abbie

Co-Host Love Letter: Jess

Abbie’s Edition of co-host love letters! Ft. Jess
#worldstraveler #FWP #FWPloveletters

Co-Host Love Letter: Dustin

Abbie’s Edition of co-host love letters! Ft. Dustin
#worldstraveler #FWP #FWPloveletters

Co-Host Love Letter: Abbie

Co-Host Love Letter Banner
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So I get to kind of be the odd one out on some of these. I live up in Portland an everyone else lives in Northern California, so I don’t get to spend much time with them. I haven’t even met Angel or Jess in person, and it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I met Abbie. She and Dustin came up for my birthday ♡ but I have yet to get to hug Jess and Angel despite how much I’d love to. So for me, much or our friendships come from wonderful conversations and just getting to know each other through gameplay. So here we go my cast love letters:

Abbie

Abbie is my level 2 girl crush (if you need a reference to this link: here). She is such a majestic human, and I spend probably too much time and resources trying to get her to move to Portland, just so I can bother her constantly.1 That is what it’s like to be my friend ladies and gentlemen. I am extra. When Abbie was up here for my birthday this year she was like existing next to a ray of sunshine. She is so thoughtful, kind, and just so snuggly and cuddly.2 It was such a wonderful gift just having her up here. It was so much fun hanging out with her and Dustin, and the memories are some I will cherish forever.

Abbie’s ability to just shift into her character for this campaign is kind of awe-inspiring. Pippa’s sweet little southern accent and just general demeanor are so perfect, and I hope she survives forever (despite the fact that I have a huge crush on her back up character who is also incredible). Playing with Abbie is so easy. She goes with the flow so well and is a force to be reckoned with. She is really the one that keeps us all grounded and sane. I am like existing next to an emotional and mental tornado; my life is a crazy hectic mess, and I’m pretty much always drowning in it. Sometimes that means I’m a grumpy humbug jerk, but Abbie has this way of just making everything better. It’s both amazing and super annoying because sometimes I just want to stay mad damnit.

I remember when I first met Abbie via roll20 and her little face popped up I was super intimidated. She was just SO confident and pretty and generally amazing. I was just kind of always in awe of her. It slowly wore off over time, and now I feel like my confidence can compete with hers at least a little bit.

Abbie is also one of the few people I’ve met who cares about books as much as I do.3 When I took her and Dustin to Powell’s Books here in Portland just watching her face light up in wonder was in my top 5 favorite parts of the weekend. She, of course, left with an armload of books and took all of my recommendations very seriously.4

To wrap this up because I’ll just keep gushing over how amazing Abbie is, I will just say that I hope she knows I’m never going to stop trying to get her to move closer. I’ll find the right bait eventually ♡

P.S. I don’t know why I decided to use footnotes, maybe because of all the papers I’ve had to write this term
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
1 Portland is better than Chico Abbie, just move up here already.
2 These are important perquisites to be my friend.
3 It’s a lot.
4 As she should I give great book recommendations.

Mixed Review: The Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton

I got into this series while I was in high school (around 15ish) after it was recommended to me by the boy I was dating at the time. He was 16, dyed his hair black, smoked, wore skinny jeans, had a lip ring and told me he had to get electroshock therapy every Monday to manage his schizophrenia or something like that – all of which I thought officially made him the coolest person who could possibly exist. Alas, my relationship with this edgy punk lasted only three weeks – but it started me down the path of a much longer but no less turbulent relationship with Anita Blake.

The first 9 books of this series are something truly amazing, especially for a girl in high school who liked scary monsters and mysteries but was lacking a female window into those genres. Anita was tough as nails, no-nonsense, sarcastic and broken in a way that seemed revolutionary to me. These kinds of female characters seem a dime a dozen now, but I give LKH a lot of credit for helping to trailblaze the woman led smart, sexy, supernatural horror thriller novel. This first part of the Anita Blake series and it’s particular brand of feminism is a product of its time (the first book came out in 1993) and has more than a few themes that are problematic in light of how much cultural attitudes towards white 90’s feminism has shifted – but it was still a story I desperately needed and in some ways still do.

