Squeeing over Supergirl: Pilot, S01E01

David McDonald and Tehani Wessely have been squeeing about the new Supergirl television show for months, so they decided to take time each week to discuss the new episodes as they air. They may occasionally rope in their friends to get excited too.


Supergirl – Episode 1 (“Pilot”)

DAVID: The first thing that struck me about Supergirl was how bright and colourful it is! It’s a welcome contrast to the gritty, washed out look that has become the norm of late. It was also reflected in the sense of fun that permeated the show. It wasn’t just that there was a sense of wonder in her discovering her powers, but also just a different feel to the way the characters interacted. It was like everything didn’t have to be brooding or ominous, we got to see them simply being people separate from their other role. It reminded me more of The Flash than something like Daredevil or Arrow.

TEHANI: Agreed! It definitely has a lighter vibe than anything else we’ve seen—for me, that reflected the target demographic the show is being aimed at, but my, so refreshing!

DAVID: However the show that it reminded me of the most was Smallville, which is one of my all time favourite television shows, and still one of the best versions of the Superman mythos that’s been done. So far, like Smallville, Supergirl seems to show an understanding of the core of what Superman/Supergirl is about—and what it really means to be a hero. It certainly has a better handle on it that Man of Steel did! It looks like it is going to follow the Smallville trend of nice little shout outs to the comic and to other versions—we’ve already seen Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) and Helen Slater (Supergirl: The Movie) pop up! I loved playing spot the reference in Smallville, and it looks like that will be a feature.


TEHANI: Ahem, so this is where I admit I never really watched Smallville? But it absolutely made me smile with glee to see Dean and Helen!

DAVID: Speaking of casting, I think they have been spot on. When I heard that Melissa Benoist had been cast as Supergirl, I was a little dubious, but she brings an adorable goofiness to the role that suits this version of Supergirl perfectly. It’s great to see Calista Flockhart back in a role that gives her a lot of room to move, and I really enjoy this more imposing version of Jimmy Olsen—a character that has, at times, had very little presence or simply been there for comedic effect (and often as successful at that as Jar Jar Binks). I was interested to see that we have at least three actors who have significant musical backgrounds—Benoist (Glee), Jeremy Jordan (Smash), and Tony Award winning Laura Benanti (Nashville and lots more). Perhaps we will see a musical themed episode!


TEHANI: I love the James Olsen character and the way he’s being played, and I also love Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers, Kara’s adopted sister, and I LOVE the way Calista Flockhart is playing Cat Grant—it’s brilliant! I think the casting choices are excellent.


DAVID: I am actually really impressed with the decision DC have made about who this series has been aimed at. Rather than the usual demographic of young men, they appear to have realised that girls are interested in superheroes, too! I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, but my female friends who are watching this feel that this is something that has been made with them in mind, rather than treating them as an incidental benefit on top the people studios normally cater to. It seems like a no brainer to many of us, but most of the studios have been avoiding a female helmed series or movie as best they can (the closest being Captain America: Winter Soldier which was really a buddy cop movie like Lethal Weapon with Captain America and Black Widow deserving equal billing). Hopefully this is a much needed step in the right direction and, along with shows like Jessica Jones, will herald a sea change in marketing.


TEHANI: Look, it’s crazycakes—us gals are YELLING for content that has at least got SOME women, let alone someone as the lead. I continue to be particularly disappointed in Marvel for the lack of women—we got Agent Carter, and yes, Agents of SHIELD has some excellent female characters, but the films, and shows like Daredevil, despite being excellent in so many ways, are absolutely woeful for gender diversity (among other diversities…). I really hope Jessica Jones gives us more but we’ve most recently been disappointed by Ant-Man, and by the news that the potentially awesome Captain Marvel movie has been pushed back. DC is doing better, with some interesting and engaging female characters in Arrow, Flash and Gotham, but this is the first time (other than iZombie, which isn’t really a superhero show, despite being great!) that we’ve got ourselves a female-led series. And not just that, we’ve got other women who Kara gets to TALK to and everything! So woohoo DC!

Supergirl Cat Grant

And OH MY GOSH do I love the discussion of being a girl!! Kicking butt, Cat Grant. Actually, I just love all of this. I truly hope that the show continues on the way it has begun—the gentle interrogation of certain superhero media tropes, the clever casting, the jump-in-with-both-feet-and-just-get-on-with-it style—it’s brilliant! Can’t wait for the next episode!

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On shrinking and changing habits

When my mum and dad were here on the holidays I handed over several bags full of clothes I have shrunk out of over the past 12 months. It was a big step, because clothes (especially nice clothes in larger sizes) are expensive and by passing them on, you are saying “I’m never going to be that size again.” And I don’t plan to be.

