Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

On Travel Planning

Hi friends,

So I was thinking about trip planning lately and how before I got married it was so much easier to just go on a trip with a small budget.  Now we have so much more to worry about when thinking about a trip.

For example I am up for most things minus sports and really intense physical activities.  I'm just not much of a thrill seeker or someone who's interested in spending time I see as relaxing straining myself physically.  That still leaves a lot open.  But when you plan for two there's even more to consider.

My husband Bryan dislikes crowds, so if he's got to deal with one it had better be worth it, like at the Louvre or Disneyland.  He's had problems with his joints in the past so a lot of walking is something he's more cautious to add to an itinerary.  He likes to know a plan in advance, though I don't mind flexible plans.  Sometimes I think we're opposites, but we just have a different approach in some ways.  What we want to get out of a trip is remarkably similar, as are many of the places we might prioritize visiting.

How do we get to a fully planned trip?  And how do we afford it?  Because we all know when your costs double it's going to be harder.  I still don't want to think about how we'll pay for travel with kids when that day comes!  However, for now it's the two of us.  We start off with me handling the planning, Bryan has me run things past him at various points along the way.  I mostly have free reign to plan many of the fun things I like so long as I keep in mind just how much Bryan is willing to drive, walk around, and tolerate things he's less interested in.

I'm currently planning a trip to the Texas Hill Country (partially for a wedding), and I thought it'd be a great time to take my readers along for my planning process.  This post marks the start of that series.

I'll write a post on transportation deals, one on hotels and other places to stay, one about what to see and how to find it, and finally one on staying sane when things don't go as planned.  So sitck with me and we'll plan some fantastic trips!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Making My Second Capsule Wardrobe

Hi folks,

So this week I've been putting together my capsule wardrobe for fall.  This has mostly involved going through my clothes that I wasn't sure about, or hadn't unpacked in a long time.  I think all said and done I have kept about 1/3 of all the clothing I originally had before moving in May.  Mostly that's consisted of things that just didn't fit right or I didn't like as much as I thought.  Back in June I sent off two boxes of clothes to Goodwill.  Now I have this sitting in my bedroom:

The basket contents are the more visibly worn items, headed to Goodwill, the small box is all shoes in good condition, and the bog box is all the nicer clothes.  The nicer things and shoes will be sent off to Thred Up, an online consignment store I think I've mentioned before.  They give you a bag to mail your items to them, they buy the best of them, and you can buy new clothing with the credit. They only take items that are on trend an in like new condition, which hopefully will get me a good amount of credit towards pieces I might need in my winter and spring capsules.  This is my first time using their site, though I've done some browsing and really like many items I've seen for sale.  If you'd like to check them out you can use the link above to get $20 off your first order!

Tuesday is when I'm aiming to have my fall wardrobe fully picked out and ready to wear, then I'll be sharing more with you all about it next week.  I've be spending the past few days trying to photograph what I'm keeping or find better photos online so when I compile everything people can understand all the little details.

I wanted to show you what process I've been using beyond simply trying everything and tossing whatever doesn't fit.  I found this tool at Unfancy to help plan a wardrobe, and I've been using it to help me as I progress to choosing my items to include for fall.  I feel like fall is a lot harder to plan for since weather can be so different from early Septembers 90 degree weather to late November when I could be cold enough for snow (though it's very uncommon to get snow it's no usual to be that cold).  However, we won't get the true bite of winter until further into the season, so I'm leaning towards not including my wool coat, but having more flexible layering pieces and my lighter weight jacket instead.  Here's a peek at my planner sheets so you can get a feel for how it works:

Of my summer capsule I should note that I never wore these items:

I actually really like all three items, but didn't find as many occasions for wearing them since they're more formal.  I don't think I'm going to pass them on yet, though I'm debating about the dress.  I also had several items I didn't wear much and plan to cycle out (geometric top, and black tank with sheer details.  You can read about my first capsule for summer 2015 here and see all of what I picked.

The color scheme above is tentative, but quite likely what I will go with.  I'm at the stage now where I'm starting to pull my pieces and hang them together in my closet to see how the colors and styles work together.  I want to make sure the pieces are versatile for combining and not too many prints vs solid items.

