All sorts of bookish adventures!

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Yesterday, I had my premiere post at Insatiable Booksluts. I contributed an essay on the Stephen King Universe. You know, it’s all about the connections and the bigger story. If you didn’t read it (it’s a long one!) you can check it out here: “The Stephen King Universe“.

To keep with the theme, and because I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist when it comes to my favorite stories, I’m going to share five more of my favorite fictional universes. This love of overarching universes definitely stems from my first love, Stephen King, and if there are connections between my stories, I’m always eager to figure them out. Here are five more cool universes:

1. The Buffyverse

This is a fairly easy universe. Crossovers between Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel. Not too mysterious, but I love it none the less.

Spike has the Gem of Amarra for a bit on the Buffy episode “The Harsh Light of Day”

…only to lose it to the Scoobies and it reappears via Oz’ delivery on Angel’s “In the Dark”.

2. The Lost Universe

Oh that mysterious island. A lot of viewers were frustrated with the lack of answers provided in the series finale, but I think that getting there was the fun part. And I’m glad that I still don’t understand what the deal was with Walt. I’m also glad that I can’t seem to remember the rest of the unsolved mysteries. This means it’s time for a re-watch!

What was up with Walt’s powers?

So many questions about Jacob’s cabin…

Also, I’ve just finished Season 1 of Fringe, and I appreciate the appearance of Oceanic Airlines, and the major theme of parallel universes. Perhaps, I should title this section as the Abrams Universe, as I think Cloverfield and Alias also have connections to other Abrams works. We have recurrent references to Slusho and the number 47. Perhaps it’s like King, and everything’s connected. He does reference King’s Nozz-A-La on Lost.

The Mystery Man of Lost Highway

3. The David Lynch Universe

The universe of my nightmares. Seriously, Twin Peaks‘ Leland Palmer still haunts my dreams. And, of course, <shudder> Bob. And then there’s the creepy character played by Robert Blake (simply known as “Mystery Man” on imdb) in Lost Highway. And what was the deal with the frightening homeless guy by the dumpster in Mullholland Drive? Then there’s the recurring appearances of the red room, the little dude from beyond, and probably other things that I still haven’t recognized. This is one universe I need to explore more thoroughly, even if it gives me nightmares.

The recurring red curtains of Lynch…when you know you’re in an otherworldly place…

Umm…you guys? As I was looking for clever little pictures to go with this section, I came across this: World of David Lynch. Enter at your own risk. Some dude created a completely interactive site for David Lynch’s world, and as I was exploring I found Bob behind some furniture!

I was scared shitless and yelled out! Seriously, if you’re looking for creeps and are a fan of Lynch, check this site out! I’m still a little chicken to go back right now.

4. The X-Files Universe

The cigarette-smoking man. The black oil. The super soldiers. That space ship that Scully investigates off the coast of Africa (vague, I know, but I don’t remember precisely where she was). So many mysteries. I loved the mythology of The X-Files, and I really think I need to re-watch it soon. Not part of the mystery, but definitely gives me shudders–“Home”. If you watched the X-Files, you know that episode is creepier than most anything ever on television.

My favorite bad boy Krycek, infected with the black oil…

5. The Tarantino Universe

A new-to-me universe. Not new as in “I’m new to Tarantino”-new, but new like I didn’t realize there was a universe. My sister recently clued me in to the fact that Tarantino’s movies are definitely connected and have different worlds of connections. I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

This is one of my favorite universes simply because I love Tarantino and I’m excited to re-watch his movies with an added purpose: unlocking the connections. Check out this reddit post for more information: “What ‘fan theories have blown your mind…”

What are your favorite fictional universes? Please share because I dig it!


Inspired by SJ, and feeling it’s only fair to give a laugh when taking one, I have come across a photo that I think is sufficiently embarassing. First, if you haven’t seen SJ’s “Embarassing Sunday Photos” post, click here!

This is me at my sister’s softball tournament, circa 1992.

Notice the awesome bangs. Please notice them, it took me a while to do them and a long time to figure out how to get them to stand straight up and over. Some teasing, a lot of hair spray, and a bit of a blow dryer.

Next, take notice of the shirt. At one time, this was the coolest shirt. It was a “hypercolor” tee-shirt. It changed color with heat, namely your fingertips. Or, at least it did until my mom washed it on hot. Then it became more similar to a tie-dye tee-shirt. “God Mom! Why can’t you read the label before you wash things? It’s not even hypercolor anymore!”

Finally, notice the sunburn and white legs. The bane of my existence. My legs were as tan as they would ever be, and even now I don’t think I could ever get them that tan again. And the burned nose. Always a peeling burned nose. Sigh. This was and is my life.

