Five Fandom Friday: My favourite sequels

Last week I sat down to watch Army of Darkness for the first time.  About ten seconds in, I realised that it was, in fact, a sequel to The Evil Dead.  So I quickly switched over to watch that instead.  But after the tree-molestation scene I was ready to give up.  I decided to just watch Army of Darkness anyway, and in the end it worked out fine because it was really funny and didn’t relate too closely to The Evil Dead.

 

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

So I’ve been thinking a bit about sequels this week and I thought it would be a good time to do the 5 Fandom Friday tag: My Favourite Sequels.

  1. Addams Family Values

The cast of the 1990’s Addams family films was flawless.  Anjelica Huston was the perfect Morticia, and Raul Julia was ideal as Gomez.  You couldn’t ask for a better Wednesday than Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd is unrecognisable in the role of Uncle Fester.  This film brought together this incredible cast for a second helping of kooky fun, adding in the incomparable Carol Kane as Grandmama (the only role that was recast for the sequel).  The second instalment had just as many laughs and tongue-in-cheek jokes as the first film, and it also features the glorious tango scene- my favourite part from both films.

2. D2: The Mighty Ducks

As a child of the 1990’s I spent a fair chunk of time watching The Mighty Ducks.  Of the three films, I think that the D2 is the strongest.  It introduced some fantastic new characters, such as Julie Gaffney and Dean Portman (Bash Brothers forever!).  Additionally, this movie was less focused on Charlie Conway than the original, which I thought was a blessing because he always irritated me. There was a stronger rivalry between teams and bigger stakes that made D2 a more exciting film than it’s predecessor.

3. Toy Story 3

I went into the cinema to watch Toy Story 3 fully prepared to hate it.  I felt that 10 years was too huge a gap between Toy Story 2 and 3 and I wasn’t sure that it was going to have the same feel as the originals.  Five minutes in and I had completely changed my tune. I thought it was genius that, rather than pretending that no time had passed, Pixar embraced the time lapse and showed us Andy as a young adult, dealing with the dilemma of letting go of his childhood.  It had some emotional moments, and I choked up over and over.  But thankfully there were plenty of laughs as well (the part with Mr Tortilla Head always has me giggling).  Toy Story 3 was so clever and managed to keep the spirit of the original films while still feeling fresh.

4. The Dark Knight

There are not too many sequels that are vastly superior to the original, but this is undoubtedly one of them.  With superhero movies, the first film tends to be on the slow side, because you have to establish an origin story.   But Batman Begins was excruciatingly tedious.  The Dark Knight saved the franchise by introducing us to Heath Ledger’s Joker, a villain who is simultaneously fascinating and piss-in-your-pants terrifying. In my opinion, The Joker is the best part about this film, and his mad plots and creepy voice never fail to capture my attention.

5. The Golden Age

The Golden Age is another sequel that was made a long while after the original film.  It was released in 2007, nine years after Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was the film that kindled my fascination with the Tudor period, and I always felt a bit disappointed that the story ends just as Elizabeth really begins to come into her own as Queen.  So I was delighted when The Golden Age was announced.  As the name suggests, this film tells of the greatest period of Elizabeth I’s reign.  The first film showed us Elizabeth as a young queen, dealing with the question of marriage and struggling to rule as a woman in a man’s world.  In The Golden Age, we see Elizabeth as a confident, competent ruler.  She has already established her image as The Virgin Queen and is about to unfurl some of her greatest triumphs.  The Golden Age shows another side of Elizabeth, the vulnerable woman behind the white mask, struggling with impossible decisions and deep, personal disappointments.  Although I love both films, I feel that The Golden Age beautifully captures the strong spirit of one of England’s most impressive monarchs.

 

What are your favourite sequels?  Are there any on this list that you also love, or any that you’d like to add?

Five Fandom Friday: My to-be-read pile

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

One of my new years resolutions was to get my to-be-read pile under control.  The top of my bookcase in my bedroom is a dedicated space where I keep the books i have yet to read.  However, that orderly pile has begun spilling from between my bookends, and the overflow has formed two additional stacks. This simply won’t do!  I am trying to make time to read more as well as attempting to curb my urge to buy every interesting-looking book that catches my eye.  This is proving challenging, particularly as I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices each time I begin a new book.

