Written by Shae Rufe
So, some of you may still know me and others may not, and that’s alright. Hi! My name is Shae and I haven’t been able to write for several months now. I used to write for this site frequently, but sadly this last July my brain literally just shut down. I’m hoping that writing this will help me clear my head and get some things out. Maybe you guys will want to read this, maybe you won’t, either way it’s kind of nice to just…vent? Purge? Both? Alright, what brought this all on? What’s been going on with Shae? A lot. A lot of things have happened so...life blog time!
In July of 2015, I happened to lose a very important person in my life. My grandfather was more than that in a lot of ways. I didn’t grow up like a lot of people with happy parents and a white picket fence and a dog. Fortunately, my biological father bailed when I was about two, not that he was in my life much up to that point anyway. So, my grandpa kind of stepped up. We were close, really close, and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house. I looked up to my grandpa in such an amazing way; needless to say when he passed away in my arms that fateful day in July I was crushed. The whole thing was unexpected, as most deaths are, and I will not lie, I was a delusional person who never thought he would die. I wish that was true, still to this day. Part of my soul died with him, and most of me changed in a way I don’t think anyone expected.
The thing about grieving that nobody tells you is that you experience all the ‘stages’ at once. It’s not a step by step thing. One minute you’re sitting there and you’re overcome with this horrid awful feeling so you sob uncontrollably. The next you’re so angry you want to just punch a hole in the wall, while still crying, and you’re bargaining with whatever and anything to just make it all better again. Acceptance is the one that still eludes me some days. I feel its more of a resigned weird sense. It’s not like you’ve accepted what’s happened, you just sort of go….’okay, I guess this is life now.’ But it’s anger, depression, bargaining, and massive amounts of denial.
Well, I am still riding the depression train for a multitude of reasons. So, I lost my hero, my idol, and the most important person in my life, and then a few weeks later my best friend started dating a guy. Which, legit, didn’t bug me for the reasons you’re probably thinking. I was happy for her, very much so, but I was also mad. I was mad because I was hurting and she’s off being happy and not at all effected by what I was going through. I guess the thing I didn’t want to admit at that time was we were drifting. We spent a lot less time together, we spoke less, there had been a rift growing between the two of us for quite some time. Friendship breakups are the hardest to go through. That has its own stages, with mostly a lot of denial, but the truth is sometimes friends just drift.
Anger is not a stranger to me. I’m legally blind and live in this weird purgatory like state where I am blind enough that I can’t drive or really fit in with sighted people and I am sighted enough where I don’t fit in with other visually impaired people. I’m highly functioning and its literally one of the worst things to deal with. Especially when you’re a fiercely independent person. I am very used to anger. Sometimes you do have a lot of anger when you feel your closest friend or friends pulling away from you. I totally felt that last year. I even confronted her about it several times…and then last March I got a phone call from a truly amazing best friend (I had more than one at the time) who broke some hard news to me, she was no longer going to be my friend or my roommate. She was moving out of the apartment and out of my life. The drift was complete, the rift between us had grown too great and that was that. I was alone and left with an apartment to myself.
However, there's no way I could afford that rent on my own, because rent prices in Colorado, ouch, and nothing makes you feel more like a failure than having to move into your parents' house at the age of 30 because you have an enormous amount of student loan debt for a degree you’re not using, while working at a hotel and desperately trying to get your financial life into order. Not being able to drive, totally helps too. So, that is where life has led me. I am currently living in an apartment attached to my parents' house that belonged to my grandpa. I’m actually sitting on his couch right now as I write my first blog in nearly six months, trying to sort my head out. I know that there are a lot of people who suffer with depression too, and for that I’m sorry. I have no idea what I am doing with my life.
I’m oddly okay with that.
It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to struggle and feel like the world is out to get you because maybe sometimes it is. What about navigating life and grief and depression? I'm still learning that myself. I have two modes when it comes to things that make me happy; binge on them until I can't anymore or just not deal with it. I watched all of Stephen Universe, which was only on two season at the time, in literally two days. I watched Miraculous Ladybug in a day and I caught up on Sailor Moon Crystal with one episode a month because more than that was too much effort. On my DVR is the entire 12th season of Supernatural unwatched. It's not because I don't love the show, I do obsessively love that show, I just...can't bring myself to watch it. I have watched the show This Is Us at least 5 times since it's aired earlier this fall. My other vice became food videos. I literally would lay in bed and just watch Tasty videos on Facebook for hours, until I fell asleep. I still do that. The downside to that those videos made me think I could be an amazing baker. Alright, I'm already half decent at that; I can't decorate to save my life, but I'm really good at baking. I rapidly learned that the easiest things came from a box but the most fun came from a lot of bags and messes in the kitchen. Baking has its downsides, you eat the things you make and sometimes you gain a lot of weight trying to chase away the sad...which doesn't help your self esteem when your pants stop fitting.
