I was super-excited for this month’s Loot Crate, which had the theme “Galactic”. I won’t say I was disappointed, exactly, but I was a little bit let down. Check out the unboxing video:
Can you see the “let down” look on my face? It’s not that the items weren’t cool, but most of them just weren’t for me, you know? *sigh* So let’s do a value breakdown:
Science Fiction Mystery Mini Loot Crate Exclusive: Mystery Minis of a wide variety tend to go for anywhere between $5 and $10 depending on where you’re buying them. Since this one was an exclusive made just for Loot Crate, I’m going to go ahead and assign it the higher value of $10. Loot Crate Exclusive Tribble: It’s hard to put a value on this since it’s another exclusive, but I found similar items online for about $10. Single-Pack Pop Rocks: These seem to go for about $1.50 Star Wars/Asteroids magnet: As usual, I assign these magnets a value of about $1 because, come on…it’s a magnet. ReAction Kane figure (from Alien): The ReAction figures go for about $10 pretty much everywhere. Halo comics redemption code: I couldn’t actually find a price for these digital downloads, and I suspect they may actually be free normally, which would make their value $0. If you know better, please correct me. Firefly Universe Fake “Credits”: Believe it or not this stack of fake money goes for the real price of about $10. Come on, people…it’s kind of cool, but would you really be willing to spend $10 in real money to get a stack of fake money? Han Solo in Carbonite mini-poster: This mini-poster goes for about $2.
Total approximate value of box: $45 Total cost to me: $30
So, all in all, this wasn’t a great box. The value was lower than previous boxes, and most of the stuff in it just doesn’t do anything for me. The tribble is cute, but I can’t get past the fact that it’s just a ball of fuzz, and the ReAction figure would have been cool if I’d gotten the Alien, but who really cares about Kane in a spacesuit? And I’m sorry, but the Firefly credits just seem stupid to me, especially now that I know that, value-wise, it was actually one of the biggest items in the box. All in all, the only item I really like is the Malcolm Reynolds Mystery Mini.
The Villains and the Heroes boxes were so awesome, Loot Crate…what happened? 😛
As mentioned on “H” day, I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan since about the 7th grade, when my two best friends got me to watch all three original movies in one sitting. You would probably assume, therefore, that I am not a Star Trek fan. And if you’d asked me a few years back you would have been very right. Though I’d never seen a single episode of any of the shows, or any of the Star Trek movies, I was firmly seated amongst the armies of Star Wars fans who defy the Trekkies, heart and soul. I figured I could only like one or the other, and I’d made my decision, thank you very much.
So it was that I was 25 years old before I ever actually sat down and watched something with “Star Trek” in the title, and it was the 2009 reboot. My husband and I decided to give it a go, and although quite a few of the in-jokes went right over our heads, we totally enjoyed it. “Oh crap,” I thought. “That was actually pretty good. Have I been avoiding this franchise all this time for nothing?”
Soon after watching that film, my husband decided to go out and hunt down the entire original series, and believe me when I say that it didn’t take us too long to whip through the entire thing. The old show was silly, occasionally quite campy, and there were certain things (like the way the light focuses in on Kirk’s eyes whenever he’s “serious”, as in the picture above) that just made you laugh, but the show was incredibly well done for it’s age, and it was fun. And a great deal of that fun was attributed to Captain James T. Kirk, played by our dear Mr William Shatner. The character is just too much fun to watch. He’s extremely overdone, written to be one of the cockiest womanizers in the known Universe, and somehow always manages to pull out ahead no matter what nonsense situation he gets himself into. He’s the very definition of an over-the-top hero, the kind that can be described with that wonderful phrase, “women want him and men want to be him”. You can’t help but love him and want him to overcome the odds, while also fully aware that he is 100% ridiculous. He keeps you watching on the edge of your seat, while also keeping you laughing like a fool.
Though it may seem very silly at times, I honestly believe that the original Star Trek series is something that everyone who has even the basest interest in science fiction should take the time to watch.
A little while ago I wrote a review of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, after having “completed” the 12-week program. I put those quotation marks because whether or not I actually completed the program is actually up for debate. I did many of the tasks and exercises, but I also didn’t do a lot of them, if you know what I mean. If you read my review you’ll see that, in the end, I decided that the program was not for me. There were too many ideas and concepts that I just couldn’t quite agree with.
But there were a few things in the book that, when read, made me go “YES. Oh my flipping lord, YES.” One of those things was the concept of “refilling the well”. Basically, the idea is that we can wear ourselves out creatively. We can spend too much of our time and energy on the actual art, to the point that we’ve “drained the well”, so to speak. We run out of energy/ideas/creativity; we don’t know what’s wrong, exactly, but all of a sudden we find ourselves staring at a blank page without any idea of how to make use of it, or everything we create feels like complete and utter crap, or just the thought of working on our art anymore makes us want to burst into tears.
The suggestion, based on this phenomenon, is that creativity is a finite source, and we have to replenish it from time to time. It’s like calories; if we continuously burn more calories than we take in, we starve. If we use up all our creativity without shoring up our supply, we eventually run out and have nothing left to draw from.
So how exactly do we shore up our supply? Well, my experience thus far has been that the best way to rebuild creative stores is to allow yourself to experience other people’s creativity. Read books, watch movies, play video games. Allow yourself to enjoy and fully experience the creations of others. Say, for example, that you’ve been working on a science fiction novel. Take an evening and watch some classic sci-fi movies – you might just get some great ideas for that scene you’ve been stuck on. Working on something visual, like a painting, and not quite sure where you’re going with it? Spend a few hours on sites like Flickr and DeviantArt. Seeing how others have accomplished similar things might give you the spark you need to keep moving forward.
Why am I talking about this today? Because I am currently in the process of desperately trying to refill the well. Though I’ve finally gotten back to work on the last bit of manuscript editing I have to do (more on that tomorrow), I’ve been woefully disappointing in the amount of new writing that I’ve been doing of late. I just haven’t been able to push myself to sit down with a blank page and write something new; no new chapters to unfinished stories, no new drabbles or short stories…nothing new at all. Blogging, while important in its own way, does not count. I need to be writing new fiction. Lots of it. You can’t get better at writing unless you force yourself to do a lot of it, and you are seriously unlikely to reach a large year-long word-count goal if the only words you’re writing are for your blog.
And so here I find myself, staring into the well, tossing things in and hoping that soon I’ll be able to see the top of the pile. I’ve been (as previously mentioned) reading the most recent Sookie Stackhouse novels. I’ve recently completed (along with every trophy, thank you very much) the PS Vita game, Tearaway. I’ve been watching movies with my husband (most recently a horror and a goofy Grindhouse flick) and have plans to start watching the Doctor Who show right from the beginning original episodes. I’ve been using the books my husband gave me for Christmas to learn more about my favorite superheroes, their backgrounds, their villains, and their comrades.
Am I feeling more creative yet? Maybe a little. Maybe a little too much. I find myself actually drowning a little bit in the ideas. I’m not sure what to go for, where to turn next. There are so many areas on which I could focus, and I can’t tell which one I’m most interested in. While attempting to refill the well, I may have actually leaned a little too far forward and fallen in.
But it’s a good problem to have, I think. Soon I am going to be returning to my “day job” out West, a job that involves a lot of physical labor, moving about outside, and thinking technically. Therefore it is going to be a joy to go back to my room at night, curl up with my tablet or a new blank journal, and just write. Maybe I’ll choose one direction and aim for it with laser precision. Or maybe I’ll spin the needle each night and see where the winds take me. Either way, I suspect that 2014 is going to be an interesting year for seeing what pops out of my brain and onto the page.