Carrie Fisher, Our Princess

Carrie Fisher has always been an interesting character. An actress and a prolific writer, people know her best as Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy. Her Hollywood story began well before this though. The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, there was probably no doubt that she would get into show business herself at some point. One of the first roles of her young career was in the film Shampoo, with Warren Beatty. This was in 1975, in 1977, she would be offered the role of Princess Leia in the movie Star Wars.

Carrie Fisher has always been honest about the hard times she has had throughout her life and her career. Once she referred to herself not as a damsel in distress, but a distressing damsel. She struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction throughout her life, but always managed to overcome somehow, though being able to acknowledge and, despite stubbornness, ask for help (asking for help can be difficult. I know from personal experience). She has found a new voice through several avenues, whether it be advocacy, writing, or acting, she always seemed to do things with a certain honesty and no small amount of truthfulness. Her book, Postcards from the Edge, became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacClaine. It’s a great read as are many of her other books.

Princess Leia is one of the greatest characters ever to grace the screen. This is primarily because of the fact that she represented what a strong female character should be. Not over sexualized, independent, strong, feisty. A woman who could stand shoulder to shoulder with men, even if it was to call them a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf-herders. She was a role model for girls and young women, when there were not many strong female characters being presented on the screen. She was certainly a role model to me, and shall continue to be so.

I will always appreciate the character of Princess Leia, and the wonderful actress who brought her to life. Carrie Fisher shall be sorely missed by fan and peer alike. Thank you.


The Value of Fan Fiction, Fan Art, Fan Videos and Costumes



Hello all. Thought I would go ahead and post something because it is one of those things I am interested in.  It is often said by some that “fan projects” are not worth the time or effort. This is not true at all. “Fan projects” are more pivotal now than they ever have been. Why do I say this? Because engaging in fan activities such as writing fan fiction, doing fan videos and creating fan art are fostering the next generation of artists. Basically what I am saying is that, with these projects comes knowledge, practice in the art that you want to be involved in, and experience.

Lets start with fan fiction. Many authors will say that this is not the kind of thing that “real” writers engage in. That is not true. Even writers and film makers that are well respected have dabbled in borrowing, fan fiction and “ripping off”. Take Suzanne Collins who wrote “The Hunger Games”. It is quite clearly based, in some form off of the film “Battle Royale”, A Japanese film about a group of Japanese students who are forced to fight to the death in a contest where only one is meant to come out alive.

Then again, “Battle Royale” is much more interesting and amusing, because it is not a film made to be considered as “overly serious film”, it is a film that caters to the interest of many audiences, action fans, Japanese film fan, people who like the irony and strong social messages put forward by the film. But basically it is an “it is what it is film, and if you try to make it something more, you’ll merely disappoint yourself”. The Hunger Games” caters to it’s built in audience, and is therefore full of teen angst and characters that one only finds interesting if they are into that sort of movie. There’s nothing wrong with the films. For me, they are just not as entertaining as a film like “Battle Royale”. But still, it cannot be denied that the premise is basically the same and one is simply more entertaining that the other.

Let’s take a moment to look at “Star Wars” and George Lucas. George Lucas’s earliest movie was “THX1138”, a dystopian film about a very controlled society. Here we actually have Lucas who has borrowed from George Orwell, who’s books (that later became films) are basically the same story. People living in a controlled society. Then when it came time for “Star Wars”, George Lucas, who was a great fan of Akira Kurosawa, basically took the plot of Kurosawa’a film “The Hidden Fortress” and set it in space. The George Lucas ripped himself off and Created “Willow” which is the same story with little people and Val Kilmer. Then, as Honest Trailers pointed out, J.J. Abrams basically recycled the plot, except this time around, Luke was a young woman who didn’t whine or complain as much. And in fact, you could say that Collins ripped off both Lucas and Orwell…Haha…

Even a smutty book like “Fifty Shades of Grey” was borrowed from the plot of “Twilight”, which I have always found amusing. Anne Rice took the plot of “Sleeping Beauty” and filled it with smut. Also borrowing from other people is what remakes are, adaptations are, they are also why Marvel keeps regurgitating it’s superhero franchises.

