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Category Archives: Personal

Closing The Diary

Well, I guess I figured this day was going to come sooner or later.

As of today, I will no longer be writing in Diary of a Dimension Hopper. It’s been a long time coming, to be honest, but I finally realized it was time to start on something new. I hadn’t been in the Liesel mindset for a long time.

I’m not going to stop writing though. You can still follow my recaps at Nerdophiles and I’m starting a new blog titled Ashley Leckwold and the Whiz Bang. There’s a longer explanation there of why I’m no longer here.

All the blog posts will remain, so if you ever want to throw the Steamhipster blog at someone, it’s there.

I love everyone that stuck around here and read my blogs. I hope you’ll continue to follow me as my life takes new directions.

Forever yours,

Liesel Hindmann/Ashley Leckwold

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Personal

 

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An Open Letter to Jessica Blankenship from a Dragon Con attendee

I know I promised my year ends as my next post here. I assure you, they are coming. I’m also certain you are all tired of the open letter craze that was going around last year with Miley Cyrus, Sinnead O’Connor, and Amanda Palmer. Who are all terrible in their own right. Believe me, I was sick of it too, but this is something I need to get off my chest. It probably won’t change the intended recipient’s mind since she’s set on calling my people “weirdoes” and “Dragon*Condoms,” but at least I’ll feel better from it.

Hi Jessica.

You don’t know me, but we do have mutual… well, I guess “friends” is a word for it. They’re friends of mine, but I don’t know if they’re friends of yours anymore. Still, we’re only a few degrees apart from each other. Which could be potentially terrifying for you because you “have nothing in common with those Dragon*Con weirdos” beside a love of drinking, partying, screwing, and Nathan Fillion. But I don’t know your life as much as you don’t know mine, so I guess we’re square on that at least.

Now, I don’t think you’re a bad writer. I enjoyed your article on Women’s Issues for Creative Loafing and the writing for the 10 Of The Actual Best Things In Atlanta Because There Isn’t Even a Waffle House here was pretty fun when it wasn’t coming across as hypocritical or misinformed. Because first of all, there are two Waffle Houses in the downtown area alone and 16 within spitting distance of my address in the EAV.

Secondly, while Criminal Records is awesome (they’re my local comic book store as well as my local record store), it seems very weird you used a picture of their old storefront when they haven’t been on that location in Moreland in almost six years. I remember because I couldn’t go to Criminal the first month I moved to Atlanta in 2008 because they were moving around the corner to Euclid. There are MANY pictures of the Euclid storefront on Flickr if you search “Criminal Records Atlanta.” Why not use any of those?

Also, why go on about the best tofu scramble in Atlanta, but mention that you can still smoke at El Myr? I’m just curious.

Really though, let’s get to the dragon sized elephant in the room.

The #6 on your list was about how sneaking into Dragon Con is one of the best things about living in Atlanta. I know you said you weren’t attacking us, but the whole vibe of the blurb comes across as “I don’t get it, but hey, you do you. PS: I’m totally sneaking in anyway lol.”

First of all, the asterisk had to go away when the con finally dissolved Ed Kramer last year. So any press that refers to Dragon Con as “Dragon*Con” isn’t technically correct. I can’t really hold that one against you since that happened so close to the con and as a longtime con goer, I’m still getting used to it.

there are not “three hotels full of nerds getting more laid than their adolescent selves ever dreamed.” There are five plus the America’s Mart as of last year. Do you want to know why we have five hotels for the Con?

Because 50,000+ people attend this con every year.

I incorrectly stated 30,000+ in my Dragon Con Survival Guide, but mostly because that was the number just a few years ago. The point is that a LOT of people attend this con and it gets frustrating to get around the convention, even when it’s just people attending the con. Throw in people who come to be tourists and it gets even more annoying. Hence why there is security checking for badges and hotel key cards at all the entrances to the hotel. To cut down on crowding and harassment from non-paying attendees. If you somehow managed to sneak into this con in the past two years without paying, I want to know how you managed to do it without getting caught by security so I can report that weak spot.

