(3 comments, 15 posts)
Some say that she's no ordinary nerd. Some say that sometimes she's too eccentric and weird. But all they really know is she called Megara Noelle, most of the time. She's an aspiring fantasy author who knits, crochets and sews with her own patterns. She doesn't use calculations, just her artists' mind that was cultivated as a teenager. When she's not trying to peddle her wares at bazaars and art shows you can find her gaming, or watching Doctor Who, Top Gear, Mythbusters, G4, and even Phineas and Ferb.
Megara Noelle comes from the age of Boy Bands and isn't afraid to admit it. She can turn almost anything into something creative and is constantly coming up with new ideas, so don't be surprised if you see her around and about the world doing some of the craziest things you've never thought of.
Currently she works with her co-host to sometimes update their Gaming blog and podcast (To Continue Press Start) where Megara regularly makes a fool of herself when playing games. You can listen and watch them at their site, and catch them coming soon to a Con/Expo near you. They will of course be cosplaying in costumes that Megara has probably made herself.
You can find her randomly at Steampunk expos, and other Conventions around the Midwest, and look for the TCPS podcast to start touring. You can find both of them on twitter @TCPSpodcast and @MegaraNoelle.
Home page: http://ToContinuePressStart.blogspot.com
Posts by Megara Noelle
As I sit here waiting for the inevitable power outage thanks to the high winds, (and for another tree to fall like before), I think back to the past year for me. It’s entering November, and I find myself busy, as per usual, and looking for more to do, (I’m a glutton for punishment in the month of November,) so now is the perfect time for reminiscing. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for almost the whole year with my family. My grandpa would go into the hospital, come out, and two days later go back in, and I would be the one that my entire family would turn to for information and a plan of attack. More recently my mother went into the hospital and just got off of a seven week short term disability leave. To give an example of what kind of stress this put me under, I was at my grandparents house more than my house to help them out, then at my house more than the outside world, and then anxiety attacks that drove me to my doctor. Stressful right? How did I cope? The nerdy way. Let me tell you how.
Update: Half way through that paragraph I heard sirens from the police, firefighters, and ambulance going off close to my street. Thank you wind.
In September I went to the wedding of my very first friend, and I took my other friend with me, cause I’m single and I don’t go to weddings alone. During the ceremony they had a planting of the sapling, it was sweet, it really was… to everyone else. All my friend and I heard was sapling, and we both looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. He said it first. “You know if they use a little bonemeal on that, it’ll grow immediately.” Thank you Minecraft. Yes, that’s right, we turned a wedding into Minecraft, started making plans for the server that we play on with our friends. It gets nerdier, all before the reception. My friend, Shua, and I were talking about our own prospective weddings, and his won by far. Scottish wedding, kilts on the men, and at the cutting of the cake have someone run up and cut the cake with a sword whilst yelling; “They can take our wedding, but they’ll never take our cake!” That’s right, he went there.
The reception came, and we wanted our allotted booze. The party favors were adorable, and after 15 seconds of looking at them I took a picture, declaring that some Angry Birds had crashed the party. Another 10 seconds later and I was stealing the party favors from the empty seats next to us to create a Tri-Force. Yes, I went there. We skipped the Chicken Dance, and the Cha Cha Slide, but went up there for the YMCA. And we found out what exactly the Lady In Red is doing. Hint, she’s running away out the bathroom window because no one knows her name. We made a couple more parodies from the songs, one including some nice words for Minecraft, before we left to go watch the new episode of Doctor Who.
That’s just one day, how did I make it day to day otherwise? Well, I’m a creative type, I like making stuff, I like to sell this stuff. November 5th here in the city that I live in, we have an Art market, the Saginaw Art Market to be exact. It’s a free event where only handmade items will be sold, artists working in all different mediums will be there. I like to think that I represent the Fiber arts section, with my knitting and crocheting. I make popular culture themed goods. Like these lovely Sailor Scouts, and Tuxedo Mask. And what’s this? A Mega Man hat that I made? A Hatsune Miku hat? There’s even an Okami Ameterasu hat in the works, and a Jak (& Daxter) hat that I’m making for me. There are plans for some ‘Penny’ wristwarmers, (Dr Horrible anyone?) I’d also like to make some hats out of fleece, you know, anime style hats, cause I’m just that cool. I’m no stranger to making nerdy stuff, but I think that I got nerdier as a coping mechanism to all my stress, allowing me to make more awesome stuff.
