In Brightest Day(ish): Suicide Solution

As a rule, I do not usually write about suicide.

My daytime job is that of a news journalist, and in that business, you can open up a horrid can of worms when talking about someone who killed him- or herself. It’s usually better to just avoid the situation unless others were killed.

paris-jackson-people-magazineSo I was shocked when I read multiple articles about Paris Jackson attempting to kill herself.

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Sexualized Saturdays: LGBTQ Characters in Children’s Television

My best friend has an eight-year-old nephew, named for the purposes of this article as Jimmy, that I have helped raise since his birth. The nephew was kind of the baby everyone in the neighborhood helped raise. So it came as a shock to me when, while watching Spongebob Squarepants, the nephew said that Spongebob was “so gay.”

I didn’t raise him like that.

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Representation Roll Call, vol. 2: Big in Japan

armor_hisako_ichikiThis, ladies and gentlemen, is my strong suit: pulling comic characters you might not know about from the ether and telling you why they’re awesome. I get to be nerdy and people will read it and even find it interesting. In short, I want to tell you about more of the awesome women of Marvel Comics. We’ve talked about how important it is to pull back the veil on the representation of women in Marvel, and why it’s important to not leave people out of the coolest categories. So, while I’m on the subject on Marvel and the representation of women, I’d like to indulge the basest of my weeaboo instincts. Let’s talk about some Japanese girls.

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Fanfiction Fridays: An Unexpected Reward

This foreboding trek of mine all started with a conversation I had with Ace a couple days ago. It was an innocent conversation, an innocent question with undertones far more sinister than I could possibly fathom.

“Are there any Twilight/50 Shades of Grey crossover fics?”

As someone who has read the entire trilogy of 50 Shades and has a small grasp on the events of Twilight, I had an idea of what I would be in for. However, until reading what would spawn from a union of the two, it would be impossible to say just how terrible it would get.

I Wish I Could Quit You

I Wish I Could Quit You

And honestly, readers, I want to tell you that I found the most sexually explicit, vile, terribly written fic I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I want to link you to a debauched story about how Anastasia Steele met Edward and became a vampire so that they along with Christian and Bella could have a BDSM foursome with bloodplay and probably something about werewolves on the side, but I can’t. It brings me great pain to say this: everything went better than expected.

Save for around five fics—three of which were in languages that I had no way of checking the sincerity of—the authors of all the 50 Shades crossover fics seem to have realized just how ridiculous not only the original novel was, but also the idea of forcing the rules of their universe onto any other universe. It’s an extreme case of ‘don’t cross the streams’, but damned if some people did it anyway. What did they get for their efforts? For my efforts? Well, I don’t know about them, but what I got were three hilarious parody fics. I’m sharing them all with you guys today because, to my great displeasure, they all managed to finish their experiment in one chapter.

The first one that caught my eye, and this may be giving away my highbrow sense of humor here, was the more-aptly-titled-than-I-thought Fifty Farts of Darker by Teresa Greyjoy. Rejoice, Game of Thrones fandom! You’re the first victim!

Taking the place of the unwitting Anastasia and the ever-stoic Christian are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryeon and instead of BDSM we have… well, you can probably guess the kink from the title. Aside from the sheer absurdity of this crossover, what I love most about this is how perfectly Lyanna reflects Anastasia. Clearly Teresa Greyjoy has read the books enough to create a perfect replica of Miss Steele in the Stark woman. It’s also more engaging than the original 50 Shades, somehow. If Teresa wanted to continue writing this story, prime piece of literary real estate that it is, I would gladly read on. I might die from laughing, though.

This second one grabbed my attention from the simple “what the fuck” factor caused by the series chosen to crossover with. While Eighty Four Shades of Grey may give the impression of the kink du jour being age, instead it relates to the fandom. What I’m saying is that firebird377 crossed 50 Shades with 1984. If there was a series I would least expect to be ravished by the shades of grey, it would be this one. However, the result is hilarious and ends exactly how you would want it to and expect it to (given that you’ve read Orwell’s original novel).

But how could I be content with just these two treasures when I finally came across what I had been searching for all along? Yes, The Unlikely Meeting by giselle-lx combines the characters of the two series, making a statement in the meantime that maybe these protagonists really aren’t all that different in the end. As opposed to the other two fics, this one almost word for word replicates the first chapter of the original 50 Shades, but while exploiting its inherent ridiculousness, it also pokes fun at the stupid tropes that seem to be present in every paranormal young adult fiction these days. I think my favorite exchange in this fic is the following:

“Lie back on the desk, Miss Stolen,” he commanded, and his fingers fumbled for his steel grey tie.

“Why?” I murmured, but my Goddess was already telling me in a Goddessy way, to do it.

“Because,” he muttered, “if I don’t start to have sex with you now, there will be too much plot.”

Isn’t that just perfect? I am terribly disappointed that giselle-lx didn’t continue on with the parody, but my life will be forever changed with the parts they did gift the internet.

