alee_grrl: Rainbow colored disco ball handing in front of white lights (christmas)
I took a break from studying for the Bar yesterday afternoon, and another this evening, to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I saw it by myself yesterday and really enjoyed it, so when my heart sister and nephew asked if I wanted to go see it this evening I said yes. It was, in my opinion, well worth the second viewing on a big screen.

So much fun. Reminded me so strongly of how I felt when I first watched A New Hope as a kid (and all the times I rewatched it throughout my life). After the movie we returned to my place for a bit of geeking out before they had to head home (it is a bit of a drive for them). But I'll be seeing them again tomorrow as we're going to have a family game day (fairly certain we're going to play Arkham Horror, which I've heard good things about).

Otherwise my life is largely consumed with studying for the Bar. I am pacing myself better than the first time I went through the process, which makes it less stressful. But I'm unlikely to be posting much for the next few months as studying takes up so many spoons.

Hope everyone has had a wonderful midwinter (or midsummer for my Southern hemisphere friends) holiday. <3
alee_grrl: 9th Doctor and Rose walking towards the TARDIS.  Text reads: home is where the TARDIS is... (Tardis Home)
So this weekend was the first Springfield Vermont Steampunk Festival, and hopefully it will be held again next year. For a first time festival/convention it was very well run (at least from the guest's perspective, and from what I heard from vendors it was mostly well run on that end as well and only suffered from a few first year con hiccups). Since the festival locations were a bit spread out, and Springfield is a mountain town full of hills which makes walking that much more exhausting, they arranged to have a shuttle bus service for the entire festival. The shuttle drivers were awesome and didn't mind making stops that weren't on the official stop list (parking lots and venues). It helped that it was a small con and very laid back.

There were a lot of fun vendors, mostly local to Vermont, upstate New York, and New Hampshire. I spent entirely too much money, but I had planned for that. Between surgery and studying for the bar I'm going to be very focused for quite a few months and not spending much on anything not related to my usual monthly expenses. So this was my birthday/Christmas present to myself. :) It helps that I tend to only attend festivals and conventions once every year or two. In addition to jewelry and various other interesting knick-knacks, I also got quite a bit of tea (three different blends). Between the new stuff and the stuff I already had I can rest assured that I will not run out of tea this winter. :D

In addition to the vendors there were musicians and other activities. I missed the tea duels, and still am not entirely sure what happens at those, but I had a blast wandering the festival. My favorite bands from the weekend were Rusty Belle, The Stringfield Springers, and The Suitcase Junket. The Suitcase Junket is actually a one-man band and that man happens to be one of the members of Rusty Belle. So I wasn't too surprised to fall head-over-heals for both acts. :D

a bunch of music videos behind the cut )
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
I know I've been missing in action lately. Mostly been just recovering from the last few years and low on words and spoons. Will hopefully start feeling up to posting more frequently again soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share this fun meme that I discovered via the lovely [personal profile] sulien.

There is a quiz that will tell you what your D&D character would be, complete with stats and alignment. I wasn't terribly surprised by the results. Although I did think I would be more neutral good than chaotic good, but then I remembered that my patron god is a trickster god who governs travelers and misfits and my patron goddess is one governing death and transition. So chaos is kind of a large part of my life. I was completely unsurprised by the classes I got. Not only were these two of the classes I always played when I did game, but they also fit my nature. I'm very much a back to earth, practical, environmentalist pagan which is modern day Druid in a nutshell. And with as arcane and incomprehensible as the legal system is, lawyers may as well be wizards. Not to mention that wordsmithing is a magic of its own.

I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Druid/Wizard (3rd/2nd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-8

Dexterity-10

Constitution-10

Intelligence-14

Wisdom-15

Charisma-13


Alignment:
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Druids gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.


Secondary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

alee_grrl: A color illustration of me listening to music and smiling. (music)
Today I gave in and signed up for a Hulu plus account because the things that I am most interested in watching right now are not available for streaming anywhere else (at least not the most recent episodes).

Am still madly in love with the show Forever. It's not the best writing but the acting is solid and the story is fun. I am also enjoying the dynamic between Henry (the main character) and everyone else. I am glad to hear that ABC has ordered more episodes and that this show will have a full season. It's a long shot that it will get renewed for a second season, but I can hope.

I'm currently catching up on Agents of SHIELD, which I was four or five episodes behind on. There is also Sleepy Hollow and Mysteries of Laura. I am apparently in the mood for shows that do not take themselves to seriously. :D

The other thing that has made me ridiculously happy is the continuation of [archiveofourown.org profile] Koyote19's In the Mouth of Madness. Several new chapters have been posted and the story continues to be amazing. If you have not read it, be warned that it and it's prequel have many dark themes and some very graphic content. Madness is not yet finished, but it is active again, which is awesome. Both are incredibly well-written and this has been among my favorite stories/series for about a decade now.

