Shadowfax, Lord Of All Horses

This scene is guaranteed to give me goosie-bumps and/or tears every time I see it.

Why is this? I’m not a big horse lover. I mean, I love all animals but I’ve only ridden a horse twice in my life. The first time, the big black stallion had an itch in a sensitive place, and insisted on scratching it while my terrified 10 year old self sat on top of him, waiting to be thrown off and stomped on. The second time was only a few years ago. She was a lovely mare named Cinder, and I chatted her up the entire trail, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Anyway, that’s it. So what is it about Shadowfax, appearing out of nowhere, running in slow motion in response to his friend Gandalf’s special whistle?

Perhaps one reason is his pedigree. Legolas seemed pretty damn impressed, didn’t he? Well, he’s right to feel that way. There aren’t many horses in Middle-earth who come from the most majestic and swift Mearas. They’re said to have been tamed by the first King of Rohan, and they can understand human speech. Shadowfax was the current Lord of the Mearas, and was “given” to Gandalf by King Theoden. Apparently Shadowfax wasn’t going to be tamed by any Rohan royalty. He was bigger than that.

Which brings me to the special bond shared by Shadowfax and Mithrandir. They trust each other. They’re both super brave and have the confidence of good over evil to spur them on their quest. It’s like Shadowfax knows how important it is to defeat Sauron and will do whatever it takes. He speeds Gandalf all over the place, gathering the Rohan army to help at Helm’s Deep. He takes Gandalf and Pippin to Gondor so Denethor will get his shit together and fight Mordor (so that doesn’t work well, but you can’t cure crazy). And look at this friendship!

He isn’t going to run away and leave his wizard and hobbit bros to suffer at the hands of pure evil. Oh no, he will STAND STRONG. That is one amazing horse.

How could such an amazing fictional horse be portrayed on the screen? It should be quite the talented actor, right? Also, he’d have to be ridiculously good looking. I don’t know much about horses, but what I do know, in relation to their participation in the LOTR trilogy, is from the most excellent DVD extra feature called Home of the Horse Lords. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you correct that. You’ll learn how the amazing equines were acclimated to movie sets, the friendships they made with their human costars, and the lasting effect their fellowship had on everyone involved. Shadowfax was played by two stallions: Domero, who was used in mostly stationary shots, and Blanco, who is the one you see galloping around Minas Tirith and Rohan with Ian McKellan or his stunt double. Both of those beautiful horses are no longer with us, sadly. They are immortalized in these films, however, and for that I’m grateful.

I suppose it’s a combo of my immense love of all creatures, my adoration of Tolkien’s stories, and Peter Jackson’s movies that give me the special feels for the 54 second sequence, in which The White Wizard calls for his friend. It sums up the sentiment of the LOTR trilogy, in a way. When your friends need you, they’ll be there to help fight for good. Thanks, Lord Of All Horses!

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Funeral Songs. My Demand.

First of all, when I die, and there people around who feel I deserve some kind of send-off, I have one demand. If it’s not met, I’ll become a mean force ghost and haunt everyone. That demand is, THESE SONGS BETTER BE PLAYED:

1. Into The West by Annie Lennox

I may be crying right now, by the way. It is impossible for me to hear that song and not do a bit of ugly sobbing. Speaking of sobbing, back to the matter at hand. I’d like to get all the tears out of the way at my funeral, and this lovely piece will do it. Everyone will imagine me in my hobbit cloak, boarding a ship with Gandalf and the other ring-bearers, giving that final smile to everyone. But don’t be too sad, folks. Once I get to the Undying Lands, me and the Valar are going be FULL ON PARTYING.

 

2. White And Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic

It’s as good a theme song as any, amirite? I mean, it’s by Al, my comedy music hero. It defines me. I’ll ace any trivia quiz you bring on, I memorized Holy Grail really well, I can recite it right now and have you R-O-T-F-L-O-L, even made a homepage for my dog, yo. So at this point you all can talk about my nerdy accomplishments in life. I’m sure there will be many of them. Maybe do a slide show of all the photo ops I managed to get at comic conventions. There better be one of me and Tom Hiddleston, or I will have lived for nothing. Just kidding. Sort of.