It wasn’t just that though, it was the fact your whole bit about sneaking into Dragon Con and being a tourist followed the blurb about how much you hate it when people from outside of the city come and hangout on your precious bars on Edgewood during the weekend.

Now do you understand why some of us got so pissed off at you? There isn’t much of a difference between OTP-ers crowding your favorite bars and tourists coming to gawk at your while you’re trying to let loose at your favorite con. Maybe in sheer strength of numbers, but not in terms of having people that don’t really get it ruin your good time.

Plus, good luck trying to get into Trader Vic’s on Dragon Con Weekend.

If you really want to admire people at the con without paying, why not just people watch at a nearby restaurant or come see the Parade on Saturday morning instead of trying to sneak into the hotel and further crowd everything up? I swear, you’ll still get plenty to see. My Aunts Millie and Lisa have plenty of proof from their times just hanging out at the Durango Steakhouse after work on Friday. Including me leaving the con just to say hello.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

But hey, if you ever decide to pay for a badge and come hang with us, we’re around. With plenty of booze to spare.

Sincerely Yours,

Ashley Leckwold

Blogger for Nerdophiles, Former Media Editor for Steampunk Chronicle, and Dragon Con attendee since 2006

PS: I apologize for the tenth grade mentality remark I made to you on Twitter. Your tweet got to me after a particularly rough day at work and I wasn’t particularly appreciative of your “Dragon*Condoms” remark. For what it’s worth, I agree with you about the view of the city from Freedom Parkway.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in General, Internet, Personal

 

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I Resolve

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Art by Jamie McKelvie

This year has been the very definition of “growing pains.”

When it was good, it was good. I have the most amazing friends and I did the coolest things. There was a lot of new fiction and music that filled my life and it feels nice to say I’m employed and volunteering my time and writing to an online publication I love.

However, when it was rough, I could feel it. I can pretty much pinpoint exactly where my feelings about myself began to turn from “majestic women worthy of praise and love” to “world’s biggest loser.” It didn’t help that I was still working out stuff with my mother and trying my best to get off the couch I was sleeping on to not a whole lot of success for a few months. Feeling like I wasn’t spectacular and special dug that hole further.

In 2014, I say that’s no more.

I expect there to be growing pains. I’m 23 years old. I nearly kicked out my car radio every time I heard ’22’ by Taylor Swift because it sounded like what a sixteen-year-old thinks being 22 is like. I seriously can’t believe I bought into the high school lie that I would have it figured out by now because I really, really don’t. I expect some serious desk-flipping frustration.

However, I’m going to face them head on. Because that’s what Cindi and Carol would do.

Last year, I resolved to bring more color into my wardrobe and my life and it has worked out spectacularly so far. I’m not turning back now.

This year though, I had two things that inspired me to go to another level: The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae and Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel.

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Art by Sam Spratt

The Electric Lady is my favorite album of this year along with Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boy. Continuing the story of Electric Lady #1 Cindi Mayweather, The Electric Lady is an album about growing pains, but also putting on the brave face and transcending beyond that. It’s standing up for your beliefs and being electric and unreal in the face of people that are determined to knock you down. And nothing drove that home further than seeing Janelle Monae perform a sold out show to the Tabernacle in her hometown of Atlanta. I had seen her perform three songs live before, but not on the level of that show. She was everything I expected Cindi to be and more, blurring that line between fiction and reality and electrifying everyone into a frenzy. I wanted to be that. I want to be an Electric Lady. I want everything that comes with it and everything that means, even if it’s just a fraction of it.

