Sunday, April 29, 2012

There should be deep thoughts here

but there aren't. Because I've been distracted by the Avengers. Again. I swear, something like normal programming will resume...eventually. Like maybe next week. I make no promises though.

But here's a random thought:

Humanity invented the afterlife because we're afraid of the dark. Go.

And for more proof/evidence/excuses for why I can get nothing done?


Saturday, April 28, 2012

We are currently living in someone's AU. Does this blow anyone's mind?

So maybe it's just me but I find it amusing/fascinating that I can trace the exact line of events that led to me being in an accident on Friday. First, for those of you who don't know, I'm fine. Totally, completely unharmed. My car lost the front bumper and had to be towed to the repair shop, but I'm driving my parents car and I wasn't cited by the police so it should just be that I have to pay my deductible and that's that. Not fun, but it could always be so much worse.

Right. So the first thing that led to this: My friend Donna is up north at her daughter's wedding. Our mutual friend Mary is taking care of Donna's cats, but Mary went away for the weekend and she asked me if I could stop in to Donna's on Friday and then Monday to do the food, water, litter pans. Of course I said yes, and I went there on my lunch hour on Friday.

The second thing: Eve called to say that she would be in the area (visiting her parents) and would be bringing Evesdottir (who remains the cutest baby on the planet, even after showing me an Really Incredible Amount of Poopy) by the paper afterward. So I decided to take my lunch a little early so that I would be sure to be back when they got there. Otherwise, I would have left for lunch 30 minutes later, and the guy who hit me would have been long gone onto whatever he was doing next.

The third thing: Donna recently moved and her street now ends directly on the main highway, U.S. 41. Normally I would take side streets from her house to a stop light, but it this case I took the most direct path and was going to turn right onto the highway because that was the fastest and easiest way to get my lunch and then head back to work.

Of course I can't see or say what decisions led the man to being at that same spot and deciding to change lanes without looking so that he scraped across my front bumper, but...I don't know. It's just so funny to look and see that if I had made any other decision none of this would have happened. If I had taken longer at Donna's, or less time. If I had done any number of things differently, it would all be different. It's just somehow fascinating to me. Somewhere out there there are alternate universes based off the different choices that I made.

Like I said, probably just me. :)

So here's some Black Widow and some Hawkeye. You're welcome.

I will put him in my pocket, people. And no one will blame me because how can such cuteness exist?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

my excitement is palpable

I bought my ticket (and my friend Donna who's out of town right now but is totally coming) for the Avengers midnight premiere!



Avengers people. Avengers.

Have some Loki in celebration.

It's a good thing I'm not in this movie, because I would totally just surrender to Loki.

This is the scenario: He appears, I drop to my knees. No lie. This movie is totally, absolutely going to kill me dead in the best way possible.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Books: Women of the Otherworld

Good morning, and welcome to the first in a (maybe, if I can pay attention to the idea long enough) series of posts about 'Series That Are Better Than LKH'.

We'll start with Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, more often called the Women of the Otherworld, though there are some short stories that focus on the male characters. Which is why I prefer just calling it Otherworld. And it's my blog, so I do what I want.

For proof of my Powers of Randomness, Random Thor!

First off, since this is a 'Better Than LKH' series, it's in the same genre. That being urban fantasy. What, I can hear at least one of you asking (and yes, I'm looking at you, Susanne), is urban fantasy. it's a genre of fantasy writing where most of the action takes place within an urban setting, a city. It is typically set in modern or future times, with the addition of magic or aliens, but it can be set in historical periods as well, provided that the action occurs primarily in a city.

Okay. I'm going to just talk about the first book in the series, and then a little general squee about the overall world and why I love it so.

The first book in the series is called Bitten and it is the story of Elena Michaels. Elena is a writer for a popular newspaper in Toronto. She lives with her boyfriend Philip and is, most of the year, a perfectly normal, relatively happy woman.

