Archive for » September, 2020 «

Fanvid: The Greatest

This song by Sia was one of my wake-up songs this year. I love this vid by bironic celebrating some amazing characters of color in recent fandoms!

I could watch this on repeat for hours!

Fanvid: Hit Me With Your Best Shot

This haunting video packs a punch and really shows off The Old Guard (and Nile & Andy) beautifully. The vid is by Aurum Calendula.

I love its intensity!

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Book Review—Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It came to me in the bookdrop at the library, and I was interested enough to take it home to read. I have played a few games of D&D, but I don’t have a regular campaign. I knew a bit of the history and was interested in learning more.

I really enjoyed how this book details the origins of D&D (as closely as it can from someone who wasn’t there at the time) while interspersing details about the writer’s campaigns. I came for the history of the creation of complex gameplay, its rise and fall and rise again, and different types of related games. This history is told with so much heart and backed up by the sort of research a trained researcher is good at. There’s a bit of bias at times, but everyone has people they root for and their own favorite version of RPGs, so I can’t blame the writer for that. It came across as more factual than I was expecting while still paying homage to those involved in D&D’s origins. How amazing it would have been to have been part of one of those early games with the DM hidden behind filing cabinet drawers and the newness of the adventure ahead.

I was not expecting the book to be so personal, but I loved that it was. The author juxtaposes parts of his campaigns both in exposition and actual narrative with what’s happening in the history. This both serves as an example while also entertaining. I enjoy playing D&D, but I think I like watching D&D and other RPGs even more. Being part of the action is great, but it’s also a great responsibility. I love watching people collaborate to create a story all their own. So I did like many of the adventures the author shares with us, from wargaming to LARPing to his weekly D&D campaign. His passion for D&D easily jumped from the pages. As a nerd as well, I appreciated all the references, from Monty Python to Doctor Who to Star Trek: TNG. Finding what’s in a nerd’s heart, what really makes a fanboy or fangirl happy, is one of my favorite things. This book is 100% that.

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Top Ten: Recent Fandoms

Many of us have sought comfort in entertainment during this time, watching new shows and movies or revisiting older, comforting ones. Here are my top ten fandoms binged so far during the pandemic.

10 Recently Enjoyed Fandoms

  1. Queer Eye- At the beginning of the pandemic, I put my binge watch of The Expanse on hold (because watching a show about a virus taking over the universe was making me uneasy for some reason) and decided instead to watch the recent seasons of five amazingly talented people making someone’s life better. Despite numerous “Why are you standing so close? There’s a pandemic going on!” instinctive reactions, this show was exactly what I needed.

  2. Taskmaster- “I read about a show in the paper you might like. It’s like a scavenger hunt with British people,” said my mother. So I gave it a try. Several hours later, I was hooked. By the time I’d made it to season three, I was already writing fanfiction. By the time I hit season 6, I was eagerly awaiting new episodes to be posted on YouTube each week. It was thrilling to see The CW begin to air it in the US as well, but disappointing that did not last.

  3. The Old Guard- I knew very little going into this movie apart from: Charlize Theron, a canon gay couple, and at least 4 different people (and one teddy bear) recommending it to me. I was pleasantly surprised by the immortality aspect. I fell hard for this fandom, rewatching the movie multiple times the same week (once with other fans in a Netflix Watch Party), searching out fanvids and fanfic, and reading the graphic novel.

  4. Ghostwriter– I finally got the chance to binge the first season of the new Ghostwriter series on Apple. While it is much different from the version I loved in my younger years, I still loved the literary focus and cast diversity.

  5. Watchmen- With a free one-week trial of HBO, I went straight for the Watchmen series. It was strange and out there, but so is the graphic novel. I think they did an excellent job of keeping the feel of it while creating this whole storyline. And I loved the little nods to the original source material just as much as the brand new twists and turns. The racial injustice themes made it extremely relevant.

