Best of 2015

Before I start the list of my most popular blog posts from 2015, I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for being a part of my year. Without you, this blog wouldn’t be what it is today. I had a great 2015, and I hope you join me next year as I take this blog to new places.

Without further ado, here are the best posts of 2015, as determined by you, the fans and your likes:

PTSDiaries (you guys made it so popular it needed it’s own category!):

My Poetry Journey

Black Widow: Photography

Alternate Way to Present Poetry

Writing as Conversation

Flash Fiction: Ganymede

Poor Old Jack: A Nightmare Before Christmas and Depression

Favourite Poems: “A Visit From St. Nicholas”

Nothing Gold Poetry.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature…

View original post 405 more words

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with curly hair. One Christmas she wanted a Princess Barbie more than anything else.

princess1

She hoped and hoped for weeks and looked at the Barbie in the Sears catalogue every day. Finally, the big day came and she was ready to hold and play with her beloved Barbie. Present after present was opened and no Barbie doll. Finally, the little girl got to the last present and knew, deep in her heart, that this was the Barbie.

Her sister opened her last present and lo and behold, it was the Barbie. It was so beautiful. The little girl’s heart plummeted as she took off the wrapping paper of her final gift and revealed a book. It was the first book of the Captain Underpants series.

  • the-adventures-of-captain-underpantsThe little girl couldn’t hold back her tears and bawled and bawled as her relatives laughed. “Wait until you read it,” they said, but the little girl vowed not to read this horrible book with a fat bald man in his underwear on the cover.

The week after Christmas rolled around and the little girl was bored. Even playing with Barbies had lost it’s charm! The little girl had read all her other books, and had no choice but to open the accursed Captain Underpants.

The little girl opened the book and prepared to be disgusted. However, her relatives were right.

The little girl laughed and laughed and read the book over and over again. She begged her mother to go to the store and buy all of the books in the series, which her mother did with smug satisfaction that she was right.

That little girl was me, of course. I learned a valuable lesson that Christmas. I was a little too young to learn the lesson about being a brat, which I was being. What I did learn was the value of books and reading. I still love the Captain Underpants series to this day, in all of it’s silly glory. Nothing can replace a good book.

Merry Christmas!

-Kelsey J.

Reviewsday: A Miracle on Yancy Street

 

Merry Christmas to all of you! It’s time for a Christmas comic review!

Even though this comic came out in February. I guess the 90’s were different times.

I will be reviewing Issue 361 of the Fantastic Four comic book, which bills itself as a “special holiday extravaganza”. It’s Christmas Eve at the Baxter Building! Benjamin Grimm, aka The Thing, is contacted by an old friend from his days as a youth on Yancy Street. The Thing must locate his friend’s kidnapped son with the help of the Yancy Street gang. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm is dealing with the aftermath of his marriage to the Skrull Lyja, who disguised herself as the blind artist Alicia Masters in order to get close to the Fantastic Four. The real Alicia has returned and the family is in a somber mood. Johnny Storm vows to restore the Christmas spirit to his family so that his nephew Franklin can have a merry Christmas.

Christmas is only a small part of the comic, so I don’t know if “holiday extravaganza” is appropriate. Regardless, the comic was very entertaining. I didn’t expect a lot of depth going into the comic, because it’s a Fantastic Four Christmas comic. I was honestly expecting a different storyline where Doctor Doom must take up the duties of Santa Claus after shooting him down over Latveria. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The subplot involving Johnny Storm carried a lot more emotional heft than I expected. The main plot involving Ben Grimm, the Yancy Street Gang, and eventually Doctor Doom, was very fun to read. Ben Grimm was the star of the show, and was written very well. In terms of the other characters, as I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed Johnny Storm’s characterization in this comic. He showed an emotional depth that I’m not accustomed to seeing with the character. The “resolution” to both plots (see later) was a lovely Christmas, which was the perfect way to end this tale. I knew exactly what was going on throughout the story. However, it should be noted that I have a familiarity with the characters and basic premise behind the Fantastic Four already, so I may be unable to properly review this aspect of the comic.

20151221_115709 (1).jpg

The art quality is fairly good, but I wouldn’t say great. Some of the colouring is off and there are scenes where the details of the faces of the characters are difficult to make out. There are also scenes (such as an explosion) that could have used more detail.

The biggest issue I noticed was that the Ben Grimm plot didn’t have much of a resolution. The gang and Ben find the kidnapped boy at the mercy of a gang of robots. It’s never directly revealed who is behind the operation–Doctor Doom appears, but only because he too is trying to stop the robots, who are behind drugs or something. It’s never quite clear. It had the feeling of having the drug subplot shoehorned in, which wouldn’t surprise me given the era of comics this issue is from. For those who aren’t mega dorks, comics started taking an anti-drug stance in the 80’s and early 90’s, and it often wound up having the flavour of an after-school special. Heck, even Doctor Doom hates drugs in this comic! His reasoning is entertaining, so I suppose that makes up for it.

The big question is, since I’ve already read more of this series, how does this issue stack up in quality to the rest of the series? I’d say fairly well. Though the drug plot feels like an afterthought, the characterization and excitement of the story more than make up for it. I’d recommend this comic to anyone looking for a fun little Christmas treat.

20151221_115741

God bless, and Merry Christmas,

Kelsey J.

 

 

Sad as Shit: Ahsoka Tahno and Anakin Skywalker

In honor of the new Star Wars, let’s focus on the old Star Wars. Specifically, the animated canon. Warning, here there be a lot of videos.

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker is a jedi master and has been tasked to train his own Padawan, Ahsoka Tahno.  Their relationship is, frankly, adorable. They even have cute little pet names for each other, and they sacrifice themselves for each other and put themselves in danger for each other in every single season. This relationship is built through six seasons to fall apart at the end when Ahsoka is accused of murder, framed, proven innocent, and leaves the jedi order before finishing her training.