Also happy making are cuddles with animals, Christmas cards from friends, and tea.
alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
So I've been spending a lot of time listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix-Tape Vol. 1 soundtrack which is all mix of 1970s pop, rock, and Motown songs. And while some of the songs sound ridiculously cheesy, they do remind me fondly of people in my childhood. Music was always the bright spot of my childhood and one of the very good things that my parents shared with me (along with love of books and reading). I strongly remember dancing around the house singing with my mom, carefully placing the record needle to play the song again, sitting on my dad's lap as he played harmonica, sitting with him as he tried to play the banjo, and sitting with him singing along to the music on the stereo. Neither of my parent's were much into Motown, but my favorite great aunt was.

Basically, both the soundtrack and the movie for Guardians bring back the best memories of my childhood, which can often been overtaken by the worst memories. So it was really nice to have something hit all the happy memory nostalgia buttons for once.

CW: Non-graphic discussion of grief and grieving )

Good things: cut for length as it includes a longish list of all the books that I've bought or pre-ordered in the past few months )
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
Went to go see How to Train Your Dragon 2 today with my nephew and it was wonderful. I will have to watch it multiple times to catch all the beauty of the dragons and the world they inhabit. The story itself was good and the characters nicely written. The soundtrack was also great.

I also sat through Airplane II, which was odd but funny. Watched both nephew and niece play various video games, and have just plain enjoyed hanging out with everyone. Plan on watching Attack the Block later, I've heard lots of good things about it.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
My sister volunteers at the Ashburn Fire Department and they had their open house today. We went down to say hi and see the sights this afternoon, and the Animal Control officer was there with his sweet pit bull type dog, Roosevelt. They do humane animal treatment education together. So I got to love on a sweet doggie, and even got kisses.


alee_grrl: Image of 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) leaning out of the TARDIS (dr who yes)
[personal profile] sulien gave me the idea to broaden the 10 Crucial Movie post.

So here are additional lists that will help you get to know me a little better. It's really hard to limit the lists to 10, btw. These are a mix of favorites and things that had a great impact on me. Generally I love things because they impacted me greatly, but some things are one offs in a way. For example, the movie "Like Water For Chocolate" is beautiful and well done, and it had a huge impact on me because it affirmed much of my own experience. It is also a movie I would never watch a second time precisely because it hit far too close to home.

10 Crucial T.V. Shows
Read more... )

10 Crucial Books/Series
Read more... )

10 Crucial Musical Artists
Read more... )

Bonus--New t.v. series that I'm actually watching and loving
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (finally saw the finale...<3...summer is going to be too long)
Sleepy Hollow (is it time for season 2 yet?)
alee_grrl: Inigo (Princess Bride) looking thoughtful (hmm)
Taken from [personal profile] sperrywink

Everyone should post their ten most CRUCIAL CRUCIAL CRUCIAL-ASS movies, like the movies that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnations (not necessarily your ten favorite movies but the ten movies that you, as a person existing currently, feel would help people get to know you) (they can change later on obviously).

This is a challenge list, because my instinct is to list my favorite movies or ones that I've watched a million times. But after thinking about it some more I realized that there some movies that I've only seen once but had a huge impact on me or reflect some aspect of my life. Of course that said, most of these are also favorites and movies I've watched numerous times. :)

Anyway Ten Crucial Movies for Understanding the Manda:

Amelie
Sliding Doors
Like Water for Chocolate
Billy Elliot
Labyrinth
The Last Unicorn
The Incredibly True Story of Two Girls in Love
Spirited Away
Bagdad Cafe
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Museums!

Apr. 20th, 2014 09:08 pm
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
One of my co-workers is here temporarily from the Paris office (she's also related to one of the wonderful ladies I worked with in the Trial Consulting department during my internship). She has an art background and loves museums as much as I do. So we decided to meet up at the National Mall and spend the afternoon exploring museums. We focused mostly on the African Museum of Art (after we had lunch at the American Indian Museum), and saw a little bit of the Sackler Gallery as well. We are planning to meet up again next Sunday and focus on the Natural History Museum.

I'm going to go back and spend more time at the Sackler Gallery though, because they have some amazing Japanese wood block prints on exhibit right now.

