Still the Ones


I mentioned my traveler's notebook prior.

I've been using it quite a bit, with three notebooks included (one for my calendar, one for my lists, and one for journaling when the mood strikes). And I decorated the insert covers with some of my favorite fanart - calendar insert has the Due South pin-up Calendar Boy by JackyMedan and journaling insert has the Supernatural artwork Underneath the Mistletoe by Maichan-Art. (When I fill these up, and switch out for new inserts, my decoration skills with the washi tape will hopefully get better :)

[See the pretties]

I did two journal entries so far, one for my birthday and one for Easter (and the other event that happened today).

All three of my fish died today. So sad. I'm waiting until after I return from my summer travel adventure and then I might go back to a betta fish. They seem to last me longer than aquarium fish.

And since it looks like everyone's doing it, here's my LJ anniversary picture :)

#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

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Still the Ones

Vacation Preparation!

It's April, which means my schedule for events is ramping up. This month I have to go to Vegas to present my thesis research plus celebrate my Daddy / Momma / my birthdays and my parents' anniversary, May is my official graduation, and June is my official post-graduation vacation trip that's been in preparation for a long time now.

[My Travel Adventure]
I'm going on a two-week Canada / Alaska combo train and cruise trip with no internet or cellphone - just enjoying the lovely sights. A brief overview:

  • Two days in Toronto (where I'm hoping to hit the few remaining places I haven't managed to get to yet...but sadly no Hard Rock visit since they're closing down in May....noooo!)

  • Four days on the Via Rail Canadian across Canada stopping at Winnipeg and Jasper (never been on a train before or anywhere in Canada outside Toronto...adventure!)

  • Two days in Vancouver (still trying to find some must-see places since the visitor bureau refuses to send their brochure for free anymore, boo)

  • Eight days on my first cruise ever, going through the Inside Passage and stopping at Juneau (where I'm going to the top of Mendenhall Glacier), Skagway (where I'm taking a trip up to the Yukon on the famous White Pass Rail to see Iditarod sled dogs and learn about mountie history at the museum), and Ketchkan (where I'll likely see the famous lumberjack show)

And to record my journey, I'll be using my first ever Traveler's Notebook thanks to a Reddit Gift Exchange. Does anyone else have one (or had one in the past)? I've never owned a refillable leather journal, but I'm looking forward to trying it. I've been cutting up tourist brochures to prepare scrapbooking pictures so I can record each location when I'm there :) And I'm hoping, once I return, I'll keep using it for an everday-carry. Jumped right into following Traveler's Notebook communities on Facebook and crafting people are really inspired.

Very excited about my trip! I'm slightly fearful something will go wrong because I'm so's my pessimistic nature :P
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    Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Still the Ones

SPN - Family Feud

It's not a game show. It's real life ;)

[Love the evil temptation!]
Feels like tonight was the return of...well, a whole lot of people. Family drama to the max! Gavin, Crowley, and Rowena; Lucifer, Kelly, and Dagon; Dean, Sam, and seems like everyone's having problems. And there's some serious implications of the heightened issues to come. I can't wait to see how Lucifer manipulates and the British Men of Letters puts their noses into it.

Gavin's return was sweet, and gave us a good ending to that storyline. We knew that, eventually, the Winchesters were going to have to make that time tear right again. Gavin was a man out of time, and he caused many repercussions in history because he wasn't there to sink on the ship. I liked the uncovering of the haunting, and how Gavin was intertwined in it all. His decision to go back, sacrifice himself so that he could be with Fiona again, was very touching. And even the boys got a bit choked up over it. Gavin was a good guy, at the heart of it. His family, however, not so much. Crowley was, of course, emotional over losing his son (even if he didn't show his love as much as he could have). And Rowena was her normal, manipulative self. Crowley made her sacrifice a loved one, she will make him do the same. Oh, family.

The whole issue with Mary is not going to end well. Of course the British Men of Letters has cool toys, and they can help Mary take down more monsters than on her own, but at what cost? These are the same people that tortured her son, who cannot be trusted for their true intentions. She knows this, which is why she kept it a secret from Dean and Sam. At least she finally told them, which is a point in her favor, but it's going to take a while for the boys to accept it, if they ever do. I just fear that it's going to be a deadly choice for Mary.