Captain Marvel was late in the game. I had only read In Pursuit of Flight earlier this month, but I unexpectedly fell for Carol Danvers in a way I hadn’t with any female superhero since Kate Kane when I read the first issue of Batwoman: Elegy in 2009. Much like Greg Rucka’s writing for the tenacious Kate, so much of my feelings for Carol come from Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing of the character. Carol is not the one to lay down and die. She doesn’t give in, and she goes out fighting. I mean, she stubbornly refuses to stop fighting even in the face of her brain exploding. (Though, I haven’t read The Enemy Within yet. I’m getting it in the mail today. No spoilers!) She strives for more and encourages others to do the same. I’ve found myself multiple times in the past few weeks muttering “higher, faster, futher, more” to myself and vowing to punch holes in the sky and dinosaurs in the face. Matt Fraction’s Kate Bishop and Suzie may speak to my sarcastic sides, but Deconnick’s Captain Marvel has given me something to strive for. Flying high and not backing down.

So this is what I resolve for 2014.

I resolve to be electric and unreal. To catch eyes and ears and make people not forget me. To make them wonder if I actually exist.

I resolve to not give in. That even in the face of sadness and adversity, I’ll keep going instead of laying down arms. I will love where it is appropriate, and punch it in the face when it isn’t.

I resolve to raise antennas and fly high and soldier on.

I resolve to do this concurrently with being magic, and to remember that loving and punching goes well with being a magical girl too.

I resolve to remember that it’s okay to be sad and angry, but that it can always be worked out somehow.

I resolve to punch holes in the sky and dance until the end.

But above all things, I resolve not to forget how wonderful and worthy I am. I will always remember that I am electric, magic, unreal, and spectacular, even if no one else does.

I’ll post my year ends this week. Happy New Year to you all and hope that you all have a fantastic and safe night.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Comics, Music, Personal

 

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Six Things I Rarely Admit Out Loud

This post is a little more personal than my usual fare, but hey, it’s the holidays. A new year is about to start. I’m thankful for everything that’s changed in the past year or so, but there’s still a lot I’m holding onto. Maybe I should be honest about these things. Some are silly, some are serious, but they’re all true things about myself that I rarely admit for fear of being judged.

1.) I’m terrified of political discussions thanks to my family

My family is painfully conservative. Well, maybe that’s not completely true. It’s more like they fall on a scale of Libertarian to Tea Party. Still, one of my first memories is of my parents telling me that Bill Clinton was a bad man after I was talking about seeing a picture of the then president eating lunch with school kids and thinking that was cool. Not because I was interested in his politics. I was 5. I just thought it was cool he was eating lunch with kids.

Of course, I became my dad’s worst nightmare when my politics turned liberal feminist.

You think this would have encouraged me to stand up to my family and try to share my views, but nope. Every mention of liberalism was matched with scoffs and disdain with my family. I already feel like the outsider in my family for so many reasons that I’m about to touch on. Being liberal was something best kept to myself. And when I don’t, it just gets me chewed out, like the time I yelled at Sean Hannity on the radio for bitching about Common performing at the White House and my grandmother chewed me out for five minutes about how Common was actually a violent man.

This is probably why I hate internet arguments or talking politics with my friends on Facebook. I’ve permanently abstained from posting political things after day long arguments have been put on my feed because I shared the opinion that Lorde’s ‘Royals’ is kind of racist. I back out because of my own demented sense of self-preservation from a family that treats liberalism as the end of the world.

They seem to be okay with the fact I’m queer, but I could be kidding myself.

2.) I’ve had a lifelong fear that everyone secretly hates me and just doesn’t want to tell me

And I mean everyone. Family, friends, coworkers…

I don’t know exactly when this started. Maybe it’s just one of those human things or just being constantly teased in school, I feel like everyone just puts up a smile when I’m around and just laughs at me when I’m gone. I even feel this way about my own parents. That somehow, I’m just a disappointment to them. Because I’m not stereotypically pretty or that I went into communications instead of something more “prestigious.” That I like weird music or strange TV shows instead of being normal. That I turned out liberal instead of following blindly to make them happy.

I need constant assurance that people want to be around me, but then there are some days where it doesn’t feel like enough. That maybe I should just disappear and that no one will miss me.

There are days I know it’s not true and that I’m just paranoid, but if I get a glean that someone might actually not like me, it sends me into a tailspin because maybe I am as useless and terrible as everyone clearly thinks I am.

