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Sat, Jul. 9th, 2016 08:35 pm

Well, I didn't intend to just do weekly updates this month, but so far that's what it is :P Okay, quick rundown of things:

  • Had a nice 4th of July, making my annual homemade cheeseburgers. Also read a lot of fanfiction, but did not get a chance to see Hyena Road (Paul Gross' latest movie) because Netflix lost the disc and I had to wait for a replacement. I've received that now, so that's my movie-viewing for tomorrow. (PS: Paul Gross' political commentary on Twitter, popping up on my phone, has been highly entertaining this past week as well.)

  • Sent off my thesis proposal to my committee and they're currently reading that. This led to my (for the first time in my graduate school career) having to acquire Word so that I could send my chair a doc version - I use LibreOffice because it integrates with Zotero and it's free. Anyway, UNC offers 1 free version of Word 2016 to students, so I go that and started learning the program again. It's change ALOT since the last time I used it.

  • That leads into the other thing, and that is thesis formatting. There are very strict margins / spacing / page numbering / other formatting required for submission, so I've been slowly trying to get that integrated so I'm not banging my head against the wall come the Fall. It's a slow process. I spent 2 hours this morning with how-to manuals and managed to get the roman numeral page numbering and the numbered pages to integrate correctly (and reflected in the table of contents) and that's about it. I still have no clue how to get my chapter starts to be 2" from the top instead of the default 1" I need on the other pages. Anyone got tips on that?

  • I also, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture (but might be explained soon), wrote a detailed outline of a potential prequel / Book 1 of the series that would come before my angel and demon novel. I've finished the first chapter this week and will follow that schedule for the remaining chapters, based on my time allowance for the thesis, so that means my thesis defense and novel completion will likely be around the same time. It would be a great November if they aligned like that.

  • And I started getting a daily delivery of the Wall Street Journal, which has served to remind me that I am very much an e-news person now. I pick it up from my driveway on the way out to work, then don't get to actually read the paper until that night. What I really wish is that I could get Sunday delivery of the News and Observer (the state's main paper) as I like the tradition of settling down with the paper and comics and coupons on Sundays, but they said there aren't enough customers to justify delivery to my area? Which makes me wonder how many people in Mebane are getting the Wall Street Journal to justify the cost of delivery of that.

Anyway, planning for the week ahead is more thesis formatting research, novel-writing, and awaiting my thesis to return notes so I can edit and turn in my final proposal on the 18th. Also trying to figure out what on the IRB application is throwing a red flag that I need to have extra data security in place. And if I can't, I'm sure I'm going to get dinged for being my own IT security person. I have the background, I can ensure data security! Not sure the board will see it that way, though.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
Current Music: ID Channel


Fri, Jul. 1st, 2016 10:30 pm

Although I've been reading LJ throughout the past month, I took a break from posting (unintentionally). And I'm catching up on email replies, too, so conversations will commence (or continue) on Sunday :)

June has been very good in terms of getting things done. I wrote my entire thesis proposal (identifying with media characters through fan vidding), which was originally not slated for completion until August 1st. However, because of scheduling, planning, and being passionate about my project meant I got it down faster than expected. It's also much longer than the templates we were given. Usual thesis proposals run 16-20 pages. Mine is 70 pages :/ Well, that just means a) my thesis is going to be well-prepared when I get done with my study and b) I love what I'm doing. As I mentioned on Twitter, I never thought I'd be at a point in my education where I'd be defining pon farr for academic research, but there you go. I'm doing edits to the proposal this weekend, thanks to feedback from my advisor, but they're mainly formatting and some conclusion paragraphs for each chapter. I plan to turn it into my full committee by early Monday, then start the study on August 1st. Well, that's the plan anyway. I'll announce when the survey opens for fandom closer to the date. Hoping for some great feedback!

I'm also working on a detailed outline for a novel prequel for an agent. That has reminded me how much I love these characters, as well as reinforcing the knowledge that writing a series is hard :P Changing canon to ease writing is much easier when it's just one book. However, the prequel already had its basic structure in place, considering I made notations of the characters' shared history in the existing novel. Now I get to expand upon it. Much fun. I'm hoping to get that turned in by Sunday, then take Monday off and just focus on relaxing with some Netflix and fanfiction.

