Sunday, November 22, 2015

Face the Raven




Okay, this post will seriously make no sense if you haven't watched the episode, because it's not a recap, it is just some things that are bugging me. So seriously, if you haven't watched it, GO AWAY AND WATCH IT NOW.


I knew going into the episode what was going to happen. BUT here's the weird thing. The episode is not written by Steven Moffat. Moffat is big about writing the pivotal episodes himself, and it seems quite weird to me that he would hand off a character death episode to another writer. He's co-written several episodes over the past two seasons, so it's not even like he would have had to write the whole episode himself. I just can't believe that he would be so busy doing other things that he would hand off Clara's last episode to someone else.

Secondly, to kill her off not in a finale (midseason or end of season) is weirdly anticlimatic for the longest running companion of NewWho.

The other issue still at stake is Orson Pink, time traveler, who is very clearly set up to be the descendant of Clara and Danny. If this is not explained before season 9 is ended, I shall be very, very ticked off (and I know I'm not alone in this).

Clara will be gone before Christmas. That's clear. But is she already out of the picture for good? Will there be any further appearances from her in the next two episodes? She doesn't even have to come back to life - it could be the Doctor popping back into her timeline to say 'goodbye' in a different way. Or her appearing in an afterlife vision the way River did. There are a lot of ways we could still see Clara again in the finale, and it really seems that we ought to get another glimpse of her before dropping the curtain forever.

I'm weirdly not sad about the death. I mean, it is time, for sure, but her dying would have been sadder if she a) hadn't died so many times before (I was far sadder the first two times even though I knew she was coming back) or b) was leaving anyone besides the Doctor behind (Capaldi has grown on me so much this year, but his face doesn't tug at my heartstrings the way Tennant's and Smiths did). She had no family, and she was essentially going to join Danny. Which, if you think about it, is why her dying is almost less sad than her being banned from ever seeing the Doctor again. She'd made him her only reason for living - something the Doctor pointed out over and over again in season 9.

Sadness - not getting more Doctor/Baby interaction
Happiness - Torchwood reference! (Retcon)
Intrigue - More Ashildr!
Questions - What the heck is going to happen next week??? Confession dial? Where is the Doctor? Who was blackmailing Ashildr? AHHHH!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Costumes for Sale!

I've been sick now for 4 months and unable to work much at all during that time. We went through my costume stash and identified some that I could sell in an effort to bring in some more funds. 

These are mostly between 5 and 7 years old. They are clean and in good repair, but because they were made awhile ago, they are not up to my current standards, hence why they are listed for relatively low prices. 

The biggest issue with most of them is that there are exposed seams on many interiors, seams that I would now serge to prevent fraying. The bonus to this, however, is that this makes for fairly easy alterations if you need to take anything in! (Not all of the zippers are as smoothly inserted as I would do now, but they all work quite well!) 

For more photos, prices, and details on purchasing, please visit the Facebook album here. 

For more photos, prices, and details on purchasing, please visit the Facebook album here. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When a Facebook 'like' is all your health can manage.

(Dear blog readers - I could have written this as just a Facebook post. But I wanted it to be a) easily found for future reference and b) even if you aren't one of my friends, maybe you have a chronically ill friend and reading this will let you know how much a single 'like' from them on Facebook might really mean.)

Hi Friends, it's me, Elizabeth.

Right now, for most of us, our relationship consists mostly of us "liking" each other's stuff on Facebook. I wanted to tell you that often when I'm liking your stuff, what I really want to do is write you a message, find out everything that is going on in your life, and make plans to meet for coffee.

But my health is so bad, both physically and emotionally, that even a Facebook conversation is stressful right now. I literally have one non-family non-medical person that I keep any sort of regular communication with, and there are a lot of circumstances behind that.

I feel like a bad friend. I have to remind myself that if you care about me, then you understand and you'll be waiting for me at the other end of this tunnel. You'll know that I have so little to give right now and you won't forget me or think that I don't care about you.

Facebook is something I can choose to browse when I am feeling up to it. I don't have to wait for responses, which may come at times I can't respond. I don't have to expend mental energy composing thoughts, or sharing the same depressing health news over and over. I can smile at your children's cuteness, rejoice in your graduations/engagements/etc, laugh at your jokes and follow links to your shared articles of mutual interest. I can see what your new house looks like, even though I may not be able to visit for a long time. I can hear your perspective on books or movies or tv shows. I can lift up a prayer when you ask for it (and sometimes when you don't). In other words, I can be there in the little moments I have. It's not the way I want to always be there, but it is the only way I have for now and I appreciate the chance.

