Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Lost Years Ear Biscuits Response


Dear Rhett and Link, February 11th, 2020

While I'm absolutely going to link this blog entry in my newly formed Twitter, my thoughts on your Lost Years Ear Biscuits episodes will in no way fit into the confines of a Tweet. I hope that you read this, because I am going to do what you asked: share my story.
I'm going to begin, though, by saying that I had just accepted the "cover story" so to speak, that you guys had been engineers and then left those jobs to transition fully to becoming YouTubers, fulfilling your teen promise to one another to create something great. And like you've acknowledged, that basically is what happened, there was just a lot of personal stuff left out, which you've been kind enough to indulge to all us Mythical Beasts over the past month.

My maternal grandmother was raised Catholic, and it probably goes back a few more generations than that. In any case, though, it follows that my mom and aunt were raised Catholic, and when I came along, my mom raised me Catholic. I went through the normal course for Catholicism - being baptized as a baby, Communion at seven, Penance when I was about nine, and Confirmation when I was 13. I attended CCD through grade school, (I don't remember if I had to attend in middle school,) and after I was Confirmed, my mom stopped bringing me to church week after week, and we just went on Christmas and Easter.

I'll be honest, all those CCD classes, the Sunday church sermons, I didn't retain a lick of it. I don't remember ever reading anything from the actual bible. It was just teachers and priests telling us "this is what happened, this is how you should behave, these are things you shouldn't do." I knew (and know) the Our Father, but I couldn't rattle off bible verses. I still can't, except for John 3:16.

Well, when I was 12, I'd made friends with a girl my age whose father was the pastor of a Baptist church in the town next to mine, about a ten minute drive away. One thing I needed to do for my Confirmation was something like 12 hours of volunteer work and I was really worried about being able to fulfill that, because I used to be an incredibly shy person. I could be outgoing in certain scenarios, but as far as selling myself? No. Never. So I was thankful when my mom thought of that pastor and asked him if he had any volunteer job leads. He said I should come volunteer for the Vacation Bible School that his church did for a week during the summer. So I did, and much to my amazement, I actually found myself really enjoying it. I was a teacher's aid, essentially, and it was great seeing so many little kids excited to be there and singing the songs that were played each morning. And the lessons were things that made sense to me. I could see how these things could apply to everyday life.

So, I went back a second summer, before my freshman year of high school. Then a third, before my sophomore year, and that was where I met the Youth Group leader's son. Instant crush. This guy was cute, we both liked the Beatles and other classic rock, and he was something of an outsider among his peers, the same way that I was. Luckily, we exchanged numbers before VBS ended that summer, and he invited me to come to Youth Group that Sunday. So I began going to the Baptist church's Youth Group; yes, mostly because of my crush, but for the most part, I actually did enjoy Youth Group. Going Christmas caroling to the old folk's homes and hospitals in the nearby area was one of my favorite things. Much like the two of you, performing was a major draw for me. Any time I could be in front of an audience, I wanted to take it. Of course, this was hindered greatly by my shyness and lack of self-confidence, but those drawbacks didn't stop me from dreaming about becoming a successful actress/singer/performer on stage or on screen one day.

Well, the pastor's daughter and I had met in a "student enrichment" program in middle school. That basically means that a school in the area gave permission for students from that school and surrounding ones to go there on Saturdays for ten weeks for different activities/classes to learn new skills or try something fun. There were gymnastic, magic trick, cooking, sculpting, drawing, ballet, jazz, and a plethora of other classes a kid could sign up for. And the biggest one for me, the one that I took from 6th through 8th grade, was the acting class. Students met in the auditorium, did some ad lib stuff, we were told what play or segment of a play we'd be doing, and at the end of that ten weeks, we'd put on a show for the families and anyone else who wanted to come. The pastor's daughter had been in the acting class with me the second and third year I did it, so she knew I liked performing. It was around October of my sophomore year when she suggested I join the Baptist church's choir, and if I came one Sunday morning, I could talk to the choir director before the service began.

That started me on the road to attending the high school class Sunday school (we were all divided up based on age and grade,) and then the church services. I was pretty faithful in going from my sophomore year up till I was 19. But then something happened.
I'd made a friend at the end of my sophomore year. He became one of my best friends for that summer and someone that my Best Friend had gotten together with, but then once my junior year started, his mom completely freaked out and started accusing me and my Best Friend of all sorts of craziness towards her son, and insisted that we never contact him again. (This whole thing has its own long story.) Anyway, my Best Friend and I were devastated because neither of us were good at losing people we cared about, especially when they were torn from us in such a painful, confusing, damaging way.

Several years later, that guy and I reconnected, though he had to talk to me in secret since he was still living at his mom's house and she still hated me for whatever made up reasons she had. In the course of talking to him at that point, he confirmed something I'd suspected back in high school, but hadn't been able to have any adult take me seriously about: that his mother was not only dangerously controlling, but emotionally abusive.

