Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just Be You

This might sound weird, or even counter intuitive, but I have come to a point where I find all of the 'positive pro fat, or curvy, woman' propaganda insulting. Yes that is right, I just said I was offended by articles meant to lift up and empower fat women just like me. I know it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense even to me.

Here is the thing. First off it is annoying that people feel the need to write such articles. You don't see '10 reasons it rocks to be thin' articles popping up everywhere. I get that is because thin is the accepted norm and seen as the more desirable body type by societal standards, but somehow to me it seems like by pointing to the fact that being fat can be awesome, being skinny isn't awesome. Why can't both be awesome?

Second, and this is the big thing for me, the articles are just flat out insulting. Most of the time these things are written by women of a certain size, so you would think that would mean they could say things that didn't make other fat women feel bad, but that is not true. Some of the boneheaded things that are written just make me sit there, mouth agape, thinking "Did she really just say that?!".

I clicked a link to one such article today, '8 reasons to love being curvy' or some such nonsense, and didn't even get past the first point without rolling my eyes. The list was point after point that either built up curvy girls by backhandedly insulting thinner women, or made it all about pleasing men, which is wretched on so many levels.

One of the points said something about fat women knowing their way around the kitchen so we will happily cook for our man and it will be good. The number of things wrong with this statement is amazing.

Just because I packed on extra pounds doesn't mean I did it being a gourmet cook. Alright so I did, but it doesn't mean all or even most big girls did. I know more than a few that did it through not cooking at all but instead eating out every meal. Fast food is going to take a higher toll on my waistline than my baked chicken and roasted root veggies.

Then there is the 'pleasing a man' aspect of the statement. I am sorry my purpose in life is not to please a man (or woman). I shouldn't have to justify liking my body for anyone but me. How can you call this an affirming article when you keep telling me that my body, and the reasons for my body being the way it is, is only good for pleasing my partner? That makes no sense.

Of course people throw out points that have nothing to do with food or men. One point that is said over and over again that I hate is "Curvy girls are funny". People like to say that fat people are funnier because we have to learn to laugh and make jokes to deflect all the awful things that are said about this. I suppose this is the theory that others laughing at you won't hurt if you are already laughing at yourself.

I find it horrific that this is even a mindset that is necessary.

Yes it is true that people say terrible things about and to fat people. This world is a constant onslaught of anti fat language. Mostly you learn to ignore it, but it never stops hurting. No matter how confident you become in your own body, or how well you learn to laugh it off, it will always hurt.

Instead of saying that we should just laugh or ignore such behavior I would love to see it say 'Curvy women (and men) are brave and stand up to bullies and senseless fat shaming by expressing to those that would bring them down that such actions are wrong'. I would love to see us work on stopping hateful actions than blowing them off with a joke.

I would also love to stop perpetuating the idea that fat people are only able to be funny. I want people who are heavy to be able to be the hero without also being a joke. To be sexy without making people laugh. To be tragic without it being about their weight. I want them to  be all the things everyone else gets to be. We are not stock characters in a Comedia play, we can play any roll we like.

Many years ago a young man walked into the shop we work at down at the Texas Renaissance Festival. This young man was maybe 15 or 16, very heavy set, and dressed as a jester. He was with a group of friends who were all much more fit than he was. While he was in the shop he was constantly cutting up and making jokes, entertaining his friends and everyone around, and seeming to have a good time.

The group of boys made their way to the sword counter where the typical bluster of young men took hold and they spoke of being strong and brave; all of them except the boy dressed as a jester. The husbeast noticed this right off. The husbeast is of course a large man, though for most of his life his size was dues to being over 6'6" as well as being a power lifter. Still he knows the plight of the fat man.

He took the young man aside and offered to show him a sword, but the young man resisted. Jesters don't fight he insisted. The husbeast looked at him a moment and asked why he couldn't be a knight instead of a jester, or even a king instead. The young man looked at him as though he had lost his mind and pointed out that he was the fat kid, and the fat kid is only good for being funny.