Going along with SJ, I’ll share what I KNOW was in my walkman at the time. Shut up! Color Me Badd was the coolest. They were even on Beverly Hills 90210. Before it was simply 90210.

Sorry that I’ve been absent for a bit! It was the first week of school this week, and as I’m starting the year with a new grade level, it was a bit of work! But, I’ve been planning some cool stuff!

If anyone’s interested in education and stuff, I’ve decided that my classes will be reading The Hunger Games this semester for our class novel. Then…this is the cool part…since my class will have IPads, and there’s a cool Facebook-style education app called EdModo…I’m going to turn my class into a Role-Playing Game! We’re going to be playing the Hunger Games in my class! It will be part creative-writing assignment and part motivational tool. Each student will be “reaped” with some ending up as one of the 24 tributes, and the rest will be in the Capitol designing and running the “Games”. It’s going to be awesome as each of the students competes against each other for XP (which can be earned via post-writing, grades, citizenship, participation, and creativity) and to be the last surviving tribute. Tributes will “die” via Capitol vote. And each student will have to write a weekly post–either describing their week as a tribute in the arena, or as a reporter summarizing the previous week’s events in the arena. It’s going to be SO COOL!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to, along with planning curriculum and stuff.

Hopefully, this weekend I’ll have time to read and write, and the upcoming week will be easier. In the meantime, I hope everyone’s doing well, and I’ll be back soon!

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon OutlanderToday, I’ll finish up my reading of Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. This is the second book in the Outlander series, and while it can be both considered a romance and science fiction by way of its use of time travel, Dragonfly in Amber is mainly historical fiction, imagining and relating the Jacobite uprising of 1745 by Bonnie Prince Charlie. In honor of today’s reading, I’d like to share some facts about Scotland that I find personally interesting and useful in my reading of Dragonfly in Amber. Enjoy!

Note: except where noted, these facts are directly taken from, and sometimes expanded upon from Wikipedia.

  • Scotland was an independent country until 1603. Then, the King of Scots, James VI, became King of England and Ireland as James I, beginning the Stuart monarchy in England. The two countries didn’t merge their governments until 1707, under Queen Anne’s Acts of Union, to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. One result of this merger was the end of the Stuart dynasty after Queen Anne, due to the surviving Stuarts’ Catholicism, and the eventual Jacobite uprising, which is the central historical focus of Dragonfly in Amber.

Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky

  • Scotland is reputed for its whisky (different from “whiskey” made in the United States and Ireland), known outside Scotland as Scotch Whisky. Whisky is quite beloved and revered by Jamie Fraser, one of the two main protagonists in Dragonfly in Amber.

Ewan McGregor Kilt

  • Surprisingly, whisky, kilts, tartans, and bagpipes aren’t Scottish inventions. While kilts originated in Ireland, whisky, tartans and bagpipes have origins in Central Asia. Also, genetic studies are now pointing that the mutation for red hair, which now reaches a world maximum in Western Scotland and Northern Ireland, may have originated in Central Asia too. This means that Scottish people may be (partly) descended from Central Asia.
Ben Nevis Inverness

Ben Nevis in Inverness

  • Inverness-shire, where much of the Outlander series takes place, is Scotland’s largest county, and is home to Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis (1,343 m/ 4,406 ft), Britain’s deepest lake, Loch Morar (310 m/ 1,017 ft), and Britain’s second longest and second deepest lake, the famous Loch Ness.

Blair Castle

  • The Duke of Atholl commands the only legal private army in Europe, the Atholl Highlanders, whose headquarters are at Blair Castle, Perthshire. Blair Castle also has the distinction of being the last ever place in Britain to have been besieged, in 1746. The Jacobites laid siege to the castle, and only withdrew to fight the British at the Battle of Culloden (which is what I am dreading in my reading, as that is where Jamie is fated to die. 😦 )

Scottish Road Sign inverness gaelic

  • Scotland has three officially recognized languages: English, Scots (a relative of English), and Scottish Gaelic (a completely different language). When you’re in Scotland, you can still see road signs in both English and Gaelic*.

Fraser clan crest Scotland

  • Scottish surnames are divided in two main categories: Gaelic names (typically starting with “Mac-” or “Mc-“) and Germanic names (e.g. Barclay, Blair, Brown, Cumming, Stewart, …). Outlander‘s Jaime’s names are Gaelic (Mackenzie) and French (Fraser).
  • About 5 million Americans reported Scottish ancestry. The highest concentration of people of Scottish descent are found in New England and the Northwest.

  • In 2004, Edinburgh became the UNESCO’s first City of Literature.

J.K. Rowling Scotland Harry Potter

  • Scottish literature includes such names as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and J.K. Rowling.
  • Scotland’s motto is “No one provokes me with impunity”.* This motto is surely lived by the many Scots in the Outlander series.
  • As per the census conducted in 1909, the Scots were the tallest race in Europe.* Jamie Fraser is often noted for his great size in the Outlander series.

