talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

This week, my nephew came into the world! Also, I wrote stuff that’s not due to be published for a little while. That means no links to other sites featuring my work today, but there’s still a few things to share.

Things that I read: 

Thing that I made: 


This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness celebrates my aforementioned nephew! He’s been here four days now, and came into the world both screaming and a Leo – which makes the mighty lion a fitting welcome beast indeed. The cuddly lion reference came from a Google Image search.

Things that I’m excited about: 








Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kick-back from Amazon, if you do.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Just like virtually everyone else I know, Andy and I fell into the Stranger Things hole a few weeks ago. It was sorta like visiting the Upside Down, but with much better food and not having to worry about what the hell I was breathing. So nothing like the Upside Down then, but we did live day-to-day in a creeping mist of questions and concern and admiration for Eleven and her bevy of adventurers, not to mention the hapless adults stumbling into national security black ops. And by day-to-day, I mean like the three days it took us to watch.

Ever since, I’ve been lurking for a good time to watch it again (my brother hasn’t seen it yet, LET ME CHANGE THAT), making my own Christmas lights message, and getting way too excited about Funko’s prototype rendering of an Eleven Pop!. (MAKE IT SO, FUNKO; TAKE MY MONEY.) And now I’ve decided to lob a 10 Things list at YOU, dear reader, so here we go!

(This is not a Top Ten list, and not in any particular order.)


1) 80’s Nostalgic, But Not Derivative!

It seems like Hollywood is constantly trying to package 80’s nostalgia and sell it to us these days – except they’re doing it by shitty remakes of everything from Transformers to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (No, I will not apologize for both of those examples being Baystrosities.) Of course, they tend to get everything wrong – these franchises were products of their time (and our youth), and they’re being remade by people who arguably never cared about them – so they end up being neither genuine nor revolutionary.

Stranger Things doesn’t do that. Stranger Things is set in a very specific place – smalltown, heartland America in 1983. It is a science fiction story and a coming-of-age story and a mystery and a thriller. It loves Stephen King and Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter and so much more – but it does not want to be them. It wants to remind you of that intense wonder with an edge of fear in which you met E.T. or quailed from Carrie or cheered for the Goonies.

Stranger Things wraps you in atmosphere, and you breathe nostalgia in. And it is something special.

2) Hard Science Fiction of Unintended Consequences!

One of the best aspects of the mad science storyline in Stranger Things is that it’s so rooted in history – the USSR was actually investigating telepathy and more during the Cold War. As were we: the US did indeed have their own answering research team. So we have the set-up of a secret facility fostering ESP in an attempt to undermine the State’s enemies. But then everything goes wrong – instead of tapping only into info we wanted, we stumble sideways into an adjoining plane of existence… and the things there are hungry. It’s a simple skeleton to hang a story on, but supports oh such juicy meat being layered atop it. Er. I am not actually an untold horror from the Upside Down typing this, promise. I am human. So human. Now…come closer.

3) Eleven.

Eleven grew up in a lab as a science experiment, with a cold scientist who wore fatherhood like a labcoat – thin and easily discarded if it gets too messy. She can kill things with her brain. She still managed to retain a core of humanity and vulnerability that left her open to friendship and soft things. She knew that killing was wrong, and protection something she could offer her best and only friends. Eleven was a goddamn delight, and deserves ALL the Eggo Waffles. ALL OF THEM, BOB, YOU LEGGO ELEVEN’S EGGO RIGHT THIS INSTANT.


(See Ms Manatee’s post on Binge Whale for more boss Eleven moments.)

4) Joyce Byers.

I read Joyce has gotten some shit because she just acted crazy and screamed about her missing boy all season. That she is NOT FEMINIST. To which I ask: do you have a heart? Is it an empty hole? Is your last name Grinch?

