Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home again, Home again . . . .

jiggety-jig, or so the nursery rhyme goes.
Except not really.
The whole time at Nana and Papaw's last week, I kept trying to figure out why I didn't feel like I was on vacation. It wasn't that I didn't get to relax, it was the most laid-back week of my life. It wasn't that I didn't have a good time, because I did! It was just that that sense of other-ness, like what you feel when you check into your hotel room, never set in.
That's not because it was a familiar setting. I've vacationed in familiar places before, and I still get that feeling.
Then last night it hits me. I didn't go on vacation. I went home.
For just shy of a week, we were at home. Not sure what that says about me, or us, or whatever. Not sure that I should post it online, but again with the "nobody reads my blog," excuse.

And in other news, want to kill some brain cells and pass a reasonably enjoyable couple of hours? Check out the (I think it's ABC Family?) tv show No Ordinary Family. A souped-up, lengthened version of The Incredibles, minus JackJack. It's passably clean (watch out for Daphne in the first few episodes and Kate's romantic relationship around episode seven for content, but otherwise). The plotlines are trite and not very well thought out, but entertaining; the characters are pretty static, but the acting is surprisingly good. And besides, with this guy? I forget what I've seen him in (and don't recognize anything in his imdb profile), but I know I've liked him in something else.
.......because that was such a meaningful use of half a blot post. Woohoo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I have been one busy girl these days, so it's been hard to get to my blog, like, at all. This might've been obvious due to the length of time that my most recent blog post has been on Steven Moffat's birthday. So . . . yeah.
Happy day-after-Thanksgiving. Leftover sweet potato casserole and college football . . . my idea of a party. I'm not being sarcastic. For as much as I don't really care about sports, watching my family watch football is entertaining to say the least.
We're all feeling a little throwback this week, me, Mom and Dad, and the siblings are "out of town" staying with my grandparents. Out of town being, half an hour from home, so maybe we're overstating the situation, but there's an element of "over the river and through the woods" that makes it all okay.
Really, it's a change of scenery. And after two years of essentially the same thing, a change of scenery is enough.
It's been a really sweet time so far. Watching movies together and playing cards and just kinda chilling. "Family" devotions have taken on a fun group discussion feel, with Nana and Papaw sitting in. Interesting conversation this morning, about me and Mom and Dad's whole "Model is Broken" approach to church and Christianity. So yeah.
Joy's bridal shower was last weekend, which was also a sweet time. Little buttons you have to give up if anybody catches you saying the groom's name and swapping funny stories about the happy couple and identifying yourself by your relationship to the bride (Ahem, Bride's best friend, tyvm. Hahaha.) Cake with edible ball-bearings and the classic maid-of-honor role of scratching down who gave what. All a little stereotypical, but definitely in a good way. :)
My story (You know, Sherlock Holmes and the undisclosed title and whatnot?) is going well. Really well, actually. Never easy, but well.
And speaking of Sherlock ('cause aren't we always?), the season two of the new BBC series hits in (drumroll please?) JANUARY of next year. Very big grin.
Just finished Frankenstein for school. I can Quite Honestly say that I enjoyed it the LEAST of any book I've read this year. Paradise Lost included. It literally went flying across the room when I was done with it. The ending was (for the sake of spoiler-free-dom) Horrible. Just horrible.
But I get to read Gulliver's Travels next week, so it's all okay.
Aaaaand, I think that's it for now. Gotta go help with stuff. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy birthday, Steven Moffat!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Christian in the Fandoms (and related ramblings)

Can't I write a term paper without it having to be about something that I have to figure out in my own life? I mean, like, turnip commerce in Norway or something? Is that too much to ask? But noooo.
Internet Culture, Mass-produced Individuality, and Fandoms. Or something along those lines.
So now what? I have to figure out where I stand. Ugh. But what are blogs for, eh? Yes, a lot of this pertains to my earlier post about tumblr blogs, but whatever.

