of RWBY overload. Now I’m watching it again, and I’m up to season 5 – where things are starting to get even more serious.  And seriously badass.  I won’t mention more because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone (and also because my brain is fuzzy on the details, curse this nasty cold). I’ll just say you should watch it for yourself.

Now, to the show I’ve been binge-watching while I’ve been miserably sick this week: Lucifer. I stumbled upon it through Netflix’s suggestions for things I might be interested in, and a week or so ago, I figured “eh, what the heck, I’ll watch this while I knit.” And I fell in love with it.

Lucifer is a comedy/crime drama with a dose of fantasy thrown in the mix for good measure. It follows the story of Lucifer Morningstar, the devil himself, and his adventures after leaving Hell to set up a nightclub in Los Angeles – and help solve crime as a consultant for the LAPD. He’s partnered up with Chloe Decker, a detective who seems to be immune to Lucifer’s charms. He’s got irresistible sex appeal, and can make you tell him your deepest, darkest desires just by looking into his eyes – yet none of that works on Chloe, and Lucifer’s very curious about why that is.

With a great cast and a great story, Lucifer has been making my week home sick with this miserable cold much better than I thought it would be.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check it out – the first three seasons are on Netflix, and season 4 should be coming out soon!

What I'm watching: January 2019

What I’m watching: January 2019

Hi folks, and Happy New Year!  You might remember a post I made a few weeks back, about some resolutions I made for the blog for the year — one of them was writing more reviews, especially for TV shows. I watch (or at the very least, listen to) a lot of TV while I’m crafting, and I mean a lot. While I don’t know that I’d be able to write great, in-depth reviews on the shows I’m watching, I could at least share some of the shows in my Netflix and Hulu queues and share my thoughts on the shows without too many spoilers.  (And possibly share some shows I tried out but didn’t quite get into.)

So, here’s what I’m watching this month: Battlestar Galactica and The 4400.

Battlestar Galactica (2004)

The main cast of Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica is a show I’ve been meaning to watch, well, since it came out almost 15 years ago. I had friends in college who were obsessed with it, and I’ve had friends in the years since who were big fans. When I started dating Ross, he was working through re-watching the series and was somewhere in season 2 before Neftlix lost the licensing to it.  Now it’s on Hulu, and we’ve started watching it together as our evening “let’s watch this together” show. I’m sure most of you readers have at least heard of it before, but if not, here’s a short summary from Hulu (who explains it better than I could):

Battlestar Galactica continues from the 2003 mini-series to chronicle the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Man after their nuclear annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Commander (later Admiral) William Adama in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, a powerful but out-dated warship at its head. Pursued by Cylons intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race, the survivors travel across the galaxy looking for the fabled and long-lost thirteenth colony: Earth.

We’ve only watched the first six episodes (and the miniseries) so far, but I’m already ridiculously attached to many of the characters. When Starbuck ended up in mortal peril in episodes 4 and 5,  and then managed to get herself out of it and back to Galactica, I cheered with the rest of the crew and got a little misty-eyed. I feel for President Roslin and Commander Adama as they make some tough decisions in order to keep what’s left of humanity alive and safe. I’m always looking forward to the next episode — and I’m glad Ross and I are watching an episode or two a night so I don’t binge-watch the entire thing over a weekend.  I like being able to enjoy each episode, process it, and then go watch the next episode tomorrow.

Battlestar Galactica on Hulu

The 4400

The main cast of The 4400.

The 4400 is a show I stumbled across on Netflix while trying to find something to watch while crafting.  I’d just blasted through Season 3 of Travelers (a show I really enjoy) and was looking for more sci-fi to watch, and Netflix suggested this.  The premise seemed alright (albeit a little cheesy): 4400 people, each of whom disappeared in a beam of light anywhere between 1938 and 2001, are deposited on the shores of a lake in Washington state by a bright ball of light.  None of these people have aged a day since their disappearance, and some of them have come back with special powers (such as the ability to heal or see the future).

The show follows Tom Baldwin, an agent of the National Threat Assessment Command (NTAC) as he and his partner, Diana, investigate events involving the 4400.  It also follows a handful of the 4400 themselves, including the following:

  • Maia, an 8-year-old girl who disappeared in 1946 and returned with the power to see the future
  • Shawn, Tom’s nephew who disappeared in 2001 at the age of 18 and returned with the power to heal/kill
  • Richard, a 29-year-old Air Force pilot who disappeared in 1955
  • Lily, who disappeared in 1993 at the age of 27 and returned mysteriously pregnant

While the show does have some cheesy moments, it’s pretty enjoyable.  It also doesn’t hurt that the show’s creator, René Echevarria, was a writer on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and one of the producers (Ira Steven Behr) also worked on DS9. (And speaking of DS9: Jeffrey Combs, who plays Weyoun and Liquidator Brunt in DS9, also stars in The 4400!) I’m in the middle of season 3 right now (I think I started the show sometime last week), mostly due to all the time off I’ve had recently, and I’m curious to see where the show ends up going.  If you’re looking for something in the sci-fi realm to watch and don’t mind if the show gets a little silly at points, you should try The 4400.