When I made my first capsule I didn't know there was a planner, so I just looked at what other people were doing and came up with a list of how many of each piece I might need.  This worked fairly well as a simple way of planning, and I used that as my way of approximating in my planner above too.

This time around I've also included a flex item, which is something I didn't officially do before.  It might end up being the colored jeans as I get further into fall if I can find a pair and for now I may add an extra summer shirt since 8 hot weather appropriate tops makes it harder to have a little leeway between laundry days.  I know this will also be something that will change the feel of my capsule since I will be more limited in selection at first than I was during the summer capsule.  Additionally I am not including accessories like bags or scarves in my capsule, though I aim to have 3 of each that will work with the capsule selections, and will likely limit myself to those.

It's a lot to think about, but a couple days of thought means I'll have a solid set of clothing to choose from and have a lot less fuss later.   Honestly I think I'm spending more time now than I will in the future because it's still my first year planning capsule wardrobes, and until I've been through all the seasons I won't really know how things will go.  And the largest chunks of my time are sorting things since I'd been procrastinating about that, and then documenting it all so I have images I usable for my blog.  Fall will be much more minimalist than summer though, and as I sort through things I imagine I'll be sending even more away than I thought.  I can't wait to see how much space I'll have free when I'm done though!

Please let me know if you have any thoughts about my choices or advice to share in the comments below.  I'll see you again Monday!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Comics - Lady Heroes

Hi again friends,

So I'm back with another batch of comics to review and recommend.  I'm going with a theme this time and showing off some more lady heroes.  I'll start off with Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, and Lee Loughridge is my first time reading Captain Marvel.  I've been interested in reading about her for a while since I heard she'll be the focus of the first Marvel movie with a female lead (currently slated for November 2018 release, which can't come soon enough!).  This volume is sort of a restart to her storyline, as she ventures into space whereas her previous exploits were on earth.  Carol heads out to prove herself and isn't afraid to work hard along the way.  While diplomacy isn't her strong suit she still ends up helping settle interplanetary squabbles while teaming up a bit with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Captain Marvel Volume 2: Stay Fly by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Marcio Takara, and David Lopez continues from the past volume as Carol fights over her cat with Rocket and soon another party.  She teams up with a rockstar while rhyming, and then comes home just in time for Christmas after a letter from home reminds her of all she left behind.  This volume has lots of humor, and mostly lighthearted storylines to offer while also expanding on her background for newer readers.

Captain Marvel Volume 3: Alis Volat Propriis (She Flies With Her Own Wings) is the work of Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis, and David Lopez.  With only 4 issues this volume feels a little sparse compared to the previous ones which had 6 & 5 respectively.  We have space maneuvers, a bit more rescuing, some more fighting over the cat, introspection as Carol is faced with the prospect of more power, and a touching story of her mentor to wrap things up before Secret Wars picks up with a new storyline.  I really love Carol, but I wish some of these stories were a bit meatier and less such short arcs.  Still, I heartily recommend it to all who like a tough lady who gets the job done.

Ms. Marvel Volume 2 by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Jacob Wyatt sees Kamala growing into her powers and teaming up with another hero for the first time....and taking a selfie to remember it by too!  She gets a new pet who just happens to be sent from someone who's got information about her powers.  And all the while she's trying to protect her hometown.  This volume progresses things so nicely, that it made me really glad to have the third volume ready to read as soon as I finished.

Ms. Marvel Volume 3 by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Elmo Bondoc, and Mark Waid has lots of interesting twists and Kamala has a Valentine's special with another great cameo, and gets to deal with a crush who seems too good to be true!  She learns of others like her and a resistance movement, while proving her character.  And finally she meets some SHIELD agents who have to contain a nearby issue, but may be helping to shape her future...or not, since that's where this volume ends things.

And my last review was a pick from Fight or Flight Comics' discussion group, Word Balloons, which Bryan and I got to join over the weekend.  Batgirl Volume 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Brenden Fletcher.  This, similar to Captain Marvel has a character starting up a new storyline, and in this case moving to a trendy new neighborhood. Barbara has to balance school, her secret identity, a bit of a party girls lifestyle, and some crazy social media hijinks as she tries to get her thesis work back after having her computer stolen.  She's got good friends, a photographic memory, and the tech skills to tackle the job, but new kinks keep getting thrown her way, including some identity theft.  Batgirl is more mature reading than Ms. Marvel, but equally well written.  I really love the feel of the art here, but am simultaneously turned off by how much it seems to be drawn for the male gaze (despite how her costume is perfect, the rest of the clothing is not so true to life).  Still, I can't wait to pick up the next volume.

