the cutest blog on the block

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Confessions of a Shipper Fangirl

My name is Rachel Flores and I ship things.

No, I don't have a ship with sails or anything (though I wish I did. That would be pretty cool). In certain shows, movies, comic books, fictional anything, "ships" are the relationships (ha-ha, see what I did there?) of two characters (usually male/female) and you basically want them to get together and live happily ever after with lots of babies. And you react hysterically whenever anything remotely looks like progress happens in the story and read way too much into every little interaction that goes on between them.

Tumblr does this, a lot. I don't, because...well, people look at me weird when I do. But just for once, I'm going to indulge myself. On my own personal blog. So there. *sticks out tongue like a five-year old*

So. Shipping. I ship a lot of things. Mostly canon couples. Some couples that haven't actually happened yet, but the writers/producers/actors keep hinting that will (officially called a "ship tease").

Right now, on the one TV show I watch with any kind of regularity (since it's bonding time with my little sister), it's Once Upon A Time and I am a full-on Captain Swan shipper. For those of you who aren't aware of the fan-name of this couple, it's Emma Swan (our hero) and Captain Hook (the sort-of villain), aka Killian Jones.

the hook and the swan; a story best left untold.

Yes, I know he's a bad guy. Yes, it's a cliche. But the last guy they paired Emma up with died right in the middle of their first kiss, for crying out loud. Regina crushed his heart. Killian hasn't actually died yet! Sure, he's got the snot beaten out of him several times (including and not limited to getting hit by a car of all things) and he needs to get rid of the black leather already (Cora got a "real-world" outfit, c'mon costumers, get with the program!), but it's just...I don't know. I think it could work. And I like him a lot better than Graham, the guy who died while kissing Emma (back in the first season) and as far as I'm concerned, Neal is out of the question.

(Baelfire is Neal is Rumpelstiltskin's son is Henry's dad. Everyone saw this coming.)

Ah-hem. Where was I?

Oh yes, Captain Swan shipping.

So currently, Killian's grand plan of revenge on Rumpelstiltskin is not working out. Not in the slightest. Presumably in the next episode next Sunday this is going to fixed. But eventually (I merely assume this is going to happen), everyone and their grandmother (literally, Granny wields a mean crossbow), is going to team up against the current Big Bad of the season, Cora. As soon as Regina realizes she's become a little girl again, trying to win her mother's approval.

But I just want Emma to be happy, okay? And the resident eyeliner-wearing pirate with one hand might actually do the job for her, dang it. And Henry would just, be totally in awe of him because he's Captain Hook.  From Neverland. With Peter Pan and the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell. And Hook's so...banter-y. This show sometimes severely lacks in banter, people. Real, honest-to-goodness, flirty/UST-laden banter. There's not enough of it.

And I honestly think that Hook might just get sick of being Cora's sort-of, kind-of, constantly-left-out-of-the-loop, left-behind henchman/lackey (because seriously, that's all he is at this point). And while he and Rumple are probably never ever, ever, ever (like, ever!) going to get along (ha-ha, see what I did there?), Cora's kind of the bigger concern here.

Alright, FINE! I just want them to kiss, okay? Kiss and be happy. Colin O'Donoghue is one darn good-lookin' Irishman.

And thus ends my shipper-fangirl rant of the day. I leave you all on this note:

Captain Swan: The Ship that Sails Itself.

Over & Out,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sisterly Instincts

Over the past few months, I've come face-to-face with a new phenomenon that's been sweeping the Internet and I just started getting into.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Long story short, it's a updated version of Jane Austen's immortal classic Pride and Prejudice, only set in the modern day with Lizzie Bennet as a twenty-four year old communications major still living at home with her overbearing, plotting mother, dry father, sweet older sister Jane who works in fashion, and her younger sister Lydia, a loud, brash, energetic party-girl who wants to have her moment of fame on the internet through Lizzie's videos and then her own.

You can see the first episode here.

It's everything and nothing you can expect from a retelling of P&P, because the way it's done is so brilliantly set into the modern day you can almost believe it's real. Do we know the story? Absolutely. Do we know how it ends? Of course. But there are just so many different nuances to this that I need a whole different post to get into it, but I'll stick to the one thing I did want to talk about.

Namely, the relationship between the Bennet sisters, both in the original novel and in this retelling.

Now, I hope I'm not spoiling anything for anyone, but I'm going to go ahead and assume everyone knows that the eventual incident that Darcy saves Elizabeth and her family in the original novel is Lydia runs away with the no-account rake Wickham and elopes with him. Of course, in seventeenth century England, where reputation is everything, this is a complete catastrophe. Nowadays, it's awful and devastating for a family, but maybe not as bad as it was back then (as not bad as a thing like that can be, anyways). So the one thing that always made me sad in the original novel was that Lydia gets no chance for any character development. None. That's left to her sister Elizabeth and to Darcy. Of course, that's why we love the novel, but I always wished I could reach inside the book and smack some sense into Lydia. I'm sure everyone does.

