Category Archives: fangirl

Harry Potter ate the world. The last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, out today and how the Boy Who Lived has taken over the world.

Let’s face it people, Harry Potter ate the world. As a fantasy writer, I now have trouble coming up with ideas that meld the magical world with the normal world that don’t sound like I got it from freaking J.K. Rowling. Even terms and ideas I’d been using in my head for years now sound like something from Harry Potter. I always called non-magical people mundanes. Rowling calls them muggles. Who is not going to see that and assume I ripped it off from Harry Potter? I feel like I’m speaking blaspheme because I damn well love Harry Potter, although I’ve only seen the movies. But the Boy Who Lived is now the Books That Rule.

Part one of the final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes to theaters today. While I didn’t line up in the cold last night to see a mid-night showing, I’ll probably shell out twelve bucks in the next week or two to see it in the theaters. Because, seriously, you can’t have a movie with a broom riding hero and not want to see it in the theaters. But there is another half of me that hates J.K. Rowling and her creation. She’s living my dream, damn it, and she’s living it in such a way that I think other people will have even more trouble getting their work published and recognized than before.

Fantasy and sci-fi are two of the most popular genres in books and movies. They are what sells because they are what people want to read about. People use books and movies as a means to escape from the trudge of life and to leave petty worries and concerns behind. What better way to get outside yourself than to read about a hero trying to save the world and be almost guaranteed there will be a happy ending at the same time? It is, frankly, the whole reason why we humans read books and watch movies that are fiction. They serve no other purpose except as entertainment and allowing us to get out of our own heads for a little while.

But the success of Harry Potter has taken over the world. It’s been reported that the Harry Potter books have been translated into sixty six different languages. Probably more. The movies are just as widely distributed. No matter what culture or country you go to, they have no doubt heard of Harry Potter. The amount of merchandise is ridiculous with board games, PC games, action figures, stuffed dolls, costumes, and movie duplicate props like wands and broomsticks. They even have a Clue game that is now Harry Potter themed. Harry Potter ate my childhood.

The last book in the series has been released and devoured by the masses. Now the first part to the last movie is hitting theaters and I shutter to think how much money Warner Bros. is getting from this two part film. All six releases of the Harry Potter movies are on the list of highest grossing films worldwide. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for you British folks) sits at number eight with $974,733,550. The other movies all sit within the first twenty, although for some reason Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sits at number twenty eight. It’s odd, since J.K. Rowling professes that the Prisoner of Azkaban is her favorite film. There’s even a theme park for Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Harry Potter is everywhere.

But the truly horrifying thing is that Microsoft Word recognizes “Rowling” and “Azkaban” as proper words and doesn’t flag them as misspelled gibberish. You know you’ve taken over the world when Microsoft bows down to you and adds your name to their word possessor dictionary.

List of highest grossing films
The Wizards World blog

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Don’t stop to edit! The NaNoWriMo writing challenge and losing a whole month to writing.

November is more than just the general election and a holiday to stuff ourselves with turkey. It is also National Novel Writing Month, otherwise know by the abbreviation NaNoWriMo. NaNo, as it is often shortened to, is a month long challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in thirty days. Beginning midnight the morning of November 1st until midnight November 30th, participants will strive to write 50,000 words in one headlong rush. Some win, others dive bomb in flames. People then use those flames to roast marshmallows and make s’mores.

NaNo is run by The Office of Letters and Light, an organization that helps children and adults express themselves through creation with online and real-world inspiration and encouragement. There are no prizes and the only thing you get for writing 50,000 words is sore fingers and a nifty Internet badge. The forum on the NaNo website is split into regions, with major cities around the world represented by their own region on the forum. This will be my third year participating in the Saint Louis, Missouri region.

Participants for the NaNo writing challenge can either write by themselves or they can join a write-in. A write-in is simply a gathering of participants to write and hopefully keep up with the 1,660 words you need each day to make your end 50,000 goal. They can be hosted at coffee shops, bookstores, or people’s homes. Write-ins are useful as they force those who attend to spend their time writing and having other NaNo writers around you encourages a higher word count. Each region is headed by a municipal liaison. The liaison has control over the forum for your region and can contact The Office of Letters and Light if the need should rise.

Our region has several events, including a Kick-Off party that was held last Sunday. I was planning to go but ended up not being able to when I woke up that morning with a migraine. There will be a Thank God It’s Over party, TGIO, in the beginning of December. I’m getting a new laptop after the one I had been using, which was my Grandfather’s old laptop and is now a whole decade old, finally crapped out on me. I wasn’t planning on buying a new laptop until the spring but needs must and all that. I plan this laptop to be my primary computer when I move out in May. I don’t want to have to make room for a desktop computer in an apartment and hope my new laptop can function well enough for my limited needs. It’s a Sony Vaio and I hope it arrives before my first write-in on November 3rd.

