Entertainment Earth Exclusive Love-A-Lot Care Bear Funko Pop Giveaway Winner!

It’s time for another winner! Someone is going to be receiving an Entertainment Earth exclusive glittery Love-a-Lot Care Bear! I tried to embarrass Jason a little for this winner announcement video, but let’s face it…Jason knows not the definition of the word. 😛 Congrats to the winner and a big thanks to Entertainment Earth and everyone who participated in the giveaway!

Stories to Steal

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, and I thought I would bounce it off some people, because it’s something that would require a bit of time and organization, but I also think it could be really interesting…

So we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing. One of my strengths (at least, I like to think so) is being able to visualize a particular scene as if it’s happening in my head, just like it’s my own memory, which can make emotional scenes much easier to write. One of my weaknesses, however, is that oftentimes these scenes are things that pop into my brain out of nowhere, and then fail to go anywhere else. I’ll get ideas from dreams, other books, movies, video games, whatever, and I’ll have this great scene playing out in my head, and I’ll often write it down in one form or another…but I haven’t actually got a story. Just a scene, sitting there all on its lonesome, with no book to snuggle around it.

Every so often I will, in fact, return to one of these scenes and think of something to do with it, but more often than not it ends up languishing in my “Random Stuff” Scrivener file, likely to sit there until the end of time because I just have no real use for it.

So then I had this idea for a book…

I got the idea from the NaNoWriMo forums, in which every year there’s a thread where writers drop random ideas with the expressed purpose that other writers who are struggling with their stories can wander in and steal them. What then, I thought, if I wrote an entire book of these “stories to steal”, using all the little homeless scenes I’ve compiled over the years?

A book of ideas of things to write isn’t a new idea – I have a few of them on my shelf upstairs right now – but this wouldn’t be a book simply of ideas. It would be a book of actual written scenes, with character names and all. The writer who reads the book could steal the scene verbatim if they wanted, or change it as they desire, and build their own story around it in the way that I wasn’t able to.

So the question is, what do you think? Is it an idea worth pursuing? The main issues in my path are that I’d have to flesh out my cache of scenes, as I’m not sure I have enough of them to fill an entire book, and also I’d have to work out how to format the book, as it obviously wouldn’t work with just paragraph after paragraph on the pages like a standard novel. But I’d be willing to put in the time and effort to combat those issues if I thought it was a genuinely good idea that people might be willing to purchase.

So let me know! Is it a good idea, and why or why not? Do you have any suggestions that could make it a better idea? Ideas for how I could approach the formatting issue? Please let me know!

Dragon Ball Super SSGSS Haul! Goku Funko Pop, SH Figuarts Vegeta & Banpresto Scultures!

There were lots of complaints floating around the internet about Dragon Ball Super, but to be perfectly blunt, Jason and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Was it flawed? Of course. Were the power levels absolutely outrageous to the point of pure foolishness? Damn right. Was it all a ton of fun? You bet your ass it was!

But this isn’t a review of the show, nor is it the start of a fight with those who didn’t enjoy the show. You see, Jason and I have the Super Saiyan Blues (ha ha…that one was Jason’s) now that Dragon Ball Super is over, so we decided to cheer ourselves up by unboxing a few awesome SSGSS collectibles!

Comic Review: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 – Library Edition Volume 1” [Spoiler-Free]


As an absolutely enormous fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show (I own every season on DVD and have watched and re-watched them each at least a dozen times), it’s actually quite amazing that it took me this long to bite onto the Buffy comics. As someone who, only a short while ago, didn’t have much interest in collecting comics (that’s changed quite a bit!!!) I think I had this idea in my head that the comics wouldn’t be nearly as good as the show because, I expected, the people making it would be unrelated to the show in any way. Goodness knows why I made such an assumption, but I was eventually quite happy to find out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. For one thing, people who worked on the show did work on the comics, including Joss Whedon himself. And for another thing, the talent that was chosen to create these comics was phenomenal, even without prior knowledge of the show, which I’ll get into in a little bit.

There are a few options for BtVS comics, but I chose to go with the “official” continuation of the show, which is “Season 8”. Rather than attempt to track down individual issues (this run is not new…they’re currently pumping out “Season 11”!) I decided to opt for the “Library Editions”, which are large, hardcover compilations of large chunks of the season in question. Season 8 is compiled into four of these library editions, with volume 1 (which I’m reviewing today) bringing together issues 1 to 8, as well as a short entitled “Always Darkest”.