With her Browning, penguin stuffed animals, sassy coffee mugs and the ability to reanimate the dead Anita spends 9 books facing down a terrifying and wildly entertaining cast of zombies, vampires, shapeshifters, voodoo priests, evil circus performers and every other horror staple you can think of. She has a classic torrid love triangle with a hot werewolf and an equally hot vampire – both of whom are well fleshed out characters in their own right, with their own struggles and needs that often conflict with Anita’s. Her relationship with Edward, a fellow monster hunter, is still one of my favorite slow burn literary friendships to this day and the book that really expands on the development of that friendship, Obsidian Butterfly, is my favorite novel in the series.

Unfortunately, Obsidian Butterfly also marks the endpoint of the true Anita Blake series for me. In some ways I think that’s because there was no real way to top the stakes (Anita and Edward hunt a vampire so ancient she may actually be an Aztec goddess to save a child), but I think it marked such a huge change in LKH’s personal life that she started taking the series in a direction that is much more supernatural romance than horror thriller. That in and of itself doesn’t really bother me, it’s her series and if she’s in a happier romantic place herself then more power to her.

What bothers me is that outside of Anita’s romantic relationships and explorations of polyamory – some well written with great thoughtfulness (Nathaniel, Jean-Claude) some not so much (ugh Asher) – there really isn’t much story post-OB. The monster hunts, the murder mysteries, the explorations of Anita and her complex relationship with her own growing powers and dark past actions are still lightly touched on but all in all, will take up maybe 100 pages of a 500-page novel.

The rest will be spent on ever more elaborate sex scenes (which sounds titillating and is at first but you’d be surprised how fast that gets old), relationship negotiation and Anita’s strange growing dislike of other women and their strange immediate dislike of her (usually because of their uncontrollable jealousy of her many hot boyfriends). It varies from mildly interesting to eye rollingly cringy. And towards the end, almost as an afterthought, the book will wrap up the monster murder mystery in a few rushed pages and an epilogue.

And yet…I keep reading them. Every once in awhile LKH writes an entry in this series that reminds me of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter I loved so much in high school (hello Affliction, you gave me such hope). Heavy on the action with a well explored, very creepy monster and 1-2 pretty hot sex scenes = ideal Anita Blake.

So I let LKH keep stringing me along because when she’s on her game it’s too good not to read. I’ll leave you with some final thoughts: I miss Ronnie, Olaf needs to die in a fire, Serpentine is completely skippable, and it’s been 14 books but Micah is STILL boring.

End of rant. If you’re also in a bad relationship with this series, hit me up! We have some things to discuss.

Labeling the Container

Dustin and I went and got tattoos together in July (pictured above) and no lie, that was easily the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done. Yes, I’m including starting an actual play Pathfinder podcast with my friends online in my estimation of that. We both got watercolor D20 tattoos and, to complete the look, I had our artist add my adorable cat, Thor, to mine.

We were discussing tattoos and identity and why people choose what they choose and Jackie Rabbit (our amazing artist) said that she heard one of her other clients refer to tattooing as “labeling the container.” That statement hit me hard as such an accurate representation of what body modification can be – taking the physical body that was made for us completely beyond our control and marking it with what we know to be true of ourselves on the inside so we are better reflected and better known.

So here’s how I’ve labeled myself so far: a lover of games and my cat, a devoted sister, an anthropologist, a playful if easily distracted friend, a hoarder of knowledge and sparkly items and a fantasy superfan. I also have a #basicbitch tattoo of a flock of crows representing…something about…my wrist looking cooler with that tattoo on it, because your tattoos don’t have to have any further meaning beyond you liking how it looks. Who knows what else I’ll add as I continue to develop as a person but one thing is certain: I am getting SO MANY MORE – I have a lot of unlabeled space left.

P.S. if you want a good tattoo Instagram account to follow check out Jackie’s (@jackie_rabbit) – she does the neatest fantasy/horror/gothic art and her feed is a delight. Show yours off too, tag us on Twitter or whatever, I love seeing everyone’s ink!