Blogging on Demand #1

For the 1st January (LJ | DW) [personal profile] Holly asked for “hanging out with the family” which is nice and broad and something I get to do way more of now than I have in the last three years!

I’m living with my parents right now, which results in nightly family-wide TV watching, which I’m a big fan of. It shuts the day down at teatime, and means that evenings are spent in family time, and I like that. I’ve been using it to introduce them both to Castle (and finally watch it myself), and I like to think that’s been a success. Mum and I also go to Pilates together twice a week.

One of the best things about passing my driving test recently as well is the freedom of movement it gives me, particularly now I’m living in the Green Belt, so I can do what I did last night, for New Years, and just hop into my car and drive to the neighbouring village where my sister lives for the evening. The kids stayed up for me, and we watched Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom, then read Harry and the  Dinosaurs before bedtime, after which the two of us watched Modern Family  and drank – in my case non alcoholic fizzy wine.

As an aside: non alcoholic, “alcohol-removed” wine is my new drink of choice. I got a White Zinfandel for Christmas, and it was delicious! I’m waiting for the catch.

Anyway, there’s very little I like more as a social activity than sharing a couch and watching the tellybox, so I’ll probably be looking for an opportunity to do that again soon.

On the niblings front: I get to see them both at least once a week right now, as I’m volunteering for their mother at her school on Tuesdays while my parents watch Charlie, and Abby, after school. Yeah, Abby’s at school now. Yeah, it blows my mind, too.

Charlie is really into dinosaurs and trains, right now. Well, he’s really into assembling railways and making a train go round them, and he’s really into grabbing dinosaur toys or wearing dinosaur clothes and screaming RRRRRAAAAAARRRR, and I think that counts. Abby – well, Abby’s well ensconced in the Princess Phase, which is the perfect excuse for me, my sister, and her to do things like watch Frozen for her birthday.

(I have a lot of feelings about that movie, by the way.)

On top of all that, my grandmother is also living very close, now. So I get to see her at her nursing home – much less than I should if I was a perfect granddaughter, but still often.

It’s the absolute best thing about being where I am right now – my whole blood family is within twenty minutes of me at all times, and I love it.

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State of the Brat: Summary post

I’ve had five suggestions since yesterday on what to write about in January  (LJ | DW), so there’s twenty six slots to fill. And it occurred to me – maybe people just don’t know enough about what’s going on with me right now. So here’s a quick run down that you might get suggestions from.

WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING SINCE COMING HOME

Applying for jobs (boo)

Volunteering (yay) at the Natural History Museum and a high school

Playing Roller Derby with a local league

Learning to drive and passing my driving test two weeks ago.

Hanging out with the family including my niece who is 5, and nephew, who is 3.

Watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, RWBY, Korra, Agents of SHIELD, Elementary, season three of The Paradise, season one of Castle, and a whole bunch of soft British murder Mysteries.

Reading comics, mostly.

Writing Yuletide.

Sewing and Knitting as per usual.

Aaaaaand – that might be it!

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Blogging on Demand

Hello, internet! How’s your December winding down?

I know I’ve hardly been with you this month – blame my computer woes, mostly. But I have a hard drive and I’m getting back into things, and [personal profile] skygiants failed to talk me out of doing this thing that the rest of you have been doing in December – only of course I will be doing January, starting Wednesday, if you’re quick enough.

How this works is – pick a date below and give me a topic, from Allosaurs to Zatanna, and I will say something about it, of varying lengths depending on the time I have on hand.

(Spoiler: I have nothing to say about Zatanna)

1st January – hanging out with the family – for [personal profile] strangecharm
2nd  January – how a DS9 roller derby league might go – for [personal profile] herdivineshadow
3rd January – Least favourite comic you are reading at the moment – for [personal profile] herdivineshadow
4th January – How it feels to have the driving test thing done – for [personal profile] herdivineshadow
5th  January  – Your favorite dinosaur – for [personal profile] swankyfunk
6th January – Favourite 5 things about the Natural History Museum – for [personal profile] herdivineshadow
7th  January
8th January
9th January – What global or cosmic hero/es do you like, be it Marvel, DC or other publisher – for [personal profile] bjornwilde
10th January – I want your thoughts on A:TLA/LoK! – for [personal profile] shoroko
11th  January – One thing you miss about NYC, and one thing you don’t – for [personal profile] sdelmonte
12th January
13th January – The Disney acquisition of Marvel, and any ramifications you can think of – for nadriel
14th January
15th January
16th January – thoughts of home whilst you were away? Or how you felt about being away? – for rhythmaning
17th January
18th January
19th January
20th January – it’s your turn to talk about all that DS9 we’ve been watching! – for [personal profile] skygiants
21st  January
22nd January
23rd January – Pick a couple of decades from the 20th century and then cast superhero films with actors from that decade  for [personal profile] magister
24th January
25th January
26th January
27th January
28th January
29th January
30th January
31st January

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Find that story

Hope everyone had a great day yesterday, and continues to have a great day today. Today is my presents-and-food day so I will be entertaining niblings all day, between continuing to read Yuletide stories.