The 4400 on Netflix

Finally got a Kickstarter I’ve been waiting for!

I think I got a little burned out on everything after Gen Con – hence the lack of a post last week.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get the last of my Gen Con reports put together, and there’s a start to it in the pile of half-finished blog posts I’m accumulating, but I just couldn’t nudge myself towards getting it done.  I’ll try to finish it soon, though, as there are some pretty cool vendors and artists I want to share with you all that I discovered at Gen Con.

So that this week’s blog post isn’t all just me being down on myself for not posting last week, I’m going to talk about a Kickstarter whose rewards I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a little while now.  Those rewards showed up on my doorstep the other day, and I can’t help but share them with you all, because they’re so beautiful!

Yep, that’s right – the Name of the Wind Art Deck Kickstarter started shipping last month, and I finally got my goodies.  They were definitely worth the wait, that’s for sure.

Now, this isn’t the first deck of cards that’s had artwork from Name of the Wind on them – a deck was released a few years ago (also the product of a Kickstarter, if I remember right), with artwork by Shane Tyree depicting the characters we all know and love. I’ve got the Shane Tyree deck as well as the new ones with art by Echo Chernik, and it’s really interesting to see how each artist envisioned the characters.

From left to right: Auri, Denna, and Kote, with Shane Tyree’s art on top and Echo Chernik’s art on bottom.

The coin that I got as part of the rewards is beautiful – and pretty hefty, too!  I’d be afraid to flip it and accidentally dent a table with it when it lands, haha.

The prints are beautiful, too – I can’t wait to get them framed.  I’ve been especially excited about them, since I love Echo’s work, and it was really exciting to get to meet her at Gen Con.  All in all, I’m really happy with the quality of everything – the cards feel great in your hand, and the artwork is absolutely wonderful.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with four decks of Name of the Wind playing cards. 😛

Star vs. The Forces of Evil: the new obsession in the Crafty Nerd household

It’s no secret that Ross and I like our animated shows. I mean, come on, we met dressed as My Little Ponies, as evidenced by the following slightly blurry photo of us from Gen Con 2013:

How many people can say they met their partner thanks to a cartoon? 😛

Not only do we share a mutual love for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but we also both really enjoy Steven Universe (in case you hadn’t noticed, hah) — in fact, if it weren’t for Ross stumbling onto the show while I was busy one weekend, we probably never would’ve ended up becoming such huge fans.

I named my car Lapis, and stuck Lapis and Peridot decals on the back of it.  And have a plush Lapis as a permanent passenger in the car.  I think it’s safe to say I’m a huge Steven Universe fan.

Ross and I are both pretty big anime fans, too, although Ross might be more into it lately than I am. Plus, I like my old-school anime a little more, while Ross watches more recent stuff. (More recent than Sailor Moon and Cowboy Bebop, anyway.)

So, it’s only natural that when Ross stumbled across Star vs. The Forces of Evil, we’d both end up obsessed, right? I mean, it’s silly, upbeat, with a great storyline that really pulls you in, which is starting to become more of a thing in animated shows lately.  How could we not love it?

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Steven Universe: whaaaaat

I think Amethyst’s reaction at the end of the most recent episode of Steven Universe sums up my feelings about the events of said episode perfectly.

whaaaaaaAAAAAT?!

Before I go into too much more detail about all the stuff going on in my brain about the most recent Steven Universe episodes, Can’t Go Back and A Single Pale Rose, I should warn everyone that there will be spoilers. Lots of them.  So, if you haven’t already watched the most recent two episodes of Steven Universe: stop reading this, go find those episodes, and watch them.  And then when you’ve recovered, come back and read with me.  Beyond the jump is spoilers, so you’ve been warned!

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May the 4th be with you! (or, happy Star Wars day)

Yes, it’s May the 4th, and as all my fellow nerds know, it’s Star Wars Day!  I figure, what better day is there to ramble about how I ended up a fan of Star Wars than on Star Wars day?

