Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kills Me

What, specifically, kills me?

This does. Even though I'm partially responsible for it.

So does this. And ditto.

It kills me that I had to vote for Dean while being more than half-convinced I want Sam to win. And that while I voted for complexity and blend of humor and pathos in the second one, my choices are losing. Twice.

And it really kills me that even though I really, really, REALLY don't want to know what happens in the season finale, I can't stop myself from reading a spoiler clearly labeled as a spoiler from a site that regularly spoils in a big way. GAAAHHHh.

Ant Season

I just killed a couple of those tiny baby ants in the bathroom. I guess, temperature notwithstanding, it's really spring.

We get these ants in the downstairs bathroom 'cause it's the basement, and, I don't know, maybe they're attracted to the trash can or something. It's not a big deal. We don't get many, and the spiders like to set up shop to keep them under control.

But now I'm dreading them returning to the kitchen. They swarm our sink. Ant traps don't work. Borax doesn't work. Sealing every crack around the window over the sink doesn't work. Just about the only thing that does is keeping the sink empty, but in a family of four people, that's darned near impossible. It means emptying the dishwasher the instant it's done running, so we can load it as we use dishes. But sometimes the timing (and energy level) just don't work out. *sigh*

A character in a book I just read said that Saturn rearranges your life every seven years and there's nothing you can do about it. My first thought was "nuh-uh," but then I thought about the last significant change in our lives, when I quit my day job and started doing freelance editing/proofreading to go along with my writing. That was 2006. Seven years before that, I had a baby and moved into a new house. Seven years before that, I got married. Pretty freaky, huh? The next big change is to come in 2013. The year Number One graduates from high school.


Speaking of Number One... she's gone, like, 22 seasons of soccer without real injury, beyond the typical bruises, nicks, and occasional twisted ankle. This spring, before they'd done more than practice, she had problems with her left calf, then sprained her left ankle, then pulled a hamstring. She's practiced and played with all of those, but last night, in her second game for the school team, five minutes into it she got her leg yanked (and therefore knee wrenched) by another player (tangled feet). I'm taking her to the orthopod this afternoon. Everyone please cross you fingers that it's nothing major.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Watch Too Much TV

I'm also all over the Internet today. Here is superficial TV-watcher stuff. At GabWagon I get a little more serious, talking about major changes in the entertainment industry. If you want something lighter, check out my Meankitty interview. It's better than I remember (there've been so many great interviews, I felt dull in comparison), and Frisbee weighed in, too. And finally, I avoided thinking too hard with my Supernatural Sisters post, which is full of our favorite YouTube videos.

I haven't posted about general TV in a while. Here are my thoughts on what I'm watching, in random order:

Holy crap, how long is Prison Break going to be off the air? Seriously, why do networks keep taking shows off the air for so many months? Every time they do, ratings drop. If they know this, why continue the practice?

I watched the premiere of Kyle XY but then let the entire rest of the season go by before I started watching again. I have 4 episodes left. I still like the characters and the storylines, but I'm sick of Amanda and won't miss the show when it's over.

Speaking of not missing, I hate to say it, but I don't miss Pushing Daisies either. It's still on my DVR in case they ever decide to show the last couple of episodes, though. I think there are two left? And they said they might air them this summer.

I do miss Christian Slater and Alfre Woodard, but Dollhouse is satisfying my craving for a big, conspiracy-laden, action-packed show. I can't say it hooked me like Firefly or Supernatural did, but I don't think Buffy was as transcendent as everyone says, and I think we put humongous expectations on someone like Joss Whedon and his team. Impossible expectations. I also never cared for Eliza Dushku, so mine were lower than most people's seemed to be, and it's living up to them. There was a slightly abrupt shift in Paul and Mellie's relationship--it could have used a couple more episodes to shift her from starry-eyed needy-person to actual friend/girlfriend material. Otherwise, I loved the development of that and that she was a sleeper agent. I'm thinking it might be DeWitt on the inside. Or it's Echo and she wasn't programmed with those parameters at all, but has at least some control over her mind.

Dollhouse's partner on Friday nights is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Ever since we got a hint of what Riley's purpose was, the show has been a lot better. The episode where John found and confronted Jessie was amazing. John was suddenly no longer the sullen, rebellious kid, but the leader he was to grow up to be. Derek remained a true warrior, divorcing his feelings from his duty. Jessie wasn't the woman he'd fallen in love with originally. She was someone who had gone through different things, and made different choices, and was someone who would go to lengths he found unacceptable. We still don't know for sure if he shot Jessie. She could resurface.

I wrote the following before watching the most recent episode:
They say a male is going to die. As much as I like him, I want it to be Charlie. Or Ellison, that would be okay. As long as it's not Derek.
I changed my mind. I don't want it to be Charlie! Whhaaaaaahhhh!

Monday is a pretty full night. There's not much to say about Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. The former is a nice diversion that makes me smile, the latter has Neil Patrick Harris and excellently tight writing. Chuck is still on the bubble for me. I won't care if it gets canceled, but I enjoy watching. It's about freaking time they decided to train Chuck. I don't think Orion is dead, though, he's a very intriguing guy and if the show gets to continue, I have no doubt he'll be back.

Monday wraps up with Castle. I can't say I love it yet, but there are things I do love. Last week's ep kept me guessing. Nathan Fillion continues to be tremendous, but... When you're writing a novel with a female protagonist, especially one with romance in it, the stronger the female, the stronger the male counterpart has to be. I think that's the biggest flaw with Castle. Nathan dims almost everything around him. His daughter is a match, and Kate manages not to fade away. But the rest just doesn't stand out, and if the show fails, that will be why.

I was delighted with his screensaver last week (You Should Be Writing" in huge letters), and I also love the storytelling thing. They established in the pilot (I think--might have been episode 2) that he is a mesmerizing tale-weaver. So in the last ep, when he built a story for the final suspect and got him to confess, it was believable that Kate would let him, despite the fact that he's supposed to be an observer, not a consultant. This one won't be leaving my season pass anytime soon.