Yes, this is the only time of year I seriously read and talk fanfiction, but it’s also the only time of year I seriously write fanfiction. So on that note, who wants to play a game?

I have written three of the stories in this collection. And I’m willing to give a prize – probably something small and creative, like icons or a drabble, but it might be I buy you a drink – to the first person to guess all three.

(Becca, Ana, and anyone they’ve blabbed to are ineligible, obviously.)

I will answer unlimited yes/no questions in the comments of this post.

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Happy Yuletide!

MERRY CHRISTMAS actual Christians and cultural Christians and people who are technically neither but live in a society where they can’t help but be exposed to Christmas.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY everyone else!

JOYFUL YULETIDE to those who participate in it!

It is delightful to be at home in the UK with my genetic family again for Christmas, but as is traditional, today is a rather downplayed day. We visited my grandmother this morning, and my uncle and aunt are coming for a small vaguely-festive dinner, and then I expect there will be Toy Story and maybe Hogfather and perhaps I can persuade the ‘rents that Some Like It Hot is suitable watching. Then tomorrow is the big Family Day,  with niblings and more food than is healthy and all the presents. I’ve already got my present – it’s an adorable black VW Polo and I am surprised by how much I’ve turned out to love driving.

Oh, yeah, I passed my driving test a week ago. So that’s a thing.

AND I ALSO GOT YULETIDE. I got the BEST YULETIDE GIFT. I’ve been walking around with this dopey smile on my face ever since I read it. I mean, I knew when I saw the fandom it was in that I’d like it, but it is PERFECT.

Those Sighs on Which I Feed My Heart by an as-yet anonymous author is a Leonardo fic set post Season-two (and thus contains spoilers) in which Lisa follows her passion for painting and discovers a love she hadn’t set out to find. It includes all four of the main kids, and every single one of them is pitch perfect and wonderful. And I’ve been gushing about it all morning because it has all the things I want from Leonardo fic, including the ship of my heart and wonderful supportive friendships of varying stripes.

It is WONDERFUL.

And now I get to throw myself into the collection and indulge the only time of the year I seriously read fanfic. Hooray!

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Superhero Toys for Girls

Girls don’t buy toys! This is the new and exciting new finding from A Cartoon Network Exec, as reported by Paul Dini (who has a strong track record writing women in comics) to Kevin Smith (who, uh, doesn’t). Anyway, it’s been doing the rounds on the internet. Apparently the people who produce superhero cartoons don’t want to produce anything for a potential female audience, not because girls don’t like superheroes (they do) But because girls don’t buy toys.

This is news to me, as I suspect it’s news to Disney, Mattel, Hasbro, and anyone who has ever hidden a plastic cake down their top after pretending to eat it, or has suffered the agony of Barbie’s shoe hiding in their shoe, or who has seen the pink aisles in any toy store ever.

Maybe Cartoon Network execs cannot see the colour pink, and are thus unable to register the entire section of toys aimed at girls.

I suspect though – suspect – that they just haven’t figured out how to market superheroes into toys for girls. And as I, as a big fan of superhero cartoons, have a vested interest in these cartoons selling their toys, and as a former and current buyer of girls’ toys have some experience in the area, have decided to take it on myself to do Warner Bros’ marketing execs’ jobs for them.

Disclaimer: I am assuming in this section that girl-children do in fact, prefer to shop for toys marketed at them, but not that they intrinsically dislike superheroes. My sample size of one particular four year old feeds this assumption by asking me to read her Ame-Comi Girls but refusing to watch Batman “because it’s for boys.”

DEAR PEOPLE WHO MAKE TOYS BASED ON SUPERHERO CARTOONS: THESE IDEAS ARE FREE. Disney or WB, I don’t mind who you are, just go forth, make and sell your toys in the Pink Section. All I ask is that you reward me with cartoons. A third season of Young Justice will do nicely.

(My regular readers may think that I’m generalizing in the following. That’s okay. YOU know and *I* know that some girls do, in fact, like and play with superhero action figures, and that some girls don’t. And some girls like make up and some girls don’t. And some girls will never like superheroes, ever. But go with me here.)