At first, I was heartbroken over this turn of events, but then I realised that Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order meant that she was spared from Order 66. Order 66, for the non-die hards out there, was the order given to the clone armies to exterminate the jedi by the evil Sith emperor. She returns in Star Wars Rebels, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, as an adult and helps the main cast.  In one scene, she is helping the main cast fight the Imperials, and senses a familiar presence in one of the fighters. She follows the force to Darth Vader, who uses Sith mind magic to repel her. Ashoka realises that her beloved master is still alive (hurray!) but is now the evil Sith lord Darth Vader (not hurray!)

Later, the main characters ask her if she knew who the Sith lord was. She answers that she doesn’t know who, or what, he is. Darth Vader, on the other hand, won’t even address himself as Anakin Skywalker (as if everyone didn’t already know they were the same person) and refers to Ahsoka as “Anakin Skywalker’s Apprentice” and won’t even use her name. 

My heart broke into a million pieces with that line. It shows that Darth Vader has fallen so far from who he used to be that one of the people who was closest to him doesn’t even recognise him as a person anymore.
The take-away from this is is that damn Darth Vader is evil. Also,  if you’re writing your own fallen villains, it might give your story further depth to show someone who knew them before they fell. It could also add depth to have the villain not recognize the person from their old life either. It might just show how evil your villain has become.

And it’ll be sad as shit.

Last Christmas : Flash Fiction

It was official. Santa wasn’t coming.

The milk I left out was already starting to curdle, and I knew that the cookies had gone stale. I try not to cry, but tears spill freely from my eyes. I hear the zombies groaning outside and my crying becomes sobbing.

It took me weeks rummaging through convenience stores and abandoned shopping malls to find powdered milk and packaged cookies. Mom and Dad helped me pick out the cookies that Santa would like the best out of the piles of unopened boxes on the shelves. Dad almost got scratched by a zombie when he had to carry me out of the store. Now Santa isn’t coming.

One of the other survivors says that Santa isn’t real. I told him to shut up, but now I wish I hadn’t. He was right. I am too old to believe in Santa Claus.

I blow out the candle and start to load the gun at my side. I’ve waited for Santa long enough.

Off in the distance, I heard the sound of sleigh bells.

My sobbing becomes a smile. I finish loading the gun and run up to the roof. If Santa’s coming. I’m giving him a clear path.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Heroism

I was a sheltered child.

My parents never let me play video games, or watch violent movies. Unlike other comic book fans my age, I didn’t grow up watching Batman and Spiderman. Batman and Spiderman were most kids first introduction to true altruism.

Mine was Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Yes, a red-nosed stop-motion reindeer was my first example of a true hero.

Who knew heroism could be so cute?

I watch the Rankin-Bass special every year. As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed the deeper messages in the narrative. Rudolph’s nose reveal reminds me of a coming out, and the things that Rudolph’s parents and Santa (if you haven’t seen this movie, Santa is a bit of a dick) say to Rudolph are things that were said to me as a mentally ill person and a bisexual person. Some examples of this are:

 

Rudolph: It’s not very comfortable!

Donner: There are more important things than comfort: self respect! Santa can’t object to you now.

 

Santa Claus: Great bouncing icebergs.

Donner: Ah, I’m sure it’ll stop as soon as he grows up, Santa.

Santa Claus: Well, let’s hope so, if he wants to make the sleigh team someday.

 

Head Elf: Why weren’t you at elf practice?
Hermey: Just fixing these dolls’ teeth.
Head Elf: Just fixing…? Now listen: we have dolls that cry, talk, walk, blink and run a temperature. We don’t need any chewing dolls!
Hermey: But I just thought I’d find a way to – to fit in.
Head Elf: You’ll never fit in! Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears, chuckle warmly, go “Hee-Hee” and “Ho-Ho”, and important stuff like that. A dentist! Good grief!

 

And of course, the misfit song:

We may be different from the rest

Who decides the test

Of what is really best?

We’re a couple of misfits

We’re a couple of misfits

What’s the matter with misfits?

That’s where we fit in!

 

Clearly, Rudolph doesn’t have an easy life. He has to hide who he is every day because who he is makes other people uncomfortable. He deals with the verbal abuse from Santa and the other reindeer, and the shame of his father.

But Rudolph never takes revenge. He never contemplates revenge on the other reindeer or his family. He goes out and finds his own life, and his own friends.  With current media so saturated with the revenge narrative, this stands out as powerful, though not necessarily heroic.

Where Rudolph’s heroism really shows is when he is called upon to help by the very people who hurt him. His parents get captured by the Abominable Snowman and Rudolph doesn’t hesitate to risk his own life when he sees them in peril. Then, when a storm hits and Santa can’t fly his sleigh, he asks Rudolph to help him guide the sleigh. Santa arguably treated Rudolph the cruelest for the longest, and once again, Rudolph doesn’t hesitate to help him.

Rudolph is a hero not only for the Christmas season, but for all year round. He doesn’t use violence to solve his problems—he uses kindness. When he’s angry, he runs away instead of fighting. He forgives everyone who did him wrong, and goes the extra mile to actually help those people. Wow.

The Christians in the audience will notice that the last bit especially sounds pretty familiar. And I think that’s the right kind of thing to show young kids who aren’t old enough to really understand why most conventional heroes use violence. It’s also a message that needs to be absorbed by adults. I’ve talked before about how revenge doesn’t do a lot of good, but the media hasn’t gotten the memo yet. This little reindeer does something so easily that we all have trouble with. He forgives.

He’s not the hero we need, but he’s the hero that we deserve.

Kelsey