Maybe that’s just a side-effect of my anxiety.

3.) I’m really bad at saying what I want or how I’m really feeling

I grew up an only child. A spoiled one at that. I’m grateful for the fact I didn’t need to worry about much as a kid, but I wonder if my family constantly telling me how spoiled I was made me afraid to tell people what I want. Because saying ‘I want…’ is selfish, and I’m not allowed to be selfish. I have food, clothes, and a family that takes care of me. But it makes me afraid to say things like ‘I want you to give me just an hour of your time because I miss you,’ ‘I’m scared,’ or ‘I just don’t want to do this.’

Maybe it’s also my commitment and loyalty that bites me in the ass here. If I volunteer to bake hundreds of cupcakes, I need to commit. Don’t get mad if people don’t show up to help or think that all your work isn’t good enough for them. Don’t whine when you’re tired. If you bail, you fail. You fail, it gives you a reason for people to hate you.

I even fear saying this because I’m sure people will just see it as fishing for compliments or whining instead of being honest, but I want to be honest. I’m tired of being scared.

4.) My love of Butch Walker was slightly founded on a basis of spite

I still grouse about my middle and high school bully, who I will call ‘Sour Patch’ for the sake of this blog. I should let it go, but there’s a part of me that is driven by wanting to prove her wrong about everything she ever said about me.

And I’ll admit, part of that was Butch Walker.

Not every bit, of course. I still discovered he was from Cartersville after looking him up on Wikipedia one night the summer before my junior year of high school started and felt hopeful. A month later, a girl who later became one of my very best friends sent me his entire solo discography, but I was still very casual about.

And then there was Sour Patch.

I was sitting at lunch one day listening to songs from Left of Self-Centered when Sour Patch came sliding over to annoy me. Because we had separate classes for the first time since middle school and she missed doing that. She then looked at my iPod, gasped, and declared I wasn’t cool enough to listen to Butch Walker.

Right then, something flipped. I wasn’t cool enough, she said? Well then. I’m just going to have to listen to ALL the Butch Walker then because I sure as hell wasn’t going to live for her satisfaction.

Heh. I guess I have to thank her. Nearly seven and a half years later, my life has been made so much better because I REALLY started listening to an artist just to piss her off. So long and thanks for all the Butch.

5.) Butch and DragonCon are what tipped the scales for me to go to Georgia State.

I was severely depressed in my junior year of high school. Between IB making me feel like I was a complete dumbass and having no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I just hated getting out of bed and going to school in the morning.

But I still had to pick a school to go to, and I had no idea what I wanted. Except that I didn’t want to go to UGA because fuck going to college with everyone I hated in high school.

Sometime after the first time I saw Butch though, I decided screw it and to look into going into a music management program. The problem is that there were only two schools in Georgia that offered a Music Management major: Berry College and Georgia State University.

Berry College isn’t a bad school. In fact, it’s a lovely private school in Rome, Georgia, even if it is completely funded by the Cathy family to the point a LGBT organization couldn’t properly form on campus until just recently. However, it is in Rome. It was further out in the boonies than I already was and the once fact I remembered about Berry from when I was there at the camp on campus for a folk art program was that the deer outnumber the students 3 to 1.

Georgia State however was in the middle of Atlanta. Which meant city. Which meant no deer and that I was right around the corner from where the DragonCon hotels were. And I could keep going to Butch Walker shows.

I didn’t need to know anything else about GSU. That’s all I needed.

Probably a bad idea, but I think it worked out pretty well in the end.

6.) I used to write slash fanfiction.

Well, still do sometimes. It’s what really got me into fandom was participating in fanfiction and it helped me come to terms with my sexuality. Maybe not too shameful, but I needed to make this list an even six. What my main fandom squeeze was? Hey, some things need to stay secret.

