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Comic Purge: Batwoman

comics-495258_1280Stuff. Things. Vague words for the objects that occupy our homes. Most of it isn’t valuable, except that it belongs to us, and we consider that a value.

So I’m saying goodbye to the comics.

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to reduce the clutter in my home. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go full minimalist on my house, but I did get rid of anything that hasn’t been utilized in a year or so. Most of the comics have been sold.

But today is the difficult one. Today I’m posting the few series to which I’m emotionally attachment.

Goodbye, Batwoman:

When I first got into comics, I was amazed at the strong feelings fans had for them, both positive and negative. I didn’t understand the level of anger and disappointment one could feel about a publisher’s choice. After all, they could always change their minds again, right? Maybe even, oh, reboot the entire series?

Then there was Batwoman.

It has been two years since the original creative team left Batwoman, and my heart still hurts when I look at the books on my shelves. It’s dramatic and crazy. Yet I feel like I’ll never forgive DC.

Hell, look at the note I impulsively scribbled in my copy of “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore.

Female protagonists inevitably make me thing of my disappointment in what happened to the Batwoman series...
Female protagonists inevitably make me thing of my disappointment in what happened to the Batwoman series…

And yes, those are Batgirl pajama pants that I’m wearing behind that book. Mostly because they don’t make Batwoman pajamas.

But that’s it. The series I love ended twice now: Once when the creative team left, and again when the next team to step up failed and the series was canceled. The TPBs are on my bookcase. It’s time to part with the pile of comics, many of which I never read, but kept ordering out of some twisted loyalty.

Wish me luck.

My lone Batwoman comic left. A variant that I spent way too much money on through impulse, simply because I loved the art. She'll represent my Batwoman love in the Nerd Office now.
My lone remaining Batwoman comic. A variant that I spent way too much money on through impulse, simply because I loved the art. She’ll represent my Batwoman love in the Nerd Office now.
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Oops

Because who doesn’t blow off their blog for a year and decide to renew it (with a different, but similar URL)?

The Nerdiest Thing About Me

This year, my husband and I decided to be responsible adults and save our tax refund, with a small exception: we put a tiny portion toward an Amazon gift card so we could each indulge the smallest amount and add to one of our collections.

I added to my absolutely ridiculous who-collects-that? Harry Potter book collection. I’ve written about it on other platforms, but since I haven’t addressed if here, I’ll give you a look:

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Yeah, that’s a custom bookcase. Yeah, we made it. Yeah, I know the “H” is off, but two years later I haven’t replaced it, so I don’t see it happening. No, I don’t speak any of those languages.

This ridiculous (and AWESOME) collection started when I was in the 7th grade and trying to decide if I would take German, French or Spanish the next year. I settled on French and, assuming I’d pick it up easily because I was a confident student, asked my mom for a French Harry Potter book for Christmas, sure it would motivate me to learn. At the time, Barnes and Noble had a section of children’s books in foreign languages (this was when people still very much shopped in stores. I swear I’m not as old as I sound), but they were out of French, so she got me what she could find: book 2 in both Spanish and German. I would eventually pick up my French copy (no, I can’t read it. No, I don’t want to talk about how many years of French I took…) and it went on from there.

Fourteen years later, I’ve finally completed one of my favorite sets, the Japanese books (which I can totally read! What? Is that unbelievable? … … Okay, yeah it is). I love this set in particular because they don’t just have different covers. Japanese is printed in what an English reader would consider back to front, and vertically across the page. Despite getting them all used, several came with ads, and the fifth book even had a HP bookmark in it. The picture below shows each book next to its American counterpart.

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You’ll notice that some piles have an extra book. As the books got longer, they were split into multiple volumes in Japan. My final addition was volume 1 of book 6. Despite all the books up there, I have few complete collections. It tends to be cheaper to buy used, so I’m never going after a collection in particular, but rather a good deal. Some exceptions exist, like the complete paperback set in German on its way to me from Europe.

So that’s my big claim to nerdom. Not that I occasionally play World of Warcraft, watch various shows/movies with “Star” in the title, played Legos on my anniversary or own more TARDIS’ than I own dishcloths. Nope. It’s books. I can’t think of a better reason to be a nerd.

In lieu of flowers: Monty Oum

Rooster Teeth announced today that Monty Oum, creator of RWBY and the most nerd-chic person I’ve ever seen, has passed away.

