Back to Happily Squeeing – over Supernatural ‘Nihilism’!

 

I spent Supernatural’s mid season hiatus guardedly optimistic about the second half of Season 14 after feeling less than elated about the end of the first half. Then I was out of the country last Thursday when my favorite show returned and couldn’t watch until now – so imagine my absolute joy when I finally sat down to watch ‘Nihilism’ and sat there riveted the entire time. I might have yelled “YES!” and “That’s my Show!” more than once, and I might have had a big grin on my face at times that probably weren’t even appropriate for big grins, but I was just so happy to have my Show back! Thank you, Steve Yockey, for that beautiful story, and Amanda Tapping for that beautiful direction.

It’s already Thursday again so this is less a review or recap and more a few emotional reactions and thoughts as we gear up for tonight’s new episode and get closer to the 300th episode that I’m so anticipating.

‘Nihilism’ had some nostalgic touches, which almost always puts a smile on my face. I’ve been watching this Show for 14 years, and it feels good when the Show remembers its own history and acknowledges its own fandom. Dean’s fantasy world in his own head where Michael has trapped him is full of those touches – it’s Rocky’s Bar, complete with a stuffed squirrel wrapped around a Margiekugel’s beer bottle, a tap from “FB Beer Company” and references to “an IPA from Austin”.  The little in-group nods to Dean’s nickname of ‘Squirrel’, a Scoobynatural nod with ‘Daphne Loves Fred’ carved into the bar, and Jensen’s real life (Family Business Beer Company) brewery in Austin were happy making.

Although that taxidermied squirrel kinda brought back some unusual con memories….you know what? Never mind.

And who’s Dean’s partner in his dreamt up ideal world? None other than Pamela Barnes, the woman who unapologetically appreciated both Winchesters’ assets and always told it like it is (threesome, anyone?). I can see Dean appreciating a woman like that, and I have always appreciated her too.  I also love Traci Dinwiddie, who was a guest at some of the first Supernatural cons, and was so happy to see her back on the show.

The fact that Dean’s fantasy world has him being a badass brawling bar owner (who’s famous…) repeatedly beheading attacking monsters was so perfect – so very very Dean.  Of course he’d still be hunting monsters and saving people, even in a dream world! Also that gives us interesting shots like this…

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Love, Passion, Fandom and Lighting the Way for Each Other

 

Holding onto the light.

When I was asked to write an entry for the #HoldOntoTheLight campaign, I thought a lot about that phrase and what it means. It seems appropriate for my own experience with the ups and downs that life throws at all of us, but for me the words also have multiple associations. And the first day of a new year seemed like an appropriate time to write about holding onto the light and what that means to me. It is, after all, what we’re all trying to do this year.

The first thing I thought of when I read the hashtag #HoldOntoTheLight was less a thought and more a picture – a streaming video of the many clients I’ve worked with over the years as a psychologist. Images of people – all sorts of people – breaking down, falling apart, reaching out. Getting up, getting through, getting past. Lots of tears, but lots of smiles too. Sometimes the journey, which it was always a privilege to share, was all about not just holding onto the light, but finding it in the first place. When you’ve been in the dark a long time, that’s not an easy thing to do. Sometimes that’s where I came in, a co-traveler in the search for whatever would light the way and warm the heart. The images are full of heartbreak and pain, but they are also full of amazing courage and persistence and sometimes – the best times – of finding that warmth and light. Every single person taught me something, and I’m forever grateful. I don’t talk alot about my work outside of writing, but I love what I do and am continually inspired by the amazing human beings I’ve met along the way.

The second thing I thought of was my own experience of holding onto the light at the times in my life that were the darkest. (And yes, it’s probably significant that I didn’t think of my own experience first – you can analyze me later). It’s an image too; me on my knees, feeling unable to get up. Terrified of being alone and ready to give up. At the worst of those times, it was only the awareness that there were two little children depending on me that got me off my knees and forced me to put one foot in front of the other.  People often refer to me as an “upbeat” person. I’ve been called a relentless optimist, someone for whom things “roll off my back”. Some of the time, that’s even true. But probably not as often as it seems. I was the oldest child in my family, and I understood from a young age that I was the one who was expected to take care of everyone else. Sometimes that included my mother, on the days that were the worst. That’s a hard lesson to un-learn, and one I still struggle with every day. When you grow up with uncertainty about being taken care of, the fear of being abandoned never really lets go; when it actually happens, one way or another, that’s when you end up on your knees.

Eventually, I got up. I got help. I found therapy long before I became a therapist myself, astounded that maybe I didn’t have to “do it alone”. It felt utterly foreign to be the helpee instead of the helper, and I fear I wasn’t the most proficient client at allowing help, but I had some persistent therapists who didn’t give up on me. I thought of them when I walked across the stage myself years later and the doctoral hood was slipped over my head; that PhD was as much a testament to their relentless insistence that I was neither helpless nor hopeless as it was to hitting the books so goddamn hard. It was dark for a long time, but eventually – with help — the light came back, and I’m still holding on.