Even though we had to talk in secret, he wanted to find a way to talk to my Best Friend, preferably in person, and explain everything from that dark period in our high school memories. The only problem was, my Best Friend and I have never lived in the same state as one another. I'm in New Jersey, and back then, she was in Staten Island, a good hour drive away. They'd gotten together back in high school because she came to visit me and basically lived at my house over the summers. So, we planned. We figured out a day that he'd have several hours free when we'd be able to go up to Staten Island, talk to my Best Friend, come back to New Jersey, and he could go back to his house.

To this day, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but his mom got tipped off. An argument, or more accurately just her screaming at him, ensued, and he actually ran out of his house. He showed up at mine sometime around nine pm. My then boyfriend was there, and the three of us talked. Somehow, it was suggested that he should talk to the pastor the next day. After all, they attended that Baptist church as well, and he actually was part of the choir (something I'd never followed through on,) so the pastor would *have* to listen when one of his flock was in trouble, wouldn't he?

The answer is no. Later that night, his parents called mine, demanding that we send him back over to his house, and insulting/threatening them, me, and my then boyfriend. Then, one of the nosy-est, most gossipy hens from the church called my parents, making it seem like we were harboring a fugitive, and "how dare we keep him from going home, don't we know how panic-stricken his mother is??" (to which I can't help but give a sarcastic laugh, to this day,) and eventually, he did decide to go back to his house, though he promised me he'd show up at the church the next day so we could all talk to the pastor.

He never showed up. But my then boyfriend and I persisted, regardless, because we wanted to help him and figured that if the pastor could step in, maybe things could improve somehow.

They didn't. That pastor basically told us that what went on behind closed doors in their house was none of our business or concern, and even told my then boyfriend that he had no right to want an apology for the threats and insults she'd hurled the previous night. Things reached a climax where I ended up running out of the church and across the street to a park where I ended up on my hands and knees, sobbing. Because what good was the church if they were refusing to even listen to someone who knew someone else needed help?

Rhett, your words about the spiritual crisis you went through really spoke to me, because that's exactly what I felt at that point. How could there be a God if He let things like this happen to people? How could there be a God, one who was supposed to be so just, no less, if He had vessels in the church who refused to even listen when one of their flock was suffering?

I took the time to really think about it. I know I considered things for days, but I'm not sure quite how long of a period of reflection and questioning and doubting there was. In any case, I did come to a conclusion. I decided that I still believed in God, but not the people who claim to be under Him.

All of that happened almost 18 years ago, and I've attended maybe five or six services at that church since, for specific reasons, like when my mom decided to officially become a member and asked that I be there when she was baptized into that church. About a year ago, I took a religions class because it was a requirement for graduation. (I attended community college for my AA, go poke your fun at community college, Rhett, then went into the communiversity program they have. That means I was able to get my BA through a 4 year school that worked with the community college, and at a reduced price rate. And yes, I was a very late bloomer as far as initiative for college.) Anyway, the school on the list that offered a BA in English is a Catholic college, which is why a religions class is a graduation requirement. Let me tell you, that class did more for turning me towards atheism than anything else I've experienced! And then, funnily enough, it was reruns of Touched by an Angel that brought me back closer to belief.

The interesting thing for me is, I've struggled with belief and blind faith and things like that probably since I was about 9 years old. And what began it was a friend of mine was over at my house and for whatever reason, we were talking about CCD or church or something in that general subject area, and I remember him saying to me, "Sometimes, I wonder if there even really IS a God."

I don't remember what I said to him. I don't remember any particular thoughts that went through my head then. But I've always remembered that moment, because that was the moment, even if I didn't realize it then, when I began questioning things.

Link, you mentioned not feeling that connection as you got older. Squeezing your eyes shut during sermons because you wanted to feel *something,* some kind of connection. I related to that so much, because when I started attending the Baptist Church, everyone there, even the other teens in the Youth Group, seemed to have this true relationship with God that felt completely foreign to me. And it wasn't even that I didn't believe in God; I did, I just didn't understand how these people had cultivated this close relationship that seemed so out of reach for me. Yet even though it seemed out of reach, something in me still yearned for it. But the more I didn't grasp it, the more I felt like a fraud, and the more of an outsider I felt in that church and the youth group.

In fact, I remember the first time I felt truly connected while in that Youth Group was when the Youth Group leader's son and I were hanging out on our own for a bit during a Youth Group retreat in October of my sophomore year. It was when all of us were getting fast food and everyone else wanted to go to Taco Bell, but he and I opted for Burger King. So we agreed to meet back up with the group after eating, and went to our choice of fast food meal. Anyway, while we were sitting there enjoying burgers and fries, we got to talking, and he admitted to me that after the retreat, he probably wasn't going to be at Youth Group for awhile. When I asked why, he said it was because he was really struggling with his faith and actually felt that he was more agnostic than believer. I told him I felt much the same way, and how I wished I could feel as sure as everyone else in Youth Group seemed to.

The second instance was the summer before my junior year when I went to Creation with the Youth Group. Creation was basically a week-long giant Christian Woodstock, (though obviously without the drugs, alcohol, and nudity.) Concerts played the majority of the day with numerous Christian artists, and we camped out for the duration, enjoying the concerts, bonfires, trekking around the nearby hills, and supposedly really getting back to nature in order to get a closer relationship with God. Well, at one point, instead of a performer playing whatever instruments, singing whatever songs, there was a speaker. He may have written Christian books, I'm honestly not sure. Unfortunately, I don't even remember his name. But he got up there and talked about doubts. He talked about wavering belief. He talked about questioning God's plan. And he encouraged anyone in the audience to stand up if they were struggling with their beliefs. Stand up if they wanted a closer relationship with God, but weren't sure how to achieve it. Stand up if they wanted their faith to be stronger.

