Last week, I reached out to a friend of mine. She lives in Minneapolis and we have been friends since 3rd grade. I reached out to her regarding wedding information, however, we ended up talking for much longer. The next week she called me again and I found we were talking for almost an hour. Whether our conversation was about wedding stuff, anime, or playing the Sims, it was refreshing to hear what was going on in her life. It’s sad because my thought that went through my head originally was “she’s probably busy, and she won’t answer”. My assumption was incorrect. This post is a reminder to me and others during this time to check in on your friends during the pandemic.
I was watching the news with my fiance this week and I saw a news story that made me sad. Mental illness is skyrocketing in the pandemic. This is unsurprising, to say the least. It’s a stressful time of trying to stay quarantined, not seeing older family members and avoiding events or big groups of people. I find myself longing to attend conventions again. I miss being around like-minded people and cosplay! I haven’t planned any cosplays in a while because I have no place to go to wear them. I’m an introvert to a certain degree and even I find myself feeling lonely or missing old aspects of my life.
Me and my friend are set to hang out sometime today and I can’t wait. I’m hoping we will play Sims, watch anime, and play with her new puppy. This is my reminder to you to reach out to anyone you haven’t seen in a while. Send them a text, Facebook message, call, or DM them on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 6+ months since you last reached out. It feels good to receive a message from someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. If you’re struggling during this time, feel free to DM me on Twitter @bizzarebrunette My DM’s are open.
Four years ago, I wrote a post titled Wanderlust & My Travel Bucket List. In 2016, I was still in college and excited to finally graduate. As I re-read the post, I realized I actually crossed off a few of these places. I wanted to re-visit this topic to update my list, recap where I have been, and look to the future when the borders open.
Wanderlust *noun* a strong desire to travel.
Harry Potter World Orlando, Fl DONE! February 2019
This was my first trip listed in my post four years ago. I didn’t even list this as Universal Studios because I was so focused on going to see the Harry Potter portion of the theme park. This trip was planned for February because that’s my mom’s birthday month. It was also an excuse to leave the brutal Minnesota winter to go somewhere warm. This was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and I’m glad I made this a priority after I graduated college.
Seattle, Washington – HAHAHAHA 2020.
I was supposed to go to Emerald City Comic Con in March of last year, however, I canceled my trip due to the pandemic. It was 100% the right decision to make. I hope to make it to Seattle one of these days. This picture itself is breathtaking.
I convinced the fiance to go to Europe for our honeymoon. With the borders being monitored, I do want to wait to go on a honeymoon until it’s safe to travel to Europe. London is a great beginner travel city since I haven’t been overseas yet.
New York City Comic Con / A Bigger Con Partly Done! Planet Comic-Con in 2018, New York Trip in 2018, and C2E2 twice.
This goal is partly completed. Since 2016, I have attended Gen Con (Indianapolis), C2E2 twice (Chicago), and Planet Comic Con (Kansas City, Missouri). In 2018, we flew to New York to explore the Big Apple. Once attending conventions becomes safe again, I do want to attend NYCC in all of its glory.
Reading my Wanderlust post reminded me how much I have accomplished since graduating from college in 2017. Going through 2020, I struggled with this insecurity of “not doing enough” with my life. 2020 felt like a wasted year. I realize in saying this that it’s a privileged thing to say. None of my loved ones tested positive for Covid-19. I’m still healthy as I’m sitting in my apartment writing this post. My main hope for 2021 is to speed up the distribution of the Covid vaccine! Bring on the herd immunity!
I have always wanted to start a comics pull list. I started reading comics in college, however, I wasn’t particularly fond of the comic book store in my college town. This meant starting a pull list back in Minneapolis wasn’t feasible since I wasn’t driving home consistently. Once I moved to the cities, I struggled to find a weekly comic series. I found reading trades easier than comic issues. Now, I have found at least a couple of series I’m trying to read weekly, so it made sense to finally start a pull list. I’m excited to be able to support a local comic book store weekly and get new comics! Wednesdays will have meaning for me again.