Speaking of fanfiction, I've been on a 3-week immersion of Due South again. ALL THE RAY K / FRASER FIC! Well, it started with a random picture of Paul Gross as he looks today (pretty), then me thinking "I wonder if I could re-find that fic where Fraser's bullet moves and he has to get surgery" (yes I can), then more post-COTW fic came up, and finally I found out that Paul Gross is on Twitter (so much fun). I need his snarky commentary on Canada in my life and on my phone :) Due South is one of those forever fandoms that always makes me happy no matter how many years between fics or vids or rewatches of the eps. (And, yes, I did put 6 Degrees of Canada into my thesis survey.)

And finally, for someone who didn't really drink coffee much before I got my Keurig...I find that I'm prehaps a bit addicted to it. Sadly, mine died this morning and I was sad. Looking on Amazon, a replacement wouldn't get here until Tuesday. I considered it for 6 hours, but in the end decided that it was simply too long! So, I now have a new (and improved) Keurig machine sitting in a box in my kitchen ready to be unpacked and used for the first time tomorrow morning. Reliance on the convienience doesn't hit you until it's no longer there.

Current Mood: optimistic optimistic
Current Music: Mysteries at the Museum


Wed, May. 25th, 2016 10:23 pm

So...I kinda saw one of the twists coming, but I am okay with that. It sets up great potential for Season 12!

[I am the beginning and the end.]
As always, I love our tradition of season recap with Carry On, My Wayward Son. You forget how far we've come until you go back and see where Amara started. And now we're at the point of sadness and destruction. Amara wants revenge, God wants to keep his sister alive but understands the need to kill her, and once again we're left with the theme of family. It is the strongest bond and the greatest weakness.

The whole Toni situation woven in makes sense for a connection to the next season. I like that there's this whole unknown network of Men of Letters that they didn't know about. Plus, like many in the hunting community, they have a grudge against the Winchesters. I don't think the cliffhanger of shooting Sam was really that much of a cliffhanger? Unless she really did kill him, but I don't think she would since it felt like her bosses wanted her to retrieve the Winchesters to pay for their actions versus just killing them off. I think he's going to be missing once Dean makes it back to the bunker and he'll have to find him. Well, it's my theory anyway, but with Billie hanging around death is always a possibility.

The resolution of the Chuck and Amara storyline was satisfying to me. They don't have to die, they can just take a break and have some family bonding time. The world will carry on spinning and there's always the possibility that Chuck will return. The scales continue to be balanced. However, as soon as she told Dean she wanted to give him that gift I knew what it would turn out to be. Dean needs his mother the most. He will forever be a four year old boy who lost his mother's love too early, forced to become an adult too soon. But what will Mary's return mean? Does she remember who she is? Does she recognize Dean? And how will Dean deal with having his mother back? So much potential!

Okay, fandom. You have a summer to explore where this might go. It's fic-writing time!

Current Mood: hot hot
Current Music: Nashville


Mon, May. 23rd, 2016 11:21 am

This might be an impossible task, but I'm full of those :)

I'm starting my Masters thesis proposal, centering around the fan vid community, and need to get a statistically representative sample size of the current fan vid population for my survey. Problem is...that information seems to be unknown.

Does anyone know of any statistics, references, etc. of what the estimated size of the fan vid community is? The only references I've found so far are an estimate of "tens of thousands of fan vids" in existence and that the number of fan vids increased dramatically because of digital technology.

Any help or guidance in a starting direction is always welcome.

Current Mood: hyper hyper
Current Music: Talking


Wed, May. 18th, 2016 10:39 pm

I don't know if I have a firm grasp on the outcome of the ep, or the implications of what's to come, but I like it.

[All they want is an apology!]
Lots of family drama tonight, mainly centering around the fact that God cannot apologize.

His favorite son is bitter and angry over his father's apparent betrayal. And all he's ever wanted is for God to acknowledge that he's sorry. And when he can't get his way, he acts like a bratty kid (which I found funny). Daddy wants to pull the power card, then Lucifer's going to play his music loud and brood in his room (Dean's room). I liked seeing he and God attempt to come to terms with their long-standing feud, thanks to the Winchesters playing relationship counselors. And I also liked that God finally admitted that he did have a favorite child and it was Lucifer and the reason he gave him the Mark was because he thought Lucifer could handle it. But finally apologies and truces abound and they can get into the fight on the same side.

