Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Being Emotionally Invested in Fictional Characters

So I’ve been watching Avatar: Legend of Korra and maybe if you haven’t seen it you’re about to be like, “wait, that’s a Saturday morning cartoon, wow, this girl is a loser,” but look, you don’t understand. Or maybe you saw or heard about the movie M. Night Shyamalamalamalan made out of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and you’re still thinking “wow, really Sarah? Wow,” but no. You don’t understand. These animated people are different. They're incredibly human. Painfully so, sometimes.


I love Legend of Korra. It’s a pretty flawed show and definitely not as good as The Last Airbender, but I love it anyway. My favorite moments in LOK so far, though, have mostly been the ones that flash back to moments in the past that feature the characters from The Last Airbender as adults. These scenes always got me a little emotional, but none of them hit me as hard as when Aang, the Avatar from the first show, showed up in the spiritual world to talk to Korra, the Avatar in the new show, at the end of the LOK season one finale. Like, I wept. I just went, “omg, it’s Aang,” and then… waterworks.

Which is strange, because honestly Aang wasn’t even my favorite character in TLA. But seeing him grown up in flashbacks and there at the end, it finally hit me that he’s… dead, in this world. He had to die for this show to happen, since the whole thing with this show is that the Avatar gets reincarnated into the next generation when one dies, and they’re the only one who can master all four elements and blah blah blah. So Avatar Aang was always going to be dead, because he had to be for Avatar Korra to exist as a character. But I finally faced that this character I spent so much time caring about has died in this world I’m watching now. And I cried.

And on top of everything, on top of me caring so much about this fictional person who has had a fictional death, he’s a drawing. These shows are animated. There isn’t even an actor portraying him on screen. He is a moving picture. He’s not really dead, they just stopped drawing him. I am emotionally invested in the life and death of a bunch of lines and colors moving around on a computer screen.

I don’t want to argue the merits of an animated story versus a “real” one, because that isn’t what I care about. Anyone who has seen a Pixar movie, or even just the first five or so minutes of Up, knows that animated stories can be just as meaningful as non-animated ones. But it is interesting to me that stories can mean so much to people, regardless of how anchored they may or may not be to our own reality. Like, Doctor Who (and particularly Rose Tyler. I will defend her to the death. THE DEATH) affected me so much I ended up getting a tattoo of the TARDIS on my ankle. (No, I will not be posting a picture. Sorry nerds.) I wanted that reminder of adventure, of being bigger on the inside, to be with me for the rest of my life.

There are just so many amazing stories and people inside those stories that become real to us somehow. I don’t have any particularly deep insights about this… I guess I just wanted to throw this out there and see what people think, because I’m curious. What fictional characters are you emotionally invested in? And why them? How does your emotional investment manifest itself (tattoos, blog posts, Comic Con costumes, etc)? What fictional story last made you cry? Which one makes you cry the hardest? 

In the meantime, I wrote a post for Elizabeth’s blog about the history of our friendship a couple days ago, so if you feel like reading it, there it is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This is a Post About Nerdy Things

Last weekend, Denver had its first ever Comic Con. As a nerd, I felt obligated to go, so I did. My sister and I went on Saturday and it was pretty great. It definitely has room to grow, so I’m excited to see what it’ll be like in years to come. The coolest part in my opinion was the fact that all the proceeds from the con go to benefit Comic Book Classroom, an organization that teaches 5th through 8th grade students literacy and arts education through comic books.


I had a really good time at this thing, but I have to say that while I do consider myself to be pretty nerdy when it comes to my pop culture tastes, I really wish sometimes that the people who also enjoy these same things were not so weird to be around in real life. Like, I’m not going to judge you if you want to go out in public wearing a Captain Canada unitard or a pair of jean cutoffs strategically torn to show off your zombified upper leg, because, you know, if that’s you’re thing, that’s cool. But I reserve the right to run away from you. Fair warning, k? Also, please stop using internet speak in real life. Hashtags are only for the internet. Also, don’t ask me what kind of utilikilt you should buy, because my answer will be “I don’t care, but I’m glad I’m not dating you.”

I took some pictures, but most of them aren’t very impressive because I was using my phone most of the time and I didn’t really try that hard to make the ones I took with my actual camera that great. I’m not sorry enough to apologize.