I started my pull list at Hot Comics and Collectibles. Hot Comics recently moved to a new store location in Minneapolis. It’s a quaint little shop, and it gives off a cozy vibe whenever I stop by. Hot Comics has three retail locations with two of these locations being within reasonable driving distance from my apartment. When I knew I wanted to start a pull list, I wanted a comic book store close by me. This would be a place I would drive to weekly to pick up my comics and nothing is worse than dreading a long car ride. The winter season in Minnesota makes winter driving unpredictable, and I’d hate to not be able to pick up my comics because of poor driving conditions.
So what’s on my pull list? At the moment, I have three titles on there so far. If you have kept up with my posts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as to what’s on my pull list. First, I have Finger Guns. Finger Guns is such a fun comic series. I’m all caught up on the story, so now I’m waiting for issue #6 to release. Besides Finger Guns, I have the latest Doctor Aphra series on my pull list. The new Doctor Aphra series made me a fan of the character and her adventuring team. Finally, I have King in Black on my pull list. King in Black is the Avengers / X-Men crossover with Knull, the god of the Venom symbiote invading Earth. I haven’t been reading Donny Cates Venom series which supposedely leads up to King in Black. I never felt lost reading King in Black because the story is clear and easy to understand.
Despite having a pull list, I will read trade paperbacks. There are certain series I started way too late where I don’t think I will ever catch up to the current weekly comics. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with reading comics to have the confidence to begin a pull list. I’m happy to begin my pull list and add more titles. Let me know if you have a pull list and where your pull list is in the comments below.
Before writing this post, I read my “2019 Pop Culture Year in Review.” Many of us had such high hopes for 2020. I’m trying to stay positive for the most part, but I can’t help feeling Covid-19 took so much from me. Conventions, trips, seeing my family all have been canceled, put on hold, or decreased. While quarantine allowed me more time for introverted activities, I found myself longing for social experiences. This is my fourth Pop Culture Year in Review post and it’s likely the most different recap I have written.
Movies I Saw in Theaters:
Rise of Skywalker
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey was the last movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic hit. I do miss movie theaters. I hope theaters will bounce back after the pandemic. Birds of Prey was my favorite film of 2020. It was such a chaotic, girl-power action film.
Since being in quarantine, I did make a point to watch movies I had never seen before. These included the Blade movies, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Ready or Not, The Normal Heart, BlacKkKlansman, Ghostbusters re-make, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My favorite movie I watched for the first time this year was BlacKkKlansman.
TV Shows I Watched:
New Girl (finally finished the whole series this year)
Challenger: The Final Flight
The obvious choice of the best TV show in 2020 is The Mandalorian. The second season topped the first season in many ways. Pedro Pascal’s back must hurt from carrying the Star Wars franchise. Besides the Mandalorian, I loved Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an excellent writer and Fleabag allows her to shine.
Video Games I Played:
Spy Fox in Dry Cereal
Sims #3: Supernatural / Late Night expansions
Kingdom Hearts 3
Star Wars Battlefront II
Costume Quest II
Nancy Drew and the Ghost of Thornton Hall
Hidden Through Time
This year I experimented with games on Steam. I cleared out excess programs on my laptop to make space for my Steam games. My favorite game I purchased on Steam was Hidden Through Time. It was such a soothing hidden objects game. While other gamers were playing Animal Crossing, I played a lot of Sims. There’s something comforting about simulation games while being stuck inside.
My favorite game I played on a console was Costume Quest II. Costume Quest II is a game that appealed to my love of Halloween. I was able to play it for free on Xbox Game Pass, although I’m considering purchasing both Costume Quest I and II on Steam to re-play them.
Another fond gaming memory was spending hours playing Star Wars: Battlefront II. I played Battlefront II for most of the summer. It was such a great way to unwind from work, crack open a beer and play as Lando.
Gaming in 2020
Star Wars: Outer Rim
Virus < how fitting
Vampire the Masquerade Roleplaying
To be clear, I played all of these board games before the pandemic started. The highlight of my gaming in 2020 was the Vampire the Masquerade role-play session. My character was named Karen and she was the “talk to your manager” vampire. She would only feed on managers. I had such fun playing as her in this one-shot.
Once quarantine began, I didn’t play nearly as many board games. Besides board games, I missed playing DnD. DnD podcasts filled the void of being able to roleplay in person.