Huh… you know what. I think I feel better now…

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Personal

 

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Out of Focus: A documentary I can’t be unbiased about

Ever since I started writing blogs and reviews online, I’ve had to learn to seem unbiased when writing. Well, maybe unbiased isn’t the right word. Reviews and editorials are a form of writing that ultimately boil down to bias and personal perspective, but it has made me learn to communicate my opinions in a way that isn’t capslocking my way through it, even if I want to. I definitely wanted to after I saw Pacific Rim.

But last night, I saw a film that I realized I could never talk about it in a fair way or communicate how people who aren’t as familiar with the source material might enjoy the film.

I still wanted to talk about it though.

This blog is about Butch Walker: Out of Focus.

MV5BMjI1NzQ3NzA4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDA5NTc3Nw@@._V1_I’ve talked about Butch Walker on this blog before. I’m sure I’m going to talk about him more after this post as well. It’s hard for me not to talk about him, really. He’s been a major influence on my life since I was 16 years old, confused, angry, and tired of living in Cartersville. His music got me through questioning my sexuality, endless crushes, my parents divorce, the death of my great-grandmother and grandpa, depression, and a whole host of other things that I’ve experienced in the last seven years. Several friendships I have were built on a mutual love of Butch Walker and his music. He was a driving force in my decision to move to Atlanta for college and I haven’t looked back since. I even have a tattoo of his lyrics on my leg.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s recognizes me now from all the shows I’ve been to and is happy to see me when I go to say hi to him afterwards. He’s not just a great musician, but he’s a sweetheart to boot.

When I heard that this documentary was happening (in fact, I was right behind the camera guy on the front row when Butch played The Variety Playhouse two years ago), I was pretty excited about it. Butch is kind of a private person about certain parts of his life that don’t involve music, so getting a documentary was exciting. Especially one directed by one of my favorite music video directors Shane Valdes.

It wasn’t until I was sobbing somewhat loudly in the Plaza Theater halfway through the film that I realized there’s no way I could ever talk about this film except from my perspective as a fan.

Some of the stuff in the film, I had seen before or known about from reading Drinking With Strangers. Some of it I had even seen in person. But the film itself really was a bit of a pull back of the curtain to a side of Butch rarely seen by fans. Focused around the recording of The Spade and a gig Butch played solo in England later that summer, Valdes and Peter Harding let us see the man at some of his most personal moments. From the in between moments that made up the recording sessions of The Spade to a strangely transposed rehearsal of ‘Passed Your Place, Saw Your Car, Thought of You’ in his hotel room to moments of him being a father to his son Jamie, it was parts of Butch I always knew were there, but had never gotten a chance to see. There are also very personal moments with just him and the camera that really assured me of how genuine Butch is as a person. He’s not in this industry for fame, money, or to even to try and change the world. He does it because he loves it, and he struggles with family and day to day like the rest of us, success or no.

Then there was the part with his dad.

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There’s a part in the film where the crew goes to speak with Big Butch and Melissa Walker, Butch’s parents. This was done two years ago when Big Butch’s health was failing, but he passed away at the end of August before the release of the film. I’ve heard stories about Big Butch through the years. I even have one myself from when I briefly met him after the release of I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart. It was always easy to see where Butch got it from and the stories I’ve heard of his parents’ support made me extremely happy to hear. It made it heartbreaking when Butch announced that his dad had passed away.

It was going in with that knowledge that made the ‘Day Drunk’ scene in the film harder to watch.

There’s a song on The Spade called ‘Day Drunk’. It’s essentially about Butch coming to terms with his dad’s condition and having to be away from Georgia because of work and family. He talks about it more in the film and reveals parts of the story I had not known about. I always knew it was about his dad. It’s right there in the song. When it came out though, my grandfather had passed away two months earlier after his struggle with lung cancer. That always made it hard for me to listen to ‘Day Drunk.’ My emotions about the time I didn’t get to spend with my grandfather or the fact I never really got to say goodbye to him would get conflated in the song. At best, I’d feel kind of sad before going into ‘Synthesizers.’ At worst, it would be actual crying. When I listen to The Spade casually, I sometimes skip over ‘Day Drunk’ depending on how I’m feeling.