About this time last year I joined Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation program. I had done it once before, but this was the first time I really made any effort. I had lost a little weight during the year (going back to work always helps), but during October I started doing several things that really worked for me.

  1. I started walking to and from work most days. It’s just over two kilometres each way, which is a good distance to get me moving. My job can be fairly sedentary, and I spend way too much time at the computer, vegging out with the kids at home, or reading, so it was a useful way to get some more exercise.
  2. I recorded every single thing I ate and drank in the My Fitness Pal app.
  3. I used the 12WBT recipes and did a lot more cooking from scratch, including batches to take to work for lunch.
  4. I watched the 12WBT videos and did the set tasks to keep on track.

Since the beginning of 2014 I’ve lost more than 15 kilograms. I’ve dropped two or three sizes in clothes and have pretty much had to replace my wardrobe (although I did pull out some older things that now fit again, which is a fabulous feeling!). Most of that was before February this year. I had aimed to lose another ten by now, but various things (mostly injury and illness) have made it a bit difficult. I kept up the walking (when I wasn’t sick or injured!), even on the minus-six degree mornings in the middle of winter, but stopped tracking calorie intake and slacked off on other exercise. But I’m still determined to lose more, so I signed up for another round of 12WBT and am being a stickler again, recording food and figuring out new exercise options.

My goal on this round is not just to lose more weight but to increase strength. I have to commit to doing more of the 12WBT program exercise, and make sure I stick to my calorie count. So that’s my plan. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far, and am keen to do more to get to a healthier weight for me.


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A publishing sort of year

Most people who read this would know I publish books via my boutique press FableCroft Publishing. In 2015, we’ve brought out two original anthologies, Cranky Ladies of History and Insert Title Here, Dirk Flinthart’s debut collection Striking Fire and the reprint ebook anthology Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction (the third of an annual series) (and there may be a couple more things yet to come…).

What you might NOT know, is that this year I’ve also had several publications of my own! They are all non-fiction, and I’m rather chuffed about them, particularly when they have mostly been for paying markets!

Companion Piece cover

The first was an essay in the latest Mad Norwegian Press Doctor Who book, Companion PieceEdited by Liz Barr and LM Myles, Companion Piece focusses exclusively on the companions of Doctor Who – my essay is about Tegan, the Australian companion!

LetterstoTiptreeFollowing that, I have a letter in the Twelfth Planet Press tribute to James Tiptree Jr / Alice Sheldon / Raccoona Sheldon, Letters to TiptreeThis book is amazing and a powerful collection of work showcasing writers inspired by Sheldon’s story and her work.

Adding to these essays, I recently had an article published in the magazine Magpies, aimed at school libraries and librarians. I pitched the idea to the editors and was delighted to have it accepted, even though I only had about a week to then interview the authors and write the 1600 piece! The article is titled “Collaboration is the human superpower”, and is a feature focusing on the recent YA novel Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti within the broader context of the superhero popularity of today. It’s not online anywhere but I will probably blog the article when the exclusivity period ends.

And I was really pleased to do my first review for Books+Publishing this month! I think it’s the first time I’ve been paid to write a book review, and I’m hoping to be able to do some more. I reviewed Alison Goodman’s forthcoming novel Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club which is out early 2016, but the review is behind a paywall, sorry!

Oh, and just last week I was part of the latest SF Signal Mind Meld, on the topic “The books that made us love science fiction and fantasy” – this one WASN’T a paid piece, but I had a lot of fun writing it and check out the fantastic company I’m in!

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And just like that, the holidays are ending…

Two weeks pass like the blink of an eye. At least I didn’t lose most of the break to Teen Wolf like I did LAST break, but a full week of gardening apparently sucks your time just as much as an addictive TV show :) The skip was absolutely chockers by the time it was picked up on Friday last week; I don’t reckon we could have fit even one more stick in! And the yard and gardens looked SO much better for it. But I don’t want to have to do that again – it’s just not my thing…

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In between the yard work we managed to sneak in some socialising – first up was a great get together (the deck warming!) at Donna and Matt’s place, which was just delightful. An ever-changing guest lineup as people came and went throughout the afternoon, with much excellent conversation and food! We also spent a morning with Karen and her kiddies, with lots of baby cuddles at last! Miss G had stroke clinic for swimming three days both weeks, and Master D had daycare, so it was just me and Master J and Master M for a lot of the time. Husband rolled in and out briefly, between work and Tassie trip, and Granna and Grandpop arrived around lunchtime Friday, just in time for me to head to Conflux!


The view from the deck at the deck warming…

I was one of the guests of the Conflux 11 convention, so went in for the opening ceremony late afternoon. MC Laura Goodin did a lovely job opening proceedings, and I had a chance to catch up with a few people early on. I had a little car drama (mechanical issues) when I went to pick up Dirk Flinthart from the airport, but managed to not be too late to collect him! I then took advantage of my night alone at the hotel (was joined my Miss G for the rest of the weekend) and crashed out very early indeed – it had been a big week.