I can’t say that the death of celebrities has ever strongly impacted me, but I’m heartbroken. Maybe it’s because Monty wasn’t a celebrity – he was beloved to the Rooster Teeth fan base, but likely rarely asked for a picture outside of a convention. Maybe it’s because he was only 33 and so clearly thrilled and amazed to be bringing the story he’d been thinking about for so long to life with Rooster Teeth. He seems like a real person.

Part of the reason my husband and I went to RTX for our honeymoon was because of how much we loved RWBY. We waited in line longer than I want to admit to go to the RWBY panel to see Monty and the premiere episode of season two. When we went through our pictures later and realized I had inadvertently caught Monty in what I thought was a boring pictures of props, we were thrilled.

RWBY Monty

In the post by Matt, the CEO at Rooster Teeth, he asked the following:

As for honoring Monty, we will do that in our own way. In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative. Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can. If you know Monty like we do, then you know he would certainly be doing that if he were able to.

What a beautiful thing to ask. I thought on this for awhile and kept wondering why I’d never thought of this when I’d experienced personal loss. My normal reaction would be to write something, but I felt like this was an opportunity to do something different. I went to the store thinking about making jewelry, a hobby my mom has been enjoying for years. When I got to the store, though, I didn’t see anything that struck me. After wandering the aisles I came across a box that was advertised as a “card box.” I have a ton of handwritten cards and letters that I’ve stored in various places around the house and I’ve been thinking about making a personalize box to store them. I grabbed it as well as a few other things I thought were pretty, then went home and assembled random items I liked from past Loot Crates and the box of “stuff” in my office.

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I’ll still write something, but I’m also going to make something physical. It’s not anything that benefits anyone but me for the moment. I wish I had the talent and thought to come up with that sort of thing right now, and maybe it’ll come. Maybe it’ll be what I write.

I thank Rooster Teeth for this idea. I hope it’s something I can remember the next time I experience sadness in my life. I’m going to start my project tonight while I watch Rooster Teeth videos. Then I’m going to keep trying to think of ways to make the world a better place.

Rest in Peace Monty. Thank you for RWBY and other project to which you contributed. Thanks for being so freaking cool.

January Loot Crate – My Rewind Box

Speed post because I already wrote a post today and still need to take the puppy for a walk. So we have LOOT CRATE in 100 Words or Less.

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Obligatory cat/box photo
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Shirt I’ll never wear out of my home. Not familiar with it.
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Surprisingly fun.
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Star Wars = Always Awesome. Glad it came with a board this time, even if the “bag” is crap.
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TOO CUTE. Sad not to get Dr. Who.
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Super awesome tie box.
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Super awesome tie.
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Any notebook is a good notebook.
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Comic notebook > Regular notebook
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Misc cat photo because I have a problem.

Starting the year out of my comfort zone: The time I took a Concealed Carry class

I try to avoid being preachy on my blog, because who wants to be preached to by a random chick on the Internet? So this is my disclaimer: This isn’t about me trying to convince you to feel the way I do about guns or gun law. Instead, this is about how I stepped out of my comfort zone regarding a sometimes controversial topic, and how I felt when I was done. Sometimes it’s good to challenge ourselves to be in an environment that makes us uncomfortable, and I wanted to see if the experience would leaving me feeling differently.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a total of 12 hours in a room with an instructor and eighteen other people taking an Ohio Concealed Carry course. How is this out of character?

  1. I don’t like guns. No, I’m not trying to step on anyone’s “second amendment right” here, a phrase I heard about twice an hour during my class. I’m telling you that I personally find guns scary. I think that a lot of humans are scary. The two combined frequently leaves me concerned. Outside of my in-laws, I don’t know many people who own guns, and I rarely see people carry. This was an environment where I was clearly in the minority and I was worried about saying something stupid.
  2. The class was at a gun shop, so I was surrounded by items and by mottos that added to that discomfort. Some of the merchandise was the sort that I tend to find overly preachy myself. These included “The Second Protects the First” and “I don’t dial 911.”

Oh no. I feel myself getting preachy. You know why? Because if you don’t dial 911, you’re an idiot. If you’re in a situation that mandates hitting those three numbers, I don’t care if you get your gun, but you’d better dial if you have the chance. The government doesn’t really like it when people bypass them. So I’m not intimidated by you because you say you’ll take things into your own hands, I now am more worried about you overreacting.

Oops. Okay. Let’s try this again…

Then why was I there?