My podcast now has a slight buffer of episodes because of my epic new nerdiness. “To Continue Press Start” has been getting a lot of attention, well-deserved attention, and I even participated in a 24 hours gaming event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle network. I made it for 21 hours before I had to crash. I blame my cats who wouldn’t let get me any sleep the night before. Now we just have to get back to playing Sonic the Hedgehog for his 25th birthday.
I had a moment when I walked into one of my favorite gaming stores and found out that I’m a regular to the staff now. I no longer have to show my ID when paying with a credit card, because I am a recognizable face. After pre-ordering my Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I walked out of the store and proudly stated; “It’s so great being a nerd.” I think that my point is to say that being a nerd gives me unique ways of handling stress, and it’s just recently that I’ve found out how effective that it can actually be, and something that is very well needed. Now if you’ll excuse me I have arms to make for Sailor Scouts, and more Link hats to make.
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Review by: Megara Noelle
Looking for more Steampunk in your fantasy Sci-Fi books? Tired of the same old settings of modern times or the future? Well, I have a book that can give you that change. I present to you a book with Werewolves, Vampires, and Victorian scandal. In Gail Carriger’s first book of the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless, we follow Alexia Tarabotti as she fearlessly makes her way through the world of the supernatural. Of course it helps that she has no soul, one of the rare ‘Preternatural’, something that she inherited from dead Italian father, quite scandalous. We find out right away that her preternatural abilities help her face down the supernatural, they can turn Vampires and Werewolves human for as long as they touch her.
Following Alexia through this supernatural murder mystery we watch as she interacts with some of the most powerful and well known Hive and Pack members of society. And she does all of this in secret as she keeps her own status a secret from her family. Alexia Tarabotti is one of the most unique characters that I have encountered, and I taught myself to read when I was four and haven’t stopped, so I’ve read through my fair share of books. She has elements of almost every female main character. She can kick-ass when in a tough situation, but will still ask for help and use her womanly wiles, and still manages to have some time to focus on what she thought was a non-existent love life. My favorite character has to be Lord Akeldama though, a very eccentric vampire who loves color, art, and many other exciting and loud things, and people. Although, I won’t lie and say that I wouldn’t love to meet the loud, brash and very handsome werewolf Alpha, Lord Maccon.
Alexia Tarabotti is headstrong, and stubborn, (much like my family) and despite almost everyone she knows telling her not too, she investigates the appearances of vampires and disappearances of werewolves on her own. It gets her into trouble more often than not, but where’s the fun in life without a little excitement? Am I right? Being labeled a spinster helps her not draw attention though, as it is quite scandalous for a woman in the late 1800’s to be talking to scientists, and reading more than her fair share of books. Sounds like my kind of girl. All she really wanted was some treacle tart.
Overall, I was very happy at the end of the book. It can be read as a standalone, the story wrapping up without having to impatiently wait for the next in the series. But, you’ll want to continue reading the series because Miss Tarabotti is the kind of character that you want to know what happens to her, what kind of trouble that she causes, and if she’ll get out of it. I’ve added Gail Carriger to the list of authors I regularly look for when I visit a book store thanks to this book. If you want a little bit of steampunk and science in your Victorian novel, I highly recommend Soulless and the two following books in the Parasol Protectorate series, Changeless and Blameless.
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Review by: Megara Noelle
I find most of my books, which turn out to be my favorites, by the book cover. This particular book I found mere weeks away from the World Steam Expo. I say this because on the cover of The Affinity Bridge is a large dirigible. Take my money, please. “A Newbury & Hobbes Investigation” the cover reads, “Steampunk is making a comeback, and with this novel Mann is leading the charge….” The Guardian dropped in, and some of the best reviews I’ve seen on the back. “An enormous pile of awesome.” Author Chris Roberson boasts, while the SF Signal says “Captures the Sherlock Holmes feel. Never a boring Passage. A Hugely entertaining book.” Steampunk and Sherlock Holmes in writing? Okay, now I’m just throwing my money at the cashier.
I wasn’t disappointed. It’s the early 1900’s, 1901 to be exact, and shipments and people coming back form India seem to have brought back a plague of some kind. Fog covers the streets, thickest in the morning and at night, and there’s a general warning out that no one is to travel the streets after sunset for fear of the plague ridden. One bite or scratch from these people will pass the plague, and those infected have merely three days before all hope is lost. Of course, those of us in the 21st century have a name for this, zombies. That’s right, I said zombies. Let’s tally this up so far. Sherlock Holmes, Steampunk, and now Zombies.