I stood up.

I was in no way the only person in the crowd who did, of course. But I felt like here was someone, strong in his faith, who talked about those doubts, those questions, those wishes. And not only did he talk about them, he *acknowledged people felt that way.* That was huge for me as a soon to be 16 year old.

But I had problems with the church. The evolution/creation issue never arose for me. I knew there was at least one person in the Youth Group who believed in the literal interpretation of the seven days God took to create everything and then rest, but I'd watched Inherit the Wind by then. (Mostly because of Gene Kelly, but still, I'd seen it.) And I don't know if it was that film that spurred this belief in me, but I felt Creationism and evolution could go hand in hand for the simple reason, who are we to tell God how long a day is to Him? How can any human be so arrogant, so condescending, that he thinks he can definitely speak for God? God's "day" could very well have lasted hundreds, thousands, or millions of years. In which case, his creations could have changed over time, whether by His design, or by the time He sat back and watched them on earth.

My biggest problem with the Baptist Church was always in relation to other religions and how they viewed who would make it to heaven. I don't think Baptists are alone in this, but Catholicism seems to be the butt of many jokes and jeers and insults in other sects of Christianity, and I remember feeling so weird and almost ashamed that I had grown up Catholic because of the things said by the Youth Group members about the Catholic church and its beliefs. And what really annoyed me was how, especially the pastor's daughter, would talk about people who had a different belief system. How she was "so sad that she wouldn't see her Jewish friend in heaven." I never said anything then because I didn't have the self confidence or the bible knowledge to back me up, but I'd always think something along the lines of, "Okay, when exactly did you ascend to heaven to see who was/will be present?"

I touched on this before, but I said that watching Touched by an Angel reruns did more for me than anything else in recent memory for my faith. I've noticed that as I've gotten older, I've gotten further and further away from God. I've even begun wondering if the only reason I believe at all is because it's a habit. Just something I've always done. I've never known differently than to accept that yes, God exists. Watching that show, though, it's just so excellently done. Even when they're talking about something like abortion, there's no blame. There's just the angels, who have come to the humans, talking about God's love, God's acceptance, God's forgiveness. It was in many ways wonderful watching these episodes and feeling like this is what people should be striving to be like. Like you said, Link, just loving people, as many as you can.

And I remember one night, after just having watched about three episodes of Touched by an Angel that day, I went on Facebook and what was the first thing I saw? A post condemning women who would choose "murdering their child" (abortion,) from someone who claims to be such a firm believer in God and His teachings. That little bubble I'd created for myself, where I could pretend that that show truly represented Christians, was broken. Because where was the love? Where was the compassion? Where was the forgiveness? Where was the understanding that some women may be forced into a horrible position where something like that is their only option?

Much like you two, I don't have things all figured out, and I feel like I relate to you, Link, in that I'm still processing exactly what it is I believe. But I'll tell you guys this: it's an honor to me that you would choose to share your stories with all your fans. Parts of both of your stories relate to me and touched me in different ways. The intellectual way you went about things, Rhett, and the desire to feel that connection, Link, those both resonated with me so deeply. And I cried at different points during both of your tellings.

I know what I do believe, and here it is: I do believe there is a God. And I'll tell you exactly why. I've had other such sequences of events in my life, but this is the most recent. I started working at Pizza Hut in 2012 and met a guy who's become one of my best friends. That guy showed me a YouTube video in 2013 of a water balloon popping in slow motion. Sometime in 2018, I was browsing YouTube and had probably just watched a How Ridiculous video and thought to myself, "Hey, he showed me that slow motion balloon popping video years ago. I wonder if I can find it." I didn't, but I did find the Slow Mo Guys channel and their Giant Balloon June videos. I watched a handful of other ones, but mainly kept going back to the five or so giant balloon ones. Then in April of last year, they released the slow motion saber video, featuring a couple of other guys, one who joked about the other not being allowed to use sharp things, and the other who couldn't saber the bottle until his fourth try. And because of those two things, I decide I had to find out what the deal with this guy and sharp objects is. So I looked into it. And I found compilation videos. And then "Will It's?" And then so many others. And at just the perfect time, because I'd just gone through a break up and needed the laughs so badly.

I believe that those seeming coincidences are too perfectly timed to just be coincidences. I believe that God stepped in and guided me to you guys, the same way other events have perfectly fallen into place in my life to give me an opportunity to talk to someone, get me in the right place at the right time, get me away from a person or place, etc.

I'm not by any means encouraging you to believe as I do. I think everyone has to go on their own journey. But I did want to share mine.