Yeah, Joyce spends most of the season focused on her son Will Byers. He is TWELVE and GOES MISSING, so most people would understand why Joyce found herself so absorbed with her son. But far from turning into a helpless wreck of a person, she turns into a PROACTIVE wreck of a person. (There is nothing bad or weak about being a wreck of a person when a child you love and who depends on you goes missing over night. Just FYI.)  She seeks allies. She follows every lead. She does it alone when required. Joyce Byers is a woman who understands the truth is out there, and she’s going to find it come hell or high water, Upside Downs or a POS shaped like an ex-husband. Joyce Byers should be celebrated, and I say that as a feminist. The end.


5) Nancy Wheeler.

Nancy is our third female protagonist in Stranger Things, if you’ve been keeping count. THIRD. And she’s a teenage girl, which is prime territory for her just being THE WORST because 80’s nostalgia and sexism. Except she’s not THE WORST. She’s a complicated, real person who gets to make her own decisions and also make mistakes. She reconnects with her little brother, sees to the heart of many things, and doesn’t shrink from fighting in the dark for her lost best friend. She’s tough, dedicated, and smart – and she has one of the best lines in the entire series.

“What you kids doin’ with all this?” asks the hardware fella.


“Monster hunting.” Nancy tells it like it is.

(Check Jen Juneau’s post over on Yahoo! on “Why Nancy Wheeler from ‘Stranger Things’ isn’t getting the credit she deserves.” I don’t agree with parts of her argument, but she makes some good points.)

6) It Eats Teenage Stereotypes for Breakfast.

So there’s Cool Guy Steve, and he’s just a Grade A Jerk with no redeeming qualities and not worth dating, right? Except he stands up to his crappy friends, apologizes and atones for his mistakes, and, yeah, runs away from the Terrifying Horror from Beyond  – but then comes back to fight next to the girl he cares about.

And then there’s Tortured Soul Jonathan, who’s just misunderstood at school because he’s poor and likes to listen to The Clash or whatever, right? Well, no – he is awkward around people, but he also can be a creeper and sometimes takes pictures of topless women without their consent. That’s not okay – the show doesn’t say it is, nor does it use Nancy as a Reward for either boy in a sexist value system.

Stranger Things also doesn’t portray teenage sexuality as a bad thing in itself. Barb is taken by the Demogorgon while sadly sitting outside after Nancy decides to stay the night with her boyfriend – but sex is not the bad thing. That sex is not what threatens Nancy’s relationship with Steve, nor does it horribly impact her life afterward. She’s not pregnant, socially outcast, or spurned. Teenage sex is treated as a natural progression in a human’s life, and that’s notable in 80’s nostalgia fiction.

7) The Acting.

Okay, the acting is really top notch in this series. Wynona Ryder is amazing – at first, I kept pushing back against it, exclaiming all aghast that “Wynona is someone’s mom!” Which I know makes no sense, except she’s always first Lydia Deetz in my mind. But I soon forgot to see Wynona and just saw Joyce. The other adult actors are all really great as well, but I have to focus on the children now: I don’t even understand how Millie Bobby Brown was able to portray Eleven as she did. What dark intensity is this child mining to be so terrifying and deep? Then there’s the delightful Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), fierce Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), earnest Finn Wolfhard (Mike), and fragile Noah Schnapp (Will)… what talent Stranger Things‘ casting director found! This calls for a group hug.


8) Complete Story with Room to Grow!

Stranger Things had the good grace and the good sense to tell a complete story in their first season. They didn’t bank on getting more time, and end with some absurd cliffhanger. They also didn’t act without confidence and sew up every little thread. They told a well-balanced story – with a beginning, middle, and end – and told it in just enough episodes to keep it taut while still allowing it room to build. They satisfied the viewer, and did it while still scattering a few disturbing seeds that can blossom into strange and terrifying new tales in the next season.

Luckily, there’s going to be another season. And I can’t wait. No, seriously, guys, I can’t wait. START FILMING NOW, I WILL PAY YOU IN EGGOS AND ADMIRATION.

9) Dustin Henderson.

Y’all know I love Eleven. Lucas is the fierce warrior who won’t sacrifice common sense, and he’s amazing too. Mike’s the voice of the group, and Will is their Dude in Distress. But, y’all, Dustin – Dustin is the real MVP of their party. Any dude who shows up for the quest with the food – sugar AND protein – is the guy you don’t want to lose. He knows an army marches on its stomach, and he’s ready. He’s also their heart: he brokers peace, calls everyone on their shit, stands up for himself, but also knows when it’s time to cut and run.