The enigmatic Sir Maurice Newbury is assigned a new assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, by the Queen herself. As soon as Miss Hobbes arrives they are thrown right into a new case, an airship crash where the automaton pilot has gone missing. They have to find the pilot, and find out why it malfunctioned when its creator claims that it can’t possibly malfunction, and investigate a string of murders committed by a glowing constable. The two cases can’t possibly be connected, so what to do what to do. The Queen is very interested in the airship crash and they’re starting to feel the pressure.
George Mann has created a world where things happen with plausible explanations, not where we’re asked to believe everything just on faith. It’s a blend of History Fiction and Sci-Fi/Fantasy that pulls you in. I usually only read Fantasy and High Fantasy novels, but with this book I find myself looking for Mann in the fiction section online and in real life for any new books. The way that Newbury and Hobbes work together gives a Holmes and Watson feel, but they have their own personalities and quirks. Headstrong Hobbes gives no real fuss when it comes to investigating or chasing down suspects, but enjoys a formal gala event and picking out the colors that she’ll wear. Newbury gives a feeling of cool calm and collected while craving and absorbing knowledge quicker than a sponge in the ocean. George Mann has a style of writing that I can only strive for as a budding author, and I personally can’t wait for the next Newbury and Hobbes installment, and if you want a mix of Steampunk, mystery, a touch of supernatural, and zombies, I think I found a book that you should give a chance.
This past Memorial Day weekend, here in the U.S., I was with a very large assembly of amazing people. Amazing people who all love Steampunk. I personally don’t know how we legally got away with letting such a large group of nerds/geeks/enthusiasts from all over the World congregate in one place for four days, but I love it. I attended the 2011 World Steam Expo! This is the second year for the fledgeling exposition, and they did not disappoint. I also attended the first year and I like the progress they’re making. After getting the program and moving to wait in line for the Opening Ceremonies (you have to get in line early for these things, you know) my friend and I started to plan out our weekend. It should be noted that the Expo runs for four days, but I was only allowed to attend three.
The schedule was packed with many things to do and see. Panels galore with amazing presenters, an amazing Dealer’s room, bands to listen to and get autographs from, and the first traveling steampunk museum exhibit. The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation was set up in it’s very own room displaying the country’s first steampunk exhibit, Steampunk, Form & Function. Computers, projectors, even Flash Drives had a steampunk flair and function. I also can’t forget to mention Sparkticus. You rub his horn for good luck. I did. I think that’s how I was able to meet Steampunk Boba Fett and get a thumbs up, and he even called me sassy! I think that means he won’t kill me, at least right away.
My weekend was packed, but there were many things that I missed out on. But let’s not focus on that, let’s focus a little more on the presenters and panels that I saw. I encountered the International Anti-Piracy Squadron, or the IAPS, the most, there were very busy presenting panels, arresting poor unlawful souls, and drinking while telling salty tales. Salty tales of the sky, that is. Apart from the various fashion, etiquette, and grooming panels, my favorite had to be the Multiculturalism in Steampunk panel, co-presented by the wonderous G.D Falksen. Miss Kagashi of the Multiculturalism for Steampunk blog came dressed in her own Native American Steampunk outfit, and displaying her Turkish Steampunk outfit. I highly recommend looking up the entire Squadron, they are a hoot and a half, and full of really good information, if you can catch them at a good time when they’re not grappling with airship pirates.
I can’t leave out G.D. Falksen who is one of the most recognized faces of Steampunk. When he isn’t writing novels or serial stories, he’s helping to create of the first Steampunk MMO’s, AIR. I wrote up a review of the exclusive preview of the game and you can check it out over at the TCPS (To Continue Press Start) blog, here. The Vagabonds taught us about Steampunk in the media, and Gears, gadgets and doodads. The Royal Ladies’ & Gentlemens’ Experimental Madness Society talked to us about turning out wardrobe into everyday steampunk, and not just costumes, and talked to us about the sounds of steampunk, along with The Clockwork Dolls. I have so many bands and artists to check out now, and hopefully to add to my steampunk music collection. Ring of Steel showed us the art of the whip. (Note: If you had thought about wanting to meet me in real life, please dismiss that notion now, for after this panel/demonstration, I am now going to buy a whip, like Indiana Jones. Fear me.) Girl Genius, the webcomic and now novel, created by Prof.’s Phil and Kaja Foglio, know of it? Well they were there too! Here I’ll prove it with this picture. (Kaja said she liked my Obi belt.) Well, not only were they there but they did a couple of panels, and the Girl Genius Radio Plays! I remembered them from last year and endeavored to get to this this year, although I did sadly miss the auditions to become the narrator.