I'm a highly social individual. I need people, I need to talk and know that someone is listening. I need to feel like part of the group.
I'm also a highly sheltered individual. Homeschooler, don't leave the house, friends at church, but . . . yeah.
And, big shocker, I'm kinda, sorta . . . shy. Awkward. Socially useless.
Plus I'm kind of a nerd! No, really, I'm serious. I just am. I'm resigned to the fact. Star-Trek-watching, Doctor-Who-loving, sci-fi-geek-talking nerd!
All this combines to mean . . . the Internet is a pretty comfortable place for me. Online my awkwardness becomes tongue-in-cheek, my cynicism becomes snarky. It doesn't matter what I look like, because who uses their own pictures anyway? I can become exactly who I want to be, and my personality, which seems frightfully random in real life, is suddenly reconciled into something that makes sense. Know the lingo, know the memes, or have a good enough command of Google and Urban Dictionary to fake it, and you're a part of the group. A couple of keystrokes, a couple of clicks, and you've found scads of like-minded people.
And what better way to be with like-minded people than in a fandom? True, it's more a relative term than a place, but it doesn't seem like that. It's a virtual place, for a bunch of fabulously geeky people who all love the same thing. Obsession becomes the norm, rather than a thing that gets you eye-rolls from your friends and heavy sighs from your family. Seriously, the thicker your obsession, the more respect you'll have from other -insert lame-and-proud-of-it fandom name here- (i.e. trekkies, whovians, etc.). Fandoms can be fierce and protective and warmly welcoming and have something that's as akin to team spirit as somebody like me will ever get. Fandoms are people who put up all kinds of mischief and shenanigans that would, likely, make the stars and writers of the respective tv shows/movies/games/etc. blush. (Don't believe me? Go to google, start typing in "Martin Freeman is," and let autofill finish the sentence.)
But with a little insight, it's easy to tell that it's just a bunch of lonely people finding something in common with other lonely people. It's born of the psychological need for acceptance. There's bluster and pride covering it up, but that's the truth.
And there's the bulk of my hang-up. As a Christian, is it okay that I find these places, these groups of people, comfortable? Is it okay that some part of me seems to fit in here? I mean, God is all I need, and I've got a lovely family and lots of friends besides. Should I allow myself to enjoy that kind of fannish society? And that obsession? I mean, it's not an unhealthy obsession, none of the "fandoms" I consider myself a part of. It's just stories and characters I'm passionate about! I'm not one of the people that kills days making fan art and wastes oodles of money on costumes for cosplays. I actually sleep at night, instead of obsessively rewatching old seasons of the tv show. I've always had too much of a life, and too many responsibilities, and this inconvenient little thing called SCHOOL that's kept me from ever being a big part of any online community. I'm more of a passive observer. But . . . is it okay?
Things get more more complicated with the Sherlock part of things. The BBC series, written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, is sort of spectacular. And it's highly devoted fandom has created lots of very entertaining fanart and added extremely comical subtexts to screengrabs from the show and made fan videos montaging unrelated scenes in ways that give it new, hilarious, meaning. It's great, it's funny, it's entertaining.
But many other fans are people without my religious/moral scruples about what is acceptable entertainment and what isn't. Doctor Who, which was my first experience with web-based fangirling, showed some evidence, but Sherlock is even more so. There is language that I would NeVeR (!!!!!!) use in real life, but have learned to skim over without noticing online. There is . . . content . . . that is pretty shocking to my sensibilities and my belief system. I can scroll past awkward, cartoonish drawings of John and Sherlock holding hands (or etc.) fast enough that I don't really feel affected affected by it, but should I stay away anyway, even though the rest is fun and entertaining and sometimes uproariously hilarious?
Where do I draw the line on what is acceptable and what isn't? I mean, I know, Philippians 4:8, " whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." But . . . that leaves so much room for opinion. It's not a fixed line. The person who wrote my English curriculum last year argued that while Edger Allan Poe's fiction is not Christ-like or God-honoring in anyway and she personally disliked them (I proceeded to enjoy Poe's work to the extreme. . .), he wrote comparatively "excellent" horror stories, ergo, it's all okay by the yardstick of Philippians 4:8. So if it's excellent geekery and fan-stuff, then . . . does this logic apply?
It's hard to be a Christian online altogether. And I'm not talking about Facebook, that's practically real life. Same people you deal with, same faces you see every day. My grandmother has a Facebook, and she polices my page constantly. So, there's no lack of accountability there, to put it lightly.
I don't mean Blogger either. Blogs are great, even (especially?) if you're like me and nobody really reads it anyway. But, to put it bluntly, "Hi, Dad!" 'Nuff said.
I'm talking about the writing website where nobody uses their real names. I'm talking about the youtube community where you quickly learn what gets hits and what doesn't. I mean that other little social networking site, the Myspace wannabe, that you created a profile on out of curiosity, and you don't actually know anyone on your friends list.
You hang out in the forums, you quickly learn how people talk, and as a writer, I appreciate unique, or especially applicable, language. Unfortunately, sometimes that includes swearing, which is something I just don't do. But if the right word for what I'm trying to communicate happens to be a profanity, ugh! It's hard!
Then there's always that handy excuse that the Internet is just a new place, a new way, to be a witness to people. Sheesh, I've even used it myself, and in youth group no less! But let's be honest, people. Is there a (non-Facebook!) website we're a part of where we'd even think of witnessing to someone? I mean, sure, sometimes it'll work, but nine times out of ten, it'll just get you dismissed. You're, all of a sudden, another one of those Christian crazies, who can't leave their religion out of anything, and infringing on their rights not to be bothered when they're in their forums. And I'm not being critical, either. How could I? When even I have been guilty of wincing at a fellow Christian turning a conversation around to the things of God when that was . . . not the point. It's annoying. Is that a sinful attitude?
I guess the Church only has herself to blame, we've allowed ourselves to become ridiculous in the sight of the world, which would be why people don't take us seriously. We've allowed ourselves to be pushed out of involvement in the governing of our country, so they can claim we're 'infringing on their right' to not hear the Name of their Creator. And anyway, we should be a witness for Christ in our personal lives. We shouldn't need the Internet. But I digress.