You’ll probably be surprised by this, folks, but I hadn’t seen the original trilogy of Star Wars movies until I was in high school – in fact, I watched them for the first time ever the week before Episode 1 came out.  Lots of kids I knew in school liked Star Wars, and I remember some of my fellow high school band members being really excited when our band director had us prepare a medley of the Star Wars soundtrack for a band concert. All I knew about it was that there was some guy named Luke in it, and a girl named Leia, and maybe Luke and Leia were romantically involved because all the pictures I saw were of them together.  Oh, and that the guy who voiced Mufasa in The Lion King was Darth Vader.  That was the extent of my Star Wars knowledge up until one of my friends in high school, horrified when I told him I hadn’t seen any of the movies, sat me down in his living room one Saturday afternoon so we could watch the original trilogy on VHS.  And me, being the nerd I’ve always been, fell in love with the movies.  (And felt really awkward when I found out that Luke and Leia were actually siblings, and not lovers, hah.)

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you know that when I get really interested in something, I go all out with my nerdiness.  And Star Wars was no exception, when I first got into it.  I had a tie-dyed Yoda shirt I wore until it fell apart.  I bought plastic lightsabers and had duels in a friend’s front lawn, once all the Episode 1 toys went on sale just before the Episode 2 toys came out.  I saw Episode 1 a total of 8 times in the theater (although that was mostly due to the fact that it was the first movie of a triple-feature every weekend at the drive in for the entire summer of 1999).  I gave Yoda a standing ovation with the rest of the Star Wars fans at the midnight showing of Episode 2.  I got ragey as heck when I found out that Lucas swapped out the original Anakin Skywalker in A New Hope with Hayden Christansen.  And every Halloween, I wished I had enough money to get a Princess Leia costume.

After a while, my Star Wars nerdiness mellowed out a bit – after watching the prequels enough to realize how bad they were in comparison to the original trilogy, and after not knowing if they were ever going to make anything focusing on the story past Return of the Jedi, Star Wars took a bit of a backseat to other fandoms I was interested in.   Until it was announced that there was, in fact, going to be an Episode 7, and that J. J. Abrams was going to be directing The Force Awakens. And I got flaily again.

The Force Awakens – or, more accurately, The Flaily Fangirl Reawakens.

Folks, you should have seen me when the opening credits started to roll for The Force Awakens.  I think I almost started crying.  I got hit with such a wave of nostalgia that it was almost overwhelming.  And the new movies, both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, are the Star Wars movies I’ve needed for a long time.  Sure, people complained that they took too much from the original trilogy – but I love the original trilogy, and to see familiar stories told in a new way makes me a happy nerd.

Porg is my co-pilot.

I’m gonna take a moment to ramble about porgs here.  I freaking love the porgs, they’re so adorable – and a bit less creepy than the Ewoks.

You’ve gotta admit, they’re a little creepy.

For ages I was trying to hunt down a plush Ewok so I could have one of my very own – one of the original Ewoks, not the recently-released Build-a-Bear ewoks. Now? I want a porg.  They’re amusing comic relief for what was otherwise, for me anyway, a very emotional movie.  With Carrie Fisher’s passing, The Last Jedi was full of feels for me, as I really loved her portrayal of Leia and could identify with Carrie’s struggles with mental health – and I swear, when Luke said to Leia “No-one’s ever really gone,” I burst into tears.  Those little porgs kept me from weeping through the entire movie.

I’m curious to hear from other Star Wars fans how you ended up coming to the fandom – were you following the movies right from the beginning?  Did you end up becoming a fan, like I did, just before Episode 1 came out?  Are you relatively new to the world of Star Wars?  Tell me in the comments – I’m always curious to hear how people end up coming to like things that I enjoy too. 🙂

How to make your dragon a shawl: part 1

Recently, I finally got brave enough to try making the Wingspan Shawl – while I’ve been knitting for… gosh, nearly 25 years, I’ve never really been confident in my skills beyond the the garter stitch until recently.  Now that I’ve made a number of pair of socks, though, I figured I could finally tackle the Wingspan Shawl.  I’ve been wanting to try it for years, and so I decided to try my hand at it with some yarn I picked up at a trunk show recently.  (It’s Blackberry Brambles by Oink Pigments, for those curious!)

Shawl that somewhat resembles a dragon wing, in shades of cream, pink, blue, and green.
Doesn’t this look lovely?

Once I got into the swing of things, I found out I really love working this pattern – it’s just interesting enough to keep me from getting bored, but simple enough that I can work it while watching TV.  I chugged through quite a bit of this wingspan shawl, but then encountered a problem: I ran out of yarn.

Toothless the Dragon from How To Train Your Dragon, with a grumpy look on his face.
“… are you telling me we’re out of yarn?”