Every party needs a Dustin Henderson. Don’t RP (or real life adventure) without one.

10) The Demogorgon.

Stranger Things dipped into their Lovecraftian Gigeresque nightmares for the Demogorgon and came up aces. Terrifying, spine-shuddering aces with slimy bits and a penchant for fresh blood. Not giving it a face was an inspired choice, and letting it be both the monster in the walls and the monster from beyond was another. The Demogorgon was so effective, in fact, that it terrified the youngest members of the cast (the two actresses who jointly played little Holly Wheeler) and the crew had to liken it to Sully from Monsters, Inc. to help calm them. (Thanks for the trivia, Movie Pilot!) A+ monster, y’all! Now I’m going back to NOT thinking about it for a while. All the shudders.


(For more GIFs of the show’s creepiest moments, check out Ms Manatee’s round-up on Binge Whale.)

And I’m gonna stop with 10, even though there is so much more to talk about.

Honorable mentions go to:
Barb, and there are plenty of great posts out there about her already.
The Christmas Lights Wall, and the great fanart it’s inspired (like Paul Tinker’s GIF).
The titles, which are so excellent they’ve inspired multiple articles (check out the A.V. Club’s breakdown).
And the perfectly atmospheric music, which I’ll be talking about on Nerdspan soon.

You also should all check out this round-up of brilliant Stranger Things fanart on Vox. Then drop into the comments and tell me what YOU love about Stranger Things!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

I did things this week! I also enjoyed things. Here are things I did and also enjoyed:

Things that I wrote:

Things that I read: 

Thing that I made:


I’m not a good visual artist, but I practice anyway – mainly on the family whiteboard, using dry erase markers (and liquid chalk markers, more recently). Above, we have Elliot from Pete’s Dragon – created with the help of this DragoArt tutorial.

And finally, things that I’m excited about: 

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Being a family of gamers who recently relocated, one of our priorities was in setting up a Game Room in our new space. Luckily, we were able to do just that – a disused dining room makes the perfect venue. Large table? CHECK. Space for at least 6 people around it? CHECK. Shelves to display minis and action figures; bookcases for RPG manuals? DOUBLE CHECK.


So now we have the dedicated space for weekly Dune and Star Wars roleplaying games.


Guess what our giant orange mackerel tabby Tiger Jack thinks of all this?




He thinks it’s ALL FOR HIM. “What?” He seems to say. “I’m a gamer. I play games.”




Tiger Jack is a cat who particularly enjoys attention. Why else would all these people, who clearly want to pet him, be gathered in one place? And why would they be throwing little balls, if not for him to bat at?


Above, he conspires with another player. Below, he is become Tiger Jackhulud, great Sandcat of Dune:




And so now? Now, we have #RPGCat:




The party’s doomed.


(You can see more of #RPGCat over on my Instagram feed; I tend to post there first.)


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Pokemon Go symbol with a red X sign over the O in Go.

Just like everyone else, I jumped on the cute monster-catching bandwagon the minute it became available. I crowed with delight at the Charmander appearing in my bedroom when I started Pokémon GO, and had an early fondness for Rattatas and Pidgeys infesting my house… at least until I caught enough of them to stage two full teams in a home football league.

Car rides with my husband became full of good-natured complaints as I asked to pull over for PokéStops, or started excitedly babbling about turning toward some Pokémon I’d never seen before. I made sure to take my phone with me and use some in-game incense on short backyard walks, and even moped on rainy days like one of the kids in The Cat in the Hat.

I even, like the kids in The Cat in the Hat, ended up having a bit of an adventure:

Real life Pokémon are hard, y’all.

And yet… I have not opened the game app in over two weeks now.

You see, I am a gamer with disabilities. I have a serious hip injury that prevents walking any significant distance, and I also suffer from fibromyalgia and traumatic arthritis. The days I am able to leave the house are a vanishing pleasure, inconsistently available and therefore reserved for important errands.