 

3. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, by Eric Idle

This will be the grand finale, people. And everyone will have to sing along. My force ghost powers will increase and I will torture every attendee of my service if they aren’t belting this out at the top of their lungs. And after it’s finished, and everyone has wiped their tears of joy and laughter, go to a bar and get shit faced. Then move on with your life. Because remember that the last laugh is on you.

 

 

 

That Time I Met The Doctor And A Hobbit.

The ultimate birthday achievement was unlocked a couple of days ago: I went to a fun pop culture convention and got to meet two awesome dudes. One starred in a series of films that means the absolute world to me, and the other is one of the most ridiculously good looking men on the planet. Sean Astin and David Tennant. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is beyond perfect to me. Sean’s portrayal of Samwise Gamgee moves me to tears every time I watch it. David is not only a super Hottie Mchottieson, he’s also a super Actor McActorson. But dear to my heart are his roles as Barty Crouch, Jr. In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire and The 10th Doctor. A few weeks ago, I found out these guys were appearing at the Raleigh Wizard World Convention the day before my birthday. And lucky me, I have the sweetest boyfriend ever – he got me photo op tickets. ROAD TRIP!!!!!

road trip

Raleigh is only three hours away from my house, so we hopped in the car first thing in the morning and despite the constant drizzling, got there with no problems. Everything about the con was efficient, friendly, and smooth. Which is great for someone like me, who can get a tad overwhelmed in crowded situations. Big ups to Wizard World!

We started our experience, just wandering around the main floor. There were tons of vendors, of course. I was surrounded by so much geeky goodness, I got overwhelmed and didn’t buy anything. HUH? Yeah, I know. Weird. Wait, this isn’t entirely true. I did buy myself a brew to calm my nerves before meeting the famous dudes. Speaking of famous dudes, when Tennant walked onto the floor for his autograph session, the place ERUPTED. That got me amped up for sure. However, since that wasn’t happening for a few hours, we continued to meander around. Not only were there vendors on the floor, there were some educational booths set up. I made a friend at the Sugar Bears booth! It was so precious!

sugar bear

 

I also grabbed some info on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I plan on doing something for them soon.

Finally, we enjoyed watching all the cosplayers (and dorks like me, just showing off our nerd pride with t-shirts). Especially this DINOSAUR! He went right up and tried to bite my dude – what nerve!

dino

After wolfing down some french fries, we were ready to stand in line for the Sean Astin photo op. It went very quickly. Before I could even mentally prepare, there was Frodo Baggins’ gardener/bodyguard/protector/hero right in front of me. And boy, was he dressed nice! This caused me to forget to thank him for being a part of my all time favorite movie series. Instead I just complimented his clothes. Me = lame. However, he was extremely gracious. Squee #1!

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Squee #2 came not long after. We made one more round of checking out the stuff on the main floor (and purchasing another beer for my nerves), and caught a bit of David Tennant’s Q&A panel on the big screen, before queuing up for his photo op. THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE! It was not surprising, but astounding all the same. I’m sure his face ached afterwards. We were given three rules before we entered the photo area: No hugging, no posing, and only fist bumps. I was a tad distressed since I planned on asking to do the back-to-back Rose/Ten pose. Oh well. I would behave and do the typical stand and smile pose. Who cares, really, because I’m sharing oxygen with the guy. AND THERE HE WAS. Jeans, cool t-shirt, and blazer. And scruff. I did my best not to hyperventilate. I gave my best cheesy grin and said “HIIIIIII!!!!!” and he returned my greeting with that amazing high Scottish accented voice. Our arms went around each other and click. Done. I said “THANK YOU!!!” and he once again returned my words as enthusiastically. Amazing. My hand lingered for an extra second on his back and then I was out of there. Two Slytherins, being awesome! Squee times infinity!!!