 

So I felt that this 5 Fandom Friday Prompt was timely and served two purposes.  Firstly, it will help me identify five books that I am most looking forward to reading and secondly, it will give you a glimpse at my reading material.  Let’s make a start.

 

il_570xN.382752207_9hnq

 

  1. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I’m obsessed with Tudor history and historical fiction set in this era always piques my interest.  I am a fan of Philippa Gregory’s novels, because I think she does a brilliant job creating strong connections to her characters and it’s fun to imagine what it might have been like to live during those times.  The Lady of the Rivers focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Henry VII’s grandmother in law.  Jacquetta was a formidable woman and possibly a witch.  I have already read The Red Queen and The White Queen, and Jacquetta was a background character in each of those stories.  I’m really looking forward to reading a story with her at the forefront.

 

2. According to Yes by Dawn French

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to sit down with this book, because each of Dawn French’s other books has barely lasted a week on my shelf before I’ve torn into it. I absolutely adore her characters and her witty yet heartfelt writing style.  From the cryptic blurb on the back, I get the impression that this is going to be a tale of self-indulgence and finally breaking free after a lifetime of denying ones own impulses.  And it sounds very juicy indeed.

 

3. The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

There’s a reason why this book has been sitting on my shelf for such a long time.  Terry Pratchett is my favourite author, and this is the final book that was published after his death.  I have been trying to work up the courage to read it, because I know that it’s going to be emotional, almost like saying goodbye to a close friend.  The Shepherd’s Crown features one of my favourite Pratchett characters: Tiffany Aching.  Tiffany is a young witch who is steely and fierce yet still has all the vulnerability of a teenager.  I know I’m going to love this book, but it breaks my heart that once this one is done, there are no more new Pratchett books left to read.

 

4. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Since seeing the film several years ago, I have been burning to read The Colour Purple.  The copy on my shelf is battered and dog-eared, having been purchased from a tiny book stall in Melbourne.  This story of two sisters in the Deep South, facing unimaginable oppression and fear, promises to be moving and poignant.

 

5. Aimee & Jaguar by Erica Fischer

A true story of two women who fell in love in Berlin in 1942, and the gut-wrenching realities that pulled them apart.  I have been searching for more queer fiction to add to my literary menu, and this story has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  I am truly looking forward to being transported back in time by the words and pages, and walking with the two title characters as they discover one another and develop their love.

 

What have you been reading lately?  What’s on your to-read pile?

5 Fandom Friday: Galentines Day Gifts

I just love love.  And there are so many different types of love to celebrate. Romantic love sure is grand, but it’s not the only stripe on the rainbow of love.  There’s the love we feel for brothers and sisters, love for our community, love for our pets and love for our fandoms.  And most importantly, there’s the love we have for our friends.

I’d argue that platonic love is one of the thickest stripes on that rainbow.  Friends are like a family that we choose for ourselves.  They are the people that we select to surround ourselves with, to offer our support and to share our laughter.  I’m so chuffed that there is now a whole holiday celebrating friendship: Galentines Day.  Oh, you don’t know what Galentines Day is?  That’s ok. I’m gonna let my buddy Leslie explain…

Now, I know that Leslie likes to celebrate her lady friends on February 13th, and that’s rad.  But I like to do things a little differently. See, I have a lot of dude buddies as well as lady buddies, so I think that for me, Galentines Day is a celebration of all my friends, not just the lasses.

A huge part of Galentines Day is the gifts. You don’t have to be a Leslie-Knope-Level Gift Wizard to show your buddies you care this February 13th. Here are my top 5 picks for awesome-arse Galentines Day pressies.

Knitted socks

I enjoy making knitted goodies for the people I love the most.  And knitted socks are one of my favourite gifts.  There’s something super special about reaching into your drawer and pulling out a hand-knitted pair of sockies to warm up your chilly toes.  Knitted socks are like a hug for your feet, in a totally non-weird way.

2. Cookies

Yummy treats are the perfect way to show someone you care about them.  They’re delicious, they’re sweet and they take a bit of extra effort than a box of chocolates.  What’s even better than home-made cookies?  Making a batch and then inviting your friend over to enjoy them with a pot of tea and delightful conversation.

