30 Books In 2018 #9: The Glass Castle By Jeanette Walls

My years at college gave me a lot of things, but the thing that I took away from my studies that crops up unexpectedly is my love of creative non-fiction, more commonly called memoir, as a genre. Over the long five years I spent in Scranton I took courses in reading and writing this strange new world to me.

I’d read a few memoirs before college. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings obviously, and Our Mother’s Daughters by Cokie Roberts (my mom had been given this as a gift…) but I don’t know when, exactly, but I stumbled into reading incredible memoirs in college, for class and for pleasure, and I still make sure to read a few every year.

All of this prelude is to say, I’m not sure how I didn’t find The Glass Castle before the movie was released, but I missed it somehow and it’s sat on my TBR list for nearly six months now. (To be fair, last year was pretty well consumed by Vonnegut and King…but still.) I grabbed it a few weeks ago when I went to Barnes & Noble to tide myself over until the kindle returned.

Sunday night, I settled in and read the whole thing in four hours. I was absorbed by Jeanette Wells and her extraordinary and impoverished childhood. Her and her siblings escape from the poverty and cycle of addiction and despair is truly special. Walls’s pain at recounting her family’s despair, but also incredible hope is palpable on the page. And I fell into the book in a way I haven’t in so long.

My favorite thing about memoir is the reminder of the power of storytelling. Memoirs aren’t always history. My favorites are when they’re not about extraordinary people at all, but about normal people, every day people who’ve decided that their story is worth sharing. Walls feels like that. While what she and her brother and sister did, pulling themselves free of their parents is amazing, it’s not magical. It’s just true, it’s simply life.

Life is enough sometimes. Those small stories are great. They can be funny, and sad and wonderful and awful. Memoir has a power in that way that fiction doesn’t.

A long quiet weekend means a lot of reading for me. But also, as was sort of the plan with this project, I’m just back in the habit of reading. And, not forseen; I’ve fallen back in love with physical books. I’m still planning on using my kindle, it’s the best for trips, for things like YA series, when I don’t want to buy the books out of embarassment and ease. And I still have space constraints. (Although, I’ve left most of my old books at my moms, I’m building a new library here.)

Up next is Perepolis, which is another memoir I can’t believe I haven’t actually read. Frankly, I’m more shocked at this one. We read a bunch of graphic memoir in college. So much Bechdel. Even more Pekar. I haven’t read anything graphic in ages. (Well, I’ve been reading the Duck Tales comics, but that barely counts.)

Sailor Moon Check In: Plot! FINALLY! Episodes 146-149

Hey! I’m back, I almost spread these out over two days, but then I decided I might as well just knock everything out all at once.

Super S

OK, so the first two are more filler, but very entertaining. First of we get “Juban Holiday” which is a play on Roman Holiday where a princess pretends to be sick and runs around a festival with Usagi and Chibi-Usa. She’s even dressed like Princess Anne, except she’s a blonde, so she looks a little like Princess Diana.

And…surprise, surprise, she gets attacked by the Amazon Trio and then the Sailor Moons save her.

Next up it’s Makoto’s turn to get her attacked on. The girls go to a dance at Mamo’s college and no one is dancing with Mako because she’s too tall, which is weird, because I get that she’s tall, but like, most of the dudes on this show are taller than her. I don’t get it.

Anyway, Tiger’s Eye winds up dancing with her, and she falls deep into crush town. She winds up waiting all night in the rain for him, and then Fish Eye traps her and the other Senshi save her and she decides not to give up on love.

Woo!

OK, so the two episodes that were new (on Hulu) this week are about The Amazon Trio learning they aren’t human and also Fish Eye falling in love with Mamoru and realizing that Usagi is Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa is Pegasus’s Host, which is pretty great.

Also, the Amazon Trio are nature spirits, I think, and Pegasus takes them to live in the forest. Oh, and also some mysterious shadowy girls are now going to serve Madam Zirconia, who is not the big bad, she’s just like, the Queen Beryl level bad, which I sort of forgot about.

I think I might have to reread this arc of the manga because I don’t remember it at all, but I kind of can’t believe there was SO MUCH filler before getting to the main point, because Oh My God, it was so much.

Anyway, Mamoru and Usagi are actually really nice about Fish Eye trying to get in between them, which I guess is like a major personal growth thing for Usa, because she’s not normally great about that.