This is a bit of a late post, but it's all done.  And since Bryan and I stopped by the comic store over the weekend I have even more fodder for the next comics post.  So stay tuned, dear readers, for more!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I am a Nerd

Hi everyone,

I have a confession to make, I am a nerd, or maybe you'd call it a geek, either way it's about the same.  I love things that are boring to other folks and though I haven't talked about it much here I am unashamed in my passion for them.  I just thought it was time to say that here too.

Today Bryan and I had a conversation about how a being would theoretically evolve with two hearts and how those hearts would function. Many animals with multiple hearts probably had them evolve along with gills.  Would one control blood flow to the left side of the body and the other the right?  If so when a heart failed the individual might lose a leg and arm, but still go on living.  Perhaps the second heart was there to give the individual more energy reserve for purposes of something like the regenerative abilities.  #TimeLords #Centaurii #Science?

We recently discussed how a roleplay system we really enjoy (Hackmaster New) has neglected to introduce information for all the various cleric faiths they promised in the rulebook.  We want to play another campaign, but we may have to adapt the information we have to make something new.  Since we have the opportunity we can put a trinity of gods in place, perhaps sun, moon, and star/void and use that instead of the usual alignments.  Add in another element to craft them by classifying the themes into color families to mimic the values of Magic the Gathering's colors to create the flavor of each cleric's personality.  I have a feeling everyone in the party may be itching to play a cleric character.

We play with ideas like these often, when we're not playing games of Civilization V together, or gathering with brothers for Pokemon roleplay nights (yes we pretend we're trainers, trying to be the very best), or over at Bryan's parents for Sci Fi Night, making art about time travel, going to a LEGO convention, talking physics with Davey, or history with each other, meeting with comic book discussion groups, and playing Brain Dots on our phones in bed together when we should be trying to sleep.

As a result my personal fashion is more Felicia Day than Coco Chanel, though I do love some vintage style.  It may just be influenced by the 1950s as well as steampunk Victorian worlds.  I end up being so eclectic, and I hope I can make that work in a more minimalist way.  It's taking some time to put things together for my fall capsule wardrobe, but I'm excited to see what happens.  And I'll finally have managed to go through all my clothes and can actually go sell stuff (I've been putting this off for the summer) and donate slightly more loved items.

So this is just a bit of my personal love letter to all the geeks out there, and there's probably more where this same from.  For now I'll wait until Wednesday to share more, when I'll be back with another installment of graphic novel reviews.  See you then!


Friday, August 21, 2015

"What has It Got in Its Pocketses?"

Hi folks,

So today I've got just one outfit for you and the fun of seeing what's in my bag.  The only thing missing is my phone, which I used to take the picture!

Wallet (from Target a couple years ago with money, cards, and coupons inside)

Notebook (Fabriano brand with dotted instead of lined paper, where I keep my notes plus sketches)

A pen or mechanical pencil are always with me

Keychain (keys, Oregon keyring, Happy Meal toy Bratz legs, and a little Swiss Army Knife with scissors, pen, LED light, screwdriver, knife, and nail file all on my Columbus College of Art and Design lanyard I've been using since freshmen year)

At least two lip products.  (The ones in this shot are Starlooks Lip Gloss in Guilty Pleasure, Nyx Butter Lip Balm in Red Velvet, Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm in Peppermint, and Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Pink.)

Some kind of mints that aren't mint flavored (Bryan doesn't like mint flavors) Strawberry Tic Tacs and Choward's Violet Mints (weird but great)

Headache and allergy meds (I use Goody's Pain Powders mostly)

A sharpie (random)

Coke or Sprite caps (random, but not unusual since I use the codes for gift cards and movie tickets)

A piece of scrap paper with post office info since we're still trying to clear up some issues with out mail service. (le sigh)

Coins turned into magnets as a project.  I only realized today that I can take them out and put them up since we're done moving.

