Monday, November 30, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 18 Days Left, #Feelings

Originally I was going to post the original scene, where Han is going into the carbonite chamber, but then I found this on Tumblr. Ugh... SO MANY FEELS!!! I really cannot wait to see Han and Leia again and learn how their relationship progressed between the events of RotJ and TFA!

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 20 Days Left, Who Would Win?

In a race between Hera Syndulla piloting the Ghost and Han Solo in the Falcon, who would win?

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Friday, November 27, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 21 Days Left, A Royal Insult

Last year during Celebration Anaheim, Carrie Fisher was asked what her favorite scenes were while filming the original trilogy. Her answer was any scene where Leia was insulting Han!

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 22 Days Left, Her Universe Star Wars Apparel

Her Universe makes fun fandom fashion apparel, and though it's primarily targeted at women, many of their items, like t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets, are fun for anyone to wear. And they make plus sizes! The company's founder, Ashley Eckstein, is a huge Star Wars fan and voices Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, so there is plenty of Star Wars merchandise to choose from.

For Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I am going to wear the X-Wing cardigan I bought at the Her Universe Star Wars booth during SDCC!

And on December 17th I will wear the Han Solo cosplay dress to see Episode VII at a 9pm showing!

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 23 Days Left, Force Push Gifs

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: 24 Days Left, Stormtrooper Game!

Last year Jenna Busch and Legion of Leia gave away a The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions gift package to celebrate the release of the last season of The Clone Wars on Netflix and Blu-ray. And I won!

I received a Blu-ray copy of The Clone Wars season 6, a Yoda Ultimate FX lightsaber, a Yoda flashlight (that talks!), and a Stormtrooper light-up game.

I LOVE this game. I love that it looks and feels like a holocom (or Holo-pad) when I hold it. I love that it's basically whack-a-mole, which is my favorite carnival game. And I love that I can play a quick game while I wait for SWTOR to load or when I'm bored at my desk.

A video posted by Kate (@chiksolo) on

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Monday, November 23, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: Day 25, "She's got it where it counts, kid!"

The Millennium Falcon is a YT-1300 Light Freighter. But it's more than a ship.

The Millennium Falcon is freedom. It's hope. It is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, covered Luke's rear as he took out the first Death Star, and was responsible for leading the run that destroyed the second Death Star and the Emperor along with it.

I love the Millennium Falcon as much as I love my favorite Star Wars characters.

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: Day 26, Wise Words

When I'm having a rough time, suffering from writer's block, or just feel like I can't do anything right, I think of Master Yoda and his instructions to Luke.

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: Day 27, My Favorite Smuggler

I LOVE this photo of Harrison Ford as Han Solo. It was released last week as part of Entertainment Weekly's Star Wars special issue. The article it accompanied, Harrison Ford IS Han Solo, can be read online at EW's website. Han Solo has always been one of my favorite characters, and this photo makes me so excited that we get to see Han again! (also: swoon!)

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Friday, November 20, 2015

#Fandom5: Five Fandoms I Am Thankful For

Happy Friday!

Next week is Thanksgiving, and today's 5 Fandom Friday topic is "five fandoms I am thankful for."

It is a great time to be a geek. Star Wars is coming back in full Force. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is going strong and introducing new characters. There are some wonderful comics out that showcase female and POC characters. And the internet makes it easier and easier to connect with people who share your interests, support creators, learn about other fandoms, and demand representation. Fandoms are the things we love, and the communities we create to celebrate them and support each other.

Five fandoms I am thankful for...

1. Star Wars
It was like a million voices cried out in joy... one moment I will always associate with how amazing this fandom can be is the release of the second TFA teaser trailer at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim last April, as fans all over the world freaked out in anticipation of Episode VII.

Beyond this shared love of a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars fandom is full of caring people who raise money for charities, visit hospitals and events for children and the community, and support each other. They are creative and share that creativity with other fans by showing off fanart, hosting con panels, and writing tutorials to makes droids and armor and props. Just Google R2-KT, the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, or the Mandalorian Mercs - or search Star Wars on the RPF - to see examples of how this fandom uses its love of Star Wars for the Light side of the Force!