In closing, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for bringing me so many laughs. Thank you for bringing me to tears (both happy and relatable) on multiple occasions. Thank you for being wonderful role models. Thank you for sharing such personal details and aspects of your lives. Thank you for The Book of Mythicality and The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek. Thank you for encouraging so much positivity in others. Thank you for so much more than I can even name right now. But lastly, because you were the ones to begin it all, thank you guys for being your Mythical Best.

Love always,

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Female "Doctor"

I was excited for the announcement of the Doctor to follow Peter Capaldi. Even better, the announcement was made on July 16th -- my birthday. But the fact that Jodi Whittaker was named to follow Capaldi did not fill me with joy, and the division the fandom has felt since then is still going strong. Apparently, you aren't allowed to dislike a female playing the Doctor without automatically being called a sexist. Because "how DARE you NOT support a female" being named . . . in a part that has been exclusively male for more than fifty years?! And you've got people bringing in the race card, too. Saying only sexist racists would be against a female Doctor, and they'd bet that the ones against it were also against a black woman to play Hermione in Cursed Child, and so on.

Frankly, to address the Hermione thing first off, yes, I will admit it's weird seeing a black woman play Hermione when the face associated with the character is that of Emma Watson. It's also weird because in the third book, I believe it was, there's a mention of Hermione's white face. So, yes, the character is Caucasian. However, that doesn't mean a black person can't play her. If she's a good actress, then she'll be seen as Hermione regardless. I look at it the same way I look at the 25th anniversary of Les Mis at the Royal Albert Hall. A black guy played Javert. Is that historically accurate, that a black person would be in that position of power? Highly doubtful, so yes, it is a bit jarring to see a black man playing Javert. However, it in no way detracts from the performance he gives. (The automatic comparison to Phillip Quast from the tenth anniversary does that, and I'm sorry to 25th anniversary Javert, but you do come out lacking.)

Now, I'm aware, people reading this will then ask, "If you're not against a black Hermione, and say that if she's good, she'll be seen as Hermione regardless, then how can you be against a woman Doctor?"

Equating the two doesn't work. Especially in a play setting, the best actor/actress should get the role, regardless of what they look like, unless body type/ethnicity is integral to the role. For instance, I remember one play where two woman are talking, and they are comparing sizes, and both are small women, I believe a size two and a size four. There, you would need specifically small women, so anyone over a size six, unless the director takes liberties with those lines, is not going to work in the part. Anyway, having a black Hermione doesn't equate because they aren't changing base things about the character. They're not suddenly changing her into a guy because "reasons." They're simply saying, 'hey, this actress was the best one, she got the part.'

A woman Doctor, in what has been an exclusively male role up till now is not the same thing. Changing the Doctor to a woman will change the entire personality, the way people look at and react to the character, and how the writers would even be able to set up episodes. I'm aware this is sci-fi, and I'm aware this is fiction, but there are elements of reality within. Take the episode Midnight, for example. Quick recap: the Doctor is in a train car going on a tour through a planet made of diamond, I believe. The surface of the planet is such that nothing could survive out in its atmosphere, and the car has to be kept completely enclosed, because any longer than six seconds' exposure to that atmosphere will kill you. On the tour, the car is stopped by something, we don't know what, and the Doctor and the other passengers hear a knocking from outside the car. Whatever the entity is possesses one of the passengers, and later, the ones unaffected think that it's moved into the Doctor. They all agree that the best idea would be to throw the Doctor out of the car, onto the surface of the planet, thereby killing him instantly. It's human nature and mob mentality at its "finest." Obviously, there are episodes after this, the Doctor does wind up surviving, thanks to the one intelligent, logical thinker left in the car, who sacrifices herself to save the others.

Anyway. A woman Doctor probably wouldn't even be listened to for as long as David Tennant's Doctor was able to hold their attention. Women, historically, are spoken over, looked down on, have things dumbed down for us, have things simplified and over-explained to us, and are not listened to simply because we are women. Yes, the Doctor is an alien from Gallifrey, but the fact is, to humans, he looks like one of us. (Or as the Doctor said in one episode, "No, you look like Time Lords.") So people judge him, and now her, by human standards.

Extrapolate that to historical episodes, because not only does the Doctor go to other planets and the future, he also visits the past. There have been episodes featuring Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Vincent Van Gogh, and William Shakespeare, to name a few. And in those episodes, all featuring male Doctors, the Doctor wasn't necessarily listened to until it was almost too late. Imagine a female Doctor in those situations. Contending with the males  of the time, talking in circles around them about things they have no comprehension of, and especially in Shakespeare's time, she'd be locked away in an asylum for being a witch! Or in Agatha Christie's time, some well-intentioned man would probably be trying to marry her off to some aristocrat.

The point is, the Doctor, as a female, wouldn't be listened to in any sort of capacity from a true historical standpoint, so they'd either have to completely change how men reacted to females in the past, or take out the historical episodes all together.

Problem solved! you say? Not remotely. Because that still leaves us with the fact that with the Doctor being female, the personality will change. "You moron!!! Every regeneration, his entire personality changes!!! Don't you know anything about Doctor Who?!?!?!"