What no one else knows is that Elena is on the run from herself and her past. Bitten years ago by the man she loved, Elena is the only female werewolf in the world. Unable to forgive or understand Clay's reasons for changing her, a process that has killed every other woman it was tried on, Elena has left the Pack that sheltered and taught her to control her new instincts to try and live a normal life.

Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, has respected her desires and made certain that the other members of the Pack (Clay, we're looking at you) respect them as well. However, when people start showing up murdered on Pack land, drawing attention to the Pack and endangering the people that Elena knows and loves, she is drawn back to hunt down the threat.

Bitten could almost be a stand alone, in that the Pack in the book are the only supernatural characters that you meet. In fact, as far as they are aware, they are the only supernatural creatures that actually exist. It isn't until the second book, Stolen, that the wider world of this universe begins to be revealed.

Things that I love about this series:

The women are real women. They're not all 'manly tough', 'I can kick every guys ass'. Which, while it can be a little fun on occasion, is not realistic. And to be fair to Elena, she can kick more ass than your average person. What with being a werewolf and the combat training and all, but she has to work at it. The women have realistic issues with trying to find their place in the world and (in some cases) trying to change the cultural stereotypes of their own people that are holding them back. This is especially true in the case of the witches, who we meet in the second book. Paige Winterborne is the daughter of the head of the American Coven and part of her story is her struggle to do what she knows is best for her and for the other women of the Coven, breaking them away from old fashioned notions of what is 'appropriate' for witches (who are all women) to do and allowing them to be full participants in the world.

Men who do shit get called on their shit. And I'm looking at you, again, Clay. I won't tell you what happens between Clay and Elena because it's a major plot point, but unlike in many supernatural romance kind of situations, Elena doesn't go all gooey and doe eyed when Clay acts like a cave man around her. Seriously, I just read a book where the man essentially meets a woman and declares that if there weren't other people around he'd just pin her to the wall right then and there. And rather than kick him in the balls and run away, she melts and thinks that he's the hottest thing. *rolls eyes* And that's when I tossed the book. *sigh* Seriously. To be fair to Clay, that is not something he would ever do. Not just because he's more than aware that Elena can and will hand him his own spleen, but because even he's aware enough to know that that is Just Wrong.

Truth be told, Clay has enough issues on his own - he's the least human-thinking of the entire Pack, for reasons which I shall not disclose! :p Even knowing that, however, and to a point understanding why Clay is not as socialized as the rest of the Pack, he does not get a free pass for his inappropriate behavior. There is a very clear progression of Clay learning what is and is not acceptable and *why*, and you can also see that Clay *wants* to learn these things in order to make the people he cares about most, Elena and Jeremy, happy.

The books are well plotted, well written and the universe building is believable. For all that some of the characters have phenomenal cosmic powers, they are still very human in their flaws. There is some sex in the books, as several of the characters find people that they love and eventually pair off with them but it is not the focus or the driving impetus of the books. It's incidental and natural feeling given the characters and their story arcs. It is also not graphically depicted. There is some violence, but again it is not graphically depicted and it works within the story, being a natural consequence of the choices of the characters and not dictating the movements of the characters to justify the fight sequence or what have you.

Over all, I give the entire series a 4.5/5, just because I like some of the books and the characters that they focus on, less than others. But it's an excellent series and if you enjoy this genre I heartily recommend it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Human Reaction That I Just Don't Get

We just recently had a gentleman at my office die suddenly. He literally went home for lunch and when his wife came home for her lunch she found him dead in the bathroom from what we assume was a heart attack. The shock/grief was apparently enough to put her in the hospital.

I did like this gentleman a lot, in spite of the fact that he was very Old School and had certain ideas about the roles of women in society. Not that he thought they should be in the home or anything, but that women were always in supporting roles in the workplace, not managers in their own right. That being said, he was a man who would literally do anything that he could for anyone. So I am sad that he died. I've known him for nearly half my life.'s the thing. I do not understand this crippling grief. And I absolutely factor into this the fact that while I knew him and liked him, I did not love him. I am in no way trying to compare the sadness that I feel at his death to what his family is feeling. What I'm saying is that I completely fail to comprehend the kind of grief that doesn't allow you to function.