How sad it was that this young man felt at such a young age that he had no options in life but to be funny if he wanted to be liked. My husbeast told the young man that he was wrong. He pointed out that his friends listened to him, not because he made them laugh, but because he had the personality to command such attention. He told him that if he wanted to lead all he would have to do is take charge and they would follow, with or without the laughs. It was fine to be funny, but it was not all he was capable of.

The group of boys soon left our shop, the jester looking a bit more pensive than before.

A year passed before we saw that boy again. When he walked into the shop with his friends for a second time he was much changed. His weight was roughly the same, though some baby fat had melted away in a year as is want to do with young men of that age, but he was obviously altered. The young man walked with his head held higher and an air of confidence. Where before he had followed in the back of the group, he now led the group. Where before he only spoke to make a joke, he now led the conversations. No longer did he wear the hat or air of a man only there to entertain.

He went to the husbeast and shook his hand confidently and thanked him. He told the husbeast of how he had taken his words to heart. He had returned to his school and had stopped trying to be funny, but instead spoke his thoughts and found that others listened. He had run for president of his class and won. He had auditioned for the roll of the hero in the school play and got it. He had become a leader who didn't have to make jokes to be listened to. He was still jovial and cut up with his friends and made people laugh, but he made people listen too. He was not just a funny person, he was so much more.

Everyone is capable of being more. We should not pigeon hole them into being one thing because of their body type.

I think I tangented off topic there.
Where was I?

Oh yes, insulting pro fat articles.

If you are going to try and raise people up can we not do it at the expense of others? Can we try to not do it in a way that actually demeans us? Can we not possibly address the actual problems instead of making jokes or lists?

So here is my list:
I have said it many times before, and I will keep saying it because it obviously needs to be said.

If you are fat you are perfect.
If you are skinny you are perfect.
If you have big boobs or no boobs, a big ass or a flat ass, you are perfect.
If you are funny you are perfect.
If you are emo you are perfect.
If you are whoever you are you are perfect because you are you and you are exactly the way you are meant to be.
If you want to be thinner, good for you.
If you want to be fatter, good for you.
If you are happy the way you are, HOORAY for you (what is your secret?).

Don't judge others.
Don't judge yourself.
Just be, and be happy.

Don't allow others to put you down for any reason. Don't ignore it or make it a joke. Tell them they are wrong. Tell them they are hurtful. They will probably just say they were joking and you are too sensitive, and they will probably believe that, but they won't know how wrong they are until people start telling them it is not funny. We can't change the attitude of the world if we don't change our own attitude first. 

You don't need to make anyone else happy with who or what you are. You only need to be true to yourself, whatever size or demeanor yourself happens to be.

Just be.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins!

There are moments in your life that you remember forever.

I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out Princess Diana died; I was watching late night TV in my parents room because they were out of town and I was watching the dogs. I watched what I thought was just a documentary on her life until I realized it was actually a memorial because she had died.

I remember where I was when the second World Trade Tower fell; I was standing in my bra in my living room along with a dozen people from my apartment complex that didn't have cable, clinging to my phone as my mom assured me that my uncles who were pilots were all already on the ground.

I remember where I was when space shuttle Columbia exploded (I don't remember Challenger I was a little too young); I was actually woken up by my mom because the shuttle exploded over my college town showering it with debris. Yes I slept through the explosion.

These were all disasters and horrible events that are forever etched in my mind.

Today is a day that will be etched in my mind, but this time for all the right reasons. Today is a joyous day where justice is done and love wins. I will always remember sitting at my desk at work, being thankful that I didn't wear mascara, as I cried tears of joy for all of my friends and loved ones, and everyone everywhere in this country, who can now enjoy the same right I have been enjoying for over a decade.

As of today any person in our country can marry any other person in this country, regardless or race or gender. In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court of the US ruled that states can not keep same sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions.

I really think that Justice Kennedy said it best: 

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." -- From Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in Obergefell v Hodges


 Yes there will be plenty of people that think that this was a bad decision. Yes there are plenty of people who think that our country is going straight to hell for this. Yes there will be plenty of angry grumbling and ugly displays over this. 

