Friday, October 24, 2014

Life with Pets: Dinnertime

As the day approaches evening, THREE and JUJU return to their apartment after work with a few bags from the grocery store. ZOLA eagerly bounces in front of them, excited that a) her humans are home and b) she will be going outside to pee and poop. BITSY sits on the arm of the chair situated right next to the front door; BINA remains in the window (where she has appropriately destroyed yet another part of the blinds); and KITKAT emerges from her slumber on the couch with a wide-mouthed yawn.

THREE: We're home!
JUJU: Hang on a second, Zola. Let me help Three with the bags, and then I'll take you out.
BITSY: I was lonely!!
BINA: (does not move but looks in the direction of the half-full - or are they half-empty - food bowls) Hungry?

Bitsy leaps onto Juju's shoulder with ease and begins to knead out of sheer joy. 

JUJU: Ow! Fuck! Stop it!

Unfortunately, Juju does not have the arms available to remove the unruly kitty from her back, so she purses her lips and trudges toward the kitchen area. Bitsy hisses at Kitkat as Juju passes by the lounging older cat, but Kitkat seems to merely shrug and starts to lick herself.

THREE: She's your cat.
JUJU: (eyeing Kitkat) And the bitchy one's yours.
THREE: True.

The two humans place the grocery bags on the counter, and while Three starts to pull food items out of them to make dinner, Juju lowers herself to let Bitsy jump off of her shoulders. Bitsy lands softly on top of some papers and then proceeds to knock them off of the counter. Juju rolls her eyes and mentally notes to pick the papers up when she returns.

JUJU: You ready to go outside? Potty time??
ZOLA: O.M.G. YUSSSSSS. This is the best day EVAR!

Juju struggles to keep Zola still as she tries to attach the lead to the dog's collar. When it finally latches, Zola jumps up and down with delight. 

JUJU: We'll be back in a minute!

As soon as the door closes, Bitsy turns her attention to what Three is doing at the kitchen sink.

BITSY: Whatcha doin'?
THREE: So it begins.

Bitsy sticks her paw out as Three chops celery stalks, but he quickly swats at her.

THREE: Quit it.
BITSY: What are you dooooing?
THREE: I'm making food. You don't like celery.
THREE: We have done this dance time and time again. You only spit it out and then sniff at it. Sometimes you just flick it on the ground and stare at it.
THREE: Go on. Go play with Kitkat. Or better yet, go look out the window for Mommy and Zola.
BITSY: This is far more interesting.

The human and cat continue to battle. Every time Bitsy makes an advance on the raw food items, Three simply picks her up and puts her down on the ground. And then Bitsy tries to take a different route back onto the counter, hoping that Three won't see her. 

BINA: Hungry???

While Bitsy and Three have warred, Bina has surreptitiously hopped onto the counter opposite of the stove and stares at the scene with a plaintive look. 

THREE: There is food in your bowl.
BINA: I don't see any?
THREE: (sighs) Check again.

Bitsy knocks over a bowl of newly chopped cilantro into the sink.

BITSY: I don't like that stuff .
THREE: Dammit, Bitsy.
BITSY: Do you have chicken?
THREE: No, this is a meat-free dinner.
BITSY: (horrified) WHY.

Juju and Zola return from the poop-and-pee parade, with the puppy exhilarated and the human frustrated. 

JUJU: She just had to go greet every person in the parking lot, and she tugged so hard that it ripped the leash right out of my hand.
THREE: But she pooped?
JUJU: (growls) Yes. She pooped. Right next to the grass. Good thing my mom bought those pooper scooper baggie things.

Three makes a sharp turn to grab another bowl and stumbles. He looks down to see an oblivious Zola staring up at him.

ZOLA: Daddy! We are playing the foot-pets game again?
THREE: No, Zola. You need to get out of the kitchen.

Zola's ears droop and her eyes widen. 

THREE: Zola. Go on.
ZOLA: (bounces backward about one inch) Is this far enough?
THREE: Out. Of. The. Kitchen.

Zola sulks just outside of the carpet-meets-linoleum barrier line with what appears to be an expression very close to a pout. After a few minutes, as Juju distracts the animals from bothering Three, the husband comes out of the kitchen with two bowls of bean salad, a favorite meal of both humans, and toasted pita chips. 

JUJU: Oooooh, I can smell the cilantro from here!
BITSY: Wait, do I like cilantro?
BITSY: ... Oh.
ZOLA: Oh, I would like to eat human food very much!
KITKAT: (as Three nearly sits down on her on the couch) Hey! I was sitting here first!!! (off his glare) Okay, fine. I'll sit up on the back of the couch, then.

