Caffeine Free and…basically the same…

I was having trouble putting my finger on why I’ve been sleeping so well lately. (I’m grateful, mind you…I was an insomniac light sleeper for most of my life.) I knew it was a little bit the running. My body isn’t used to putting out that much energy and so I need to recharge better.

But this morning, as I got myself a glass of water to have with breakfast it hit me.

I’ve cut caffeine out.

It happened gradually. I started limiting my caffeine to a cup of tea in the morning and a soda with lunch about six months ago. This wasn’t a sleep issue, just a realization that for the past decade I’ve lived my life on a steady drop of either coffee of Diet Pepsi, and that’s probably not the best.

The switch from coffee to tea was the first big step. It felt healthier to make the switch and since I drink my tea straight black, or with honey if I’m feeling terribly adventurous, it meant that I was also removing Splenda from my diet. Fewer artificial sweeteners = good.

Then I did the juice cleanse. And so I had my caffeine withdrawal then. And I realized I didn’t need it to get through the day, and now I’m caffeine free, and I’m really excited about it.

That is until it hits 9:30 at night and I can’t keep my eyes open. And then I sleep right through to 6:30 in the morning and it’s pretty glorious.

But I’m most proud of cutting diet soda out. I knew that by drinking as much Diet Pepsi and Coke as I was I was basically just pouring poison down my throat and I’m well rid of it.

I’m excited about this because now I get to be one of those smug healthy people about one things at least.

I’ll never be a vegetarian.

I’ll never be someone who loves exercise.

But now I can smile serenely and so, “Oh no thanks, I do the whole caffeine thing.”

SMUG PARTY OF 1!!!!!!! (Being Smug is my favorite)

Sailor Stars Check In: Episodes 180-181: Haruka Does Not Approve

Sailor Stars

The opening of our first episode is possibly my favorite bit of animation we’ve seen so far in this episode. We see the five girls at a bank of pay phones, trying to order tickets to a music festival. I love it. It’s really cool to see how different the girls look even when they’re dressed exactly the same.

Lends a hint of realism.

Anyway, they don’t get the tickets, but then, sadly not in a woosh of rose petals, Michiru and Haruka show up, and it turns out that Michiru is playing the festival, with The Three Lights of all things!

So she gives the girls tickets.

Usagi misses the show because she takes the wrong bus. Of course she does. When she gets there Haruka takes her back stage to say hi to Michiru. Who is having a very sexy moment with Seiya.

I don’t think this is too bad, because I’m pretty sure sexy is just Michiru’s default setting.

Haruka is really upset about it and Usagi is like, miffed, but she doesn’t know why.

Anyway, Chuu, who is actually named Sailor Iron Mouse (whoops!) is told by Sailor Galaxia (FIIERRRCE) that she is running out of chances to find the Star Seed. She tries the conductor of the music festival…its not him. She starts freaking out.

Meanwhile Haruka is not a huge fan of Seiya. Like at all.

Our second episode has Minako going into super spy mode, to try to get a date with Taiki or Yaten, it does not work.

But Seiya and Usagi go on a date, even though she kind of doesn’t realize that’s what happening until Haruka and Michiru tell her so. Haruka also warns her not to lose her virginity to Seiya and…I’m pretty sure that shipped has sailed with Mamoru but sure, Haruka, nice warning.

It’s a nice date. They go to zoo, and eat a bunch of food and ride a roller coaster. Then they go to a club and hang out in a private room and Usagi freaks out because she thinks this means, sex, but they wind up just dancing, and Seiya is confused as to why she’s acting so weird.

Then Sailor Iron Mouse attacks, The Starlights and Sailor Moon Fight her, and Galaxia (QUUEEEENNNN) shows up and tells them to stay out of her way, you know, after she incinerates Sailor Iron Mouse, (RIP, I loved you!) The Starlights are all, “OH NOES OUR GREAT ENEMY! LET’S BE HUGE DICKS TO SAILOR MOON WHEN SHE SUGGESTS WE ALL TEAM UP.”

So Seiya now knows that Usagi is Sailor Moon, and he thinks she might be “That One Person,” or whatever, and Usagi is still totally clueless that Seiya is Sailor Star Fighter.