Because as my husband likes to remind me, I did another out of character thing and married a gun owner. That means that I live with them in my home, something I never anticipated. Since they make me so uncomfortable, I wanted to take a class to feel more at ease with the weapons. I never would have thought to take the concealed carry class if he hadn’t told me that it covers a lot of the basics of gun safety that I wanted.

The Experience

The Instructor

Overall, I was surprised by how good of a class it was. Our instructor was a former police officer with seventeen years of experience, and the combination of that with his salesmanship made for an interesting mixture of information. He would both assume that we were going to buy a weapon (many of my classmates already had firearms), as well as encourage us to make choices based on needs and not wants. He stressed, for example, that a concealed carry weapon should be small and easily – you guessed it – concealed, a mistake that a lot of people make, he said, rather than a big, flashy, expensive one.

What I really appreciated, however, was that he made it clear that carrying a weapon is not a godly form of protection. He stressed that there are situations where a gun can’t be pulled in time and that if someone wants your gun more than you do, they’re going to get it from you. He suggested taking personal safety courses and educating ourselves on defense outside of gun ownership. Definite points for the instructor.

My Classmates

A few of the students stood out. The first was a former competitive shooter and retired soldier. He said that because of his military experience he probably could have bypassed the class and been awarded his license, but that he wanted to learn more about Ohio law and see how the class was conducted, which I respected. What I appreciated even more was his kindness on the range.

The concealed carry class has a shooting component, the part I felt like I needed most to experience, and the part that had me most nervous as well. While I’d shot with my husband once before, I still found it intimidating. That’s probably why no one seemed to believe me when I told them I’d shot before. Instead, they all repeatedly assured me that I’d love it and become a regular. This gentleman that I mentioned ended up letting me use his gun because we were short one during my round. When I was done, he said I looked like I’d done well and asked how I felt.

“I’m still shaking,” I had to admit.

Not everyone may agree with what he told me, but it was the perfect response for me at the time:

“I still get a little nervous sometimes. The day you meet someone who is never nervous around guns is the day you back away from them. You have to respect them to use them.”

Then there was the guy who recorded me while I was shooting. Imagine my surprise when he pulled out his phone and said “Do you want to see how you did?”

Spoiler: It’s a video of mostly my back with my shoulders moving a bit. Actually, I think it was four videos, but I’m trying not to think about it…

He told me that if it were his wife, he would have loved to see a video of her shooting. He’d gone home the night before (the class was split over two days, 6 hours each) and told her about me, and, he was happy to report, she seemed to be considering giving in and giving it a try. Again, it was like people didn’t believe me when I said I have shot with my husband before. He didn’t need a video. He had a real memory, and one of more than my back. I know this gentleman was trying to be nice and didn’t appreciate the weirdness of the situation. It was nice of him to doing something he considered meaningful, so I chatted with him about his wife some more before we retreated to the classroom.

Finally, there was the guy who made me uneasy. This guy was offended that the state of Ohio doesn’t consider someone punching you in the face as a justifiable reason to shoot them.

Really? One punch and you’re going to potentially take their life? Don’t get me wrong, I know fists can be deadly, but not every punch is made equally. The first time he brought this up, I tried to brush it off. But when he brought it up again and again, I decided to make sure to keep some distance between us.

Then we took the test. It was pretty simple, and our instructor made sure to touch on all of it just before distributing them, so there was no reason not to get an excellent score. Sure, a missed question or two I can understand. Maybe you were still a little confused when we reviewed this thirty seconds ago. Maybe you got a couple of things jumbled because we reviewed so much in a short period of time. But this guy missed 5 questions, and I’m pretty sure that meant he barely passed.

Final Thoughts

The concealed carry class is an excellent class if you’re looking to learn about guns. They still make me uneasy, but I feel more much comfortable around them.

I do not, however, feel great that some of my classmates can now carry a concealed weapon. While everyone there seemed to think I’d be a huge fan by the time I left, I’m not sure how much my opinion changed. It was good to meet and engage with so many people who feel so differently than I, and I’m glad I had the experience.

 

Go Bucks!

Red wine and a pudding shot planned for the night. My way of being Scarlet and Gray.

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Go Bucks!

Our Attempt at a DIY Christmas

Finally, the project I keep swearing I’ll write about. I have great explanations (excuses) for the delay:

  1. I’m still playing way too much WoW. It’s a problem.
  2. These darn things were more difficult than I expected (aren’t they always?).