 

3. Comic books

Comics make a super rad gift because they’re inexpensive, they’re lightweight so they can be sent by post and they’re loads of fun.  Grab a few different titles and give them to a geeky mate to enjoy at their leisure. You might introduce them to a new favourite series and it gives them something quirky to enjoy with their morning coffee.

 

4. A massage voucher

So many of us struggle to make time to do things for ourselves.  How about giving your friend a chunk of time just for them?  Massage vouchers don’t have to be crazy expensive, many places will offer neck and shoulder massages for as little as $15.  Giving your mate that piece of paper gives them permission to take that moment for themselves and really enjoy a bit of pampering.

 

5. Your time

You don’t actually have to buy your friend anything to show them how much they mean to you.  These days I find it so difficult to make time to catch up with all my favourite people on a regular basis.  So when I do get a chance to hang out with a mate, it’s so precious.  If you want to make someone feel really special, I suggest making a date to hang out with them.  Whether you go out for a fancy meal, indulge in an activity or just have an old-fashioned gab-fest on your couch, giving them your undivided attention will show them how valuable they are to you.

 

What are your favourite Galentines Day gifts?  What would you like to receive from your besties this Galentines Day?

 

 

 

 

5 Fandom Friday: Ways I evolved in 2016

So, the “official” FFF prompt for today was “My goals for 2017”.  But as I already made a list of my new years resolutions earlier in the week, I thought I would skip back a week and write about the ways I evolved in 2016.

 

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

  1. I became more confident about interacting with people.

I am notoriously shy around other people.  Not so much people I’m really close to, but with people I don’t know well I tend to shrink into the background and never speak until spoken to.  This year I started attending gigs with my boyfriend and I fell into the same trap of waiting for other people to interact with me.  During one particularly awkward show, I was sitting in an armchair at a pub in a room full of people.  I was lamenting at how boring I must be and generally beating myself up for being such a goober.

It was in that moment that I realised that nobody was talking to me because nobody knew me.  By keeping my lips zipped until someone asked me a question, I wasn’t giving anyone a chance to get to know me.  Even though it’s difficult for me, I’ve really tried to make an effort to open up, participate in conversations with new people and actively seek out interactions.  It’s done wonders for my confidence and has helped me make some awesome friends.

Additionally, I have pushed myself to reach out to some of my friends whom I would like to know better.  I always feel worried that I’m bugging people if I get in touch with them, or that they’ll be creeped out by me.  But the reality is that if they don’t want to talk to me, they don’t have to respond to my messages.  So I’ve really made an effort to check in with my friends more often and reach out to new friends who I’d like to be closer to.  And so far, not one of them has responded negatively.

2. I switched to a vegan (ish) diet

In mid November I made the decision to try a vegan diet.  I watched several documentaries about plant based diets, sustainability and health and they really had an impact on me. I was appalled by the way that animals are treated when they are farmed for food and I felt quite mad at myself for keeping my head in the sand about this issue.

 

Initially I thought I would just give veganism a go and see how I felt.  I had a lot of concerns and I thought that taking a “let’s just try and see” approach would be best.  And it worked well.  I made lots of big changes to my diet and tried loads of new foods. I learned about adapting traditional recipes to make them vegan and I had a blast cooking.

 

At this stage, I’m eating what I call a vegan-ish diet. Because my family and my boyfriend aren’t vegan, I will occasionally eat a non-vegan meal with them because I’d rather enjoy their company than make a fuss over what food is served to me.  I have also found that very few restaurants in town have any vegan options available, so when I eat out I just try to choose something as close to vegan as possible.  I’m not aiming for 100% perfect veganism, I’m just trying to do the very best I can without stressing myself out.

3. I got serious about minimalism

Minimalism is kind of a buzz word at the moment, but I feel it accurately describes my current mindset.  I have started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in my life.  My flat is full of clutter, my to-do list is overflowing and I have been spending so much time maintaining and acquiring more things that I don’t have time to enjoy myself. In October I began a serious overhaul of my belongings and habits.  I’ve been systematically cleaning out my belonging.  I’ve focused on developing better shopping habits and eliminating mindless spending.  I’m attempting to spend my time doing things that bring me joy, things that are useful and productive and letting go of those things I feel I “should” do.