Much like Haruka, I’m not into Seiya. Like at all. He bugs the snot out of me.

In other news! I ordered the short stories on Amazon. I figured I should have some back up so that I don’t go into full withdrawl in a few weeks when I finish up. (Granted Crystal will be starting up again then…) But I probably won’t be able to wait and I’ll read them right away…

Cosplay Plans & Goals for 2016

Hey All! So last year I sort of fell into doing more of a “Con Circuit” than ever before, and this year I’m actually planning it. I  missed Heroes & Villains last week, but I’m going to the reschedule in July. I already have my room in Atlantic City for ACBC, I’m planning on Special Edition again and I’m going out of my way to get to NYCC this year. There may be another small con or so tucked in there, but I’ll make those choices as they come up.

But the planned 4 Cons requires Cosplay galore. Obviously, the loss of Fanfest is a blow, but I’ll find more plans what I’m planning on working on for the next year or so (Repeats very possible)

  • Jessica Jones
    • Status: Finished
    • Comfort Level: Super High! Seriously, this costume is a tee shirt, jeans, a leather jacket and a black wig. It’s my new favorite costume!
  • Resistance X-Wing Pilot
    • Status: SOOO CLOSE to finished
    • Comfort level: OK. There are a lot of components to this costume. But I love it, and I’m really proud of it, it’s a for sure choice for ACBC
  • Original Victorian/Steampunk Character (I need a name for her, and MAYBE a back story)
    • Status: Finished! The origin of this costume is very fun. Juli is getting married (YAY!) and her bachelorette party is a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery weekend, and one of the nights she wants us to get dressed up. I literally only needed to order a corset to convert a couple of normal clothes and costume pieces I had to a decent Victorian look, so I did that. Switch the long skirt up to either a short skirt of leggings (I haven’t decided) and BOOM awesome Steampunk look.
    • Comfort level: As I lose weight I hope that this will be more comfortable, but as it is, it’s pretty damn comfy.
    • IMG_1752

      There’s also a bustle, but it’s stored and I didn’t feel like pulling it out…

  • Bombshell Supergirl
    • A Far off dream…
    • Comfort Level: Couldn’t tell you. Seriously, I badly want to do this costume. But it’s very contingent on how much weight I lose by August. (I need that much time to get it ready for NYCC)
  • Sailor Mars
    • I’ve been talking about this for almost two years now…so, yeah.
    • Comfort Level: Again so much depends on my weight loss. I want it to be clear, I’m not body shaming ANYONE who decides they can rock a costume when they’re carrying a few extra pounds. I admire that confidence. I do not have it. And because this would be a fully purchased costume that costs like, a good chunk of change…it’s more a motivating factor than anything else. “If I lose the weight, I’ll order and have tailored a Sailor Mars costume for NYCC”

So that’s what I’m thinking for now. I for sure think that I’m going bring Black Canary and Rose Tyler back around. Mostly because I didn’t wear Rose enough (and invested a lot in it.) and Black Canary is my reward for keeping on track weight loss wise. (Seriously, I can’t wear that costume unless I feel FIERCE and at my current weight, I DO NOT.) If I’m not comfortable enough for Canary than Ramona Flowers makes the cut.

The X-Files 2.0: “Mulder and Scully Meet The Weremonster”

X-Files

“We have a new case, and it has a monster in it.”

This is the episode we’ve all been waiting for.

Darin Morgan.

HUMOR.

Mulder back to his old excitable self.

A WERE LIZARD!

And of course, Kumail Nanjiani.

But we’ll get to Kumail. The episode opens with a couple huffing paint in the woods. (I love that this is our starting point, btw) and come upon a man being attacked by a lizard creature. That man is Kumail! (Or Pasha, the animal control guy).

In DC, Mulder is throwing pencils at the “I Want To Believe” poster, looking discouraged. He rants to Scully about how it’s impossible to believe in anything anymore. (Because of Internet, I think? But also, probably, you know, depression.) She tells him that they have a new case with a monster.

They go to the sleepy small town and go a monster huntin’. Mulder is incredulous, and Scully is pretty sure that it’s a serial killer.