Let's see, what else... Reaper is another one I wouldn't miss, but continues to entertain. Sock's "sister" is annoying, but Ben's girlfriend makes me laugh, and Sock vs. Andi is probably the second best part of the show--Ray Wise remains the first.

The Mentalist is actually waning a bit for me. The gimmick is ceasing to be as compelling--maybe they're trying to mix it up too much or something? Or making Jane too flawed? I like it best when he's right and brilliant and cocky. On the other hand, I'd love to see his team get threatened and let us see how much he cares about them, what he'd sacrifice for them. We already saw the opposite.

I don't have much to write about Lost. I'm completely enthralled but for some reason, my brain doesn't dwell on it after I'm done watching. I'm dying to know what happens, but beyond that...

It's a simple happiness.

I've caught up on Bones and I have to say, it captured me much better when I was binging on it than it is now. Rumors of what's coming mostly leave me cold, though one or two details thrill me. We'll see how they play out. I'm with the fans who are annoyed with Fox for telling us we get 11 episodes in a row then changing their minds. Jerks. Moving nights doesn't bother me, because I don't consider it that hard to figure out. When you like a show, you pay attention. I know it's the casual viewers that get lost, but...oh, well.

Private Practice moved nights, too, and I don't think I've watched it since. I have 9 episodes built up on my DVR and not much compulsion to watch them unless I have nothing else to watch. They killed two kids in a row and the preview for the next one implied it might happen again. Unlike some people I know, that doesn't make me automatically stop watching, but it seems to have affected me subconsciously. Though it doesn't help that the other story developments have been less then appealing, themselves. I have less and less sympathy for anyone except Dell, and even he's had his moments.

I think the only other show on my schedule is Numb3rs. I like the woman they added, the former LA cop, and the parallelism of her and Liz with David and Colby. I don't like when it's Colby's turn not to be in an episode, though.

I've added two new shows to try. So far, Better Off Ted is a winner. The commercials they start the show with are brilliant, and the acting and chemistry are well done. They make the ridiculous seem less ridiculous. The jury's still out on other show, In the Motherhood. It's too shrill for my tastes, and people behaving badly has never been my favorite thing to watch.

Still to try are Cupid and Harper's Island. Cupid I'm kind of meh about because I don't care for Bobby Cannivale, though I do like Sarah Paulson. Harper's Island I'd probably never watch if it didn't have Jim Beaver primarily, plus Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0) and a dozen other actors I like. It has a little too much horror vibe for me, but we'll see how it goes.

Just a few short weeks until the spring season is over and we're into the dull [TV] days of summer. What will you be sorriest to have be over?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quick! Look Over Here!

Number Two said the sweetest thing to me today. She indicated a picture of me, my mother, and my brother that was taken about 18 years ago, and said how my brother looked so much younger, but I looked exactly the same.


Then she balanced it by saying "...well, the face." She was reluctant to elaborate. LOL

To distract you from the fact that I have nothing more interesting to say than that, I'm directing your attention to the following:

Supernatural March Madness Elite Eight: Vote on the best episodes of Supernatural.

In a similar vein, head over to the Alpha Male Madness Elite Eight. This would be your favorite actors/characters up against each other. Possibly.

If you're a writerly type, The Knight Agency is doing a Book in a Nutshell Competition. Get the attention of an editor with your very best nutshell description of your book!

Tracy Madison is holding a contest to win books. (Scroll down for the link to her newsletter.) She also has a...unique viewpoint on spring. :)

SciFi Chicks is still the place to go to discuss your favorite speculative TV shows. It has a new look, too!

And, of course, we can't forget Supernatural Sisters. So far this week we've talked about Kripke's take on wishin' and hopin' and debated what urban legends the show could still explore.

Oh! And one more thing. Megan Hart has an interview with Support Supernatural creators Heather Vitas and Lindsay Warren. After you read about this awesome women, head over to check out this year's charity campaign.

Friday, March 20, 2009

On the Head of a Pin

SO many questions answered!

1. John

I've been wondering for two seasons about John's time in hell. He seemed pretty serene when he walked out. But then we found that he'd been there for over a hundred years, and I wondered how he'd endured it. I still wonder that, but we at least know what he endured now. Pretty amazing that he could refuse Alistair's offer over and over, and I'm guessing it was knowing that his sons were safe that might have given him that strength. OR, it's possible that with his years of experience, he's read enough to have known what the first seal was, and therefore resist.

2. Sam

This is one of the narrative perfection things. I was glad the preview showed the short bit where Sam said it wasn't the psychic stuff he had a problem with. Ruby alluded to it last season, with telling Sam she knew how to tutn on his weapon, and that it took time to make him strong. At the time, I assumed she meant training and practice, and continued to think that after seeing him in action, but still they hinted that there was more. Something he was resisting (hmmm, here's a theme!).

It makes perfect sense. The potential for his powers was instilled by demon blood. Of course additional demon blood would enhance them, give him strength to develop them. Narratively, it's a beautiful thing.

Now, that doesn't mean I like it. Sam seems to have crossed a point-of-no-return line. On the other hand, he hasn't been displaying signs of addiction, for all that the pertinent scene indicated he is. He's gone six weeks without it, and even when he said "I need it," he didn't seem to mean physically, but because he couldn't help Dean without it.

I was also intrigued that when he said Dean wasn't strong enough, that he changed in hell, he said it with a hint of concern and no derision. He doesn't think less of his brother--maybe he's telling the truth when he says the siren's control was responsible, at least for how he said it, if not what he actually said.

3. Dean

Dean's been reacting pretty strongly to people dying lately. I mean, he's always hated it, but his protestations in "Death Takes a Holiday" were a little odd. "These are good people" doesn't really fit the guy who got shot, who I'd place on par with, say, the people who died in "Tall Tales." And he's really taken Pamela's death hard. He always cared about saving people, but not in such a personal way. I wonder if it's because he doesn't know where they are going, whether some of them would have been souls he'd have tortured if he were still in hell.

