February 7 2013

1. We mailed off our passport applications yesterday. NO THANKS TO ME, who forgot half of the papers we needed even after J asked if I had everything. ANYWAY. We all got it straightened out at the end.

2. The first Spanish class was quite fun. If you are in the Twin Cities and looking for language instruction — not just Spanish, a host of things — I highly recommend giving Language Sprout a look-see. Adult, children, and family classes available.

3. I ran out of gunpowder green tea. I re-ordered, but it’s not here yet. In the meantime, I’ve been drinking mate. Which isn’t bad actually, but it’s not my green tea.

4. Yesterday was great day for me in comics. In fact, most weeks I truly love getting my new comics. There’s a ton of fantastic stuff out there featuring female characters of all sorts.

Rachel Rising, if you like crime-horror.
Saga, for epic SF
Scarlet, for gritty crime drama
Stumptown, for noir detective fiction
Hawkeye, for note-perfect character-based superhero fiction
Honestly, if you like superhero stuff, I recommend jumping on to ANY of the recent Marvel Now stuff. It’s not a reboot, it’s just a fantastic point to join the party. Almost all of the X-Men and Avengers titles are great.

5. I am enjoying A Month of Letters. I have sent something out every day, probably to the great startlement of folks who have no idea what Month of Letters is, and will be wondering why the HELL I sent them a card.


January 31 2013

1. Roast Brussel Sprouts

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

Cut the ends off of a mess of brussel sprouts. Peel away any loose or brown leaves. Put into an oven-safe dish that has a lid.

Trim a small head of broccoli into bite-sized pieces. I only use the florets, because I don’t like the stems. Add to the dish.

Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the veggies. Add a teaspoon of pepper, and some amount of salt between a pinch and a teaspoon, depending on how much salt you want. Stir until everything is coated evenly.

Cover the dish, put it in the over. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir everything a bit. Cook another 10-20 minutes, depending on how much stuff you have in your pot.


2. The thing I am most enjoying about Tumblr is that I can follow television shows I would not enjoy watching, and only see the Parts Relevant to My Interests. Because other people, interested in the same stuff I am, make gifs and images and fanart and fanfic and post it to Tumblr. And I get an EXTREMELY biased view of what the show is about. A happy, happy view.

3. Hawkeye #7 came out yesterday. Portions of the sales of this comic are being donated to disaster relief. But, if you just want to donate without getting the comic, donate and give it as a gift in honor of Hawkguy.

#hawkguy #greatwithboats #redcross

Spread the word.


January 23 2013

1. I’m registered for Wiscon! And have a hotel room! This makes me excited for the con.

2. I’m planning on CONvergence this year. I won’t be at Heroes Con or C2E2, due to scheduling conflicts. I’m pondering trying to get to Geek Girl Con.

3. Comics today include Stumptown #5, and Young Avengers #1. I have already bought them on Comixology.

4. A lot of work-related projects are sitting in my email inbox today. Not quite sure when I will get to read these new comics.


Ongoing canon is what it is

Being a fan of the X-Men has prepared me for so many fannish experiences.

I was pondering this while watching the most recent episode of Once Upon a Time. Someone on Tumblr noted that, based only on this episode, you would never know that Ruby and Belle were really close friends. Yet we had two episodes devoted to that subject.

The thing is, with a complicated and ongoing canon, you can’t make everything fit all of the time. Some episodes focus more on one character rather than another. Or on one plot instead of another. That’s just the way it is, and you can go crazy trying to fit everything together in a reasonable and consistent manner.

I know this lesson from reading the X-Men and related comics for over twenty years. Most recently the comics had a complicated plot about who was hosting the Phoenix. And, repeatedly, characters said that only Jean Grey was ever able to host the Phoenix for any length of time — and even that killed her. I read all of these declarations while mentally shouting, “WHAT ABOUT RACHEL.”

But, this wasn’t Rachel’s story. And in what was a pretty rip-roaring, damn good story, there wasn’t room for every character and every loose end and plot thread from twenty years of canon. I know this, I understand this, and it doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story. I can let it go.

Similarly, I can let the loose ends and character inconsistencies on Once Upon a Time go. The show is what it is, and it’s trying to incorporate not only two seasons of show-specific canon, but fifty years of Disney films and eight hundred years of Western literary tradition. Some episodes are going to further one plot or character at the expense of another. That’s okay with me. I can watch for the characters and moments I favor.