The Unicorn of Scotland on the Scottish Coat of Arms

  • Scotland’s national animal and symbol is The Unicorn of Scotland.* How cool is that?!

* This fact derives from The Scotland Blog.

Ummm, so you guys? I have to tell you that I’m so excited…I’m going to Comic-Con tomorrow!

This will be my fourth year attending Comic-Con, and I can’t wait! Comic-Con is like Disneyland for nerds, dorks, and, of course, geeks. Borks too.

I’ve already planned out my schedule, and the major highlights for me will be:

  • My annual Guild panel
  • Game of Thrones panel
  • The Walking Dead (comic) panel
  • The Walking Dead (TV show) panel
  • Supernatural panel
  • Both of the Ray Bradbury tribute panels (featuring Joe Hill and Margaret Atwood)
  • Locke & Key panel
  • Buying toys
  • Annual Seth Green sighting
  • LARPers battling outside
  • Buying a new geeky tee
  • Discovering new comics
  • Seeing Dethklok perform on the Midway
  • Any other surprises

    Comic-Con Seth Green

    Annual Seth Green Sighting

I’m also super-stoked because Antarctic-huh? will be making its premiere on Thursday. Antarctic-huh? is a yet-to-be-released web series that my friends have been working on in their backyard for the last two years. I would include a link to the trailer, but I’m not sure where to find it on the internets. What is super-exciting is that it is being supported by Tim Heideker (of Tim and Eric Awesome Show) at The Casbah, and that we will have a booth at Comic-Con to attract potential viewers. It’s a very exciting time!

So, I’m just giving you the heads-up that I will be super-active over here on the blog with any and all of my Comic-Con adventures. Ideally, I’ll be tweeting lots of pics and posting updates as I go through the day. I wonder if the convention center has wi-fi, because otherwise I will have a HUGE AT&T bill this month!

If you’re at all interested, please check back here throughout the next five days for all of my adventures!!!

Oh man. Last night’s television was one for the books! One show almost made me weepy, while the other gave me nightmares! Here’s a bit of recap and my reflections upon Mad Men‘s “The Other Woman” and Game of Throne‘s “Blackwater“.


Mad Men: episode 511 “The Other Woman”

Image Credit:

Last night’s episode was exactly what I was hoping for…and nothing like what I expected. After Don’s epic speech last week, when he rallied the SCDP troops into working hard to win the Jaguar account, I knew that the show was about to delve into my favorite topic: work at the office! I love when the creative team is pulling all-nighters, trying to find the perfect pitch and now that Don is back into work-mode, I knew the next episode would be awesome.

And it was, but looking at the title, I should’ve known it wouldn’t be about work. Well, not advertising work. This week was all about prostitution.

The SCDP gang, led by Pete Campbell, was prostituting Joan off to some Jaguar creep. Megan was prostituting herself off in an audition (not literally, but it felt like it). And, while Don abstained from the Joan-selling, he treated Peggy like a prostitute when he flung wads of cash in her face. Then, Peggy went and sold herself to Don’s nemesis. All the while, the creative team was working on a pitch for Jaguar that sold the car as the mistress every man wants. “Finally, something beautiful you can actually own” (or something like that).

My thoughts:

  • Damn you Pete, I love you! You are such a creep, and I wish I knew how to quit you. For whatever sick reason, I’m still a Pete fan. He’s just so damn tragic.
  • I wonder if Lane is going to get caught in his illegal money dealings. Why didn’t you just talk to Don?! You’re just getting in thicker and thicker. Two more episodes left of the season…I hope nothing too terrible happens to Lane.
  • Oh Joanie, Joanie… on one hand, my larger hand (picture a huge hand a’la the Foo Fighter’s “Everlong” video), I am sickened by the idea of you having to sleep with that icky orc to help the firm land Jaguar. On the other hand, I remember you in season one, when you were hooking up with other icky old dudes, trying to get a ring on your finger. You’ve got a ring on your finger, and now you have a partnership. The crappy thing is, everyone knows that you slept to the top. Not a very feminist viewpoint, I know, but, like Cersei said in tonight’s GoT episode, the greatest weapon a woman has, besides tears, is the one between her legs. Cersei’s got a point, and she’s a queen, and “what would it take to make you a queen?” asks Pete Campbell.
  • In a parallel with Joanie, I think Megan will soon need to do whatever it takes to become a successful actress. Whatever it takes. Good times are in store at the Draper house!
  • My precious Peggy. Role model and icon.  I have been frustrated with Don’s treatment of you this season, but I’m still all about Don. I despise the idea of you working for that little twerp over at the rival agency. It won’t be the same for you, and I don’t think you’ll like it at all. I am proud of you for standing up to Don, and hopefully this will wake him up a bit, but eventually we will need you to return to SCDP. You can’t go. Ugh. Almost wept at the hand-kissing goodbye.

NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE: “Commisions and Fees”

Not that the trailer really gives us any hints. As usual, I have NO IDEA what’s coming up!

Game of Thrones: episode 2.9 “Blackwater”

Image Credit: HBO.COM

Finally, we have battle! Last night’s episode focused solely upon the pivotal Battle of the Blackwater Bay. It…was…epic!

The funny thing with this battle is that viewers (and readers) are really rooting for neither side. The evil Lannisters or the lame Stannis? Neither please! But, there’s Tyrion on one side–we love him! And there’s Davos the Onion Knight on the other side–he’s a good guy! It’s a pyrrhic victory either way you slice it. Here’s my thoughts on the episode:

  • Written by George R.R. Martin! Yes!
  • Love you Tyrion. You sweet, genius little man! You want love from Shae, friendship from Bronn, and respect from your family. Your only means seems to be the Lannister coffers. You have all of the above from me for free!
  • Loved the shots of the incoming Stannis ships. It felt like I was watching the opening Normandy scenes of Saving Private Ryan. For a fantasy nerd like me, I can count the Battle of Blackwater Bay worthy of memorial on Memorial Day. Plus, it reminded me that I need to pop in Band of Brothers for my annual viewing!
  • Son of a bitch (literally) Joffrey! “Kiss it” he says to Sansa. You kiss it, you little psychotic dweebazoid coward! He is such an idiot. I enjoy yelling at the TV “Joffrey, you are so stupid!” as much as I used to enjoy yelling “shut up Dawn!” at the TV when watching Buffy. I love the Joffrey scenes.
  • Bronn vs. The Hound. Who would win? Bronn is very quick, as he points out. Yet, The Hound can obviously take a licking and keep on ticking. I’m not sure who I’d stake my money on, but I think The Hound owns a little bit of my Westeros heart. So, I’d want him to win.
  • Ever since reading A Dance with Dragons, I am obsessed with watching Varys at work. He is so clever, and I am always trying to figure out what deception he’s up to and when he’s being honest. I enjoy his scenes with Tyrion, and tonight’s brief talk between the two was one of my favorites. I, like Varys, despise the sound of church bells because it reminds me of weddings.
  • Whoo! Wildfire! I was as giddy as the little pyromancer! Big shocker that the wildfire was like porno for the little pyro!
  • Finally, Cersei is showing her really sinister side. Her talk with Sansa in the Red Keep really reflected whom I know Cersei to be–an evil bitch.
  • Stupid pretty boy Lancel. He looks like he stepped off of the set of Velvet Goldmine. Can’t you just see Lancel in a Ziggy Stardust outfit?
  • What happened to Tyrion’s chains?
  • I can’t remember who that man was who struck Tyrion down. Ser Boros Blount? Ser Meryn Trant? One of the Kettleblacks? Gotta reread!
  • Saved by lil Podrick Payne!
  • I knew she wouldn’t, but I wish Sansa would’ve gone off with The Hound. I have a sick fantasy where they fall madly in love as they journey across Westeros. Never would happen, but still. Is this how fan fiction starts?
  • Tywin to the rescue…unfortunately? And who’s that with him? Ser Loras Tyrell? He kinda looked like Lancel for a minute there, but Lancel would never be in such a heroic situation.

NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE: “Valar Morghulis”

Thank goodness! Based on the trailer, and the title alone, I know we get to see Jaqen H’ghar once more. I was a little worried there when Arya and friends stepped out of Harrenhal without saying goodbye. One last episode, and then it will be another long wait!

Did you watch either of these episodes last night? What were your thoughts?

Hi friends!

It’s been a long while in blogging time, but I think I’m back for this weekend.

I have been working like a Crazy Horse due to it being testing time at my school. Gotta get my kids proficient so that I can get my job back next year!

Plus, I just got a tad bit burned out on books and talking about books. No joke, I haven’t read a book since the Readathon…I’m still working on A Clash of Kings, and I’ve barely made any headway! But, I’m gonna work on it this weekend (three-day!) and will hopefully be caught up to the battle of Blackwater Bay by Sunday night when I watch it onGame of Thrones.

That’s one thing that I have been good about–watching TV. Mad Men: it’s getting good! Game of Thrones: goddamned Joffrey!

However, I have missed being here…I wouldn’t mind working on a Top Ten this weekend. So, I’m gonna see if I’m ready to talk again. I’m not sure if it will be the same as before–I have a lot of interests other than books that I’d like to talk about. So, I’m gonna ruminate over what I want to do with Adventures in Borkdom over the weekend. Look for me on Twitter, I’m going to try to be active there this weekend too!