All season, we've discussed why Dean was taken out of hell. I said he was a tool in the war, someone the angels could use, but it's so much bigger, so much better than that. At this point, so much has been heaped on Dean that despite Jensen's incredible performance, despite the aching heart he inspired so many times during the episode, I found myself elated at the end. Sure, he's been beaten, physically and emotionally, but he's hit bottom. He has purpose now, clarity, and once he's had time to adjust, I'm confident he'll fully embrace his destiny.

Again, all the little details that feed into the revelation--the demon at the crossroads telling Sam that Dean was right where they wanted him...the reason the demons were so interested in getting him into hell and torturing him in the first place...heck, even Yellow-Eyes' willingness to allow Dean to live at he beginning of season two, and trading for John. Maybe in season 1 this wasn't Kripke's goal, but it all fits, doesn't it? Azazel was raising children to fight the angels once they were able to embark on the journey toward the apocalypse.

The only thing that doesn't fit is that if Dean is the key, if he holds all their fate in his hands, they've left him on his own and in danger a bit much.

4. The Angels

A couple of little things that jar here: Anna says she called in a couple of favors to get her old body. Well, it was atomized, so how could "favors" help?

Also, Castiel referred to how long he and Uriel had been away from home, but it's only been a few earth months. He told Dean angels are walking the earth for the first time in a couple thousand years, so even if you factor in the time they laid siege to hell, it doesn't seem to jive. Unless time away from heaven is longer, too. Like a month in heaven is a decade on earth, like a month on earth is a decade in hell.

Misty asked why the lights flicker when Anna arrives. I'm wondering if that's just politeness, letting Castiel know she's there.

So anyway, the whole angel mythology fascinates me. Uriel has always seemed an aberration, because Castiel is so implacable, and Anna fell becuase she wanted to feel, but Uriel feels a lot. Hatred, derision, anger, frustration. Now it makes sense. He was one crucial step away from fallen, himself.

His comment that God doesn't care, his unchecked actions being proof, reminds me of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality, where the Incarnation of God had become enamored of his own visage. I remain impressed and thrilled with how they're handling the "religion" of it--that is, not applying religion to it at all. Religion tends to say "this is what is and you must accept it," while the writers are making it as complex and challenging as humanity itself is.

Like the whole doubt thing...angels are made to believe doubt is evil, that they can't ever question God's will. But the doubt Castiel feels turns out to not be related to God so much as it is to his superiors. Uriel got "put" in charge because Cas was getting too close to Dean, starting to care, which is a hindrance and a danger to angels, but that change ensured that Cas's orders weren't actually from his superiors or his father--they were from Uriel, who was as flawed as humans are.

I thought the acting in this episode was tremendous, all the way around. There wasn't enough Sam and Dean, but I didn't notice until the show was almost done, and therefore didn't care. Anna was never my favorite performance, but I cheered when she killed Uriel.

Favorite moments:

When Castiel deadpanned "Uriel is the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone."

When they spirit away Dean and Sam goes, "Dammit!"

The look on Castiel's face when Sam kills Alistair.

The grace in Castiel's movements when he does something like turn the knife in Alistair or spin the valve on the water pipe.

When Anna says, "Maybe, maybe not. But there's still me."

All the extreme close-ups.

The look on Castiel's face when Dean says, "It's not me." Like something occurred to him. I might be reading too much into a very small flicker of time. When I saw that change in his expression, I thought, "It's Sam." But of course it can't be, unless they're misinterpreting the prophecy or whatever you'd call it. Still, I think Sam has a huge role to play in getting Dean to his destiny. (I know, that's a "duh" statement. Of course he does!)

I felt very drained when the episode was over, because there was so much intensity and so much to learn. But I was euphoric, too. The next two episodes, I think, are well-placed, allowing us to absorb what has happened, and lighten up a little (OMG, Dean's HAIR!), but man, am I looking forward to those last four episodes.

Final note: Jim Beaver posted on MySpace and Facebook yesterday that he was getting ready for his last day at work and was sad to be saying goodbye, and then later that he was about to film his last scene. A lot of people took that to mean more than last scene this season. I'm not going there. Jim Beaver is far too savvy to telegraph the death of his character like that. He's saying goodbye for a solid four months, at least. Of course he's sad! Let's just leave it at that until we see the finale. With the way they kill people off on this show, good (Pam) and bad (Uriel) alike, I can't discount the possibility totally. But I can ignore it, and will!
Final final note: I'm a little worried about Jensen. Christopher was obviously not really holding him off the floor, but he was digging his thumb really hard into Jensen's neck. How the heck did he not pass out? Or did he, and that's why it was so realistic?
Oh, shoot. One more final note. I officially hate Ruby now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Crush My Love

Too much to digest and think about. So much perfection--I find I'm marveling at the awesomeness of the narrative rather than reacting to the darkness of the emotion, and probably willfully setting aside the whole Sam-addiction thing. I'm full of glee at what must be to come, as Dean accepts the hero's call and battles his way to saving the world.

I'm scared to venture out into the greater fandom world.

Quick Shots

I got more sleep than I have been, but I still feel super tired. Maybe I need vitamins.

I'm dying for the new Supernatural tonight, even as I dread it. I've been perplexed and dismayed by the lack of clips out there. Then I found one on BuddyTV and couldn't watch it because it reveals too much.

I was going to watch "Lazarus Rising" while I ate lunch, because I need some happy Sam and Dean, but I got a phone call that shot that all to hell.

I rejoined Facebook after my hacking because two people I want to interview told me to contact them via Facebook. One hasn't approved my friend request, and the other hasn't responded to my message (though there's still time).

In the meantime, I have found the new format to be much pleasanter than the old, and have spent way too much time both updating my own status and commenting on other people's status. Not to mention fielding snide comments about how I said I was done with Facebook.