I am sure there was the same sort of outrage in 1967 when SCOTUS ruled in Loving vs Virginia that interracial marriage was to be legalized. While there are still some people who think that was a bad decision, most everyone doesn't even bat an eye at interracial couples. I am fairly certain if you asked most school aged Americans that they wouldn't even know that interracial marriage had ever been illegal. 

I hope that when I have children that they will never even realize that once people were once not allowed to marry because they were of the same gender. It may be my grandchildren who are blissfully ignorant of such hate, but today's ruling is where it starts. 

For all of my friends who are married and happen to be the same gender, congratulations on your marriage now be recognized all across the country. For all of my friends who are unmarried but may in the future at some point want to marry someone who happens to be the same gender, congratulations on the ability to do so anywhere in the country. 

Remember marriage is hard, and marriage is a struggle, and marriage is not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work, but it is so worth it. It is a wonderful bond that is hard to quantify in words. It isn't all romance and sunshine. It won't always work out. You will fuck it up on occasion, and sometimes you won't be able to recover from that, but sometimes you will. It doesn't matter if you are black, or white, or male, or female, we are all human, and being human we are horribly flawed and we all now have the right to embrace the flaws of the ones we love most, without boundaries or barriers. 

They say love is blind, and they say justice is blind. Today justice is blind in all the right ways and erases those barriers that have stood far too long.

What will you say when the next generation asks you where you were when marriage became equal for all?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kindness Initiative

My mother, like most mothers, always taught me to be polite, kind, and generous. I was raised to be patient and considerate of others. I like to think that I took these lessons to heart and am the type of woman my mother is proud of (spoiler I totally am and she totally is and that is not conceit because she will most likely say so in the comments). Not that southerners have a corner on the politeness market, but I am a good Southern woman.

It has come to my attention lately that these virtues which were so instilled in me as a child are not necessarily considered normal by the populace at large. Even in the south where we are known for holding doors, using our 'sirs' and 'mams', and all the pleases and thank yous in the world, general common courtesy and decency seem to be uncommon enough to cause shock and awe when they are shown.

The husbeast and I were taking advantage of our first free Sunday in four months by enjoying a leisurely breakfast at our local Einstein Bros. We like to grab a bagel and coffee (juice for me), and chat away the morning before finding some adventure to occupy our day. It is our favorite Sunday ritual.

We walked up to the counter to place our order and I looked down to see a key on a keyring sitting there. A young woman in yoga pants who had been in front of us was already bustling out the door with her breakfast in hand. I held it up and mused a moment if it was hers.

The kid at the register held out his hand and said he would take care of it, but that to me seemed silly. I was already on the outside of the counter, he was wired up to the drive thru headset, and she was almost to her car. As the key was too small to be a car key I figured she would drive off without the key and not know it was missing until it was too late.

Without a thought I turned and jogged out the door after her. I caught her halfway to her car and held out the key to her. She at first thought it was hers until she realized her keys were in her hands. She thanked me and continued on her way leaving me with the lonely key. I wondered if it's owner had long since left the shop and would forever be without their key.

Upon closer inspection I noticed the key chain was a Harley Davidson key chain. I also noticed I was now standing beside a parked Harley and sitting a few feet away was a gentleman wearing a Harley t-shirt enjoying a cup of coffee. No clue-x-four needed here. He was incredibly grateful for the return of his key, though he noted he wouldn't have gotten anywhere without it since it was his bike key.

I headed back inside to place my order feeling satisfied with my little good deed of the day. I really didn't think too much of it, I mean it wasn't like it was any sort of inconvenience to me and it saved someone from unnecessary panic. The kid at the register however thought what I did was wonderful. He said he was amazed anyone would go to that much trouble to return a key, that most people would have just given it to him and not thought about it.

I got a discount on my bagels for my trouble.

I sat there eating my discounted bagel and sipping my orange juice and was just baffled that this kid was so shocked and impressed by what I considered common courtesy. Would people really just let someone walk away without their keys, or anything else they had left behind? Would people really be too busy and self concerned not to take the 45 seconds from their days?

