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Friday, September 25

The Murtis goes to Washington

Friday, September 25

Hey friends! Things might be a little quiet around here for the next week or so—I'm heading out for a pre-anniversary vacation with the Mister in Washington, D.C.

Neither of us have been there before, so if you have any suggestions for things we should do/see/eat, let me know!

This is already on the list, natch.

Tuesday, September 22

Fancies & Fascinations | The Rock's Instagram

Tuesday, September 22

I've never really understood the appeal of pro wrestling. Which, when I think about it, is kind of silly—I mean, I adore ridiculous action movies like The Expendables, which feature a ton of actors made famous in "sports" like pro wrestling. (And MMA/UFC, which is definitely a sport, not a "sport." Please don't hurt me.)

But often, pro wrestlers become larger than their wrestling personas, and cross over into the realm of pop culture. I am very thankful for this, particularly in the case of The Rock.

Over past couple of decades, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has transitioned his pro wrestling career into super stardom. He's one of my favorite actors, and is equally good at action as he is at comedy. (Have you seen The Rundown? You need to see The Rundown.)

When people achieve superstars status, it often seems like they've—to borrow a gaming term—"leveled up." Meaning that celebrities no longer seem approachable or like "normal" people. To a certain extent, this is understandable. But my favorite thing about The Rock is, regardless of his successes, he's never become unapproachable. He seems like a genuinely fantastic human being. A GIANT human being who could crush me with his pinky finger, natch, but fantastic nonetheless. There's no better evidence of this than his Instagram feed.

This is but one example of his posts, complete with People's Eyebrow reference and hilarious hashtags:

Seriously. The man knows his way around a hashtag.

But his feed isn't just filled with workout selfies. He recently adopted two French bulldog puppies, and the world collectively fainted when he jumped into his pool to rescue them. (One of them is named Hobbs.* I MEAN.) He also posts heartfelt messages to/about friends and family. If it wasn't for the occasional promo photo for one of his projects or a shot of him at a premiere, I'd feel completely like I was scrolling through the feed of a friend.

I'll give you a moment to go follow him.


You're welcome.

*Hobbs is The Rock's character in the Fast and Furious franchise. More of my favorite movies.
Special thanks to my friend Ben for showing me the light.

Friday, September 18

5 Fandom Friday | Five Favorite Things About Autumn

Friday, September 18

Autumn/fall is my favorite season of the year. Sadly, because I live in Texas, I don't really get to experience much of what I love about the season. But having lived in Oregon and the Northeast, I have plenty of great memories about the things I've listed below.

Five Favorite Things About Autumn

5 | Apples

Although pumpkin spice is the reigning monarch of fall scents/tastes, I prefer apples—apple cider, apple cinnamon, caramel apple. There's an area of northern California called Apple Hill, which is populated by amazing apple orchards. They have a big celebration each autumn that revolves around (you guessed it) apples, and we went frequently when I was growing up.

4 | Back to school

I am a huge nerd (as if you hadn't already picked up on that), and I absolutely loved going back to school each year. Back to school meant new clothes, new school supplies—which I totally still buy, regardless of the fact that I've been out of school for a long while—and new things to learn.

3 | Changing leaves

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I thought I knew what people were talking about when they gushed over the changing of the leaves. Boy, was I wrong. And it wasn't until I was in college at UMass Amherst that I realized the true glory of the trees in autumn.

2 | New and returning TV

I love TV. And I watch far too much of it. But I keep adding new shows to my list anyway. I'm very much looking forward to both my returning favorites and (some of) the new shows premiering this season.

1 | Cooler weather

I much prefer being cold to being hot. I love layers, and sweaters, boots, and scarves are a few of my most favorite things. Like I lamented about above, living in Texas makes it hard to really experience fall weather, but eventually it will get a little cooler and, even if it doesn't, I'll just have to pretend.

Learn more about 5 Fandom Friday and check out the prompts for September.

Thursday, September 17

Nerd News | Jenna Coleman "quits" Doctor Who

Thursday, September 17

According to BBC News:

Jenna Coleman is expected to leave the hit BBC series Doctor Who later this year.

It is thought the actress will make her last appearance as Clara Oswald before the Christmas special, which sees the return of Alex Kingston as River Song. ...

The Mirror reports that her next role will be as Queen Victoria in a major ITV drama series.

The article goes on to say:
Filming starts this month and it is understood that Coleman has already filmed her final scenes for Doctor Who, which returns to BBC One on Saturday.

Rumours of the star's departure circulated last year, after a cliffhanger in the series eight finale, "Death In Heaven."

Fans had to wait until the end of the Christmas Day special to find out whether Coleman's character would return.