So Under the Moon is officially done and submitted to my agent, and I'm in limbo while I await my turn for review, so what do I work on next? I deliberately took today off of writing, but I'm kind of torn about which project I should do next. One Agent Awesome hasn't seen before? Or one she's seen twice but I think could be better? *ponders*

Spring seems to be hitting just as...hey, it becomes spring! How about that? Nice temps this week, predicted to continue. Which means we'd better order some mulch and get to the yardwork before our yard becomes overgrown again. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thoughts on "Death Takes a Holiday" and Castle

Thoughts on last week's Supernatural as I watched for a second time:

Some have called Dean passive-aggressive in the diner, when he said "I don't want to hold you back." But it wasn't random. He was triggered by Sam bossing him, telling Dean to get his food to go. It's not just that Dean used to be the one ordering Sam around--it's evidence that Sam really meant what he said and wasn't completely under the siren's influence.

I loved that even with teh undercurrent of animosity toward each other, they still work unerringly well together, sharing a brain. Dean says someone's not dragging souls into the light, Sam immediately thinks of reapers. It's beautiful.

I love the scene in the graveyard. There's so much subtlety in this episode. Sam saying the normal rules don't apply to him and Dean--that's one of the steps to downfall. He starts using power to help people, to banish demons while saving the possessed, but the more he uses it, the more it changes his viewpoint. Yes, they are unique, but they aren't better. Dean sees that. Sam doesn't really anymore.

That said, Sam using his powers--guh.

Dean's so hopeful when he asks Sam why Alistair could chuck him now. I'm glad he called Sam on it, but Sam is pissing me off with his lies and the rift he's putting between them.

Watching for the second time, I'm amused by the irony that Bobby was really Castiel, and right after he called Sam was saying he wished the angels were there. Hee.

Sam's wee bitty hoodie is so right and so wrong.

Sam has to lie angled on the bed when Pam astrally projects them. Guh again.

"Get out of me" is my favorite line of the episode.

When the mother is calling Cole, why does she assume he's on the ceiling? And how can Sam and Dean sit in chairs and lean on the table when they can't touch stuff? (That's always tricky with ghost/spirit stories.)

Tessa looks so different to me. Mary said maybe it's because her hair is longer. It might also be partly because her demeanor is quietly intense instead of earnestly appealing, and she's a little older. But her facial structure looks completely different.

That's a very old iMac on that desk in Cole's bedroom. But I love the overhead camera angles like that, especially on Sam. I wonder if this is the same house they used for "Family Remains." It looks similar.

Sam is breaking my heart with all of his Machiavellian changes.

No guy should look so good in such extreme closeup.

I said this in the Supernatural Sisters comments, but I don't believe Tessa. I think she's stuck doing her job, never able to move on to where the souls she collects go. constantly seeing the pain and sorrow of both the people who are dead and the ones left behind. I think that makes her resentful and bitter, and she told Dean there's nothing better becausu that's what people in pain do--try to ease it by spreading it around. (Plus, the things she says are not mutually exclusive. Something ugly may be coming down the pike, but AFTER that, the angels could have something good in store for Dean.)

Why is a ghost flickering out creepy, but Dean flickering out hot? Never mind. The question answers itself.

Poor old reaper--but then again, pretty easy gig, just lying on the floor for a while, then having your head sliced. Except for the head-slicing part.

I like the angel-proofing thing. It not only explains how they got the gig, but hints at why Castiel pulled Dean in the first place. Not just any human would have the mental or physical ability to fight on the side of the angels. He's a tool, as I've said before, one that can do what the angels can't. The whole angel-demon war is evolutionary, with one side developing new ways to overcome an obstacle presented by the other side.

I love how Tessa is so gentle with taking Cole, both in what she says to him and then the hug to take him over, but then turns so cold with Dean. I'd love to see Tessa back again. (She'd be a good actress to have at a convention.)

I also love how the spirits of Dean and Sam are so washed out, kind of blueish, and when they're back in their bodies, they've got color and vibrancy back.

Someone on another blog said it was weird to have a tribute to Kim Manners at the end of this episode, being all about death, even though it was the first episode back after he died. But from the little I know of Kim Manners, I have a feeling he'd have appreciated it.

I watched the second episode of Castle last night, and it was much better. Still flat and irrelevant secondary cops, but we got more interaction between Rick and his daughter, and I adore their relationship. We also kind of got an answer about the exes. He said the girl's mother was an actress, so she wasn't the publisher that's his ex-wife. I like that.

There was no "Apples! Apples! Apples!" moment, but I loved when he told the tale of 8B and had them all mesmerized. And I love the look on his face when he's writing, even such trite stuff as "she's had her heart broken." (I like his new heroine's name.) Fillion is just tremendous and I'm very happy about his show right now.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


As I'm sure you know, I am a Browncoat, an unabashed 100% lover of Firefly, and Nathan Fillion is a big part of the reason. I was very unhappy with the treatment of/result of the airing of Drive, which I thought was an awesome show. Bottom line: I really, really want Castle to be good.

It's not.

Luckily, it doesn't have to be to survive, because it has enough going for it, in the right way, that it probably will. It fits firmly in the crime drama realm, doesn't deviate from any tropes of the genre, and therefore should get enough eyeballs from the boring mainstream of America to keep it alive.

What Didn't Work

1. The writing.

The plot was dull, overused, flat, unimaginative...shall I go on? The dialogue was just...stupid. I mean, come on. The boy scout line? That was old 40 years ago. The central mystery was not interesting or intriguing or clever or all that difficult to figure out. And I don't WATCH a lot of crime dramas (except Bones and The Mentalist, and Numb3rs--but that's it).

2. The secondary characters.

Unlike those in the three crime dramas I do watch, the cast surrounding the two stars is unmemorable, unimportant, and cliché. The daughter is half an exception. The bright, responsible child is a cliché, but she's well acted and has good chemistry with Fillion. The mother is the opposite--you can't get any more cliché than her, and she added nothing to the show. Ditto the vicious ex-wife who is also his publisher. So she hates him...that doesn't explain why he has apparent custody of his daughter, and why she didn't mention or interact with her mother (unless the ex isn't the mother--never addressed).