And then we have Lucifer. Ah, the wonderous return of Mark Pellegrino. He was glorious in this! Crowley's so head-strong, thinking that he's going to come out the victor, but always Lucifer has the upperhand. And we're seeing just how far his reach goes, controlling Dagon from afar. This is going to be fantastic to watch! So, too, is Dagon herself. She's such a complex character with storytelling potential. Even if Lucifer is pulling her strings, she's going to be an intregal part in seeing Baby Lucifer be born. Are the Winchesters going to be able to resolve the situation before the baby comes to power? One would hope so, but it's a difficult position to be in. No one wants to kill an innocent child, but is he going to be innocent for long? I am looking forward to seeing Lucifer play his part in all this. Will it be Winchesters versus Lucifer yet again? Looks that way!

I miss having the previews on CW :( How will I know what's to come?
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Paul Movie

Taxes Done, Planning Commences

It seems like every year I spend longer on my taxes for less of a refund. I itemize like crazy, trying to maximize my money back, but it never seems to help. I did my filing earlier than usual this year (on Saturday) and spent a total of 5 hours going through paperwork and filing a whole lot of extra forms.

My refund's a bit less than it was last year, probably because I didn't have a full year of double tuition, but at least the money back will help with my graduation trip planning. I've been trying to find a good vacation to take to celebrate graduating college. Think I've found a good 2-week journey that will cover a few places I've never been and experiences I've never had, but want to get the whole thing booked and guaranteed before I get my hopes up. Just wanna have a good celebration of myself :D

Also, it's very un-February-like weather around NC. Weekends are hovering around 75 degrees, weekdays between 65 and 70 degrees. It's been great to have the windows and doors open, but it feels like we missed winter entirely because of the mild temperatures. Aside from the one snow event in January we haven't had a long trend of cold temperatures or winter weather. Oh well, maybe in 2018.

And I'm making great progress on my novel. Only four more chapters to go before it's editing time! Looking forward to having my agent read it. One thing I love about delving into Liam and Mikael's backstory is the fact that all those nods to their history in the other novel get to be expanded on. And there's some surprises for me when they reveal things I never knew. Ah, my lovely characters. Always taking on a life of their own and leaving me to transcribe.
Still the Ones

My Grad School Journey - Degree Received!

Back in February 2014, I got the most exciting letter that started a fantastic journey for me.

I kept that letter on my fridge throughout my entire grad school career (and it's still there). When classwork and reading and research felt like it was too much, I looked at that letter and reassured myself that I did belong, that I was chosen to do this work and represent UNC's high level of scholarship. And it was exhausting at times, since I was working FT while going to grad school, but it was always exciting. Plus, I got to spend 2.5 years doing fandom research. Getting a Masters degree with fandom ties? Win-win! I had a wonderful thesis defense, and officially graduated in December 2016 (ceremony to be held this May).

Three years after I got my grad school acceptance letter, in February 2017, I got an even more exciting piece of mail.

It's been a wonderful journey and I hope that my fandom research does not end. There's so much potential areas of exploration out there, and I'm just getting started :)
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Still the Ones

SPN - Regarding Dean

(Had to take a post-SPN break to watch JDM on Live!...I could've done without Kelly ;)

Anyway! Dean losing his memory! Jensen Ackles knocking it out of the park with his acting! Sadness and happiness all rolled into one!

[He may forget a lot, but he will never forget Sammy.]
So, I was going to just refer to the witches as dead man-witch, alive man-witch, and sister-witch, but I will try to use their appropriate names. Though, considering Gideon didn't really last very long in the episode, we're only down to two dangerous witches. I did like that Gideon was able to get off one last, horrible curse before he kicked the bucket. And so begins the journey of Dean losing his memory in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

The stripping away of what makes Dean who he is was hard to watch. Every memory lost, the less baggage he carries. It was almost like watching time run backwards and getting a glimpse of early seasons Dean. He used to go out and drink, have sex, enjoy life. Now he's just trudging through the day and trying not to let the depression get the best of him. But, his experiences is what makes him who he is. Without them, he's just a shell of his former self.