Niantic and Pokémon GO apparently don’t care about gamers like me.

I can’t walk miles to hatch eggs, which is something that gets you some rare Pokémon and helps you level. I can’t hare off on adventure when I spot a Pokémon nearby on the map. I can’t nip up to a gym to battle or defend it at a moment’s notice like my brother can. I can’t even spend time down at the hottest Pokémon spots in my city, where I might actually get to meet new people and socialize as well as keep my Poké Balls topped off and catch new Pokémon. I also can’t spend tons of money on gas, so riding around at 20 MPH to hatch eggs or catch Pokémon near roadways are not viable hacks for me. (Nor are those environmentally-friendly choices.)

I’m not the only gamer so badly disappointed, though you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream.

The Daily Dot wrote about Pokemon GO‘s barriers to players with disabilities a month ago, particularly citing the experience of Alyx, posting on the Tumblr Disability Health. Kotaku covered it, as did Emily Coday at The Mighty (from personal experience) and Julia Alexander at Polygon. Many of these articles feature comments from Steve Spohn of AbleGamers (an excellent charity and advocacy organization for gamers with disabilities).

Brian Conklin over at Unstoppable Gamer made the best of a bad lot, writing about ways gamers with disabilities could improve their Pokémon GO experience with the tools at hand. Then there was a series of unfortunately-titled articles like this one: “People Have Already Figured Out How To Cheat at Pokémon GO.” Well, Mr. Hale, you say “cheat,” I say “a creative way for gamers with disabilities to maybe play more effectively.” We can’t all be able-bodied.

Niantic has not responded to any of the points raised regarding Pokémon GO‘s accessibility trouble – not on their blog, nor in other responses outlined at Touch Arcade. Gamers with disabilities are not a priority, and our voices are not loud enough to garner even a harried “we’re working on it” throwaway comment.

What Niantic has done is go after tracking services that made it easier for gamers with disabilities to zero in on Pokémon, and introduce lifetime bans for those caught “cheating.” (Thanks for the coverage, TechCrunch.)

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Those early days of Pokémon GO brought a flash of joy and whimsy to days so often spent in pain and relative isolation. I’ve considered uninstalling Pokémon GO from my phone, but I’m hanging on to hope still – despite its accessibility flaws, despite its game flaws (more on that another time), I still had fun with it. Maybe giving up on a game that never had time for you is the best choice, but I’m going to give Niantic a little more time to not be gigantic jerks.

If you are a gamer with disabilities, or a person who cares about an accessible world – and, really, that should be all of you – please take a moment and contact Niantic about making Pokémon GO a more accessible game for everyone. Do this even if you don’t play Pokémon GO. You can contact Niantic publicly the following ways:

On Facebook at PokemonGo or NianticLabs.
On Twitter @PokemonGoApp or @NianticLabs.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

You may have noticed that I am… a bit of a cat geek. If you haven’t, you probably haven’t seen my Twitter or Instagram feeds, and I invite you to correct that little oversight. ALL SHALL FOLLOW ME AND DESPAIR ENJOY CAT PICS.

Daenerys demands tribute before video games.

Daenerys: “Tribute before video games.”

Am I the Queen of Cat Geeks? Probably not. I mean, there’s Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter – she may be a reprehensible moldwarp, but she also decorated in cats. Also, there are those people who hoard cats, but I’d call that super unhealthy, no crowns allowed. Then there’s Jackson Galaxy, who could probably pull off a crown pretty well.

Tiger Jack to GM: "Do your worst."

Tiger Jack to GM: “Do your worst.”