What Did Work

1. The writing got much better in the second half.

Not stellar, but the way they had Castle and the cop working things out about the case, but separately, worked very nicely. There was some better (though not much) dialogue--"Apples! Apples! Apples!" went a long way toward keeping us through the end.

2. Fillion and the actress who plays the cop.

Castle's character isn't as one-note as one might have expected. His cockiness didn't cross too far over into obnoxiousness, and he was wrong sometimes, or could have been, which made for a nice balance.

I like the actress playing the cop. She has talent, and there was some subtle acting going on in the scene where Castle used a never-before-seen method (note the sarcasm) of putting her in her place about what kind of person she is. Even though that element has been done to death, both actors made it interesting and both their characters appealing.

I hope they make a bit of a shift into a more Brennan/Bones kind of relationship, with less antagonism and exasperation, which gets tiresome very fast, and more mutual respect.

3. The writing inside the story.

Okay, the conceit of the episode was dull. But one thing that did work was the whole "now that's a story!" factor. Of course, I'm a novelist, so the story stuff is like my geek food. But while some of the fantasy is difficult to buy (his level of celebrity), I identify with the way he thinks. I also loved the moments with Patterson and Cannell and hope they do stuff like that again.

So bottom line is that I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I will definitely keep watching and praying that others do, too, just so I can keep seeing Nathan Fillion on the job every week.

Who's with me?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why the Gold Package--and Never Sleeping--is Totally the Only Way to Go

First, if you've looked at convention details at all, you know the Gold Package contains pretty much everything but the photo ops. (the autographs alone are worth a couple hundred individually) This one also included two exclusive events.

The first one was the dessert reception on Saturday night. This was the only event that was not ideally managed, but I blame the hotel for moving the venue to a much, much smaller room. It was jam-packed, and there weren't enough seats for everyone. At the least, some people couldn't sit with their friends. By the time they let us in, the ice cream at the sundae bar was more than half melted, and it was impossible to make and carry a sundae without dripping it all over yourself. Well, impossible if you also wanted chocolate-covered strawberries (and who doesn't, really) and a beverage? I dripped chocolate all over the table. That would have been okay if anyone had noticed. If one of the guests commented on the mess, I was going to say I drooled when they came in the room. But, alas, they failed, or were too polite, to notice.

The breakfast was better handled. The let us into the room in groups. The first set of people chose seats and then went to the buffet, and as they got through, they let the next group of people in to do the same. It was also in the larger room, so it all flowed better. The food was really good, too, and it was nice not to have to pay for a meal in the overpriced restaurant.

At both events, they circulate the guests all around, two minutes at each table. For weeks--months!--I'd wondered how on earth I'd come up with anything to say. Turns out...it wasn't a problem. Not just because everyone else had plenty to say, but because my brain actually worked when faced with engaging people.

So Gold ticket holders get to attend those two events. Originally, it was going to be different people at the dessert reception (but I'm glad it changed because Gabe was awesome) and then Jared at the breakfast, and I don't think he would have sat at the tables with us, he would have just been on stage.

Gold ticket holders also get the primo seats in the main auditorium, of course. We were in row C. Lori was in row D, but sometimes she came up and sat with us because there was an empty seat. The last perk of Gold is getting in line for authographs sooner. That's the most tedious part, the only time there's any real waiting.

Okay, now how does not sleeping fit in?

These next two sets of stories are what elevated this trip from excellent to (one of) the best weekend(s) of my life.

Friday night they had a karaoke party at 11:00. It wasn't very crowded, I'm guessing mostly because it was late. And maybe because we had a higher proportion of first-timers who didn't know what they'd get out of it besides, you know, karaoke.

Someone had asked Chad if he was going to attend, and he said absolutely, so I asked Jason, who said probably not because he had family coming in. I was bummed, but about half an hour into the torture singing, we spotted both of them. A while later, Richard came in and sent our table aflutter. Kayleigh and Mallory went over to talk to him, and when she came back Kayleigh said he was the nicest guy in the world. So Lori pushed me and Megan into going to talk to them.

Now, this was hard for me. Small talk with anyone is painful. I do not have the gift. My sister-in-law's sister and her husband do, so much that I'd have thought the fairies gave it to them or something. My brain just doesn't seem to like it. I always envision myself being lame and causing awkward silence and halting conversation as the other person wishes desperately that I'd go away.

Thank God for Megan and Lori. They made it so easy! So we did it, we sidled up to Chad until he finished his current conversation and kind of turned our way. We talked for a while, then sidled on so someone else could move in, while we corralled Jason and talked to him (he knew who Megan was! It was very gratifying). Eventually we let him go, too, and made our way to Richard. And stalled.

Because he was so COOL. The discussion flowed freely and I forgot we were silly fangirls talking to an actor. We were creative professionals sharing insights and opinions. Chad joined us after about 10 or 15 minutes and we talked for a long time more. Eventually I noticed other people crowding in really close. Not (I hope) in a "get out of here we want to talk" kind of way (most of the people had already talked to them), but in a "listening intently" kind of way. Megan pointed out more than once that there was an advantage to being last, and it paid off. We talked until one of the Creation people made us stop and let Richard go to bed because he had to be up early in the morning (I don't know why, stuff didn't start until noon, but maybe there was something else I missed/chose not to pay hundreds of dollars for). It was nearly 1:30 so we went to our room, which was a mistake because apparently, even though I thought the karaoke machine had been shut down, Chad decided he would sing. It was on YouTube by the next morning.

Saturday, before the dessert reception, I saw Richard crossing the lobby as we were about to go into the bar where we'd spotted Misha Collins in the back. Terri Clark, one of my fellow Supernatural Sisters, had suggested I interview Betsy Morris (screenwriter of Ten Inch Hero) and mentioned she wanted to interview Jim Beaver. Inspired by that, I stopped Richard and asked if he would be willing to do an interview with me for the blog. He agreed, and then we (the four of us, as I was never without my conversation greasers) lingered outside the bar talking about his father's novels and other things. While we were talking Misha left the bar, but we were pretty okay with missing him. :)

Finally, after the dessert reception, we did make it into the bar, where Richard and Gabe came in a short while later. Richard paused only to ask if Gabe wanted a drink, but Gabe lingered, even when Richard never came back, and wound up sitting with us the rest of the night. Even after he'd get up and talk to some other people, he'd come back. Jason Manns joined us for a little while, too. Other fans hung out *waves at Mike and Darlene and the Gaiman fan whose name I forget!* until we all dejectedly gave in to the late hour and the looming daylight savings time.