Yes, I do. There are traits and stature that are present in all the Doctors, even if some of them are a bit more out there than others. And even though these are very different men, there are traits and there is a stature they all have in common. And from the writing standpoint, those traits and stature are kept because it's men they're writing for. The clearest example I can give of this is Missy. She premiered in the first episode of season eight, also Peter Capaldi's first full episode. It's a mystery, though some figured it out long before the reveal, of who she is, until in the season eight finale, she tells the Doctor, "I couldn't very well keep calling myself the Master, could I?"

So apparently, Missy regenerated from John Simm's Master, who was taken by the ones on Gallifrey during the End of Time two parter, when David Tennant regenerated.

Honestly, I was so let down by this reveal, both because, okay, why did they feel the need to make her a woman? and because, are you serious??? What does it take to kill this guy??? (Not to mention that, while I can't confirm the truth of this because I haven't seen enough of Classic Who, but a friend told me that the Master felt he was perfect as he was, and that was why the Masters all have the same type of look about them. They're not so wildly different looking as the Doctors are, because the Master felt he'd already reached perfection. So, now all of a sudden, becoming female is the height of perfection? Yeah, no. I don't buy it.)

In addition to that, Missy as a character just felt sloppy, poorly written, poorly executed, and largely pointless, especially with the several "death" scenes where she inexplicably returns a few episodes later. And that, I feel, is the fate of a female Doctor. A sloppily done, poorly written, poorly executed character who is nothing more than a vague caricature of the powerful character they once were.

Peter Davison got a ton of flak for this, even deciding to close his Twitter account because of the backlash, but he said that it was a shame they were doing this to the Doctor, because there aren't enough male role models out there.

Frankly, I agree with him. There aren't enough male OR female role models. There are characters we like, characters we'd like to be, characters we ship ourselves with, but as far as actual role models, who is there?

I know some would point to Buffy's Angel or Spike, but really? The only reason Angel is a good guy is because gypsies cursed him with a soul so he would feel the pain and remorse for slaughtering their people. And even before he became a vampire, he was a drunken lout who loved gambling and using women. After he became a vampire, when he had no soul, well, he found pleasure in torturing people, sometimes for weeks before he killed them. Spike had his mommy issues, and his obsession with killing Slayers. Even when he claimed to love someone, like Drusilla, violence was involved. When Dru dumped him, Spike said in season three that he was going to 'go find her, tie her up, and torture her until she liked him again.' And in season five, when he revealed that he was in love with Buffy, there was still the bloodlust, because in season six, when he realized that he could hit her without the military chip implant in his head going off, he called her, had her meet him, and they fought. It culminated later near the finale of season six when Spike sexually assaults her when she's about to take a bath.

People may also point to someone like Harry Potter. I could see wanting him as a friend. An ally. Maybe even someone to get advice from. But a role model? No. Most of the time, he has no idea what he's doing, he does the normal thing of throwing tantrums after the events he's been through, he does push away his friends because of his emotions, and I know there's more, but I haven't read the movies in quite some time. The themes of standing by your friends, standing up for your beliefs, and the like, are things to look up to, but using any of them as role models? Again, no.

I do understand why people say there is a need for strong female characters in TV, literature, and movies. But the fact is, women are still coming from behind. We're still playing catch up to men who have always had the advantage. So if we want strong, independent female leads, then they need to be created by strong, independent women and put out there for the world to see. They shouldn't be characters who are already established males, so that a female actress is automatically measured against the men who have come before her. (And don't even try to tell me that won't happen. It happens every time the Doctor regenerates, and it's only going to be all the more vicious now, since it's a woman.)

I do welcome all INTELLIGENT comments on this topic. But if you're just going to come on here and say, "uR a SeXiSt LOSER!!!" or anything similar, your comment will be deleted. I welcome the exchange of ideas, but if you have nothing of substance to add to the discussion, (note I said discussion and not argument,) then save your breath. This post is not about beginning arguments, it's me saying my piece. If you  can't handle that, that's on you, not me.

Friday, October 27, 2017

"I'd be lost without my blogger!"

I haven't written in here in quite some time. Apparently since Abominable Bride premiered on TV. Since then, season four has come out, both on TV and on DVD, which I watched faithfully, and then purchased, because even though the action was a bit over the top, I nevertheless thought the season was terrific. I'll go back soon and rewatch them so I can give a more detailed explanation.

What else has happened in my life? Well, in December 2015, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an article about who could be the next Doctor after Peter Capaldi, and it was talking about the idea of a woman Doctor. (Which I am thoroughly against, but that'll be a subject for a later entry.) Anyway, of course, there were the polarized comments, some absolutely for, some furiously against, and then the joking ones, one of which I responded to. It said something about how "why not just have a teenager be the Doctor? He can go through puberty while traveling time and space!" I said that Matt Smith was something like 28 when he was picked as the Doctor, wasn't that young enough? When I checked back later, I had a reply to what I'd said, correcting me on Matt Smith's age. Turns out he was 26. Well, the guy, Kevin, who had corrected me and I exchanged a few more comments, I checked out his profile, and figured, "What the heck? Let's Friend him." So I did, he accepted, and I didn't expect anything more to come of it. He lives in Michigan, I'm in New Jersey, I thought we'd be the kind of Facebook friends who might comment Doctor Who stuff to one another occasionally, maybe we'd message once in a blue moon, but that'd be it.