SDCC 2014 - 501st day, lots of Imperials running around the con -
this trooper was making me crack up with his comments about Endor and Rebel scum!

2. Agent Carter
This fandom is so positive. Peggy is an amazing, confident character and Hayley Atwell is such a thoughtful person who loves her fans. At SDCC 2015 an Agent Carter flash mob was organized and we got to take photos on stage at the Marvel booth with Hayley! And this fall the casts of Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD held a DubSmash War to raise money for two charities. We know our value, and the value of having strong role models like Peggy and Hayley. I can't wait for season 2 to premiere on January 5th!

Agent Carter flash mob, SDCC 2015

The people I have met because of SDCC are so friendly and welcoming. From the bloggers who offer planning tips, to the Twitter friends I've made, to the wonderful group of you that I actually got to meet at Megan's Geeks Go Glam party this year, I am so thankful for all of you!

Geeks Go Glam party, SDCC 2015

4. Cosplayers
Like SDCC, this larger community encompasses a lot of different fandoms, but they are united by a common love of making costumes and props. This community shares their techniques and tips, showing off the results at conventions and other fan events. I love meeting cosplayers and researching costumes.

Indiana Jones cosplayers at SDCC 2014

5. Dungeons & Dragons
The people I have met through D&D have been so accepting and welcoming. Online, fans write guides and offer DMing and player tips, character builds, and homebrew ideas. At SDCC, where I played for the first time, I was welcomed to the table even though I was a complete noob. And among local players I have made friends and spent hours playing, talking about D&D, and learning about other games. My experience with this community has been entirely positive, and I am very thankful for that!

#Fandom5, or 5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog link-up and the creation of Kristin at Super Space Chick and Megan at The Nerdy Girlie.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to find new blogs! Go here to learn more about it and follow #Fandom5 on Twitter!

#30DaystoTFA: Day 28, Beep Beep Boop!

That's right Artoo, there's only 28 days left until December 18th!

For today's #30DaystoTFA I am showing off my R2-D2 sixth scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles!

He's waiting patiently for my Hot Toys Princess Leia to join him!

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: Day 29, Richard Cheese

This fan video by Youtube user James Chia is set to the song "Star Wars Cantina" by Richard Cheese! It's one of my favorite Star Wars fan videos.

#30DaystoTFA is a hashtag created by Amy Ratcliffe, to share favorite Star Wars items, videos, quotes, photos, and memories as we count down the days until December 18th, 2015. Her blog is Geek With Curves.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#30DaystoTFA: Day 30, Episode VII Teaser Trailer

Today is ONE MONTH until Star Wars: The Force Awakens officially releases!!!

To celebrate, people are sharing some of their favorite Star Wars items, gifs, videos, and moments using the hashtag #30DaystoTFA. Amy from Geek With Curves started this hashtag on Facebook, and I saw Travis was participating, so I thought I would too!

Today I am sharing the second official teaser trailer, released during Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. This wasn't the first teaser trailer but it was the moment everything about this movie became real for me, as I sat in the lobby at work watching the livestream, tearing up and trying not to completely freak out. And now we are one month away from December 18th, 2015!!!

I still tear up as soon as the Lucasfilm logo appears!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Star Wars Battlefront Release *UPDATE*

Well, I had thought I'd have a post about Star Wars Battlefront today... I tried the game at SDCC, I pre-ordered in mid-August, I participated in the open Beta back in October, I was ready to go! I mean, I wasn't very good at it, but I was READY!

That was before I received this email:

Yeah... I saved something like 23% on the game, but in the end someone messed up and so far it looks like NO ONE who ordered through Green Man Gaming has received their game keys.

Star Wars Battlefront is a multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS), available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. I pre-ordered my copy for PC because we haven't moved on to the current generation of gaming consoles, both of us wanted to play, and I prefer to game on my PC anyway. I ordered from Green Man Gaming, a site I personally had never used before, but The Boyfriend suggested because of the deal and because he had used the site before without any problems.