And lastly photo gear - an Olloclip fisheye, micro, macro lens set, and also I'm going to start carrying my new Joby Gorillapod tripod for phone pictures. (shown below)

What do you carry with you everyday?

And finally the promised outfit from our recent poetry slam date night, taken by Bryan while we were on UNC Chapel Hill's campus for the slam (won by our housemate DJ with a love poem!):
bag - Rosetti via TJMaxx, kimono - ASOS, gold leaf necklace - Pick Your Plum, top - Kmart, skirt - Catos, sneakers - Converse via Macy's

And yes, the quote used for the title of the post is straight from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.  Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to show me what's in your pockets in the comments.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

YA Fiction Reviews Part 1

Hi everyone,

I'm back again with  a batch of young adult (YA) book reviews.  I still read YA books for a load of reasons.  The biggest being that quality wise they can often be just as good as fiction targeted to adults.  And with series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and others having their stories told on the big screen I often like to be ahead of the curve in knowing what's next.  There's also my insatiable appetite for reading and my preference for strong female lead characters to think of, and YA books don't disappoint there either.

Anyway, today I'll review the books that are newer to me and I'll come back to the ones I've reread in a couple weeks for another set of reviews.  So, starting off we have Fuse by Julianna Baggott, it's the second in the Pure trilogy and kept me turning pages.  I haven't reviewed the first book here, so I'll do a quick summary - dystopian future world with people suffering after "the detonations" while those in the dome live as if it never happened, a girl from the outside and boy who's been sheltered are bound to meet and piece together truth from the lies they've been told.  Fuse picks up by expanding on the world as the young people go further afield on a mission to find out what secrets Partridge's father had.  We see how others have coped with the changes the detonations wrought and how fragile peace can be in this harsh world.

Burn, also by Julianna Baggott tries to finish off the trilogy, but seems to rush things immensely.  Characters regress and do things completely out of place from their established values.  Almost all the ending were left open in a series that really needed more of them to be tied up.  And what bothered me most of all was how we were finally getting a glimpse of what the whole world was like, and the author chose to focus in on a much smaller area putting all the exquisite world building to waste!  So I was less than happy with this one, despite enjoying the other two books before it so much.  Le sigh....

Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire is a more satisfying read which looks at a world with supernatural influences, particularly those of angelic forces.  It's the first in a series and includes both good and evil as well as romance alongside the story of a pair of siblings, where the brother is dying of cancer.  Not many books take on disease and fantasy together, and this one did well at it.  I look forward to reading the next in the series.

The Swap by Megan Shull was a fairly quick read with the premise of a boy and girl around puberty switching bodies because a person with magic just happened to hear their comments about the other sex having it easy.  Spoilers, neither has it easy!  The characters find this out and along the way find they had more strength for those obstacles that bothered them than they'd assumed once they got some perspective on their problems.  I found it was better written than I had thought it might be, which is always a plus when I take a chance on an Kindle book I've never heard of.

Cipher by Aileen Erin also falls into the "Kindle books bought on a whim" category, and again is a good pick.  Cipher has bad DNA that causes her to exhibit a mutation, the government likes to keep those with mutations under their experimental program's oversight or dead.  But there's a group working to keep these individuals alive and stabilize their powers and Cipher meets them when she needs them most.  From there the chase is on, and keeps a good pace.  Another series I'm looking forward to reading he second installment of!

Finally there's Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger.  It's the third book in a series by one of my favorite authors.  More Victorian era humor and adventure lies within as our protagonist hops a train filled with a surprise cargo and has a continuing love triangle pulling at her romantic sensibilities.  It's a steampunk world with werewolves, inventors, spies, and loads of excitement that's not to be missed.

That's all this time, but if you have any suggestions for new things to read let me know.  I've got a list going and am always adding to it.  Thanks!



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reasons Why I Blog

Hey folks,

So I was asked this question recently, "what's your blog for", and it got me thinking.  I've been able to write my thoughts online for a long time, first via a very old Tripod website, then on Live Journal and now here.  Being able to write out my thoughts has been something that's been very healthy for me mentally and a great aid to thinking through whatever I might be going through in life.  As an introvert I find it especially helpful because I end up energized after making my thoughts more clean and dedicating them to a file or written page, rather than rolling around in my head.  It's helped me when I'm in some of my deeper bouts with depression as it allowed me to pour out my worries, share my fears, and simply let people know what's going on in my life, even when it's not happy stuff.