Bina hops up right next to Juju and sniffs the pita chips. Bitsy continues to swat at Three's plate from the arm of the couch, and Zola places her giant head in between Juju's legs, staring forlornly at her owner. 

BINA: Food?
BITSY: Gimme.
ZOLA: Please, I would like some.
THREE: Okay, guys, go away. You all have food in your bowls.
BITSY/ZOLA/BINA: But it's not people food.
THREE: (to Juju) This is your fault.
JUJU: (sheepishly) I know. I'm sorry. But they're just so cute. And it's usually only, like, a single chip or a tiny little bite. And I don't do it every time. (pause) You want to go eat in the bed-closet? We can close the door.
THREE: (considers for a moment) Yeah. That sounds like a good idea.

Three and Juju rise, lifting their plates above the cats' reach, and make their way to the bed-closet, the animals - except Kitkat - in close pursuit. When Juju shuts the door behind them, all four animals stare in confusion. 

ZOLA: But ... but ...
KITKAT: I wasn't even trying to steal the food!
BINA: Hungry?
BITSY: Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! I want in!

Bitsy scratches at the door and, suddenly noticing that Kitkat is less than a kitty's body-length away from her, starts to hiss. 

BITSY: Tyrannical Not-Friend!!
KITKAT: I have literately been here the entire time.
ZOLA: (cowering between Kitkat and Bitsy and whining) I think I want to not be here now.

Juju yanks the door open in frustration, scaring the animals. 

JUJU: You. Guys. All we want is five minutes. That's it. Five minutes to eat in peace. CAN YOU JUST STOP MAKING NOISE PLEASE?

After a few moments, Bitsy launches at Kitkat and then leaps up on Juju's shoulder and into the bed-closet, where she lands on the middle shelf of the wall-attached bookshelves. Kitkat blinks and shrugs, sauntering into the bed-closet, and Zola follows her, pushing the door fully open with her giant 50-pound bulldog body. Only Bina remains in the small hallway, staring up at Juju.

BINA: Hungry?
JUJU: (sighs) Fine. Come on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Trilogy Challenge + Updates

Via The Vanishing Blog

I really am a total nerd, something that I've touched on a few times. I've now done two challenges on really geeky things (Buffy and Battlestar Galactica), and I am one hundred percent okay with this. And to continue on my path to Complete Nerd-dom, I bring you the Mass Effect challenge for this November. For those of you not in The Know, November 7th is N7 Day, referencing Commander Shepard's vocational code (N7 - special forces with the highest level of proficiency) within the Alliance military. What? I told you I was a fucking nerd.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Pull List for October 22, 2014

I have absolutely no Marvel titles this week. I'm not sure what this says about me. Like, I used to be so damn sure that I was a bigger fan of Marvel than of DC, but that is quickly proving to not be the case. For instance, Green Lantern: New Guardians is quickly becoming one of my favorite series; Batman and Justice League have intrigued me with their current story lines; Earth 2: World's End doesn't confuse the hell out of me like I thought it would, considering how many different characters there are; and Batgirl is probably one of the most fun things I've read in a while. Plus, they're putting out a lot of new titles - Gotham Academy, the below-mentioned Arkham Manor, and the whole Multiversity series - that are, so far, pretty great. Granted, Marvel, I think, tends to have series that suit me better - Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Thor, the soon-to-be-released Spider-Woman - and indie publishers like Boom! Studios and Image keep exciting me far more than the Marvel and DC combined, but this may change as I become more interested in the DC universe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pull List: Deadpool's The Art of War #1 Review

You know, I think Deadpool walks around with Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" playing in the background at all times. That's what I kept hearing as I was reading the first issue of the new Deadpool miniseries, at least. He keeps getting these grand ideas - agreeing to help Dracula with a "package," killing the Marvel universe and then the famous literary heroes that inspired the writers of the Marvel universe, joining up with Brute Force (and a mecha-orca), etc. - and, so far, things haven't always worked out like he thought. But hey, that's what keeps bringing readers back, am I right?
Via Comic Vine
Spoilers ahead, kids, so if you'd rather start reading blind, you can turn back now. Or ... just don't click on the "read more" thingy.