A little perspective...

I'm obviously giddy about all the time we got to spend with these celebrities. I want to stress that I don't think it makes me special. They spent time with a lot of people, and they won't remember me if we meet up again, say at next year's con in Parsippany or on the set for the movie of my book, which will cast all my favorite actors. :) I'm thrilled that they seemed to enjoy talking to us not because it feeds my ego (though, okay, there's a little of that), but because it showed them as regular people. The things we talked about were either normal (lasagna and honeymoons and cars) or made to seem normal (the film world) because they shared it as if it was.

Also, the fact that they came down to spend casual time with the fans (Todd and Malik were in the bar Saturday night, too, but we missed them) when they didn't have to created a whole new dimension to fandom. They connected their side of the entertainment line to our side, making it a relationship instead of something that has potential to be cold and a little sad.

This is good business, of course, becaues making us feel special helps cement the real relationship, that between our money and their wallets. If they make us like them as people, we'll go rent their movies and watch their shows and give them free promotion, to a greater extent than we might without that additional spark.

However, that can be done without crossing the dividing line. We (people) can tell when someone is doing a job and when they're genuinely enjoying themselves, and being part of that is more than worth the price of admission.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday's Con Report

I've been freely using first names in my posts this week. "Chad wrote this" and "Gabe said that" and "When we saw Richard..." It feels so pretentious and obnoxious, and I don't want to be That Guy Chick. But in today's society, using last names feels silly and formal, and gee, if they're using your name, you can use theirs, right?

Anyway. Continuing my thoughts on the Q&As...

Sunday we started off with Jim Beaver. He was at the breakfast and left that late, so he started his photo opp late, so he started his Q&A a little late. That kind of threw everything off a little, but they caught up.

Jim talked a lot about his little girl, who sounds like the sweetest thing, though I'm sure she's like any other kid and has her moments. He did say she tries to rule the world... Jim catered to us in every way. He called us idjits and made fun of the boys, told stories about the set and was just playful and fun, even when he was serious. (The most serious moments were when he talked about his upcoming book, Life's That Way, about the year his daughter was diagnosed with autism and his wife with fatal cancer. If he writes like he talks [and blogs, which is, of course, writing], it will be a tremendous book.) He told us he just filmed episode 4.21, and he's in 4.20 and 4.22. You know what that means, right? Bobby doesn't die next month! I no longer care what the death teaser really means. :)

Next up was Todd Stashwick, who has had an amazingly broad career, and it showed in his stage presence and his stories. He talked about The Riches, which I now have to add to Netflix (along with Jim Beaver's Deadwood), and I have a strong desire to go back and watch all the episodes he's guest-starred in that I failed to recognize him. Like Captain Steve on How I Met Your Mother. He looked very different in person, not just from his Supernatural character (duh) but from his Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles role. He talked a little about how opposite the two roles were, with the shapeshifter being so emotional and the Terminator being totally devoid of emotion. He mentioned talking to Summer a lot about how to do it, and it was a really funny image to me--this very young, small girl instructing this really big, experienced actor in the physicality of a role.

After Todd we got Malik. (He doesn't go by Charles.) He was an interesting dichotomy. One minute he's sounding like a lovely voiced televangelist or self-help guru, advising us to live our lives with no limitations--the next he's making toilet jokes. A little later he breaks into his closing monologue on spirituality to scold Misha for being noisy backstage and then tells us the angel is stripping. Malik, I was delighted to see, will be on the new Nathan Fillion crime drama Castle.

Finally, the (substitute) headliner, Misha Collins. I have to say this again: He is just so beautiful. I've been watching Bones so I can't help but point out that it's the symmetry of his face. But it's also his eyes, and the fact that he makes eye contact with every person he talks to. When he was at our table at the breakfast, he mentioned he was from Massachusetts, and interrogated quizzed me on where in Mass. I was from, like, exactly. He's a New England Patriots fan--I could not love the guy more.

One more post coming, where I save the best for last, and explain why The Gold Package is the Only Way to Go. Also, not sleeping. The other only way to go.

The stuff I've saved is the best for me, but I'm going to warn that it might not be terribly interesting to read. If you like to live vicariously regarding experiences you want to have, you might like it. If you get really jealous and think that people like me don't deserve this stuff, or, worse, that I should be kicked in the face...

It will have been worth it. Sorry. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Salute to Supernatural--Ramblings on Wednesday

There were three essential elements to the convention: The Q&As, the photo opps, and the autographings.

The photo opps were pretty impressive. Once the line starts moving, it goes fast, which is great until you get in front of the camera. Then you barely have time to register "OMGI'mTouchingJasonMannsHisBackIsSweatyOMG" before it's done. Creation's FAQs say they take about 15 seconds, but it's really closer to 10. Megan and I got almost all ours together, so add the time it took to remind Chris we were doing two, and we got maybe 23 seconds with each celebrity.

But the quality is really good. At first glance, I would actually think "Wow, that's perfect." Then I'd realize my upper lip disappears when I smile, and I have a bit more double chin than I should, and even that Misha's conserving his smile in my copy.

And then I realize it's a picture with Misha Freakin' Collins and it goes back to perfect.

The autographings are the opposite. Not at all rushed, which is nice once you get up there, but realllllly slow until then. We were in row C (Lori in D) and probably had to wait half an hour before they called us to get in line, then another 15 or 20 minutes in the line itself--less time for Chad, who was alone, and because we only had about half the attendance on Friday, and more on Sunday with having four autographers at once.