It didn't hurt me in any way, and in the end I had some instant karma with a bagel discount (not that I was expecting that or needed it to do what was clearly the right thing to do). Why would people not do that?

A few days prior to my bagel shop encounter I was sitting in line to get into line to the drive thru at my local Raising Canes on my lunch break. The location near my office has a very poorly designed parking lot. If you enter from the direction I have to enter from you normally must wait to work your way into the line, which means someone has to actively let you in.

I arrived and there were two cars in line that were there before me, so I was going to wait and come in behind the second car when it passed me. I wasn't expecting to get to go ahead of someone who was already waiting when I showed up. Just before the second car got to me another car pulled in behind him and as they moved forward it was obvious this person was not going to let me in where I should be allowed in. I was in for quite a wait.

Only that isn't what happened.

The car I was originally was going to get in behind stopped and waved me in front of him. He gave up his spot in line so I wouldn't have to wait. I was pleasantly surprised. He ended up in line all of maybe a minute longer than he would have been, but got me into the line probably several minutes before I would have gotten into the line. It was so incredibly nice.

I bought him his lunch.

The kid at the drive thru was more than happy to let me pay for the guy though he was confused why I would want to when I made it clear I had no idea who he was. I tried to explain that the man had been nice enough to let me cut in line, and I was just paying the kindness back. The kid had never heard of such a thing and that made me a little sad.

Have we really become a society where we would be discourteous to others because it is more convenient? Is our time so precious that we can not take a minute from our day just to be kind to someone for no other reason than to be kind? Has it come to a point where offering a few dollars to show appreciation is a shocking act?

I don't think so. In fact I know that is not the absolute truth. I am proof of that, and so is the man who let me into the line. There are still good people out there doing good kind things for no other reason than they can and they should.

I am reminded that kindness breeds kindness and the more good and nice things I do, the more others will hopefully do the same. My good deed today will be another persons good deed tomorrow. Who knows when that one small kindness is the difference that a person needs to make it through the day.

So the next time you see someone drop something, pick it up for them. If you see someone leave something, return it. If you see someone blocked in traffic, let them in. Give up that minute and be the good you want to be shown to you. Then when someone is kind to you make sure to acknowledge it whether it is something as grand as buying their lunch or discounting their breakfast, or just a warm smile and a wave, it will make a difference.

Go forth and be good to one another, it matters.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Be You

Today I would like to talk to you about the term healthy. If you are American, and probably if you are not American, you are probably sick of people talking about fat people and what is a healthy size. I know that I for one could go a life time without ever hearing people rant about this subject until they are blue in the face and be perfectly happy. That isn't going to happen though so lets just talk about the elephant in the room.

Whether we like it or not, and whether it is right or not (spoiler it is not) our society judges people and bases their worth off of their size. Media has trained us that thin is both pretty and healthy. If you were to go out and ask anyone what a healthy person looked like I guarantee you that almost everyone would say thin.

They would be wrong.

I am not going to deny that being overweight is bad for your health, it really can be. However healthy and skinny are not the same thing anymore than unhealthy and fat are the same thing. These things are not mutually exclusive and never have been. You can be thin and unhealthy, and shocker, you can be fat and healthy.

First let us take the BMI and throw it out the window. Anyone who references a persons BMI as any indicator on what they should weigh and their health is going to be ignored because you are working off faulty logic and science. The BMI was never designed to be used on an individual level, and was never really scientifically sound for being used on a large scale. Let us all right here and now agree that the BMI is complete and total bunk.

No seriously it is a bunch of bullshit. Don't believe me? Ok let me elaborate. Going by the BMI pretty much every professional athlete is at least obese if not morbidly so. Turns out lean muscle weighs more than fat, so incredibly muscular people can't meet their BMI. Also anyone with a high bone density is screwed when it comes to BMI. Most of them would have to remove a femur to meet their BMI.

Ok now that that is out of the way let us move on.

So if fat isn't unhealthy what is? Well you should probably go consult a physician about that one. Your doctor can tell you if you are healthy or not. I know it is a total shocker, they went to school for this, and can actually tell you these things.

