Fandom Black Friday

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Even though most of us have been picking up holiday gifts whenever we see anything appropriate and affordable, today is the official begin to the holiday shopping season, at least as far as capitalist society is concerned.

I’ve done the 5am shopping thing once or twice, and we treated it like a day out: we did our shopping, finished by 9 or so, and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then home for some hot chocolate and naps. It was fun. Kind of.

I tend to look online for some items that are unique and hard to find locally even though I do like to shop at my local businesses.

There are many great shops and now there is access to those small shops through online shopping. I love fandom gifts, from clothes to Pops! to jewelry to journals, pins of course, and other unique things in my various fandoms.

Apart from Amazon, here are a few places, both online and brick and mortar stores that I like to check out for my friends and family that are looking for the perfect fandom gift.

Hot Topic – great store for a variety of fandoms, and they get it. They’re knowledgable about the fandoms, know their merchandise, can and will direct you to other places if they don’t carry something, etc. It’s a good store to visit. If you’re looking for Plus Sizes, they generally don’t carry them in the stores, but you can find them online.

DC Universe – this is a new app that offers original programming and other DC programs. It is a subscription service, so that in itself might be a nice gift for the DC fan in your life.

Target – They have a fandom section (although they don’t call it that) on the back wall between books/DVDs and electronics. They rotate pop culture shows and books and often have Harry Potter, Stranger Things, Marvel and DC Comics & Movies, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and more.

Stands – Partial proceeds go to charity. There is a limited shopping time for each campaign and each sponsor actor chooses their own charity to support. Previous (and some current) charitable causes have included: Random ActsJacmel Children’s CenterACLURaicesChicago Foundation for Women, Lydia’s Place, My Hope ChestNew Leash on LifeNational Stroke AssociationCanadian Women’s FoundationFeeding AmericaRainbow HouseTrapKing HumanePasadena Humane Society & SPCA, and others.

30 Days of Nano – Day 15

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Get yourself some new scenery.

You’ve been writing for fifteen days (probably more) straight, and here we are, we’ve come to the midpoint of this year’s Nanowrimo adventure.

You’ve made it to the halfway point!

Take a deep breath.

Give yourself a pat on the back.

If you’ve fallen behind, today is a new day. Set new goals for the rest of the month. Build in breaks.

If you’re ahead, congratulate yourself and keep it up. You’ve got this.

Take a walk.

Take yourself out to lunch.

Visit a local library to write. Or Starbucks. Or a diner.

Do something different today, and celebrate your great work, and your continued writing.

Nano Update

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I took a field trip today and went to my first write-in, met another writer, a lovely woman working on her novel. She led me in twenty minute writing spurts over an hour and a half, which was great; I got a lot done: over 1700 words!

My total for this year’s Nano so far is 2334, which isn’t good, but it’s two thousand more words than I had on November 1st, so tally ho!

Every day is a new day to start again.

30 Days of Nano – Day 14

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Take a break…

Let’s go upstate for the summer, let’s stay out late…

-from Hamilton soundtrack

It’s day 14, take a short break, and do something that isn’t writing. It doesn’t have to take much time. Listen to two songs in a row. Take a shower. Have a cup of tea. Or print out this picture, and color. My preferred medium are colored pencils.

Take a Break Color Sheet, Nano, Day 14. Original Art. (c)2018

Election Reflection – Split Decision? Or Blue Wave?

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​Last Tuesday, I had planned on spending the day watching twenty-four hour cable news. The idea of doing that filled me with dread. I began to have minor flashbacks of the same day two years before when I ignored most of the day’s goings-on since I knew the outcome. I, and  many of the country (about sixty-three million of us) were wrong. It was devastating, and the more I thought about seven days ago, the more I realized that I did not want to sit at home, waiting for results that would not come until late in the evening.

I decided to vote early and go to my local religious retreat house for a day of reflection centered on Thanksgiving. It was exactly what I needed, and it helped me through the rest of the evening and into the week that followed. Sometimes stepping back is exactly what’s needed in those stressful circumstances that this Election Day was going to be.

One week later, and there are still some outstanding races. As I write this, Arizona’s Senate race has just been declared: Kyrsten Sinema (D) has won the seat previously held by Jeff Flake. She will be the first woman Senator to represent Arizona. That was worth waiting for.

The main question Republicans and pundits (but not that many Democrats) are asking is whether this was really a blue wave rather than a puddle or a correction or a split decision, and I can tell you from my personal research (unscientific) on Facebook and Twitter, while we went to sleep just a week ago on Tuesday night only slightly less queasy than at the same time in 2016, waking up and continuing on during this past week of continuing counting of votes, rescinded concessions, no concessions in the case of Arizona and Georgia, and the huge increase in Congressional diversity, I can safely say that BLUE WAVE it is!

