Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When I Move . . .

. . . that guy in the mirror moves just like me! Strange, but sometimes we have a hard time knowing who we are, which brings us to this week.

Reel One: My summer class has wrapped up and grades are in, meaning that I am, for a brief period of time, classless. I'm taking some time before diving into the material that needs to be hammered into shape for fall, which means I have some time to finish a few projects that have been simmering for a while. I spent most of yesterday cutting and slashing and hacking a draft down to an acceptable length for the editors. (Aside - I hate cutting. I know that, like pruning, it makes what is left stronger and better, but I have a hard time telling that to the paragraphs lying on the equivalent of the cutting room floor, which represent a lot of hard work.) I hope to finish the formatting and "citation stuff" today, then have it on its way by the end of the week. It's a piece I'm quite proud of and one that might cause a few ripples. Academics are also fans and people don't like it when you pick on Willow. But Willow did some Bad Things and deserves to be called on them. Or such is my belief. People we love and care about can almost be unrecognizable.

Reel Two: Speaking of "unrecognizable," over at the Rewatch, we have a few twisty things going on this week. Buffy isn't Buffy and Jonathan isn't meek and nerdy. Do read what the posters have posted this week, oh Gentle Readers. There's some excellent analysis there. And the Rewatch is now at the halfway point! 'Strue. 26 weeks down, 26 weeks to go.

Coming Soon: An end to one project and a beginning to another. And soon - vacation. A few days spent with my toes dug firmly into Carolina sand.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Reel One: My summer class is wrapping up this week. Today was "costume presentation day." We worked extensively with Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream - you can't beat that play for a quick session. It's light, funny, and fun to work with. We "broke the back" of the language and then their eyes began to light up. So for this project, they had to choose to design one costume for either Titania or Nick Bottom. I provided them with a number of time period to choose from and then they were off to the races! They were to provide a sketch, fabric swatches, and a written report. I finished looking through them a little bit ago and I must say, they did a great job on this project! They thought about color symbolism, fabric weight, and how clothes can be a reflection of the inner life of the character, including personality traits. It's always a fun assignment - this class was no exception.

Reel Two: Costumes were always a lively part of Buffy so it's especially interesting that over at the Rewatch, we see (wait for it) Buffy's yummy sushi pajamas! It's a nice trio of episodes and Riley begins to get some depth. Great guest bloggers this week, too. Check it out.

Coming Soon: My summer class will wrap up tomorrow and, while I have hours to put in over the next five weeks, I'll finally have time to complete a draft for a project I've been trying to shoehorn in recently. It'll be wonderful to be able to sit down and work on the edits for chunks of time that are longer than 10 minutes at a go! I'll let you know what's happening with that - I hope to have it off to the editors in the next ten days or so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


On Screen: This week at the Buffy Rewatch, things get very quiet. "Sort of too quiet?" you might ask. Yes. Definitely yes. "Hush" is on the marquee this week, which is an episode which is nothing short of brilliant in its clear depiction of the differences between "speaking" and "communicating." (Look especially hard at the simply-composed final shot.) Steve Halfyard details the structure of the music for us and the entire post is well worth reading.

That means don't skip the sections on "Doomed" and "A New Man," both of which move some major themes along.

On Stage: The class presented their live scenes from Midsummer yesterday and did quite a nice job! For this class, I'm more interested in seeing that the students have picked up on language and structure rather than professional polish. After all, you can't tell an effective joke if you don't know what the words mean. Alas, the camera was left on the kitchen counter. Today we move into the start of their final individual project by discussing design elements with Little Shop of Horrors. Not the best musical ever, but one that is both eye-catching and toe-tapping - with a Greek chorus as a bonus!

On My Desk: I've started making revisions for my last large-scale writing project of my Year of Too Much Yes. I try to work in the mornings, but with a 9 am class, that doesn't always work out. It's encouraging that I think the basic bones of the paper are strong, but switching from a script for a keynote speech to a more formal written paper requires some changes in structure and tone. (And footnotes!) I have an end-of-June deadline to create a solid draft and (today) I think I can meet that. Ask me tomorrow and you may get a different answer . . .

Next Week: A discussion of costume designs, I have much more work on my "desk project" done, and Buffy and Riley discuss (ahem) their relationship while Maggie Walsh's experiments take an even nastier turn for the worse.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fairies and Vampires

You know the problem with supernatural creatures? It's that they aren't natural. Not even a little bit. Therefore, they don't see any need to play by ordinary rules, like the so-called Laws of Nature, at which they merely smirk and then go off frolicking somewhere.

This rant was prompted by what I can only deem a fairy attack. I was all ready to come here and announce (rather pridefully; maybe this is my comeuppance) that I had finished the revisions to my contribution to the Essential Whedon Reader project. Now, this project is a very big deal to me and making those revisions was a task I had been sweating buckets over. In an edited collection such at this, my goal is to try to be clear and well-structured in my points, while retaining my own point of view and writing in my own distinct voice. (Yes, you can write in a voice. Don't be so literal.) Well, I had sent off the original draft just before FryDaddy and I left on our honeymoon last summer and it's safe to say that I was suffering from a classic case of "bride brain" - the mistakes and goofs that I sent my baby off with make me cringe. My readers were most kind and the resulting chapter will be (I think) quite strong.

If only it would send.

For some reason, my e-mail system was just NOT cooperating. I'm in the midst of teaching Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to my summer drama class (and they're tearing it up, let me tell you) and we've talked about the Elizabethan view of fairies as being dark, mischievous forces who were as likely to sour your milk and steal your child as they were to bring back misplaced items and shower your house with blessings. Stay on the good side of fairies - the alternative is just too much frelling trouble.

I'm apparently in the doghouse with the Winged Ones. After two tries to send the revised version (both of which came back as "undeliverable"), I switched to another e-mail address. Here's hoping it went where it belongs!

Meanwhile, over at the Rewatch, we learn the secret of the shadowy Initiative (those are probably some guys who know how to handle a troublesome Puck) and Buffy tries her hand at Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, and nearly marries Spike.

Big week in Sunnydale.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Reel One: Now that school is chugging away for the summer, I can carve out time to complete a couple of projects that have been simmering. The focus this week is on a chapter I was asked to submit for a Whedon project that Syracuse University Press will be publishing. The draft has gone through its first pass with the editors and my task now is to revise. I'm always amazed at the things that my editors/readers pick up. This is a project that is close to my heart and one I'm very pleased to be associated with and when I started going through the corrected draft, I was shocked (let me say that again - shocked) at some of the errors. Sigh. To me, it's proof that far too much was on my plate when I constructed that draft. The corrected version will be the Bionic Man of chapters - stronger, faster, smarter. It's always a little hard to take that first look at the comments, but you just can't have too much of an ego if you want to be part of a collection.

Reel Two: Over at the Rewatch, Buffy continues her first semester of college. This week has three outstanding episodes - a funny, a horrible, and a heartbreaker. It's a bit of a roller coaster. Do check it out (the "Battle Royale" between those who like the incredibly divisive episode "Beer Bad" and those who think it a travesty is especially interesting. Note that FryDaddy and I have a tongue-in-cheek back and forth about that. [Now THERE's a hashed metaphor for you!]). The picture at the top of the post is from "Beer Bad," which is a lot of fun to bash around, but don't overlook the commentary on the other two this week.

Coming Soon: Hopefully, a report that the revised draft of the Whedon chapter has been completed. Certainly there will be a reveal at UC-Sunnydale about those commando guys.