And even "Christian" part aside; the Internet is such an enigmatic thing. It's populated by people who feel safe in their illusion of anonymity, and who have the opportunity to recreate themselves. The attractive young Asian girl you think you're talking to could be thirty, from Tennessee, and a guy. But even if it's not so blatant, we're all guilty of it. What else is an "About Me:" for? I mean, nobody ever really reads those things! It's just a chance for people to decide who they want to be. Here's one of mine from another website:
I'm a non-conformist, I guess is how you'd put it. Sixteen-year-old hippy, minus the drugs and the political blah. Homeschooler all the way, and proud of it, babe. If it doesn't involve my family, my friends, or my church, or some combination thereof, you probably won't catch me doing it. I'm a writer, or I'd like to be one, depending on your definition of the word writer. I'd like to call myself a writer, at the very least. I live life to the fullest, I'm myself no matter what anybody else thinks.
Well, it's definitely how I see myself, but I doubt anybody I know would describe me as such. And that's just it, I was given the opportunity to reinvent myself. Is that really safe? We've created this society of suppressed people who are out of touch with reality. Which is how there's phenomena like the "FarmVille Mom," and the geeky kid who buries his head in his most recent fanfiction, in the world that's more real to him than his own.
Some people use the Internet for evil, it's true. Of course, some use it for good (and more good). The vast majority, however, seem entirely neutral. If our ancestors would be shocked by the technology my generation has access to; instant world-wide communication, all the information I could ever want at my fingertips, etc.; I think they would be much more surprised by what we've done with it. At first glance, the Internet seems a vast, interconnected mass of cheeseburger-loving cats with bad grammar, *ahem* "Rickrolling," and this guy. So, really, what's the nature of the beast?
I can't even write without using the Internet anymore. Like how folks will hand-write "<3" instead of drawing a heart. I use emoticons and an abundance of punctuation to express emotions, italics for emphasis and *gives example* asterisks to show action. Note my masterful use of hypertext! It saves me the time and effort of explaining anything my reader might not instantly understand; gives me the power to make an effortless joke, pun, or sight gag instantly. Seriously, I don't know how I'm going to write a paper without it.
So I'm going to have to figure out where I stand on all of this in order to write a convincing paper. Or maybe I'll crank out fifteen pages on those Norwegian turnips. What do you think?
Happy Monday Morning!!
I usually hate Mondays, but so far this one's alright. I guess this past weekend was such insanity that a bit of routine is welcome.
Friday night was the sleepover some of us put together as a sort of last-splash-with-her-girls for Joy before her wedding. No, not the bachelorette party. That's something entirely unrelated. We ate cookies (*snort*), played Just Dance (3!!!), goofed off with some highlighters and my blacklight, watched our favorite movie, and got about four hours of sleep. Typical us-girls sleepover, but kind of perfect.
Next morning mom picked up me (and Isabel, whose mom said she could only come Friday night if she found somewhere to stay Saturday night) and took us to the church for an Epic Cleaning Session. Came back to the house, napped, cut the grass, finished choreographing the Christmas dance, watched Doctor Who, woohoo.
Sunday. Ugh. Church in the morning with all it's insanity (plus helping in the kids' Sunday School Class. I got to work with Noah, though, so it was all okay). Then all-day dance practice for aforementioned Christmas dance (What Child is This, MercyMe), with eleven girls ages seven-fifteen. Soreness. In. Bones.
Sunday night= babysitting for Women's Bible Study, Men's Bible Study, and New Members class, all at once. Eight kids: An eight-year-old girl, three five-year-old boys, Noah (nine years old, but also blind, so, yeah), Emmy (three, but mentally about thirty), and a nine-month-old. All in our church's nursery. A movie going, a bunch of crayons, my cell phone for Noah, some blocks and a couple plastic trolls for the boys, a stuffed puppy for Emmy, and utter chaos. But the baby makes it all okay. She is absolutely the most precious thing on the planet. Just old enough that I'm not scared to hold her for fear I'll break her, but to little to cause trouble. Kind of awkward, though. Last night one of the kids asked if she was mine. I'm like . . . No. Just no. *heebie-jeebie-shiver-shake*
So I came home exhausted, and sore, but it was a brilliant, happy kind of exhaustion.
Aaaand now I'm rewarding myself for surviving this past weekend with a little bit of delicious first-schoolday-of-the-week procrastination. Killed some braincells on my favorite rabid fandom blogs; one for Doctor Who and one for Sherlock. I'm so glad there are people more obsessed than I am to make fanart and gifs and catch hilarious parallels so that slightly-less-obsessed people can waste time on tumblr looking at them.
I really need to stay out of the BBC Sherlock fandom, though. It is NOT helping my story. Actually, it's brought on a rather vicious attack of writer's block. Too much with the crazy fans *ahem* "shipping" the concept of John and Sherlock as the, erm, odd couple, if you catch my drift. It tends to get inside your head, which is very distracting when you're trying to write YOUR John and YOUR Sherlock as, well, nothing of the sort. And besides, trying to write this:

With a brain full of this: (seriously, click the pic, it gets better)

Just. Doesn't. Work.
Ugh. Wish me luck.
Have a great day!