In Out Of Focus though, it’s something I couldn’t skip. It’s Butch talking about the song overlaid with the recording of it, then overlaid with Big Butch talking about his own relationship with his father, hoping that Butch knows how much he loves him, and that he’ll always be there for him and Jamie. It’s the words of a man who knows his time is limited, but he still takes time to tell his family that he loves them more than anything else.

So when I cried, it wasn’t just for Butch and his father. It was for our shared hometowns. It was for the fact I miss my grandpa and wishing I had gotten to say my goodbyes before I left for Alaska that summer.

There were things I wish had been in the film. Maybe interviews of other past band members like the one with Darren Dodd. An introduction to Shovels and Rope instead of their brief cameo recording ‘Are You Getting All The Love You Need’ without saying who the hell Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are to Butch. More concert footage, especially since the Atlanta show they recorded ended up relegated to the credits. Perhaps even interviews of people Butch has worked with.

In the end though, I realize that as much as I want those, the film was exactly what it needed to be. It was a portrait of a man I admire and getting to better understand who he is as a person and not just as an artist or producer. How his life fuels his passion and how he affects the people in his life and how they affect him. I know I’ll definitely watch it again, especially since it comes out tomorrow on iTunes and on VOD.

I don’t know how to recommend the film though because I’m so thoroughly invested in Butch that of course it was something I was going to watch. If you’re a fan, it’s definitely worth seeing. If you’ve heard of Butch through other artists like Pink, Panic! at the Disco or Fall Out Boy, but don’t really know who he is, it’s a good introduction to his life outside of that. If you have no idea who he is at all, then I really don’t know how you’ll view the film. Maybe it’ll bore you or pique your interest to look more into his music.

Which I kind of hope it will.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Film, Music, Personal

 

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You Keep Eternity: What The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys means to me

Today, I want to talk about the Killjoys.

I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes, expecting this to be another blog post about My Chemical Romance breaking up.

No, it’s not just that. The Killjoys were never just My Chemical Romance to me. They were so much more than that.

When Danger Days was announced in 2010, I had fallen out with pop punk a bit. I still listened to my old standbys, but I was so bored with it. I hadn’t even listened to My Chemical Romance in ages at that point. Not out of not being a fan anymore. The darkness of their previous records just wasn’t appealing to me at the time.

And then, Art is the Weapon came out.

This was unlike anything I had seen from MCR before. It was bright and colorful. It was a punk rock apocalypse inspired by cheesy 80s movies and cartoons. It was a future where the primary weapon was a modified NES light gun.

It was also the quickest I’ve ever started planning for a Dragon*Con costume.

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For a year, Envy Green was my baby. It was more than a costume to me. It was creating a character in a universe where creativity was the ultimate form of rebellion. It was the reason I started learning how to sew. It resulted in hot glue burns, needle stabs, and a constant feeling that it wasn’t really done until the night before the convention.

Y’know… like an actual costumer.

I poured my soul into creating Envy. If the costume hadn’t been so freaking hot, I would have slipped into her more, but Georgia humidity doesn’t lend itself to creative costumes with lots of heaviness. Still, it kills me that the jacket has been MIA for about a year. I have an idea of where it is, but that’s truly where her soul resides.

The Girl in question...But for nearly three years, the story wasn’t complete. We had Danger Days, there was the Mad Gear and the Missile Kid EP, and there were the videos. But the knowledge of the comic of a similar name had been around since summer of 2009. Meaning that it was all a part of a greater universe. So the fandom waited… and waited… and waited…

Finally, at New York Comic Con 2012, Gerard gave us the information that we were waiting for. That four years after the initial announcement and nearly three after Danger Days had released, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys comic was coming out. The idea had changed since its original inception, with the story becoming more about The Girl than anything else.

Then, five months later, MCR announced their break up.

Suddenly, that comic wasn’t just closure for Danger Days. It was going to be closure for fans as well.

And really, it has been that so far.