The thing with depression is it doesn't just go away on its own and it often comes and stays and brings its friend anxiety. I can't tell you how much my anxiety flared up, but it did and I had no idea how to stop it. I still suffer from it. I am probably the worst friend because I will make plans and then cancel on people because the idea of leaving my room is overwhelmingly scary. Or the anxiety of just being out in public is way too much. The thing about depression and anxiety too is you end up losing a lot of people you thought were friends. Some of it is my own fault, but when all you have to say is "I'm really sad" all the time people get fed up and they just drift. I also am not going to lie, my memory is nothing like it used to be. I've no idea what I ate for breakfast half the time let alone anything else. Of course I remember big important things, but little things? Like where I left something or things that aren't as prevalent are really hard. I'm forgetful, which annoys a lot of people I'm sure. I mix things up a lot and often that's with people too. It's not on purpose, yet it's insulting all the same when you ask someone how their boyfriend is only to be reminded that they're married. Or when you ask someone how school is when they graduated forever ago. It's embarrassing and hard and all you want to do is make things right, but...
I feel off, a lot. My relationships with a lot of friends aren't what they used to be. There's a disconnect and I cannot seem to figure out how to reconnect. I know it's me, I'm the spark plug that's bent and trying to fit into a slot I used to fit perfectly into, because car analogies make perfect sense right now. It's weird, I guess is the perfect answer. It's really hard to rely on others when someone so close to you abandoned you. It's hard to reconnect with people when you're still damaged on the inside, even if you're smiling, and it's hard to try and be who you were when that's not you anymore. My group of friends is impossibly small and intimate now and I love that. The people I feel most comfortable with are those who know most of the dark little bits, and they stayed. Going through change of any kind is hard for anyone. I used to love change and now I can't stand it. Change isn't always good, or bad, sometimes it is just there. How I react to it is completely different than how someone else would. Learning to accept that is the hardest thing anyone can do.
As people we are all different. Our reactions to things are different, always. With 2016 behind me, I wonder if 2017 will be better. The truth is, I don't know and that terrifies me. I do know this, though, I can only make peace with what's happened the last year and a half and learn to move on. I'm never going to get proper closure on the friend who moved out on me. I'm never going to get my grandfather back, and I'm never going to be able to go back and change any of it. Maybe I can learn how to function differently. I may not be the person I once used to be, but I can work on making the person I am now better.
After all, what didn't kill me made me stronger, right?
Written by Kate McHargue
Recently my roommate, a slight Harry Potter fan, asked me to go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with her. She knew that I, a diehard Potterhead, couldn’t refuse. And in the middle of my second viewing of this film, I had a full blown HP fan existential crisis. In the scene where Graves (Grindelwald) comes to Credence and asks about the Obscurus on the loose, he heals Credence’s abuse wounds but manipulates him with promises of freedom and acceptance. And my first thought was, “Geez, Grindelwald really is evil. Leaving that poor child in an abusive environment simply to serve his own purposes and ‘the greater good,’…. ugh, pure evil.” And then I realized, isn’t that exactly what Dumbledore did?
Rowling made it clear that Harry was under the protection of his mother’s love and sacrifice while he resided with her only living relative, Aunt Petunia. Yet even with this justification, the fact remains that Harry Potter was left in an abusive household so that he could survive to the age in which he would be used as a pawn in the chess game of Voldemort’s demise. The movies may downplay the Dursley’s abusive nature, making it seem as though they are mean or overbearing but ultimately not the worst guardians ever. The books, however, elaborate on the food deprivation, the physical abuse, the alienation, and the psychological attacks Harry endures at the hands of his only living family. And Dumbledore knows this, McGonagall warns him of the Dursley’s cruelty in the first chapter of the first ever book. But he chooses to leave Harry there anyway.
