My Love / Hate Relationship with Magic the Gathering

On Sunday, I attended my first Magic the Gathering pre-release for the Ravnica Allegiance expansion. Me, my brother, and my two friends from college met up at the coffee / game store I occasionally work at. I played terribly at this pre-release because I didn’t win a single match. Honestly, I was slightly embarrassed having to turn in my score card saying I lost eight matches. The worker at the game shop even made a comment and was giving me sympathy which made me feel worse. This is what prompted my post describing in detail my love / hate relationship with Magic the Gathering. 

2019 Pre Release Jan 20th .jpeg

I started playing Magic the Gathering in 2003 when my uncle taught me and my brother how to play. I became obsessed with the mechanics of the cards, the art on each card and the story behind each set. I even had a Magic the Gathering birthday where I received a hand picked deck and played Magic all day. This teaching didn’t stick as I gave up the game a year later because I became focused on other things. Ten years later, I was in college and an ex-boyfriend of mine had been playing Magic more often with his friends. I decided then I would try again and re-learn how to play.

One thing that was different when learning Magic in 2013 was realizing how toxic the Magic the Gathering community can be. I had played against players who were specifically targeting me because I was the only woman in the group. I had players where if I was winning, they would “scoop” or draw from the match instead of allowing the game to finish. I had players be condescending towards me if I was losing and telling me I had “a lot to learn” if I ever wanted to win against them. The toxicity I experienced became exhausting to deal with.

It led to several times where I would play Magic more often and then go breaks without playing. I became discouraged at times based on who I had played with recently. I don’t want to give up a hobby based on my experiences within the community, but it’s hard not to. I will say, my brother and my two friends never made me feel embarrassed because I hadn’t won a game. They were friendly to me and my brother wants to sit down and play more games with me and offer strategy advice which I would find beneficial.

Simic Pre Release Jan 20th.jpeg

My specific goals involving Magic the Gathering is to play more! I can only get better as a player if I play more games. I also downloaded Magic the Gathering arena which is an online format of the game where you play against players in real time. This way even if I can’t get in a physical game at a game shop, I can play at the comfort of my own home. Finally, I discovered an all female Magic group that plays at various game stores in Minneapolis. I’m hoping this will be a judgement free place to learn more about the game without the harassment I had experienced in the past.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the game if you ever played. Specifically if you have experienced harassment in this community, let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

Batman: Hush Comic Review

Hush, Little Baby don’t say a word. Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird. 

HUsh.jpg

Batman: Hush graphic novel cover. Image from Amazon.

After beating Batman Arkham Knight for the 2nd time, I became fascinated with reading more Batman comics. I’m currently reading through Knightquest which is the story line in which Batman’s back is broken by Bane. This story line is what inspired the Dark Knight Rises film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Recently, I finished reading Batman: Hush written by Jeph Loeb. Loeb is a familar face to fandom as he was hired by Marvel Entertainment to co-head the Marvel Television series including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. This graphic novel is probably one of my favorite Batman stories I have read thus far.

Batman: Hush begins with Batman attempting a rescue mission for a kidnapped boy being held by Killer Croc. After saving the boy, he chases Catwoman around Gotham City for money she stole from Killer Croc. When Batman catches up with her, his grapple gun line snaps and he falls to the ground. Bruce Wayne has devastating physical injuries which are repaired by his childhood friend and renowned surgeon, Thomas Elliot. Throughout the story, we see past memories interwoven in the story detailing Bruce and Thomas’s friendship.

As Batman figures out who deliberately cut his line, he recognizes other super villains coming after him within a few days of each other. It becomes clear to Batman that someone is trying to take him down while also knowing incredibly personal information about him. The main premise behind this story is who could be the mastermind behind the vicious attacks against Batman.

I truly ship Batman and Catwoman together. I enjoy their romantic partnership as Batman and Catwoman are both anti-heroes who think they are doing the right thing while also bending the law to fit their needs. You may have seen this famous image of Batman and Catwoman kissing which is found from this graphic novel:

Batman Catwoman.jpg

Batman & Catwoman. Image by DC Data Base 

Batman: Hush is perfect for introducing comics to new fans. Within the first two chapters, famous Batman villains are introduced which has been a common complaint from other fans about this story. I personally loved it because it fits the plot.

Who else has read Batman: Hush? I would love to hear your comments below along with your favorite Batman comic.