Age of the Geek? Age of the Fan.

I’ve been reading some things online that are all swirling around that all seem to indicate something to me about fandom, and fannish power, and fannish creators. I don’t have an actual thesis here, just some thoughts.

1. Creators of properties have frequently been fans of the genre before attempting to create in it, whichever genre “it” may be. But there’s been this new thing in the last twenty years, this internet fandom. And today’s creators are people who have grown up in internet fandom.

2. The BBC article about Jim C. Hines’ cover poses also mentions the Prismatic Art Collection and The Hawkeye Initiative. The Hawkeye Initiative is entirely a fannish thing. It’s people with no connection to creating comics trying to bring about awareness of something stupid in comics. And now it’s in a BBC article.

3. There’s a whole group of creators, in comics and in SF/F, who insist on feminism and gender equality in their work by the simple fact of putting it in their work. These are people around my age or a bit younger. Who grew up being fans of the same things I am a fan of. People who read the life-changing, awesome, and problematic books and comics of my childhood. The people making my comics now are the people who remember Tony Stark’s alcoholic crash, who remember Storm’s punk transformation, who remember Rusty and Skids and Cameron Hodge. The people writing my SF/F are people who read Seaward, The Stand, and Dragonflight. Who read The Cage and Dealing With Dragons and Alanna: The First Adventure. War for the Oaks and The Dragon Waiting and Barrayar. These creators, they put women in their work because women have always been a part of comics and SF/F. A minority part, sure, but often the best, most interesting part.

Brian Wood said, in his interview for Wired magazine, “The female X-Men are amazing characters, they always have been, everyone knows that. They’ve been the best thing about the franchise.”

This is who is writing my comics these days. People who think this.

4. The writers and creators, they are talkative. They tweet and tumbl and blog and do interviews and podcasts. This is how the world is now, yes. But a lot of them, however introverted they may be, they grew up being able to talk to the creators they loved. On message boards, on LiveJournal, at conventions, on The Well, in zines. There’s this idea that communication is a two-way thing.

None of those thoughts are really coherent. I don’t have a thesis. But I like it. I like Kieron Gillen’s Tumblr posts of music and lyrics and images and words, all trying to explain something heartfelt about characters he is gleefully privileged to write. I like Jim Hines’ send-ups of cover art and his commitment to not replicate those problems in his own work. I like that Kelly Sue DeConnick posts knitting pattern fanart of Captain Marvel to her Tumblr. I love the idea that there’s a We, here, of people who genuinely love this stuff. Who love it enough to fight for it, to be angry at it, to gently correct it. Who love it enough to celebrate it, to share it, to laud it.

I’m pleased that my people are now making the things I love.


Last night’s bruschetta, a recipe

1. My son, the poor pook, was pretty sick yesterday. Fingers crossed that he feels better today.

2. The knitting pattern for Carol Danvers’ Lucky Hat is a real thing, and I wish I was a knitter because I would wear the HELL out of that hat.

3. I made the best bruschetta for dinner last night.

Spinach Mushroom Bruschetta

Loaf or two of french bread, sliced
small pkg.of chopped frozen spinach
4 Tbsp olive oil
cup of chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic (or more if you like, I used eight cloves)
8 oz. pkg. of mushrooms chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Saute onion, mushroom, and garlic in olive oil. Add chopped spinach. Remove from heat. Add mayo and parmesan cheese.

Butter one side of the french bread slices and place (buttered side down) on baking sheet. Top with spinach mixture.

Bake 10 minutes.

You can also make this with chopped artichoke hearts instead of mushrooms.



Gone Girl, no, wait, Young Avengers

I would have something interesting to say on this Monday morning, but I read Gone Girl this weekend and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Oh, wait!

I made a fanmix for the forthcoming Young Avengers comic, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.

The comic is not even out yet, and I want to make fanworks for it.

Here’s the fanmix post on Tumblr.

And Kieron Gillen’s Meet the Team intro post.

And here is Gillen’s post on Kate Bishop.

And here’s a lettered preview of Young Avengers.

And Gillen’s Meet Marvel Boy.