Because I have the most awesomest best friend in the world, I got special autographs. She gave me a small notebook with pictures of Sam and Dean in it, and I used that for signatures. Every single person exclaimed at how cool it was and flipped through it. I'd printed and glued photos of the other actors so they had their own pages, too.

Which meant that Chad saw a picture of Jared shirtless, and joked about it, and then he wrote "Natalie, Sorry I don't have any shirtless shots like Jared." I teased that after his documentary, My Big Break, comes out, we'll have plenty. He laughed. I basked. (And when I got home, I changed his picture because he's a doll and needs a doll picture, not an Ash picture.)

Jason Manns signed stuff for free. I hadn't put him in my book or brought anything to be signed, because I was going to have him sign stuff for my friends who couldn't come. But when the time came, I panicked and went to buy a picture of him. It's an old headshot, and it's very nice but doesn't look at all like him anymore. And then Chris was handing out the photos from the photo opp, so I had TWO for him to sign. I ended up going through the line twice.

Saturday we got signatures from Richard, Gabe, and Traci. Richard said the pages were like sheet music, drew a few notes, and wrote "Play that!" Gabe's photo was Andy, and he identified the scene and wrote a speech bubble saying "Can I have it?" Traci drew a "(heart) & Rock n' Roll!" with a musical note.

On Sunday I got caught up in talking to the guests, so they focused less on the writing. But they had room so did more than just sign their names:

Malik: To Natalie All my Love Love is Great Charles Malik Whitfield 09 Baby

Todd: 2 Natalie What a Pleasure!

Misha: From One Angel to Another (which he also wrote on Lori's photo)
I also got my photo with Misha signed, and since that was with Megan, he wrote "Thanks for the Threesome!" Made me giggle. :)

Jim: Love and Luck

The Q&As are all a blur to me. I remember a few stories, which will be recounted all over the web. The highlights:

Chad Lindberg's documentary sounds intense. I really hope they get distribution for it. Check it out at My Big Break. It shows the seedier side of Hollywood, and I don't mean the hookers. Wait. He didn't say there weren't hookers...

Richard Speight, Jr., was a great speaker, very confident and smart and funny. He writes screenplays and said that's actually his first love, writing. He talked a little about Jericho and how in the episode where Eric's wife died, he was filming Supernatural so he flew in, put on his deputy uniform, drove up in a squad car, looked grave, and that was it. He flew back to Vancouver. The funniest thing to me is that I remember that shot, and how well he did it! LOL His promo moment was for Open Water 2, out now on DVD. I would never ever have watched it before I met him, but now I absolutely have to. Oh, for added appeal, he said we get to see Eric Dane's butt. (I think he referred to him as a Scottish shower aficionado--McSteamy.)

Gabriel Tigerman kind of surprised me. I mean, he had two episodes, two years ago, and there's very little chance his character can come back. On Supernatural, of course, no one ever has to be completely gone, but getting your chest ripped out by a "little demon girl," as he put it, is pretty terminal. But he was very sweet, very funny, and 100% charming. He told the best story of the day, about his own fanboy moment. I can't do it justice, so I'll let you go find it elsewhere. He wrote an independent film, Skills Like This getting limited release as we speak. Look for it!

And finally, we had Traci Dinwiddie. She was as sweet as everyone else, a little shy, but so eager and willing to connect with us, despite being horribly sick. She was very much a girl, lugging a big purse up on stage with her, something I found amusing because I'm so not like that. She told an adorable story and was so embarrassed but plowed through and it wasn't as bad as she made it seem. I can't wait to see her back on the show. (I just checked, and it's tomorrow! Wheee!)

I'm going to stop there for today, because my volunteer period at the middle school book fair is almost up and I won't have time to do more than upload this later. So... stay tuned. The really good stuff is still to come.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salute to Supernatural—The Part I Wrote on Tuesday

I was going to talk about a different aspect of the convention every day this week, breaking it into a variety of topics, and then I typed 676 words so boring I was dozing off. Which, you know, after three nights of four hours of sleep, isn't that hard, but you don't deserve that.

So I'm just going to talk randomly about different things until I think I've done enough for the day or the to-do pile caves in on me, and then post some more tomorrow.

If you want organized, comprehensive, hitting all the big highlights, you can read my Supernatural Sisters post, which went up today.

First thing that pops into my head:

Breakdown of Who Watches the Show and Who Doesn't (in order of appearance):

Chad Lindberg—Only watched the episodes he's in. Admits it with such a puppy-dog look you can't care.

Richard Speight, Jr.—Only watched the episodes he's in. Is so freakin' awesome all around, you don't care.

Gabriel Tigerman—Only watched the episodes he's in. And he was so sweet and endearing, you don't care.

Traci Dinwiddie—Watches it all, is a big fan of the show. I think everyone understood why the others haven't seen it--when you're in only two eps, and guest-starring on a bunch of different shows, it makes sense that you're not going to become an automatic viewer of all of them. But the crowd really loved that Traci is a big fan. Pam returns to the show, and one attendee asked her for tidbits and spoilers. The crowd didn't like that, but it didn't matter, because Traci, as a fan, is a big believer in not revealing cool or important stuff.

Jim Beaver—He didn't specifically say if he watches the episodes he's not in, but he's in enough that he knows the show and everything around it pretty well.

Todd Stashwick—Again, I don't think he specifically said, but he referenced things so that you could tell he's seen more than just his one episode.

Charles Malik Whitfield—He asked for the DVDs when he arrived on set and started watching from the pilot. Watched the pilot, got up and turned the lights back on. :) He's watched the whole series.

Misha Collins—Like Todd, I don't think he made clear how much he's actually watched, but he knows the show well enough that I couldn't tell for sure if it was from the inside or from watching it.

The way the convention went (which is presumably different than it would have been with Jared present), Friday was very moderately paced and only half-attended; Saturday was a big speedier, with more guests and more to do, but still with big gaps of time and lots of filler; and Sunday was boom-boom-boom, one thing to another, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (later for those who didn't score row C!).