 

Playing in the Dark Ages New D&D Campaign

Toward the end of December, a good friend of mine created a group Facebook group regarding a D&D campaign he wanted to start. It was going to be set in the Dark Ages with 5e mechanics. The boyfriend had never role played before, so this would be an exciting opportunity to introduce D&D to him. We had our first session yesterday complete with Moscow mules, pizza and snacks. I briefly wanted to recap the campaign and share what’s to come in future sessions.

January 12th 2019 First DnD Session.jpeg

I’m all for looking cute to play D&D. *image taken by me for my instagram story.*

My character is named Althaea and she is a level #1 Elf Sorcerer who happens to be an Occult Investigator. When she was young, she started developing magical abilities much to the chagrin of her father. Her father refused to teach her how to defend herself due to being in fear of the dark source of Althaea’s magic. When Althaea was 10, her father was killed by an evil spirit. Althaea has sworn revenge on this evil spirit and finding more information behind her father’s murder.

Althaea Character Sheet .jpeg

Althaea’s character sheet! *image taken by me*

Our campaign began in January of 453 AD. Side note, as our DM revealed the date, each of our group members wrote the year wrong. I still don’t know how that was possible considering he was sitting right next to us. Our characters were trapped in a burning village being attacked by barbarians. Six of them came after us. I rolled very poorly most of the time during this attack which led to me having only one hit point at the end of the battle. Once the barbarians were slayed, we investigated another town which also was being invaded by barbarians. Althaea did a lot better as she used her “ice knife” spell and it ended up landing on one of the barbarians.

After defeating the barbarians, our group of five is approached by an inn keeper. He offers us rooms since we saved his village from the barbarians. One of our characters rolled an intelligence check to determine if the innkeeper was hiding something from us. The innkeeper is hiding something, but throughout this session, none of our characters figured what it was. Althaea did attempt to flirt with the inn keeper, but I rolled so low that he pushed me away and wouldn’t talk to me. It was at this moment I realize I should have been a Bard. Anyway, not much happened after that, but our DM said the innkeeper is hiding something huge and the name of our next session is titled “Murder House.”

Overall it was a great first session. I will say I don’t have a lot of experience with character building with 5e rules. There was a lot I didn’t create with my character prior to the session beginning. Thankfully, the group I’m playing with is rather forgiving. The DM even admitted he wished he did a bit more research and had a map for the players to look at.

Thanks for reading my recap! Our next session is planned for Saturday February 2nd, so expect a post somewhere near then.

 

Queer Eye – Which One of the Fab 5 is My Soulmate.

In 2003, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy aired on Bravo. I would watch a couple episodes with my mom and the only guy I actively remember was Carson Kressley. My mom liked watching the transformations and seeing them learn to love themselves. Now, Queer Eye has been rebooted on Netflix and I haven’t had time to watch it, until now. This show is more meaningful than giving a makeover, it’s giving someone their confidence back. Before I reveal which one of the Fab 5 is my soulmate (thanks to Buzzfeed), I wanted to share a little bit about the cast.

Queer Eye from Netflix.jpg

Image from Netflix (from left to right Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, and Tan France).

Bobby Berk

Bobby is the interior design expert on the team. Some of the apartments he has redone look incredible. One of my favorite episodes is Below Average Joe where Bobby redesigns a basement for a man who still lives with his parents. This basement doesn’t look like a basement, but more like a modern apartment once it’s finished. Bobby has impeccable taste in furniture too. Can he come to my apartment?

Karamo Brown

Karamo is by far the coolest out of the five. He’s the culture expert which I take that as teaching someone how to act, network on social media and be more confident. His connection with Cory in the episode Dega Don’t was a moving episode. Cory’s friend is a police officer who pulls the Fab 5 over as a “joke”. With all of the recent police shootings involving killing unarmed African Americans, this alarms Karamo. Cory and Karamo discuss the political nature of unarmed police shootings and how African Americans are treated by police officers in general. It creates one of the most political episodes in Queer Eye, but I’m glad Karamo and Cory were able to have such a respectful conversation with each other.

Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan is my favorite of the Queer Eye Fab 5. I can’t stop smiling every time Jonathan says “YAAAAASSS QUEEEN.”. If I had all the money in the world, I would hire him to be my daily beauty assistant. He is the hair, skin care and style expert of the group. I’m a fan of his style because he pushes boundaries without giving a flying fuck about what anyone thinks of him. Also he has beautiful hair and I’m jealous.

Antoni Porowski

Antoni is the one I have the biggest crush on because he’s so damn attractive. He has the best smile, great hair and could cook me the most delicious dinner. Being the “foodie” of the group, I would argue his expertise is most important. You can look great, but if you can cook, even better.

