Fat and Not Afraid

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On the Way Back Machine

January 10, 2016

After I put Kat to bed the other night night I decided to put Fern Gully on Netflix while I tidied up from supper and a weekend home with the kids. It was a nice little stroll down memory lane; Robin William's nonstop chatter as Batty Koda, the music and gorgeous watercolour backgrounds, and the unforgettable characters of Crysta, Zack, Pips and Magi Lune. When I watched it for the first time, back in grade four, it made a big impression on me, but I didn't realize how much until I went back and watched it.

Seeing it as an adult it struck me how much of what Magi Lune taught Crysta that I brought with me forward into my later Pagan practices. I went back through the film and wrote down her lines to have here for reference.

"There are worlds within Worlds, Krysta. Everything in our world is balanced between the forces of destruction, and the magic forces of creation. Everyone can call on the magic powers of the web of life. You have to find it in yourself."
"Look for the hero inside yourself, Krysta. Look for the good and loving heart in you, and all others. For just as every seed holds the magic of creation, so too do you, and every other creature in this world."
Krysta: "Magi, don't leave me!"
Magi: I love you! I'll always be with you. We all have the power, and it grows when it is shared."
Even the dedication at the end: For our Children, and Our Children's Children, is especially poignant as I was watching it with my son and daughter. When I first saw it in grade four I never dreamed I would have kids. It was Far Away in the Future, but I could understand as a child that time would continue on without me, but that future was in danger because of human actions.
As a Pagan, I tend to approach my practice with a lot of hands on application to the real world; Sabbats reflect what's actually happening on a local environmental level, not what a European agricultural calendar tells me, and stories of the Holly King fighting the Oak King at the solstices are explained in relation to where the Earth is on its journey around the Sun. I strongly believe we all have a responsibility to work closely within Nature's limits and to respect natural spaces as much as our human nature allows us too. We all have the power inside ourselves to make the world a better place, for our children, and our children's children. 
Has this happened to you? What movie or show was it?

GlitterForce is Sparkletastic

December 31, 2015

It's Christmas holidays for the kids here in Canada and unfortunately due to a recent lack of snow we spent a lot of it indoors not doing a whole lot. I worked mostly evenings and as Gabe doesn't have skates, we've just been coasting through Netflix and playing around on the new WiiU. While searching for something to watch other than Paw Patrol, Kat's absolute most favourite thing EVER right now, I stumbled over GlitterForce and gave it a go. Once upon a time I was a fan of Sailor Moon so this looked promising.

First things first, lets get this out of the way; yes, it's very similar to Sailor Moon. Five pre-teen girls team up to fight evil from outside their world with the help of a cute animal friend. They get gloves, boots, skirts, tiaras/headbands and bows during a magical transformation sequence, and each is tied to an element or theme; luck, fire, peace/lightning, spring/life and air/winter. They learn valuable lessons about friendship (at times I was more strongly reminded of My Little Pony, which I also love) and inner strength while also kicking ass and saving the universe from a crew of fairy tale baddies.

Despite of, or maybe because of, the strong similarities, we loved this show; Gabe was right there on the couch with me and Katherine when Emily became Sailor Lucky and he was there again this morning when Emily and her friends achieved their final, fantastic transformation and defeated the evil Emperor Nogo. It was so glittery and full of good vibes that I think we all had a little tear in our eye. Kat's fave is Spring, and Gabe's is Sunny. Mine is Peace; her catchphrase is "Puppies and kittens! The power of love! I'm Glitter Peace!" What's more powerful than love and peace? Nothing, as far as I know! It doesn't hurt that her power is similar to that of my old favourite Sailor Scout, Jupiter either.

As they say in MLP, friendship is magic and GlitterForce has it in spades. I wish there was more than one season available but I know we'll watch it again in the meantime. It's sweet and bubbly and I absolutely loved watching it. Give it a try if it's near your alley and let me know what you thought!

Justifying my Existance

December 30, 2015

I've been tweeting a lot about feminism and gaming. My mentions have, to noone's surprise, been alight with all the dudes (and it's almost entirely dudes) who want to tell me how good I have it, how useless, how inconsequential, and how wrong I am. Like so many years ago at teacher's college when the entire discussion was shut down by one dude saying "Well I don't think that's true."  ,it's impossible to have an actual discussion with someone who's world view is so incredibly skewed. Who needs feminism in 2015? Women have it SO GOOD.  Dont' you have anything IMPORTANT to worry about? Why attack video games? You must hate them. I bet you don't even play. Women really have all the power! You don't even have to go die in wars. And if women are so horribly oppressed, why do men kill themselves so much? Why are men laughed at if they say they were raped? WHAT ABOUT THE MEN!?