But! I’m at least a Duchess of Cat Geeks, for sure, and I’ve been sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge over at Front Page Meews for a few months now. This means a bunch of links for you, which you may choose to follow for fun and edification:

Outdoor Cats Put the Hurt on Local Wildlife
Harness Training: So You Want to Walk Your Cat
The Houses of Game of Thrones as Cat Breeds
Understanding Cat Body Language: An Introduction
How to Get Your Cats Party Ready
Catnip and Your Cats: Everything You Need to Know
Busting Three Big Myths About Cats

There’ll be more to come! And while we’re on the topic of cats, hit the comments with your favorite cat GIFs!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Civil War. You might have heard of it. No, not the baseline divisive and horribly costly war that fractured the United States of America in the late 19th century. The Marvel one where a bunch of superpowered people came to blows on account of the Superhero Registration Act – I mean, the Sokovia Accords – that sought to restrain their actions. The Russo brothers took an epic and sprawling comic book storyline and tried to turn it into a two and a half-hour film.

Like this:


It went about as well as could be expected. The problem with Captain America: Civil War is that…

[Click through to BuzzyMag to read my review!]

 Note: The image from marvelfactpage above is used with permission.

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Say Yeah!

Mar. 17th, 2016 09:59 am
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you have a good one. Here’s my home state’s arguably greatest contribution to the day.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath has come and gon–no, wait, actually it remains for you to purchase at any bookseller you fancy. I mean, probably. Unless the bookseller specializes only in Cheesemaker Biopics Prior to 1900, or Ball Joint Enthusiast tracts. Still, my point stands! Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi novel is out there, and now you can also read my review at Buzzy Mag.

Spoiler: I liked it, but it was a bit of a mess.

Do you know what the most notable aspect of Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath has been? Not that it’s the first post-Return of the Jedi story given to the galaxy. Not that it’s a gripping and fast-paced yarn. Nope. The most notable aspect per the Internet is that it has several gay characters. And space diapers.

I wish I could say I was kidding, but I’m not. I wish I could Jedi mind trick the Internet into being a less bigoted place, but I can’t. What I can do, however, is tell you that Star Wars: Aftermath is a flawed book, but it’s fun, and a worthy addition to the Star Wars we know.

It’s an incredibly busy and diverse galaxy out there, and Wendig’s got that covered in spades. We get a wide view of multitudinous worlds reacting to the news of the Emperor and Vader’s defeat, the exploding of the Death Star, and how the Empire does not shatter. Instead, it crumbles at the edges and the Rebellion victory seeps in as smuggled propaganda, sowing hope with one secretly-watched holomessage at a time.

Read the rest of the review over at Buzzy Mag.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Galactic Hitman, y’all. It’s… not a good game. Or even a working game, necessarily. Andy and I gave a go at playing it to amuse ourselves and experiment with a new format of Let’s Play. This video is the result.

Watch! Laugh with us! Marvel at our many CTD’s and first-time use of Steam’s new refund policy.

Also, THE SCREEN WAS TOTALLY FLICKERING, although Fraps didn’t capture that detail in the recording. We weren’t tripping, unless Galactic Hitman is so bad it threw us into identical seizure states.

If you’d like to learn more about Galactic Hitman, check it out on the Steam store.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Y’all know I miss The Clone Wars. I make absolutely no bones or Force ghosts about it. Rebels is showing promise, sure, and I’m starved for episodes on this hiatus, but The Clone Wars was where I lived.

Happily for me, an eight-part arc of The Clone Wars – scripted, but never produced – was considered ripe for novelization. Christie Golden took those scripts, and she forged them into one hell of an adventure. Check out my thoughts, fully published at BuzzyMAG:


The story follows Asajj Ventress and fan-favorite Quinlan Vos as they work together to achieve a necessary, yet deplorable goal: the assassination of Count Dooku. The Jedi Council sends Vos on this path, valuing his ability to adapt to deep cover and thus court Ventress’ assistance without her knowing he’s a Jedi. Of course, anyone who spent more than a few minutes considering this plan would realize that even the most serene Jedi might have a little trouble hiding their Force affinity in front of a Nightsister of Dathomir and former Sith acolyte. (Someone as swashbuckling as Quinlan Vos, ever skating along the edges of strict Jedi practice, had no chance.) Also, there’s the little problem that you probably need at least two Force-users working together to take on a Sith Lord of Count Dooku’s caliber.

Honestly. The Jedi Council is often very, very dumb.

(Yeah, yeah, Anakin was but one man. THE CHOSEN ONE, MAN.)

