Saturday, 25 October 2014


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This is why I Extra Life

Posted by Wendy B
Monday, 29 September 2014
Sunday, 28 September 2014

So I've been trying to come to terms with Clara and yes, I know there's Impossible Girl stuff I'm missing that would help me, but I'm just going to focus on S8 Clara and how I've been having trouble with her having such a dominating role over the Doctor, which has gone so far as to involve her shaping him from childhood, which really bugged me.

I'm probably late to this party, but someone hit me with the epiphany the other day: the Doctor is a child now. The complaint from fans with Peter Capaldi's casting was that the Doctor is too old now, but the Doctor is supposed to regenerate younger--a prejudice that was addressed through Clara in episode one. Well he has regenerated younger, despite his appearance. His actions and reactions are very much childlike, though he maintains all the knowledge. And this overriding theme of fear is certainly reflective of a childlike mind. This realization makes me want to watch it with my intuitive little 6yo even more, because now I'm seeing her in the Doctor and vice versa.

I don't know what she was like with Matt Smith's Docgtor, but Clara, being a teacher, is the perfect companion for this new one because he very much needs the slap on the wrist. He doesn't have conscience issues solely because of the darkness the dalek saw in episode two, but because he has lost that moral filter in himself... or hasn't gained it yet. He's learning once more.

I'm also not used to the concept of a companion who leads her own life as well as running off with the Doctor, so I really liked that the this episode fully addresses that and had her firmly make that choice. And when Danny learned the truth, he really stepped up, in spite of her lies. He's not sappy boyfriend following along because she said she loves him. He's forcing her to face the truth and delivers lines like this that Clara can't simply walk away from:
"You only really know what someone thinks of you when you know what lies they've told you." ~Danny
He also reads the Doctor well, identifying why the Doctor despises him as both a soldier and as Clara's boyfriend. Although, Danny approaches the latter as the Doctor being her disapproving Space Dad who only wants the best for his daughter. His actions certainly do fit, but an adult would be much better at articulating that disapproval, instead of acting out and trying to distract Clara as the Doctor does, again showing his childlike nature. To a father, no one is good enough for his daughter. But to a child, "mother is the name for God," and anyone who tries to steal her away is the enemy.
"You've explained me to him, but you haven't explained him to me." ~The Doctor
Obviously, there's enough maturity in the Doctor for him to rationalize things and accept Danny on Clara's terms by the end of the episode, even if he doesn't respect him, but there's still the promise of conflict there between the two of them.

The episode title covers so many things for each of the three major characters. The caretaker is what the Doctor disguises himself as and believes himself to be, while Clara is his caretaker, and Danny becomes, to an extent, hers--though not in a rescuing the damsel in distress kind of way. He shows the utmost respect for her and her capabilities, but also makes it clear when he distracts the blitzer, that he's there every step of the way. He's not there to rescue her, but he's got her back, like a good soldier should. Danny also brings in the point that the Doctor turns his companions into soldiers, despite this Doctor's utter disdain for them. Clara might be able to command the Doctor in many situations, but when the shit hits the fan, she unthinkingly obeys his commands without fear, even when they threaten her own life, justifying that with the notion that he's never let her down and she trusts him. Danny forces her to question that. His ultimatum is a bit harsh, but keeping in mind that he has some serious PTSD over his soldiering days, and experience as a soldier commanded to do the things that have caused him these issues, I see this as his fear not only for her, but for himself. He wants to make sure she never suffers what he has, but also wants to protect himself. But is he staying with her now because he loves her? Or because he wants the exciting adventures that her lies had been denying him?

And finally, Missy. The police officer's induction into her "heaven," throws off my theory a bit. Unlike the first two victims, he was not directly in contact with the Doctor, resulting in him choosing to sacrifice himself to help the Doctor defeat the enemy. But he was in the way of a particular enemy the Doctor eventually had to face. Missy cheerfully greeted the other two sacrifices. Was her disdain for him and his entry into this cold, clinical waiting room instead due to his lack of sacrificial lamb status?

Discussion.
Saturday, 27 September 2014
When my husband first invited me to step into my first massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), I did so with great trepidation. I was a gamer, but at that time, I had never played an online game. And I had heard the stories.