How do you talk with someone who denies the moon landing? The Holocaust? Believes in reverse racism? Takes the Bible (or Koran or Torah) as literal truth? Absolutely cannot see the everyday sexism that women put up with? I say one thing and it comes back mocked or simply denied. "That's not true." How do you start a dialogue or change anything when someone is denying your lived experience? When they deny who you are? When they refuse to hear you? 

Is an entire gender just lying? Acid throwing is lies? Child marriage? Female genital mutilation? Rape? Domestic violence? Being hounded out of jobs, off campus? Back alley abortions? We're all just lying for no reason? Because speaking up hasn't helped too much. The backlash has been bitter. We're all just lying for the fun of it, so people can laugh or say "But what about the men?!"

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgamikia.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2Fmetroid1-e1329769775740.jpg&f=1Laurie Penny wrote a thing that's worth sharing and re-sharing. It strikes all the chords with me. All of them. I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I too was struck the moment Rey picks up Luke's old lightsaber to battle her enemy on equal footing. I've been waiting my whole life for a female lead, not a background character, to do that, to be a Jedi, to fight with one of those beautiful, humming weapons. Stories matter. Who the hero is, matters. When I played Super Metroid as a kid and died for the first time, revealing that Samus is a woman, I was struck in a similar way except also completely surprised. This badass bounty hunter was clearing realm after dangerous realm on this hell world full of monsters completely alone AND she was a GIRL!? Like me?! Like me! It changed me.

I don't have to justify my love of games, any game, to anyone. I've been playing since the SNES and I'll probably keep playing until I'm old and grey and can barely hold a controller anymore. I also don't have to justify my existence to anyone; I'm a woman, a person. I hold up half the sky. I have all the same rights and responsibilities as any other person. This is a fact that's been affirmed not only by my country's laws, but by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It's not my job to hold some knuckle-dragger's hand and spell these things out, especially only having 140 characters to work with. But sometimes, just sometimes, I try anyway. You never know when you might change someone's mind.



Currently in December

December 15, 2015
December 2015
waking in the dark every morning is the worst. 

finishing a book is very satisfying.

watching The Last Unicorn

loving the kids.

appreciating all that my family has done for us.

packing a lunch.

keeping the home fires burning.

hunting for a snack.

planning for ladder climbing.

looking for a place to put our Elf on the Shelf tonight.

anticipating the Christmas bustle.

working where I do is bearable. That's about it.

having my scotch REALLY cold.

hoping to still get back to the Island someday.

feeling tired.

We're all People Under the Same Sky

November 24, 2015

Generally if I'm going to be political it's for body or feminist reasons, things that hit close to home for me. Since this summer, however, when I started reading about how many refugees are in the world, especially from Syria, home has become a bit bigger. My activist home is larger to make room for the millions of displaced people in the world.

I've moved a LOT in the last few years. Not having a home to call my own, having to leave one that I loved, again and again, was painful. It's not as painful as this, of leaving home because it's dangerous; leaving filled with desperation. Few things are, except maybe the loss of a child. And then there was that photo of the little boy on the beach in Greece, face towards the waves in the way no living person's would be. His mother and brother are dead too, but his photo will live on in infamy of what we do to each other in the name of power, greed and hate. I can see him in my mind's eye, clear as day, and I hope I do for the rest of my life. I hope everyone who saw his photos remembers him and tries to do better, to BE better, to their fellow humans. We're all in this together on our little blue dot. Try not to forget that in face of irrational fear of people who are different from you. They're not, really. They just want a home again.

"HOME," by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

by Somali poet, Warsan Shire

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2015

Today is Remembrance Day. It's cold and foggy outside. My media streams are full of images in black and white and red; soldiers in tanks, crosses and poppies, medals, uniforms and flags. Services are in an hour, culminating in a minute of silence for the fallen then a single brassy voice will ring out. Silence for the dead, music for the living.

The Great War and the War to End all Wars seems to me, looking far back over my shoulder to 100 years ago, clear cut. The enemy was easy to see, the atrocities committed swiftly (but not swiftly enough) condemned. World domination will not be tolerated. We are all free peoples here on this little blue dot. We may disagree but one cannot exterminate the other.

Then came Korea. And Vietnam. And Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Iraq again, Syria and Egypt and and and the black and white images become grey and green instead; hazy blurred lines between right, wrong and power and politics, and tinted green with money, shadowed black with an oily sheen.