Oh, yeah, and I’m pretty sure the Chibi-Usa and Pegasus are like officially a thing, because when she’s talking to him about Mako and Tiger’s Eye they remind each other that they fell in love at first sight.

But, she’s still an elementary school student and, I cannot say this enough times, HE IS A FLYING HORSE.

I mean, I remember enough of the Manga that I know he’s a cursed fairy prince or whatever, but for one thing, I strongly ship Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, and for another he’s a horse. And she’s a child. I mean, she’s 900 years old, but still, a child.

I’m not really going to miss The Amazon Trio, since it took me most of this arc to even remember which one was which. But having to learn a whole new batch of name is going to be tough.

Other News

Hey! Crystal is coming back in the winter, I think? We don’t have a date or anything, but who’s excited to see some Crystal Outer Senshi? Also, an English dub of Crystal, which will be nice. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to structure these check ins once it comes back. But I’ll probably stick with the once a week, rather than going back to every other week, tacking on a Crystal recap.

But we’ll cross that moon bow when we come to it.

Sailor Moon Super S Check In: Episodes 138 & 139: Dream On

Super S

Look, I’m not saying these are my favorite episodes, but I am saying that “Drive Me To The Heavens: The Dream Car Fueled by Love” is the single greatest name for any episode of television ever, and that includes, “What Kind of Day Has This Been?” (Sports Night edition)

Basically, Mamoru has a friend who was widowed in a car accident, (what is it with Mamoru and all these friends all of a sudden, I really didn’t think he had a life outside of Senshi work.) and of course Ami sees them together and accuses him of cheating on Usagi. Also, like look we get it, the girls are 15, but why does everyone think Mamoru is going to cheat on Usagi all of a sudden? Like, we have evidence of their eternal love, Chibi-Usa is a living breathing human from 1000 years in the future where they are still a thing, so maybe cool with the accusations everyone, OK? (Whew, did not expect to spend so many words defending Mamoru, I don’t even like him that much…)

Anyhoodle, Ami decides to help the widow fix the car, (dream car, fueled by love) and everyone learns all about her and her dead beardy husband. Including Purple Amazon Trio Guy (Bird Eye? Eagle Eye maybe? WTF is his name? I don’t care, he’s into older women though, and Tiger’s Eye and Fish Eye DO NOT GET IT at all man.) He shows up to her auto shop wearing a beard (hilarious!) and offers to take her away, but Chibi-Usa shows her the girls working on her car, helping her achieve her dream, and she decides to stay.

Oh also, they fight a monster.

And no one drives to heaven.

And everyone thinks Ami might be a lesbian for a second.

And this was a prime time for Haruka to show up and talk about cars but she doesn’t and I hate this episode for that, but it’s an OK episode I guess.

Unlike the next episode, which feels like either a backdoor pilot or a crossover or something. Basically, there’s a cool samurai sword wielding girl who’s hanging out under a bridge and taking challengers and beating all of them.

Chibi-Usa immediately decides that they need to be best friends. Because, duh. Anyway, turns out the girl ran away from home because her dad died and her mom was sort of a dick about her becoming Japan’s greatest swordswoman.

The Tsukinos feed her, because that’s what they do in that family, (seriously, I really relate to Usagi’s family culture with all the feeding and yelling but no real action involving low grades.) Tiger’s Eye goes after the girl and it’s mega creepy but he does wear a cool fencing costume.

In the end everyone makes up, and Usagi and Chibi-Usa decide that Sword-Girl is going to be OK because she has a great mother and they hold hands.

I liked this week, even if there wasn’t a lot of plot, but seriously, the prime chance for a Haruka drop by and not using her is completely unforgivable, completely. 

Oh, right, there’s a new opening this week and it’s pretty epic. Also, Chibi-Usa and Pegasus talk about trust and dreams some more in that snow globe thingy they use to communicate. Still hoping that Pegasus becomes a dude soon-ish because this shiz is getting old.

Sailor Moon Super S Episodes 134 & 135

Wow, OK, so, I’m trying to do this thing where I get ahead on my watching and it’s not going super well, but hey, I did manage to watch these episodes before this morning, so I’m at least on time.

Super S

Anyway, the first episode is about Makoto’s friend who drew and wrote a manga about a flying horse.