Plenty of fans have criticized Dumbledore’s character for his moral gray areas and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had my own moments of doubting his goodness as a character. But the parallels with Grindelwald, only hinted at in the HP series and now on full display with Fantastic Beasts, makes it clear that the only thing separating Grindelwald and Dumbledore is that Dumbledore ultimately accomplished the “good” he set out to do. But at what cost?
With the inclusion of Fantastic Beasts in the Wizarding World narrative, it becomes clear that child abuse is one of the biggest themes at work in this story. Let’s look at the pattern.
Apparently, Harry Potter is the only child in this series who not only survives the effects of abuse but who goes on to do immense good, foster healthy relationships, and come to some sort of peace with some of his abusers (“I don’t think you’re a waste of space. You saved my life.” – Dudley Dursley). The rest are left to deal with their pain and hatred by themselves, often in unhealthy ways that are a danger to themselves and those around them.
Harry was given the opportunity to control and hone his powers. He formed friendships with Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, etc. and found loving family figures in the Weasleys and Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. But let’s imagine a Harry Potter who befriended Draco Malfoy instead of Ron Weasley in that compartment on the Hogwarts Express. A Harry Potter who wasn’t heralded as a famous wizard but was instead mocked or ridiculed with no friends to support him through those dark times. A Harry Potter who never discovered there were those who would love and protect him and spent his life feeling unwanted and despised. Would that Harry perhaps have seen the allure of the power that hate and vengeance can fuel?
The implications of this pattern are that monsters are not born, they are created. And while no one would argue that Grindelwald, Voldemort, etc. are not responsible for their cruel actions, one has to question the people who contributed to their dangerous ideologies and their rise to power. Dumbledore himself confesses to disregarding the warning signs of Tom Riddle, as do many others (*cough* Professor Slughorn *cough*). But while so many in this wizarding world wondered after the fact if they could have done more, so many were willing to turn a blind eye to the blatant child abuse and resulting dangerous behaviors they witnessed before that terrible turning point.
I’d like to be clear that I’m not stating that survivors of child abuse grow up to be rage filled psychopaths. But I am calling out those who witness child abuse (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) and do nothing. These people are just as responsible as the abusers for the negative effects that follow. While many survivors of child abuse become a Harry Potter, some are unfortunately going to struggle and become a Tom Riddle. Or worse, they become a Credence Barebone and never get the chance to grow up and, hopefully, heal. Grindelwald had his “greater good” and Dumbledore had his master plan to defeat Voldemort, but at the end of the day whatever “good” either of these men might have managed to do is forever tainted and marred by the fact that a child had to suffer to accomplish it. And perhaps the old saying is true, that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. But children aren’t eggs, they shouldn’t be broken, and absolutely nothing justifies child abuse.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Fifty years ago, anyone who happened to be watching CBS during prime time were treated a show named Star Trek where a man in a rubber suit sucked the life out of people as an intrepid Captain named Kirk did his best to save the day aboard a ship named Enterprise. That pilot episode, entitled 'The Man Trap' would not only be a ratings darling, but cap off fifty years of incredible adventures that quite frankly have changed the world.
This is a franchise that has inspired the imagination, bringing forth a technological revolution of products that mirror the 23rd Century. You want a communicator? Pick up that cell phone and dial. You want a personal digital assistant that can answer questions like the Enterprise computer? Just ask Siri, Cortana or Alexa. The iPad matches the PADD used in The Next Generation and the list of technological ideas that exist today that were inspired by this show simply go on and on.
But for me, Star Trek's legacy goes far beyond any technological advances that it has happened to help create, it's the hope that it provides and the lessons that it teaches that I find far more worthwhile. After all, this is a series that continues to look at our world in a hopeful light. That despite our differences and the fact that we harm one another or worry about agendas over the betterment of the species, there may actually come a day when we put aside those differences and make wonders happen. That alone makes watching a single episode or your favorite film from the franchise an uplifting experience on a bad day, but I did make mention of the fact that it teaches us lessons, and that really is my favorite part about the franchise as a whole.