If you go to your doctor and they tell you are fat and need to lose weight without running any tests on you,  you might consider finding another doctor. I have been to doctors who will blame everything on my weight and won't even entertain the idea that there is something else wrong with me. I am sorry but I am not coughing because I am fat, please check me for the flu you idiot.

It is possible that you might have some issues because of your weight. You could have heart issues, joint issues, cholesterol issues, blood pressure issues, diabetes, or a number of other things. Then again, you may not.If you have issues and your doctor thinks you need to lose weight because of it, then you should do that so you can  be healthy. If your doctor is not concerned, then you can decide if you want to lose weight or not. It is up to you.

That is the thing, you can not tell by looking at a persons size if they are healthy or not.  You can tell if they are fat or not, but that doesn't tell you if they are healthy. Unless you are their doctor you have absolutely no idea if they are healthy.

I dare anyone to look at me and tell me I am unhealthy. I dare you to tell me to my fat face that I am unhealthy. Do it and you may learn how well I can throw a right cross and will most certainly learn the true sharpness of my tongue.

First off it is most likely none of your business what state of health I am in.
Secondly, IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT STATE OF HEALTH I AM IN!

Am I healthy? Yes actually I am. According to my doctor, who went to school for many years to learn stuff about people and their health, I am healthy. I have perfect cholesterol, and blood pressure, and have no signs of being or becoming diabetic, and my heart is in above average shape. Anything that might be wrong with me is in no way associated with my weight.

I am healthy and I am fat. Get over it.

Am I in shape? No, I really am not, but being in shape is not an indicator of being in good health. I can make it up three flights of stairs and not want to curl up on the ground and die, so I count that as a win. My best friend, the mighty B, is probably one of the most in shape humans I know, and she is on the chubby side. Again fitness does not equal healthy or skinny. I know people who are rail thin that can't take three flights of stairs without wanting to puke, so shove off.

Basically, stop judging people. Just stop.

A skinny person is not automatically healthy, and a fat person is not automatically unhealthy.

Unless you are a persons doctor and have run tests on them, YOU CAN NOT JUDGE THEIR LEVEL OF HEALTH.
If you are not a persons personal trainer YOU CAN NOT JUDGE THEIR LEVEL OF FITNESS.
Most importantly, unless you are that person YOU CAN NOT JUDGE THEM!

Go mind your own business. Worry about your own health, and size, and fitness. Go be happy with yourself. Go care about yourself. Judging other people only makes you an asshat. It puts nothing negative energy back into the world, and seriously the world is shitty enough already without adding more trolls to it.

Skinny women are beautiful.
Fat women are beautiful.
Women who fall between these two extremes are beautiful.
Women with muscles are beautiful.
Women with rolls are beautiful.
All women are beautiful.
All women are real women, stick thin and flat as a board or curves for days, you are real women and you are as beautiful as you let yourself believe you are because no one can determine your worth and beauty but you.

Be happy, and be healthy, and be yourself whatever that is. Thick or thin, just be you, even if you could be Batman instead, because Batman is already Batman, and that has been done before. Be something better than Batman, because you can.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lets all go to the movies

The clock in the car is reading 6:55 as we pull into a parking spot and I am already frowning at the husbeast. I hop out before he has finished turning the car off and scurry towards the building without really waiting for him to catch up as I have no intention of being late. A few minutes later I am taking the stairs nearly two at a time, thankful for my long legs, as I sprint for the back row which is thankfully still empty as it is our favorite spot. The husbeast settles in next to me just in time for the lights to start to dim. The room is momentarily dark before the whirl of the projector can be heard and the screen in front of us comes to life with vivid bright light.

I love movies.

Whether I am settling in at a theater or working on my ass groove in my couch at home, I absolutely love movies. I have a ridiculous movie collection and know the staff of our local theater by name to support my claims of my movie addiction.

What isn't to love about the movies? I mean the experience of going to the theater, sitting in the darkness as worlds are laid out before you, where you can watch love grow, and sorrow pour forth, and mysteries unravel in suspense is completely liberating. For the run time of that movie you are not in your own world but in another that was carefully crafted for you. For that short amount of time you can escape your own life and problems and immerse yourself elsewhere.