I'm off to bed because I am absolutely exhausted.
alee_grrl: Picture of a variety of spoons, text reads "never enough spoons" (never enough spoons)
This week was a long one and I am very low on spoons. Herxes are not so fun, though seem to be a necessary evil (byproduct of killing Lyme spirochetes). Yesterday evening was rough. I didn't realize how much I was hurting til I got home and had a good cry. Sleep helped. I'm doing okay today, though still not very up to writing much. Have been watching videos, reading fanfic, and listening to music.

[personal profile] jelazakazone shared this video conversation with the Sleepy Hollow cast. I highly recommend watching it even if you've never seen the show and have no intention of watching the show. The chemistry between the actors is fabulous and they are all so adorable and funny. Warning: Drinking while watching this video may be dangerous to your health.

Watching the above video led me to this amazing interview with Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. Seriously, an hour and a half of two adorable old friends discussing their careers, acting as a craft, favorite/easiest/most difficult Shakespearean roles, how they met, charities they support, and more.

I may feel kind of crummy today, but I am thankful for good friends who diligently help me battle my demons of doubt; warm and comfortable friends; soft, purring kitties; and the internets, because it provides good distractions and connects me to my friends.
alee_grrl: Coulson on hold with Natasha, text is the first line of chorus from "Girl From Ipanema" (coulson 1)
To sit for the bar exam you have to submit both an application to take the exam, and an application to the character and fitness board (because they want to know if you're ethical enough to join a profession notorious for unethical people--which may be why they started the character and fitness program now that I think about it). Either way the application is seriously invasive and complex and is pretty much a test of: 1) your determination to take the exam, 2) your attention to detail, and 3) your ability to follow instructions. I had most of the attachments ready to go prior to last week, but needed to sit down and fill out the forms. The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners does off a handy forms wizard, but even with the forms wizard it took me close to 9 hours start to finish (answer the questions, print the materials, proof the materials several times, print the materials, affix passport photos to the proper page, fill out the handwriting sample, note the pages that had to be notarized). Then it was another 3 or so hours the next day going to the bank to get the money order for the fees and getting the forms notarized while I was there. Then to the UPS store to make copies for my own records, organize everything via paper clips and binder clips, triple check everything, and mail it via approved mailing service (next-day mail by a third party carrier). The whole process took more spoons that I had ever imagined.

But I am blessed with a wonderful sister, who happens to own a wonderful bathtub (jacuzzi tub). I came home, took a long hot soak, then vegged out for a while. We had chicken soup for dinner (kelp noodles are surprisingly tasty, and approved for the low-yeast diet). Then Sunday my niece and I went to see Catching Fire while her mom finished up some homework assignments. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but I enjoyed the time with my niece even more. She's twelve and super compassionate, so I wasn't sure if she would be comfortable with some of the themes of the movie. But we talked about it before hand, and she said she had seen the first one. When it started getting tense though, she leaned towards me and I scooted over and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. We finished the movie snuggled up. Let me tell you there is something amazing about knowing a child trusts you that much. She also asked me some questions about things after the movie, which was cool. I really love being an auntie.

Two weeks left of my internship, and a lot to do, but it's all coming along nicely. Hope everyone else is doing okay. I know I haven't been on much lately but am thinking about you all and missing you. I do love my dwircle. :D
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors, a late 90s romantic comedy that really falls into the speculative fiction realm. It's a movie about what-ifs, about the large impact small choices/events make on our lives. Mere seconds can change so much.

There are a lot of reasons I love this movie. I'm absolutely fascinated by the what-if scenario, which could explain my long love affair with fanfiction as it is the ultimate sandbox for what-ifs. The soundtrack is lovely and suits the movie quite well. John Hannah is absolutely adorable, and his Scottish accent just makes him more adorable. It's hilariously fun to watch Gwynneth Paltrow stop down stairs repeating "Bollocks to him." And the artistry of the movie is gorgeously streamlined. Lots of visual cues indicate to the viewer know which timeline is being shown. There are great moments where visuals are used to great effect to underline the whole question of the movie, but it is subtle enough that you don't always notice it at first.

This was a movie I rented on a whim back in the days of Blockbuster and VHS. It's one that I've re-watched fairly regularly since.

alee_grrl: Bruce Willis holding coffee cup.  Text reads: Coffee fail....caffiene levels dangeriously low (coffee fail)
So I haven't been around on Dreamwidth much lately. This is for several reasons, some medical, some school related, and overall a distinct lack of spoons.