Because this is a show that became a massive part of my childhood, and the lessons that it brought forth; tolerance, kindness, collaboration were wonderful reinforcements of the lessons my mother and father were already teaching me. But at times this is a series that went beyond pointing out that mom and dad were right all the time, once in a great while it would flat out teach you a life lesson that would come up years later and one such lesson that continues to stick with me after all these years comes from an episode of The Next Generation entitled 'Peak Performance' where Captain Picard says in prolific fashion; 'It is possible, to commit no mistakes, and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.' Truly it is those kinds of moments that elevate Star Trek to a whole different level of storytelling because moments and words that can stay with you like that, and my thanks to Writer David Kemper for putting that in the episode, are only found in the finest of franchises.
In the end, the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek that we are celebrating today means more than just saying hey, I love a show about space travel, we are celebrating a storyline that has unified so many people. It helped bring forth the birth of conventions where we can geek out with fellow nerds and truly, it inspires us to be better people and one has to wonder...that by imagining a better world all those years ago that Gene Roddenberry perhaps laid down the foundation for that world to eventually come to fruition. For if a show like this can inspire technological marvels like the ones we enjoy today, than perhaps the ideals that the show represents as well are slowly being taught generation by generation to one fan after another until someday...someone decides that it is time for us to live in a world where we are all one. Happy Birthday Star Trek. Thank you for fifty amazing and inspiring years...here's to fifty more.
Written by Scott Murray
So, as you may have already read, I recently attended my first comic con of any kind. Therefore it was my first in-person exposure to cosplay (I’m assuming Halloween doesn’t count?) and merch booths, and artist signings, and all the things that come with a con. Including, of course, the infamous “Con Funk.” Just in case some of you reading this don’t actually know what that is, it’s the smell of increasingly dirty bodies that grows slowly over the days of a con, finally culminating on the final day in an almost palpable cloud of stench hanging over every area of the con.
The running joke about this is one of hygiene. The idea that, in our excitement, while minimizing our time spent in our hotels or homes, we all tend to neglect personal bathing for the duration of the con. I’ve heard many a joke about the “unwashed nerd” stereotype and about people not showering at conventions, most of these used in a semi-ironic, self-deprecating manner. But as I returned home after my first day of my first con, which would prove to be a very hot one, and peeled off my shirt which was clinging to my body with sweat, something occurred to me: maybe it’s not a question of the people, but of the clothing. Or, more specifically, of the cosplay.
You see, after I emerged from my shower, fresh and clean and no longer sweaty, but smelling like whatever arbitrary scent my soap company had decided was manly (Wolf spit? Motor oil? Flowers? Clint Eastwood’s poncho from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly?) I examined my shirt once again. It still stank of sweat. It smelled worse than I had before my shower. Not a problem, really seeing as I had a closet full of clean shirts to choose from on the following day.
But what if I didn’t? What if I’d been cosplaying? I might have put on my same cosplay gear from the day before, pungent with sweat and body contact, and return to the con. And no matter how nicely I smelled, I would have this cloak of funk literally hanging off of me. After all, most cosplay getups probably don’t stand up to water very well. And on Sunday it would just be worse! That’s when it occurred to me: maybe the “not showering” joke was really just a joke, and the costumes alone are all it takes to generate a significant con funk.
Then again, maybe not.
…maybe we should rig garden hoses to the entrances next year?
Shark Week was last week, and sadly it is over. I don't know anyone who loves Sharks more than John, except maybe Scotty. It seems these wonderful guys have embraced the shark life and that's something to be impressed about. Sadly, I don't share their fondness for sharks, but I know a lot of people who do. So to help deal with the sadness of Shark Week being over, I thought there was no better way to celebrate than by writing this awesome blog of Geeky Gifts...Shark Edition. Hopefully I can help find you something for that shark loving person in your life. Now, all but the last item on this list can be found on ThinkGeek.Com!
Do you like cereal? Do you like sharks? Why not eat your cereal out of a shark!? Hear me out here, it's a shark bowl. You can literally fill this adorable shark bowl with anything. Okay...most things. This is great for decoration for that shark themed party, but it's better for eating or serving pasta out of. For just $12.99 this shark bowl can pretend to eat your snack of choice! Or maybe share your snack of choice!
What goes great with shark bowls? Shark slippers. I don't actually know that for sure, but I just assume they do. Currently on sale for $16.99, these guys strike fear into the hearts of any mere mortal. It also sends a message to other people to not talk to you in the morning. That last part was made up, but it would make a lot of sense. Cute, comfy, more importantly they could bite off the feet of your enemies! Keep your own feet warm with shark slippers. Maybe you can wear these with that Shark Onsey someone awesome bought you....for maximum shark transformation.