Graphic Novels / Comics I Read this Year:
Chandra IDW Issue #2
Teen Titans: Raven
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus Edition
Wolvenheart Issue #2
Birds of Prey
Batgirl #1 Rebirth
Ghost in the Shell
Eat and Love Yourself
Ghosted in LA
Doctor Aphra Issue #1 & #2
She Said Destroy Volume. #1
Glitterbomb Volume #1
For Goodness Sake
Joker 80th Anniversary Edition
Cult Classic Volume #1
Berserk Volume #1
Finger Guns Issue #1 – #5
I read way more comics and graphic novels this year than in 2019. The graphic novel that stood out to me this year was Eat and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo. This graphic novel discusses some intense topics regarding body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It was an emotional read. I adore Sweeney Boo’s art style. I follow her on Instagram where she posts her art. Besides Eat and Love Yourself, I did enjoy Ghosted in LA published by Boom!
As far as individual comics, I was impressed by Doctor Aphra. It captured my attention within the first issue. Finger Guns is another comic series I enjoyed reading. I read through all five single issues quickly.
2020 Pop Culture Moments
Phoebe Waller-Bridge winning all the awards
Celebrities & the “Imagine” video
President Trump advising people to drink.. bleach?
President Trump losing the election
Podcasts I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:
I Weigh hosted by Jameela Jamil
Ain’t Slayed Nobody
I didn’t listen to as many podcasts in 2020 versus 2019. Once I started working from home, I wasn’t listening to podcasts on my bus rides. I still listen to Not Another Dnd Podcast, This Podcast Will Kill You, Science Rules, however, the podcasts listed in the bullets were podcasts I discovered in 2020.
Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh features Jameela interviewing various actors, activists and friends. At the end of every episode, she asks her guests “what do you weigh?” meaning what gives your life meaning other than the weight of your body. Jameela Jamil seems like a lovely human being and I adore how intelligent and charismatic she is.
Ain’t Slayed Nobody is a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying podcast. This podcast takes place in the 1800’s Wild West era in the United States. Each episode is well-edited, there’s a recap at the beginning of each episode, and the keeper does an excellent job telling the story. Ain’t Slayed Nobody releases their episodes once a month for their main campaign, but will often feature one-shots as well.
Catchiest Song in 2020
Conventions I Attended in 2020
I forgot I attended C2E2 this year. The convention was in February before Covid-19 hit. I debuted my new Punisher cosplay. The cosplay is comfortable. The only change I would make is to wear my new black combat boots versus my workout shoes. At C2E2, they had the outfit Jon Berenthal was wearing on display. It was pretty cool to see.
Top Three Memories of 2020:
Traverse City, Michigan (replacing canceled Seattle Trip)
I’m fortunate to still be employed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been working remotely since mid-March and my company extended working remotely until next March of 2021. Being Quarantined, I have been able to put money away since I’m not spending money on traveling, going out to eat, or at breweries. When my payday approaches, I budget out a portion of my paycheck to donate back. I wanted to list my favorite nonprofits to donate to.
Before I launch into my favorite nonprofits, I wanted to make a statement. If you live paycheck to paycheck, I understand giving isn’t a possibility. In my first position out of college, I didn’t have much leftover to donate. I’m excited to be in a new position where I do make enough and have money to give.
The Trevor Project
I have discussed The Trevor Projectmultiple times on this site because it’s one of my favorite LGBTQIA+ nonprofits to give to. The Trevor Project helps young LGBTQIA+ under the age of 25 by providing access to crisis intervention, and suicide prevention. It breaks my heart how young LGBTQIA+ folks are abandoned by their families. Society has moved forward in some ways, but clearly not enough. The Trevor Project provides resources, education and a hotline to call for assistance. I believe in The Trevor Project, so I try to give to them often.
Center for Reproductive Rights
I’m pro-choice. I believe anyone capable of getting pregnant deserves a choice in their reproductive health. I want reproductive rights to be protected. The Center for Reproductive Rights is trying to advance reproductive rights throughout the globe. Reproductive rights doesn’t mean abortion, it also means the protection, accessibility, and affordability of birth control. This is a cause I’m passionate about because of how many people in our world are impacted by the lack of reproductive rights or healthcare.