It’s one thing to learn the ropes in a solo game, but online, my newbie status would be judged, and surely I would be found wanting. Nowadays, online gaming concerns go much deeper, with various forms of prejudice and harassment becoming more and more prominent. Such complaints tend to involve the more competitive games. While there is competition in MMOs, the focus is more on community, and I’d like to think that my subsequent positive MMO experience is a prime example of that. Because when I stepped into Final Fantasy XI, I discovered more than just a fun game to play. I discovered a world filled with wonderful, fun, and helpful people, some of whom are still good friends. And over a decade after entering the virtual world of Vana’diel, I have many fond memories that far outweigh any negative experiences.

Thursday, 25 September 2014
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Reading David Mack’s Kabuki: Circle of Blood was an entirely new experience for me. Back then, I was firmly in my superhero phase, keen on colourful and shiny art by the likes of Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri. Kabuki’s black and white format and Mack’s style was a bit off putting. Thankfully, I liked the story so much that I was quick to pick up the subsequent series, Skin Deep—where everything changed. Mack left the simple black and white lines behind, weaving magic with a paintbrush and colour instead. The art work blew me away—not merely because it was so beautiful, but because of the way Mack used every inch of the page to delve into the psyche of his character. This was the first time I’d seen a comic that didn’t follow the standard panel-panel-panel-splash page-panel-panel format, and it has become the standard by which I judge creativity when it comes to artists.

Monday, 8 September 2014
Photography is an art I've always been interested in, though not one I personally would take up as a hobby, much less a profession. But I do have a strong appreciation for how other people see things, and their willingness to share that with others. I'm no photography connoisseur, though there are a few professional photographers whose work I love. Patrick Demarchelier has been a long time favourite. His fashion photography is fantastic, though I admit to a bias because he often shot the original supermodels, whom I happen to admire. Demarchelier taught me an appreciation for black and white photography, and I particularly like his celebrity photos. He has this way of capturing them when they are most natural, removing the masks they must put on for red carpets and screen.

I have a number of friends who dabble in the art. One or two do it professionally, while others consider it only a hobby, but the predominant factor with them seems to be that, if they don't have a camera in hand, they are always framing what they see in their minds. I don't know anything about technique, but I can appreciate the different ways they see the world, and thank them for sharing it.

I've recently been introduced to Vivian Maier.
Her story is as compelling as her work, and should be read first, before perusing her gallery, to truly respect it for the magic that it is.

I love the variety to her 'street photography.' Like Demarchelier, she captures the essence of the people, though, most often, they are not celebrities with so much to hide. I love the shapes and angles, the patterns she finds and reveals. The uniqueness and honesty in her "selfies," and the fact that they aren't simply a picture of her. Her switch to colour photography is fascinating, where the colour itself is the subject.

This will sound morbid for obvious reasons, but my favourite photo is the one of the dead cat on the side of the road. From the tire tracks at its hind legs and the pieces of trash strewn across it, it evokes so many thoughts and emotions, not the least of which is the notion that there's someone sitting at home, waiting for their beloved pet to come back. There is beauty in such an image, as there is in the other images of destruction and despair she's taken.

All of her work is amazing. So many stories captured in a single moment in time. Her skill feels a bit like magic to me. As though she somehow could laser focus on that single perfect instant. As if she would walk along a particular path, or stand in a place for a long time to capture the reality of an image she'd already created in her mind.

I am pleased to see the contact sheet gallery on the site. To me, it confirms my feeling that she simply framed the image, pushed the button once, then walked away.  Her images are so confident. Like she didn't feel the need to develop and display them because she probably had every one of those photos already on display in her mind. It may not be the case--perhaps the people who found her negatives in a locker and created this tribute gallery cut out some of the images from the contact sheet, but I'd rather believe this was how she worked. Either way, I love that they put so much effort into understanding her dark room process before ever trying to bring her negatives to light.

Eye of the Beholder

Posted by Wendy B
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
 Beware spoilers for Doctor Who series 8, episodes 1 and 2.

Since my first few steps into the TARDIS, I've managed to watch a few more recommended episodes of Doctor Who here and there, including The Doctor's Wife. I hadn't realizes this episode was written by Neil Gaiman until later, but I can definitely see Gaiman's penchant for writing supporting characters who are far more than what they seem. I've also watched Vincent and the Doctor, which a friend describes as one of the best depictions of the painful relationship between depression and genius.