While I appreciate that God acknowledged he couldn't bring Raphael and Gabriel back in enough time for it to make a difference, I still wish I could see Gabe again. Witches and demons and other angels just aren't the same as a couple of archangels, but I guess they did okay. Enemy of my enemy and all that. I'm curious as to what the bright light was that Rowena saw at the end. It's so jarring to see SPN in any kind of light that the significance feels huge.

Also the whole situation with Amara is confusing and complex. All she wants is an apology, too. The whole equals versus subordinates concept of why the family battle happened in the first place, I can see both sides, but I was on board with the tactical assault against her. I understood why God didn't want to kill his sister (both out of love and a need to have a balance in the universe). However, I still don't quite understand the hold Amara has over Dean, what her endgame is, nor what the preview means for Dean. Once more sacrificing himself for the greater good? And while I get that Sam wants to step up, making secret deals with God behind Dean's back was never going to end well, even if they succeeded. Dear Winchesters, stop doing that.

I think I need to re-watch the preview again just to try and get it. Finales usually mean deaths for us. I wonder who might not make it out alive.

Current Mood: relaxed relaxed
Current Music: Property Brothers


Sat, May. 14th, 2016 11:19 pm

Now that comps are over and my thesis research has a bit more time in my schedule, I was able to head over to the movies yesterday afternoon and see Civil War.
[It was less traumatic than the comics maybe?]
I've said many times that I have been dreading this storyline ever since it was announced. The comic hurt a lot, so I was prepared for the movie to do the same (even if it was going to be condensed in a two hour plot).

Things I Liked

  • Tony's parents death and the tie to Bucky and how it pushed Tony over the edge at the end. He was ready to help them, ready to stand as a team again, and then he finds out that a man he called a friend has once again betrayed him for his old, brain-washed war buddy. That hurt a lot, but made the movie work so well.

  • The outcome of the fight in the airport. Usually you would expect them to rough each other up, still be made, but there wouldn't be any long-lasting injuries they couldn't just patch right up. Instead, you get Vision making a human connection and having it cost Rhodey his ability to walk, Natasha betraying Tony (in his eyes) by playing both sides, and the team separated for their parts in the battle. [I have been trying to find post-movie Rhodey fics that deal with his injury, but they're few and far between at the moment.]

  • Vision and Wanda's developing relationship. I like that they're pulling that through from the comics. Always enjoyed it. (Also, Vision continues to rock in the movie-verse.)

  • Spiderman! I never thought I'd say this, but I finally found a movie-verse Spiderman I liked..possibly because of his interactions with Tony and then the rest of the team. He's so young and eager and we don't have to get into all that origin mythology. We got it, moving on to battles.

  • Black Panther is very awesome and I am glad he's part of the movie-verse now. Looking forward to his stand-alone movie, as well as the part he will play in the upcoming Avengers movies (along with how his protection of Bucky will play into both).

Things I Didn't Like

  • Because the relationship between Tony and Steve hasn't been emphasized as much as in the comics, their separation didn't pack as much punch. It felt more like "Steve's siding with his old war buddy over Tony, and he doesn't want to be controlled" while Tony is having his world ripped apart, his family destroyed, because of the choice Steve's making. (Yes, I do think Tony's more invested in their relationship than Steve at times because Steve's always aligned with Bucky when there's a choice to be made.)

  • Hawkeye was just kinda there :( I stil harbor frustration over the fact he's married with kids in the movie-verse, and isn't deaf, but it seemed like we went from "Hawkeye is retired, he has responsibilities to his family" to "it's okay, he can fight in a civil war and be arrested, no biggie." I'm hoping we'll set his character up on a more level path next time.

  • We really didn't leave with a true resolution. Tony is head of the Avengers now, good on him, but the team's still divided, half of them are fugitives who can't fight alongside the others, and the accords are still hanging out with their problematic issues. I saw someone say this movie was kinda like an H/C WIP fic where you have to wait 2 years for part 2 to be posted. I agree.