This isn't new, paying for land and riches with the lives of soldiers. It's the oldest way to play the game. But today the eyes and ears of the world, of every person, are everywhere. We have unprecedented power to watch and see for ourselves, if we want too, what's happening in war torn countries. We can tune in or tune out at will, thanks to social media and easy access to smart phones. We can see for ourselves and read for ourselves the current situations simply by opening a web browser and searching for the people who are speaking out.

We all need no more trouble. We need to work harder to pressure our leaders to only commit those who have sworn to serve, to defend, to protect, to die, in just causes. We must find a way to live together in peace and turn our war machines to better uses. In Flander's Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row. No new crosses. No new gardens of the dead.

Vexing Vaccinations

October 27, 2015

Last week I took the kids to get their vaccinations; Kat's behind, and I thought Gabe was missing a set from when he was five but apparently not. Let's get one thing straight right off the bat; while I might be a liberal hippie feminist, I'm not anti vaccinations. Kat's behind because I'm disorganized. So over the next year we'll be getting her finished and ready to go to school in the fall. She was excited to go 'see the doctor' at the local clinic and wanted to go first, and after a lengthy wait while the nurse figured out which shots she needed, we indeed let her go first. Gabe tried to warn her saying it would hurt a lot, and I said she'd feel a big pinch, but no talk of getting super powers so she wouldn't get sick, or that it was just plain necessary, was enough to prepare her for it. It HURT. Kat squirmed and cried and the look of utter betrayal on her face nearly undid me.

"Why you do that?! Why you hurt me?!"

And then the second needle.


I froze for a second and then, but then, it was done. More tears and wailing and betrayal. I said I was sorry for hurting her and so did the nurse but she wanted nothing to do with me. Ryan took her and held her and brought her away from the cubicle while Gabe got his last shot and I stayed with him.

Since day one with my kids I've taught them about their bodies, respected their bodies, and taken care of those bodies. That's pretty much job #1 when you're a parent; make sure your kid grows up healthy and whole. My kids are happy and healthy and will stay that way in part because of vaccinations. But I'm still having flashbacks to her telling us, very clearly and loudly, to not put that needle in her arm. She's too young to know, to even be taught, how important vaccinations are to her health and to the health of people she loves. She's too young to make this decision on her own so as her mom I have to do it for her. These moments are the price we pay for happy, healthy kids. Sometimes we're the devil and our kids reject us for keeping them safe but that's ok. I can take their anger and hurt. She can scream at me all she wants because I wont let her run down the hallway with scissors in her hands, or not have icecream for breakfast, or spend ten hours a day playing on my phone. It's my responsibility to be as tough as I need to be and ensure they have as strong as a start to life as I can give them.

But I don't think I'll ever forget last week's vaccination visit.

Preschool Pain in the A$$

October 3, 2015

The following is just a rant. 

I love my kids very much, but damn, sometimes you just want to lock them up and throw away the key. In my case, it's from about age 2 1/2 to 5. The foot-stomping, screaming, gimmie-gimmie, temper tantrum stage for both my kids is not fun. It's a frustrating combination of "I can do it myself!" and "I can't do it! HELP ME!" often within seconds of each other. It's sleeping through the night 90% of the time, but on the nights when it's not (and for Kat that's right around the full moon for some reason) it's shrieking fits until she's settled again. It's everything being Just So or it's time for a melt down. It's picking on her brother, being a tattle tail, fighting in the backseat over toys, fighting over the window being up or down or part way, food, dessert, EVERYTHING. It's exhausting for everyone, but especially her I think.

Some nights she'll say to us "I'm ready for bed now" and find her blankie and her bunny, pick out pajamas and patiently wait for us to come read a story. This stage of the game, not bedtime but preschooler time, is also the most affectionate. She says "I love you so much!" all the time and gives great hugs and kisses. Buy milk? "Oh thank you! I love you!" Pick out the perfect story? Same thing. Kat will crawl into bed with me in the morning and bring me a toy to snuggle or so I'm not lonely if she leaves. She's SO HAPPY to see us after a long day of daycare it's impossible not to melt inside when her eyes light up and she runs into my arms.

I have to go now; she's pulling all my pads and tampons out from under the sink in the bathroom, asking me if it's my moon time.

They Went A Walking

September 17, 2015

Now that school is back in life is much more hectic. Often we're not getting in the door until 6pm or later and bedtime for Kat is 7:30ish. It's go go go all day, fight traffic or take a 40 minute bus ride, make dinner, do school stuff, bedtime stuff, and then the kids are asleep. It doesn't leave a lot of down time for anyone and the kids are feeling it.