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It was late afternoon by the time the photo session was over, but we wanted to experience one more thing in Raleigh before heading home. We decided to walk around the corner to a vegan restaurant suggested by our magic iPhone, The Fiction Kitchen. I have to say, that was the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever put in my mouth-hole. I had the mushroom farro risotto, with added seared tempeh. AMAZING.

risotto

 

My dude had the crispy fried “chicken” and waffles – I tried a bite and WOW. All of the taste, without hurting a bird!

waffles

After being filled with yummy goodness, we hopped in the car and headed home. What a fantastic day. I love being a geek. I love my boyfriend. I love my fellow geeks. I love Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who and Harry Potter. I love food. I love beer. I love you.

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Have I Got A Story For You….

Happy Saturday, little darlin’s. Hope the long, cold, and lonely winter is winding down for you. I wanted to post an update here to let you know something: I grabbed a notebook this week, stuck a pen in the spiral, and jotted down thoughts and ideas every day. That hasn’t happened in a long while. It’s a good sign, though. It means I’ll be posting more content here. Working my writing juices into a tasty smoothie of fun. Ewwww, that sounds gross, doesn’t it? Maybe not the best metaphor, but I’ll go with it. I have to thank my buddy Kris for the motivation. He recently asked me to cohost the second season of his podcast, The Peaceful Pirate, and we started recording last weekend. Do yourself a favor and catch up on the first season now. You’ll learn that if you have a passion, you can do something with it. You’ll learn tips on how to do it too. I’m attempting to take his advice. Hence me and the notebook. This update is based on the first thing I scribbled in there….

Stories. Everyone has them. Lately, they’ve surrounded me, coming from friends and strangers. When chatting about podcasting and podcasts in general, several folks suggested The Moth, so I subscribed. It’s been a perfect accompaniment to my work commute. A collection of stories told by people from all walks of life. Some funny, some scary, they’re all over the place. But the coolest part is they’re all true. I’ve been in my car laughing, crying, and enraptured. I imagine I’m sitting in front of whoever is spinning their tale, in a cozy room with a fireplace. My favorite Moth story so far was from the late Taylor Negron. It’s a doozy. Check it out for yourself:

Not long after I became a fan of The Moth, my friend and fellow Mouthy Broad, Deb, founded a monthly storytelling showcase here in the Hampton Roads area. It’s called Tell Me More. It takes place at the wonderful Push Comedy Theater, and it’s super exciting to see how it’s taking off. The first event sold out! My friends and aquaintances have fantastic stories to tell. Check out Laura’s story about shitting herself.. Trust me, it’s awesome. Look around at the rest of the Tell Me More website to learn more about the events.

Finally, I had one more encounter with the telling of stories recently. I met Vee through another great friend. We hit it off immediately. She’s unique, lovely, talented, and strong. She recently competed in a story slam for the organization For Kids, and WON! It’s inspiring as hell – watch:

Pretty amazing, huh? Listening to all of these experiences has restored my faith in humanity. It helps to remind me that we’re all going through something, 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

 

 

Let The Wookie Meet Meri?

Holy crap, folks – in a few weeks, I will hopefully meet the man who portrays one of the most iconic, tall, furry, badass characters in the Star Wars universe. I’m talking about Peter Mayhew who plays Chewbacca!

Not only is this an amazing possibility (by the way, the event he’s attending is here – ROFCON in Virginia Beach), but we have a brief history. He named a freaking goat after me!!!!

Is that awesome or what? I don’t know what’s going on with Merideth the goat, but I hope she’s happy and being chill, making cool goat noises.

Back to the man himself. What should I say when I meet him? What should I wear? Should I bring a stuffed goat? Where does one get a stuffed goat (I mean like a plush toy, not a taxidermic thing)? I’m legit nervous and excited.