With my limited Doctoring, I can't really determine which of the recent ones are my favourite. Both David Tennant and Christopher Ecclestone had their merits, but with the introduction of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, I'm making a commitment.

Prior to Capaldi's first episode, Deep Breath, I paid vague attention to the criticism over his brash nature, and his age, but I'm already impressed with the show for dealing with the latter especially, through (un) subtle commentary about ageism, and prejudice in general.
"You can't see me, can you? You look at me and you can't see me. Do you have any idea what that's like? I'm not on the phone. I'm right here. Standing in front of you.  Please. Just... Just see me."
As far as companions go, I know nothing of Clara. While I can't lay claim to a Doctor, I will give Rose Tyler all my feels.  If I watch many more of the older episodes, it will most likely be for her, though I dread having to watch her departure.

If I'm understanding correctly, the companion is meant to be the Doctor's conscious. Clara is definitely going to need her Jiminy Cricket set to maximum with the 12th Doctor.
In the first episode, he is blunt and filter-free, even with Clara, despite his need of her. Both the current and previous Doctor stress that there is a high level of fear for 12 that makes Clara more important than ever. In Into the Dalek, the fear issue continues, though it becomes clear that this fear, while nebulous, focuses on whether or not he is a good person. This is questionable. In the first episode, it is implied that he kills the robot harvesting human (and dinosaur) body parts to rebuild itself. The robot isn't exactly good, but there is a lot of emphasis placed on whether or not the Doctor is any better. And then the robot ends up in "heaven" with the mysterious Missy. But more on that later.

Back to episode two, the Doctor spends the first half being an asshole, showing no respect for the human lives lost, in deference to the feelings of those who survive them. His reactions are pithy and practical, and he is not at all ignorant of their feelings or why they have them. And he's not unaware of how he comes across, and makes no apologies for it.
"My carer. She cares so I don't have to."
I had begun to question Clara's qualifications as such when she up and bitch slaps him, demanding he be more respectful. He does turn around at that point, and it felt genuine, rather than him simply doing it to appease her. He seems genuine when he makes the promise to the soldier who sacrifices herself (and ends up with Missy). And he seems genuinely wounded when he fails to convert the Dalek into a good Dalek, because the creature sees darkness in him.

We've been promised a darker Doctor with this incarnation, so I'm all for the exploration, especially since my 6yo will be joining me. She'd snuck in to watch earlier episodes with me, but I cut her off during the potentially nightmare inducing Tooth and Claw. After catching the last bit of Into the Dalek, she fervently informed me that she could handle the Doctor. Now she and I can see if my theory is correct about (Mistress) Missy specifically collecting people who sacrifice themselves in order to advance the Doctor's mission at that time, and see how this whole theme of soldiers plays out. Regarding the latter, I was not at all surprised when the soldier asked to join the Doctor,  but am pleasantly intrigued by his refusal...

The Doctor's Darkness

Posted by Wendy B
Monday, 1 September 2014
Last year, I spent Fan Expo helping my friend at her booth, but this year, plans went wonky. Instead, I ended up working the show itself, behind the scenes. I didn't get to see much of the show floor, much less the events. My time on the floor most often looked like this:

Still, it was lots of fun and the good kind of busy, and it was great to see the show in such good hands with the new owners. I've been around since 1998, when my love of anime resulted in the formation of an anime club at university. The club is apparently still running, and my status as first president and co-founder has earned me a legacy. Back then, it brought me to the attention of the Canadian National Comic Book Expo, which was expanding into the realm of anime. Back then, the show barely took up a few rooms at the back of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre south building. It's been pretty impressive to watch it grow bigger every year. A show this size is definitely going to have snags, but I heard a lot of positive feedback along the way, too.

I did get to do a bit of shopping at least. I bought some fuzzy things for my daughters, and began my new obsession, a Funko Pop collection, which  now proudly includes a signed Stan Lee toy. Because this happened!

Due to my job and my location, which was mainly in the south building, I hadn't expected to meet any celebrities, much less Stan Lee himself....

So yeah,

Fan Expo 2014

Posted by Wendy B
Sunday, 24 August 2014
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Wednesday, 20 August 2014
She who used to be the beautiful heaulmière
“Anyone can see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. A great artist can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is . . . and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be . . . more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart . . . no matter what the merciless hours have done. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me—but it does to them. Look at her!”

From Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

The Beautiful Heaulmière

Posted by Wendy B
Saturday, 16 August 2014
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As heard in The Walking Dead Game: Season 2.
Friday, 15 August 2014
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As heard in Orange is the New Black
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Posted by Wendy B
Tag :
Thursday, 7 August 2014

Batman punched Joker in his stupid grinning face before Twilight Sparkle could stop him.

“Bruce!” she cried as he drew back his fist once more.

“He killed my parents, Twilight,” Batman growled  “And also Jason Todd.”

“No Bruce, the fans killed Jason Todd. You were there. You know this. Plus he’s come back to life so that’s kind of a moot point.”

Batman hesitated long enough to inspire hysterical laughter from the Joker, which Batman silenced by smashing the psychopath’s head against the wall.

“Well, my parents are still dead,” Batman pouted. “You wouldn’t understand. You don’t have parents!”

“Look,” Twilight Sparkle sighed, “We don’t have time for this. Pinkie Pie’s team is preparing our defenses at the Wall,  but it may not be enough to stop the White Walking Dead.  The council is gathering  and Superman is–” Twilight bit her tongue, but it was too late to take back her words. Even though it was Batman that had broken up with Superman, everyone knew the Dark Knight still had feelings for the Man of Steel. Batman just hadn’t expected Superman to get over him so quickly.

“That bastard really didn’t have to post all those damn selfies of him and Diana all over Facebook. “

Twilight threw up her hooves. “Fine. Forget it. Stay here and punch Joker, and wallow in your own darkness all you want. I’ve got a ‘verse to save.”

***

“Bruce is busy,” Twilight grumbled, slumping into her chair. She exchanged knowing glances with Tony Stark and the Winchester brothers.

At the head of the council chamber, Dark Grimhock resumed her motivational speech.  “Lord Voldemort’s made a critical error, and the time for our attack has come. The One Thing must be taken to the forges of Neverland and reforged into the mighty Sword of Omens.”

Optimus Prime transformed and rolled into the council chambers. “How do we plan to do that?”

“Professor Xavier and Gandalf have discovered a secret entrance to the Capitol that is only accessible when the Infinity Stones are in alignment, which, we have learned, will occur before the sun sets on the third day.”

Dark Grimhock’s solemn face grew solemner. “Many Sean Beans died to bring us this information.” She thumped her trident once, and stepped down from the podium.

Mecha Brennan stood, her metal frame and shocking pink boob plates glistening in the artificial light of the twin suns of Sparta. “Hail Hydra,” she said stonily, giving the accompanying rock, paper, lizard, spock salute.

“Black Heimdal is awaiting our signal at the Bifrost,” she began. “He will transport our jaegers beyond the wall. The One Thing will be placed in the trust of the newest members of our committee.”

“And who might they be?” Benedict Cumberbatch said in his sexy Benedict Cumberbatch voice, shortly before he transformed, revealing that he was actually Loki, and then proceeded to repeat those words sexily in his sexy Tom Hiddleston voice.

As if on cue, Lt. O’Brien energized the transporters. When the sparkly sparkles cleared, there stood five of the strangest companions the council had ever seen.

“Who the hell are they?” demanded Tinkerbell.

Star-Lord struck a pose. “We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy, bitches.”

Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Planning on taking a wee one along to a convention? As with any outing involving children, good planning is required to ensure fun is had by all involved. We’ve been taking our daughters, aged six and eight, to Toronto’s FanExpo since our eldest was two months shy of bursting from my womb, and we’ve learned a few things along the way:

Monday, 4 August 2014
Up until last year, The Boneyard topped my list of movies that are so bad that they are awesome. What could possibly be better than a horror movie featuring Phyllis Diller and an eight foot tall zombie poodle?

Why, a tornado full of sharks, of course.

Thursday, 24 July 2014
Apocalypse Parteh

Apocalypse Parteh by nightxade

The end of the world does not mean the end of sexiness. I can survive just fine with corsets, tight jeans and thigh high boots. And pouches. You can never have too many pouches. Also, I owned a katana long before Michonne ever showed up. #HipsterApocalypse 
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What is this?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two. I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Wendy has read 101 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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