I've lost people who were close to me. I've sat and cried and screamed and thrown things because it hurts and I miss them. But that was an hour, maybe two at the most. Then I got on with my life, still missing them, but functioning.

Every time I hear or see something about crippling grief I just want to ask, 'Really? They can't get out of their bed because xxx died? What's wrong with them?' I want to reach out and *shake* these people until they get up off their butts and start doing what needs to be done. Life goes on, the world's still turning. Why do they think they have the luxury to wallow in their pain as though nothing needs to be dealt with?

I get that this is a terrible attitude for me to have, and I promise that unless it's one of my own relatives (or the middle of a zombie apocalypse wherein I really need that person), I will never ever actually shake a grieving person and shout at them to stop freaking crying and get their ass in gear. I'm not saying that they should 'get over it' because I know that grief doesn't work that way.

I just...I don't get this reaction to death. How can they be so completely tied up in another person that their death destroys them?

I don't understand, is basically what I'm saying, and I don't feel bad about not being able to be more sympathetic towards people who react like this. I am utterly mystified by it, to be honest and suspect that one or the other of us may have an emotional imbalance. I'm not even laying money on which one.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I May Need These Like I Need Oxygen

Lookit the little Hawkeye in the drivers seat!

And Black Widow's in the Quinjet! But where's the Captain America? I may have to purchase a third set.
All I can say is, Toys R Us better have these if I give in to my nerd brain and go there after work, or I'm gonna be pissed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Movie: The Usual Suspects

I literally have a hard time talking about this movie because of my Deep and Abiding Love for it. It's kind of like The Princess Bride or Inception in that way. I start making squeeky noises (even in my head) and flailing my arms around because you just have to watch these movies, okay? Okay?

But I'm going to try to explain why you should see this movie without resorting to, OH MY GOD HOW HAVE YOU SURVIVED WITHOUT SEEING THIS? IT'S LIFE CHANGING! Emphasis on the 'try' there.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. 

The movie is told back to front. It opens on a man named Keaton (played by Gabriel Byrne), wounded and bleeding on the docks. He speaks to a man named Keyser, who then shoots him and sets the docks on fire, blowing up the ship behind them.

The next day, the FBI and U.S. Customs come in to investigate what really happened. They are left with two survivors of the incident; a man with cerebral palsy named 'Verbal' Kint (played by Kevin Spacey, which should be enough to make you go watch this movie all on its own) and a Hungarian criminal named Arkosh Kovash who is badly burned and will likely not survive.

Most of the story comes from Verbal, who is promised immunity for telling the story of what happened.

His tale begins six weeks earlier when he is taken in for a line up of the 'usual suspects' for a robbery. The line up consists of Verbal, Keaton, a man named McManus, Fenster, and Hockney. While the five of them are in lock up over night McManus convinces them all to go in on a robbery, carjacking the 'New York's Finest' taxi service. This is a group of corrupt policemen who will, for the right price, drive drug dealers, diamond smugglers, or whoever, through the city in order to keep them from being picked up.

The group successfully rob the diamond smuggler and fly out to LA to sell the loot through McManus' fence. When they get there they discover that it's not diamonds, but heroin and that the job was sent to them by Kobayashi, a man who works for Keyser Soze. Soze is, in the criminal world, a ghost story. A boogeyman. A Moriarty whom no one has seen but everyone fears.

Who is Keyser Soze? He's supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power.

Soze, through Kobayashi, forces the group to do a job for him. He claims that they all stole from him, so in order to pay him back and not die for the offense, they need to rob a ship sitting in harbor. The men do go and rob the boat, though it turns out that there's nothing on the boat to steal. Through Verbal's eyes we watch as every other man on the team is killed, ending with Keaton who is shot by a mysterious man in a fedora and trench coat. This brings us back to the beginning of the movie, where Keaton and Soze speak before Soze kills him and destroys the boat.