Boy, was I wrong! We actually wound up meeting in person in November of 2016, because Long Island has a Doctor Who convention, and Kevin's favorite Doctor was going to be there. (Paul McGann, Eighth Doctor.) As well as Five, Six, Nick Briggs, and several others. The convention was great, and I even got him to sort of cosplay, because I had an Eighth Doctor coat made for him by someone I work with.

We also knew that we were interested romantically in one another, but neither of us declared anything in November, mostly because there were still issues to work through, and we both had to really decide if we wanted to try a long distance relationship. Yes, we visit one another, but it's every few months, and plane tickets aren't cheap. Yes, the drive can be made, but it takes in excess of twelve hours, and lemme tell you, doing it alone is NOT a fun thing!

But in February, we decided to take that leap, and we've been a couple since. Not without our bumps and issues, but we're working through them. We were able to see one another for a weekend in June because of a convention in DC called Awesome Con. We got to meet John Barrowman (me for the second time,) Catherine Tate, and Kevin got to meet Stan Lee.

Then we had a nice long visit in July where I got to celebrate my birthday with not only my boyfriend, but ALL of my best friends in the same place at the same time. So yeah, that was awesome.

In September, I went out to visit Kevin for his birthday, and that was a lot of fun. Got to see his nephew, who is two and a half and absolutely adorable.

Earlier this month, I went to NYCC because Peter Capaldi was there, and I figured, "what the heck? He may not be my favorite Doctor, but I did love his Christmas Specials." And let me tell you. He'll never be my favorite Doctor, but as a person, that man is the warmest, friendliest, sweetest man I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. The appreciation for his fans just exudes from him, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to be in his presence, to get his autograph, and to get a photo op with him. (In said photo op, he's holding my electric guitar and my boyfriend's Twelve Sonic.)

As of now, I'm two semesters away from graduating with my Bachelor's in English, I'm trying to go back to working on either my Afflictions trilogy, my Holmes novel concerning Jack the Ripper, or the new YA novel inspired by Kevin called North of Normal. It's about the friendship and possible relationship that develops between a girl and the new guy in school, a guy nammed Kurt who has Asperger's, an autism spectrum disorder. (Yes, Kevin is on the spectrum. Diagnosed at nine with Asperger's. It makes things interesting at times in our relationship, but it also gives me new ways to look at things.)

Next year is going to see more visits with him, at least three conventions, if not more, my graduating with my Bachelor's, and hopefully a lot more writing.

Here are the links to my first two Holmes books, Rendezvous at the Populaire and I Will Find the Answer, and happy reading, everyone. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sherlock Special: The Abominable Bride

I'm not sure I ever came back here, (after yet another hiatus,) and gave my thoughts on the Charles Magnussen episode of Sherlock; however, I have reviewed every other episode, so it seems only fair that I review this one. This may be in two parts, however, since there is a lot of ground to cover in this episode.

On January 1st, I got home from work and eagerly searched through the channels for which one Sherlock would play on: BBC America, or PBS. Turned out it was PBS, so I sat back, watching other things as I patiently waited for 9 pm to get here.

It first comes on, and we get a brief overview of 'So far on Sherlock' that gives highlights of the past three seasons. Then, 'Alternatively . . .' and the clock begins winding backwards.

Showing Watson wounded in action and then his narration over it when he comes back to London I found wonderful. Especially when he makes mention that his health is irretrievably damaged, or however his exact phrasing was.

It's when he runs into Stamford and they begin talking that I was a bit, for lack of a better term, disappointed in the writing. I understand they wanted to show the meeting between these two iconic literary figureheads, but it felt very rushed to me. Also, while I did enjoy that it was basically the Victorian version of what they'd done in a Study in Pink, that was exactly what it felt like -- a rehash, old-fashioned version of what they'd done in a Study in Pink, right down to Holmes's (now needless, since Stamford had introduced him,) announcement of his name, and where they were to meet.

When they're seen at Baker Street and Mrs. Hudson greets them, I kinda wondered about the Victorian aspect. If they were doing a "true Holmes" (I'll explain later why that's in quotes,) then why would Mrs. Hudson be going on the way she does in the modern take? Don't get me wrong, I liked how she went on about not having any lines, and how in the stories her sole purpose was showing people up the stairs and getting them tea. It just didn't say 'Victorian' to me. It more said, as is her famous line, "Not your housekeeper."

Clues are dropped about the eventual reveal in the show, (caught by me on the second time around watching it,) and we fairly quickly get into the case. Emelia Riccoletti, a woman seen pointing guns at men in the streets and shouting, "You!" has committed suicide, yet somehow she came back from the grave to kill her husband before disappearing into the mist.

When Holmes and Watson, (because despite the reveal, when they're in the Victorian setting, I can't help but think of them as Holmes and Watson instead of Sherlock and John,) go to the morgue, the audience discovers that Molly Hooper has dressed herself up as a man to work in the mortuary. I thought that bit was ingenious, because seriously, a woman wouldn't have been able to have the kind of job modern-day Molly does. The only way she *might* be able to get away with it is to disguise herself as a man, and I thought it was positively brilliant. I also thought it brilliant that Watson catches onto that little gem and makes it very clear he knows what she's doing, and yet Anderson, (unnamed in this episode, but still lowering IQ's street-wide,) is left clueless.