Tan France

Tan and Jonathan are the Ying & the Yang. Jonathan is the hair and beauty product expert where Tan is the style icon. I felt the series does a great job at highlighting Tan’s personality. I would say he’s one of the more quiet guys in the group which helps to balance them out.

So who is my soulmate??? Drum roll please…..

 

Tan Buzz Feed Quiz Results.png

I’m not mad about this. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping for Antoni, but Tan is a great choice. When I read the description for Tan, this doesn’t sound like my personality. I wouldn’t label myself as direct, although I love going shopping for new clothes to wear.

I cannot recommend Queer Eye enough. The show is lighthearted, while also diving into some tough political topics. Tears have been shed in many of the episodes and I’m surprised at how addicted I became to the show in just watching one episode. I’m not on season #2 yet, but I’m excited to watch more stories unfold in the heart of the deep South.

 

Fuel Your Force – Star Wars Fitness

Happy New Year! 2019 has barely begun, but I have so many exciting plans coming up in the next couple of months. My gym has started to get busier as more people flock to achieve health goals set in the beginning of 2019. My editor at Twin Cities Geek sent me a link from the Star Wars website about their new plan titled Fuel Your Force.  This is a new feature to combine the Star Wars Fandom with healthy eating tips, workout guides and mindfulness articles to help keep fans on track with their goals.

Star Wars Fuel Your Fitness.png

Fuel Your Force – from the Star Wars website. 

I’m especially looking forward to the new Star Wars workout gear. Geek workout gear is hard to find. I know Her Universe has released workout gear in the past, but I find it’s sized smaller than I would like it to be. I also find her gear to be a little too see through for me. Exercise pants need to be thick, I don’t want someone to see my underwear or lack thereof because the pants are too thin.

Reading through the launch article, I like that Fuel Your Force will cover many aspects of health. It’s not just about eating vegetables and participating in planned exercise. If our mental health is not there, motivation will drop. This is something I see at the gym I exercise at when the gym quiets down in March.

Overall, I’m invested in this concept. I’m going to check the main Star Wars page more often now looking for new fitness advice or workout gear.

 

4th Annual 2018 Bookish End of Year Survey

This is my 4th year participating in Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Survey specifically relating to books, graphic novels or manga read this year. I started this in 2015 and I will continue to participate for many more years to come. Last year, I read 46 books which was a record turnout for me. This year, I only read 39 books although for 2019, I’m going to attempt to read fifty books. In the meantime, here is my 2018 End of Year Book Survey answers.

*This is going to be a longer blog post, Sorry… (not sorry).*

2018 Reading Stats

Number of Books You Read: 39

Number of Re-Reads: 1. I re-read the first issue of Hawkeye #1 My Life is a Weapon. 

Genre You Read the Most From: Graphic Novels, but to be fair, it’s much quicker to read a graphic novel than a traditional book.

best-YA-books-2014-900x244.jpg

1. Best Book Read in 2018

Ship It Book.jpg

Ship It by Britta Lundin. I absolutely adored the premise behind this book because it takes place on a convention tour. I also appreciate the representation with the LGBTQIA+ population since it highlights a lesbian relationship. Britta is also a writer on Riverdale which encouraed me to purchase this book on the boyfriend’s kindle. I’m debating purchasing the paperback version to add to my book collection.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Would Love More But Didn’t?

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. To summarize the book’s plot, Louise is an insecure, single woman living in England. While staying at a hotel, she meets David at the hotel bar who is incredibly irresistible. Louise is devastated to find out David is married to Adele who looks like a supermodel. As Louise develops a friendship with Adele, she finds their relationship to be unhealthy and it becomes clear something is odd about the two of them. Without spoiling the plot, this book has a supernatural twist at the end which was off putting and I didn’t like it.

3. Most Surprising (In a Good or Bad Way) Book You Read?

Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn had a nice surprise twist in the end. Imagine the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie Rear Window meets Gone Girl. There’s still time to read this book before the movie is released in October of 2019. The movie will star Amy Adams in the title role.

4. Best Series You Started in 2018?

WarCross

Image from GoodReads.com

Warcross by Marie Lu is a great book especially if you consider yourself a gamer. Emika is a hacker who enjoys playing the world renowned game called Warcross. When she accidentally hacks into the Warcross World Championship, she’s flown to meet Hideo Tanaka, the creator of Warcross. He tasks her with finding the identity of another hacker who Hideo believes is going to ruin the Championship game. Emika becomes involved in the scandal which has its consequences with everyone involved.