  • Tony's inability to have a romantic life. I figured he and Pepper were going to break up soon in the canon (actually I figured it would have been in the last Avengers movie), but it still hurts. He's lost so many people in his life, and now his adopted family are pretty much torn apart at the seams. Add in Pepper, too, and it's just sad times for Tony.

In conclusion, everyone is going to need therapy...myself included. (Though mine has been aided by fanfic, so I'm good.) And although I agree with Steve, I feel the most for Tony. Why can't Mommy and Daddy get along?! :(

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: Netflix


Wed, May. 11th, 2016 11:03 pm

I liked the variety of tonight's episode. Not quite a 5 star compared to last week, but definitely a 4 star.

[Chuck is crazy and I like it!]
So, we pick up immediately after the last episode (which was nice) and get a surprise visit from Kevin. Nice that God finally let him ascend to Heaven. Closure is good. Now if Dean could get some closure. Sammy's falling all over himself about God being in the house and all these questions he could finally get answered while Dean just wants to know why fatherly abandonment seems to be a running theme in his life. I agree that God being MIA for so many years, ignoring all the huge events that have taken place, is horrible...but I liked the way Chuck tried to explain it. Also, glad to see that, even with all the rough roads Sammy's had to travel, he's still someone who latches onto the goodness of faith. He's the boy who prayed, that remains true.

Metatron's involvement felt better than usual, sharing the truth behind what God's plan is before finally sacrificing himself. I always said I wished he would go away, but having his death be meaningful was better than a random destruction. Also, I'm not so on board with God's fatalistic plan. If this doesn't work, he really expects humanity to step up? Nice thought, but not so great on the follow-through. Really need to make sure he's still in the game when the time comes! And with his favored child sprung, perhaps they can work together and put aside their differences for a bit. It's nice to see the anger and frustration from Chuck on this front, too. He put his sister and Lucifer away in their prisons for a reason, and they're both out because of the Winchesters. I'd be ticked off, too.

I'm not sure how much power Amara will continue to hold over Dean, or how long he'll be able to hold out, but I hope he can do it. The visions and utter lack of defense whenever he's around her is unnerving. But at least he's being honest with Sam! no time for secrets. Will Donatello the prophet come back again? It didn't seem like he contributed much overall, so it feels like it was setting him up for the future eps. We shall see.

Coming down to the wire here. Who's going to make it out alive?

Current Mood: calm calm
Current Music: TMZ


Mon, May. 9th, 2016 08:38 pm

No more classes! No more tests (hopefully)!

I got final grades back on my last two papers (leadership and law) and final grades for the semester (High Passes once again, yay!) That means I don't have any more graduate school classes ever (well, for my Masters degree anyway).

Today was comprehensive exams, which I completed and will hopefully not have to retake on any question (shall find out by June 1st). That was the thing I think I've been fearing the most throughout the program. Well, that and thesis, but I think I have a handle on the topic, so maybe that won't be as scary.

Now, the only thing left for my program is to complete and defend my thesis! Which I'll start doing updated literature reviews for this month. Helps that I've been studying fandom in depth for the past two years, so 90% of the literature's already pulled, just has to be deconstructed into a comprehsive review. Please know that I'll be posting a survey invitation later this year for fanvidders (and perhaps fanvid watchers), so I would appreciate broadcasting across social media when I'm at that point. The more fanvidders/watchers who are represented, the better the data analysis and conclusions of findings! :)

Eight more months (barring any delays) and I'll have defended and be done with my Masters degree. Where did the time go?!

Current Mood: rejuvenated rejuvenated
Current Music: Dateline


Wed, May. 4th, 2016 10:53 pm

I have grad school comp exams on Monday, so my brain has been on overload with studying, memorizing, and finishing up final papers. It was nice to take a night to spend with the Winchesters and this was the PERFECT episode to do it.
[Robbie Thompson is my favorite writer for a reason]
Robbie manages to consistently give us the episodes we need and want. This one was a 5 star in all respects. So much love for Chuck. Things we learned: God can sing and play the guitar (go, Rob, go), he's not too keen on his sister, and he's apparenlty bisexual. (Bless you, Robbie, so much.)

