Marvel Just Discovered Girls (And It’s Killing Me)

With Geek Culture being mainstream now, growing up geek is both awesome and easy.  Swag is everywhere, major bookstores now carry a *lot* of weekly comics, and The Avengers are box office gold. All of these things are great, which is why I’m going to come off as the curmudgeon screaming at kids to get off the lawn.  In my day (seriously? did i just say that?) we had to go to an actual comic store which usually wasn’t in our town, have swag imported without Amazon’s free 2 day shipping, and live with the fear that Joel Schumacher had killed the super hero movie genre forever.

The Bat Nipples are infamous.

Growing up geek for my generation was not only harder, but for a girl it was a bit less inspiring.  While my cousins got to be The Turtles, I had to be April O’Neil.  They got Spiderman, Superman, and Batman.  We were stuck with Mary-Jane, Lois, and Catwo…okay, Catwoman is really awesome. (And the ’90’s animated Batman also gave us Harley Quinn, but it wouldn’t be until 2009 that she started to get the respect she deserved.)  Basically, being geek and girl meant suffering through horrible side characters while we waited for our day in the sun.  The good news?  It’s finally here!  The bad news?  Marvel is killing it (and not in the good way).

The mid to late 2000’s saw a surge of activity focused around acknowledging that girls like comic books.  They were starting to get a lot of recognition as fans, and the big houses were starting to pay attention to our request for more females in a heavily male dominated genre. Now in the mid 2010’s we’re happily reaping the benefits.

DC has revisited Batgirl, and (continuing with their slightly darker tradition) given Catwoman,Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn a much more prominent role. Ms. Marvel graduated to Captain Marvel, and will be getting her own movie!  The most exciting (to me) was the 2013 announcement and subsequent release of an all female X-Men team for the new graphic novels.  I was so excited for their release, and so far they’ve lived up to my inner hype.

Seriously, how awesome are these women?

A lot of progress has been made regarding the female presence in comics, and It’s all really great.  But here’s the problem, they didn’t stop there, or even slow down.  They saw us, the female fans hungry for something more than magic bracelets and a golden lasso, as a cash cow and they are milking us dry.

They’re turning Thor into a woman.  They’ve created one network show about Agent Carter from S.H.I.E.L.D. and they’ve made a deal with Netflix to make “A.K.A. Jessica Jones.”  They’re talking about a Black Widow movie, but that’s on hold while ScarJo destroys “Ghost in the Shell”…again, not in a good way.  Finally, they’ve just announced an all female Avengers.

DC Comics has been letting us wade in, releasing things slowly so we have time to savor and enjoy our hard-won ass-kicking females.  Marvel just sort of picked us up and threw us into the deep end like the kid afraid to swim at summer camp.  It’s overwhelming, over committed, and frankly all just moving a bit too fast.  So it’s with a heavy heart that I say I’m sorry Marvel, but I think we just want two very different things right now.  You just want so much from me.  I know you don’t like it when I spend time with DC, but they just seem to…get me right now, you know?  We’re in the same place.  I’m sorry Marvel, I really am, but I think we just need some time apart.

Except for those X-Men graphic novels.  You can keep those coming.

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Radio Silence

It’s been too long since I’ve posted, and unfortunately I can’t say it’s for good reason. It’s actually a really bad reason: vanity.  Pure, simple, unadulterated vanity.  You see, I think know people wish to be seen in a certain light.  Some want to be seen as happy, others hot; some want their congenial nature to shine while others have no problem letting their anger be heard by the whole world.  I tend to be a member of the former over the latter, and while Real Life has never cared which camp we want to be in, social media has given us control over these things.  Well, it gives us a sort of control over them in the sense that we have more power than ever before to show a larger portion of the world only what we want them to see.  This is why my radio silence has been pure vanity.