The third thing I thought about was also an image. San Diego Comic Con, 2015. The gigantic cavernous Hall H packed full of people, all fans of my favorite television show Supernatural. As the stars of the show took the stage, the lights went low and the room suddenly lit up. Thousands of points of light illuminated the room, held by the fans. In my hand, I held one too, on the verge of tears because of the message it conveyed. As Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Jared Padalecki looked out over the spectacle, not understanding, we all began to chant: Always keep fighting. Always keep fighting.  Jared Padalecki understood suddenly; his eyes grew moist, and he picked up the little plastic candle that he too had been given, hand over his heart, clearly overwhelmed. Always keep fighting is the slogan that Jared coined for his Represent campaign to bring awareness to suicide prevention. He also bravely acknowledged that he too had struggled with depression and had to fight to keep going. That day we all held onto the light – for Jared, and for ourselves.

Tweet, William Shatner

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Last Con of 2018 Part 2 – Jacksonville SNS and Sunday!

 

Part 2 of the last con report of 2018, from not-very-sunny Jacksonville, Florida. But hey, it was alot warmer than where I flew from, so I’m not complaining!

I wanted to end this year on a high note, remembering the good moments and reminding myself of all the reasons I love this show and this cast and this fandom. I hope the pretty pictures and the amusing memories will brighten the last day of 2018 for you too!

Part 1 left off with Saturday night, so that’s where we’ll pick up here. Then it’s Sunday, which means Jared and Jensen, along with panels from Ruth Connell and Richard Speight Jr.

Saturday Night is always special at a Supernatural con, because it’s the concert that caps off the day. I love the Saturday Night Special because I can just enjoy it in between taking pictures and don’t have to do any live tweeting – maybe that’s why it’s usually one of my favorite parts of any con.

Louden Swain kicked things off, then Mark Pellegrino introduced Matt Cohen, who can rockstar out with the best of them. Remember when he was hesitant to sing at the SNS? You’d never know it now!

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Last Con of 2018 – Jacksonville Part I Friday and Saturday!

 

It’s the end of 2018, so it seems fitting to share some pictures and memories from the last Supernatural con of 2018, which happened to be in Jacksonville. I wanted to end the year with everything that’s positive about fandom and a reminder to myself as much as anyone of how much I love and enjoy this incredible cast and all the fans I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with over the past decade plus. So here’s Part I of Jacksonville 2018, with some pretty pictures to brighten your last day of the year!

The hotel was under construction, which meant the beautiful view of the water was obstructed when you were at ground level, but luckily the vendor room was elevated with floor to ceiling windows, so the view from my table was breathtaking (if you just look past the various cranes and things). And from our hotel room and its teeny tiny balcony? Even better.

My good friend Alana was also at Jaxcon, so we took advantage of both being in town early to go have some lunch. We managed to find a restaurant that was 100% empty, and since we were the only ones there, of course that meant blogging and putting Africa By Toto on the jukebox. And then more blogging. And corn nuggets. Don’t knock ‘em if you haven’t tried ‘em!

Lots of my favorite SPNFamily friends were also at Jax, so it was a fun four days with lots of catching up and goofing off and not getting enough sleep – but hey, that’s what cons are all about!

(You can find the Day 1 blog including our corn nugget adventures on Alana’s channel if you’re curious. About corn nuggets.)

Jacksonville with Alana (and Lynn)!

I’m just going to include some highlights in this blog, since the panels were broadcast on Stage It and I’m assuming most of you have had the pleasure of watching them by now. This is Part I, with Misha Collins, Rachel Miner, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell, Adam Fergus, David Haydn-Jones, Emily Swallow, Rob Benedict, Richard Speight Jr, Matt Cohen, Mark Pellegrino and a special appearance by Hayden Lee too. Phew, that was a jam packed Friday and Saturday!

Rachel Miner had a great answer when someone asked how she manages to keep her great attitude and beautiful soul?

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MidSeason Finale Time for Supernatural with The Spear!

 

After watching the previous week’s Supernatural episode at a Supernatural convention with some fellow fangirls, I missed this week’s episode entirely due to family obligations and watched it on the CW app on my phone a few days later once everyone had gone to bed. A very different experience, to say the least! That also meant I was somewhat spoiled thanks to a few twitter forays in the interim, which always makes my viewing experience muted. It’s hard to say how much more I would have liked this episode if I was 100% unspoiled, but I don’t think it would have been night and day.

The THEN segment was about ten minutes long, which usually means there’s going to be way too much going on in the upcoming episode. Uh oh.

But then I hear Rockin’ Around the Christmas tree, one of my favorites, and there’s lots of pretty Christmas décor, so that’s nice….and then, in true Supernatural fashion, broken things and lots of blood and a hapless guy screaming “No please no!”  One of the crazy-toothed werewolf guys (in a Santa hat) confronts him and grabs him by the throat. Cut to mistletoe above them, so werewolf guy leans in for a kiss – and snaps the guy’s neck. Ah, Supernatural.

I enjoyed that irreverent beginning – nice touches by writer Robert Berens.

Even if I hadn’t been spoiled, it wouldn’t have been a shock to see Michael in a new vessel in the next scene – this one a beautiful woman. Michael sure has good taste in vessels! I thought Felisha Terrell did a good job of channeling Michael’s low key but confident mannerisms. I was happy to see Melanie (Andrea Drepaul) return, and I was also spoiled for the return of D J Qualls as Garth, so no surprises yet for me.

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