I’m shocked because I found out today that the sequel, Wildcard, was released a couple months ago. Initially, I thought Wildcard was being released in 2019. I’m going to use some of my Barnes & Noble gift card money to purchase Wildcard and it will become my top priority to read it next year.

5. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I really liked Amy Schumer’s autobiography titled The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. I know there’s a lot of controversy with her regarding whether or not she steals jokes. I personally haven’t looked into that much, but I do like Amy’s sense of humor. I found her book to be funny with a nice touch of personal stories from her past. I appreciate the story she wrote on gun violence as I also believe we, in the United States, have to do something to end mass shootings.

6. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

Even though I didn’t like The Post Mortal by Drew Magary, I thought the book posed fascinating hypothetical questions. In this book, the cure for aging is discovered which poses the question of whether or not human should take the cure. I personally wouldn’t because I would hate to live for eternity without my loved ones unless my loved ones could get the cure as well. Unfortunately, this book’s pacing was a little too boring for me so it ended up taking forever for me to finish it.

7. Book That Shocked You The Most

Calamity Book Review.jpg

Calamity is Brandon Sanderson’s concluding book in the Steelheart trilogy which is one of my favorite trilogies I read. This trilogy stars David, a teenager who exists in a world where once the star, Calamity, appeared in the sky, humans were given powers. David joined the Reckoner’s, a rebel group which sought to fight evil Epics (humans with powers). Calamity reveals the history behind the star which is what shocked me the most because it wasn’t what I had anticipated it would be.

8. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) *One True Pairing*

Claire & Tess from Ship It are so cute together! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

9. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I’m going to nominate Saga for this one. I read the first volume in 2017 and I read both volumes #2 & #3 this year. Unfortunately, Saga is on a hiatus  right now, but the only positive part about this news is that I have time to catch up since there are eight volumes in the series.

10. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

It’s going to be a tie between Warcross and Calamity. Both books created equally thrilling environments. Honestly, I wish both Warcross and the Steelheart trilogy were getting movies. This would be visually stunning to see, but never say never I suppose.

11. Hidden Gem of the Year?

Manhattan Projects

The Manhattan Projects is a series I wish I had read earlier. It combines history, science and aliens into one epic graphic novel. book-blogging.jpg

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I enjoy watching Super Space Chick’s Youtube Channel even though we don’t always have the same book interests. Kristin reads a lot more Young Adult and Contemporary novels than I do. However, our interests coincide with her recommendations of Fantasy and Science Fiction novels. One of my favorite books I read in 2017 titled This is Our Story by Ashley Elston was recommended to me after reading one of Kristin’s blog posts. I hopefully plan on following more book bloggers in 2019.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shelf

I really liked my post regarding my love for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Sexual assault is an issue I hold near my heart due to being a woman along with how women are treated when they report sexual violence. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo does a great job balancing such a delicate issue while also allowing the survivor to take revenge against her rapist. This post also acquired more comments than I initially thought it would which is a nice bonus.

3. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Can I say being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?? I try to read before bed which doesn’t work out because I end up passing out at 8:30 PM instead of reading a chapter and then going to bed. When I was in college, I read a lot more books than I do now. That’s why I’m setting my reading goal in 2019 to be 50 books to encourage myself to read more next year.

4. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Most of my comic book posts never get any comments or likes which always makes me sad. Comics are such an important part of my life and I wish these posts were more well received. I write what I want to write about which means I may not get any attention on blog posts that I feel deserve the spotlight, but that’s okay.

looking-ahead-books-2015-900x244

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

My top books I’m Looking Forward to Reading Are:

  • Wildcard, the sequel to Warcross by Marie Lu
  • The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston. I mentioned This is Our Story a couple paragraphs ago which is also written by Elston. She’s one of those authors where I will be on the lookout if she releases a new book.

2. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

I’m going to attempt to read Game of Thrones this year, wish me luck. This is mostly because of my friend’s obsession with the TV series along with the fact that I have the biggest celebrity crush on Richard Madden after watching the Bodyguard. 

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Princess & the Fangirl by Ashley Poston who also wrote Geekerella. Geekerella was a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, but with a comic con twist. It’s being released April 2nd 2019 and I’m considering pre-ordering it.