[Click here for the full review at BuzzyMAG!]

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

You want it, don’t you? My review of Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp? Well, you can have it! It’s up at BuzzyMAG. To prepare yourselves, though, you need to pay homage to Sith Girl.

Take a load off, grab a cup of blue milk or whatever, and give this video a watch:

Ah, good times, kickin' it and deciding to swear allegiance to the Dark Lord. And now you're ready to read my review. Read it now.

Lords of the Sith promised me a rollicking, bloody adventure best thought of as the PALPATINE AND VADER MURDERBUDDIES ROADSHOW. (In my mind. It’s a twisted place.) This is the sort of gleeful, anticipatory state in which I sat down to read the novel.

And, well, I wasn’t given what I expected. It wasn’t the MURDERBUDDIES ROADSHOW of my dreams. In fact, it’s honestly a testament to how well the book worked that I’m not horribly disappointed.

While the novel opens with a brief stint in Vader’s head, all crippled pain and cybernetics and the Dark Side of the Force, the narrative perspective soon shifts to the actual focus of the story: Twi’lek Cham Syndulla and his freedom fighters, smuggling weapons and plotting for the realization of a free Ryloth.

Click here to find the full review at BuzzyMAG.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Look, people, never question how much affection I hold for you. I read Heir to the Jedi. I read the whole damn thing, and I DID IT FOR US.

Don’t you walk away from me! Don’t you leave this thing we have together. If I’m bitter now, you only have yourselves to blame! Yourselves, and Kevin Hearne.

Seriously, though, I did read Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi, and it was not a very good novel. It’s unfortunate that this was my introduction to Hearne’s work, as many of you have told me of the excellence to be found in his The Iron Druid Chronicles. I promise you I will give them a try, because no one should be judged based on this recent Star Wars novel that reads like nothing so much as a defeated author’s scribblings after being henpecked by a boardroom-based canon council.

Y’all should probably just read the review I wrote for you now, kindly published over at BuzzyMAG:


Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne, is one of our latest forays into a galaxy far, far away. It promises us mystery revealed, seems poised to take us into the daily life of a certain young Skywalker as he grows from the whiny punk of Star Wars into the more sober, experienced man of The Empire Strikes Back. The foreword promises as much from an evidently keen fan of the franchise. And yet, Heir to the Jedi is the worst of the new canon novels.

From its early pages of reported events to Luke’s frankly crappy reasoning skills, this novel commits the cardinal sin of being boring…

Click this link to read the rest over at BuzzyMAG!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

Look, y’all, I know it’s been a while since I last posted an edition of “Once Upon A Are You Kidding Me?” I was pretty dedicated for a while there, taking the hit for the not-gonna-take-it team, staying in the trenches with so many other suffering-but-hopeful fans, keeping active in the Tumblr community. But then… but then…

It was Neverland. Neverland just killed me, chipped away at my last fingerhold of hope until I fell a long, long way into that black pit they killed Maleficent in. I lay among her shattered bones, and muttered “fuck a bunch of this! Wanna wander off for a cocktail?” Maleficent put herself back together, conjured up her fabulous Faerie Queen couture, and we wandered off into the darkness. Good times…


Where was I? Oh! Yes. Yes, I quit the show.

Of course, they decided to hit me where I live with this Queens of Darkness bit, and I’ve been thinking about taking up the Mantle of Exasperation once more. I must admit, I am there for Maleficent and Ursula in pretty much any media experience. Also, I hear Belle’s still alive! And maybe even has managed to garner a little bit of agency?

Regardless of whether I do it, though, I thought it was time to declare my colors and rally likeminded folk. Hence the above design, which you can find on a variety of shirt types over on Redbubble. If you’re a desperate fan, a former fan, or a would-be fan who just knows too much – this shirt’s for you.

If you still love pieces of the show, if you love what it could have become, if you just go “ACK!” every time someone brings it up or a commercial comes on – this shirt’s is for you.

Your fave may be problematic, but you can still enjoy it – you’re just becoming a conscientious fan who doesn’t take any guff from your fave or its creators. And this shirt’s for you. Enjoy!

