16 July 2012

First Loves

San Diego ComiCon was this weekend. I was not there, but I watched my Twitter stream update every second with pictures and panel updates that made the geek girl in my just about cry with joy. (And, of course, a bit of pain was mixed in there as well. Come on! 10 year anniversary panel for Firefly? Why could I not be there?? Geek girl flail!!!)
But it got me thinking about what first got me into the things I love now. I first started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it was such an iconic show that practically everyone had seen. That was my entry drug to the Joss Whedon universe. I think what I love most about Joss and his work is his ability to create characters that feel real, put them in real life situations and then kill them off without mercy. BUT he does it all for the good of the show. It is something I've noticed other directors and writers shy away from, and I have since learned to love the fact that Joss does not. From Buffy, I turned to Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, and Dollhouse. 
You can also trace my Felicia Day love back to Joss. And, thanks to my exposure to Geek & Sundry, I am now in love with Eureka and Colin Ferguson...right before the series finale. I have perfect timing. 

And of course, all of that love got me thinking: what was the first book that really got me into reading? To start with, when I was in kindergarten I was  anti-reading. I gave my mother so much stress about that! Oddly enough, I remember nothing of that experience. However, I do have early childhood memories of asking my mother, after being told I could take a couple of books to bed, "Is a "couple" one or two books? Or is it two or more books?" I've always had problems with math...
But what I think of when I remember the book that made me love reading is something that happened when I was in 6th or 7th grade. By 4th grade, I was checking out books above my reading level and hiding them in my desk. And reading during class. Oops. By 6th grade, I was reading Gone with the Wind (a book of almost a thousand pages), when others were still reading chapter books that didn't go over 100 pages. But somewhere in there, I discovered a book called Beauty. 
I read it. 
I loved it. 
And promptly forgot about it. Until a year later, when I found it again and fell in love with the magic of it all over again. Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley. I found it to be ten times more magical than the Disney movie. There was something about how blatant but mysterious the magic was, almost as if it could have happened exactly that way. 
It is the story of a father with three daughters who all move out of the city to a small village on the edge of an ancient wood. While her older sisters get married and start having babies, Beauty continues to find more pleasure in books and nature than she does in men. As it happens in every story, a dark and stormy night finds Beauty's father far from home, relying on the mysterious stranger in a dark castle. However, the stranger's help comes with a price--Beauty's father must come and live with him. Unattached to anyone except her father, Beauty volunteers to take her father's place. She finds herself treated like a princess and forced into beautiful gowns, which she tries to tear off her body. She struggles, at first, as she finds that living in a magical castle is more difficult than she ever imagined. Eventually, of course and as all the stories go, she learns to live at peace with herself and the Beast, even counting him a friend. It ends the way you hope it ends, full of magic and love. 
There are some complaints my friends have launched against this book, and to an extent, I agree with them. For instance, some say Beauty whines a lot and is selfish. Eh, sorta. Sure, to the whine. But I think she needs some of the selfishness to surface because without it she would be too perfect a protagonist. 

This book has another special place in my heart. It got my little sister into reading, too! My sister will never be the reader I am; she doesn't crave it or care for it quite the way I do. And that is totally fine. But we share a love for this book and I honestly love the book a little bit more for bringing us together in that way.

What about you? Can you pinpoint a book, movie, TV show or video game or a specific event that was your "entry drug" into something you absolutely love doing today?

10 July 2012

An ode to Felicia Day...

I think the first time I saw Felicia Day was in Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, starring the ever wonderful Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion. (And if you haven't seen Dr. Horrible, go do that right now! It's on Netflix...and YouTube...I think.) Dr. Horrible was Joss Whedon's response to the writer's strike way back when. He said, See? I don't need you! I have the internet and my friends and we make magic!
Well, he didn't say that exactly, but you get the point.
Since then, I've seen Felicia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse (Yes, I'm a Joss Whendon addict. Got a problem with that?).
Then, this spring/summer, Felicia started her own website company extravaganza called Geek & Sundry. It is the reason I finally got into The Guild (Felicia's web series about gaming) and the reason I now want to game, even though I'll suck. On G&S, you will also find Wil Wheaton's show TableTop, where he plays table top games (like Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, Gloom, Castle Panic, & tons of others...) with a bunch of his friends. I will suck at those games too, but I really want to play! If that is the point of the show, well done sir. Well done.

Ok, now that you know the cool geek stuff, the reason for this post was to tell you about an online comic Felicia recommended in the Fave Five segment of her show. It is called The Dreamer and it is about a 17 year old named Beatrice Whaley who lives a modern life...except in her dreams. When she falls asleep in our world, she wakes up in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. In fact, when we meet her, she is snogging the face off a handsome soldier named Alan Warren. It is such a well done piece, and honestly, I'm not sure what I did for the last week...except read the comic. It is updated only twice a week, but it is totally worth it.

This whole live-in-one-world-but-wake-up-in-another is not a new thing for me. Ted DekKer does it in his Circle Trilogy (which is really not a trilogy anymore, but whatever...). If the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey story line appeals to you, do check out DekKer's book "Black." You won't be sorry.