4.I settled into my job

I’ve been at my job for two years now, and it’s only in the last six months that I’ve realised that I’m feeling confident and settled in what I’m doing.  I rarely have to ask for help, and I’m finding that my daily routine at work has a smoothness to it.  I finally feel as though I know what I’m doing. I no longer feel like “The New Girl” and I’ve learned loads in the past two years.

5.I let go of some hang ups about sex.

2016 was the year I really got passionate about sex.  I started to feel more comfortable talking and writing about sex.  I wrote several blog posts about sex toys and BDsM.  I attended Kink Fest and have made several kinky friends.  I started asking for the sex I wanted and tried several new sexual experiences.  I became passionate about learning about sex and sexuality from a variety of sources.  I feel as though 2016 was an extremely sex positive year for me.

 

How did you evolve in 2016?

Five Fandom Friday: 5 more must see Christmas movies

So, this week’s FFF prompt was must-see Christmas movies.  But I remembered that I already did this prompt two  Christmases ago.  But as I’m a massive Christmas nerd with  huge collection of holiday movies, I didn’t think I’d have any difficulty thinking up a list of 5 more films to get you in the holiday spirit. So, just in case you’ve seen all the ones on my original list, here’s a few more geeky films to sink your teeth into this Christmas.

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

  1. It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

Fun fact: I don’t particularly like It’s a Wonderful Life. This Christmas Classic has never managed to warm my heart.  But the Muppet version has been a part of my Christmas festivities for about twelve years now.  After a series of devastating personal failures, Kermit the Frog starts contemplating his place in the universe, and begins to wonder if the world would be a better place if he weren’t a part of it.  Luckily, his guardian angel (played by David Arquette) swoops down from Heaven to show Kermit what the world would be like if he’d never  been born.

Image result for Elf gif

2. Elf

Nothing has ever made me laugh quite as hard as watching Will Ferrell catapult himself off a couch and into a giant Christmas tree in this film.  Although it’s kinda corny, Elf is full of giggles and joy.

 

3. White Christmas

I’m a sucker for Danny Kaye, and when you pair him with Bing Crosby you just know that you’re in for an all-singing-all-dancing good time.  This film has an array of gorgeous costumes, a sweet story and features the classic song White Christmas.

More Christmas shirts. #geek #Christmas #homealone

A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

4. Home Alone

Nothing says Christmas quite like parental abandonment and home invasion.  Even with the unsavory subject matter, the moment I hear the opening strains of the Home Alone theme, it feels like Christmas to me.  If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and grab a copy, then hunker down with pizza and pepsi and check it out.

Image result for The night before gifs

5. The Night Before

Ok, so this one isn’t fun for the whole family.  You definitely want to clear the kids out of the room before you pop this movie in the DVD player.  But even though it’s choc-full of profanity, violence and drug abuse, The Night Before manages to be a really sweet story about friendship and holiday tradition.

 

What movies do you like to watch to get you in the holiday spirit?  Have I left any off my list that you feel should be here?

5 Fandom Friday: 5 geeky clothing items I need in my wardrobe immediately

My wardrobe would be extremely bare if I didn’t own any  fandom or geeky clothing.  I adore peppering my outfits with references to my favourite TV shows, films and books.  I’m always on the look out for fantastic fandom items to add to my wardrobe, and today I want to share 5 things that I’m currently coveting.

  1. I.T. Crowd button

Badge from The Square Penguin

I’m a sucker for a hilarious quote on a button, and this one is a doozy.  It references an episode of The I. T. Crowd that never fails to crack me up.  I’d love to wear this pinned to a jacket or on my jeans.

 

2. Tudor Wives charm bracelet

Bracelet from Tudor Dynasty Jewels

I’m a total nut for Tudor history, and I’m particularly fascinated by the wives of Henry VIII.  This bracelet, with a charm for each of Henry’s six wives, would make the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

3. Walking Dead/ Love Actually mashup tee

Tee shirt from Nude and Loitering Tees

What could be better than referencing one fandom on your teeshirt?  Referencing two!  This awesome tee shirt is a fantastic mashup between The Walking Dead and Love Actually and it’s so cleverly done.