Here are some Iron People…

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Here are the droids you’re looking for…


Here is, um, a zombie attacking someone? Maybe? She had a knife though so I’m not sure she qualifies as a zombie, as I have yet to encounter a zombie that can competently operate tools. (This picture also features a few other costumes, including someone with a horse head.)


Here is the Colorado Convention Center blue bear. He just wants to come inside and hang out.


Here is an Observer, sitting and reading a magazine…


Here’s a dalek and a couple Jedi…

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I was trying to take a picture of the guy in the Colts/Broncos Peyton Manning jersey foul, but this picture ending up mainly being of the guy in the yellow crocs. Yeah, hi, dude. Yes. You’re in my picture. Yeah. Okay. Cool hat. Stop looking at me.


Here is Jasika Nicole, aka Astrid Farnsworth from Fringe. We didn’t go to her panel, because it was in the morning and we got there around 1:30 or so, but we creeped on her a few times. She is definitely my favorite character on that show as of late (though Joshua Jackson gets some points because tonight he presented Gabriel Landeskog with the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year – no, I was not going to go a whole post without mentioning that). The reason this picture is blurry is because she smiled at me right before I took it and I was flipping out.


Here’s a picture from the Aaron Douglas panel, also known as the "whine about Wil Wheaton canceling on us” panel. It was not my fav. I bet I would have thought it was hilarious if I had any room in my heart to care about Wil Wheaton’s absence, but I was there to hear stories about Battlestar Galactica, not to view a slideshow comprised of images of Aaron Douglas’ head poorly photoshopped onto Wil Wheaton’s body in a bunch of Star Trek pictures. Just saying. (I will say that when he did start talking about BSG, it was awesome, but since he was late to the panel we only got that for like 20 minutes.)

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Other people who were there that I didn’t take decent pictures of: Kristen Bauer, James Marsters, Colin Ferguson, Cindy Morgan, some people from The Walking Dead that I know nothing about and a bunch of comic book people that I’m not yet nerdy enough to recognize, although one of them was Neal Adams, who I now know is a big deal thanks to a book I have been reading.

And now, here is Bruce Boxleitner.

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He is the main reason my sister and I went. Yes, he is Tron in the movie Tron. But he is also, and much more importantly, in our opinion, Captain John Sheridan from Babylon 5, which is one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever.

This is a picture of him answering his phone the first time it rang during the panel. (It rang twice and he answered it both times.)

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Okay, so maybe I’m a 24 year old who is attracted to a grouchy 62 year old dude who was in a show that was hugely formative for me when I was growing up. I can neither confirm nor deny that. But I can confirm that I took a bunch of pictures of him wearing those glasses and that this one was the only one that came out because of how excited I got. Whatever. No judgments please. Plus my 22 year old sister agrees with me, so everyone can just deal.

This was the first con I’ve ever gone to, and while it definitely wasn’t on the same level as San Diego Comic Con (the one I have obsessed over and wanted to go to for forever), it was a really great time. I’m glad Denver finally has its own official comic con and that I will forever be able to brag that I went to the first one (and got the t-shirt – I would share a picture but it’s in the laundry, sorry).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Songs I’m Obsessing Over

Oh, you like music? Hey, me too. That’s because we’re humans who live on earth. There is only one of us who does not like music, and that is Sarah Walker from Chuck. We don’t talk about her, because her complete and utter lack of legitimate characterization sends me into irrational fits of rage (as does pretty much everything that happened on that show post-season two). I’m getting off topic. The point is, normal people with souls like music. So here is a post for everyone except for Sarah Walker.

1. Florence + the Machine – Breath of Life

This song is from Snow White and the Huntsman, which is a movie I saw pretty much because of how wonderfully epic this song is. I didn’t hate the movie, but it did not live up to the expectations Florence gave me. However, I will be forever grateful to it for being the reason this song exists.

2. Daughter – Home

I found Daughter yesterday thanks to Tumblr (aka a website created by the devil to suck away hours and hours of your life) and I am in looooooove. So, so good.

3. The National – Rains of Castamere

They played this over the credits of a second season Game of Thrones episode (I forget which one, because I am not as rabidly obsessed with that show as others are). I feel like I could see an actual character in GoT singing this, it fits the tone that well. I love The National, the guy’s voice is just so deep and smooth and great.

4. Lights - Flux and Flow

This song has inspired some writerly feelings for me and that is why I have listened to it approximately 400 times in the last week or so.