People have used movies as a type of escapism as long as there have been movies. During the depression, wars, and times of national strife people fled to the theaters for some way to not think about all the problems in the world. With the advent of the VCR and subsequent technology (DVR, BluRay, Digital download), movie channels like HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax, and eventually streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime people can administer a much needed dose of escapism from the comfort of their own homes (or wherever they are with a well charged tablet and a wi-fi signal).

Still with movies being such a well loved pastime there is so much hate and vitriol out there for them. There are entire websites dedicated to picking apart and destroying movies. Now don't get me wrong, there are some really awful movies out there, but when I stop and look at some of the movies receiving such hate, I have to stop and wonder what is wrong with these people.

I have a friend who is notorious for hating all movies. In reality he actually likes a lot of movies. It is  the fact that he has such fervent hate for any popular movie that is based on something like a comic, TV series, or book (which pretty much all modern movies fall into this category) and is very vocal about his hate makes him seem like an all around movie hater. It is bad enough though that there is a moratorium on movie discussions when  he is in the house, and he is pretty much never invited to see a movie with us.

I have heard him say before that he thinks that I have very low expectations of movies and that is why I am not disappointed in more of them. I say that is complete and total bunk. I actually have very high expectations of most movies, and even I can be (and have been) disappointed in what I have been presented. I am just more tolerant than he is, and according to sites like Rotten Tomatoes, than most people.

First off I have pretty much no problem with variances between movies and their source material. I am a huge Douglas Adams fan, and you can't really love his work if you can't accept that the same story is going to be different in every incarnation it has. You will be hard pressed to find a radio play or movie script for Hitchhikers guide that is the same as the books or any other scripts for the story. That was done on purpose, and I love him for that, and for teaching me that the details can change and the story can live on.

Rare is it that a book can directly translate into a film. Sure we would all love for every minute detail of our much love novels to be depicted on screen exactly how they were written, but lets face it, that is impossible. Some things just don't translate well and would hurt the story in film format. Sacrifices have to  be made.

Let us also accept that they can not always find actors who look exactly like the character in the book and can also pull off the character. Yes there is a height discrepancy between Hugh Jackman and Wolverine from the comics. Get over it, that man has Wolverine down. Again sacrifices have to be made.

Also you have to remember that the movie is being made with a modern audience in mind so it is not going to always follow the tone of the book exactly, and it most certainly will be tonally different if it is a remake of a beloved childhood show or movie. You have to accept that what children of the 80's wanted to see is not the same as what children of 2015 want. They want cool graphics and more explosions, and modern relevant cultural references.

Lets address another big hater point; historical fiction. There is a very important word in that particular drama that people seem to dismiss far too easily. No, not Historical, I was referring to the word fiction. If you want something that is historically accurate you need to find something that is listed under the heading documentary, and even then you are going to most likely find something with a bias slant which obscures certain facts.

No matter how you look at it, all films, even documentaries, are going to get facts wrong or gloss over things that could be important. In historical fiction films there is going to  be a lot more inaccuracies than in documentaries but this doesn't mean that they are outright bad movies. Do not go in expecting to learn history from something that is fiction. Do you even know what that word means?

In historical fiction movies you should probably be looking for overall themes, concepts, and messages instead of factual accuracy. I mean there are of course some gross inaccuracies that would warrant outrage, but for the most part the things people hate on in movies are much more minute, like perception of certain historical figures that they don't think mesh with the common agreed persona of that person.

Take your historical fiction with a grain of salt and go read some biographies and history books to determine the 'truth' of events is the best thing I can say about that. Enjoy the  movie for what it is and let it go.

After all of that I think what needs to be done is for you to ask yourself a few simple questions:

Did I enjoy the movie?

This is probably the most important question. If the answer is yes it was a good movie. If the answer is no, it could still be a good movie.

Was I emotionally moved by the movie in some way?