I seemed to have mentioned music and performers, and oh they had concerts and performers there. There was even comedy, from the likes of English comedians Andrew O’Neill and Marc Burrows, both from the band The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Hi.Lari. Ous. The wonderful bagpipe and drum band, Tartanic! I’ve seen/known them for almost three years now, I might have to have them play at my wedding now, they’re a bunch of wonderful hams. The gypsy band Frency and The Punk, formerly known as the Gypsy nomads. A very hilarious, very dirty and raunchy Irish band called The Bawdy Boys. They have several different shows, but they’re obvious specialty is the Dirty Show/Bawdy Boozer. They get drunk with you, and then sometimes they’ll sing for you, too. A couple of them went through two 6 packs of Guinness beer. They were easily vying for the top spot of favourite event of the expo, and they’re really fun to talk to, I got a picture and a button. And, of course, no steampunk event would be complete without Abney Park. I was almost at the end of the line waiting for them, but some how ended up near the very front of the mosh pit, getting some decent pictures. They put on a great show, and had a sesnse of humour, joking about an “act of God” clause in their contract in response to the tornado that happened 40 miles away. Speaking of mosh pits, steampunk mosh pits are some of the most polite pits you’ll find. We’ll knock you down, but we’ll help you right back up before knocking you down again. Quite good fun. There were more bands and performers there, I just wasn’t able to see them all.
There are two performances that I’ve left out, one of them Very important. Some of the bands performed at The Midnight Carnival, and Pop Hayden was there! A man not born in this century, but he came here with his magic and his medicinal wares, and generously shared this with everyone. And then, my personal favourite of the weekend, Miss Hayley Jane of Tick Tock Tease, an amazing, young, burlesque performer. She gave a panel about burlesque and then performed with the Bawdy Boys, and on her own, complete with wardrobe malfunction! For someone so young, she is really accomplished and talented.
That was just a little taste of what’s at the World Steam Expo, and even I had a hard time making up my mind about which panels and performances to go see. I was having nerdgasms at the amount of awesome was there this year, and the fact that I got to show off some more of my costumes, this year a slightly Japanese inspired steampunk bounty hunter named Sakura “Saki” Kade. (I got some Really nice service at the registration desk because my named had alcohol in it. 😀 ) I can’t recommend and encourage everyone to attend this expo more. i had more fun here than I had at Gen Con last year, and I think that’s saying something, this expo pulls in a couple thousand because of a smaller venue, The Hyatt. It really is amazing, and I’m already planning a costume theme for next year; Steampunk-ed Video Game Characters. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make some waistcoats and design some skirts and pants, I’m moving into a steampunk lifestyle.
I’ve been told that the term “Social Butterfly” is too tame for me. I like to talk, and meet new people, and learn about different cultures. My Aunt and Uncle had a South Korean exchange student recently and the first time that I met her I had taken the time to learn how to say hello and goodbye, and a few other words, in Korean. It was fun and she had a smile on her face afterwords. Back in 2007, sitting in my college dorm waiting for the inevitable call from my roommate saying that she wanted food, (a different slightly hilarious story,) I remembered back in elementary school when we were able to get penpals if we wanted. I decided that I wanted penpals, and not just any penpals, Snail Mail penpals! I scoured the internet for hours, making sure that I wasn’t stumbling on to spam websites. I now wish that I would have bookmarked the sites, because there are some really good, free, sites out there with others looking for new penpal friends.
Fast forward almost four years later and I am still in contact with one my penpals, from England. We wrote long letters to each other in different colored pens, making it a game, and sending silly pictures of ourselves. Then by random chance we found each other on Facebook. It made it easier for us to let each other know that her letter was going to be delayed due to a postal strike, or that she was going to Italy, and that I was moving out of the dorms so my letter was going to be late. Then we kept in contact more on the internet than through paper. We exchanged emails and our letter productivity tripled in a month, and we were able to discover different things that we both enjoyed from each other’s country, (“Never Mind the Buzzcocks”, “The Friday Night Project”, “Fraiser”, Josh Groban’s comedic wit.) Plans of visiting each other some day in the future were brought to life, and the different activities we could do. For her coming to the States we were going to go to a Con and go “Doctor Hunting” (much like I did at Gen Con.) The ideas of a “Brit care package” and “Yank care package” were conceived here, sending things that the other doesn’t have direct access too.