While I was working on the Blackberry Brambles wingspan, though, I had an idea: I could make a Toothless-inspired wingspan shawl, with most of the shawl being black and the last two panels being red, like Toothless’s tail.

Toothless the Dragon from How To Train Your Dragon, showing his red prostetic tail fins.
Yeah, it’s his tail and not his wing (like the shawl’s name), but hey, it works, right?

So while I waited for my next skein of Blackberry Brambles to get here from Oink Pigments, I went to Jo-Ann’s and snagged some red and black yarn and whipped up this awesome little shawlette:

Plush Toothless the Dragon, sitting on the floor next to a shawl that resembles a dragon's wing.
It turned out really well, I think! I might be biased, though.

It’s not quite finished, yet – I want to add the dragon insignia that’s on Toothless’s tail fin, but that’ll involve another trip out to the craft store for some felt.  Once I’ve got that added, I’ll share the finished product with you all, as well as the template I create for the dragon insignia and instructions for how to add it to your own wingspan shawl!

RWBY: how did I go so long without watching this?

So, sometimes I’m a slacker when it comes to pop culture – especially TV and movies.  I’ll hear about a new show or movie that’s particularly awesome, and say “oh, I should watch that!” (Which is what I’ve been saying about Guardians of the Galaxy for so long that there’s a sequel to watch now.  Oops.)  Then, my brain files that information away somewhere to be forgotten about for months or years, until I’m reminded of it again, and realize that I’ve been meaning to watch it forever.

Like RWBY.  I’d seen people referencing it online years ago, and talking about how good it was, and I saw merchandise for the show in Hot Topic (yes, I shop at Hot Topic sometimes, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine despite how pricey everything is in there), and said “oh, that looks kinda cool, I should watch that someday.”  Well, that someday finally came – a couple of weeks ago, in fact.

Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, oh how I love you all

Holy crap, why did I wait so long to watch this show?  It’s hilarious and badass and awesome, all at the same time.  It’s like Final Fantasy meets the Blue Rose tabletop RPG I’m playing in (where all the characters are essentially learning how to become guardians of the realm at a special academy, grouped into squads, and the GM hadn’t ever seen RWBY until we were four or five games in, so it’s eerie as heck how the game parallels the show).  It has sneaky references to fairy tales and other stories, and I love how subtly it’s all worked into the story.  And one of the first things I noticed, having watched a fair amount of Red vs. Blue back in the day, was the Rooster Teeth feel to it all, especially in season 1.  I spent a lot of time excitedly flailing as I watched season 1 of RWBY, as I’d see familiar joke timings, or epic battle scenes that make me think of Final Fantasy 7’s Limit Breaks, or even just cute goofy stuff that made me happy.  I love this show.  I seriously love this show.

How can you not enjoy a show where every melee weapon is also a gun? Like this set of nunchucks, which not only can turn into a staff, but are also freaking SHOTGUNS.

The soundtrack is great, the animation keeps getting better with every season, and the storyline is engaging.  And I’m only a few episodes into season 2 at this point. I’m quite sure this weekend is going to be spent binge-watching the rest of the show while I recover from my LARPing adventures last weekend.  (I have to remind myself that I’m not exactly as young as I used to be, and running around in the forest for two days will leave me hurting if I’m not careful, hah.)  And, to be honest, trying to convince myself not to try to throw together a Ruby cosplay for Gen Con, hahah. Whenever I do finish RWBY, I’ll come back and post a more thorough review of the show, something more substantial than my fangirl flailings of today’s post.  So far, though, I’m enjoying the heck out of this show.

A long overdue post about Patrick Rothfuss

It’s no secret around here that I absolutely love Patrick Rothfuss.  Why, though?  How the heck did this crafty nerd end up so ridiculously obsessed with some bearded dude from Wisconsin?  Why does she toss so much money at the wonderful folks at The Tinker’s Packs for merchandise focusing on a bunch of books?

It hit me that I’ve never exactly told the whole story of how I ended up being a borderline rabid Rothfuss fangirl on the blog.  And as I was trying to come up with a blog post for this week, I thought to myself, “why not make it this week’s blog post?  You need to write something, and that Sailor Moon quilt has done absolutely nothing since last week, so ramble about Pat!”

And so here we are.  So come, sit, and listen to me ramble about the long and winding road that brought me to being the huge fan of Pat Rothfuss that I am, and the wonderful stuff that’s happened along the way that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t picked up a copy of The Name of the Wind on one chilly March afternoon, back in 2013.