Note: This design’s also available as a poster, card, tote bag, and throw pillow. For throwing.

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Have you ever heard the phrase “as the crow flies”? Well ravens are big damn crows, and that’s how this holiday missive was delivered. All the way from Westeros. So no jawin’ about it being the end of January.


On a serious note, I have found it difficult to post this year’s winter holiday card. Kaylee was diagnosed with cancer in September, but we were assured it was a basal-cell carcinoma and a relatively easy fix. It was not, and it hasn’t been fixed. She is still with us at this time, although she is on palliative care. I’m really not prepared to talk about this further right now, apart from this fervent and succinct conclusion: Fuck cancer.

Kaylee is our indomitable Queen, however long her reign may last. We join her in wishing you all catnip mice of a pleasurable hue, or quick claws and a silent death. Depending on whether you head up her Naughty or Nice list, of course.

As always, Lorraine Schleter illustrated our holiday card. I truly believe she outdid herself this year, and you should find more of her work to admire and also hire her for all your illustrative needs. She is a marvelous person to work with.


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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
It's almost disgusting how Funko keeps churning out their vinyl Pop! figures for virtually every media property around, but I sorta love them and they're ruining my life right now. RUNNING my life right now. RUNNING. In a good way. They make me smile, they lurk all over my desk, and I had to make a wishlist over on Amazon dedicated solely to their big-headed vinyl wiles.

Just, they're adorable, okay? Funko really hit it out of the park, nay, the galaxy when they came up with this line of figures.

And if they do make a basic figure that's less than stellar, there's a growing number of kick-ass kitbashers out there fixing them up with repaints and custom resculpts. Any rumors that I'm thinking about joining this excellent, informal guild are more than likely stuff and nonsense. Yep. Complete tripe.


Let Lo Pan prick you with his needle of love! btilc-gracielaw btilc-jackburton

If you lived through the 80's, you know this is awesome. Awesome, ultimate kitsch.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I suggest you take yourself off to Netflix or Amazon Prime and watch it. Preferably with Chinese take-out, during a thunderstorm. Treat Yo Self. (Hell, it's less than $5 on Blu-ray at the moment.)

My friends and I even put together a little Boozers Assemble livetweet that you can read along with the movie for extra hilarity.


btilc-thunder btilc-rain btilc-lightning

Click on the images to pre-order your faves from Entertainment Earth! Then you can wave your hands at the impending adorability in your mailbox come mid-February.

We've all gotta do our bit so they put out a second wave with Egg Shen and Pete, not to mention Wang, Margo, and Eddie. And Miao Yin!

Especially Egg Shen. Leaving him out of the first wave was just criminal.

[Read at my website.]
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

“Gimme those Star Wars… don’t let them end!”

Bill Murray and I may not have much in common, but we’ll always share a croon-worthy desire for more Star Wars.

…oh, that was a bit? Well, there goes THAT fictional friendship.

ANYWAY, I am here with two thumbs and a huge grin to crow about having an ARC of Heir to the Jedi. That’s right, people! I’m getting my Luke on and nobody can stop me! (I’d rather get my Vader on but, you know, Siths will be Siths. And not have any more canon books until Lords of the Sith which, let’s be real, sounds potentially EPICALLY BADASS.)

While I wander off and reconnect with our dubious young Jedi, check out my opinion on the first new-canon installment: the Star Wars Rebels-introducingA New Dawn. You can find a snippet below, and read my full thoughts over onBuzzyMAG.


SW-ANDIf there’s one thing you should know aboutStar Wars: A New Dawn, it’s this: it’s just like The Clone Wars animated series, but with more booze and brawling.

This novel is a straightforward, quick read and serves well as the first salvo in the oncoming cavalcade of new Star Warscanon. We’re introduced to several key characters from the upcoming Rebelsanimated series, which I appreciate – I’m definitely going to be watching the show, and getting some more depth out there on the characters before it starts is good form. I also appreciate the diversity the author (or canon designers) are invested in showing: there were many women of multiple species in positions of import, including a human female POC acting Captain at the helm of a Star Destroyer. She even comes out relatively well in the end – for an Imperial, anyway.