If you found your heart skipping when the two lovers finally kissed, crying when the anti hero tragically sacrificed themselves for redemption, or terrified as the suspense unraveled, it is a pretty good guess that this was a good movie. Movies are supposed to invoke emotional responses and if it engaged you enough to receive those reactions then they did a good job.

Did I feel a connection with the characters?

Characters are not real people, but if you feel for them and are invested in their outcome then it was probably a good movie. If you get indignant for a character when they are mistreated, or genuinely want to see them find happiness, or care about them in any way, then they really did their job well.
Did I ever get bored with the movie?

Was the movie overly confusing and frustrating? 

There are confusing movies and then there are confusingly frustrating movies. Dannie Darko and Memento come to mind as confusing movies that were good. The time lines are all mixed up and there is a lot going on, but the movies are still engaging and entertaining. At no point did I ever stop the movie and say to hell with it because I had no idea what was going on and therefor no longer cared.






Did you ever get bored with the movie?

This is a tricky one. Boring movies can still be good movies. If it is boring and you sit through it and are still able to say you enjoyed it, or that it was emotionally evocative, chances are it wasn't a terrible movie. I have this problem with Saving Private Ryan. Good movie, but it was so slow I kept getting up and going to do other things instead of watching it. I wasn't in the right mind frame to watch it at that time, but it didn't make it a bad movie.




So an example of a bad movie?


The new Conan was so boring that I found myself making grocery lists and pondering what to make for dinner; strike 1. The writing was also so incredibly disjointed that I found it confusing and hard to form an attachment to any of the characters or care about them; strike 2 and 3. It was completely not enjoyable and is one of the few examples of me hating a remake. It met none of my criteria for a good movie. 






Of course when it comes down to it, that is just my opinion. Whether a movie is good or bad is completely subjective. Should you take Rotten Tomatoes or a critics word for whether or not a movie is good; probably not. There is no guarantee that what the reviewers were looking for are the same things that you are looking for in a movie. Just because they hate it doesn't mean you will, and just because they love it doesn't mean you will.

Remember critics went to school for film a lot of the time and the things they are judging the movie on is probably not criteria that you are looking for. It is sort of like watching ice skating or gymnastics. You see a beautiful entertaining routine and the judges give it low scores because they weren't low enough in their rotation or they wobbled a little too much on dismount.

Always give things a chance, and you might be surprised where you find a gem of a movie that you will love and cherish forever. You may enjoy it, and then again you may not, but you will never know until you try it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Slaying the Apathy Beast

Starting is the hardest part of just about anything. When you begin a journey you are full of hope but you are also full of trepidation. There are just so many things to do and think about that sometimes it becomes daunting and seems just to be much simpler to just not start anything at all.

Starting again is even worse. Not only are you plagued by the typical concerns of beginning something but now you have to deal with all the questions and doubts about why you stopped in the first place. The thought that perhaps you had somehow failed and having to consider if this time will be any different. It can be enough to make you give up before you have begun.

The world is littered with half written novels, partially painted pictures, mostly knitted sweaters, and projects doomed to never see the light of day thanks to anxiety and apathy. It always seems easier to stop or never begin that to fail or get bored with something, or at least that is what we all like to tell ourselves when we look back on the could have been in our life.

When I started this blog almost 4 years ago I was very determined not to let this become a project I regretfully set aside and looked back on longingly. I told myself I wouldn't allow myself to make the same old excuses that we all make when we let things fall by the wayside. I was going to do this thing because it was something I genuinely wanted to do.

Now here I sit looking back at the last year and I realize that is exactly what I did. I posted a total of 32 times last year and it has been almost two whole months since my last post. In the world of a short attention spanned blog audience that is forever (I know I counted).

I look back and I ask myself what the hell happened? Had I grown bored? Had I run out of things to write? Had I run out of time? Was it a combination of all of these things that made me set aside something that I used to enjoy so much?

If I am lying to myself, and you, I would say yes. It would be a lie though.

The truth is, I just haven't been here. I have no excuses, I just haven't bothered.

I have more than enough time. As I sit at my desk playing Candy Crush on my phone I could easily be cranking out blog posts. So obviously time is not an issue. I have plenty of time if I would just make it.