Chief writer Steven Moffat later confirmed the actress had initially asked to be written out of the drama.

"That was her last episode," he said. "Then she asked me if she could be in [the] Christmas [episode]. So I said, 'OK, I'll write you out in Christmas.'"

"She came to the read through and did the 'write out' version - and again changed her mind."
Can I get a:

As I semi-ranted to poor, unsuspecting Kristin in a comment on a different post, Clara drives me nuts. I liked her when she was in the two previous episodes before becoming a full-time companion, but rarely have I liked her since.

The Mister describes the issue with Clara (that we share) as her having broken the typical Doctor-companion dynamic. Where, with other companions, you could put yourself in their shoes and go along for the ride, you can't do that with Clara. She's too "important" of a character to feel like an avatar for the viewer. And, in losing that, we've lost the strong connection we had to the show/the Doctor's adventures and are now stuck merely watching the action.

To be fair, I can't blame the quality of the show completely on the character of Clara—the writers, directors, showrunners, etc. (i.e., Moffat) all have a part to play in making a show great—but I'm really looking forward to a new companion.

Also of note:

Wednesday, September 16

Dream cast the Throne of Glass TV show | Forever Young Adult

Wednesday, September 16

Yesterday, it was announced that Sarah J. Maas' YA fantasy Throne of Glass series has been optioned for TV. As a huge fan of the series, I'm super excited about the possibilities, but also totally frightened that the adaptation will turn out to be terrible.

If you've never read the series, and you're a fan of fantasy stories led by strong female characters, you really should. Here's a synopsis of the first book:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
There are three additional novels in the series, with two more planned, and a handful of short stories.

Over on Forever Young Adult, I have a post up about the news that also features some casting ideas for the main roles of Celaena, Chaol and Dorian.

Click the image to check out who (else) I've chosen, and add your own ideas in the comments!

Friday, September 11

Four Things

Friday, September 11
I'm not taking part in today's 5 Fandom Friday because I know very little about Broadway. I thought I'd use the time to write up this post, which Nina of Le Fancy Geek tagged me for a long (long) time ago. I apologize to anyone who's ever tagged me for anything and expected a timely post in return.

Regardless, thanks for the tag, Nina! And now, here are a bunch of random facts about me.

Four Places I’ve Lived:
  1. Cupertino, California—I was born here, and lived here until I was 8.
  2. Rogue River, Oregon—The place I consider my hometown. I lived here from 8 to 17, and this is also where I met my husband.
  3. Amherst, Massachusetts—I lived here, albeit temporarily, while I attended the University of Massachusetts. (When I wasn't at school, I lived in Madison, Connecticut.)
  4. Austin, Texas—Where I've lived since the spring of 2006.

Four Jobs I’ve Had:
  1. Baci's Pizza and Pasta—I worked here during high school, making pizza and sandwiches and doing all the other assorted duties that come with working in a restaurant. Best part about this job: I learned how to toss pizza crust (i.e., up into the air to stretch the dough into the proper circle shape).
  2. Tuxis Lumber—I worked here during college and for a year after I graduated, as a cashier behind the counter of both the hardware store portion of the store and the actual lumber yard. I even occasionally got to work in the lumber yard, but never—sadly—got to drive the forklift.
  3. Sweets & More—I worked here during the school year in college, as a co-manager of this student-run business, which meant that I had a hand in everything from advertising to payroll to actually selling cookies and ice cream (and more) to my fellow students.
  4. Apple, Inc.—I work here now, as a technical writer.

Four Things I Don’t Eat:
  1. Calamari "bodies"—I think calamari, when it's served in steaks, strips or rings, is delicious. But I just can't get around the tentacle bits.
  2. Chocolate ice cream—I love chocolate in its natural form, but am not a fan of many chocolate-flavored items.
  3. White chocolate—Again, I enjoy eating milk chocolate (and sometimes dark chocolate), but there's something about the taste of the white version that doesn't set well with my tastebuds.
  4. Burger King—I'll occasionally eat other fast food, but I just don't like the taste of anything at BK. (I think I ate there too much when I was young.)

Four of My Favorite Foods:
  1. Meat/veggie/rice bowls—Two of my favorite restaurants to eat at are Zen and Pei Wei, and I frequent the Wok Station at the cafe at work. (Yes, we have a Wok Station. I know I'm spoiled.)
  2. Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn—I have been known to eat an entire not-single-serving-size bag in one sitting.
  3. Watermelon—I am super lazy and most often buy the pre-cut cubes from the store, however. Cutting a watermelon gets SO messy.
  4. Pie—Dean Winchester and I are total soul mates (on the love of pie front).