Sometimes it's easier to write out my thoughts than say them to another person because I can be more articulate and can talk to many people at once without wearying myself as I would if I tried to do the same thing in person!  And even when I didn't write online (in college mostly), I wrote in a notebook often, and am still in the habit of carrying a little notebook with me.  I don't think my cell phone note taking will ever replace it.  Especially knowing I'll be able to remember things better when I write by hand since it engages more parts of the brain at once, making better memories of what was written.

However this blog started as a way to document and share art processes as I was trying to get a Kickstarter campaign going to fund a body of artwork.  It failed to work out, but the blog stuck, and I've slowly changed it from talking about art to more of my life.  I realized some friends I don't talk to as often and even my family members now that we live further away from each other like hearing what's happening in my life, and this blog filled that need.  It's become more multimedia over time, and in some ways becomes its own art form, since writing is after all just another of the arts.

Now this blog is also about ways of sharing my interests i.e. books, fashion, travel, and social issues.  Something like a plus size capsule wardrobe is unique enough that I might even get to help some people as the make their own, similarly ethical fashion in plus size is hard to find too.  And then I might go make a DIY chalkboard tutorial or post a family recipe for chili .  It makes for very eclectic reading, but those of you who have met me know just how that word suits me.  I hope I strike a balance that keeps you all interested, you're welcome to holler at me if you want more of something I haven't mentioned in a while too!  Overall I sincerely hope my many interests will be a good influence on my readers and help me meet others from a variety of backgrounds too.

In some way blogging is like a having a superpower.  I'm just starting to realize how powerful it can be, which is both odd and enlightening to someone who'd not used to seeking the spotlight actively for most of her life.  I'm not even sure I'm seeking it now, at least not so much for myself.  Because, here's the thing, friends, if I ever become that loud annoying person I would hate myself.  I just want to start some conversations and share what knowledge I have that might be useful.  So my superpower is hopefully one I can share with all of you as I open up a safe place for discussion and help bring in wonderful individuals to engage with.

And for now I'll just keep writing and trying to remember that "With great power there must also come great responsibility" (Stan Lee).  The responsibility to write regularly and continue overcoming the depression that tells me to do otherwise.  So Wednesday I'll be back again, and hope you'll join me.  Til then!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thoughts on Fast Fashion

Hi guys,

This week marks my last week trying out Gwynnie Bee (a plus sized clothing rental service), which has come with just one real success.  Everything else just didn't work for me in some way or another.  Which is why I love being able to try things on before buying them, but when it comes to shopping Bryan is not such a fan of going with me.  It means I buy more online and try to make my shopping trips fast or with someone other than my husband.  I always look forward to our week at the beach each year knowing I'll get to have a trip to the outlets where I can spend an afternoon trying all kinds of thing and hopefully coming home with a few good finds.  This year was no exception, however I'm waiting to unveil new things with my fall capsule.  However, I did find myself trying to buy more than I needed, which is something I hope to continue changing with the capsule wardrobe.  I want to get to a point where I'm less tempted to buy things I already have a similar one of and also move towards more ethical and perhaps sustainable clothing.

Ethical and Sustainable Clothing

I know it's not something most of us think too much about, but more often these days I think it should be.  Almost all of us buy these clothes, and we don't often think much of it.  Perhaps we feel some guilt, but it's a habit we like.  For some of us it's hard to afford more expensive clothing after all. But clothes are often made by people, frequently children, in poor conditions who are underpaid for their labor.  This is covered up by subcontractors who sent jobs to cheaper factories and workers so that we can have the trendiest and cheapest clothing that fast fashion can offer us.  The process is explained more fully in this John Oliver video. (Warning - he's funny and informative, but uses foul language)

My goal in the next year is to transition to more ethical brands, which can be tough in plus sized fashion.  But I know I can at least move closer to this ideal with each capsule I build.  At the moment I'm compiling a list of places that carry plus sized fashion that fits this description and will be sharing it with my readers and keeping it updated as well as I can.  You'll be able to find it in the top navigation bar along with more information on some of my other goals and a more detailed profile, so that all you new friends can get to know me better.  You'll also notice I'm transitioning to a new look for this blog, so feel free to give feedback along the way.  And if you've heard of any great plus sized clothing brands who are doing things right let me know and I'll include them on my list!