When they visit the Diogenes Club to see Mycroft, that, that was a treat. Though since I'm used to seeing Mark Gatiss as a tall, thin man, that may have contributed to the fact that the fat suit he was in looked more than a bit ridiculous. The face, hands, and neck, especially. But before we get to Mycroft, can we just talk about how hilarious it was to see Watson completely botch British Sign Language? I'm casually conversational in ASL, so I got a bit of what they were saying, (not enough, since BSL and ASL are different. I only caught two things I know are the same: face and thank you,) and I was laughing at Watson's attempts. "I'm glad you liked my potato." Then Holmes excusing his partner and making fun of him at the same time, and Watson's there, "Sorry, what?" Then realizes his mistake and before he goes to follow Holmes, he gives the other guy a thumbs up. Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

All right. I am going to make this a two part post. I'll end off here and come back soon with the rest of my thoughts.

Monday, December 8, 2014


That feels like such a weird title to say on today, of all days. I'm a huge Beatles fan, and anyone else who is knows why this day absolutely sucks for Beatles fans. It's the day John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota by Mark David Chapman thirty four years ago.

However, this day was absolutely awesome, because I went into Manhattan and got to meet up with the one and only R.L. Stine for an interview. I haven't transcribed it yet, so it's not going up on the blog right now; however, I will tell about the experience.

First, he'd suggested three pm, so I planned on getting into town with enough time to go to a couple stores, then get to him. Unfortunately, I read the bus schedule wrong, and had to catch a bus an hour later than I planned. No big deal, though, it still gave me an hour to get to him, I'd just go to the stores afterward. So that's exactly what I did. I got there early by some miracle, so waited for a bit, then was invited up.

That's right. Invited up. The interview took place in R.L. Stine's apartment. IN HIS APARTMENT. Not only that, but he'd gotten a package delivered just after I came in, so when he called down to the doorman to send me up, the doorman asked if he wanted me to bring the package up with me and he said yes! So I got to bring R.L. Stine's mail up to him!

I had a slight Fangirl breakdown in the elevator.

Then it opened, and there he was, because unlike apartments that I'm used to where the elevator opens into a hallway and there are the individual doors to the different apartments, the elevator here just opened straight to where he and his wife live. And their dog, who was all barky at first, but adorable, just the same.

My mom made some cookies over the weekend, so she made a small box for me to take to him, so that's the first thing I handed him when I set my stuff down and took off my coat. Then, I gave him my early Christmas gift to him, which was a DVD of the Vincent Price version of House of Wax, which he then told me he'd seen with his brother in the movie theater in 3D.

Anyway, long story short, we had a great talk, and I'll come back soon with the transcribed notes from my tape recorder. All in all, though, today was awesome.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Okay, so I'm back after another hiatus. I lost the password for this blog and had some major troubles getting back into it. While I haven't worked on anything Holmes-related in several months, save for several days when I looked over the Ripper novel, I have had a rather exciting past couple of weeks. On October 1st, I went to a signing given by R.L. Stine at the Union Square Barnes and Noble in Manhattan. He was there to advertise the release of his new Fear Street book, Party Games, the first new one in almost twenty years.

Now, I started reading Fear Street back in 1995, when I was twelve years old. I've always loved reading, and back in middle school, there were always those tissue-paper thin, four page book "catalogues" that would get handed out in homeroom or whenever. Well, I would always see two books in particular. Call Waiting, by R.L. Stine, and The Whisperer, one of the Nightmare Hall books by Diane Hoh, and I was really interested in reading them. I never got to order them from that catalogue, but I found them one time I was at the local Barnes and Noble. The Nightmare Hall one was good, but the R.L. Stine one reeled me in. I read several other standalones of his, then found the Fear Street series. I think the first one of that I read was Switched. Anyway, I read Fear Street through seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth grade. I think it was the summer between tenth and eleventh that they stopped being released. They were getting rather formulaic by that point, but I was still sad to see them come to an end. I have a complete collection, except for about eight of the Graduation books, and two of the Fear Street Saga ones.

Fast forward to 2001, Halloween night. My aunt told me that R.L. Stine was doing a talk and signing at the Menlo Park mall. She brought me and my cousin there and I got not only his autograph in The New Year's Party, but a photo with him. :)

Fast forward again to October 1st, this year. I figured hey, why not get his autograph again, and it'd be nice to see him again and maybe get some more pictures. I went, and wound up meeting this really cool and funny person named Stephanie who goes to every signing of his she can. And I found out from her that R.L. Stine was going to be at Comic Con this year. The same day I was going. So I happily spazzed, and was even more excited when I found out Stephanie would be there Thursday as well. We agreed to meet up, which we eventually did, and amidst the other stuff I was doing and panels she wanted to go to, we found ourselves on line for R.L. Stine's autograph. I had him sign my Fear Street Diary, and I'd found out his birthday is October 8th, so I got him a couple cards, and several Tales from the Crypt reprint comics of stories from the fifties that he liked reading. One thing that I put in the card is that I'd love to be able to talk writing stuff with him, or at the very least interview him for this blog. So I've been obsessively checking my email since the day after Comic Con, even though logic told me it would take time for him to write back. But I went online tonight, and at 2:58 pm, he wrote back to me! He said he could give me the interview after all the Halloween craziness, and to email him in mid-November.