Four Films I’ve Watched More Than Once:
  1. Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life—I will watch this every times it's on TV, regardless of where I am in the movie, or if there are commercials.
  2. The Avengers—One of my favorite movies of all time. I can't get enough.
  3. Pitch Perfect—I watch this (or listen to the soundtrack) whenever I need a pick-me-up.
  4. National Treasure—Similarly to Lara Croft, I will watch this whenever it's on TV. It's such a ridiculous movie, but it never fails to make me smile. And I definitely think it's one of Nicolas Cage's best.

Four TV Shows I Watch*:
  1. Face Off—This reality competition show on Syfy has taught me so much about the art of special effects makeup. I'm not typically a reality TV fan, but this show is super fascinating.
  2. Doctor Who—Even though I'm way past tired of Clara as a companion, I'm still excited about this show's return next week.
  3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine—I don't really watch many sitcoms, but this show is so hilarious and sweet and wonderful, you guys. Come for Andy Samberg, stay for the rest of the cast.
  4. The 100—WHY IS IT NOT 2016 YET?!
*I watch a lot more than four shows, but I figured this was a decent selection of my faves.

Four Things I’m Looking Forward To This Year:
  1. An anniversary trip to Washington, D.C.—Neither the Mister or I have ever been, and we're both suckers for museums.
  2. My 32nd birthday—27 was the hardest year for me, as odd as that sounds; I've never really minded being "over 30." I think 32 is going to be a good year.
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens—Nina had this on her list, but I had to put it on mine, too. Even though I was trying to remain cool about this movie, after seeing the first trailer, I was a total goner.
  4. Winter—The last book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer will be out in November. The fact that this series, which is one of my faves, is coming to an end it bittersweet, but I'm really excited to see how everything wraps up, and have one last adventure with Cinder and the rest of the gang.

Four Things I Can’t Live Without:
  1. Running water—I'm not a very outdoorsy person, and I can only deal with being dirty for short periods of time.
  2. Air conditioning—I hate being hot, and it gets very hot in Texas.
  3. Books—If I had to choose only one form of escape and entertainment, I'd choose books over movies, TV, etc. It would be a hard choice, but as an only child, I'm pretty practiced at using my imagination to keep myself amused.
  4. My Mister—Gross, I know. But he's my other half, and I wouldn't know what to do without him in my life!

Four Celebrity Crushes:
  1. Tom Hiddleston—The man can do very little wrong in my eyes.
  2. Bellamy Blake—I don't care that he's fictional! (Or kind of a dick at times.)
  3. David Tennant—It takes a certain kind of man to go from Barty Crouch, Jr., to the Tenth Doctor. But David pulled it off, and made me swoon in the process.
  4. Tom Hiddleston—Did I mention that the man can do very little wrong in my eyes?

Four Places I’ve Visited:
  1. New York City—I used to live only a couple of hours away from the city, so I have visited often. I've also gone back three or four times since moving to Austin.
  2. Paris—My aunt, who instilled in me a love of the impressionist painters (Monet, specifically) when I was very young, took me on a trip here when I was 15. Other than Canada, when I was like 3, this is the only place I've visited out of the U.S.
  3. Portland, Oregon—Colt's side of the family lives here, and it's where we got married. We visit at least once a year, and I'm always recharged when we leave.
  4. Wall, South Dakota—Home of Wall Drug, my family and I visited Wall when we moved across the country the summer after I graduated from high school.

Four Pet Peeves:
  1. Apostrophe abuse—Apostrophes are used to show possession or to indicate a contraction with is. I know the English language is hard, but proper use of apostrophes really, really isn't.
  2. People who think they know what they're talking about but don't—I don't mean to sound like a snob, but it drives me nuts when people talk about things (particularly pop culture things) and are just plain wrong, but they're absolutely adamant that they're right. I rarely correct anyone, but inside I'm seething.
  3. The toilet lid being left up—Growing up, I had a cat that liked to drink out of the toilet, so I got into the habit of closing everything when I finished. Now I just think it's kind of gross to leave it open.
  4. People being dicks—It's really not hard to be nice. Do unto others and all that.

Four Things I Wish I Could Do:
  1. Find an exercise that doesn't feel like torture—Anyone have any tips? I'd like to be more healthy, but whenever I try to exercise, I hate it almost immediately.
  2. Draw—I'm a decent copier, but I've never been able to just sit down and draw from imagination. I'd love to be more of a doodler with a purpose.
  3. Write a novel—I just don't have the patience or the dedication. I envy those who do!
  4. Go into outer space—On a proper ship (like the Enterprise), please. Not to knock the current space program, but I'd like climate control and less chance of getting sucked into a vacuum. (I never said I was a risk-taker.)