Naturally this peaks everyone’s interest, or at least The Amazon Trio and Chibi-Usa, and it turns out that nah, this girl Tomoko, just likes a dude in her class, or something, and she knows nothing about Pegasus. But everyone really likes the Manga.

Honestly, I was only half paying attention, which was probably not a great idea, since I do love me some Mako-Chan, but I’m starting to lose the momentum I was so admiring these episodes for building.

But I did like the very writerly line that was given to Tamoko, “I can’t write! No one likes me, no one understands me.”

Been there, girlfriend. Been there.

I’m also just not super into this season. I dunno man.

The second episode was better. Chibi-Usa talked to Pegasus about how she wants to be friends with him. (Right, Chibi-Usa, kind of like how Luna is so not into Artemis at all.) He says he can’t be her friend and she’s pretty sad about it.

But not sad enough that she isn’t sitting in art class with an adorable beret and fake mustache on because they make her feel like an artist. Adorable. Her teacher is not super encouraging, and it turns out the poor woman isn’t sure she wants to be a teacher.

Even more unfortunate, The Amazon Trio have finally caught on that Sailor-Chibi moon is who they need to be targeting, which, took them long enough. They get her and try to trap Pegasus. In fact this week’s Lemure even tries to tell Chibi-Usa that if she controls Pegasus, she’ll control the world.

Chibi-Usa isn’t interested, of course, she doesn’t want to possess Pegasus, she just loves him in her super special Moon Princess way, so he says that they can be friends now, but he won’t tell her his real name…yet.

That yet is important. Look, I know they’re magic, but I really can’t wait until Pegasus transforms into a dude, because between her dad and a magical Horse, Chibi-Usa’s crush record is kind of hugely creepy.

Still no Outer Senshi…what the hell Sailor Moon Super S? 

Anyway, that’s this week. This is the one bit of regular coverage at the moment that I literally can’t get ahead of, but I am trying to be ahead of the game on everything else, so that this doesn’t feel rushed. I’m down the shore weekends now, so that gets in the way, but I promise to keep updating and watching what and when I can!

Sailor Moon Super S: Episodes 130 & 131 : Power Up!

Wow, you know how I always complain about randomness and lack of focus in the early days of an arc, and that is…not a problem in Super S.

At all.

New Picture!

New Picture!

I mean, there’s still the Lemures, who are the monsters this go round, and they’re still attacking people who are not Chibi-Usa, who is the person who’s dreams they want. (Seriously? How dumb are the Amazon trio that they haven’t figured out that Sailor Chibi-Moon is the girl who dreams of Pegasus, every time they fight her, Pegasus shows up. GOD! IDIOTS!) Anyway, instead of attacking randos off the street, The Trio is at least focusing on Usagi’s friends. This week, they went after Usagi’s mom and Naru.

It was nice to see Naru again, I’d miss her, but the episode about Usagi’s mother was one of my favorites so far. Basically, Usagi and Chibi-Usa get into a fight about pie, and then realize that they both love their Mom, (well, Chibi-Usa’s grandma, really) and want to save her from a monster. It’s just a really sweetly constructed episode about family. Anyway, Mom’s dream is to see both girls get married and have family’s of their own, which is, again terrible sweet.

The love of their mother gets the Moons a power up, also because of Pegasus. I like this arc a lot because I think the refocus on Chibi-Moon is great, but I kind of don’t love the handing down of power from a dude. It seems very Un-Sailor Moon, even if that dude is a flying magical horse.

Anyway, Naru is being targeted by Tiger’s Eye and I’m proud of how she’s grown since the early days when all of that flowing hair and flirting would have turned her. Now she only wants Umino, but when Tiger’s Eye lies and tells her that he only has three months to live and his last wish is to be her boyfriend she takes pity on him, but then he gets creepy and she runs away.

He decides to look into her dreams, and it seems way more invasive and rapey, and it’s sort of annoying. In the end they save Naru, and The Amazon trio is definitely starting to get in trouble for not catching Pegasus.

Still no outer Senshi.

Still kind of peeved about that.

I do love the transformation sequences and attack animations in this arc though. They’re intensely gorgeous, especially Moon Gorgeous Meditation, which is all sword wielding and glorious.

I also really like “Baby, baby Love,” the closing song for this arc. While Chibi-Usa sitting on a hill crying is almost as boring as that time that Usagi was running to the lighthouse for three minutes, the song itself is really pretty. So there’s that.