Over the past month(ish) we’ve had to deal with a serious health scare, issue, and resulting treatments.  I’ll get into details about it at a later date.  For now let’s just say we’ll have the “in sickness” part of the vows sufficiently covered.  (All is currently good on that front right now.)  While I know no one expects me to take time out to blog between doctor visits or in hospital waiting rooms, that lack of expectation doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have.

This blog was meant to be a chronicle of my journey to loving myself, loving my partner, and loving my life all exactly as they are.  If I ignore, cut out, or refuse to write about parts of that journey just because they aren’t happy or pleasant for me to think about, do they go away?  No, no they don’t.  They get more powerful.  Instead of being released into the universe like an unwelcome ghost they sit in my brain and give power to the voices of fear, doubt, and insecurity.  *And* I become the blogging version of  Those Instagram Girls.  (You know the ones- they photoshop and filter every picture, selfie, and snapchat before it ever hits The Net.)  I don’t want to be one of Those Girls.

So no, not everything I write will be funny, geeky, or amusing.  Most of it will be, because generally my life is happy, geeky, and fun.  Some of it will be painful, or sad, or scared.  But I promise all of it will be real.

AFI’s Top 100

While looking through this list, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that I’ve already seen (as an adult) a little less than half of them.  I am slightly horrified by some of the great ones I’ve never seen. I have to admit I’m also truly surprised by some of the movies that made this list. There are A LOT of mafia movies on this list.  Are mafia movies really that good?

Citizen Kane
Casablanca
The Godfather
Gone With The Wind
Lawrence of Arabia
Wizard of Oz
The Graduate
On The Waterfront
Schindler’s List
Singin In The Rain
It’s A Wonderful Life
Sunset Boulevard
Bridge on the River Kwai
Some Like It Hot
Star Wars
All About Eve
African Queen
Psycho
Chinatown
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Grapes of Wrath
2001: A Space Odyssey
Maltese Falcon
Raging Bull
E.T.
Dr. Strangelove
Bonnie & Clyde
Apocalypse Now
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Annie Hall
The Godfather Part II
High Noon
To Kill A Mockingbird
It Happened One Night
Midnight Cowboy
Best Years of Our Lives
Double Indemnity
Dr. Zhvago
North by Northwest
West Side Story
Rear Window
King Kong (1933 – sorry Peter Jackson)
Birth of a Nation
A Streetcar Named Desire
Clockwork Orange
Taxi Driver
Jaws
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Philadelphia Story
From Here to Eternity
Amadeus
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Sound of Music
MASH
The Third Man
Fantasia
Rebel Without a Cause
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Vertigo
Tootsie
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
Silence of the Lambs
Stage Coach
Network
Manchurian Candidate
American in Paris
Shane
The French Connection
Forrest Gump
Ben Hur
Wuthering Heights
The Gold Rush
Dances With Wolves
City Lights
American Graffiti
Rocky
Deer Hunter
The Wild Bunch
Modern Times
Giant
Platoon
Fargo
Duck Soup
Mutiny on the Bounty
Frankenstein
Easy Rider
Patton
The Jazz Singer
My Fair Lady
A Place in the Sun
The Apartment
Goodfellas
Pulp Fiction
The Searchers
Bringing Up Baby
Unforgiven
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Yankee Doodle Dandy

Live Action Zelda? (Or why Netflix may be in over it’s head)

Netflix announced today that it is working to create a live action “Legend of Zelda” series, and I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Netflix has been on the front lines of making geek culture mainstream for a while. They saw us ditching traditional cable for online viewing and offered us streaming services. They recognized their viewing demographic and regularly added content to entice and excite us.

You know you’ve binge watched this.

And this.

They’re also top of their game when it comes to international content: foreign films, kung fu movies, anime series.  Before Netflix these were not only extremely difficult to find, but when you did they were extremely expensive.  Now we have an instant library, full of titles we’ve never heard of, right at the tip of our XBox controller for just $8.99 a month.