This is obviously a mystery movie, with the question at the heart of it being, who is Keyser Soze. This man who even hardened killers fear, who manipulates and uses people with ease. He's responsible for a slaughter at the boat, for so many instances of death and destruction. That is the question that everyone wants to get to the heart of in this movie.

And it's what makes this movie incredible. The way it is handled, the way it is revealed. You don't know, until the end, the answer. I clap and giggle Ever Single Time.

Who is Keyser Soze?

He's a ghost. He's the wind. He's the devil. He pops up, wreaks havoc and destruction in carefully choreographed dance, and then...

And like that...he's gone.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Now with 900% more fangirling than you may be used to

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BARTON'S BEEN COMPROMISED, COULSON? Do you mean he's a Skrull? Has his undercover mission been blown? Or has Tony compromised his virtue? These are IMPORTANT things that need to be known!

The Skrull theory could explain why Natasha appears to be trying to kick Clint in this still here from the trailer:

Because otherwise, BAD NATASHA! Do not kick Clint!

Undercover mission being blown is bad, because Hawkeye is so adorbs.


So he needs to be rescued, of course.

And if it's Tony. Well. I can't blame you Clint!

Because the man is like a force of nature.

A delicious, delicious force of nature.


And I have had the realization that I totally should have made Marcone be the undercover identity of Clint in that one fic where Marcone and Phil Coulson are exes. Because it would make perfect sense and then I wouldn't have to tell people that no, just because I made Marcone's real name be Tony I didn't mean TONY.

The Arc Reactor wouldn't survive close proximity to Harry for one thing.

In conclusion:

Natasha is made of all the things that are lovely and awesome.

Clint is adorable and I want to put him in my pocket.

Tony and Harry would have a torrid affair that would last all of maybe ten minutes until the excitement made Harry short out the Arc Reactor. Then Tony would have to be removed in a hurry. Clint, however, has the aim and the badassness to be John Marcone.

And Joss Whedon had best not kill anyone in this movie, OKAY?

Unpopular Opinion #93

First, welcome to the All Avengers All the Time Blog. Which is not an unpopular opinion. It's AWESOME SAUCE. We will be bringing you More Avengers Than You Probably Want for the next...month or so. You've been warned!

And now for the opinion:

I don't like that places close for holidays.

I've never liked it. It seems silly to me.

Religious, secular or otherwise holidays. I'm not picky. I just think that places should be open every day of the year. So, in my Very Important Opinion, places should stay open - they can have shorter hours or whatever - and any employees who want to work, can. Because you know there are the people who need the money, or the people who just don't care that it's a holiday, or the people who follow a different religion and so Easter, Christmas, Passover or Eid mean nothing to them.

And yes, I am one of those who puts her money where her mouth is. I volunteer to work holidays since the paper is open every day of the year.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Well hello, you're not who I was expecting...

My relationship with goddesses is kind of strange. On the one hand, for a long while in the past I rejected the worship of any deity that was 'male' due to my issues with men in general, so I exclusively focused my attention on the Goddess. I'm using Goddess here as an archetype, not any particular goddess from any pantheon, but a primal Female force that was experienced/expressed through the different cultures and times as the various goddesses. In a similar vein, the God would be the primal Male of the universe with each god being an aspect of the singular God-force. However, even while I was excluding the male deities from my worship, I never felt particularly called or close to any goddess or even Goddess. Which, upon reflection, I think is a sign of just how tied up in knots I was inside, as well as the need for balance. How can you connect to something when you utterly refuse to accept fully half of it? You can't.

I've long been interested in certain goddesses, but that was entirely from a historic point of view. For instance, I was absolutely besotted by Athena in middle school. I did reports on her until my teachers were more than likely sick of hearing the name. I dressed up as her for Halloween (my costume was a bed sheet and pieces of my She-Ra toy armour. I had a *sword* and it was awesome, though it *was* pink). And Bastet, from the Egyptian pantheon. She's a cat goddess. How can there be anything more wonderful than that? Oh, but then there's Sekhmet. A lion war-goddess. Isis, who ruled with her brother-husband Osiris and put him back together after Set murdered him and scattered his parts across the world. Hera. Kali.