5. Carrie Underwood – Two Black Cadillacs

So… I don’t always listen to country music, but when I do, it’s usually Carrie Underwood. She is my homegirl. I don’t love everything she’s ever recorded but I do enjoy a good portion of her most recent album, including this song that I cannot get out of my head lately. It’s kind of dark and depressing… which is probably why I like it. But for real, Mike Fisher, you better not ever cheat on Carrie because if you do she will legit wreck your car and then kill you.

(I also had this incredibly intelligent revelation recently: If Carrie Underwood had taken Mike Fisher’s last name… she would be Carrie Fisher. CARRIE YOU COULD HAVE BEEN PRINCESS LEIA.) (Ok that is probably on the list of reasons why she didn’t do it. That and the fact that she already had a career with her own name, but whatever. I would have done it. CARRIE FISHER.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Blogging

Let’s talk about why we blog. I’ll go first.

I’ve probably said this before but I’ve had a blog since I was like fourteen. I have not had a blog that people actually read for that long an amount of time, and I haven’t consistently written on one for that long either, but I have been able to call myself a “blogger” of some kind for basically a decade. I didn’t really bother with it much over college and I just started getting back into it with this blog last year, when my plan was still “move to California and hope for the best.” Obviously that didn’t work out, but I still have a blog because at this point, it has become a habit, and it feels weird not to have one.

Not to sound like an old lady here but blogging, or at least my awareness of what blogging is, has changed a lot since I started doing it. I’m not here to judge whether or not it has become better or worse, because I don’t really care what other people use their blogs for. I think it’s interesting to see what other people choose to show of themselves on their blogs. Some people like to talk about their clothes, or stuff they do with their friends… which is cool! I do that too, sometimes! (Okay, not the clothes part so much… unless you want to hear about stuff from Target?) I’m not judging people who use their blogs for solely those types of posts. It’s cool. We’re cool. The internet is a big place and there’s room for everybody to talk about whatever part of their lives they feel like sharing, and if that involves posting fifteen pictures of you wearing that cool vintage blouse-skirt combo you got at a thrift store for a grand total of $7, that’s great. Go for it!

While I was writing those posts about the Marvel movies, I sort of came to a realization about how I think about this blog. Like, I have 67 followers now, and hi, people, if you are actually reading this, you are awesome and great and thank you for caring enough to click that button and make me feel popular and like maybe my tiny little voice is being heard by someone. But then I saw The Avengers and I was like, I’m obsessed with this. I’m going to talk about this on my blog, because I’m obsessed with this. And then I thought, lol no one is going to read it. I thought that because I feel like a lot of people who find my blog might be expecting less wordy posts or pictures of cats or food or whatever. Stuff I’ve posted before, yeah, stuff that interests me, yes (I am very interested in both cats and food), but nothing that deep and not really things that I spend my time dwelling on.

But I just decided, whatever, I’m going to write about what I feel like, and I don’t care if people read it. Which was my original approach to blogging. Literally, when I started my first blog, the only place I posted the link was in my AIM profile. (Wow. Yeah. “Back in my day, we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter! We used MySpace and AIM to communicate! You kids don’t know how GOOD YOU HAVE IT!”) And I just put that in there on a whim, I didn’t actually think people would click on it and read it. (People did, and soon after that a ton of my friends started blogs, and subsequently came my first experiences with internet drama. But that’s a story for another time…)

Seriously though. I didn’t care if people read what I wrote. I just wanted to write about stuff I liked. And doing those movie posts was really fun, because it felt like it was my high school blog again where I wrote about what I wanted to talk about and didn’t care if people read it. And then people did read it, and that was really, really awesome. But it was just a bonus, because the fun part was the writing.

That’s my point, here. The writing should be the fun part, not the attention you get from having done the writing. And that’s the kind of blogging I want to get back to doing. I don’t like it being a chore. So maybe that means I’ll talk more about movies or TV or books, or maybe it’ll be the rambling hockey posts, or maybe it’ll be a post about my clothes from Target or some new shoes or a picture of my cat being adorable or literally whatever the hell I feel like writing about on any given day. But my new rule, for myself, is going to be that I won’t write a post because I feel like people are going to stop paying attention to my blog if I don’t write one. I’m not going to write on here out of a sense of obligation to whoever might be reading. I’m only going to write a post if I feel like writing one.

So… yeah. That’s why I blog. What about you? You can tell me, but only if you feel like it.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of a snake I saw on my run last night.