Only two issues have been released at the time of this blog, but the theme of the two issues has definitely been learning to live without. The Girl from the videos is 18 years old now. She’s been living and running by herself in the desert after her protectors died trying to save her. Now she’s learning how to adapt now that she’s been thrown back into the world that she ran from.

I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

It’s very much Way’s letter to his daughter Bandit. A lot of Danger Days was. There are so many themes of survival and fighting back between the two that it does feel like he’s telling her that she’s strong enough to live without him.

And to some extent, it seems like that’s what he’s telling the fans too. A lot of MCR fans are young women. I was either 14 or 15 when I heard ‘I’m Not Okay’ for the first time. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was one of the soundtracks of my early teenage angst along with a bunch of Green Day albums and Bleed Like Me by Garbage. I later switched them out for Letters by Butch Walker, but it doesn’t mean that they stopped being important to me. I was sad when MCR broke up. I was sad for my friends who were devastated by it.

But The Girl’s story is a story that could be ours as well. Way has stated that before. The Girl, 12 years later.She’s special, she’s smart, and she’s stronger than she knows. It’s a great message for the fans who cite MCR as life savers, but also for girls in general. Young women are rarely allowed comic book heroes written for them. The only other one I can think of that is currently running is Princeless by Jeremy Whitley (which is an amazing series and Jeremy and his wife Alicia are super nice). (Also, if there are more comics that are female centric that actually feel female centric, feel free to let me know.) While the Girl is currently nameless, there’s a story building there that looks like it could be an amazing story of a girl finding her own strength.

It’s also worth mentioning the character of Blue. Blue’s a porno droid, which is Battery City’s fancy phrase for “robot prostitute.” Much of the time, sex worker characters are shunted to the side for jokes or cautionary tales, but Blue is given a lot of sympathy. She’s working twice as hard to try and help her fellow droid (sister? lover? bff?) Red and even went through of ton of bureaucracy to do so. And it looks like as of issue #3, she’s going to be fighting back as well.

YEAH BLUE!I’m cosplaying Blue at Dragon Con this year. While it has been nowhere near as much work as Envy, this is the most excited I’ve been about a costume since Envy. I guess that’s appropriate to how the Killjoys initially made me feel. It was about art, creativity, and radical self-expression. Where I am in my life now makes me feel empowered to dress as her and I look forward to doing so, whether anyone else is or not. I’m powerful, and no one else will be allowed to tell me otherwise as soon as I put on those boots and slide my new ray gun into my stocking.

I mean, wasn’t that what being a Killjoy was all about?

When all six issues are out in November, I’m going to have a more coherent review of the story. I just wanted my readers to better understand my connection to the world of the Killjoys.

Why I nearly cried when I received the FCBD story “Dead Satellites” though? Well, maybe that’s a story worth keeping a secret from the internet at large for the time being. Maybe some other time, Dust Angels…

Okay, I laughed at this when I read issue 2...

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Comics, Music, Personal

 

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Tony Stark’s Super Powered Anxiety

Before I start this blog about the latest superhero movie, I just wanted to start with a sincere thank you. I am blown away by the positive response my last blog received. Thank you to my friends for your love and support, and to all the strangers that my story might have resonated with. An extra thank you to Anytime Yoga for sharing the post on r/BodyAcceptance and to everyone who was linked to here from there. It’s currently one of the top posts on that particular subreddit and because of that, this little blog bypassed 70,000 views today! So again, thank you to everyone who read it!

Also, I updated my About page and added a Friends of the Diary page to help promote some of my colleagues. If you have something that you would like included, let me know!

Now, I’m going to start talking about Iron Man 3 now. It’s been out for a week and I’m sure many of you have seen it at this point. However, if you haven’t, there are some serious SPOILERS ahead. Read ahead at your own risk!

"But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep."

When I saw Iron Man 3 the first time, I had a lot of thoughts I was trying to process at once. About Tony Stark as the audience grounding in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the relationship between him and Pepper, how Pepper used the weapon Killian tried to use against her and Tony to destroy Killian, the full circle aspects between this film and the first Iron Man movie, how it is impossible to really separate Tony and Iron Man, and how the Science Bros. can never truly die (seriously, stay for the credits).