One day I mentioned that I was bored at home and that I was finally going to put the webcam on my iMac to use and probably record something stupid. It was indeed. But then that inspired her to record a video for me, giving me a small tour of her house, which then inspired me to take a video tour of my house for her. I have a feeling that taking videos for each other will probably continue, and I’m stumped as to what the next penpal evolution step could be, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve found a really great friend that I can depend on, even though she from the other side of the pond. I have been upgraded to “International Social Butterfly.”
**Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers**
It’s no secret to those that know me that I am a gigantic Disney Nerd. I have several Disney playlists on my iTunes, and most movies I can cialis pills quite with the help of my best friend, (who works at Disney World.) So I had been excited about the new DIsney movie Tangled for a while. It might have helped a little that I’m a fan of Mandy Moore, I saw her when she opened for the Backstreet Boys back in 1999, when she was a young blonde little thing, (like I can talk, I was 11 at the time.) Also, any fan of Chuck will recognize Zachary levi’s voice as Flynn Rider. Like the crazy person that I am, I passed up on Harry Potter to see “Tangled”, and I’m actually pretty satisfied with that decision.
‘Pretty Satisfied’ is an understatement.
This was Disney’s 50th animated movie, and right proper Disney Princess movie, reminiscent of the classics. Alan Menken was once again at the helm of the songs, and score for the movie. One can hear the influence of his earlier classics, such as The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, and there were no misses this time around, (like there really are any misses for this man.)
“This is the story of how I died?” –Flynn Rider (Anyone else having Doctor Who flashbacks?)
Backstory time! As is with most Disney fairytale movies. Our, er, hero, Flynn Rider narrates. A single drop of sun fell from the sky, and bloomed into a flower, and held great power. The person who found it, of course, used it selfishly to make herself young again, and would continue to do so for hundreds of years, only by singing a song to it, (“Healing Incantaiton”.) Well the pregnant Queen is sick, and needs this miracle flower. Our selfish hag, Mother Gothel, makes a mistake and the flower is found! The queen is alright, and bouncing baby girl, with long blonde hair, is born. They let off a floating lantern to celebrate. This is important. Mother Gothel breaks into the castle and realizes that the baby’s hair is magical and can make her young again, but if you cut the hair it turns brown and loses it’s power. So what can she do now? Kidnap the baby!
This is how Rapunzel comes to live in her tower, with 70 feet of hair. Hair that she can wield as a weapon, or a swing, or a hook to pull Mother Gothel up the tower, or as an Indiana Jones-esque bull whip. But she has a dream, (“When Will My Life Begin”) she wants to leave the tower to see the floating lights that appear once a year on her birthday. The lights that the Kingdom releases every year hoping that it will help bring back the lost Princess.
Enter, Flynn Rider. A thief. He’s stolen a tiara from the castle, with the help of two other thieves, and is now on the run from what could be the entire Royal Army, and their horses. Maximus is part horse, part bloodhound, and all serious about getting Flynn. This chase is what brings Flynn to Rapunzels tower, that he climbs with the help of two arrows. Flynn is Rapunzel’s ticket to getting out of the tower to go see the lights, that her mother has forbidden her from doing, in the form of an entertaining song (“Mother Knows Best”) with a stern warning. (Mother Gothel is the mother you wish you never have.) How does she get Flynn to agree to this? By hiding the tiara he so urgently seeks and says that if he takes her to see the lights and brings her back then he gets it back.
It doesn’t take long for Mother Gothel to realize that something’s up, finds the tiara, and she starts to follow the two after she finds them at the Snuggly Duckling. The Snuggly Duckling full of murderous, sadistic, and fluffy pub thugs. They all have dreams, (“I’ve Got a Dream”) and have been inspired by the young, 18 year old, sheltered girl. As the Royal Guards come, still searching for Flynn, arrive the pub thungs help them escape. And it almost works, until Maximus shows up and discovers the hidden tunnel.