Consequently, the guests on Friday and Saturday had more time to do the things they needed to do, which allowed for a more casual atmosphere and more approachability--as well as more opportunity to approach.

Friday and Saturday had more filler, too. Music videos (fan made, of varying quality, and with too much emphasis on seasons 1 and 2). An auction of vendor merchandise which was fun to watch because the emcee was amusing and, you know, Misha's face on a four-foot banner? Always delightful to stare at while people fight for it.

(Misha's banner was auctioned on Sunday and went for $500. The ones of the boys would probably have gone for more if they'd been there to sign them, but the banners that were going to be signed by all nine people in attendance sold for less than $200!)

They had a yes/no trivia game, where the last person standing won a $200 gift certificate (hi, Kayleigh!). I finally got up the guts to drag Lori up with me in the third round, and of course we got out with the first question. I know! But in our defense: The question was "The shapeshifter in the episode 'Skin' changed into three other people." There was no time to think, to count, and it sounded close, so we said yes. As did 26 other people on stage. Two were left standing after the first question. So we don't feel stupid at all.


They also held a costume contest. Megan went as:

Dean's favorite food, of course.

There was the girl from "Bloody Mary," a female Sam and Dean, a crossroads demon, and someone who'd made up her own character, complete with backstory on why she died and why she was a vengeful spirit. Third prize went to two young guys--who didn't know each other--who were passable imitations of youngish adult Sam and Dean. The Sam was best, and really hammed it up, showing his anti-possession tattoo. :)

Bobby took second place, and I was surprised, because the guy looked simultaneously just like Bobby, and nothing like him.

First place was no contest, though. A guy in a giant teddy bear costume, with stuffing coming out of his blown-open head, complete with a copy of Busty Asian Beauties and a chalkboard with his suicide note. When the emcee asked him who he was, he said, plaintively, "I don't know why I'm here!"

I think that's enough for one day, so let me leave you with some random beauty:

And this video, which tied for my favorite of the tribute vids shown at the con:

Monday, March 09, 2009


I don't have time to post yet about the Salute to Supernatural! First thing Tuesday (like, midnight eastern time) I'll have a highlights post over at Supernatural Sisters, and I'll have posts here all week with details of my TREMENDOUS experience, but for now, here's a teaser:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

T minus 12 hours and counting...

In just over 12 hours, I will be on my way to an event I never dreamed I'd be able to attend. Okay, so a lot of the shine is off it, but I'm still excited. Besides the guests, they've got games and auctions and music videos, and I'm anticipating a vibe you wouldn't find anywhere else. Who needs stinkin' Jared Padalecki, anyway?

I'm taking my laptop, but honestly not expecting to have time or inclination to post anything before I get back. Stay tuned next week, I'm sure I'll have plenty to say.

In the meantime, the writing is going well (EEK that's a long book!) and I'll be done early next week. Stay tuned for screaming sometime this spring. Yes, I'm that confident. :)

And I guess that's really all I have to say. Two short posts in a row, can you believe it?

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Supernatural March Madness!

If you've been reading my blog for a year, you'll remember when my friend Gail did Supernatural March Madness last year. Well, she's doing it again! (That link takes you to this year's, not last year's.)

Head over and vote for your favorite episodes, and make sure to keep going back for upcoming brackets. If you scroll down a little, you'll see the explanation for how it works.

Be warned. Not all of the matchups are difficult, but some are very much so. Choosing between "Lazarus Rising" and "Ghostfacers"? Not fair, man, not fair. Well, for me, anyway.

So join in the fun! Right now! :)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mommy and MeMe

This is going around the Internet. I wondered if my kids would answer the same, so I had them write their answers down. Number One is 13.5 and Number Two is almost 10.

Ask your kid these questions and write them down exactly how they respond.

1. What is something mom always says to you?

Number One: *blank stare* then "what do you want?" (with regard to snack choices)
Number Two: Chew with your mouth closed.

2. What makes mom happy?

Number One: Jensen and Jared.
Number Two: When I chew with my mouth closed.

3. What makes mom sad?

Number One: Jared ditching the convention.
Number Two: When I don't chew with my mouth closed.

At this point, Number Two was cracking herself up.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Number One: Sarcasm.
Number Two: By not trying to make us laugh.

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Number One: IDK, like me?
Number Two: Poofy hair.

6. How old is your mom?

Number One: 38
Number Two: 38

7. How tall is your mom?

Number One: approximately 5'2"
Number Two: 5'6", taller than me, way taller than me, huge

I'm actually 5'4", thank you very much.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Number One: Blog, IM, giggle over hot guys...basically being a teen.
Number Two: Write and read.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Number One: Same as 8, then clean, go to the club, or work
Number Two: Watch TV and invite friends over

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Number One: Writing a bestselling novel
Number Two: Writing romance novels

11. What is your mom really good at?

Number One: Writing, listening
Number Two: Writing romance novels, cleaning

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Number One: Listening, yelling
Number Two: Making me laugh, tickling

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Number One: An author, and she does editing work on the side
Number Two: Editing and writing books and stories

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

Number One: Pasta, chocolate, Pringles
Number Two: Popcorn

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Number One: She achieved her goal of becoming a full-time writer, and she isn't that embarrassing
Number Two: She's a successful author who published many books

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Number One: Marge Simpson (from the movie, common sense person)
Number Two: Wanda from Fairly Oddparents (she likes things in order)

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Number One: Watch Supernatural, eat, and read
Number Two: Play games and read

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Number One: Infinite possibilities: we both like to write and read, we both have the same food tastes, we like the same TV shows, guys, have basically the same conversations, and impatient
Number Two: We both like to read

19. How are you and your mom different?

Number One: She's a little bit more temperamental *cringes in fear*
Number Two: I love to play soccer; Mom didn't when she was my age

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Number One: She tells me every night, and yells it out the door when I leave for school
Number Two: Hugs, kisses, smiles, says "I love you"

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

Number One: Megan's, the movies, club
Number Two: Her office and the café