My first thoughts on the library editions were that they are enormous, physically measuring 8.3 x 1.3 x 12.8 inches, which takes up quite a chunk of room on a bookshelf! But with that said, the size ultimately impresses because it means that the comic pages themselves have been printed in a larger size, allowing the reader to enjoy more of the details of each drawing, as well as more easily read the smaller bits of text. This might seem like superfluous information to some, but as an art-lover who also happens to be getting older (ha ha) and gets headaches from reading small text for too long, I thought it worth mentioning.

Second thoughts are that the overall compilation of the book is gorgeous. It’s hardcover – which I’m not usually a fan of, but it works well for this style of book – with gorgeous artwork from the comics on both the physical hardcover and the protective sleeve cover. Inside the comics are compiled by story line, with individual issues separated by pages of artwork from various cover prints. Finally, at the back of the book we have a section of cover images, sketches, and other bits of artwork from the development of the comic, with notes from the artist about the process. All together it seemed like an excellent bang for your buck.

“But,” you’re probably thinking, “What about the important stuff? The story? The art? The pacing?”

Well, I’m pleased to be able to report that it was everything I could have hoped for.

The story begins some time after the destruction of Sunnydale. The gang has gathered more than a thousand new slayers and split into groups in order to train and fight the forces of darkness. Buffy and Xander manage a crew in Scotland, where they’ve somehow acquired an honest-to-goodness castle on the moors. Willow has been MIA for a while at the beginning of the story, and Giles wanders around, searching for more slayers who don’t realize what’s happening to them, as well as effectively commanding the Watcher’s Council. There’s a new Big Bad brewing, the USA military has decided to wage war on the Slayers, and, among other things, Dawn has accidentally become a giant. We also get to see Faith as she’s sent on a particularly nasty mission, and learn a few things about Willow’s time away that are more than a little emotionally jarring.

The story thus far does an amazing job of continuing where Season 7 of the TV show left off. It’s extremely well-written by Joss Whedon himself – as well as writer Brian K. Vaughan – and drips of the signature style of the show. I’ll admit that at first some of the dialogue was difficult to wrap my head around…fans of the show will know that there was always a certain mixture of intelligent articulation and teenage slang/nonsense in the way the characters spoke, and tone and inflection were an important part of the portrayal of those speech patterns. Because of this it takes a bit of getting used to in order to go from hearing the dialogue to reading it. This is a rather small complaint, however; fans of the show will soon enough get used to hearing those tones and inflections in their head as though the original actors are reading the words aloud to them, and that signature style goes a long way in making the comic truly feel like a continuation of the show.

The artwork, as well, is astounding. It must be difficult to translate real people into a comic medium, but Georges Jeanty does an magnificent job, despite apparently having never seen the show prior to being assigned to the project. Each of the show regulars are immediately recognizable, with personality and emotions coming through in the drawings so well that you’d almost feel you were actually looking at cartoon-ized stills from the show itself. One aspect of the comic that actually has a leg-up on the show is that creatures are able to be produced as real creatures rather than guys in suits and makeup, or poorly CG’ed creations. The demons in the comic go from lizard-like to absolutely fantastical, and you’re never taken out of the fantasy for a moment because there are no strings, no costume edges, and no failed computer-generated shading. That’s not to say that the TV show did a poor job with it’s monsters and devils, but it was a television show with a budget that ran in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, with all the limitations that that entails. Artwork, however, has significantly fewer limitations, and that can definitely be seen in the pages of Season 8. Characters are drawn in impressive poses that real-life actors could never hope to achieve, enormous dinosaur-like monsters exist in the same world as tiny fairies, and we’re able to truly believe that giant-ized Dawnie is really there right next to normal-sized everyone else, rather than being enlarged on a green screen. The overall presentation is simply beautiful and everything flows well together in a way that allows the reader to sink into this Post-Sunnydale world.

A random thought before I conclude: the “Always Darkest” short that was included in this library edition had me in stitches. I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone who might decide to read it for themselves, but it involves a dream that Buffy has that is equal parts fan-service and pure hilarity, in my opinion, and fans of the show will definitely get a kick out of it.

In conclusion, I am thoroughly impressed with practically every inch of this book. It has allowed me to continue the story of a show that has long been complete, with characters that will always be very dear to my heart, and it has done so in a gorgeous format that I will happily return to gaze upon time and time again. On top of all that, it has done a fantastic job of making me long for the next library edition so that I can further the story and see what happens next.