If we're going for a total Shark transformation, why not get a shark mask? I mean, I'll admit this kind of scares me on multiple levels. But realistically, this shark mask could be fun for pranks, like scaring your friends, family, and so on. Or it could be used to run around your house pretending to be a shark. Either or, this Jaws Replica mask is only $69.99. Does anyone else have the sudden urge to do a live reenactment?
For something slightly less terrifying and publicly acceptable, a Shark painted backpack serves several purposes. It can carry food, and other stuff, but also look really awesome. This backpack comes in four different styles and ranges in price from $39.99 to $69.99. With that you can choose your own size and style of shark backpack. Whether you're in school, or just wanting a fun travel accessory, this shark print backpack is the perfect gift for you or your shark loving buddy!
And lastly, what shark or gift blog would be complete without a POP! figure. This Sharknado POP! figure is by Funko and I found it on Amazon for $18.34. I'm not going to lie, I've been eyeing this POP for quite some time, as a gift for a certain gnome loving friend of mine who happens to adore the movie. This figure is a great addition to any POP! collection, and for any shark geek out there!
Well, while Shark Week may be over for 2016, we can still live every day knowing that these majestic creatures of murder live on. Not to mention the wonderful merchandise that exists for us out there, helps make every week, Shark Week.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
It many ways it is a glorious time for Star Trek fans. Star Trek Beyond arrives in theaters in a few weeks to celebrate the all important 50th Anniversary of the franchise and a brand new television series arrives to satisfy the fans come early next year. Yet despite these wonderful accomplishments, as a lifelong fan of the series, I can't help but find myself concerned that for the first time in a long time...the franchise seems to be facing an uncertain future.
That may seem silly to say since hey, the movies are doing great financially and Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are signed on for a fourth Trek film as well but the rest of the cast has not. Karl Urban had to be talked into reprising his role as McCoy for Beyond, and when you take all of that into account, along with the untimely passing of Anton Yelchin; changes will no doubt be coming to the cast and in turn the chemistry and magic they have produced on screen. But while the film franchise will no doubt find ways to endure and continue their voyages to seek out new worlds and new civilizations, a recent conversation with my brother is what brought about my concerns in the first place...and it all boils down to the forthcoming television series.
While it's exciting to have a new series and we will all no doubt settle in to watch it online, my brother made a good point about this show that I hadn't really considered because of my joy over having a new series coming our way...there's a chance it's going to confuse new fans that are trying to become a part of the fandom and for that matter, some of the current more casual fans and well, in a way this kind of storytelling is simply unnecessary. I get that Trek is trying to reinvent itself, and that Paramount is trying to appease a fan base that has at times been unkind to the new universe but the fans have made it clear what their issue is with the new universe...they want fresh and original stories that celebrate the spirit of the franchise and when all is said and done, going backwards to try and fix it when you're clearly establishing a new world...kind of goes against the spirit of reinvention.
Especially when you consider that other classic sci fi franchises have been able to reboot or reinvent themselves while staying true to their roots. Doctor Who is a fine example of this, by always giving us brand new stories and adventures while finding a way to integrate fifty years of rich history and heck, even Star Wars knew the risk of trying to keep multiple universes and timelines around and simply said goodbye to the Extended Universe stories, opting instead to create new stories that are officially canon to revitalize the franchise and while there was some disgust at first over the move, the fan base eventually accepted it and moved on because the quality of what came next far exceeded expectations.
Which means the future of Star Trek really depends on one thing; picking a timeline and sticking with it. If it just so happens to be the new universe, great...go all in and give us stories from that world and that world alone. If not, find a way to reinvent the original timeline and take us back to that. No more going back and forth between them and I think it is safe to say that once Paramount makes a solid decision on which direction to go in, the fans will indeed back them...provided we continue to get fresh and original stories that stay with the spirit of the series. Either way, a decision has to be made and soon, out of respect for the franchise and its loyal fans because Star Trek is too important a concept and too relevant to our culture to be experimented and toyed with, and I certainly hope the right call is made so that generations can boldly go where no one has gone before for another fifty years with a story that brings out the best in us.