At NerdHQ 2015

Threads on r/starwarsbattlefront are speculating about the delay. Perhaps EA is holding out on generating more keys for GMG because they want bitter gamers to cancel their orders and pay full price form Origin. Or perhaps GMG messed up and are issuing EU/ROW keys, not US keys, and they aren't valid until the ROW release on Thursday. There are questions about the legitimacy of the keys GMG sells, and people are being horrible in comments and on social media (as usual).

Either way, there is no proof that anyone who ordered from GMG has received any keys yet... and they're not real pre-order keys anyway - orders from GMG don't get the early access to Jakku, information that was included in a FAQ but not made obvious on the pre-order page. I guess you get what you pay for, though a temporary ~25% off didn't seem too good to be true when I'm used to Amazon heavily discounting newly released movies and other entertainment.

So now it is noon on the US release date, November 17th, and I STILL don't have my game key.

I'm not too bitter about not playing on release date, though I was looking forward to it. Honestly, I'm more upset that I paid for something in August and they were unable to deliver on the promised date.

I'll update this when I get my code. No Tabletop Tuesday today because I was planning on playing Battlefront.


I received an email with my code at 12:29 EST on Wednesday, November 18th! I am now downloading the game, and should be able to play later this evening after D&D. (nerd alert!)

My code arrived 36 hours and 29 minutes after the game launched in the North American region. My code came about 13 minutes after The Boyfriend's, who bought his pre-order two days after I did. From reports on Reddit, it looks like the codes aren't going out in any particular order and some people are saying their codes are invalid. Green Man Gaming is being responsive on social media, telling people to file tickets with customer service.

So now I can finally play, which means I can run around freaking out and taking head shots because I suuuuuck at FPS. YAY!

Monday, November 16, 2015

8 Spooky Stories I Read in October

With the movie Crimson Peak being released this past October, I was in the mood for ghost stories and gothic horror, on top of my yearly Halloween craving for all things witchy and spooky. To satisfy this craving, I spent almost all my free time in October reading. This post includes short, spoiler-free reviews for the 8 books I read last month.

The Shades of London Series, by Maureen Johnson
To say I devoured these books is an understatement. Maureen Johnson also wrote the Little Blue Envelopes books. If you like YA lit and ghost stories, I definitely recommend this series.

The Name of the Star - In this book, the first of the series, readers are introduced to Rory. Rory is a really fun character - she's getting used to a new place, so there's the occasional case of culture shock. She's very talkative (which she attributes to her Louisiana family) and is prone to moments of TMI. And she reminds me of what it was like to be a teenager - that war of self-confidence and self-doubt. Another reason I loved this book was that I found Rory's experience living at her new school so similar to my own experience living in halls while at uni - from the dining hall descriptions to the common room.

A series of murders, seemingly copying the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, are happening in London. And Rory's school is located right in Ripper territory. Through a series of strange events, Rory becomes a very important witness to the crimes - and begins working with a super secret branch of the government, the Shades, to solve them.

The Madness Beneath - This book felt a little rushed, which is sometimes the case with a second book in a trilogy. I would have liked it if the repercussions of the final events in "The Name of the Star" were explored more in-depth, instead of rushing on to set the stage for the third book in the series. But this book offers some interesting explanations about the Shades and their history, and explores how Rory is coming to terms with her new abilities.

The Shadow Cabinet - The third book in the series continues to expand on the history of the Shades and their role in protecting London. I don't want to give away too much, and to describe the plot of "The Shadow Cabinet" would reveal the events of the preceding books, but I will say I was satisfied by this book. Many questions are answered and the world is expanded upon using established mythology (Greek mythology, rivers/water and death, ley lines). Rory and her friends in the Shades learn that there is a much larger plot at work in London, extending beyond the influence of the Ripper, and that some people are willing to do anything to cheat death.

The ending of this book provides a nice conclusion for the trilogy, but leaves the story open-ended - and I sincerely hope there will be more books in this series! There is also a novella, The Boy in the Smoke, which provides some backstory on Stephen Dene and his role in the Shades.