Turns out it’s both! Yay! Mudler learns that there is a legend of a Lizard Man who can only be killed by stabbing it in the appendix with green glass. Mulder, of course goes in search of said lizard man, while Scully, you know, autopsies the victims.

Turns out the Lizard Man is real, and is actually a Lizard Man who when the sun is up transforms into a human, after being bit by the killer. The Lizard Man is played by Rhys Darby and it’s awesome. He asks Mulder to kill him. Mulder will not, until he hears his story.

I’m not doing it justice but hey, it turns out that Kumail is the killer and he’s a text book serial killer (“It started when I was a small child. I felt the need to torture small animals…” When he’s being lead away and despairs that he doesn’t get to give his speech is pure fan service and it’s wonderful that the biggest fan of us all got to deliver that little bit.)

There’s a whole run of stuff about Mulder’s cell phone camera. And Scully actually says the line. “Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder.” This is how we all like our Mulder. Spinning wild theories that make no sense and barely connect to the case. But this is also how I like my Scully, quipping, getting shit done and keeping his feet on the ground.

Also! Scully gets a new dog! I’m happy for her.

It’s nice to see the show back to form and to see the weird experimental plays that I loved so much while I was working my way through the series. This isn’t quite “Bad Blood” levels of gorgeousness, but it’s pretty damn close to the highest highs of the series.

No Skinner this week. But there was Kumail, which almost made up for it. Not quite, but it’s damn close.

Also, when Mulder is hearing the creature’s story, he’s standing my the grave of Kim Manners, a dearly departed X-Files director. It’s a nice touch and a loving tribute.

Next week, Mulder and Scully find a head in a trash can.

And the people did rejoice.

Born To Handjive: Grease Live

Grease Live

I liked a lot about Grease Live, a lot of it baffled me. But the good 100% outweighed the bad, so let’s start there.

  • Vanessa Hudgens. I was very skeptical about her. But she SLAYED as Rizzo, Mike and I were slackjawed through her performance of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” The power of her performance was only amplified by the fact that her father died yesterday morning. Pushing through that kind of pain is incredible.
  • Aaron Tveit, who gave Danny Zuko a sense of humor and an awkward charm that I’ve never seen. There’s only one Travolta, but that didn’t matter here.
  • The direction. By using television as a medium rather than just filming a stage show, and melding the stage and screen version of Grease they created something entirely new. It was exciting and vital and interesting.
  • “Freddy My Love” and “Those Magic Changes” made the cut! I was SO GLAD. “Those Magic Changes” is my favorite song from Grease,  and I’ve always hated it’s exclusion from the movie version. I did miss “Shakin At The High School Hop,” but I get the desire to put the more well known “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay.” And THANK GOD they went with “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” and “Sandy (Baby),” over “It’s Raining On Prom Night” and “Alone At The Drive In,” which have not aged well.
  • The dancing, costumes and sets, which were stunning. Also wigs. I loved the wigs. They all looked great.
  • Color blind casting! I love that theater does this. A hispanic Rizzo, a black Marti, and countless ensemble members of color. Bless you, Grease Live.  (Also, Keke Palmer, as Marti, more of that please. She was a delight!)
  • Boyz II Men as “The Teen Angels.” “Beauty School Dropout” can, if done poorly can slow a production of Grease to a crawl. Instead, they reinvented it, delivered a killer version of the song and kept me engaged.

Here are the less fun things.

  • Grease is not my favorite musical. I like it. I’ve never loved it. The songs are impossible to resist, but the book has always left me cold. I was in it in high school though and that gives me warm feelings towards a lot of the stuff. It was nice to think about my friends, but it still doesn’t change the more cringey/corny bits of a script I’ve never loved.
  • Julianne Hough. I am a huge fan of hers, and she just, didn’t deliver. Sandy is something of a blank slate, and it’s up to the actress portraying her to give her any sense of a personality and Hough just didn’t. It was wonderful to see her dance again though.
  • The dead studio audience. I was so excited that they were using an audience, but they barely reacted. It was strange, but at least they had applause after the dancing.
  • Mario Lopez’s weird hosting. It didn’t make sense. I loved him playing Vince Fontaine, I thought he was perfect for the part, but the interstitials were just confusing.
  • New Frenchy song. I get that Frenchy doesn’t really get a musical moment, and you have Carly Rae Jepsen, but the song wasn’t good, and felt too contemporary, and just didn’t fit.