Black Lives Matter
I’m based in Minneapolis and while I’m passionate about my city, there needs to be change. Philandro Castile, George Floyd, and Jamar Clark are names to never be forgotten. I have white privilege in the sense that I have never feared the police. I believe in Black Lives Matterbecause of their work to bring awareness to this movement.
Feline Rescue Inc
Feline Rescue Inc is where we rescued our kitty, Athena. I’m a cat person and while there are so many cat people in this world, I do believe cats are at a higher risk of abuse. Cats have a bad reputation based on outdated stereotypes. I could start crying if I think about all the mistreated cats in our world. I will continue to adopt cats for as long as I’m on this Earth. Feline Rescue Inc is local to MN, but I encourage you to find your local animal shelter or cat shelter and give them some financial love.
There hasn’t been a Covid-19 financial relief since March and many who are unemployed are struggling to afford food. Feeding Americaallows for monetary donations to be routed to a local food bank.
2020 has been awful. Donating to these charities gives me a sense of purpose. If you’re able to financially give, I encourage you to do so. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, I hope here in the United States, we get a financial Covid-19 relief package soon.
Happy Belated Halloween! I hope you all had a wonderful, spooky season. I still haven’t taken down my Halloween decorations yet. My stormtrooper holding a pumpkin is still sitting on an end table while my windows are decorated with fun Halloween themed window stickers. With the era of Covid, I was able to host a small gathering with my friend and her boyfriend and it was fun to be able to celebrate Halloween safely.
Me and the fiance went as Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. This is the first year we put our kitty Athena in a costume. She had a harness with a cowboy mouse sitting on top of it. I think technically Athena was a horse for Halloween? She hated the harness, so we only put it on for photos and took it off.
We were able to eat pizza, play music, and have a couple of cocktails. I made a cocktail titled Witches Brew. I found the recipe off Pinterest. It has white rum, blue curacao, raspberry juice, ginger ale and I topped it off with blackberries. They were boozy. I did wake up feeling slightly hungover the next morning.
Ultimately, I’m glad I was able to not miss out on Halloween. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Last year, I spent it at a brewery dressed up with friends. With Covid, we have to make do with what’s safe to do. Now, I’m quarantining until Thanksgiving because we are seeing the fiance’s family in Milwaukee. Let me know what you were for Halloween this year in the comments below.
The United States election was this past week. Last Saturday, the results were announced with Joe Biden winning the presidential race along with Kamala Harris being the first female Vice President in our nation’s history. It’s a historic time and I finally feel as a country, we are back on track.
Normally, I don’t discuss politics on this blog. This blog is my geeky space where I discuss pop culture, books, comics, and video games. However, this election is way too important to skim over. I was never a fan of Donald Trump. The way he would talk about various groups of people is appalling. The US is not containing the Coronavirus and whether it is entirely President Trump’s fault, he’s still leading this nation. This is his responsibility.
It’s difficult to put into words how happy I am with Biden’s election. I’m more thrilled for Kamala Harris and being the first female Vice President. Little girls will get to grow up in an era where they will see representation in the highest office in our nation. A Female Vice President means we are closer for a Female President in my lifetime.
With any political post, I will not tolerate any hatred in the comments. I reserve the right to not approve any comments or report them as spam. I write this post because I want to make it clear where my opinion lies as this election is crucial in the time we live in. If you’re a Trump supporter, I will not debate you in the comments. I was harassed by Trump supporters when Trump won the election in 2016 and as I re-read this post, I don’t think it’s disrespectful or rubbing it in anyone’s face. I stand by Biden / Harris and I voted for them because they would be the most qualified to lead our nation out of this pandemic we live in. I hope everyone is keeping well during this time.
Trying to find activities allowing for social distancing can be challenging. My fiance decided we should go to an apple orchard because at least it’s outside. We settled on visiting the Luce Line Apple Orchard located in Watertown, MN. It was a 35-minute drive away from where we live which is the perfect amount of driving.
This apple orchard was huge! Their apple fields span for at least a couple of miles. At the center of the activities was a white barn to buy fall-themed merchandise. Pumpkins were scattered around the premises and various animals were sniffing children’s hands looking for food. Since the property was so big, we didn’t feel we were on top of anyone and it was fairly easy to socially distance. We went on a walk around the fenced-in animals and found a couple of quiet moments to take pictures.