The All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness
Honestly, one of the best ways I can describe this series is Twilight, Outlander, and The Historian had a baby. That is what this book reads like, the quality of the writing, the subject matter, the plot details. If you enjoy magic, vampires, time-travel, history, and a fated romance, I definitely recommend these books. If you hate "Twilight" or "Outlander" with your entire being though, I would say beware.

A Discovery of Witches - I started off really enjoying this book. The main character, Diana Bishop, is an academic studying alchemical illustration. She is also a witch. One day while researching in an Oxford library she comes across a strange manuscript, Ashmole 782, that has had a spell placed upon it. After that, strange things begin to happen; she is seemingly being stalked by every vampire, witch, and daemon in Oxford because they want that book, which they believe to be the mysterious Book of Life. Diana also meets a tall, dark, handsome man who ends up being a vampire. He also wants the book, believing it will explain why these species exist, and they establish a working relationship to uncover its secrets.

Unfortunately when the romance started kicking in is when I started losing interest. The whole "fated to be" element turned me off, especially because the Diana character started changing and giving up parts of her life to suit the romance. Diana also comes off as very Mary Sue-like at times. Oh, and did I mention that a romance between a vampire and witch - and any children it produces - are forbidden by a mysterious Congregation that governs the Creatures (witches, vampires, daemons) and is headquartered in Italy? This section of the book is why I compare the trilogy to Twilight - it's not just because there are vampires!

The quality of the writing also leaves something to be desired - I actually considered making a drinking game of this book (drink every time Matthew's clove-like scent is mentioned or he growls like an animal!!!) The writing does improve over the trilogy, and the central mystery of Ashmole 782 was intriguing enough that I felt compelled to finish the series.

Shadow of Night - This book is the most similar to Outlander, with its element of time travel. The descriptions and use of magic in this book, as Diana learns about her powers, are very interesting and unlike any other book about magic-users that I've read before. I also enjoyed seeing Diana grow in her powers and become an active part of the witch community.

The Book of Life - As the last book in this series, "The Book of Life" does a very good job wrapping up the story. A lot happens in this book, and with all of the characters introduced over the trilogy it can get a little difficult keeping everything straight. This book continues to explore the politics of the Creatures, Diana and Matthew's relationship and its role in the changing Creature paradigm, and the mystery of Ashmole 782/The Book of Life.

Help for the Haunted, by John Searles
This book was a real page-turner for me. It is the story of a teenaged girl named Sylvie whose parents are paranormal investigators and work to help people who are haunted by evil spirits. Parts of this book were inspired by the work of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, whose famous cases inspired movies like The Amityville Horror and The Conjuring.

After her parents are murdered, Sylvie learns more about her parents' work and the dark secrets her family kept. The book jumps around in time, back to family trips and Sylvie's memories of her parents and sister, but the narrative is not hard to follow. This adds to the element of surprise as secrets are slowly revealed to the reader and Sylvie makes connections between her parents' work and the events of their deaths.

If you like spooky stories and mystery, I highly recommend this book. Of all the books I read this past month, this is probably my favorite.

The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
This book is considered classic gothic horror. It is the tale of a governess at an old English manor, the two innocent and sweet children she cares for, and the ghosts that haunt them. But are the ghosts real? Or is the governess just mad?

On the surface, as a ghost story, this book doesn't do it for me. I did not find this book suspenseful or the ghosts scary; the governess tells the readers that the ghosts are terrifying, but does not really give us evidence that they are scary. I never felt that anyone was threatened by the ghosts...

And that's why I prefer the interpretation that the governess is going mad. Her fear of these ghosts seems more threatening to the serenity of the household and the well-being of the children than the ghosts themselves. And looking for clues in the writing that support this interpretation, like Mrs. Grose's vague replies during conversations with the governess or the actions of the children when the ghosts are supposedly present, increased my enjoyment of the book - like solving a mystery.

Thank you for reading! If you've ever read any of these books, want to read these books, or have any recommendations for me, please leave me a comment below!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Working Girl

You guys...

I got a job!

It's a retail position at our local L.L.Bean. My interview was earlier today. It was a group interview, which I've never done before, but apparently it went well because I was offered a position.