I’m also not discounting their proven ability to create quality original content.  “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are both compelling, critically acclaimed, and award-winning series.  Nielsen may not have a way of concretely monitoring the ratings for original content from streaming services, but I don’t know a single person who doesn’t watch at least one of these shows.  They are unique and fun to watch, with well developed story arcs and fully fleshed-out human characters.  Their upcoming “Daredevil” and “A.K.A. Jessica Jones” have both generated buzz around the internet and seem to be highly anticipated.

But…Zelda?

The Zelda games have become one of the most beloved franchises in the gaming universe, and their characters are among the most loved and most recognizable.

Even if you don’t play the games, you know who these two are.

I still remember playing the original “Legend of Zelda” game on my NES as a kid, and “Ocarina of Time” is largely considered to be one of the best games ever made.  Those are awfully large shoes to fill, and Netflix isn’t just trying to fill them.  Netflix is trying to stretch them.  They want it to be the “Game of Thrones” for family viewing.

So which world will they go with?  Not every Zelda game takes place in the same universe.  They don’t even all have the same Link.  Will they pick one game to base the series off of, or will they create their own amalgamated universe to better suit their needs?  Will they go with the original Link?  Will he have to play an Ocarina? All of these questions must be answered, and with Zelda it’s not really multiple choice.  If they pick the wrong answers Netflix will face the wrath of gamers, geeks, and retro-game-loving-hipsters from all over the world.

With two new Marvel shows and their already popular original series, I’m hesitant to be excited about this new Zelda series.  Whether they’re working closely with Nintendo or not, it seems like Netflix might be biting off more than they can chew this season.  That’s why the only live action I want with my Zelda right now is Ash making up her own lyrics.

40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40

In September 2013 I turned 30. I like to think I handled the milestone gracefully, although every milestone will cause you to look at where you are in life, and where you want to be.  While happy with my life, I had become a bit stagnant, and I believe you should never become stagnant.  So I decided to challenge myself, push myself a little bit and hopefully life a fuller, happier life as a more well-rounded person.

So here they are, in no particular order.  I am going to attempt to accomplish all of these things in the next 10 9 years.

1. Go back to Europe – a part I’ve never seen.
2. Go to Japan
3. Enter, and complete, NaNoWriMo
4. Finish my tattoos
5. Work full time for an arts organization
6. Contribute to my 401K instead of just relying on my company contributions
7. Build an actually healthy savings account
8. Write an album
9. Be brave enough to record it
10. Watch the AFI 100 best films
11. Grow “mermaid” hair
12. Get to my goal “healthy” weight
13. Build my credit score to “great”
14. Acquire awesome Halloween decorations
15. Beat “Donkey Kong Country” on the SNES (accomplished 2/25/2014
16. Beat a Super Mario Bros. game
17. Read all books on the New York Times Best 100 Novels list
18. Learn about, and invest wisely in, the stock market
19. Run a 10k
20. Go to the Superbowl with my Dad
21. Learn to fluently speak another language
22. Go to The Gathering
23. Go to Burning Man
24. Go to Las Vegas
25. Buy a house
26. Become debt free (probably before the house)
27. Start my own business
28. Pick one charity and become a monthly sustaining donor
29. Get an AmEx card
30. Buy an electric or hybrid car
31. Create a truly awesome Halloween costume from scratch.
32. Get an electric piano
33. Get involved in local politics
34. Earn my Equity card
35. Join a band again
36. Go sky diving
37. Attempt to mend bridges I regret burning
38. Adopt a shelter dog
39. Learn to play, and become decent at, a first person shooter
40. Learn to cook a full gourmet meal from scratch – appetizers to dessert and drinks

It’s a lot, and I know it’s a lot, but that’s the point of challenging yourself, right?