I had this fear that he was going to forget Sam. I mean, he pretty much did, and himself as well, with the breakdown in the bathroom. That mirror scene was phenomenal, as was the aftermath of when Sam told him what would become of him if they couldn't break the spell. Jensen is a great actor, and I like to repeat that fact whenever possible. He can make you feel things without saying a word. And he showed that, despite everything else being taken away, he could still hold onto the memory of Sam. This is his brother, and it's carved deep in his soul. Never forget.

Rowena, as usual, was great. I wonder if Dean really doesn't remember what she told him, or if he's holding it in his memory for later use. He's done some bad things in his life, all for the greater good, but she's done some bad things only for her personal advancement. She's not going to get the eternal happiness or the ultimate power, no matter how long she tries to achieve it. It's an endless cycle of surival for her, but still she perseveres and remains while others have fallen. Keep on, Rowena. You're a valuable asset to all who know you.

Catriona, to me, wasn't as engaging as she could have been, and Boyd even less so. We didn't get enough of their interworkings to really invest any time or emotion into them. Their brother is dead, they want revenge, and their plan to revive Gideon was confusing. Boyd said they were going to switch Sam's soul for Gideon's, so...did that mean Gideon would inhabit Sam's body? Or that if they sacrified Sam Gideon would rise up again? I wasn't very clear on that. But, no matter, since it didn't happen anyway.

And, of course, Dean got his memory back in the end. But not before getting to take out both witches, thanks to Sam's cleverly placed post-it notes to help out. Go, Dean, go! Now that they have the spell book, which I assume will be going into the Men of Letters library, will they use it again in the future? Or will the British Men of Letters take possession of it? Whatever their purpose, at least Rowena doesn't have it at the moment. That much power could seriously go to her head ;)

Overall, a good episode with great acting. Maybe even worth a rewatch this weekend.
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Still the Ones

SPN - Lily Sunder

Ah, angels. Not so bright and shiny as the legends would lead humans to believe.

[Revenge, not just for humans]
A Cas-centric episode with more angel drama. It's a trend that no matter which angel we come into contact with, they're all going to be uncaring toward humans and basically vengeful toward their family. However, it was really nice to get to see Cas in his former vessel and how he was as a soldier back in the day. Nephilim are an abomination, so they have to kill them, with no care for the innoncence of the child. The dynamic of how he acted back then to what he's facing now, with the potential of Lucifer's child, will be interesting. I doubt he will be so quick to kill.

But, of course, nothing is as straight-forward as "has mission, complete mission" when it comes to this show. Not only did Lily survive on Enochian power, but she had a reason for targeting and killing the angels that she did. They destroyed her life by killing her husband, as well as her child. But their mission was ill-guided, as Ishim lied (surprise!) and actually killed an innocent human child because of his perceived betrayal of Lily and her love. I have to wonder, as Cas has gone two weeks in a row killing cosmic beings, what the ramifications of his actions will be. He seems to be in a fatalistic mindset, though. He will go to any lengths to protect others, even if it means sacrificing himself. I'm sure Billie's death, at least, will cause problems for the Winchesters.

The drive out and the tenseness between Dean and Cas was interesting to watch. And poor Sam in the middle. It's not my pairing, but I can see how Dean/Cas fans can see the undertones with the way they're playing this. But at the heart of it is the deep devotion Cas has for the Winchesters and, in turn, how Dean and Sam feel he is family. And if they don't stick together, they're not going to make it through the ever-growing list of problems. Lucifer's kid, the British Men of Letters, the ramifications of killing Billie...the list goes on. Angels aren't going to help them now, only one angel, and that's the way it will always be.
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    Late Show
Paul Movie

SPN - First Blood

You know it's a ground-breaking episode when Cas impresses me.

[Go angel, go!]
Okay, I'm still confused and a bit miffed that the boys didn't just run after the whole President thing, but I guess if they did they'd still be hunted and tracked. And we wouldn't have the lovely emotional turmoil of the episode. Rick Sanchez, the aide, and Camp, the superior guy, made quite a dynamic team, and Camp was scary in his understated way. They don't have to torture the boys because silence and darkness for weeks, months, years will do the job for them. I loved seeing Dean marking off the days on the wall, though I knew they had to have something up their sleeves.