A friend and colleague of mine works there and I know for a fact that they manage his retail schedule around his teaching schedule, so this should work well for me if I get a teaching position in the spring.

I'm a little nervous about working retail during the holiday season - I haven't worked retail in 10 years and remember being so tired during the holiday season! I know it'll be okay though - everyone I met today was really nice and it sounds like it will be a good place to work.

SDCC 2016: Pre-Registration

Our SDCC 2016 preparations officially began yesterday with the Pre-Registration Badge Sale!

This badge sale is usually held late in the year. It is only open to people who attended SDCC the previous summer, and only to those who take the time to validate their badges using a code printed on the physical badge itself.

But never fear, people who aren't eligible for Pre-Reg and still want to go to SDCC! Only a percentage of badges are released during this sale. This means there will always be a population of experienced con-goers at SDCC each year, but going one year does not guarantee a badge the following year. During Open Registration in the spring, everyone participating has an equal chance of getting a badge regardless if they're completely new to SDCC or are a veteran con-goer.

Yesterday's sale went really well, in spite of some early hiccups with the waiting room right at the start - and CCI got those resolved before the 9am start time. It was so great to see so many messages of success among my Twitter and Blogging Buddies! I think Comic Con International has really worked out their system, and I am glad it has been working so well these past few years!

The Boyfriend and I managed to get Thursday and Sunday badges, which is great! We'll try to grab Friday and Saturday during Open Registration in the spring. I really hope we get lucky again and get all four days like we have the previous two years! Fingers crossed! Until Open Reg in March or April (or February?) we'll just be keeping an eye on the airlines and thinking about cosplay!

We got BADGES!!!

Did you try to get badges yesterday? How did you do? Will you be trying to get badges in the spring during Open Registration?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hey, stranger...

Ok, so no Tabletop Tuesday for a week became no Tabletop Tuesday for a month... I didn't have time to get ahead on my posts. But you know what?

I've been under a lot of stress. Being a grad student doesn't pay very well. Working on a dissertation topic that, while interesting, reminds me of how far I am from what I want to study and why I went into this field is crushing. I've been fighting with my depression and anxiety a lot lately. The weather is getting cold and wet and gray, and though I actually like this weather, it seems oppressive here. I've spent a lot of time questioning myself, what I'm doing, and what I need to change to be happier. And in spite of these questions, I still have no idea just what the frak I'm doing with myself.

I haven't touched my bagpipes in the last couple of months. I want to blow off D&D because it's easier to stay in, work a couple of extra hours, sit in front of the TV until bedtime. I force myself out of the house for D&D on Wednesdays, but it's been harder since our group was changed up and we got a new DM with an irregular schedule. But I'm not letting myself sit at home alone like I want to. Gotta keep moving, gotta keep working, nothing will change or improve if I sit still.

I applied for a part-time retail job. I worked retail in college, and between the managers and the customers it was such a horrible experience that ten years later I still remember the name of the first customer who treated me like shit without any reason other than her own self-entitlement. But adjuncting, tutoring, TAing doesn't pay very well and the contracts only last a semester. As nervous as I am about being back in a retail position, I hope I get the job because I need the money.

The SDCC pre-registration badge sale is this Saturday. I hope, hope, HOPE I get a badge again. This will be my third year at SDCC if I do, and it's to the point where I really don't know how I would react if it didn't work out! I suppose I'd live vicariously through my Twitter Buddies' feeds and plan to visit a couple of East Coast conventions instead, but I would miss the excitement of being there, right in the thick of it. I don't feel entitled to a badge, and I know my odds are as good as anyone else in pre-reg - but just like everyone else, I am hoping I'm the lucky Cheerio that gets scooped out of the bowl! (Be the Cheerio!)

Whether or not I get a badge, I am feeling so thankful for this badge sale right now. Planning for SDCC means thinking ahead, about what I want to accomplish by July, and the optimism that comes with that. It can be a pleasant distraction or a looming deadline, both of which I need right now.

I'll get back to blogging eventually. I need to meet a couple of deadlines first, then build up a stockpile of posts so I don't get derailed if a week comes up where I can't take a moment to write something new. Thanks for reading.