As far as food, we each ordered a corn dog. I haven’t eaten a corn dog in a while since our state fair was canceled back in August. Additionally, we went to the cocktail stand and ordered a tangy apple sangria. IT WAS SO YUMMY. It was worth the $9 purchase. As we sat and drank our tangy sangrias, we saw Bigfoot walking around. Someone dresses as Bigfoot and walks around the Orchard. There are Bigfoot signs throughout the Orchard. Me and my fiance couldn’t stop laughing when Bigfoot would scare little kids.
Finally, we stopped at the white barn. I picked up more candle wax for my Owl wax burner (I don’t remember what it’s called, but it burns wax). We picked up some homemade maple syrup and a couple of smaller decorative pumpkins that are currently sitting on our TV stand.
Trying to come up with activities during a Pandemic is tough. Me and my fiance take social distancing and mask-wearing seriously. Luceline Apple Orchard was perfectly spacious allowing for a cute date day while being safe.
2020 has been a chaotic year. On the bright side, two weeks ago, me and the fiance took our engagement photos. We are getting married October of 2021 and wanted our photos to have the beautiful colors. We drove to Duluth, MN which is a gorgeous town along Lake Superior. The colors were at their peak. Our photographer sent us a couple of the many photos taken. I wanted to share them because I’m pleased with how they turned out.
Our photgrapher is Mitchell Ringness and he was professional and personal throughout our entire session. If you’re based in Minnesota and are looking for a photographer, check him out. I linked his website in case you wanted to check out his portfolio.
With the Pandemic, I find it can be difficult to stay positive. These engagement photos were a nice emotional boost. I never thought about spending the rest of my life with someone until I met my fiance. I didn’t know then what I know now, but there’s no one I would rather spend my life with than him.
**Trigger Warning: Transphobia / mentioning of the original author of the Harry Potter series**
It’s funny how much changes in a year. This September marks the one year anniversary of getting my Harry Potter themed tattoo. J.K. Rowling has been making comments about the trans community that are hateful in nature and completely inaccurate. With all of this, I have been thinking about my tattoo, and knowing what I know now, would I have gotten a Harry Potter tattoo in the first place.
My stance on all of this is to love the fandom and put distance to the creator. Harry Potter has gotten me through many tough moments in my life. The movies were there for me when I needed them. The last movie came out in 2012 when I graduated from high school. It felt like an end of an era both in the films and for my life. I can’t abandon Harry Potter because it’s so important to me. If this means you have to unfollow my blog or from my various forms of social media, that’s perfectly fine and I wish you well.
I have seen some individuals remove their Harry Potter tattoos because of Rowling’s views. I won’t be doing this. As mentioned above, Harry Potter has so much meaning to me. With my tattoo, I like how it references the Harry Potter stories without directly mentioning Rowling. Plus tattoo removal can be more painful than the tattoo and lead to scarring. It’s not worth it for me to do this.
Twitter started a firestorm when the trailer for the new Hogwarts Legacy game was released. I have made the decision that I won’t purchase this game brand new because I don’t want to support anything leading back to Rowling. However, some gamers plan on buying this game and are being called transphobic for doing so. I don’t think calling others out for being “less of an ally” is going to help battle against hatred. It’s going to create further division. If you’re planning on buying the Hogwarts Legacy game brand new, I hope you enjoy the game. I encourage you to put the same amount of money into a trans charity right after. I’m not going to sit here and call someone transphobic for doing purchasing a game that we have all been waiting for.
Moving past this, I’m going to write about Harry Potter less. I’m ending my Harry Potter WYR blog series as well. There will be one final post with the remaining prompts I have. I’m still going to remain a Harry Potter fan and belong in the community. My Harry Potter tattoo will remain on my body forever although I may not add on to it like I originally planned. If you’re looking for a trans charity to donate to, I will always recommend The Trevor Project. I would love to know your feedback and how you’re getting through this as a Harry Potter fan. Let’s keep the comments peaceful as well. I hope you’re all doing well during this difficult time.