Before I show you the pictures, I’ll give a brief (ha) explanation of our goal. I don’t remember what I was originally looking up on Etsy, but I came across people selling wooden bottle carriers. Think the paper six-pack holders you get your beer in, but made from wood. Most were stained and had a bottle opener on the side. For some unknown reason, as soon as I saw them I determined that I had to have them for my siblings for Christmas.

Until I realized most were in the $50 range. So instead, my husband and I did what we always do in these situations: haphazardly tried to make our own. Below are the results.

The First (and simplest):

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Carrier #1 (read: the crappy first one) went to my brother’s girlfriend. We decided against the staining and to make the decorations a little more personal. With the other two, we went with a theme and a quote. When I asked my brother what sort of quotes his girlfriend would like, he suggested Lorde. Though he and my sister didn’t know what we were making, all three of us tried to find a short Lorde lyric. What we learned was that while her lyrics are definitely clever, they don’t work so well in snippets. Instead, she got painted bottle caps on the side. In some ways, I like the simplicity of it.

We also (stupidly) based the measurements for this one off of the only bottles we had at the time. In case you were wondering, Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottles are smaller than pretty much every other bottle ever. Since the GF is underage, it seemed like a good excuse to use this beer carrier that can’t really carry beer, and use Coke bottles instead.

The other easy way out we took on this one was in the side decorations. I bought that “P” and little swirly thing for about 50 cents. Once we slapped on her favorite colors, I think it came out pretty well for the “Crappy One.”

For the Puzzle Lover:

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Carrier #2 went to my sister, the puzzle lover of the family. We had better tools by this time (and made the slots hold actual beer), so it was a significant improvement quality-wise. My husband cut the puzzle pieces from wood using a dremmel. This was his first attempt at doing anything like that, and I think he did really well overall.

I tried to keep the puzzle theme going with the quote, but when I tried to find puzzle quotes (again, I recruited others, including one of her friends), the mostly were along the lines of “Life’s a puzzle, put the pieces together,” which I thought was about the most cliche thing I could write on this. Instead, I asked for her favorite movie. When she said she loved “Across the Universe,” it gave my husband a chance to use his Beetles knowledge and come up with a nice line that would fit on the carrier. We stenciled the letters, and I think it came out surprisingly well. The handle is wrapped in ribbon, which held up (also surprisingly well) with hot glue. I put those handles to the test, and that ribbon wanted to stay put. The ribbon might be my favorite part. It’s simple, but it makes them stand out.

The Game of Thrones One:

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Carrier #3 is admittedly my favorite. It might be because I’m in a Game of Thrones place (something I never would have expected of myself six months ago), but I think it’s because this one ended up a bit more unique. It was originally going to be more Stark themed (Beer is Coming = Winter is Coming), but when we found that lion head bottle opener, I had to get the Lannisters in there.

For those who are unaware, Stark and Lannsiter are house (family) names in GoT. The Stark colors are gray and white, and the Lannisters crimson and gold. I considered adding more crimson to the carrier, but I thought that would be too much. Instead, I wrote the Lannister words in gold, which I thought was a bit more subtle.

The handle is wrapped in a fake leather. These guys aren’t really the ribbon sort. Not only does it look good, but it feels good to hold. The husband, whose dremmel skills were improving, cut out the wolf. I then painted it white and threw it at my confused sister along with a picture of the Stark Dire Wolf, and asked her to draw it for me (my poor siblings were way more involved than they needed to be). Finally, I bought those bottle labels (Stark Stout) on Etsy, and slapped them on a generic beer I knew he drank. No, it’s clearly not a stout. I figure he can drink the beer this way, and then use the empty bottles for decorations if he wants.

Conclusions:

Making gifts is rough.

But it’s great.

My husband and I love building things. We particularly love building things with no plan and seeing what happens. We got luck this time and they came out pretty great. We were relieved when they all liked their gifts as well. I mean, they got beer (and coke), so there wasn’t too much reason to complain.

As far as cost goes, we absolutely spent more than the $150 it would have cost to order them each a carrier. I’m glad we chose to make them though. Not only did we get to personalize their gifts, but a large portion of the money we spent went toward buying new tools, which we’ll continue to use.

But will we DIY Christmas again?

Ask me next year.

 

 

My highly productive life

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I… Uh… Accidentally started playing World of Warcraft again. While a lovely weekend* (post Thanksgiving fun) with my game and some Star Trek was great, I’m afraid for my future free time.

Oops 😦

Project photos are coming! I swear.

*Here, weekend can be read “last two weeks”

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