WWToy

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Writing! Tips!

Based on observations of habits and preferences in my own writing recently. I SUPPOSE that what I consider the pinnacle of great writing isn’t necessary EVERYONE’S perfect writing style. So if you want to take a pragmatic view, then you might want to think of this as “how to write like Debi.” But really, it’s more “how to write, by Debi.”

Aaaand as some of these things are currently ‘unpublished’ (i.e. designed for anonymous exchanges) I can’t share examples. Oh well! Ask anyone who’s ever read my stuff, really.

1. If your protagonist’s name lends itself to puns, it is your responsibility to make those puns as often as possible.
(1b. If your protagonist’s name does not lend itself to puns, then you’ve named your protagonist poorly. Change it.)

2. All romances must involve at least some element of one party finding the other ridiculous. The truest form of love, according to Debi, is founded in mockery and mutual condescension.

3. You can always add more lesbians. The trick is knowing when to stop adding lesbians.

4. If writing a story set in a point of Earth’s history, or on an analogy of a point in Earth’s history, it is sometimes acceptable to make anachronistic choices regarding technology of the time. It is NEVER acceptable to be anything other than 100% historically accurate when using slang terms for genitalia.

5.  Shipper on deck. Always with the shippers on deck. Every character ships everyone!

6. Try and insult Batman. Sometimes (for example, writing historical fiction set during the French Revolution) it might seem difficult to work in a dig at Batman. I believe in you, you can do it.

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Body Confidence: Or, Debi finally gets angry enough to blog.

Behind the cut are photos of a 32 year old woman, a UK size 16, with a BMI of 28, right in the middle of the ‘overweight’ category according to the NHS calculator. I have put these pictures behind a cut because some people might not want to look at a body of those dimensions, but also because I am going to accompany these pictures with talk about body image, health and dieting, which some people might find upsetting, or even outright triggering.

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Yuletide Promotions: Claymore

Claymore-v3b

Claymore-v3a

What is it?

A long form manga, currently consisting of 22 volumes available in English, and many more being translated from Japanese. There is also an anime that covered the first 10 or so volumes, but adds an ending not present in the manga.

What is it about?

IN A WORLD plagued by monsters called yoma, that hide among humans and eat their intestines, female warriors called Claymores roam the land, fighting yoma. Half-yoma themselves, they are outcasts from society, and are controlled by a shadowy organization of men who charge villages for the services of the warriors.

Except it’s really about female friendship and making your own decisions and the power of love and loyalty and revenge and complicated worldbuilding and how if you support your friends you can change the world!

Why is it great?

The cast of dozens of female characters with similar life stories are all individual and different in their reaction to their life and the way they live it. The worldbuilding, which starts off looking simple and familiar, is complicated and satisfying, and plays all the warrior-fighting-monster tropes straight, while still giving background to them. And when it comes down to it, it’s a simple story of overthrowing your oppressors, and it’s great for it.

How can I read it?

Official English translations are available in paperback  or in digital format (apparently US only)  – those links are for Volume 1, I’m sure you could find the rest.

Alternatively, there are fan-translations available online at Mangahere.com, although of course I recommend buying if you like them!

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Yuletide Promotions: Ame-Comi Girls

ACG8a

What is it?

A 39 issue digital-first comics series (the issues are shorter than standard comic issues and sell for 99c each) published by DC comics and based on a series of statuettes produced by the company over the last few years.

What is it about?

Set in a  world firmly outside main comics contuinity, Ame-Comi Girls describes a world in which all superheroes and villains are female, from Kara Jor-El, aka Power Girl, whose spaceship crashed in Kansas when she was a baby, to Duela Dent, the insane murderer out to get revenge for her dead father Harvey. Some characters are just lifted easily from their better known counterpart, such as Wonder Woman. Some, like Jade Yifei, the Green Lantern of Earth, are completely new characters.

Why is it great?

I shouldn’t need to tell you that Wonder Woman, Power Girl and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon, fighting crime alongside Robin, aka Carrie Kelley) are great. But it’s not just a rehash of their existing stories. Batgirl and Robin are teenagers, fighting crime behind the backs of their (living) parents. Power Girl is completely open about her identity because LYING IS WRONG, and when she teams up with Batgirl, she insists they tell their parents (they are grounded as a result.) Jade Yifei is blind, and her power ring fills her ears with the music of the universe. And near the tragically premature end of the universe the entire universe is rebooted and they get to do all the worldbuilding from scratch. And no, for once this doesn’t suck either.

How Can I Read It?

All 39 issues are available at Comixology for 99c each. And you can always get one or two and see if you like them.

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