  6. The Umbrella Academy– Having already seen season 1, I eagerly awaited the drop of season 2. Then I binged the whole season in less than twenty-four hours. Everyone knows how much I enjoy time travel stories, but time travel + this cast of characters = pure amazingness. Season 1 ended on such a big cliffhanger, I remember yelling at my screen, begging for more. I was extremely satisfied with Season 2 but somehow was fooled into thinking everything would wrap up neatly. At the Season 2 cliffhanger, I sat there stunned for a moment then proceeded to yell at the screen for more yet again. I will never learn.

  7. Hamilton- Though I had seen the play with the Washington, DC, cast, I was thrilled to finally get to watch it with the original Broadway cast. I watched it the first day it hit Disney+ along with everyone else. It certainly did not disappoint. I also attended a #Ham4Ham watch party on YouTube.

  8. Lower Decks- This is the Star Trek series I needed right now. I was hesitant, because Lower Decks was one of my favorite TNG episodes and I wasn’t sure that I really wanted more humor in my Star Trek. But I do. I definitely do.

  9. Love, Victor- It took me far too long to get to this one. One day, it just seemed right to watch it, and then I couldn’t stop. It was wonderful being back in Creekwood with a new set of characters. But I hadn’t anticipated the three things that made me really love it: (1) lots of Simon, (2) an appearance by Bram, and (3) James Martinez as Victor’s father!

  10. The Bravest Knight- Okay, I realize this is a show for children, but hear me out. I’d just been let go from my job and finding comfort in extremely short episodes about a knight, his prince, and their adorable biracial daughter was precisely what I needed. During a quaranclean purge, I read an article about the show in Entertainment Weekly, and once I saw the list of voice actors (among them: Wilson Cruz, T.R. Knight, Bobby Moynihan, Christine Baranski, RuPaul, Wanda Sykes, Jazz Jennings, and Steven Weber) I knew I needed to watch it. The show did not disappoint. In fact, I am fairly certain I broke down in tears during the last episode of season 1.

Honorary mentions go to The Fosters and Person of Interest, both of which I had already seen most of but now finally finished because they were leaving Netflix.

Fanvid: Maximus Overture

I originally scheduled an Old Guard vid this week, then realized as much as I love weapons competency, today it was probably better to stay light. So here’s a Tangled fanvid all about Maximus, created by such heights.

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License Plate: CPTJAK

Another license plate to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) a little early. I especially love the ship imagery as well. Well done!

Virginia license plate reading: CPTJAK

Fanvid: Everybody

When the source material begs for a fanvid, you make it a fanvid. Here’s FeelTheVoid’s Umbrella Academy vid to “Everybody” by The Backstreet Boys. Spoilers!

I love the mix of fighting, words, and dancing.

Book Review—Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

This collection is like many short story collections out there in that some of the stories were fantastic to me and some of the stories were just meh. The difference is, of course, these are all Star Wars stories. So I loved the vast majority of them. The premise of this book was to look at Star Wars: A New Hope from a new perspective (or, rather, 40 new perspectives). 40 different writers chose different secondary or tertiary characters and told bits of the story. The collection moves in order based on the events of the film, though there is some overlap.

Quite a few authors chose Cantina stories, which makes sense as there are a vast number of characters from which to choose. I was ready to move on to another scene after the third, however. There were also a large number of stories focusing on the big battle at the end against the Death Star, which also makes sense because there are so many players, but they were all told with so much heart I was too busy crying to be bored. Fake-Wedge making real Wedge out to be a hero especially touched my heart.

There were also some super creative points of view I had not considered. There was a story told by the creature in the trash compactor, another by a Tusken raider, and even one by a mouse droid. So creative! I liked the way events were witnessed by characters who weren’t even in the movie, including Qui-Gon, Yoda, and Lando. Yoda wrapped up in Qui-Gon’s cloak to sleep is my new favorite headcanon.

My favorite story comes as no surprise: Claudia Grey’s “Master and Apprentice.” Reading it during the pandemic, while we were on stay-at-home orders really made this quote jump out at me: “Anyone can fight, given a weapon and an enemy. Anyone can use a lightsaber, given due training or even good luck. But to stand and wait—to have so much patience and fortitude—that, Obi-Wan, is a greater achievement than you can know. Few could have accomplished it.” -Qui-Gon

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