Some discussion of Lyme Treatment, depression, and general law school related stress, also very long post. )

tl;dr summary: life has been busy and I've had a lot to process. :) On the fun side of things I got my hair all chopped off and love the new do. It's a lovely style for this soon to be 33 year old, and an afternoon at the salon was a good way to start my birthday celebration a week early. I also got myself a couple of birthday prezzies that arrived this week: new long johns that fit (my old ones were so baggy I couldn't zip the jeans over them), new nose studs (I loose them very quickly), and DMZ vol. 1, the first volume in an amazing graphic novel series. My friends are doing a brunch for me tomorrow on my actual b-day. So I'm celebrating 33 in style. pics of the new 'do under the cut )
alee_grrl: Eddie Izzard pointing at his head.  Text: In my Mind. (eddie izzard)
So I came across this today. Apparently Lana Wachowski, one of the directors of The Matrix series, V for Vendetta, and Cloud Atlas, has come out as transgender. On October 20th she was awarded the Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign and gave this amazing, wonderful and inspiring speech. A full transcript of the speech is also available.

An additional note: I totally love her gorgeous pink and purple hair style. Wish I could get away with that in the legal world. :D
alee_grrl: Abby Scuito from NCIS (abby)
I thought I would share three things that made me smile today:

If you haven't been introduced to the Memos from Fury tumblr, I am deeply sorry. Especially if you are a Marvel comics or Marvel movieverse fan. Cause these are seriously laugh out loud funny. I would apologize for the time you are about to loose, but it is totally worth it for the laugh it will bring to your day.

Ellen once again proves that she is awesome with this hilarious response to the completely unnecessary and ridiculous Bic for Her For added sarcasm and snark read the Amazon reviews. I wouldn't advise reading all of them unless you have a lot of free time. But at least skim through some, cause they are very entertaining.

Finally I was absolutely delighted by this video which was shared as a link on Facebook. The video presents an honest and open discussion about how very complicated human sexuality is. It is a short video but is a great introduction to the topic which discusses, among other things, the differences between biological sex and gender identity (and the fact that biological sex is not as binary as we like to think it is); the non-binary nature of gender; and the differences between sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
I have a fondness for jazz singers, especially female jazz singers. Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Rosemary Clooney--I adore them and have several Pandora stations based on this love. Because of those Pandora stations I discovered a more recent jazz singer, Madeleine Peyroux. Her voice is a rich and sultry alto and I love the jazz and swing rhythms. Her music makes me think of outdoor cafes, Paris, evening outdoor galas accented with fairy lights, wine and good food, and dancing.

videos under cut )
alee_grrl: Close up of two people holding hands (romance)
I found this today, and I have had it on repeat since. It's a gorgeous song and the video is so amazingly powerful it made me cry (in a good way).

alee_grrl: A color illustration of me listening to music and smiling. (music)
So Fun. has become my current musical obsession, or at least their Some Nights album.

I enjoyed We Are Young but not so much that I had to go out and find out if the rest of the album was as good. It wasn't until I heard Some Nights and Carry On, and more importantly saw Avengers vids using the songs that I became obsessed.

Awesome Captain America fan vid using Carry On:



Tony Stark - Terrible Privilege (fan vid using Some Nights):

alee_grrl: Background is a textured yellow line over a textured blue background, text reads Talk Nerdy to Me Ravenpuff (nerd talk)
I've spent the last week or so up in the mountains happily bouncing from one friends house for a few days to the other friends. We are all family in the most important way, to me at least. We have also chosen each other for family. Our little clan is a bit unorthodox (mostly because we all believe in honesty and not dodging the hard questions. My niece is 17 and my nephew 13 and just fabulous beings. Such interesting people with fascinating questions and concerns. They want to understand all the things and it can be frustrating for them when we adults try to explain that there are some things that are rather hard to explain. These conversations are awesome.

So I may not have felt great this last week, but hanging out with my heart family has been a balm. It's just bee so nice to be here for a week, to have good conversations, and lounging around. The quiet bits of evening where we play on our individual tech before bed, and then the soothing sounds of critters quieting down for the night. The rooster will not be quiet for long, but he is not to hard to ignore. And the dogs and cats will settle in and quiet creeps through the house. Animals snuggle in with their humans, and all drift off to sleep eventually. It last til the cats start up world war III sometime near dawn or the doggy needs to go out, or I need to go to the bathroom. Blips of chaos in a quiet night, soon started and soon ended. Roll over and back to sleep. There is a balm about staying with family who have long since become your family, with people who you know care about you, and people who know you so incredibly well.

I have to back to my apartment tomorrow to deal with the stuff that needs doing before my D.C. trip. There is not too terribly much that needs to be thankfully so I was able to enjoy a bit more time with my heart family.

Something very fun for all the others who liked Avengers:

Agent Coulson, BAMF :D

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alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
Manda

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