So, when Metatron popped up in the dumpster I was a bit disappointed (because I grow tired of him), but the way he worked with God and called him out and basically got to the heart of what many of us were wondering...he did that well ;) Still not a fan of the Scribe of God, but I guess I can see his potential. But Chuck, you guys...Chuck! I loved that Metatron didn't recognize his father by sight, but then was all apologetic over what's been going on with him. Yeah, Metatron, you've been a jerk.

There were just so many great things with Chuck, all the call-outs and in-jokes. World’s Greatest Dad mug and angels singing and everything. The Revolution joke was hilarious. You tried, Eric, you tried. Also, I literally gasped when he pulled the amulet out. I will forever believe Sam had it with him the whole time. Chuck was trying to say it, then Dean pulled it out of Sam's pocket. Yes, Sam picked it up out of the trash and had it with him ever since. He keeps the fake version in his memory box (as we saw) and keeps the real one on his person. So it has been written.

The whole ups and downs with Chuck's moods was well-done. We know him as loveable Chuck, but he has always held power and strength and destruction within him. I was getting kind of turned off when he seem ready to let the world burn, but he was playing us all along. He can't let Amara win, he can't let him creation be destroyed, no matter how much they've disappointed him. Humans are fallable, and despite his abandonment of Earth and Heaven, God still cares. (And I like that he didn't necessarily come back just because Lucifer's in danger.)

The Darkness closing in on town and getting the boys involved in the case was great. (As was the fact that Dean irons Sammy's dress shirts with beer, haha!) And seeing Dean once again ready to sacrifice himself for Sam. When he knows his brother's dying, he tried to infect himself and couldn't. They are ready to jump off the cliff for each other at a moment's notice. At least God still seems to care about them, saving them, because you know the Winchesters are going to be sacrificing again and again.

I love when we can get episodes like this, where every feeling is right and every action hits home. Good job, Robbie.

Okay, now back to studying. I can totally memorize two and a half years of learning over the weekend, right?

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: TMZ


Wed, Apr. 27th, 2016 10:35 pm

Positive representations of relationships give us hope that all hunters won't end up sad and alone. There is hope...if your name's not Winchester.
[They have got the chitters]
I like the through line of Jesse and his brother Matty. Yes, little Jesse has a crush on a boy at school, and yes there might be some that don't approve, but his brother is loving and welcoming without judgement. Plus, when they get older, Matty's going to get them both out of their small town so that they can have a better life. Feels a lot like a Winchester parallel in many ways. And when older Jesse is revealed again, showing how the tragedy of his young life has shaped his path, it's a whole lot reminiscent of the Winchesters' journey, too. I love that SPN shows gay relationships without making it a point. Sometimes hunters marry each other, and it's a hopeful future if they can make it last and not die. Jesse had his closure finally, able to give his brother a true hunter's funeral, and now he can retire with Cesar with a clear conscience. Dean and Sam have yet to reach that point, but they can learn and thing or two about what might be.

Sadly, the Winchesters' lives right now is focused on the world ending (again) instead of reveling in the nice bunker they've made a home. They don't have any leads on Cas or how to stop Amara, but they're going to have to do it alone. No relying on outside help, it's two brothers against the world. I do like that Sam revealed his fears growing up, that one time maybe Dean wouldn't come back after a hunt. That's a fear that is still continuing for both of them. Their most tragic fate is that one doesn't survive. And, as Cesar said, being committed to another hunter means double the worry about death. The boys are soul mates, bonded forever, and they will constantly have to come up against that fear. That's why they watch each others' backs.

The case was almost secondary (again), but it was a nice, simple outcome that made sense. Unknown moster comes up to breed every 27 years, has interesting side effects on its victims, a few attacks and dead bodies, and we have a case. I like when the boys still come up against a monster they haven't seen before. Log it into the journal and the Men of Letters library for future use! Seriously, the boys could open up a hunters help guide online and make tons of money if they ever did get around to retiring. So much knowledge!

Overall, a good case story that solidified some parallels without being too heavy-handed. Onward to saving the world!

Current Mood: mellow mellow
Current Music: News