Yesterday I let the two of them walk up the block to the park. Kat has her trike and wanted to take a little ride and Gabe promised to stay with her and I needed to make dinner so I said "Fuck it." and let them play outside the building without me. I can keep an eye on half the sides of the apartment from where I am so when it got quiet I suspected right away they had wandered off. Pro-parenting tip; quiet kids are kids getting into trouble. Sure enough they were at the park; Gabe was happily pushing an even happier Katherine in the baby swing so I let them stay. I didn't love it, I was nervous, but I had to remind myself; what's the worst that could actually happen? Other neighbourhood kids were there, it's surrounded by homes full of people making and eating dinner or mowing their lawns and working in the flower beds. They're safe and they're having fun, so I made dinner.

Gabe wandered back a few minutes later to tell me Katherine was stuck in the swing and he couldn't lift her out, but other than that mini-rescue all was well. They had a blast and I went and picked them up in about a half an hour. Noone was kidnapped, murdered, injured, abused or hit by a car. Huzzah! We had a Chat about not going places without telling a grownup first but they were proud to have done this thing without me and I didn't want to rain on their parade. Gabe is 9 in a couple of weeks and Kat turned 3 last month. They might as well play together as much as they can, and Gabe can learn some responsibility when my hands are full. People in other countries let their kids do so much more a lot younger, and knowing the facts about things like kidnappings vs car accidents helps me be confident in my decision.

Now it's off to work!



FanExpo Canada 2015 THE BLOG

September 11, 2015

Well holy Hera, we're back! Our vacation that we've been planning and dreaming about for the last year is over. We decided to do the geekiest thing possible and save our cash, book at hotel in Chinatown in downtown Toronto, and spend four solid days at FanExpo Canada with probably close to 100,000 other geeks.  


It was everything I hoped a con could be; welcoming, easy to navigate, full of great people and wonderous treasures, and icons in the geek industry (though three of our BIGGEST weren't there; Nathan Fillion, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Stan Lee). 

First things first we had to arrange for nearly a week of childcare so an ENORMOUS shout out to Bree, my parents, and my sister Wendy for taking excellent care of our two munchkins while we were gone. It means the world to us that you could give us this time together, our first vacation in 6 years!  

Wednesday the 2nd we dropped Kat off at school and Gabe off at Grandma's house (that's my mom) and hit the road. It was a bit of a rocky start as Kat had a meltdown in the car and I was *not* at my best in that moment as I was anxious about the trip, but I made sure before saying goodbye (and crying all over the place; I am so my mom!) that I said I was sorry for yelling at her and that I loved her. So that was both good and bad. After that it was an 8 hour drive with over 900 songs on the iPod where nothing eventful at all happened. I'm serious, it was just a great drive with my favourite person in the world. We sang, we laughed, we ate delicious snacks and then we missed a turn off to the hotel in downtown Toronto and added a half hour to our drive, THEN we missed the parking garage for the Super 8 and added another quarter hour or so swinging back around in 5 o'clock traffic. But we made it! We checked in, ordered pizza and slept the sleep of the sleepy with lots to do the next day. 

Thursday Sept 3: We'd decided the night before to do some touristy stuff before the con opened up at 2pm so after a quick breakfast we decided to walk to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was a hot, muggy day but we made it, passing through Chinatown, around the Ontario Legislature and then finally at the ROM. I'm so glad we decided to do that! It's a beautiful old building and it's absolutely FULL of neat things from around the world; prehistoric Chinese tiles, Greek statues, dinosaur bones, crystals and gems; you name it, it's probably in there. After that we walked all the way back to the hotel for a quick shower and pick up our official FanExpo wristbands (yay for getting them mailed and avoiding lines!) and then it was down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Displaying DSC_0250.JPG

It's about the size of a city block and the con was divided between the North and South buildings. We were able to just walk right in after flashing our silver bands and take in some sights. The vendors were up in the North where we entered and so was where the stars were going to be signing autographs. A few were already there, so I took a sec to say hi and chat with Robert Picardo, who played The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. Good times! His voice is a bit higher in person. We got a feel for the place, walking from North to South to find a very nice couple Ryan knows from his time in Southern Ontario two years ago, then went for dinner with my friend Mel.

Mel is an internet-only friend I've known for years; we met on Twitter, became Facebook friends (so she knows the real me, has seen pics of my kids, etc) but of course I'm never in Toronto so we've never met. We had a great time at a pub on Front St; she's a lovely person with a great laugh and I hope we meet up again someday; maybe at next year's con! After stuffing ourselves silly Ryan and I walked back to the hotel and slept. Well, maybe not right away...

Friday Sept 4: Another semi bright and early morning where we went to the con at open, but this time we took the trolley! And by that I mean the electric streetcar. Super fun, very quiet, not a lot of seating. It was much faster to get down to the con but we got right in again when we wanted too.  We browsed around some more then I waited in line with Ryan to meet one of his favourite voice actors, Vic Mignogna, who plays (among many others) Edward Elric of FullMetal Alchemist. We went our separate ways after that, Ryan to learn about running a successful Kickstarter and me to watch a special airing of the show Mr. Robot and listen to the delightful Christian Slater speak. He really loved our room and said it was like Shangri La but his handlers made him leave on time. I snapped a few pics though-this one is my fave: 

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Mr. Robot isn't a show I'd normally watch but it was worth sitting through to listen to Mr. Slater. After that I ran over to where Ryan was going to another panel, this time on publishing your own tabletop role play game, then we went back to the hotel to get away from the crowds and relax a bit before preparing for the big FanExpo party at the Brassaii Lounge on King St.

Displaying DSC_0192.JPG

Super swanky party was super swanky. We had a delicious meal, hung out on the patio and drank delicious drinks, then went inside and danced a bit with some VERY enthusiastic geeks while the InnerSpace hosts and a couple of stars from DarkMatter mingled. Anthony Lemke even took a few minutes to randomly talk with us and has even been to my hometown! We decided that was a wrap and went back to the hotel.

Saturday Sept 5th: We got to the con as early as we could, having heard multiple horror stories from people about how busy it would be, and they weren't kidding. I literally RAN across the floor as soon as the doors were open and crowd would let me so I could get in line meet Ming-Na Wen aka The Cavalry from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Two and a half hours later she appeared and made US feel like rock stars by waving and shouting hello, then took a couple of pics of the crowd on her phone! Her treatment of her fans was much different than that of Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, Jenna Coleman or The Phelps Twins when they came out; a smile and a wave then sit down and get to work signing. Ming-Na was lovely to talk with, very warm and welcoming. We chatted for a minute while she signed my massive S.H.I.E.L.D mug and I pointed out to her how different her treatment was of her fans from the other stars who'd come out earlier. She thanked me and agreed that she was as big of a fan of us as we were of her. I may have left her table clutching my mug and grinning like an idiot, internally squeeeeeing.


BUT! The awesome of the day wasn't over yet! At the panel where I found Ryan we met Ed Greenwood, legend and superstar of the tabletop RPG world! He created the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting back when Dungeons and Dragons was still a baby, has written countless modules and many books, and gave us some fantastic advice on how to get published. I posted a pic of him on my personal Facebook page and a friend commented he's looking more like Elminster every day. He's got a good sense of humour but you can tell there's steel under that fluffy beard.

The rest of Saturday is a bit of a blur of artist's alley, shopping for friends and then driving to London to pick up a friend for revelry on Sunday at the con.

Sunday Sept 6: After a loooong night driving to and from London to get our friend Will, we got up even earlier the next morning to get in line so I could meet Hayley Atwell, start of the tv show Agent Carter. I wasn't quite as quick but the time and line passed quickly while I chatted with a cosplaying family (mom was Black Widow, kids were Poison Ivy, Cable and The Scarecrow), a couple of scientists and a pair of moms. Just before she came out we were told there were no pics allowed from the line but I had a very tall and very nice man snap one for me anyway, and then she signed my mug as well. Not as warm and welcoming as Ming-Na, that's for sure, and her handlers were rude. 

By the time I finally got my autograph it was time to head down to a special hour long panel with the aforementioned Vic Mignogna that was at times hilarious, touching and thought provoking. He had some very needed things to say about bullying inside geek communities that touched a lot of people; geeks are almost by definition outsiders and when you get push-back from people inside the community, for making not-perfect art or not-perfect cosplay or liking the 'wrong' things or liking something the 'wrong' way, that's the opposite of what we should be doing as a community. We need to be a force for light and good and hope, lifting each other up every way we can. We know what it's like to be on the outside, to be pushed around and laughed at. We definitely don't need that INSIDE the community. And yes, for the record, Edward Elric is his fave character ever to do voice acting for. 

That's it! We left the con shortly after and spent the evening with Will at Medieval Times (which I HIGHLY recommend if you're on vacation in Toronto and looking for something amazing to do; use code MINI when booking for 40% off your tickets!) then spent all day Monday driving home.We had a wonderful time all the way around, and as long as there's a couple of BIG stars for us to go see next year, we'll be back.

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