Written by Shae
How's everyone doing today? I am pretty fantastic! Because it's Friday! Friday is the best day of the week. It's also the day of this week where we are going to geek out together! Just kidding, this is a travel blog! Bet you weren't expecting that! Well, the day has finally come where I am going to regale you with the tales of my trip to Hawaii! I know, it's been a really long time and I should have had this done weeks ago. Sorry guys, life happened....there have been doctors appointments, cons, referrals, and job interviews. Can we say real life craziness? DCC was so insane I didn't even have a chance to get a cosplay done for it! But it's all been pretty fun. So for those who don't know, my family and I used to live in Hawaii. I'm an Alumni of Radford High school (GO RAMS!), and while my time there was a short 3 years it gave us memories to last a lifetime. Hawaii means a lot to my family, and it was my Grandpa's favorite place to live. Many a year was spent saving up to take him on the trip of a lifetime, several times. This last trip we did was supposed to be a celebration of sorts, unfortunately life is not always so kind. My beloved Pappy passed away last July and to honor his memory we took a trip to his favorite place.
Our first stop on the island of Oahu was to stay in Ko'Olina. For years Pappy wanted to stay in the town on a gorgeous beach....we never got the chance due to the price, but my job allowed us the opportunity to do so this trip. The hotel was beautiful; the staff was kind gave us a view of both the ocean and the mountains. The Hale Kona was an experience worth while. The quiet private beach held some pretty stunning sunsets. What I didn't know was Ko'Olina is a tiny town, not just a vacation destination, you can actually live there! I'm not going to lie, I was shocked and a bit ecstatic about that!
After a few days in Ko'Olina we packed up and moved to the Hale Koa. Now, this is a hotel exclusive to Military members only, either active or retired, nestled in the heart of Waikiki. Here we had a partial city and ocean front view. The best part is our room was on the top floor and was a corner room, meaning we got an excellent view of the Hilton next to us. Why is that good? Well the Hilton on Waikiki beach does fireworks every Thursday and Friday evening, as well as every other Saturday. Which happened to fall on my Sister's 19th birthday. Fireworks on a birthday, over the ocean, and in paradise? Needless to say it was a beautiful evening.
So! Places to go! If you're traveling or live there, you definitely need to hit up Auntie Pasto's. Their chicken parmesan is still the best that I've ever had. Their food is amazing and they've got an ever changing list of desserts. The restaurant has changed since I'd been there last. It's still an amazing place to eat! Now, while on the island you also need to stop and get a Shave Ice. Not shaved, shave. The flavors vary from stand and shop, but they're all amazing. Now for ice cream you have to go to Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream. Located in East Honolulu, this is the best ice cream I've ever had on the island. Now, if there's one thing in Hawaii that you have to eat it's the fresh fruit. The Dole Plantation still stands to this day with a giant maze, and of course it's local made Pineapple ice cream. The fresh Pineapple is grown in the volcanic red dirt which adds an element to the fruit that makes it so sweet. Once you've had Hawaiian pineapple, you'll never eat it stateside again.
With much to see and do, Hawaii is known as Paradise for a reason. There is such a beauty and a feel about the Islands that can't be replicated. Island life and island time aren't just sayings, they're actually things! Island life is laid back, chill, and very relaxed. Yes, all three of those words mean the same thing, but I can't explain it any other way. There's a feel and chill over the entire island that's hard to leave behind. Hawaii is more than just a gorgeous place, it is filled with such history and such culture. The buildings of the Pearl Harbor attack still stand today, bullet holes and all. Memorials mark the lost, but the spoils of war still loom. Coupled with a stunning beauty, it's a strange mix. History can be found everywhere. I highly recommend that everyone go to a Luau if you're ever in Hawaii. We went to the Paradise Cove Luau. The traditional dance of Hula and the history shared throughout the performance is such an honor to witness. I can't explain the beauty, only that I was incredibly honored to have such a thing shared with me.
Of course there were things we got to do we normally wouldn't. Riding horses in the Mountains at Kualoa Ranch made me feel at home and at utter peace. Zip lining later that day made me question my little sister's sanity! Seriously, she made us go first! I can't even tell you how scared I was for that! Riding a horse near a cliffs edge, sure! Zip lining? Nah. I'm good. Still it was quite fun! If I could live at Kualoa ranch, I'm pretty sure I would! Of course we had to go to the Blow Hole. This infamous part of the ocean has sadly claimed the lives of many, but it's a site that's beautiful and deadly.