The Force Is Strong In My Family

Today’s post was supposed to be about Batman VS Robin, and for something lesser, it totally would have been. But this isn’t lesser. This is EVERYTHING.

I get a little hysterical excited when I talk about Star Wars, because I love it so deeply and truly. Seriously. It’s Star Wars, I didn’t spend my childhood running around in the yard playing Batman VS Robin, OK? I didn’t manipulate my little sister into believing that a character who can’t speak was really super cool and she should totally pretend to be him so that I could be Damian Wayne. (Sometimes I think about our childhood and wonder why my sister even speaks to my brother and I, the making her be R2-D2 was symptomatic of how we treated her in general.)

No, I was a Star Wars kid. In middle school, when I learned one of my friends had never seen the movies but wanted to go see Episode II with me, I said, “NOPE, not allowed,” and forced her to have a 4 movie marathon in my basement, so that she could fully appreciate what we were going to see…that didn’t really work out, but that’s Episode II’s fault, for being basically unwatchable. (I will still be watching it come December.)

Star Wars is snuggling on the couch with my Dad while I covered my eyes at the stuff that freaked me out. (As previously chronicled, this wasn’t difficult as I was a chicken.) Star Wars was late night marathons with my cousins, and my first crush.

This Guy!

Him. I had a crush on Han Solo…and Indiana Jones…and Linus from the Sabrina remake (THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE THING ABOUT THE SABRINA REMAKE)…and just Harrison Ford

Star Wars was waiting in line with my sister for Episode III and Christmas mornings because it was what we all felt like watching. Star Wars is my dream Cosplay. (Hoth Leia…I could probably pull it off now, but I want to be a certain size…it’s a motivating factor.) Star Wars is a series of choreographed play light saber battles in my cousin’s basement with everyone taking turns who would be Luke and who would be Vader.

The point is that Star Wars is important to me.

I had a feeling that we’d get something this week, coming out of The Star Wars Celebration, but I didn’t expect a new trailer, I really didn’t. I figured it would premier before Age of Ultron, because Disney loves Synergy so much. (I am looking forward to seeing it before Ultron, because, come on, you know it’ll be there.)

But this teaser, this beautiful wonderful teaser, with it’s light sabers and it’s Mark Hamill narration, and Harrison Ford pop ups and perfect music cues, and beautiful everything about it.

You know what, let’s just watch it again. And again. And again.

“Chewie…we’re home.” #Chewiewerehome, I’m making this a thing.

10,000 Candles In The Wind

Parks And Recreation and Parenthood ended.

And I find myself, for the first time, not regularly watching an NBC show.

For most people, this would not be a big deal, but for me this is kind of a huge deal.

The first shows that I really followed, were Friends and ER. The first death of a TV character that I will never get over for as long as I live was Mrs. Landigham on The West Wing.  The first time I ever said, “I really miss those guys,” was when I realized that there weren’t reruns of Will & Grace on anywhere. (This has been, mercifully, rectified. Now there are Will & Grace reruns, ALL THE TIME. And it is glorious.) I realized there was a whole world that loved my kind of movie quoting, semi sarcastic, more heart than head but still a lot of head, comedy with 30 Rock and The Office. I watched every last stinking episode of American Dreams, Heroes, and Smash.

I’m an NBC girl, I guess is my point.

So saying goodbye to these two shows that I loved so much, isn’t just saying good bye to them, but, it’s saying good bye to my network. Now, I guess, I’m a Fox person…which is weird, but yeah. Gotham, Mindy Project, New Girl, Brooklyn 99 and Empire are my shows now, there’s no turning back. It’s a part of my pop culture identity that has shifted and it’s a weird one to say good bye too, because even in the scheme of the trivial things that I spend too much time analyzing, is unbelievably trivial. I’m sure next year I’ll fall in love with some doomed NBC project, whatever the next Up All Night or Smash is that I’ll keep assuring people, is “like really good though,” even though it kind of isn’t, at all…

But Parks & Rec and Parenthood were good. They were really good, and I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss that these were both shows about good people who loved each other and wanted to make the world a better place. They were about and families, and friends, and barbeques, and waffles, and baseball, and board games, and one tiny horse.

So bye, bye, little Peacock, you’re 10,000 candles in the wind.