Friends, I miss you. Thanks for waiting. I look forwards to the day when we can catch up in person again.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

4,722 Hours (Agents of Shield)

Being with a show from the beginning is kind of like watching a kid grow up. They take their first steps, they fall down, they make a mess that everyone runs away screaming from, they get older, they learn to talk, to run, to leap, to paint pictures... and then suddenly they're an adult, amazing the world.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't an adult quite yet, but it has certainly grown up a lot over the past year. Last night we got our first really unique episode. It's the daring type of episode that a baby show can't do, but a show in its third season can and should try.


The actual storyline was not, perhaps, the most revolutionary. Two humans struggling for survival. No crazy aliens (except one, maybe sorta), no weird planet (it's just always night), no terribly surprising twists... but even a fairly basic plot like girl meets boy, girl and boy survive crazy desert together and fall in love, girl and boy get separated can be deep and absorbing when executed properly. And I'd say that this was executed superbly.

Jemma has been the weakest member of the team for awhile, with the greatest 'annoying' factor. In order to keep her relevant and likable, the writers had to do something drastic to her this season - and wow, did they ever pull it off. They threw her into an absolutely horrible situation, and had her react to it, and she changed but not completely. Yet, though some of her annoying quirks are still there, she has changed enough and our perception and affection for her has changed enough that suddenly we see her differently - we like her more, there is a new fondness and understanding there. They stayed true to Jemma and brought out all of her potential in one beautiful and devastating episode.

Like I said, the actual plot was not revolutionary. It was only surprising, perhaps, that it was another human there rather than some alien. I was expecting her to meet aliens, or at least descendants of some of the inhumans that passed through the monolith in the past. So finding just a stranded earth astronaut was a little anti-climatic at first... but they took that simple story and made it deep and clearly it is going to have enormous ramifications on the Fitzsimmons dynamic going forwards. I mean, whose heart didn't break at the end? There is no happy ending to this love triangle. Fitz, or Jemma, or Will; one of them is going to be left alone at the end of this - or Will is going to die and that is going to cause seasons of angst for Jemma and Fitz.

It's a little ironic. I've been loving this whole season so far, but I haven't been at all motivated to blog about it until last night's episode, about my previously least favorite character. So that's a strong testament to what they've managed to achieve.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chronically Ill and You See Us Smiling...

The thing about being chronically ill, is that sometimes you have good days. And you treasure those good days, and are so happy for them, and, of course, those are usually the days you feel up to seeing people. So what happens? People might notice that you're not at your best, but they see you smiling.

"Wow, you're holding up so well!"

"Wow, I'm amazed at how upbeat you are!"

Yes, I'm upbeat because I'm feeling well enough to see you. I'm so happy because I'm not dying of a headache or nausea or fatigue or any of the other symptoms chronic disease can bring. I'm thrilled and elated to sit up and see a face besides my own in the mirror, and actually talk with you, and think about something other than how miserable most of my days are.

You ask me how I'm doing, and I pause. This brings me out of the happy moment. I have to think about the truth. "Well... not so good... but I'm able to see you today, so that's good." I don't want to think about how bad it really is. I don't want to waste a moment of my precious time with you complaining.

Yeah, it's half faking, half ignoring. It's true that I'm better that day, and I'm so ecstatic to see you. That happiness is real. It's also true that I will probably pay for it tomorrow - but unless it lands me in the ER (which has happened three times in the past three months and makes me even more wary of doing anything) I will still consider it worth it.

If you read my blog, you see posts like this one and you get a better idea of the reality. You're still not getting the full picture though, because the blog has to stay reasonably upbeat to stay alive. I refuse to turn it into a dumping ground for negative emotions. That's not why you are here.

So when I write about my sickness, I try to have a point to it. My point today is: don't judge how a chronically ill person really is by what you see when you're with them. Unless you're living with them (or their parent), chances are even the negative news you're getting is only the tip of the iceberg. And this is all even more important to remember when someone is suffering from depression or anxiety, because you're already in a pretty trusted circle if you actually know they have it, but you probably still don't know how very bad it really is, unless you've gone through it yourself.

Ironically, I'm not writing this because I'm feeling judged - rather the opposite. I've been extremely blessed by how understanding my community has been. If there was an upside to the horrible migraine I had on my wedding day, it was that it put me visibly in the front of everyone when I was feeling at my very worst. It should have been the happiest day of my life, but I only got up that aisle with a lot of help (including both of my parents walking me down). Since that day I have seen a definite increase in sympathy and understanding, even from those who already had a pretty good idea of how bad my sick days could get.

Still, I want to acknowledge that I'm not always upbeat because people admire me for seeming that way all the time. In fact, there are a lot of days when I am the exact opposite of upbeat. I know that, over all, I do probably remain more positive than most chronically ill people, but that's not the full picture, and I know if this is the way it is for me, it probably is also true for a lot of others who aren't able to communicate this truth to those in their lives.