Cut to a dam with an impossible escape. Rapunzel gets to higher ground with her hair, Flynn fights off a sword wielding horse with a frying pan, and the Royal Guard and Flynn’s very upset partners are all there to get Flynn, dead or alive, depending on who you ask. The dam breaks and we find our heroes in a very precarious situation, where we learn that Flynn Rider is not his real name, (Eugene Fitzherbert,… really?), little orphan Eugene got his name from Flynnagan Rider, and that Rapunzel has magical glowing hair that can also heals wounds.
Mother Gothel appears to make Rapunzel think that she’s delusional, why would this thief like her when all he wants is his stolen tiara? She challenges Rapunzel to test Eugene, er Flynn, by giving him the tiara and to see if he’ll actually still take her to the floating lights. Rapunzel hides the tiara instead.
And just when you thought that they had lost Maximus, he’s back! But Rapunzel discovers his soft side and he helps them get the to castle town, without getting Flynn arrested. As comes with any Disney movie, this is where the montage of cute things happens between our two love interests that pull them closer. As night falls Flynn takes Rapunzel out on to the water to have one of the best views of the lanterns as they take to the sky. Here I discover that Zachary Levi has a decent voice, and my new favorite song, “I See The Light”.
Enter, Mother Gothel’s master plan. With Rapunzel so close to finding out that she is the missing princess, she must get her back to the tower, and get rid of Flynn Fitz-, Rider. A plot breaks out! Flynn is set up and set sailing back to the guards to get captured, and Mother Gothel lures Rapunzel in with fake worry, and they travel back ‘home’.
In prison, as he’s being led to his execution, everything comes together for Flynn. He realizes that Rapunzel is the Princess, that Mother Gothel was behind everything for the magical hair, and that he must go help the woman he has fallen in love with! But how will he escape? Maximus and the Pub Thugs to the rescue!
Back at the tower Rapunzel thinks on everything that she’s seen at the castle town, and what’s she’s learned, and all her paintings, and pieces together that she’s the missing princess, (without any help from any other character!) Mother Gothel transformation: Into evil, selfish hag!
Flynn climbs the tower again to save Rapunzel to find out that he’s stumbled onto a trap. She’s been chained to a wall by Mother Gothel, as the same evil woman then stabs Flynn, letting him slowly die. At this point I thought I was going to have to start writing an angry letter to Disney for not providing a happy ending. I would have done it, too. Rapunzel gives her word to Mother Gothel that she will go with her, into hiding, and never run away if she just lets her save Eugene, (Rapunzel has called him Eugene since finding out it was his real name, luckily never saying Fitzherbert again.) Eugene won’t let this happen though. He cuts off her hair!
This breaks the spell that Mother Gothel has been using and she falls out of the tower, turning into dusts as she starts to age. But it’s too late to save our dear Eugene, and the older woman in front of me*, and I started to cry, (no lies.) Disney saves it though, her tears heal her love as she once again sings the healing song, in vain she thinks. Eugene takes her back to her parents, who have waited 18 years to find their daughter. Eugene takes over narrating and confirming, in a very Flynn Rider way, that everyone was happy again and that he and Rapunzel did in fact, get married.
I would actually pay to go see the movie again, but I’ll bring a friend with me this time, and I recommend this movie to anyone who likes Disney, especially the classic Princess movies. They managed to focus both on the princess Rapunzel, and the, almost, unlikely hero Flynn- Eugene Fitzherbert! It was the second biggest opening movie that weekend, no surprise right behind Harry Potter, with $45.1 million. It’s also Disney’s second biggest Thanksgiving opening movie, right behind Toy Story 2 with $54 million.
*I should state that I went to the movie alone, as did the woman in front of me who was at least ten years older than me. I heard her sniff in that way that one does after crying, and I was slightly relieved to know that I was not alone in crying at (another) Disney movie…. Yes, I cry at Disney movies, it happens.
This being November 1st, it is the honorary launching day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. What is this crazy thing you speak of, you ask? Why, it is a competition of a sort. The goal is to write a novel in 30 days, 50,000 words to be exact. Sounds crazy? Yes, yes it is. I can attest to this because this is my 6th year participating in NaNoWriMo. I have two wins under my belt and I’m currently going for three. I’m also in a three way word war with two friends. I must defend my honor and beat them! (Or at least tie,… again.)
This year over 130,000 budding (and published) authors are going for the goal. This takes place throughout the whole world, and 16 hours after the first regions of the world hit midnight, over 800,000 words had been written. National Novel Writing Month started in the year 1999, created by Chris Baty, with a small group of friends in the Bay Area in California. The next year more joined, and even more in 2001, until eventually they had to launch a website to accomodate people from all over the US. Soon it expanded to the world, and then too the young writers with the Young Writers Program, YWP. This program sends otu supplies to teachers in middle and high schools to challenge their students.