And now here are a couple of the outfits I've worn over the past few weeks, including a new kimono which I am in love with, which replaces the geometric top in my capsule.  I found I wasn't comfortable in the top, so it will be finding a new home soon as I prepare to give away/sell more of my clothes that don't properly fit while I create my fall capsule.  This first outfit is from a date night right before the family reunion.

Kimono - ASOS, Camisole - Kmart, Shorts Levis via Amazon, Sandals - Modcloth
This next outfit is from our double date night at the beach with Davey and Keri.  We dressed up a little, I ended up being the least dressed up since I decided not to wear the Gwynnie Bee dress I'd brought with me.  More details on that further down.
Kimono - ASOS, Necklace by my friend Amber Goulet (detailed view below, you can find her blog here), top - City Chic, Shorts - Lane Bryant, Sandals - Modcloth

I love this pendant to death, it used to have a leather cord, but it wore out and I switched it onto a silver chain I had.
Earlier this week we went to the memorial service for our nephew who passed away recently, so this is what I wore to that.
Top - Catos, Skirt - Torrid, Sandals - Modcloth

Gwynnie Bee Tests

So now for the Gwynnie Bee picks, first off the clear winner, a lovely asymmetrical top that's a Gwynnie Bee exclusive by Isabel + Alice.  I ended up buying it because I loved it so much.  I wore it to this week's date night in fact!

Tunic - Gwynnie Bee, Necklace - Forever 21, Jeans - Torrid, and Fjip-Flops - Old Navy

Dress by Adrianna Papell, just a bit too big.


Dress by ABS, fit ok, except for that zipper.


Dress by Triste, fit fine, but required shapewear to be smooth looking....and I wasn't going to put up with that as hot and humid as it was at the beach!

There you have it, loads of stuff about clothes, and so far not a lot about more ethical ones, but we'll get there.  So hang on tight,  I look forward to making the journey with you all.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Comics Part 1

Hi folks,

Here's some reviews of comics I've been reading lately, with another post on the way!

Let's get started with Manifest Destiny Volume 1 by Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts, and Owen Gieni.  I wanted so badly to like this comic, and with a quick scan of the art and the general premise I thought it looked great.  However, despite the cool idea of Lewis and Clark actually finding and dealing with more supernatural obstacles the way women were treated in the book was a huge turnoff for me.  And I can't say that minorities were dealt with much better, which if you're rewriting history to add monsters and such...why not make things more interesting by making more strong characters we might not historically see on those roles?  So this book left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth and I'm on the fence about reading the next one.  If I do it will be at a library because I don't think I want to fund people who think this way, because honestly I'm not sure if all the crudeness they added is even historically warranted.  Le sigh.

Amulet Volume 1 by Kazu Kibuishi is the start of a great YA graphic novel series.  It starts as many in the fantasy genre do with a couple kids finding family secrets that could potentially be dangerous, plunging into a new world, and maybe getting in over their heads in a tricky situation or two.  

Amulet Volume 2 sees the siblings growing and dealing with more responsibility as they try to save their mother from her predicament.  The story builds up the world more and continues developing just who our antagonists are.  I was slightly underwhelmed by the first book, but felt that this one started to build the pace nicely.  Bryan selected this series, and I think it's a pick worth checking out, especially for kids 7-12 who might be interested in comics.

Thor: Godess of Thunder Volume 1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman is a comic I picked up out of curiosity since I'd heard about it via The Mary Sue (a great website for female centric geeky news!).  This book does not disappoint, if you've been watching the various Marvel superhero movies you'll find this book pretty easy to approach.  There's a bit of backstory, but it's explained enough that I didn't feel the need read previous stories covering it.  Pretty much all you need to know is that the new Thor is a lady, but not Thorita, She-Thor, or Ms. Thor, just Thor.  I can't wait to read more of this series!