So here’s the thing. If these people are allowed to borrow, adapt, rip off and do all these other sorts of things, why can’t we fans do so? Some writers will say that, “ah, fan fiction. That is no good because you’re just taking someone else’s story and doing things with it.” Well yeah! That’s what art is all about. Copying and borrowing from the masters in order to gain competence. Even Da Vinci and Michelangelo started, probably from copying some of their art, or borrowing it from the person that they learned from. Everyone learns something. The difference is how quickly you can pick it up.

Also they say, “oh you don’t get good feedback on fan fiction”. Not true at all. If you are a good writer, people will know it and know how to respond to your writing, regardless of what it is based off of. There is a difference in writing styles and motives in fan fiction. One is for the writer who someday wants to write. The other is for people who use it for some kind of odd wish fulfillment, which shouldn’t be in the same caliber. However, I have gotten a lot of good feedback from writing fan fics. People seem to like what I write and know what kind of writer I am, and therefore, they ask questions, point out plot holes, make comments on my having too much exposition, all kinds of useful comments. So one cannot claim that they do not get good feed back. If you are a good writer who is working to morph a good narrative, readers will know it.

Some fan videos are wonderful, and I enjoy watching them. They can be funny, touching, interesting visually, and just plain emotional. So here the thing. What you are looking at are the writers, comedians, film editors, and producers/directors of the future. If you can make a good fan video that people like, then chances are you want to work in film. The fact that you are working with someone elses content, just as long as you make it clear that you are playing with someone elses baby, and you’re not slapping your name on it saying, “this is mine”, I don’t see a problem with it. When I edit photos, people know they are not mine. Nor do I claim them as mine. They belong to someone else, and I try to make that as clear as possible when I give credits to people. So we should not demonize people for stealing when all they are doing is borrowing. If they have the footage, chances are they own the original, and most people still like to buy the DVD. Personally I don’t like downloads of anything, whether it’s film or music or game content. I want something I can hold, that is mine. So I still buy DVDs and things. I love things like commentary and interviews and extras, so I buy the damn movie! It isn’t mine. I claim nothing because I cannot. All I do is what most other artists do is borrow and take what I can from a given plot and work with it. Here are a couple of videos from Sweetladybat that I just love.

Fan art is also a very useful teaching tool. Again, learning from the masters. Also fan costumes. If you go to conventions, you will see thousands of costumes that people have worked numerous hours on, sometimes just to wear to one event. What you have here is artists in the making and future costume designers. You may have the next Edith Head amongst their numbers. Or even a Donatella Versace is you think about it. why would the film industry and fashion industry not take advantage of these people and their art?

There are so many fandoms out there, and there are so many people who want to be a part of them. And if you do not foster the talent of the next Shakespeare, or the next Da Vinci, or the next Edith Head, the industry will be missing out on some great and awesome talent.

Thank you for reading, I greatly appreciate it!! Shara

Adventures on “The Lord of the Rings Online” Dwarrowdelf server!!

Hello all!! I have been playing the MMORPG “The Lord of the Rings Online” for about five years now, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. My first and only server had always been Dwarrowdelf, but recently the game developer Turbine decided to consolidate it’s servers for the game, and Dwarrowdelf was one of the servers chose to close. It meant that I had to transfer to another server, Arkenstone, which I did with a somewhat heavy heart because of the fact that good friends were going to other servers. Not only that, but Dwarrowdelf being my only server meant that I would be leaving behind all sort of familiar people that would come up every so often on world chat. It was a very good and friendly community of gamers. But, time marches on, and the game remains fun, and I am pleased whenever I spend time in Middle Earth, which I have done every Saturday night for five years. I love you all, my friendly dwarven, elven, hobbit and men comrades!! Special thanks to Warner Brothers, Turbine and the Saul Zeantz Company/Middle Earth Enterprises. Also to Billy Boyd and Water Tower Records for the beautiful song, “The Last Goodbye”. Goodbye to the Dwarrowdelf server, but may the game last many more years, for it is still beautiful, and people still enjoy it!! Thank you for reading!!

My first screenshot. Obviously I had not figured out the functions of F11 and F12 yet, hahaha.


Soon after, I got my first horse at the farm in Bree. I actually called him something very plain. However, I like my Rivendell mount Kenshin better.


I got my first house, but it was kind of a hole in the wall…


There comes that point when you have to put something in it though.


I know for a fact that Midges in the Marshes only eat hobbits.


This was once the great watch tower of Amun-Sul…Now it’s just just fun to jump off of. Don’t worry. If there were permadeath in this game, people would have given it up long ago. So goodbye cruel world…For like ten seconds…


When you go to The Lone Lands for the first time, take friends.