The whole sacrificial nature of the Winchesters seems like a family trait. I figured that Dean and Sam made a deal with Billie to appear dead, but I have to wonder how they thought just one of them could die. They've proven again and again that one cannot live without the other, so thinking that one of them would continue the fight was not going to work. Plus, of course Mary would sacrifice herself for her boys. John first, then Mary, their boys will remain safe as long as their parents can make it so.

And Cas, oh Cas. I am often frustrated with him and his purpose, but in this episode he impressed me with his empowered speech. No more Winchesters will die, no more will sacrifice themselves, because the world needs them. And if that means Cas will have to cause cosmic destruction from breaking a blood bond, then he will do it. Oh, Cas.

Finally, the whole British Men of Letters deal. While it's good for business for Mick and Mr. Ketch to help save the Winchesters, I'm sure Mary's team-up will prove problematic for the family. But I am definitely looking forward to more Mr. Ketch. He knows how to tie up loose ends! And looks good doing it ;) It's excitng to think about where that storyline will lead.

And I guess they didn't show a preview for next week? I haven't watched Riverdale yet, but hoping it lives up to the hype. I grew up on Archie comics, so the bar is high.
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What A Deal!

In the middle of my holiday weekend and enjoying it so far. Been streaming some Netflix things and need to go through my DVDs as well. Also, the temperatures are up and down, but at least we're not suffering through an ice storm like some of the country.

Also, I just made a really good deal, thanks to a Best Buy sale. They sent out a $10 gift certificate to email subscribers and I've been debating what to get. I was thinking of picking up another wifi outlet for downstairs, since I love the one I have upstairs on my bedside lamp. However, the ones I like aren't in stock or on sale right now (plus, I don't have a lamp for downstairs yet), so that's a buy for another day. But, I was alerted to the fact that they put their $40 Insignia™ - Portable Wireless Speaker on sale for $9.99. Score! I've been watching bluetooth speakers ever since I got my Dot because I wanted to extend it to listening in the home office or the shower if I'm not in my bedroom, but hadn't yet pulled the trigger on buying anything. Thanks to the gift certificate and sale, though, now I have one for free! I just tested it out and streamed Tragically Hip without a problem. SO GREAT!

PS: While TuneIn has failed to fix their CBC Radio 2 feed, so I can no longer listen to that on the Echo / Dot (listening to Indie 88 instead), CBC Radio has integrated their news broadcast into the flash briefing, so now I have a wonderful stream of weather, CBC News, local news, and CNN when I get ready in the morning. I love that they're constantly adding skills and making improvements. [They also just added "Computer" as a wake word, which should make some fell ST:TNG fans happy....I'm sticking with Alexa myself.]
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    Tragically Hip

Winter Wonderland

The snow came to North Carolina and we got around 8 inches in Mebane. It's very pretty and peaceful, especially since our state virtually shuts down for winter weather (or, the governor advises us to stay put...some don't take the warning). I'm not going ANYWHERE!

[More pretty snow pictures!]

Thankfully we did not get any freezing rain or much sleet, so the trees aren't iced over and I don't have to worry about trees falling on me / cutting off my power for more than five days like the last bad storm. [My parents, on the NC coast, have been without power since this morning, however, so it's getting really cold in their house.]

But the main problem for me, at this time, is the night-time lows that are coming. Tonight's low is 6 degrees and tomorrow night's low is 0 degrees. My kitchen water line is the only one that goes along an exposed wall, which means it's got a tendency to freeze when the temperatures drop. I keep the water dripping to try to head it off, or at least cut down on the pressure should a freeze-up happen, but there are some temperature levels that are just unavoidable for a freeze. After every time it freezes, I have it wrapped again and try to insulate it more. Last time I managed to make it to 12 degrees before it froze, so here's hoping it can hold out for lower this time around :( I fear a burst pipe every time it freezes.

Because of the frigid temperatures and no thaw in sight, the National Weather Service has advised everyone to stay off the roads until mid-day on Tuesday, so there's that. I've watched all my Netflix movies (Born To Be Blue is really good for some Callum Keith Rennie screen-time!), read Kindle books, done an academic journal review, and watched the snow fall. Tomorrow I'll likely do a repeat if weather-releated issues don't arise.
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    Justice Channel