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud is a great book by a classic comic book author.  I'd read his book (which I recommend) Understanding Comics as one of the texts for my college course on the history of comics and animation.  Anyway, The Sculptor is a love story from the male perspective, first and foremost, but it also looks at the act of creation.  As an artist I love that part of the book.  Meg's story gets the short end of the stick here, but I still really enjoyed this book and recommend it.  Be warned you may cry.

Rat Queens Volume 1 by Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch is a comic for those who love tabletop RPGs and games like Dungeons & Dragons.  The twist this story takes is that our heroes are actually all heroines.  The 4 ladies can kick butt, deal with rivalries, a town council that might be out to get them, and some romance on the side.  Each chapter could easily be seen as a roleplay session, and I must admit it makes me want to start an all lady game group just to get awesome scenarios like these going.

Rat Queens Volume 2 by Kurtis J. Weibe, Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic, and Ed Brisson is the follow up story that continues developing our heroines.  We see bits of their various backgrounds, which include some surprises and depth to the world.  The story arc that was started in the last book is continued to a dramatic conclusion.  Oh and there's a subversion of the "damsel in distress" trope.  Win!

So, I hope this gives you all some new ideas for comics to pick up, or perhaps steer clear of.  I'll see you all Friday with some new outfits, and thoughts on fashion!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Beach Week Aftermath

Welcome back everyone!

I ended up taking time off of blogging while at the beach.  Obviously I didn't intend to, but the week ended up being a busier one than I anticipated.  I didn't even get any reading done!  However, I did spend lots of time with a great bunch of people playing board games, card games, computer games, going on a double date night, having late night chats, making a trip to the outlets, and celebrating my birthday.  I've been reviewing all the photos I took today, but also relaxing because I don't feel so hot.  It's really rather nice to have an excuse to relax after such a busy week.  I know most people don't feel like a vacation is work, but when I'm around a lot of people and get no real time to myself for a while it can be really draining.

Here are some highlights from the week at North Myrtle Beach:

On our first night there the moon was still nearly full and begging to be photographed, so I did!

The yard leading up to the beach.

I stayed up all night Tuesday because the air conditioning was out at the beach house, but in the morning when it was a bit nicer out (it was incredibly muggy all week and mostly very hot with the occasional thunderstorm) I went out to the beach and watched the sunrise with my camera and a couple of the guys.

And finally a little close up nature shot, my favorite kind!

As for the indoor activities I didn't take many photos at all.  Just a shot of the tournament poster I made for our Magic: The Gathering tournament, which I did surprisingly well in.  

On the way home we grabbed Michael to make things more fun and stopped at South of the Border, one of the kitschiest little bits of America that ever happened.  There we saw:
A terrifying jaguar with an unhinged jaw, the horrors!

Our brother Davey, flying his kite.

A very fake shark.

The sad mannequin, with tear stained cheeks, the poor limbless guy.

King Kong and a menagerie of other fiberglass creatures, real and imaginary.  My favorite was the lavender jackalope, I should have taken a picture of it and now kick myself for missing the chance.

The giant sombrero tower.

And the iconic sign.

We also saw plenty of fiends of old corn, peanuts, and tobacco (what's pictured above).  We got stuck in traffic on I-95 multiple times before and after lunch, and eventually got off of it altogether.  But we did enjoy the side trip for a fantastic Cuban lunch in Fayetteville, NC at Habana Cuban Restaurant.

We may have gotten home Saturday, but Sunday was busy too as Allan (Bryan's dad) and I went to see Garrison Keillor on his Prairie Home Companion: The America The Beautiful tour.  I had heard about it only a couple weeks before and near the same time heard of Keillor's upcoming retirement.  Having listened to the show with my parents many Sunday afternoons I had fond memories of his show and wanted to be able to see a bit of it live just once, and thus asked for a ticket as a birthday gift.  While the performances on this tour aren't all aired on the radio they have many of the same features as the show, plus some delightful sing along elements too.  We had a wonderful evening with perfect weather, and a fantastic venue in the Koka Booth Ampitheater in Cary, NC.  I'm hoping to take Bryan (and anyone else inclined to go) back this fall for some of their more moderately priced bluegrass concerts.

I'll be back Wednesday with another set of book reviews.  Thanks for reading!