And remember, my health issues might be super hard, but if I am well enough to see you, than my smile and happiness are genuine, and your smile and presence will set me glowing, so that, for a few hours, I feel even better on an already good day.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

If you ever wanted to know about being deaf...

Jansina Grossman (of Rivershore Books) and I putting are together a little ebook of some of my posts about being deaf, and I wanted to include some exclusive content. Could you help me out by letting me know what you'd like to see in the book? What is a question you've always wanted to ask me about being deaf?
I've never been offended by people asking me questions about being deaf. There have been other hurtful circumstances, but I've always been happy to educate my friends about my disability, so don't be shy! I should mention, however, that I communicate orally, which means I do talk and read lips rather than utilize sign language (I know a little, but not much, and when I do sign it is SEE not ASL.) Also, my experiences won't be the same as every other deaf person, as everyone feels differently about their disabilities. This is just one woman's thoughts on being deaf.

If you want to see what I've already written about being deaf (and what is being edited into the book!) you can check out some of the posts below (but you don't have to read the posts before leaving questions, I won't be upset if you ask something I've already written about, it just shows there's a need for this ebook!)

A Guide to Eating with a Lip Reader:
The Care and Keeping of Deaf Ears:
What Texting Means to the Deaf:
American Girl Dolls Get Hearing Aids:
Being Deaf Is . . . (This could be the title, perhaps):
Celebrating Disabilities in Fiction:

This is a very little project, meant to test the waters as I try to get back into writing. These days, with my health issues. it is hard to keep a whole novel in my head even when I don't have a headache, so editing M&U is unfortunately on a backburner for now. 

If you leave a question, I will accept that as permission to reproduce it in the book. Please give me a first name I can include with the question, so you can see your name in print! (a nickname is fine.) 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

OUAT Bromances, Mad Kings and Marriages

(This is a review for 5.3 and 5.4 of "Once Upon a Time and includes spoilers for both. Read at your own risk.)

Husband and I have been watching a lot of Psych lately, which is kind of the ultimate bro show. Seriously, Shawn and Gus are just the best.

OUAT is not, of course, Psych. It's actually pretty opposite, being one of the most intensely female action-driven shows since Buffy. It's not only got great lady characters, it has great lady friendships, which is super rare outside of teen shows.

In fact, it's been so marked, that a lot of us have complained from time to time that all OUAT does with young male characters is kill them off. Which is a pity, because they write their guys pretty well too. Charming, who has been the only young male to make it through all five seasons so far, gets sidelined a lot. Thankfully, they've written this into his character arc, giving him angst about his seeming uselessness amongst all the high-powered females (and, y'know, Rumple). This has led to some half-hearted hero acts in the past, but last week in 5.3 "Siege Perilous", we got not one but two awesome bro-ventures with King Arthur and Prince Charming, one in the past (creepy lake!) and one in the present (pick-up truck jousting!!!) On a smaller scale, the other funniest moment of the episode also went to a guy scene, with Hook hilariously misconstruing what Robin meant by his description of a sonogram.

This week's episode was a little more subdued in the 'awesomeness' factor, but "The Broken Kingdom" tackled another sidelined topic - marriage. In the episode we see the contrast of Arthur/Gwen's crumbling marriage, and Snow and Charming's marriage which can not only weather big fights, but grow through them. Marriage, not just romance, has always been a key underpinning of "Once Upon a Time" but last season it was a lot more about a broken marriage (Rumbelle). It's awesome to see the focus on the power-team Charmings again - and not in the annoying "it's an affair but it's not really" way from Season 1.

I really should have guessed earlier that Gwen was under a spell. I mean, this is a show that abounds in magic of every kind. However, like much of tumblr I just thought that the weird "off" feeling from Guinevere was because she was evil/plotting... not because Arthur had pulled a "Midsummer Night's Dream" on her.

On that note, Arthur is definitely crazy. At first I thought maybe he was just really misguided, but 5.4 showed that he is certifiably insane. His intentions are more or less good, but his method of accomplishing them is totally screwed up. Personally I've never been a huge Arthur fan, so this doesn't bother me too much - and besides, OUAT already broke my heart and my expectations for canon characters when it destroyed Peter Pan. However, I would encourage Camelot fans not to give up hope completely; there is plenty of room for Arthur to be "cured", certainly more than there was for Pan, and it definitely is OUAT's favorite methodology. Although I find it more interesting if they don't' redeem all of their villains, I have to agree that writing Arthur as irredeemably evil/crazy would be a sour note in the show - which is too bad because my only other complaint from this season so far is NOT ENOUGH ROBIN HOOD!!!

However, our other favorite archer is back this week, with Emma demanding that Merida make Rumple like herself... "Brave."

(What about the awesome costumes? I have stuff to say about them here.)