 

UPDATE: I just purchased tickets to the Con’s Star Wars themed dinner, and Peter will be a guest. RIP ME.

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Meri’s Top Ten Songs of 2014

Hello, legions of readers who have been dying for a post from me! *sarcasm* First of all, I apologize for neglecting this here World of mine. I’ve had no inspiration whatsoever. Everything I’ve considered writing about ended up just a “eh, no one cares about that mess” dismissal, and I went about my business of curling up in various blankets with various cats on my lap (currently Ollivander is on me, making it very difficult to accomplish anything).

Music has been berry berry good to me these past 12 months, so I wanted the comeback entry here to be related to all the songs that made me happy, emotional, dance, and impressed. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

10. Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

I didn’t want to like this one. Lil Jon tends to annoy me most of the time, with his yelling and songs that grate my ears. But this Snake DJ feller eased my pain. I just want to stand up and boogie like a goober every time I hear this.

 

9. Handy – Weird Al Yankovic

Al’s Mandatory Fun album is stellar; there isn’t a non-brilliant song in the bunch. Handy, however is PERFECT parody-wise.

 

8. Fancy – Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX

So  let’s celebrate the tune Al parodied, shall we? I mean, this jam is so catchy, I don’t think I EVER turned it off when it came on. Between Iggy’s rap style and Charli’s super hook, it’s totally the song of the summer. Or fall. Or winter.

 

7. Flawless (Remix) – Beyonce & Nicki Minaj

Are you kidding me? Queen Bey is on a whole different level with this pop/hip hop/r&b thing now. No longer the squeaky clean diva. She gangsta now. When Nicki saunters on the stage in this video, which is where I first heard this version of the song, I knew shit was going to get real. And there was no disappointment.

 

6. Slippery Slopes – Jenny Lewis

There are so many great songs on Jenny’s latest album, The Voyager. But this one sticks with me the most. Its laid back telling of a tricky, drug fueled, possible threesome, along with the lovely nod-your-head beat. Good stuff.

 

5. Lonely Girl – Weezer

A wonderfully solid Weezer album made me excited about them again, and dammit if this tune isn’t pretty much one of their most perfectly Weezer-ish creations. I hope they tour near me this summer.

 

4. Birth In Reverse – St. Vincent

I wish I had discovered Annie sooner – she’s just oddball, immensely talented, and I really wanted her hair this year. I tried to achieve that look in November, but it didn’t work out. ANYWAY. This song is amazing. Love the off-kilter beat, the guitar riffs, and did I mention I love her hair in the video?

 

3. Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay) – Sky Ferreira

I could have picked at least three of the songs on Sky’s album, Night Time, My Time. But I wanted to have 10 different artists’ work on this list. I love the feel of her album; it’s like a movie soundtrack from the 80s. I relate to the lyrics of this song the most, so that’s why it’s on the list.

 

2. Every Breaking Wave – U2

I’m welling up with tears just listening to it right now. This is another in the “I could have picked a million songs off this album” category. I mean, U2 is my favorite band in the world, and they put out their best album since Achtung Baby in 2014. Forget the whole IT’S ON EVERYONE’S IPHONE thing. That really took away from how excellent Songs Of Innocence is. From start to finish. Every Breaking Wave was in my top five from the first listen, but when I saw this performance from the MTV EMA Awards, my heart exploded and it quickly became my most favorite on the album. I mean, Bono hasn’t done a raw, searing, heartbreaking execution like that since I DON’T KNOW WHEN. It reminded me of that Unforgettable Fire making of video, when he’s in the recording booth singing Pride (In The Name Of Love).

 

1. Chandelier – Sia

Basically, Maddie Ziegler’s dance routine in the video for this song is the representation of 2014 for me. The song is a representation of 2014 too. Thanks Sia Furler. 1000 Forms Of Fear was the best thing my ears received this year.