Continued progress on Harley :D

I'm incredibly proud of this piece, you guys. Like, seriously. I may actually sell these where I work.
Harley Quinn as the Greek goddess Eris
Nearly complete!
All Rights Reserved by Jennifer Trela 2014
Also, the contest is coming to a close here in a few days, and while I can't comment (yet) as to whether there is or is not a winner, I will say that I will be doing a few consolation prizes in addition to the grand prize of three (yes, I changed it as of this post) prints of my DC Goddesses. Two runners up will receive one print of their choice, so be sure to check my Instagram and comment your guess as to what my costume is going to be! I'll be posting some more obvious clues there over the next couple of days, and there's always a chance you could be a winner.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dear Sister Person Book Club: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Dear Sister Person,

What have I ever done to you? Is it because I chose Beth Ciotta twice? Is it because I once refused to go back into Bruegger's Bagels to retrieve your retainer from the trash (because you couldn't do it yourself, for some reason)? Is it because I "ruined" your childhood by telling you Santa Claus wasn't real? I mean, absolutely none of those - combined even - warrants forcing me to read about Katherine "Kitty" Katt and her misadventures with winged "superbeings."
Touched by an Alien by Gina Koch
Via My Not So Vacant Shelf
Also, it does not bode well for this book if the dude on the cover looks like the least favorite of my exes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Holidays?

So, as many of you know, I'm doing that 100 Happy Days challenge thing over on my Facebook, where I post a picture a day of something that makes me happy. I'm forty-five days in - and I'm actually a little surprised that I've only been late twice - and each day, it's actually getting easier to decide on what I'm going to post. Yesterday, I settled on "the holiday season" as my next picture, and I jump on Google, ready to indulge myself on lots and lots of images of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice. And feel free to remind me of any others that I'm forgetting.

And yet, what do I see??

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pull List for October 15, 2014

I'm slowly starting to shave off a few titles from my monthly pull list. Sensational Comics Feat. Wonder Woman, Transformers, and Death Vigil are just a couple that I've decided not to read any longer, which is a huge sigh of relief from my pocketbook. There are a couple on this week's list that might not make it for many more weeks, but for the most part, I think I've established my rhythm for the time being.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Pull List: Batgirl #35 Review

It's taken me quite a while for me to come to terms with the fact that I am part of the Millennial generation, even if I am at the tail end of it (1983, bitches!). Now, it's kind of one of those things where I begrudgingly look at my life situation and think, "Ugh, YES, I feel what these 20-somethings are feeling." However, this is not to say that I don't find my younger counterparts to be equally baffling and irritating, as evidenced by a recent obsession with VHS tapes. Like, really, Millennials. Do you know nothing about the crappiness of VHS tapes? Half of the ones you're purchasing for ten cents each don't even work, and there's a good chance that - even if you were able to find a VCR that wasn't complete junk - whatever you were hoping to watch has been taped over by someone's mother's soap operas or The Price Is Right.

Ahem. Anyway. Batgirl. Right.
Via Paste Magazine
Cover Art by Cameron Stewart
After the doozy of a one-shot from last month, I am damn near relieved to see the new direction Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are taking Barbara Gordon, even if it is trending toward the Too Trendy, and Babs Tarr's art is so. fucking. refreshing.
Via Comics Alliance
Via The Word of the Nerd
Look at Maris Wicks' colors! Look at the movement! Just look!!! It's such a departure from the Nolan-esque artistic choices in many DC comics as of late, especially when it comes to anything related to Batman, and for me, it is a welcome change. Instead of Barbara going off to train under Bane (???), Babs is now a college-aged crime fighter, who signs up for online dating (it's for a case, alright?) and struggles with money and damaged relationships (hi, Dinah!) while living in the trendy part of town. While I may be eight years out of college, I can still identify with her plight, minus the dating part, since I am of the wedded persuasion, or living in an area that is considered "cool." Hey, my apartment's directly on the bus line and has all utilities included; what more could you ask for?

And this doesn't even include her first "villain!" I think that Stewart and Fletcher took a page from Faction's Hawkeye by choosing a more realistic (for comic books, anyway) adversary than a supervillain with delusions of grandeur. Riot Black (probably not his real name) is a dude straight out of my worst disco-douche nightmares.
Credit to Babs Tarr and DC Comics
Also, is that Sailor Moon's transformation pen tattooed on his side???
Mad props to Tarr for drawing the most revolting toolbag I've seen in comics for the past couple of months, and I don't even mean that sarcastically. I'm not sure if I could have designed someone more obnoxious. Basically, Black runs this website, "Are You in the Black Book?" where he uploads scandalous and/or humiliating pictures that he has stolen; he's the personification of revenge porn, in addition to being lame enough to speak in hashtags. Now, I don't know when this issue was finished, but, like Genius coinciding with the Ferguson riots, it seems absurdly prescient being released shortly after the recent celebrity nude photo leak. Then again, this is something that so many of us, especially those who use social media, must deal with on a daily basis. Hell, it's something my mother warns about: what if someone got a hold of your most personal information? And what if that someone wasn't the most magnanimous human on the planet? If you're Barbara Gordon, you kick the guy's ass and then proceed to trick him into deleting his own data hive.