It is a complete repudiation of the Trump Administration and its policies that favor his laziness, bigotry and cronyism and nepotism. We said strongly that Mueller and his investigation must be protected and with Democrats on oversight, he will be.

For starters, some of my (least) favorite people have been defeated, including Scott Walker (WI), Kris Kobach (KS), Dean Heller (NV), John Faso (NY), Dana Rohrbacher (CA), Pete Sessions (TX), and the counting still continues in Georgia (governor) and Florida (governor and senator).

One hundred seventeen women!

The first (2) Muslim women.

The first (2) Native American women.

The first black woman from Massachusetts.

Openly gay governor for Colorado.

First woman Senator from Arizona, who is also bisexual.

Youngest woman elected to Congress from New York.

Lucy McBath won her seat in Georgia. She is one of the Moms Demand gun sense candidates, and part of a wave that added gun sense to the roles of Congress while defeating twenty-one NRA backed and A-rated candidates.

In Houston, ALL 19 black women who ran for judicial seats won!

In state legislatures across the country, 350 seats flipped as well as six state legislatures.

In North Carolina, the Republicans no longer have a supermajority, which lets the Democratically Elected Governor do his job.

Amendment 4 in Florida re-enfranchised millions of voters.

Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska all voted to expand medicaid.

Arkansas and Missouri voted to raise the minimum wage and Missouri passed a pro union ballot measure.

Teacher protests across the country happened in conservative states and helped move things forward; things are changing across the country.

The big question from Crooked Media’s Lovett or Leave It is how do we get Democratic politicians to be as popular as Democratic policies? Across the country progressive policy is popular, but for some reason conservatives continue to vote against their own interests.

In Red State Texas, Beto O’Rourke came within three points of beating incumbent Ted Cruz. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Beto O’Rourke is, find is farewell email to his supporters; it highlights his character and beliefs.

In Georgia where the current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is running the election for the state as well as running for Governor in the election he’s overseeing is defending his voter suppression in court while his challenger, Stacey Abrams is within one point of winning and they’re still counting.

In Florida, they haven’t finished counting the original election totals, and are still waiting for overseas military ballots to come in. When the original count is finished, Gillum and Nelson will qualify for a machine and a hand recount, respectively.

The biggest takeaway is flipping the House.

The Democrats now have oversight power, and can perform a check on the Executive branch of government despite the Republicans relinquishing their duty for the last two years. There will now be accountability so the White House, the President, and his Cabinet can’t go further into their already documented corruption and circumventing the rule of law.

This was one of the biggest turnouts in a midterm in history, and if we can keep the momentum going through the next Presidential election, we can right some of the wrongs of the past two years. If nothing else, it will be a reminder that the President is not a King; he answers to us, the people, and we will now hold his feet to the fire, and ensure that he does his job, not just for his small base, but for all Americans, no matter their party or their income level.

We can change the gerrymandering laws to make them more fair to everyone (including Republicans); we can reverse some of the unfair ID laws like the ones in North Dakota and Georgia and Indiana. We can pass bills for automatic voter registration so all eligible voters are able to vote in the next election.

As we’ve seen by this very Blue Wave, we can take back our country.

When we vote, we win.

30 Days of Nano – Day 13

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Writing Playlist

My Top Fifteen Writing Playlist; what’s yours?

1. Henry V Soundtrack

2. Non-Stop from the Hamilton Soundtrack

3. Wrote My Way Out from the Hamilton Mix Tape

4. White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons

5. Smash (album) – Offspring

6. Capercaillie – Ailein Duinn

7. Hedwig’s Theme from the Harry Potter soundtrack

8. Carry On – fun

9. Blow Me Away – Breaking Benjamin

10. Flogging Molly (any album)

11. English Curse – Frank Turner

12. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day

13. Mr. Brightside – The Killers

14. One Day More – Le Miserable soundtrack

15. Beidh Aonach Amarach – Gaelic Storm

EXCELSIOR

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Stan Lee (1922-2018)
It was announced today that Stan Lee, Marvel Legend, co-creator of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and several of The Avengers, including Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Falcon as well as Black Panther and Doctor Strange, passed away today at the age of 95, just about eighteen months after his beloved wife, Joan, passed away.

In 2010, he started the non-profit Stan Lee Foundation, which seeks to provide literacy, education, and the arts throughout the United States.

This past weekend, our family was watching Teen Titans Go to the Movies, and we were surprised and delighted to see a cameo from Stan Lee despite this being a DC production. Stan Lee worked at times in his long career for both DC and Marvel, but his long relationship with Marvel is primarily what fans recall. He was also a veteran of World War II, serving in the Signal Corps and the Army Training Film Division. He was inducted into the Signal Corps Association last year (2017). 

We always looked forward to his cameos in the recent Marvel films, and can’t wait to see the next two that are already finished or in post-production.

Stan Lee, may his memory be a blessing.