Living with Geek Flag(s) at 1/4 Mast

Growing up geek and a girl, I struggled with finding a way to fit in most of the time. Theater has always been my life, so that flag was always flown loud and proud, but I also love super heroes, dragons, hobbits, magic, Disney, and Harry Potter.  I also went to a Baptist school for a large portion of middle and high schools.  Care to guess how well those interests went over?  Let’s just say I got to know the guidance counselor really well.  I also figured out very quickly which of my interests would be tolerated by my surroundings vs. which would get me labelled “hedonist” and “satanist.”  Pressure to be accepted, even slightly, by my peers became huge.  I wanted so desperately to not be told I was going to hell on a daily basis that I eventually caved.  People around me seemed at least mildly tolerant of the theater stuff, so that became my focus.

I established “safe places” for my geekier interests.  My cousins were always great. Spending summers with the four of them gave me the chance to read their comics, play their video games, and actually play.  To this day one of my favorite memories is playing TMNT with them, especially the episode where April gets turned into a mutant cat.  So Much Fun. I also had an awesome friend in the house behind me who shared my interest in magic and ancient Egypt.  We used to control the wind with our badminton rackets.  But kids grow up.  I saw my cousins less, and backyard mystic sessions became fewer, farther between, and eventually non-existent.

For a while I was able to get away with visiting the local comic shops to keep up on Batman and X-Men, but that didn’t last long. It turns out that shop-keepers don’t like it when you come in once a week but never actually buy anything. I quickly became persona non grata.  (I’ve been told I lucked out there, what with so many varying/convoluted story lines that all my favorite comics had to be rebooted various times.)  That part of my life became limited to an after school cartoon, a weekly BTVS viewing, and before bed reading, which was ever discussed with anyone.

By the time I found an environment where all of these things would be easily accepted by friends (college), I wasn’t really sure how to fully be myself anymore.  I definitely used some of them as an outlet, which made things a lot easier.  I slowly got more comfortable letting more of my interests be known, and even exploring some new ones.  It felt really good to have open conversations about Gandalf vs. Voldemort or where the real life location of Gotham probably is.  Things like that helped me start to figure out it truly was okay to be who I am.  I reevaluated my proverbial flag pole, and started having weekly viewing parties of “Big Bang Theory” with my “geekiest” friends.  Turns out, it’s a much better way to live.

18 Months Ago

“If you can’t get on board with video games, we’re probably not going to work out.”  These were the first words The Viking said to me in our very first apartment together, and initially I thought he was joking.  I even giggled at him while unpacking my myriad kitchen gadgets.  Then I walked into the living room and realized: he wasn’t joking.

I stood there gaping, both in awe and slight fear, at the sight in our living room.  Seven consoles plugged into our television through various HDMI cables, auxiliary cables, and a multi-in av box (which I had never seen before) were the first things he unpacked and set up. I recognized three of them.  The Nintendo and Super NES were staples of my entire generation’s childhood, and I’d seen XBox360 at a friend’s house once or twice before but never played one.  The rest I had never seen before; some of them I didn’t even know existed.  (Sega Saturn? Seriously, what even is that?)  Next to follow were his collection of toys action figures and collectibles, followed by his wall hanging of someone called “The Major” and a framed picture of the most demented Alice and Cheshire Cat I had ever seen.

I knew he was a geek.  I knew he played magic and video games, watched anime, and collected comic books and graphic novels.  Before moving in together he challenged my “NORPness” on a regular basis by exposing me to science fiction writers, taking me to superhero movies, and making me read some of his graphic novels. He even brought the Super NES to a hotel once for a weekend just to so we could play Mario together.

What he didn’t know was that I was sort of a geek too.  I secretly loved Batman, X-Men, and Dr. Who (which he had surprisingly not seen).  I grew up watching and playing TMNT and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with my cousins. I never missed an episode of “Batman the animated series” because I was obsessed with Harley Quinn.  I would vehemently defend Buffy as THE female superhero of a generation.  I even went to anime club in college for a brief time, but stopped because I came in half way through a series.  I just didn’t talk about such things.

That was 18 months ago, and while I’m still learning to accept a lot of what makes me a geek, I’m having a lot more fun with life now being open about it than I ever did trying to hide it.