The new Batgirl definitely isn't for everyone, obviously, since no comic can really be universally loved (I'm one of the apparently rare people who doesn't really care for The Walking Dead, neither the print nor live action versions), but a lot of the criticism is coming from long-time fans of the series. There is merit in some of their points: it's almost as if a 21-year-old tech-savvy hipster vomited all over this first issue, and artistically and thematically, it doesn't match the tones of the other books in the Batman universe. Others prefer Babs' old costume, featured below, to the new purple one that's at the top of this post.
Via Comic Vine
Like I said in my rant at the very beginning, I don't necessarily fit within the Millennial demographic that the new Batgirl is trying to capture - I find text speak in real life to be obnoxious and I thought coffee shops went out of vogue a few years ago? - but that does not mean that I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. I felt like I could relate to Barbara in a way that I haven't for a while. For too long, writers - at DC, Marvel, and indie comics alike - have relied on simply making their titles gritty and dark, supposedly "real," but it became tedious and depressing, enough so that I started picking up Bee and Puppycat, Adventure Time, Tiny Titans, etc. to bring myself out of the gloom. I have to be able to feel a kinship with the characters I follow; it's a big reason why I was such a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sure, the apocalypse is coming, but dammit, Buffy still has finals to take! More often than not, I am more concerned with the deeply personal conflicts that are the backdrop of the main storyline, because, you know what? I've never had to physically fight a supervillain, but I have had to stand up to an asshole (or two) that was simply being an asshole.

As far as the tone goes, I like that it's so different from the other Bat books. It's an issue that I have with large comic book universes, because there's this assumption that they can't exist separately from each other, giving each titular character room to grow while managing to tell the story of multiple facets of their shared world. Burnside is a college town, a suburb of sorts that doesn't have the same type of violent crime that Gotham proper has. An incredibly dark approach would seem forced and probably would have caused me to completely drop the book from my reading list (I've got Men of Wrath, Birthright, Wytches, and plenty more to fulfill my need for harsh themes, and anyway, I think Batman has that plenty covered.). The entire world surrounding Gotham can't be so bleak that even just one comic title doesn't have permission to be that one bright spot, right?
Via Batman News
Continuing on the "going against the dark and gritty" train, I, for one, love the more low-key, obviously handmade purple costume that Babs dons in this issue. Yes, it's not armored, but it's definitely more appropriate to the above-mentioned tone. If she were to wear her previous Batsuit, it would be like taking a gun to a verbal sparring match - completely overdone and, quite frankly, a little ridiculous. The basic design was maintained, and I figure, as long as Batgirl doesn't have to fight any armed Arkham Asylum (former/escaped) residents, it should suffice as a comfortable disguise for now.

While the first issue wasn't perfect - um, so the dude expecting a cute redhead to meet him can't figure out that the masked redhead is that very same woman? okay, then - it bodes very well for the series as a whole. The writers have a very clear idea about what they want to do with Barbara and know exactly who they want to attract. However, despite Batgirl being written for a younger audience, I encourage any older fans of Barbara Gordon to give it a chance. A lot of times, all-ages comics (or young adult, or children's) are scoffed at because they are deemed lesser than their adult-themed complements - less mature, less topical, less useful. This bleeds over (and into) the literary world, as adults who read and enjoy young adult fiction are mocked because they aren't reading a "more serious" book. But there is freedom writing for and about younger people; it seems that you can explore certain topics - um, poverty and violence in The Hunger Games, anyone? - that seem that much more terrifying if they are experienced by children or young adults. It can be a more effective approach than taking a thirty-something and placing them in a death match. I'm not saying that Batgirl is a literary masterpiece, by any means, and if you read it and it's not your thing, that's perfectly fine. There won't be any judgment coming from me. But to dismiss it as simple tripe, unworthy of your time or attention, is shortsighted, and you may miss out on what is quite possibly one of the most fun books to come out in a while. And to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a little lighthearted fun on your pull list.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Via Ello
I joined Ello about two weeks ago, and I have yet to get the hang of it. It's bare-bones, with no annoying advertising or like buttons, the latter of which I have found to be rather freeing. It promotes interaction, at least as far as networking sites go, but because it's not really that user-friendly, it's not all that easy to talk to other people. I only follow, like, six people, and my feed is getting crazy enough that I actually fear following any more.
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