(If you think it’s a spoiler that the Empire does well enough for itself in this novel, have you even seen Star Wars? Come on, now.)


Click to keep reading the review at BuzzyMAG…

Reposted from

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)

I made my debut over at BuzzyMAG this week, which means you should hop on over there if you’d like to read my thoughts on City of Heavenly Fire, the final volume of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series:

city-of-heavenly-fire-coverLet’s say you find yourself at the helm of a commercial success – in this case, oh, Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Besides suddenly discovering you are Cassandra Clare (unless you were already), you will realize that this commercial success has brought you a movie adaptation, writing vacations in the French countryside, and many more storytelling opportunities. You might also be interested in the following list of DOs and DONTs.


DO write your characters with integrity.
DON’T sacrifice story to shill to your fans.
DO spend more time finishing your current series than setting up the next.
DON’T write like your ticking items off a list.

Does Clare stick the landing? Only one way to find out! Well, to find out what I thought, anyway: follow me to the rest of the review.

(And check out the rest of BuzzyMAG while you’re there. Original fiction! Interviews! Regular content updates!)

Mirrored from Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
As a child of the 80's, my interest in video games began with the first NES on the block. It wasn't even in my house; my family boasted a laserdisc player, but we hadn't made the jump to home computing or gaming yet.

(And my mom was in the computer sales business! When Stickybear and The Black Cauldron were a thing! I don't understand it either.)


No, the first Nintendo on the block belonged to my frenemy John. (I thought he was just my friend John, but then he kicked my legs out from under me while we were racing this one time. And climbed a fence to mock me. So I learned the secrets of vengeance, tripped him back, and saw his mom naked. Good times.)

But, yes, the NES! Nintendo! We all went over to John's place to play it, and by "we all," I mean the other girl on the block and my first little brother when he could keep up with us. We spent many a raucous afternoon flattening gumbas, divesting koopa troopas of their shells, and gleefully slaughtering scores of ducks. (Seriously, y'all, how did the Duck Hunt gun even work?) (I'm kidding, I Googled that ages ago. But educate yourselves, if you need to.)

Drunk on the delicious pixelated goodness of Super Mario Bros.... [Click to read the rest of this entry at my website!]
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
If you need me, me an' Clara'll be hanging out with the Time Lord.

(If I earwormed you, you're welcome. If you have no idea, just move along.)

Doctor Who has returned, and it's nothing like what we expected. And, yes, this post was meant to have been up last week but then some generous people thought I might enjoy their summer cold. They were wrong. I did not enjoy their summer cold. I move that the assembly strike "generous" from the previous description and substitute "inconsiderate" instead. Everyone in favor? Since my vote's the only one that matters, motion carried.

NOW THEN: the Doctor has regenerated and helpfully brings a T-Rex to Victorian London in his regenerative confusion, where a beleaguered Clara is immediately supported by everyone's favorite Paternoster Gang. They manage to produce a widget that corrals the Queen of Dinosaurs into a limited part of London, mainly right next to Big Ben so we always have a handy size reference. Then they whisk the Doctor away and someone manages to get him into a nightgown, and wondering who managed that - as the Doctor ranted and railed in frightened disorientation - added some levity to an otherwise heartbreaking scene. Eleven was still very much inside Twelve, fouling up all his wires, leaving HIM operating with a fault... a phrase he waved at his companions, which he got from his last interactions with Handles, the disembodied Cyberman head. A Time Traveler's Winston. It's no surprise that Eleven would be with us essentially all the way through this first episode with Peter Capaldi - the Doctor lived as Eleven for centuries, and in a warzone as well. That'll give anyone a nasty case of PTLD. (Work it out.)

[Read the rest at my website!]

August 2016

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Reading Challenges

2/4 Novels Read
37/58 Short Stories Read
1/41 Television Episodes Watched

December 31st, 2011
Art by Ivan Griscenko.

0/3 Novels Read

December 31st, 2011
Original post at the McKillip community.


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