But the thing that makes the Lizzie Bennet Diaries so unspeakably brilliant and amazing (in my opinion at least) that they give that character of Lydia a chance to change, a chance for the audience to love her and root for her and worry for her. All the credit of course, goes to the show's writers and actors, namely Mary Kate Wiles, who does such an amazing job of walking the line between Lydia's brashness and vulnerability. Lydia in LBD is your classic younger sister/baby of the family. She wants attention, recognition, doesn't know how any way but the wrong way to get it. A character like Lydia translates seamlessly, sometimes painfully well into this modern day world of Tweeting, Facebook, videos and general over-exposure. Which is how she falls under the spell of the unscrupulous George Wickham (oh yes, he's in there). In LBD, Lydia finally gets what she was denied in the original P&P: character development. (Yes, it deserves underlining, bold and italicization.)

I have related so strongly to Lizzie in LBD that it almost scares me. I have a younger sister, who of course I love dearly, but who can also drive me nuts. We've had our fair share of screaming matches over the years. We clash and argue and fight and my mother yells at us and reminds me she's the only baby sister I have. I justify my harshness to her because "Hey, she's the baby of the family. Compared to the rest of us, she's got it easy. Someone's got to be tough on her, right?"

And yet. And yet.

It is not my place nor my right nor my job to be harsh on my baby sister. Despite what I think, her life is hard enough without me making it worse. I am not supposed to be part of her stresses and worries.

And that's what gets me about the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, because it so clearly illustrates the push/pull, harsh/nurture aspect of an older sister/younger sister relationship.

This episode was the one that made me cry, because it touches so strongly that older sister instinct to protect your little sister, to defend her and reassure her of how amazing and clever and all-around spectacular she is. All things you lose sight of because all you can see right in front of you is the many ways she annoys you or drives you crazy or does everything wrong. It takes disasters to make you see all the things you should've done to be helping her, not tearing her down. The wish to hold her and reassure her of your love for her never changes, after everything. 

So yes. If all my yammering hasn't convinced you yet, watch the video (no matter how completely far along the story line it might be) and you'll see what I mean.

Over & Out,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Steampunk Adventures

It's a new year! Time for new adventures! New books to read! New genres to explore! New guys to crush on! (As the previous post proves.)

So. As per the title, I'm dipping my toe into the shallow end of the steampunk genre. Steampunk, for those of you who aren't "in the know," (well, not that I am, that much) is a sub-genre of science fiction where steam/electricity was discovered early, usually in Edwardian/Victorian England and technological advances are, well...more advanced than the time period allows.

A prime example of steampunk fashion/modus operandi for women is usually leather corsets, fancy hats, clockwork and over-sized guns. A man's suit will invariably feature a top-hat, goggles, and some kind of cogs and wheels.

Now, I'm all for exploring new things. Seeking out new genres I could write. Steampunk is one of those things I don't know that much about, but I'd like to know more, if only for the cool things that are featured within. I don't think I could write it, since it requires me to do things like know about math, science, machinery and all those other things I'm not good at, but since it is fantasy, I could just make up what I don't know. So there is that!

But over the past two weeks, I've read two books that qualify as steampunk, and these are my thoughts thereof.

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress.

And The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent.

Of the two, I liked The Friday Society better than The Unnaturalists, because The Friday Society features three rotating narrators, Cora Bell, Nellie Harrison, and Michiko Takeda, all intelligent, interesting, talented, sassy young ladies who solve crimes--in 1900 England. With this book, the steampunk influences are not as obviously overt as, say, The Unnaturalists and the voices of the three ladies is refreshingly modern and not as overtly dated for readers who aren't accustomed to reading books with a old-fashioned voice.

In contrast, The Unnaturalists is very steampunk, featuring an alternate reality where Nikolai Tesla somehow managed to create a mirror, alternate version of London where magic is outlawed and science is the religion--literally. Scientists like Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur and Charles Darwin are considered Saints (capital letter and all). Vespa Nyx, our heroine, is the daughter of a naturalist who catalogues unnatural creatures like gryphons, dragons, sylphs and the like. Now, the world-building in this book is amazing and very in-depth--maybe a little too in-depth, because there were times when I wished for a pamphlet or something to go along with it, just to explain certain aspects to me. There is, of course, the inevitable pull/push between magic and science, how this world needs both to survive. Nomadic tribes of Tinkers (inspired by a people in Nepal) wander around the countryside, practicing illegal magic and protecting creatures like the Manticore and the Golden Dragon.

Now, for readers looking to explore the world of steampunk, for my part, I would read The Friday Society first and then The Unnaturalists, as to have a point of reference to go on. That being said, steampunk is gaining ground as my new area of interest--though if I ever write it, well. That remains to be seen.

Over & Out,