There’s always something interesting there.


And I may be small.


Some times you just have to hang out with the birds. I think they kidnapped me.


Or maybe I am truly the lost hobbit queen!!


Well I couldn’t be the queen, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t get in on some reality TV!!

Next Top Model

Nope, wait…Show’s over… So instead, I became a Middle Earth Martha Stewart!!


In Evendim, you will find many strange things. Like Treebeard’s cousin!!


And elves who want to see more than I am willing to show…


And strange ladies hiding in mossy caves.


In Fororchel, you can find rabid Wolverines who feel they have to get in on the fight.


But if you go to Rivendell, you will find my favorite hero.


A little monkey jumping on the bed, she fell off and bumped her head.


Well you might as well take advantage of people while you’re in Rivendell.


Sometimes my elf forgets where he is…


But then again, he’s hot. He doesn’t need brains!!


When you get to Moria, you will find that Dwarves actually like nature. So much so that they brought it underground with them!!


Then again, sometimes you have to hang out in ugly places. Like Angmar…


Sometimes you wish you could barrel-ride your way out of there like Bilbo Baggins.


And when you get out of the dark places, there’s also exotic wildlife.


Damn Richard Armitage, you did indeed get short. From when I met Thorin Oakenshield. Sorry, no hot dwarves in this game…And also no female dwarves.


Sadly, I hadto move out of my house.


And we had a lovey kinship party.


And this is my very last screenshot on Dwarrowdelf.


And one of my first on Arkenstone…Don’t put up the Turtle head trophy in your back room. The green haze is so bad you can almost taste it.


And those were Lithodora’s adventures on the Dwarrowdelf server and the beginnings of new ones on Arkenstone. Cheers!!






Edmunds Abstract

This is an abstract that I wrote for my History class!



Native Americans, New Voices: American Indian History, 1895-1995

By R. David Edmunds


R. David Edmunds Article “Native American, New Voices: American Indian History, 1895-1995” explores the evolution of Native American historical research over the hundred year period of 1895-1995. During the late 1800s Native Americans were so displaced that it was almost impossible to get a history from them. Also the fact that the population was dwindling and most of their histories were oral, the histories of Native American people was almost lost to the world. During the years that followed, the only histories about Native Americans were those that were written by Europeans and left much to be desired. These European authors could only see Native Americans from their point of view. It talks about assimilation, and trying to destroy the Indian way of life so that Native American would lose their identity all together. It took coming together to make their own history to solve the problem. The most pressing question perhaps is, what is the true Native American voice and what does it mean?



Edmunds, R. David. “Native Americans, New Voices: American Indian History” American Historical Review. 100 (1995): 717-740.

Samurai Bibliography

I found this history specific bibliography about Samurai while working on an assignment. It might be of use for you as well.  The format doesn’t quite work out here, but all of the information and the citation are there.

Samurai Bibliography

Adophson, Michael S. The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha: Monastic Warriors and Sôhei in

Japanese History. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.

Ansart, Olivier. “Loyalty in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Samurai Discourse,” Japanese

Studies 27.2 (2007): 139-154.

Brown, Delmer M. “The Impact of Firearms on Japanese Warfare, 1543-98,” The Far Eastern

Quarterly, 7.3 (May, 1948): 236-253.

Conlan,Thomas Donald. “Largesse and the Limits of Loyalty in the Fourteenth Century.” In The

Origins of Japan’s Medieval World: Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the

Fourteenth Century, edited by Jeffrey P. Mass. Stanford: Stanford University Press,

1997, 39-64.

— . The culture of force and farce: fourteenth-century Japanese warfare. Cambridge: Harvard

University, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, 2000.

— . In little need of divine intervention: Takezaki Suenaga’s scrolls of the Mongol invasions of

Japan. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.

— . State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth-Century Japan. Ann Arbor: Center for

Japanese Studies University of Michigan, 2003.

— . Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200-1877. London: Amber,


Farris, William Wayne. Heaven Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500-1300.

Harvard University Press, 1992.

Friday, Karl F. Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan. Stanford:

Stanford University Press, 1992.

— . “Bushido or Bull? A Medieval Historian’s Perspective on the Imperial Army and the

Japanese Warrior Tradition,” The History Teacher, 27.3 (May 1994), 339-349.