So, hopefully, the next time I write, it'll be to feature an interview with the one and only R.L. Stine!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So The Hearse Was Empty. But How Did He Escape???

As with The Sign of Three, this is NOT a spoiler-free review, so if you have somehow not seen The Empty Hearse, Season Three's first episode, and would like to remain in the dark, do not read on.  You have been warned.

As I've mentioned previously, I have a friend who is very good with computers, and finding TV shows streamed online and such.  I am no such computer whiz, and in fact, accidentally gave my computer a virus while trying to make the link for The Empty Hearse work.  Heh . . .  I wish I was joking about that.  Unfortunately . . .

Anyway, enough about my ineptitude with technology.  He showed me the proper thing to click, and I was able to see the episode.  I loved how it began with a teaser "explanation" of how Sherlock did it.  I didn't completely buy into it, because A) I was watching The Reichenbach Fall as I was starting The Empty Hearse, and B) Sherlock never would have truly kissed Molly like that, so as much as I loved seeing it, I had my suspicions on whether or not it was real.  And of course, soon enough, Lestrade breaks in to Anderson's "explanation" and we find out the entire thing is a fabrication.

Now, I have to interrupt myself here and explain that the same night as my technological snafu, I was only able to watch the first minute or so of the episode, and so only saw Anderson's explanation, but didn't quite get to it being his own creation.  I got sick of the pauses and loading screen right after Sherlock kissed Molly.  So, I went to work the next day and saw my friend who gave me the link.  He had been able to watch the entire episode, and enjoyed tormenting me with bits of information.  I'd decided early in the day that I just wanted to ask three questions about the episode, and that would be it.  My first one was, "Does Sherlock reveal himself to John?"  Yes.  Okay.  "Does Sherlock get punched when he does the reveal?"  (Remembering Scandal, there.  "Punch me in the face."  "What?"  "Didn't you hear me?  I said punch me in the face."  "I always hear punch me in the face when you're speaking, but it's usually subtext.")  Not punched, but John does attack him on three separate occasions.  Lol, okay.  Damn, he's pissed.

And he told me about the random disguise thing Sherlock does at the restaurant, that yes, Mycroft was in the episode, and that he was in on the fake death, and he told me there was one thing they find that I would totally spazz about.  That he was warning me not to, but that I completely would.  (I actually didn't spazz at anything in the episode.  There were "Squee!!!" worthy moments, sure, but nothing I felt was actually spazz-worthy.  He was referring, I found out later, to the Jack the Ripper thing.  He knows that's what the third Holmes novel I will eventually get back to writing is about, and he knows I've learned all the different stuff about the killer and victims and such.)  Oh, and I almost forgot about this little tidbit, I began watching the show after closing at work, because I had my laptop there so he could show me the correct link to click on.  Well, I saw Watson, and I'd forgotten about that awful mustache, and made some kind of comment about how bad it was.  My friend kinda laughed and said yeah, it was a point of contention for pretty much everyone in the episode.

Anyway, when I was finally able, that night, to sit down and watch the episode, I loved John attacking Sherlock.  Headbutting him the third time, and it just cuts to Sherlock with a bloody nose.

The whole terrorist thing, as I believe Charlotte Anne Walters said, was such a throwback to V for Vendetta, I almost expected Hugo Weaving to pop up in the train car, and for that classical music when Parliament blows up in V to begin playing.  I actually stared at my laptop and said, "Really?  This is straight out of V for Vendetta!  Seriously?"  And that, after the beginning of the episode when Sherlock pulls off his waiter disguise, and I felt it was just like the scene in the RDJ movie where RDJ grabs random items and makes a disguise to approach a hansom cab.  Though I felt Sherlock did it much better, but two throwbacks to two movies in the same episode?  Really, guys?

And while I enjoyed the fantasy sequences of 'how he did it,' it still bugs me that they haven't revealed how he really did do it.  Though I have a theory on that.  Let's face it.  Just about anyone who's read the Canon believes that Sherlock lied to John, probably not only about where he was the three years John thought he was dead, but also about how he survived in the first place.  I think Moffat and Gatiss had a lot of fun at our expense, reading the different, and sometimes far-fetched and insane, theories that were out there.  I also think that from the beginning, they had no intention of explaining it to us, because of what they know about the Canon, and how they set up John's character.  That line John says about, "I don't care HOW you did it, I want to know why."  I literally said to my laptop, "But the REST of us do!!!"  But John, he wouldn't.  It would be more important to him why Sherlock did it.  Because John was more of a victim than anyone in that whole scenario because he was the one Sherlock talked to while he was up on the roof.

Honestly, I wish they would explain it, but I don't think we'll ever actually know the truth.  We just have to accept that 'why' is more important than 'how,' and that Sherlock is sorry.

And because he is Sherlock, we will forgive him and keep watching.