During our trip we made life long friends, who feel like family. We bonded and came closer, but we also had a lot of fun. A trip that was brought on by tragedy has become a truly memorably experience, the healing that happened was beyond needed and I will forever be thankful for this trip.
So I never got a chance to do one of these for Mother's Day because I was preparing for a trip. But Shae, where is that blog about your vacation you promised us? Don't worry! It's in the process of being written! It's something like I've never done before, so you'll get it! In the mean time, Father's Day is coming up. And if your Geek Dad doesn't already have tickets to Denver Comic Con, I suggest you get on that! Dads have put up with our crazy antics for a long while and they deserve nice things. DCC tickets are also a nice late Mother's Day gift too. On that note there are also tons of guests coming to DCC that have photo and autograph ops, and those make pretty sweet gifts for the geeky parent in your life.
Buttttt if you're also looking to give that special Dad in your life something a little more specific, there's also this adorable BB-8 car charger. He's got everything! He's cute, he's BB-8 and he will BB-charge your phone! Okay that last one was very bad and I'm almost sorry. They also have an R2D2 one if BB-8 isn't Dad's style. From $19.99 to $39.99 these adorable additions can make any car feel like an X-Wing! And what dad doesn't want that? These car chargers provide two USB ports and enough charging power to charge two tablets at once. They plug into the cigarette lighter in any car and are great for road trips or just the busy Dad on the go. They work with any charging cable, so the phone type doesn't matter! What matters most is how cute BB-8 looks.
No Father's Day is complete without the obligatory tie! I don't know why ties are a symbol of this day, by they kinda are...of course the tie doesn't always have to be some boring old thing you find just anywhere. No. Dads are special and nerd dads are more special! This cute tie with its circuit board pattern is a great gift for any IT dad out there. Or any dad with a sense of humor. At just $24.99 this tie tells your dad that not only do you take shopping for him very seriously, but also ties are fun and you're up to that challenge. There are ties for all dad Geek levels and types, from subtly Star Wars, to blatant Star Trek, Dad can have a novelty tie in his favorite geek genre! But no tie is complete without a tie clip and cuff links. Don't worry, I have that covered too. Whether it's this Doctor Who Tie set for $29.99, or just a cute pair of Superman Cufflinks (same price). Don't forget that dads like to be stylish too!
Or maybe slippers. Like these shark ones! Who doesn't want shark slippers!? You don't even have to be a nerd or a geek to appreciate Shark Slippers! That's right, $15.99 and there can be sharks on your feet. So, story, years ago I found slippers similar to these, only instead of Sharks they were the Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My dad can literally, and has, quote that movie from start to finish. So I bought him those slippers thinking he'd wear them all the time. Except he never took them out of the box. Kids, heed my warning, don't let your dad do that to these beautiful Shark Slippers, and slippers are meant to be worn and enjoyed.
Guys, all these gifts and so much more can be found on ThinkGeek.com, the home of all geek gifts and presents for the geek dad in your life. The most important things to remember here is that your dad loves you, so get him something from the heart and he'll love it!
Written by Shae
Lately there is a petition of sorts going around on Twitter to make Elsa a lesbian in the second Frozen Film....except isn't she already? I mean the whole first movie is kind of an allegory for homosexuality. Conceal don't feel, don't let it show? Her parents spend a lot of time keeping Elsa locked up and away from others. They separate her from Anna because of how different she is. And while there are potential love interests they're both men and they're both for Anna. Elsa's cold personality extends to both men in Anna's disaster of a love life. She doesn't remotely seem interested in anyone, really. Even the iconic song "Let It Go" changes Elsa from this shy, conservative, closed off girl, to a sexy vixen in a matter of minutes. The song is so open and freeing for Elsa, she throws away her old self and embraces her powers, or who she really is. Of course there are moments of reversion into anxiety, but still Elsa goes from a scared girl to a badass queen in one song. She nearly kills two guards sent to capture her.