Perhaps I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but if I can put off losing the remaining faith in humanity that I somehow have just that much longer, I may as well take that opportunity. Don’t think my search stops here, though! I will find that terribad crossover fic yet! Even if it kills me. (If you know of one, please, by all means, link me to it in the comments.)

Yes, I'm Still Searching. Don't Look At Me Like That.

Yes, I’m Still Searching. Don’t Look At Me Like That.

Theatre Thursdays: A Love Letter to Judi Dench

Judi DenchAbout a year ago, I was gifted a copy of With A Crack In Her Voice, which is the biography of Dame Judith Olivia “Judi” Dench. First of all, I absolutely recommend it. It’s lovely reading and clear that the author, John Miller, is rather fond of his subject. Also, it’s rather inexpensive to get your hands on. I can’t find a copy that costs more than twenty dollars, frankly.

Anyway, I cracked (sorry!) it open again today and was reminded how much I adore the woman, and so chose to share those feelings with you, gentle readers.

Pictured: me.

Pictured: me.

My affection for this woman, who has acted in at least fifteen films, more television, and much more theatre, is without bounds. To her credit, she has an Oscar, a Tony, seven Olivier Awards, two SAG awards, and more BAFTAs than I can imagine she knows what to do with. But, her long and storied career begins in the theatre, so I’ll show you that. (Also, it’s my favorite.)

In 1968, a 33-year-old Judi Dench receives rave reviews for her performance as Sally Bowles in the original London run of Cabaret (from which the title of her biography comes), showcasing what turned out to be impressive vocal talents. I say “turned out to be” because anecdotes suggest that she was so embarrassed to sing in public that she auditioned from the wings and got the part.

The late 70s has Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellan as the title couple in a production of Macbeth which was widely lauded. Of her performance, critic Michael Billington wrote:

“If this isn’t great acting, I don’t know what is.”

After missing out on a leading role in Cats in 1981, in 1995 she plays Desiree Armfeldt in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. For this performance, she won the Laurence Olivier Award.

After this, her film career begins to take off in earnest. You may have seen her being incredible in The Chronicles of Riddick, Chocolat, Quantum of Solace, Pride & Prejudice, Nine, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel among others.

judi_dench_chocolatIn any case, all told, she’s an objectively fabulous human being. She came to her magnificent acting career by way of training in set design, and it is always my greatest sadness to repeat the fact she has chosen to begin drawing down her career due to macular degeneration, crediting this with her choice to leave the role of M in the Bond films. In fact, for her most recent films, scripts must be read to her. She has, however, remarked that she has no intentions to retire yet.

Just to say it on more time, I have the utmost respect and admiration for Judi Dench, who has become the First Lady of British Theatre. Although, she does have some interesting feelings about being considered a national treasure. And while it makes me sad that she doesn’t consider herself a feminist, she does have an unequivocal belief that she, and all women, “should have their say.” All evidence indicates that she is possessed of the all the grace and fire of her youth.

Judi-Dench-in-1968.-001I’ll leave you with this clip of the Dame signing autographs after a performance of Yukio Mishima’s Madame de Sade.

Ghibli Month: Howl’s Moving Castle (Part 2)

howls_moving_castle_artwork_prop_10Read Part 1 here.

Tsunderin: Another unfortunate thing this film also does is put Sophie on a pedestal, and not just because she’s the protagonist. There’s no denying that Sophie is a rather good female character. The problem arises when every other female character is not so good. The Witch of the Waste is a good antagonist until it’s discovered that she doesn’t really have a motivation behind her actions, or at least not one strong enough to keep her from falling in cahoots with Sophie’s gang in the second half of the film and becoming a plot device rather than a character. And though Madame Suliman has the motivation of duty driving her actions, again there’s no real strength there because the audience never sees her again after that one scene. We never have the chance to put together whether or not she orchestrated any of these attacks against Sophie to punish Howl for his insubordination. All she leaves is an imposing image and a threat that boils down to just, “you better help me, Howl. >:(”

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After Earth

afterearthleadSo now that both Lady Geek Girl and I have reviewed the trailer for this movie (here and here), I figured I’d subject myself to it, because why the hell not? As it turns out, “why the hell not” seems to be the driving motivation behind just about every scene in the movie, so yeah, why the hell not? I can’t say that I had that many high expectations for this film, and so I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Sometimes, I was remarkably surprised at hints of, dare I say, good writing. Other times, I was torn between laughing and cursing at myself for paying to go see this thing.

Obviously, there are going to be spoilers in this post. But before we begin, M. Night Shyamalan likes to work with twist endings. Some of you may be asking yourself what the twist is for this movie. Lady Geek Girl speculates that it’s that the movie takes place in a utopia where The Last Airbender movie didn’t suck.

If only.

The twist is that there is no twist. There’s some fear monster that Jaden Smith is terrified of, but at the climatic ending, he learns how to not be afraid of it. At just that right moment. He and Jamie from Rise of the Guardians seem to have a lot in common in that regard, except that Jamie wasn’t an annoying caricature.

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