Four Subjects I Studied At School:
  1. English—I have a degree in this (doubled with the item at No. 2). I've always loved studying the written word, and I've always been pretty decent at writing it, too.
  2. Journalism—When I decided not to pursue the course of study at No. 3, I switched to English. But my parents wanted me to add journalism so that I might actually get paid when I graduated. (Oh, parents. <3) Thankfully, I have actually found a career that uses both 
  3. Mechanical engineering—I went into college with the plan of becoming an astronaut through a mechanical engineering degree. I lasted a year. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't the engineering courses that made me seek a different path. (It was the physics.)
  4. Italian—I thought my three years of Spanish in high school would be a help in learning Italian. Boy was I wrong. Also, I am terrible at all languages other than English.

Four Things Near Me Right Now:
  1. Two dogs—Both Mrs. Mollie Weasley and Frigga love to be near me when I sit on the couch. It's very cute, but at the same time ... I need a little personal space sometimes, ladies.
  2. My cell phone—As much as I like to think I'm not addicted to it, it's never very far away.
  3. A bag of wasabi and soy sauce almonds—Betcha can't eat just one! But also bet that your mouth kills after a handful or two.
  4. Two new t-shirts—When I saw that they were on sale, I just had to buy shirts featuring my Dragon Age: Inquisition boyfriend and sassy BFF.

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you'd like to take part, please do!

Thursday, September 10

Do whatever. Be weird. It's OK! | Good thoughts from

Thursday, September 10

Online shop and purveyor of quirky-cute accessories and office supplies—in addition to their for-purchase goods—frequently shares quirky-cute downloads that aim to make life a little more fun. One of the newest struck a chord with me this morning, so I had to come share.

As someone with a lot of interests that some might consider weird, reminders like this that it's OK to be yourself—even if others might look sideways at you for it—are very important.

I try to keep in mind that "haters gonna hate," and do what I want regardless, but sometimes it's nice to have a little bit of backup, a simple reassurance that that being yourself is the very best way to be.

You can find more wallpapers here, iPhone backgrounds (including one of the above image) here, and links to additional fun stuff here.

Sunday, September 6

6 on 6 | September

Sunday, September 6

Learn more about the 6 on 6 project.

Friday, September 4

5 Fandom Friday | Five Fandom Deaths I’m Still Upset About

Friday, September 4

This could have easily turned into a "thanks for NOTHING* Joss Whedon" post, but I tried to mix it up a little.

And I'm not sure I have to say this, but ... do be aware that there are spoilers below. 

Five Fandom Deaths I’m Still Upset About

5 | Chewbacca, Vector Prime

Although his death has basically been erased with the de-canonizing of the former Star Wars extended universe, I will never be able to erase the image of Chewbacca standing on the surface of the planet while the Millennium Falcon flies away from my mind. Sure, he stayed so that Anakin (Han and Leia's youngest son) could survive, but still.

(If you've never read Vector Prime, you might not have known that Chewbacca died. For this terrible shock to your system, I'm sorry.)

4 | Fred Weasley, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There are a lot of deaths in Harry Potter that tugged at my heartstrings, but the most unexpected and shocking was the death of Fred. The Weasley twins were a pair—where one went, the other did too. As an only child, I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to lose a sibling, but the fact that he was a twin, and the two were so very close, makes it that much worse.

3 | Ianto Jones, Torchwood: Children of Earth

I never would have known, at the start of Torchwood (where he's basically a glorified errand boy), how much I would grow to love Ianto. As he worked his way toward being a larger part of the team, he became more and more a vital part of the show for me. And then we found out about his absolutely adorable relationship with Jack Harkness, and I was totally sold. On Torchwood, Jack was a different, more serious character than he was on Doctor Who, but his relationship with Ianto brought some of that lightness back. And then, sadly, it was gone.

2 | Data, Star Trek: Nemesis

Most of the other deaths on this list served some sort of purpose. Either the person was saving someone or their death was the impetus for someone else to go do great things. Data's death in the last feature film with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation felt, to me, like none of the above. (OK. Yes, he saved Picard. BUT THERE COULD HAVE BEEN ANOTHER WAY.) It felt like a gut punch, and a sort of useless one at that, considering that he'd transferred some of himself into B-4 before dying. I could look at this in a positive light, since something of Data remains, but I'd rather continue to be bitter about it.

1 | Hoban Washburne, Serenity

Thanks for nothing, Joss Whedon.

*Nothing = his penchant for killing characters, not the rest of his body of work. Because I certainly do thank him for that.
Learn more about 5 Fandom Friday and check out the prompts for September.