Every year NaNoWriMo does amazing things, like the YWP, to keep people interested in writing, and to help education. This year they have implemented Come Write In! where local libraries and independant bookstores can host places for authors to come in and have a nice atmosphere to work on their novels and seek any books that might help their cause. They’re a non-profit organization that runs purely on donations from the participants, and they state their intentions on the main page of the website, NaNoWriMo. This year they’ve revealed their intentions to start writing camps for both adults and teenagers, after expanding the number of classrooms they’ll sponsor for the YWP.
Don’t want to write alone? No worries! There are regions all over the world you can join where volunteers, ML’s (Municipal Liason’s) run the regions and organize physical get-togethers affectionally called write-in’s. These mostly take place at coffee shops or other places where business’s don’t mind a group of people getting together to have some nerdy, wordy fun. Some of the best times I’ve had have been at write-ins. One year the same Queen song played every week on the jukebox, and it affected what some characters did in a novel. (I also realized that I wasn’t allowed to have marachino cherries, I was oftened asked if I was drunk.)
The forums are also chock-full of activity! From everything to asking advice, to providing that little bit of procrastination that you think you need. Newbies can go there to search for a Mentor to help them through the wilds of NaNoWriMo, and regions can get in contact with each other to see just what is happening locally.
Sound interesting yet? Well let me regal you with the rules. Yes, there are rules, and they are mostly honor based, but do you want to live with the guilt of knowing that your win isn’t real? You can’t write the same word 50,000 times. You must start with an original story, no continuing on something that you’ve already started. If you want to re-write a story, go ahead, but you can’t refer back to what you’ve already written. It only takes 1,667 words a day to reach the legendary 50,000. You can write about anything you want! Fanfiction? Yes! A book of short stories? Go on, you! A movie script? Well, actually they have a separate event for that. Script Frenzy! This one takes place in April.
What happens if you win? You get an awesome certificate to print, lots of images to lord all over the internet to show how awesome you are. Oh, and you’ll be able to print off a free paperback proof-copy thanks to CreateSpace. The goal of NaNo is quanitity, not quality, so turn off that spell check and grammar check, they will do you no good when writing your novel! One thing to note is that during November the site will experience down-times and slow loading speeds. Be patient, thousands of people are all clamoring to be the first to reach 50k words.
What are you waiting for? Go check it out and sign up! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to writing and mentoring some newbies.
It happened! Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were in Washington DC, and for those who weren’t lucky enough to be there, you can go to the website, here, for more information. Some of the guests included; The Roots, John Legend, The Mythbusters, Sheryl Crow, R2D2, and many many more.
Ever wanted to lead a rebellion? Wanted to run your own kingdom? Wanted to be the ultimate Lute Hero?! Well here is your chance to do all three! Yes, that’s right, Lute Hero. I think someone needs to get on that, could be the next big thing. My adventure with Fable 3 started at 11:35 at night where I decided to travel to the midnight opening with my cane, because my busted and painful knee meant nothing when I could start playing Fable 3 that very night. A note though, don’t take a friend who doesn’t have a 360 and doesn’t really like the Fable series because s/he will rip off the plastic and the sticky bit of your game without feeling or emotion without your permission. It was tragic.
So what are some of the biggest changes for Fable? Well, get this, the Hero has a voice! Yes that’s right ladies and blokes! Your very own Hero, male or female, will actually have the ability to talk, and uses that ability every so often! No more are the days of the pantomime character who expresses feelings and actions with only expressions. Kissing will sound like ravenous dogs biting at meat, and the sex will have you wondering… well, will just have you wondering what exactly they’re doing. They also have employed some top notch voice acting with their characters, such as Stephen Fry, John Cleese, Simon Pegg, Sir Ben Kingsley, and Bernard Hill.
I start this game as I’ve started the other two, being insanely good and fair, and like in Fable II, a lass. If you have a Fable II save on your 360 it will upload it and references will be made to what the former King or Queen did before, regardless of your starting gender. I usually play the game three times at the least; Angelically good, Morally Ambiguous, and Horribly evil. Although with this installment, the characters and story telling make me feel guilty for doing anything Other than being the best person ever. Hence my evil campaign goes slowly, so I’m not bogged down with metaphorical guilt.