But maybe this isn't Disney's first lesbian princess. If you go by a Once Upon a Time, Mulan has a thing for Aurora. In fact, she goes to tell Aurora she's in love with her when she discovers the Sleeping Beauty is pregnant with Prince Philip's baby. In the movie she does end up with Shang, so you know, whatever. Mulan still cross dresses as a man. At the end of the film she even admits to Mushu that she did this all for herself. Earlier in the film a bunch of naked men go running by into a river, and she even states she never wants to see a naked man again. Is Mulan gay? Was she just put with Shang at the very end of the film so we wouldn't question it? Better yet, isn't Shang a bit gay himself? I mean, the army general does flirt a bit with Ping, Mulan's alter ego. He was legitimately upset at finding out she was a woman, to the point where he refused to even acknowledge her existence at a parade in his army's honor. Maybe they were both gay and throwing them together just happened to be the perfect cover up.
What about Merida? The whole film centers around Merida's not wanting to get married or have her life dictated out for her. Merida literally has no desire to marry any guy. She doesn't even show any romantic interest in the idea. Of course that doesn't automatically make Merida gay. Maybe she's just not ready for marriage. Hear me out here for a minute though. Merida is a strong character, she doesn't need a man, and she's not going to follow any plan to be with someone. What's wrong with her being a lesbian? Nothing. Merida's strong will to stay single is a fantastic message. Her not wanting to marry a guy because she doesn't have a sexual attraction to the opposite sex is also a strong message. Whether that was intended or not doesn't really matter. If you look at the film from the stand point of this girl not wanting to marry period, okay! That's fantastic too. Her wanting to not marry a guy because she likes girls is just as fantastic.
How empowering is it to have a lesbian princess. A lot of folks questioning their sexual orientation need that kind of a role model. Actually, kids of all ages could benefit from seeing a same sex couple on the big screen. Love comes in all forms, why not show all forms of love? If you ask me, Elsa and Merida are also good stand alone heroines. Neither end up with men or a prince, which is a wonderful change of pace. Neither need a man or Prince. Merida literally fought to not be with someone she didn't pick herself. Elsa never entertained the idea of a romantic interest due to her powers. What if Elsa is a lesbian? What's the worst that's going to happen? Elsa finding a girl in the next film would be a twist unlike what we are expecting. Or are we expecting anything? Is it more powerful to have Elsa a still be alone? Perhaps the ice queen finding someone to melt her heart would be a great step forward in the movement for equality among LGBTQ.
Written by Shae
Many of us nerds and geeks know about cosplay, and some of us actually do cosplay. The mad popularity of this has conventions now dedicated solely to it. People set up photoshoots dedicated to a single show or game. Thousands of dollars a year are spent on making costumes look absolutely perfect. You even have companies like Anovos who have actual licensing rights to produce screen accurate costumes and sell them. But while we all love seeing these incredible costumes on display and celebrate them, is there a darker side to cosplay? It can't be all happy and smiles, right?
From personal experience I have seen the darker side of cosplay. This fun hobby has turned many a friend into a ball of stress and sadness. The need to have every detail utterly perfect has a huge impact on the costume maker. There's also a stigma on making your own costume vs. buying your costume. Many would argue that it's not authentic enough or good enough if it's bought. I've seen actual friendships torn apart by cosplay. The stress people will put themselves under to ensure their costume is perfect has often times been a major issue between them. Look at Jessica and Holly, famous cosplayers who stopped cosplaying together for a while because one of them took it too far.
The whole point of cosplay is to have fun. Dressing up can be nerve wracking enough, since you are bringing that costume out into public where other people can judge you. Being up for judgement is hard, especially when it concerns something you love. There has been a movement in the Cosplay Community where cosplayers of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders have said enough to being called out for their body type or costume design choices. I've talked about CosPositive before, but I don't know if i went into enough detail. Cosplay has kind of had this heavy elite feeling to it for a while, and people seem to be fighting back against it hard.
The reason we all cosplay is because we love that character, and we're geeky nerds. The CosPositive movement has spoken out against the wrongful treatment of any cosplayer for any given reason. It's a powerful positive message that says "have fun or don't do it" and I utterly adore that. If someone is making you feel bad for your cosplay, don't give them the time of day. If you're a cosplayer and you're doing this for fun, keep doing this. There's a sad truth that most things that become popular can have a tinge of negativity to them, but we nerds aren't putting up with that. Nor should we. This is our thing, and we should stand together for this. Where your costume comes from is nobodies business but your own. Who you cosplay is up to you. Above all, we all need more positive affirmation in our lives. So, let's keep Cosplay fun!