However, it was on my second watch and noticing only one article from NPR touching upon it that I really focused on Tony’s anxiety and how it directs everything he does in the film.

When I was very young, I was diagnosed with a panic disorder. For a while, I had almost daily panic attacks. Sometimes multiple ones in a day. As I’ve gotten older, the attacks happen less frequently, but they’re still something I have to live and deal with. When a panic attack occurs, you feel like your brain has betrayed you and sent you into a nosedive. I once compared it to being stalked by a bear. You know the bear is there and you do everything you can to protect yourself from the bear on a day to day basis. But then there are days you let your guard down and the bear attacks. You then spend time fighting it and trying to get it to go back into the shadows, and people who don’t have bears stalking them on a daily basis look at you strangely and treat the fight you’re having like an overreaction.

And I saw a lot of that in Iron Man 3. And I want to give Robert Downey Jr. all of the awards for the way he portrayed it.

The man and his can.Tony makes it very clear that things have not been the same for him since the events of The Avengers. He doesn’t get a lot of sleep and he’s haunted by the wormhole that nearly swallowed him up. Because of this, he’s made 35 new suits since he returned from New York and he’s begun to have panic attacks.

Maybe this is a result of some sort of undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Maybe this is something that has already existed for Tony and became exacerbated after his near death experience. That is rather unclear. Either way, Tony has put his defenses up to compensate for those moments he feels like his brain has betrayed him.

When I saw Tony having his panic attacks, I suddenly felt more connected to Tony than I had in the past. Even though I didn’t have my heart stop in an alien wormhole, I know what it’s like to break down at inopportune times and suddenly not be able to see clearly. The moment where Harley reminded Tony that he’s a mechanic in the middle of one of his panic attacks took me back to so many moments of clarity during those extreme moments of anxiety.

For those moments of panic, it was just a further reminder to me that Tony is the focal point for which the audience views the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was the first person we met in the MCU. Despite his genius, riches, and high powered toys, he really is the most human of all the heroes. He doesn’t have gamma radiation poisoning, super soldier serum, mystical powers, or years of tactical training. It’s all him. He’s snarky and self-centered, but tries his best to use his genius to save the world and protect those around him. He compensates for those moments of self-perceived weakness behind bravado and new toys to save the day. There will be moments where that veneer cracks though, and you feel like a vulnerable and exposed nerve without an Other Guy to save you.

This also makes where the relationship between him and Pepper has gone more She's a damsel. She's in distress. She can handle it.believable. Well, at least to me.

I’m not sure how true it is for others with similar issues, but I know that when I’m coming down from an attack or a near attack, I need human contact to ground me back in reality. Especially from those who either know me well enough to know how to talk to me during an attack or those with a kind of energy that makes me feel calmer just from being around them.

Pepper is that kind of grounding for Tony in this case. She has always been there to drag him back to Earth while he’s off being the Playboy Tony Stark, but her ability to stay down-to-Earth makes her even more important to Tony while he feels likes he is falling apart. After New York, Tony realizes how truly important Pepper is to him and then tries his best to protect her. Or at least in his own brand of it. Something that Pepper labels as a distraction.

So are all the suits a distraction? Is the ending justified?

Tony admits that the suits served as a cocoon. They were protection for him during a point of high vulnerability. A protection that didn’t always work out the way he planned, but protection all the same. The anxiety and the shielding shaped Tony’s experience up until that point. He’s still Iron Man at the end of the day with or without his suits, but sometimes, it is essential to take a step back and reshape your world to keep yourself from falling into the patterns that caused the reoccurring panic. The anxiety is always there, but maybe stepping outside of the suit for a bit keeps the bear further back in the shadows for a while.

Besides, if Tony wanted to stop being all about the tech, why would he bother to save Dum-E and You?

No matter how Tony returns, I know he won’t be gone from the suit for long.

Legacies like this never really go away...

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Film, Personal

 

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