 

4. Alice in Wonderland “Um” dress

Um costume dress from Deconstructress

Stepping completely into the world of fantasy now, I can only imagine how fabulous it would be to flounce about in this amazing dress.  When I first saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, I was blown away by the costuming.  In particular, I fell in love with the dress fashioned for Alice out of the Queen of Heart’s curtains.  I adore the detail in this dress, right down to the curtain-cord belt.

 

5. Harley Quinn “Puddin” choker

Choker from Light the DynamiteChoker from Light the Dynamite

This delicious choker appeals to my adoration for Harley Quinn and my love of BDsM.  Her collar speaks of her devotion and submission to Mr J.  I imagine wearing this with a black dress and heels, or dressing it down with a fun tee shirt and sneakers.

 

Do you have any geeky items that you are currently coveting for your wardrobe? Are there any of mine that you’d snaffle for yourself?

5 Fandom Friday: 8 Gateway fandoms that made me who I am today

I haven’t done a Five Fandom Friday post in months, and when I went to check the list of prompts, I noticed that there aren’t any new ones.  So I thought I’d go way way back to the beginning of the list and do some of the prompts that I missed.

fandom5friday_zps5c82dc45

Today I’m casting my mind back to some early fandoms that got me hooked on a geeky concept or realm and pulled me into a swirling vortex of fangirly fun.

 

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    As a five  year old,  I was obsessed with the Ninja Turtles.  I would race to the television every afternoon at 4pm and wait for Family Feud to end so that I could catch up with the latest antics of my beloved turtles.  The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema, sparking a lifelong love for going to the movies and experiencing films on the big screen.  Now in my thirties, I’m still smitten with those lean, green fighting machines and enjoy watching new incarnations of the Turtles and revisiting old ones. So many of my friendships have been cemented by bonding over conversations of our favourite turtles.

2. The Young Ones

Teenage Ness was seriously into the Young Ones.  Although only 12 episodes ever aired, I was happy to watch those same 12 episodes over and over, memorizing every joke.  The Young Ones were my introduction to British comedy, a love which soon spilled over into Monty Python, Blackadder, French and Saunders, Fry and Laurie and Mitchell and Webb. My slightly absurdist sense of humour and adoration of a dry one-liner meant that I was instantly drawn to British comedy, which appeals to me in a way that American humour never has. I consider myself a pretty funny person, and I think that my personal sense of humour is very close to the likes of those British comedians that I’ve enjoyed since my teen years.

 

3. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz remains to this day my favourite film of all time.  I’ve watched it more times than I can count, and I can sing every song by heart.  I’ve also done The Dark Side of the Rainbow so many times that I now can’t listen to The Dark Side of the Moon without thinking about which scene should be playing during each song.  The Wizard of Oz sparked a love of Judy Garland, which in turn sparked a love of classic Hollywood films,  which blossomed into an adoration for vintage clothing.  The Wizard of Oz had a domino effect, sparking one fandom and interest after another.  So many of my favourite things can be traced backwards to an early love of The Wizard of Oz.

DSCF6827

4. Tank Girl

Tank Girl was my first introduction to the world of comic books.  She provided a talking point that sparked a 10-year romantic relationship with an awesome man.  She was my first ever cosplay costume.  The Tank Girl soundtrack introduced me to Bjork and Veruca Salt.  I have a lot to thank Tank Girl for.

 

5. Disney

Disney was probably my earliest fandom.  I recall sitting at my great-grandmother’s house at the age of four or five, marvelling at her massive collection of Disney VHS movies.  It was in her loungeroom that I first watched Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and The Aristocats.  Disney set off a lifelong love of animation, magic and wonder.  The Disney cartoons fed my sense of humour while the films nourished my need for adventure and excitement.  I’m still a huge lover of Disney, even though I’m 30 years old now, and I get as much enjoyment out of those films as I did as a child.  I believe that I genuinely need that dash of wonder on a regular basis to stay sane, and Disney well and truly provides that.

 

What fandoms do you consider your “gateway fandoms?”