Are any of you seeing a theme?

I've long been attracted to goddesses who represented wisdom, cleverness and strength. But I was only ever attracted to them on an intellectual level, not on a worship level. I'm certain that there were varying reasons for that. When I was younger, I didn't believe that they were real. After all, I was a Christian and there was only one God and He was a man. Granted, that's an incorrect understanding of the Christian God but that was the impression that I got growing up. After all, they're hardly going to try and explain complex theological issues and the existence of a non-gendered deity or a deity that is both male and female at the same time to kids in Sunday School. Still. My Christian education, such as it was, left me with the belief that the Christian God was male and that there were no female divine forces.

Anyway. Before I digress into a *really* rambling post. The point is, I've never felt a kinship or a relationship with any goddesses. I found many of them interesting, but the same is true for gods. The difference is, I've felt...called? I guess is the best word, by gods. Historically, I mean. I ignored it because a) I Wasn't Speaking To Them Because They Were 'Men' and b) I was of the mind that the gods were all just iterations of the God (a divine Male force, not the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, to be clear). So there was really no point in talking to them.

Some of them have apparently stuck with me and they've shown off enough personality that I'm willing to admit the thought that they're discrete beings and not one single being wearing different hats for different cultures. Honestly, even if they are just iterations of the same being, what difference does it make? If I feel more connected to one over another then that's fine. But I'm beginning to think that they've got too much personality to all be the same being.

Loki, for instance, is a definite presence I feel. I have mixed feelings on the matter, I admit. He brings a lot of chaos with him, certainly, and I'm very much not a chaotic person so it's been a little...entertaining, to say the least. But I'm enjoying it, which probably speaks to the need for a little more chaos in my life. *eyes the room* Not a lot, mind. Let's just keep on easing me into things, okay? *doubts he's going to listen to that*

So, really, given my history with these sorts of things I haven't been looking to connect to a goddess in particular or general. I don't know much about the, I guess it's called reconstructionist, form of paganism, really, so I don't know if people usually go looking for a connection to a god or if the god usually just sort of says, 'Hi there. You're mine.' And takes the person home like a new puppy. I don't know. So I wasn't expecting anything.

However, I've noticed a pattern, a goddess who keeps popping up in relation to my runes and just... seemingly random things in my life. Which, yes, I know if we're going from a strictly logical point of view then it could be entirely coincidental and my brain is registering it as a pattern because that's what our brains do. All I can say is that it doesn't feel like an accident. It's like with the Attack of the Tree from Halloween. Is it possible that it was just a thing that happened? Yes. Do I feel like it was just a thing? No. And so I don't think that it was just a random thing.

And I don't think this is a random thing either.

Freyja keeps popping up in my life, somehow.

The thing that amuses me the most is that if I were going to seek out a relationship with a goddess, she would not have been the one I chose. Mostly because I had a misunderstanding of her nature, to be honest. I was thinking of her as the Norse version of Aphrodite, whom I feel nothing for. So I was thinking of her as something like a cheerleader. Pretty and vacant. *is judgy, she knows* I would have gone for maybe Frigga, because I'm ambitious like that.

So, annoyed that of all people the *cheerleader* is the one that keeps butting in, I threw up my hands and decided to read a little bit about her. Hey, turns out, not the cheerleader. Actually, totally awesome and my kind of gal. Which I admit weighs on me in the 'not a coincidence' category. I could see it being subconscious pattern reading leading me there if I had known that Freyja fit in with the other goddesses that interested me, but I didn't. I thought she was a pretty ornament kind of goddess and nothing that I identified with.

My plan is to, when I get my altar set up, include Freyja and Loki on it and we'll see where we go from there.
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