I won my first year of NaNo but bombed my second year when I just couldn’t get up the steam. I’m hoping to be able to attend more write-ins this year and win again. As for all you writers out there who have a story floating around their heads, why don’t you NaNo with us? Stop making excuses and get that story out of your head! Go to the National Novel Writing Month website and create an account. Then look up your region and join in on the fun.

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Sherlock & the squee heard around the world…

I had planned on loafing all weekend but it ended up being very busy. I cleaned my bathroom from top to bottom Saturday night in an effort to kill those tiny bugs I’ve been seeing. I’d scrubbed my sink three times last week with a bleach cleaner and I still had tiny bugs crawling around the faucet. I don’t know what they are but they are driving me nuts. I had to put everything I keep on the vanity up in the medicine cabinet. Die little buggies, die!

My phone died on Thursday and I hadn’t turned it back on after charging it until Saturday evening. Who was going to call? They’d call the landline if they needed me. Of course I found two texts from Krystal; one asking me to be her Maid of Honor and another asking if I wanted to go to the Wedding Expo with her. Well, hell. Why didn’t you call me when I didn’t answer the texts? It was late, around 11pm, but she’s a night owl like me and was still up. I said I’d love to go to the expo with her. On Sunday morning, after five hours of sleep, I dragged myself into the city. I’ll post more on that tomorrow once I get my pictures uploaded.

I got home from the wedding stampede around 5pm and jumped on line to see if anyone on the Sherlock BBC livejournal community had posted a MegaUpload link for the last episode yet. God, it was a slow connection, took freaking forever, but I downloaded the episode and managed to watch it that night. The series is only three episodes long, each episode an hour and a half long. This was the last episode, The Great Game. Speculation had been rampant across the fan sites about who Moriarty was going to be. The great thing about this show is that it runs across several types of media. If you didn’t read the characters blogs on the internet, then you’d have no idea who some of the lesser characters were.

Molly’s blog had mentioned Jim but it was only about half way through this episode that we even saw the character. Big money was on Jim being Moriarty and a lot of people were proven right Sunday night. (Although, there was a big chunk of the audience that was rooting for Molly being Moriarty or at least a female villain.) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is notorious for getting the facts of his own stories wrong. He used James as the first name for Moriarty and also his unseen brother, spoken about only as a spare fact from Holmes. Although, the character of Jim was revealed to be Moriarty at the end of the last episode, it was left in a cliffhanger. Now, there is a lot more speculation about what is really going on in Sherlock.

The last episode was awesome. Sherlock and John are so cute together I can barely stand it. “What would I do without my blogger?” I love how they are using quotes from the original books but made a little bit different to fit the modern setting. “What would I do without my Boswell?’ I thought it so sweet when John raced home after seeing that a bomb had gone off in front of their apartment on the news. My heart just melted when he bounded up the steps calling for Sherlock. And I could kiss the wardrobe department of this show. The clothing they put Cumberbatch in is just lovely and he looked gorgeous in that dark purple shirt and black suit. Bonus, we finally get to see the famous violin in this scene.

Lestrade calls Sherlock and John down to the station because they found a letter addressed to Sherlock in a strong box in the rubble of the explosion. (When Sherlock looks at the envelope he declares his name was written by a woman; another reason people were thinking Moriarty was a woman.) Inside is a pink phone, like the one used in A Study in Pink. (As this point we learn that everyone in the police department reads John’s blog, which frankly horrifies Sherlock.) Moriarty uses it to communicate with Sherlock, leading our favorite detective on a romp through London to find the poor people strapped with a bomb Moriarty is using as bait. At the end of the show, Sherlock arranges a meeting with Moriarty but his plans are disrupted when John shows up as well, this time wearing an explosive vest.

The episode ends with a double fake out, Moriarty reappearing when we think he’s left. (This is annoying. I have no idea why they sunk that low.) We’re left with a Mexican stand off, Sherlock pointing his gun at the bomb vest he took off of John and Moriarty daring the detective to do it. (The last bomb vest that went off took out several floors of a building and killed twelve people.) Then we fade to black. We won’t know anymore until more episodes come out. I can’t wait.

More squeezing later. I’m at work right now and my co-worker has abandoned me.

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Sherlock Holmes for today?

The second episode of BBC’s Sherlock aired on Sunday August 1st. Titled The Blind Banker, the second episode has Holmes investigating mysterious symbols and the murder of two people. The clues lead Holmes and Watson to a smuggling ring and a shadowy Chinese crime society looking for a stolen piece of art. But things are never what they seem and allusions to the infamous Moriarty show up again at the end of the episode. With just one more episode to go, we can only hope the third episode of the series is suitably action packed and well-written. As of yet, there has been no news about any more episodes. This leaves fans desperately hoping that we are not left with an unsatisfactory ending this weekend.