I am absolutely in love with this series so far, and will definitely be picking up more of it in the future. I emphatically urge anyone who is a fan of Buffy and can enjoy a good comic to check it out. You won’t regret it!

Want to check out Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Library Edition Volume 1 for yourself? Grab it right here!
Already read it? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section below!

“Spark”ing a Change

In my recent “week in review” post I mentioned that I strapped my FitBit back on after a short break from it, and have made several other changes and choices that I promised to discuss further.

What it comes down to, first and foremost, is that I am not currently happy with the state of my body. Some might look at me and scoff, because I’m certainly not huge by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t all come down to specifically size. I’m not happy with my weight, for certain, as I’ve somehow managed to climb up to my 9-months-pregnant weight recently, but there are other aspects as well. I’ve been quite sedentary for quite a while, coupled with extremely poor eating habits and a tendency to snack on things like chips and candy every day, and the results are not pleasing. I’ve put on a lot of belly weight, which we all know is not healthy at all, and my thighs – which are rather thick and muscular to begin with – have grown as well, to the point that it actually hurts to wear jeans because they’re too tight all over. On top of all that, I just haven’t felt healthy, specifically in a cardiovascular sense. Playing with my daughter in any way that involves physical movement is almost certain to wear me out so quickly that I wonder if I haven’t aged 30 extra years and not noticed. All this comes together to create an extremely frustrating self-image that I am no longer satisfied to simply live with.

It’s time for some changes.

The first change that I decided to focus on is simply drinking enough water, which is something I’ve always struggled with, and I’ve recently found out that it’s even worse than I thought. I always subscribed to the well-known idea that we should all be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but it turns out that the proper number is not nearly so rigid. Evidently, it actually depends on your body weight. Take your weight in pounds, cut that number in half, and the number you’re left with is how much water, in ounces, you should be consuming in a day. By these calculations I should be drinking nearly 20 oz per day more than the more well-known number, which I was already failing to reach. Even better, because caffeine is diuretic in nature, drinking coffee and tea does not add nearly as much water to your total as many people might believe. In truth, for every 8 oz of coffee or tea consumed, your body only absorbs about 1 oz of water, meaning you have to drink even more in the long run if you’re consuming that caffeinated goodness. So, with all that in mind, for the past week I’ve been taking much greater care to drink water constantly throughout the day. I haven’t been hitting that number every day, but thanks to cutting out things like pop and juice (which is also an excellent change to make), I’ve been doing much better and it’s been helpful in a number of ways.

The second change I made was to return to an old friend that I hadn’t used in a long time: SparkPeople. If you’ve never heard, it’s a site (and app) that combines food-and-exercise trackers with a sprawling online community rife with support, as well as numerous articles and resources to help you reach your goals. There are options to have the system create meal and exercise plans for you, teams you can join, exercise videos you can watch, and much more. It’s helped me before, back when I was pregnant and doing my best to stay within a healthy weight gain range, so I figured I would try it out again, if only for the ability to easily track how many calories I’m consuming. Much to my surprise, within a couple of days of setting up my new account I was contacted and asked if I’d like to join a challenge team. I looked into it and thought it sounded like good fun, and I could always use the support of teammates, so I’ve gone ahead and joined that as well. I’ve got high hopes, and fingers crossed, and I’m also a big fan of accountability, so if anyone here is interested in checking out SparkPeople and wants to trade off on pushing each other to the limit, feel free to add me as a friend: my username is TRACEYFROMTB

And the final change, which isn’t really a “change”, but is just something I’ve done that I hope will help, is that I’ve gone ahead and gathered as much “before” info as possible. Along with weight I’ve taken measurements all over different parts of my body, and posed for a “Before” photo, which may or may not have made me want to cry a little. I’ve set all this info aside and plan not to look at it again until I’m starting to feel discouraged, because chances are there will have been significant change by then that I’ve simply failed to notice. At least, that’s what I hope.

I could have written this post a week ago, but I was too busy actually working on these new plans to bother trying to talk about them. Now, however, I’ve gotten into a bit of a groove, and I’m happy to report that I’m already seeing results. Nothing huge, nothing worth throwing a party over, but enough to solidify in my mind that I can do this and I will do this. Mark my words. It’s time for a change.