— . Legacies of the sword : the Kashima-Shinryu and samurai martial culture. Honolulu:

University of Hawai’i Press, 1997.

— . Samurai, warfare and the state in early medieval Japan. London: Routledge, 2004.

— . “Lordship Interdicted: Taira no Tadatsune and the Limited Horizons of Warrior Ambition,”

in Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, eds. Michael Adolphson, Edward Kamens and

Stacie Matsumoto. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007, 329-356.


— . The First Samurai: The Life and Legend of the Warrior Rebel Taira Masakado. Hoboken,

NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Gerstle, C. Andrew. “Heroic Honor: Chikamatsu and the Samurai Ideal.” Harvard Journal of

Asiatic Studies 57.2 (1997): 307-381.

Hurst, G. Cameron III. “Death, honor, and loyality: The bushitô ideal,” Philosophy East and

West 40.4 (October 1990): 511-527.

— . “The Warrior as Ideal for a New Age.” In The Origins of Japan’s Medieval World:

Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the Fourteenth Century, edited by Jeffrey

P. Mass. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997, 209-236.

— . Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven: Yale University

Press, 1998.

Ikegami, Eiko. The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern

Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Jansen, Marius. Warrior Rule in Japan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

McCullough, Helen Craig, translator. The Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan. Boston:

Tuttle Publishing, 1959.

Oyler, Elizabeth. Swords, Oaths, and Prophetic Visions: Authoring Warrior Rule in Medieval

Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005.

Pinguet, Maurice. Voluntary death in Japan. Rosemary Morris, tr. Cambridge, UK : Polity

Press, 1993.

Pitelka, Morgan, “The Early Modern Warrior: Three Explorations of Samurai Life,” Early

Modern Japan 16 (2008): 33-42.

Rath, Eric C. “Banquets Against Boredom: Towards Understanding (Samurai) Cuisine in Early

Modern Japan,” Early Modern Japan 16 (2008): 43-55.

Saikaku Ihara. Comrade Loves of the Samurai. E. Powys Mathers, translator. Rutland, VT:

Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1972.

Turnbull, S.R. The Samurai: A Military History. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc,


Vaporis, Constantine N. “Samurai and Merchant in Mid-Tokugawa Japan: Tani Tannai’s Record

of Daily Necessities,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 60.1 (2000): 205-228.


— . Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan.

Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008.

— . “Samurai and the World of Goods: The Diaries of the Toyama Family of Hachinohe,”

Early Modern Japan 16 (2008): 56-67.

Varley, H. Paul, Albert Dien (Editor), Ivan Morris (Editor), Ainslie T. Embree (Editor),Charles

P. Issaw, The Onin War: History of Its Origins and Background with a Selective

Translation of the Chronicle of Onin. December 1966.

— . Warriors of Japan: As Portrayed in the War Tales. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press,


— , “The Loyalty Ethic of Vassal Warriors in Medieval Japan.” In La Société Civile Face à

L’État: Dans Les Traditions Chinoise, Japonaise, Coréenne et Vietnamienne, ed. Léon

Vandermeersch. Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient, 1994, 409-419.

— . “Cultural Life of the Warrior Elite in the Fourteenth Century.” In The Origins of Japan’s

Medieval World: Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the Fourteenth Century,

edited by Jeffrey P. Mass. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997, 192-208.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Hagakure: The Book of Samurai. Translated by William Scott Wilson.

Kodansha International, 1992.

Yamakawa Kikue. Women of the Mito Domain: Recollections of Samurai Family Life.

Translated by Kate Wildman Nakai. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Yamamura Kozo, “The Increasing Poverty of the Samurai in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868,”

Journal of Economic History 31.2 (Jun., 1971): 378-406.

— . A Study of Samurai Income and Entrepreneurship. Quantitative Analyses of Economic and

Social Aspects

Yumoto, John M. The Samurai Sword. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1958.

Yuzan Daidoji, Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinsu.

Translated by Thomas Cleary. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1999.



This bibliography was found on Dr. Keith Knapp’s faculty web page for The Citadel University The Military College of South Carolina under Department of History. Dr. Knapp’s specialty seems to be History and Asian Studies. Several of his bibliographies can be found on this page ( ). The Bibliography above is focused on research about Samurai throughout Japanese history. It is definitely something that could be of use to me in the future.


The Citadel Department of History Keith Knapp Department Chair. Ed. Kurt M. Boughan. August 24, 2012. October 12, 2012.