I like the new show. They did well with adapting Holmes to the 21st century and the use of technology is understated and doesn’t take over the plot. The cell phone, email, and internet fade into the background and we are presented with Holmes using his brain to make deductions and the pieces of technology are just tools. My biggest fear was having the great detective show up in an episode of CSI or another forensics crime show. Sherlock Holmes is much more about his intelligence and deductive skills then the technology that surrounds him. Also, the way they handle quick technology uses, like searches and texting on a cell phone, is ingenious. Rather than showing us the cell screen, they merely place the typed text up in the scene and show you real-time what the character is typing and seeing on the cell phone.

I also like the actors. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes and Martin Freeman plays Watson. Cumberbatch is a perfect Holmes. He’s physically right for the roll, tall and pale with a head of wild dark curls. Plus, he managed to get the correct mix of narcissistic ego and aloof composure that waffles between being anti-social and an amusing, well, freak as one character put it. He’s what I have always imagined a modern day Holmes could be molded into. Cumberbatch comes across as a little bit maniac but also with the elegance I associate with a well played Holmes. The character has made a good transition from the Victorian mindset to the looser modern day social mores. We can relate to Holmes’ strangeness now that he’s in a setting we recognize first hand.

Now Freeman as Watson is just as awesome. This Watson has dropped the useless nincompoop act and portrays himself as a capable companion to the great detective. Watson is not entirely focused on just Holmes, like in the stories, and acts as a bridge between Holmes’ preoccupation with his mind and the rest of the world. The only problem is the lack of the iconic moustache. It pains me to see dear Watson without that moustache but I understand why the current Watson doesn’t have it. It’s all part of the modern adaptations to the classic Sherlock Holmes stories.

I have one bone to pick with Sherlock and that was the rather heavy handed homosexual gags in the first episode. For fans of the canon Holmes, the possibility of a romantic and sexual relationship between Holmes and Watson is a wildly agreed upon fact. We are all seeing our great detective and his dear doctor through slash tinted glasses. A great amount of fan media uses this fact to portray them both as homosexuals. I’d say that about 99% of the fan material is slash based. From the start, this new show displays that prospective in an awkward dance between Holmes and Watson. You just have to watch the scene in the restaurant to demonstrate that. It was great for fans to see such a boldly portrayed, if only for the laughs, aspect of fandom show up in this adaptation.

But this quickly disappears in episode 2. In fact, Watson is given a love interest. This is a bit of a bummer for fans that were enjoying the byplay between Holmes and Watson. It was there for laughs but at least it was there.

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and now for the fangirl squeeing…

Up coming movies often get me to read the books associated with them. I read Neil Gaiman’s Stardust because of the movie and I read The Lord of the Rings because of the movie. Let me tell you, I never would have touched The Lord of the Rings if it wasn’t for Jackson’s movies. Reading books with antiquated speech patterns and turns of phrases kind of drives me crazy. If I need crib notes to understand what I am reading, then I usually give it a pass. The Lord of the Rings turned out to be a rather large fandom of mine, mostly because of the Elves. I love Elrond. Reading Stardust lead to me reading the rest of Gaimans’ books. I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book and I’m in the middle of reading Neverwhere right now. (Gaiman’s later books are much better than his early works.)

I also began reading the Sherlock Holmes stories because of the movie. Somehow, Sir Arthur Conan Dole’s books managed to pull me in rather than repel me. I had already read the novels and the short stories by the time the movie hit theaters around Christmas. I like Guy Ritchie’s movie, don’t get me wrong, but Robert Downey Jr. was not what I pictured in the canon stories. The character was all wrong. I know it was a reimaging of Sherlock Holmes and it was funny and cute, but it was not Sherlock Holmes as I knew him to be. The Holmes I knew was tall with grey eyes and was composed and elegant. While I enjoyed RDJ as Holmes, he was scruffy and maniac. It was amusing and fun to watch but it wasn’t Sherlock Holmes.

That being said, Ritchie’s movie has given a huge boost to this fandom. Movie goers have gone back to the books and read them after seeing the film. There is a bit more representation of RDJ’s Holmes than I would like or enjoy in the fandom but the amount of content on the web available for Sherlock Holmes fans is growing by leaps and bounds. People have also gone back and watched the UK Granada show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This 80’s show featured Jeremy Brett as Holmes and he is considered by many as the quintessential great detective. The Russian adaptation of Holmes as well as the countless movies are also being sought after by fans. Enthusiasts are searching for more sources of Sherlock Holmes media than ever before and producing more fan media then can be followed. It’s staggering.

Recently, the BBC (United Kingdom television) created a modern day take on the great detective. Titled as simply Sherlock, the new Holmes series is just three episodes long. The first episode is an adaptation of the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. The episode, called amusingly enough A Study in Pink, tosses Holmes and Watson together at 221B and takes off running, introducing Mycroft and dangling the specter of Moriarty in front of the audience right off the bat. An hour and a half long, a lot is packed into the first episode with our favorite characters remade for the modern era. Holmes even uses a cell phone to text and look up information on the web. While driving around in a taxicab is a tad different than jumping into a horse drawn hansom, they pull it off well.

And fans, from all across the world, are wild about the new BBC show Sherlock.

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