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The Crafty Nerd gets her nerdy crafting on, finally (and rambles a lot in the process)

Or at least I will be, once Spoonflower ships out my latest fabric order.

So, there’s a bit of a story behind this latest crafting endeavor.  Maybe two stories, actually, that converge into one – but they both focus on my favorite anime ever, Sailor Moon.  The first story is from about… gosh, ten years ago.  (It really doesn’t feel like that long ago!)  A close friend of mine, Katie, bought me some Sailor Moon fabric for my birthday – at least I think it was for my birthday, it’s been so long ago that I’m not entirely sure.  I ended up using some of it for craft projects, a little of it for some Gamma Sigma Sigma shirts (yes, I was in a sorority, but not your typical one!), and then stashed the rest away because I couldn’t think of a good project to use it in, and I didn’t want to use it all up.

Fast forward about ten years, and look what’s still lingering in my fabric stash…

These are the oldest pieces of fabric I’ve got right now – I’ve managed to hang onto them through a LOT of life changes!

Now, recently I’ve had a resurgence of Sailor Moon fangirling – mostly because I got hit with the best idea for a Halloween costume ever.  I remembered seeing a Sailor Moon costume at my local costume shop about a year and a half ago, and while I didn’t have the chance to look at it too much when I’d seen it, I figured if it was a decent costume I’d snag it and maybe make some modifications to it after Halloween to make it fit for cosplaying.  Shortly before Halloween, I went over to Campus Costumes to go seek out that Sailor Moon costume – it was a long shot, as it’d been a while since I’d seen it, but maybe I’d be lucky, right?

Well, after a half hour of searching, one of the store clerks asked what I was looking for, and I told him.  And he said “Well, we’ve got one in rentals – I don’t think they ever sold very well, so we only hung onto one.  I bet if you ask the owner, she’ll sell it to you, though.”  And he walked me over to the rental costumes, and there it was – a store-bought Sailor Moon costume that actually looked halfway decent.  I brought it to the counter, trying to suppress the squeeing of my inner 17-year-old (who tried and was marginally successful at making her own Sailor Moon costume), and politely asked if I could maybe buy the costume.  I’d been looking for it forever, I told her, and I’ve been a huge Sailor Moon fan since forever, and I’ll totally pay the $60 price tag on the front, if you’ll please sell it to me.  I’ll admit, I probably got rambly.

She took one look at the costume, said “eh, I can probably order another one… For $60, it’s yours.”

And I walked out the door with a Sailor Moon costume that actually looked GOOD.

Then I had another dilemma: the wig.  There was no way in hell I’d be able to get a cheap store-bought wig to look remotely close to Sailor Moon’s trademark odango.  I flailed around with the cheap yellow wig I’d bought for about a half hour, unsuccessfully trying to get it into pigtails or even just some buns, when it hit me: I knew someone who might have a Sailor Moon wig I could borrow.  And they lived right across the street.

Yes, I asked my neighbor if they still had a Sailor Moon wig, and if so, could I borrow it.  And the answer to both questions was yes.  (I have some of the best neighbors ever, I swear.  I’m not even going to get into the fangirl flailiness that happened when I went across the street and saw all the Sailor Moon posters hung up at my neighbor’s house, haha.)

So I totally dressed up as Sailor Moon this Halloween, and loved every second of it.

I couldn’t stop squeeing whenever I walked past a mirror and caught sight of myself, haha.

So that finally brings me to this nerdy craft project I’m going to start, which will probably be the first of many Sailor Moon themed craft projects I’ll be working on until convention season starts next year.  You all know I’ve been obsessed with making quilts since the beginning of the year, and when I came across that little stash of old Sailor Moon fabric I’d been hanging onto, it hit me: I should make it into a quilt.  And with the help of some awesome artists on Spoonflower who made some delightful Sailor Moon themed fabric, and a handy sale on fat quarters, my Sailor Moon quilt will be a reality.  (Once I get the fabric, anyway.)

My first challenge will be to make a pattern that’ll work well with the fabric I’ve got – I’ve never actually designed a quilt before, but it shouldn’t be hard.  (The hard part’ll probably be putting it all together correctly!)  I might just design a couple of squares that I can then put together to make the quilt, or find some existing patterns that I could take parts from and reuse as I need to.  I’m actually really excited about having a nerdy project to work on – it’s been entirely too long since I made a nerdy craft project.  The closest I’ve come recently is making a pair of socks with some yarn that’s Twilight Sparkle colored, but that almost feels like it doesn’t count, because it’s socks…

I’ll be posting pictures and rambling about my progress on the quilt from time to time – hopefully it’ll encourage me to start posting regularly again, too.