The convention saw me on a heap of panel items, but we started out on Saturday with the launch of Striking Fire by Dirk Flinthart – Dirk arranged at the last minute to have wine delivered and we managed plastic cups to serve it in, alongside the chocolate I had organised. We also had a prize draw of the Dirk books plus a tote bag and notebook, and it was a very convivial and fun launch!

Photo by Cat Sparks

Photo by Cat Sparks

After lunch I had an insane five panels in a row, and it was a bit like that for the whole weekend! Thank goodness for Elanor and Miss G, who took excellent care of the FableCroft sales table while I was not there. It was a wonderfully interesting program (thanks to Leife Shallcross) and I hope I didn’t repeat myself much! Luckily my fellow panelists were erudite and articulate and they all went pretty well, I think. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and though I didn’t do any of the evening socialising (except a brief sojourn at the banquet with Miss G), I still got lots of time to chat with friends, get to know new people, and be inspired by the writers and creators around me.


Photo by Cat Sparks

Short Story Markets
The Editor’s Diary
What about Who?
Cranky Ladies of History
The Appeal of the Superhero
Guest of Honour Talk: Tehani Wessely (thank you SO MUCH to Cat Sparks for interviewing me for the GoH talk – she asked awesome questions!)
A Big Enough Audience
Paying for our passion – writing sacrifices
Alternate Publishing Options
Literary Awards and Judging
Book Promotion
Words of Wisdom
Closing Ceremony and Awards

See Cat Sparks’ fab photos of the convention at her Flickr, here!

Once the convention was over, we had the rest of the week for family sorts of things. This included Miss G turning 10 (where on earth has THAT decade gone?!) and an impromptu bowling party – she had swimming for four hours in the morning, so I sneakily arranged to pick up a couple of her school friends to join us for bowling. The look on her face when they popped up out from the back seat of the car when we picked her up was delightful :)

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Mum and I got some quality shopping time in, and Grandpop and the big boys variously got some fishing (although didn’t have much luck with the catching – not really the goal though, I reckon…) and we enjoyed just hanging out. Husband was home briefly and we managed to get the mechanical issues quickly sorted out for the car he drives back and forth several hundred kilometres per week, as well as duck in a find a new phone for him before he disappeared into the sunset again! Making the most of the short periods of time we have :)

And now it’s the last day of the holidays. Granna and Grandpop have gone off for a bit of a driving holiday on their way home, and I’m working through a few last holiday jobs and tidying up before back to school tomorrow. I think I’ll call this break a big success!


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It’s holidays again!

Time really does speed up as you get older, I’m sure of it. I mean, yes, I had two weeks off work post-appendectomy, but still, term 3 absolutely flew by and here we are again at school holidays. And if every day in the next fortnight is as productive as today, by gum I’ll be taking over the world!

The kids were up early (surprise surprise) but also happily did some tidying up and got ready in a timely manner so we could head out to drop off drycleaning, swing past the hardware store for some gardening equipment, then head to dentist appointments (which I managed to snag just yesterday!). On the way we dropped the car to the lovely Star Wash to be beautified while we were elsewhere (it was SO filthy!) and after our appointments (all good, though we’re looking down the barrel of some major orthodontics for at least two of the kids – and I booked in for wisdom teeth extraction in two weeks, eep!) we even took ourselves to lunch! 

Came home in our lovely clean car, put the little boys to bed, and who knows why but I started in on the gardens again. Master 12 hauled the pruning I started last week into the skip that got delivered Thursday, and I continued with my mission to tidy the darn yard and gardens. For two hours. I don’t even know who I AM anymore!! It’s starting to look a lot better, though I was very cross that the (admittedly cheap) spade I bought didn’t even get through one digging job before the handle snapped! Will be returning THAT tomorrow…

Spent a lovely hour after that colouring (don’t judge me, it’s very relaxing when you have no brain left) and watched the short web series Airlock, a fantastic Aussie scifi production – it was great! 

So what’s in store for the rest of the break? Miss 9 has some swimming commitments (and will become Miss 10 in the second week). Hoping to get Master 5 to some holiday gymnastics again. More garden tidying. A book or two to work on (and several to read). Mum & Dad visiting, which we’re really looking forward to, and flying visits from husband. And I’m guest at the Conflux convention here in Canberra on the middle weekend of the hols, so that should be great! One of the events is the launch of our latest book, Dirk Flinthart’s debut collection STRIKING FIRE – looking forward to sharing that one with people. (You can win a copy or preorder here!).

For now, I think I’m in for an early night – all that fresh air has worn me out!

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