Overall I’d say it was great. It was definitely better than Peter Pan or The Sound Of Music, but not as explosive and interesting (In My Opinion) as The Wiz. But I think that it made much better use of it’s medium than any of the others and live audience (even a fairly dead one) is better than awkward silence and cut to commercials. I hope that these events keep growing and learning, because I enjoy them quite a bit.

Crush Alert: Jake Clemons

Jake Clemons

So on Wednesday night I went to see Bruce Springsteen and The E Street band for the, like tenth time, I think? I’ve seen The Boss a lot, my family goes every time he’s in the area. It’s one of our favorite things that we do. (Besides the Shore, it might be our favorite thing.)

And this year was no different. Well, actually it was a little different, because I realized that I have a big old honking crush on Jake Clemons.

If you’re not familiar with Jake, allow me to enlighten you. Jake is the nephew of original E Street member (and heart of the band really) Clarence Clemons. He took over when Clarence passed away.

This was a very difficult time for The E Street Nation. But over the past four years, we’ve grown very fond of Jake. And then on Wednesday night, I realized that I love him a little bit.

It’s at least partially because I’ve never seen Jake as engaged in the show as he was in this particular one. There are a couple of theories on this. There’s that he’s now been touring with the band for four years. There’s the fact that The River has a lot of really interesting sax work. There’s the fact that he wasn’t leading a whole horn section.

But whatever it was, it was working, is my point and I was very much enjoying myself.

So, I thought you all should know, that I have a huge crush on this man now.

Who my brother has christened “Little Man.”

I’m OK with this nickname but also, like, seriously. I love him.

(Also I realize I’ve been a little on the celeb boy crazy side lately. I think I need to go on a date.)

Sailor Stars Check In Episodes 177 & 178: What’s Up With Luna/Usagi

Sailor Stars

So Luna gets kidnapped.

Really, that’s the basis of the first episode. OK, so Yaten has signed up for a “Celebrities and their pets” show, despite not having a pet. So, when he encounters Luna, he smiles at her and she, very uncharacteristically trots right along after him.

Usagi and the others are very worried about her but when she meets up with them again, she promises that she’s quite alight, thank you very much, and that she likes Yaten and that’s that.

Yaten, has his own problems, as it were, since a costar, I think, seems to believe that they’re dating in real life, not just in their show, or whatever. Yaten is not interested, he’s waiting for “that one person,” just like the others, except Saiyen, who has a crush on Usagi.

Back on track, Chuu comes, (seriously, I haven’t fallen for a hench so hard since Mimmette…I love her even more than I loved Palla Palla…she has a TARDIS for God’s sake.) and attacks the costar. Then the Senshi come, and Chuu, like, really does not care.

Seriously, I’ve been waiting for an enemy to not just stand there while the Senshi do all of their speeching and she just bolts. They fight the Sailor inside of the costar, save Luna, and Yaten have a moment later. Or, Sailor Star Healer, I guess.

Our next episode opens with Usagi writing Mamoru a letter and noting that he hasn’t written back. She runs into Haruka and Michiru (YAY!) who notice that she seems off and that she’s clearly keeping something secret. Haruka comments that this is unlike her.

She’s back to her old self though when Taiki approaches Makoto about helping him on a cooking show and somehow gets herself invited along. They’re making strawberry shortcake but Mako is a little bit flustered in the cameras so Usagi tries to help.

It doesn’t go well.

Anyway, Chuu shows up, turns the Chef into Sailor Chef. Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Star Maker fight and win. Blah, blah, blah.

Michiru and Huraka sense a disturbance in the force, and decide that it’s time to get into this fight. (YAY YAY YAY YAY!)

So Mamo isn’t answering Usagi’s letters because he’s dead right? Or in weird limbo caused by Sailor Galaxia. But basically dead? I’m remembering that correctly? Whatever, I’m going to reread the manga to make sure that I’ll remember it.