I certainly haven't run out of things to write about. If that ever happens I have probably run out of air to breath. My personal life is full of things I could be writing about and always is. We are having a new house built and that experience could have an entire blog devoted to it.

Personal life aside the world has been full of topics that are just begging to be written about. I mean you can't swing a cat without hitting an article about a dozen different hot topic issues from feminism, to the Interview and Sony cyber attack, to the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, to mental illness, to a hundred other topics that have been in the spotlight. Material is certainly not an issue.

I suppose I have let apathy take a firm grip on me and have not been able to escape. I have made many attempts at breaking the cycle of doing nothing, but little has come of it. I have deleted more half written posts over the last few months than I would really like to admit.

So what does this mean for the blog? Am I giving up on it? No I most certainly am not. I still have far to many things to say, whether anyone is listening or not. Will I be posting more? Who knows. I am most certainly going to try, but you know what they say about good intentions.

Being honest with you my minions means that I can't keep lying to myself. I have to admit I have just been apathetic and lazy if I ever want to overcome this and get back on the path I set for myself. Sometimes it just takes saying it out loud.

So here is hoping that I have shoved the apathy monster back into its box for a while and I can get back to accomplishing that which I set out to do. I hope that if any of you are being sat upon by this particular beast that you can shrug it off and get started again. We are all capable of so many amazing things, we just have to get started.

Starting is hard.
The journey is worth it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moments from working a Ren Faire

Working at a Renaissance Festival provides for some incredibly interesting moments in my life. Working retail at said festival  can make things just that much more interesting, especially when the shop I work for is a large and well known Pagan store. I find myself in philosophical debates over faith just about as often as I find myself trying to keep drunks from licking the display cases.
Here are just a few interesting moments from working in the shop this past weekend.


-Customer walks to the counter with a leather bound journal to purchase and hands me a credit card to pay for it.

Me: May I please see your ID?
Customer: I am old enough to buy a journal. Look they sold me beer *holds up his beer to prove he is of age*
Me: *Raises eyebrow at him*
Customer: *looks confused for a moment before look of realization comes across his face* Oh...you want my ID to make sure the credit card isn't stolen. You weren't carding me for the journal.
Me: How many beers have you had this morning?


-Two customers looking at the statues of different Gods and mythological icons.

Customer 1: Why do they have two Poseidons?
Customer 2: They don't. One is Poseidon and one is Neptune.
Customer 1: Aren't they the same person?
Customer 2: Not exactly. One is a Greek God and the other is a Roman God.
Customer 1: So same God, different name?
Customer 2: Pretty much. Like Hades and Ares, both gods of the underworld, one is Greek one is Roman.
Random customer eavesdropping: Wow you really killed that smart vibe you had going there for a minute.
Customer 2: What?
Random customer: Hades and Ares are both Greek. Hades rules the underworld, Ares is the war God. Pluto is the Roman God of the underworld.
Customer 2: *looking flustered* Whatever *walks away with customer 1*
Random customers friend: Dude how they hell did you know that?
Random customer: *shrugs* I watched a lot of Xena as a kid.


-A man in his mid 40's and his mother are looking at rings and he has the typical wide eyed reaction to me in a bodice.

Man: How do you get your boobs to do that?
Me: I get dressed?
(The mother referred to me as Big Bada Bosom the rest of the time they were in the shop much to her sons dismay)


-Two middle aged women looking at the jewelry in our case and see the tray of silver pentacles.

Woman 1: Are those Jewish?
Woman 2: Stars of David?
Coworker: The Star of David has six points, these have 5.
Woman 1: So are they like evil devil worship signs?
Coworker: No not really.
Woman 2: Well why do they always show it in movies when evil devil worshipers are doing stuff?
Coworker: Well Hollywood tends to like to use symbols people don't understand for whatever they like.
Woman 1: So it isn't evil?
Coworker: Well you can take it to mean whatever you like, but typically no, not evil.
Me: A five pointed star in a circle is meant to be a sign of protection and peace.
Woman 1: Oh I like that.