If you end up completing this book survey, link your post in the comments below. Happy New Year book readers! 🙂

 

 

 

 

2018 Pop Culture Year in Review

2018 became a memorable year loaded with trips, comic book conventions and everlasting memories. I wanted to write my recap post a little bit earlier before time gets away from me and I forget to publish it. 2018 was a fantastic year.

Movies I saw in Theaters:

Aqua Man 2

Seeing Aquaman early! Picture taken by the boyfriend

  • Black Panther *twice*
  • Avengers Infinity War 
  • Solo: A Star Wars Adventure
  • Antman & the Wasp 
  • Mission Impossible Fallout 
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me 
  • Venom 
  • Crimes of Grindelwald 
  • Robin Hood 
  • Aquaman 

My Favorite Movie of 2018: This is a tough call, but I’m going to have to say it’s a tie between Aquaman and Black Panther. Aquaman was a win for DC’s movie universe and Black Panther was representation for the African American community along with the fact it was an amazing movie.

TV Shows I Watched:

BBC Bodyguard

Richard Madden ❤ ❤ ❤ Image by BBC

  • Riverdale Season #2
  • Rewatching Jessica Jones Season #1 
  • Jessica Jones Season #2 
  • Parks and Recreation 
  • Mindhunter 
  • Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan 
  • Luke Cage Season #2 
  • Iron Fist Season #2
  • The Bodyguard 
  • DC’s Titans 

My Favorite TV Show in 2018: I’m indecisive which led to me picking The Bodyguard and Parks & Recreation. The Bodyguard is only six episodes long which meant I finished it in a day. Richard Madden is an excellent actor and it also helps he’s extremely attractive. Parks & Recreation has easily become one of my all time favorite TV shows which is surprising considering I didn’t think I would like the show initially. Shout out to the boyfriend for convincing me to watch this with him.

 Video Games I Played:

Black Cat Game Informer

This Spider-Man DLC rocks. Image from Insomniac Games

  • Lego Marvel Superheroes 
  • Uncharted Drake’s Fortune 
  • Uncharted #2 Among Thieves 
  • Uncharted #3 Drake’s Deception 
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man + the DLC

My Favorite Video Game of 2018: Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best game in 2018. I probably will end up playing through the campaign again in 2019.

2018 Biggest Pop Culture Moments:

  • James Gunn’s pedophile Tweets resulting in him being fired by Marvel
  • The disgusting Brett Kavanaugh trial.
  • Aziz Ansari and the importance of asking for consent prior to engaging in sexual activity

Biggest Pop Culture Moment: The Aziz Ansari story shocked me when it first released online. Reading through the story, Ansari crossed the line. If someone says no about wanting to engage in any sexual activity, that’s a no. It doesn’t give you a free pass to try other activity. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get consent. This incident shows how little people know about what giving consent looks like because it’s not discussed in sex education and that’s a big problem.

Podcast I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:

Anna Faris’s Unqualified Podcast was recommended to me by my best friend. In each episode, Anna interviews a celebrity of sorts and then they take questions from fans. I prefer the questions from fans because it’s interesting hearing their life problems and hearing Anna Faris’s advice. This is the one podcast I will make sure I’m caught up on.

Catchiest Song in 2018:

I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin has been on repeat every time I work out. Anytime this song beats through my head phones, I work out harder with whatever I’m doing.

Conventions Attended in 2018:

Panelist 2

First Panel at Convergence 2019 

Waiting in line for Matthew Lewis

Planet Comic Con: Waiting for Matthew Lewis’s Autograph 

4. (Planet Comicon, Convergence, Spring MSP Comicon and Fall MSP Comicon).

Personal Memories:

Top Three Memories in 2018:

Adopting Athena:

Halloween 2018 2

I’m so lucky to have this kitty in my apartment. If you follow me on Instagram, I post a cat picture often. I can’t help it, she’s too adorable. Cats are easy to take care of and it’s nice to come home from work and a have a fur ball waiting for me by the door.

Driving to Boston:

397

My family has started a tradition of going on one major family vacation every year. This year we drove to Boston. Boston is a city I had always wanted to visit and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s colonial history combined with the East Coast environment led me to falling in love with the city.

Flying to the Big Apple

Brooklyn Bridge

I will say, Boston has nothing on NYC. New York City was ginormous, but captivating. Central Park was much bigger than I had expected it would be. Getting lost in the subway is something I will never forget, but it taught me how to navigate around. If I were to visit NYC again, I would do a lot better with knowing where to go.

My Resolution for 2019:

Spend lots of money at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando!