I Like It. You don't? Get Your Own Blog.

I Like It. You Don't? Get Your Own Blog.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

All Because of a Boy...

This post is going to start of rant-y but it's for a good reason I promise you. It's all about more stuff I like.

I was talking with my friend yesterday about what to get her son (my nephew) for his Birthday. She told me he was really into the Avengers right now (I nearly cried!) and that even though he's only turning two, he somehow developed an obsession with them and knows each character by name. I couldn't be prouder!

So as we continued talking about what to get him, I asked if he had any of the action figures? She sent me the following picture of the set they bought him for his Birthday:

"That's awesome!" I said, "But the we can't forget Black Widow or Scarlet Witch, we've gotta represent the ladies!" and she completely agreed. So I started trolling Target's website to see what individual action figures cost and couldn't find any figures for Black Widow and only one, smaller version of Scarlet Witch (not suitable for a 2 year old and wouldn't match the set he's getting). In fact the only Black Widow toys available online are her wig and costume for Halloween. But I had planned to make a run to Target that afternoon anyway so I figured maybe they just weren't available on their website, no big deal.

Friends, I must say, my favorite store of all time has completely let me down!

Target currently does not make either of those female heroes available to purchase individually. Black Widow only comes in a different set with the other male characters and Scarlet Witch isn't available in stores (at least not mine) at all. This really bothered me because Target had recently made a big deal about how they were going to stop segregating toys by gender. No longer would their aisles say "Boys" or "Girls" as they recognized both male and female children liked a variety of characters and toys. Great right? Well, not if you're a fan of super heroes apparently.

I decided to Tweet Target right then and there because, as you'll note in the picture, what really killed me, was the fact that Black Widow was clearly represented in the stores display to attract kids to the toys, so why the heck can't these same kids get her action figure??

I also walked further down the aisles and noted that DCs character, Wonder Woman was sold in the same fashion. You can't get the Amazon on her own, she only comes in a set with the other male heroes. Again, I called bullcrap and tweeted the following image to Target:

I know you're thinking, "Hey, there's empty pegs". True, and I did give Target the benefit of the doubt and checked the tags for those empty pegs- sadly, they were not for Wonder Woman figures.

I think it's also important to note that Black Widow has been in more of the Avenger films then any of the other characters, she's kind of a big deal guys.....

To their credit, Target replied to my Tweet almost immediately and I hope they remain true to their word:

But I thought I'd share this with my Facebook friends as well because I know many have children who love the current films, television shows and comics and wanted to know what they had to say about this. I was not disappointed:

Do you see where I'm coming from? I mean, it's 2016. Target and toy companies in general are missing out on an incredibly big market. And for what reason? Even boys want to play with the female heroes, they're a part of the gang!

But please pay special attention to the comment my friend Amy made won't you? Her daughter LOVES the Hulk! She also loves hockey and for some reason, it's still next to impossible to find sports gear and comic book clothing in the girls section. And if you're lucky enough to stumble across some, guess what? That crap is pink and covered in glitter! What the shit is that??

I may not have read every comic book out there, but I watch Agents of Shield, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Arrow, The Flash, Agent Carter and every single comic book film including all from the XMen universe (I grew up watching the cartoon, Rogue will always be my favorite heroine) and there ain't no pink up in any of that!

Why? Why do companies and designers do this to us? I talked to one of my coworkers about this today as well. She repairs cars and likes to hunt and fish and for some reason 50% of the gear she finds in the women's section is pink. What exactly is pink camo going to do for you in the woods?? This needs to stop.

Now, This isn't a rant against pink. Currently my lunch bag, water bottle and gel nail polish are all shades of pink. My sister and I had our rooms painted pink when we were little (my progressive mother was very distraught about it). This is about boys and girls being forced into these boxes, these stereotypes since birth and it's not okay.

Months ago a friend posted about how she was struggling to find clothes for the daughter she's expecting:

I couldn't believe it. I messaged her right away telling her to try a different Target or Target online because I had recently been shopping for baby clothes and recalled they had a wide variety of colors. I had been shopping for my nephews at the time though, so I might have misspoke. Fore, on my next trip to my beloved store, I thought it would be nice to pop into the babies clothing aisle and pick out some sweet, non-pink items for my friend. Once again, I found myself being severely let down. I found lots of clothes that weren't pink, however they all came in a set with other items that were. Picked out a cute top, the pants it came with were pink. Nice onesie, the other two onesies in the set were different shades of pink. Thankfully I managed to find a couple of things for her but still, one of the sets I sent along did have a pink item paired with it, for which I vehemently apologized.

The struggle is real people and I didn't realize just how real it was until I started really looking.

I didn't see it because it wasn't so bad when I was little, at least, I don't think so.

I watched the Ninja Turtles: April wore a yellow jumpsuit.
XMen: Storm was in white or black, Rogue in yellow and green, Jean Gray in blue.
Sailor Moon: All wore different colors, none in pink except for the little girl who was one of the characters' daughters.
Star Trek: No pink
Ronin Warriors: No pink
Star Wars: Leia wore white and the occasional khaki. Yes, she wore that freaking gold bikini but girlfriend shot a bunch of dudes and choked out her captor in it too so your argument is moot.
Sea Quest: No pink
VR Troopers: No pink
Yes, I know Power Rangers had the Pink Ranger but they literally used every color of the rainbow so I'mma let them have that one. You'll remember that the evil Queen wasn't rocking pink though, so there.

You see where I'm going with this?

Every few years people bring up the "pink tax". A phrase used to describe how women are typically charged more for the same items men use. Usually our stuff comes in pinks and purples but a razor is a razor; shaving cream is shaving cream, etc. You going to tell me pink dye is a dollar more then black dye? Yeah, bull. But it's all around us, everyday and we let it happen.

So I responded to Target with this in mind and started a hashtag that I hope catches on:


We don't need pink camo, we need clothes that are durable and appropriate for what we're doing that fit us properly.

We don't need a picture of the Hulk printed on a pink cotton tshirt. We like our characters the way they are because of who they are, not because they rock a costume that appeals to us. That only matters when we decide which team to root for when sports are on (kidding)

This isn't some feminist movement, this is a nerd asking those who sell me nerd stuff and happily take my nerd money, to give me what I want.

I hope to have girls one day and I don't think I should have to search EBay or have something custom made on Etsy because big companies can't get this stuff right. I love super heroes, I love television shows of all kinds, I love music of all varieties and I love every color of the rainbow. It would be awesome if I the things I bought in stores reflected all of that for every age and every gender.


A Very Happy Birthday!

Thank you Queen Elizabeth II for making me realize I seriously need to set up my color game! A very Happy Birthday to you, you classy monarch you!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Who Run the World?


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I'm Okay, You're Takei.....

I'm not a real "Trekkie". I wish I were, but I'm not. I don't know enough about the franchise, the ships and the cast to be able to actually call myself one. And it makes me sad.

However, I LOVE Star Trek enough to post about it. So here you go.

It's kind of hard to explain why I love it so. I think it's like anything, you like what you like and if you like something enough, you'll stick with it forever.

I grew up watching the occasional episode of the The Next Generation (it's my favorite series) with my father. We didn't sit around and watch it religiously each week, but it piqued my interest enough that eventually I started watching it on my own if I happen to land on a channel that was playing an episode.

My good friend Ryan was big into Trek but he and I shared a nerdlove for X-Men and didn't really talk a lot about Klingons and Vulcans. Now that we're older, we share fun little Trek related things over FB here and there. It's awesome.

My first real relationship just so happened to be with a fellow that could definitely be described as a Trekkie. But he was like, the cool, hip millennial Trekkie. You know, the type of nerdy guy that has become socially acceptable and admired over the past decade. He didn't walk around wearing Vulcan ears or get into screaming matches with guys about whether Kirk or Picard were the better captains while in line at the local coffee shop; he just grew up enveloped in the franchise. He had seen every episode of every series, knew episodes by name, actors by name, could tell you what year each film debuted. And I thought he was so freaking cool.

I touched on this briefly in another article (am I calling these articles? The thing itself is a blog so I shouldn't call it another blog, right?) but, when the time came for us to drive out to my best friends wedding, we made it our mission to stop in Riverside, Iowa: The Star Trek Capital of the World. It's considered as such because that is the town James T Kirk was from in the series. (This does not automatically make him the better Captain, for the record)

Again, I'm not a bonefide Trekkie but this was one stop I was really looking forward to and I'm really glad I can say I've visited. 

You see, Trekkies are a really special kind of person. The series itself was created by people who saw the world differently; imagined our world thriving, people getting along for the most part, but at the end of the day, a world in which we all still wondered, still searched for more. And I think something like that really resonates with folks, it's a timeless notion really. 

A few weeks ago, my roommates brother had come over. I had never met him before but they decided to keep me company while I was cooking in the kitchen. We talked about all manner of things but at one point he made a comment about the Cardassians. I replied to what he said and he thought I misheard him. I told him I heard him right and then proceeded to elaborate on my comment. He stared at me for a beat and then said "Wait, and your single?! How the hell are you single?!"
It was definitely a proud nerd moment for me! It's that kind of fandom that I've always admired and apparently I made the cut.

I mentioned that I met most of the TNG cast at Comic Con in another post. They were all so freaking cool. They all got along, or so it seemed and everyone was very kind and didn't give me shit about making sure my name was spelled with 2 Z's, most of them actually complimented me on it.
People talk about meeting their heroes, wondering what they'd be like and I was not disappointed. I have a few cast members to check off my meet and greet list but I look upon my wall of fame everyday and I'm so happy I got the opportunity to connect with these larger then life stars.
If you find yourself looking to pick up a "new" series to binge watch, might I suggest a Trek series or two? They're all wonderful and groundbreaking in their own right (yes even DS9 with the damned Pah Wraiths-ugh).  

Go ahead and live long and prosper-you'll like it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

An adult moment

I don't know how I'm going to write this. My head has been all over the place about this for awhile so there is an extremely good chance that this is going to be one hell of a rambling hot mess of words. Bare with me. Or don't, you're under no obligation to read this dreck, like, ever, so it's completely within your right to abandon ship now.

My father passed away in 2008. He was 61 years old and a total pain in the ass. I say that like he was my problem, he wasn't. He was the least of my problems which, is probably a problem.

Growing up my father and I had a great relationship. I remember watching wrestling with him, laughing at ridiculous sitcoms with him and running around outside while he did yard work or worked on the family cars or cleaned the pool or grilled on our back porch.

The man could fix anything. He wasn't a skilled craftsman per say, but he was a master of the patch-job. He could MacGyver a bandaid for anything and he always knew exactly what needed to be done. He knew about cars, basic plumbing, lawn maintenance, pool maintenance, I mean the list goes on. He was a no frills kind of guy. Literally, frills made the man visibly uncomfortable. You want information from my father? Make him wear a suit for 18 hours, he'll sing like a canary if it means he gets to put on shorts. His idea of a good day is one in which he could get his hands dirty and then drift off to sleep in front of the tv.

When he first met my grandmother and one of my aunts, he came to the door shirtless, sweaty and wearing ripped, paint-stained jean shorts. That was my dad.

He was the Crew Leader for the custodians at the local middle school and I used to love having the privilege of walking around the school after hours. It was seriously the coolest freaking thing. Everyone knew my dad because he was the one they would need to contact if anything happened. The lunch ladies used to fawn all over my sister and I and give us free cartons of chocolate milk whenever we went into the kitchen to say hello. All of the teachers knew him and loved him and my sister and I felt like a couple of badasses 'cause we were his daughters.

It was when he got injured at work and was forced into retirement that things changed dramatically. I was just entering into puberty; the asshole teenager stage and he was around ALL the time. Mind you, he wasn't a dick, he really wasn't. I had heard stories from friends about how their dad removed their bedroom door because he didn't trust them; listened as kids at school would gossip about someone's dad hitting them or hearing how someone's dad walked out on their family. Dad wasn't like that.

He was just home all the time. And he was bored. So when the rest of us were around, he was all up in our shit just looking for a little attention. But as an asshole teenager I wanted none of it. Combine that with the normal crap families argue about: money, homework, chores; and things suddenly became very tense.

My father had two children from a previous marriage that he really had no relationship with. He was told to stay away and so he did; but that gave him the desire to try harder, I think, with my sister and I. He didn't want to be "the dad" he wanted to be that cool guy that everyone liked. And he was-he was called "Smiling Ron" by everyone that had worked with him-they even gave him a hat proudly displaying the nickname. But I just thought he was annoying, not fake but, I just wasn't on the bandwagon. People would always tell me how much they loved him, how funny he was, what a great guy they thought my dad was and I totally took that shit for granted. It's cliche to say it now, it really feels cliche to say it, but I did. I completely took him for granted and now I miss him, terribly so.

Right after he passed away, my mother had spoken to me about some things my sister had gone through a few years earlier. She mentioned that while my sister had been diagnosed with and was working on living with Bipolar disorder, my mother came to realize that my father most definitely had it too. That realization completely sucked for me. My father was Bipolar and that would have been a game changer had we only discovered this before he died. I would've approached things so differently. I would've understood why he said and did the things he had done, rather than find them annoying and get pissed off and dismiss him altogether like I did all too often, But it was too late and holy hell does it suck to think about.

The past two years have been insane for me, a lot of change and a lot of ventures into things I know fuck-all about. And all of it has done nothing but make me think of my dad. I started working at the local mill in town in 2012 and discovered that one of my coworkers had actually worked with my father back when I was in elementary school. His name was Dwight and though he and my father worked together for only a year or so-two tops, he still remembered my father and spoke fondly of him. Dwight was killed in a totally random accident when he was out riding his bike one day and it broke my heart. He was a really nice guy who worked really hard and saying goodbye to him felt like saying goodbye to my dad again.

The following year I moved into my first home and went through 12 months of typical first time homeowner stress that everyone faces in their lives. Everytime something new would come up, a new issue, a new bill, and new repair: I thought of dad. He would've been the first person I called to handle any of it. The first person I would've asked for advice. I like doing things myself but I hate knowing that he's gone and that I have to struggle and figure it all out on my own when he would've known what to do immediately in every situation. And he would've loved it. He would've loved every phone call, every text, every Facebook update (holy shit my dad would've gone crazy with Facebook!) and he would've shown up if and when I needed him every time.

I got my love of gossip from my father. My social-butterfly gene. Also my love of all things pop culture. And my love of arguing. Not arguing to be some asshole, but saying what needs to be said regardless of who can hear you because, most of the time dammit, it's regarding something everyone should hear. I also inherited his no frills attitude. Sure, I like to feel pretty and put together, but I'm most uncomfortable in formal settings of any and every kind.

I was speaking with a friend of mine about Comic Con and my love for celebrities in general and she asked me who the one celebrity was that would make me just lose it and I told her I came really close when I was in line to meet Hulk Hogan. I watched him wrestle Sargent Slaughter in New Haven when I was 8 on a trip with my dad and Dwight. I grew up with him. He was the ultimate to my father; dad thought he was cool and tough and loved that everyone loved him. I know his rep is marred now, but growing up he was a God in our household.

He's short but still gigantic!

So I'm standing in line waiting to meet "God". I had met some cast members from the Star Trek series already and I was thinking about my father. About how excited and amazed he would be to know I had spoken with LeVar Burton and William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes and that here I was, waiting to shake Hulk Hogan's hand. I thought about the house and everything I had to deal with over the past few months and I just started to tear up, right there in line surrounded by hundreds of strangers. I thought about what I would say to Mr. H once I got to the front of the line; about how I would tell him I watched him wrestle since birth, had his action figure, saw one of his matches in person and about my dad. I called my mom and told her what was going on and thankfully, she did the crying for me.

I finally got closer to the tanned giant that is the Hulkster and realized that Jimmy Hart, the self proclaimed "Mouth of the South" was up there with him too. This guy hadn't been involved in the WWE in years, I hadn't seen him on TV since I was ten or eleven and holy shit, there he was. I met him first, shook his hand and told him that I grew up watching him as he signed my autograph. I then met Hulk Hogan. I told him how much I liked him, that I watched all of his shows and asked him about his family which he genuinely seemed to appreciate. As I was leaving he made sure to mention Jimmy was signing autographs too and when I told him I had already received one he told me to "make sure I still had my wallet" and I walked away beaming and thought, oh man, dad would've thought that was hysterical!

Now, my father was still a pain in the ass. But I'm grown and going through grown shit, and I do wish he were around to talk to and to see who my sister and I have become. I know he'd be pretty proud.