As you may or may not have heard, the new addition to the Fable series is a two-parter, story-wise. And here is where I review what steps (in a somewhat reduced spoiler way) are to be taken that will end the evil rule of your brother, King Logan! *Please insert gasps here*
Within the first five minutes of play you will have to make several decisions that affect your moral standing right away. This leads to your mentor, Sir Walter Beck, deciding that now is the time that a revolution is needed, and that night he takes you and your faithful dog out of the castle, with Jasper, your butler, following, as faithful as your dog is. It is then revealed that your Mother, (in my case) the Hero Queen, was not the last Hero of Albion, you are! *Pretend to be shocked now* You soon gain the ability to cast magic, a fire spell, with a gauntlet instead of the usual Will ability inherent in the blood. Then you find the Sanctuary.
This is an interesting, and very important place. This is where you will go almost every time you pause the game. Your Armoury, Dressing room, Trophy room, and Xbox LIVE room is found here, as well as game options and a look your Hero’s skills and morality. Jasper stays here and will let you know when something happens or he wants to talk to you. It’s also the place where you’ll find and take quests, and even manage your real estate ventures, or even divorce your spouse, (should you not want to do it face to face.)
Your first task to start the revolution is to gain supporters and followers. But of course it would be too easy to just walk up to the different areas and get them to agree to help. First are the Dwellers, then the village of Brightwall. The King of the Dwellers needs you to do three tasks for him to prove that they can trust you, which involves you going to Brightwall. While in Brightwall you must prove yourself to the people there in order for them to help the Dwellers. To get the help that you need you must makes promises to the people; To give the mountains and land back to the Dwellers, and to re-open the Brightwall Academy. If you want to be evil then you must wait until the end to do anything about these promises. Fake your sincerity while you press the button if it makes you feel better.
Sir Walter and you are then off again after an interesting encounter with Hobbes, to Mourningwood! To a ragtag bunch of soldiers who are fighting Hollowmen. Help them fight off the hollowmen and you’ll have your next set of supporters after giving another promise concerning the Royal Army. Then you’re off to Bowerstone, one step closer to the Bowerstone Castle and freeing the people from their oppression. You’ll meet the Resistance in the sewers and have to prove yourself once again. And you’ll have an interesting run in with Reaver. Yup, Reaver is still sacrificing people to keep his immortality, and he’s dressed for the occasion. You must promise to help the poor and the children of Bowerstone Indrustial to get this support. (Did I mention a heavy Steampunk influence? Because I make Steampunk costumes, and I was practically drooling.)
Along your travels you are allowed to go off and complete other quests, or work for some extra gold to pick up some items, or to save for a rainy, bloody, day, (start amassing money now, Trust me.) Fable II players, remember the gargoyles? The ones that would insult you if you got close, that you had to shoot? No they’re not back. It’s worse! Gnomes. That’s right, talking, insulting, annoying, gnomes. That you have to shoot. And you’ll do it gladly if you find them.
Next up, I’ll go over the last step to the revolution and the ultimate threat. Note to those who can freak themselves out by playing games at night, or thinking of creepers in a dark hallway while you’re in it, alone; this last part is not to be played in total darkness. … Just me? Oh,… well, then you can just ignore that….
Last night, the 21st, was the hilarious event of Night of Too Many stars hosted by Jon Stewart to help raise money for Autism education. A live telethon took place while they played clips from the event that took place a couple weeks ago where comedians performed shortened sets and celebrity auctions took place. Some of the celebrities that performed were Lewis Black, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Joel McHale, John Oliver, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and Robin Williams. Chris Rock cussed out an ex-boyfriend of a bidder over the phone, and Robin Williams offered a walk on role, no speaking parts, of his next movie.
Celebrities were manning the phones, talking to donators during the live telethon. Betty White, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Penn Jillette, Captain Sully Sullenberger, Weird Al, and many many moore. The celebrities are also auctioning some things online including posters, hats, bobbles heads, food, and other interesting things signed by the stars. If you donated $75 you had the choice of a Tina Fey swimsuit calender (there’s a little bit for everyone) or a Whtie Castle burger-scented candle. And for $100 or higher you get both.
Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert treated everyone to a nice song, that they came up with and wrote about a year ago. Well, I’ll let them sing and tell with this video.
If you want to learn more about the auctions, or donate online, or through text, or watch more videos of the night, you can visit the website here Night of Too Many Stars.