Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a convention centre not a f**king TARDIS.

We're just back from our trip to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. Here's a photo of the only panel we saw:


That's Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton and Levar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was great. All three of these men are dynamic, personable and funny.

Here's a photo of the great souvenirs we bought:


Do not adjust your screen. This is my way of showing that I am the only nerd on the planet who went to a comic/sci-fi con and bought NOTHING. This is not because I have great restraint. Rather I bought nothing because I said to my sons, "Let's leave the convention centre and get a healthy lunch then come back and buy our souvenirs." Oh, how naive I was to think that having a ticket guaranteed me entry into the building. How naive I was to think that organizers would cap ticket sales and not just keep taking money and selling passes with nary a thought that a finite number of people can fit into a convention centre.

You know who wasn't naive? The fire marshals. Mid-day Saturday they shut the doors, cordoned off sections of the building, and waited until enough people had left that public safety was no longer compromised.

I find this statement from Steven Hodges, Expo employee, a bit boggling:
 “We were projecting crowds of about 45,000 this year and it’s safe to say we shattered that” 
Calgary Herald, April 29, 2012). 

They had no idea how many tickets they'd sold! What the --?! This is not rocket science. You look at the maximum allowable occupancy for the facility and then sell only that many tickets. It appears that the organizers of the Calgary Expo decided to hedge their bets that not everyone would show up at the BMO Centre during the convention and (GASP!) expect to use their tickets to enter the building. Instead they kept selling tickets.


I'd intended to use this outing as fodder for a blog post called "Beginners Guide to Attending a Star Trek, Sci Fi, Comic Expo with Children." Sadly the only advice I am comfortable offering is:
I wouldn't recommend going to next year's Calgary Expo because it might be a repeat of their 2012 clusterfuck. Save your money for a few years and go to ComicCon

I will however be writing a blog post called "How my 'Patrick Stewart Hotel Amenity Algorithm' saved our Calgary Expo experience from being a completely lame, extremely expensive exercise in frustration."

Stay tuned...



Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ugly Side of Cute.

A quick quiz...

1. Which is cuter? A or B.



2. Which is cuter? A or B.



3. Which is cuter? A or B.



The answer for all three questions is B.  The seal pup is cuter than the Atlantic cod, the man with the hakapik, and that small vessel idling next to buddy precariously balanced on the ice floe.

It is for this very reason that the seal pup is the visual of choice for activists trying to end seal hunting in Canada. Emotion -- not fact -- is their number one weapon. You could almost say emotion is their "hakapik" of choice.


4. Which animal is hunted in Canada's sustainable, commercial seal hunt? A or B.


The answer is A.

Of course A is not as cute as B, and that is why -- as noted earlier -- B, not A is the icon of the anti-sealing movement. Animal activists are more concerned with sentimentality than with reality. Which is why they get pissy if you point out that since 1987 it has been illegal to harvest whitecoats, aka B. But the anti-hunt zealots have no issue obfuscating the truth, manipulating the media and behaving disingenuously. They have but 2 goals: stopping the hunt at all costs and getting you to donate cash.

The other reason B is used by anti-sealers in their public relations and misinformation campaigns, is because an adult would bite your fuckin' face if you tried this:


Christ, that stupid animal -- the one in the white coat -- looks scared for its life. The first rule of being an animal-lover should be "do not terrrorize a wild animal just so you can have a good photo op."


 • • • • • • • 


It really is too bad that cod are ugly. If cod were cute then animal activists would care. They would be upset that twenty years after the cod moratorium was announced, Atlantic cod populations remain shockingly low.  They would look at studies that show a correlation between the failure of the cod to return, and the population explosion of seals in the same geographic area, and they would be moved to act. They would look at the scientific data and say, "THERE ARE OVER 8 MILLION SEALS?! What the --? Maybe it's time we manage this resource more effectively."

But cod are ugly and seal pups are cute.

Cute motivates. Sentimentality inspires. Ignorance reigns. The activists have managed to get seal products banned from the European market place and the commercial hunt will die.  This makes the future pretty bleak for the ugly -- but tasty -- cod. It's equally grim for the individuals who work the commercial seal hunt to support themselves and their families. Things are also not rosy for the Inuit, who have a constitutional right to hunt seal, but have no international market for their wares.

Personally, I find this all so ugly.


Monday, April 16, 2012

My Thoughts on Porn, Parenting, and Patriarchy.

Last week I learned a new and awful term: mommy porn.  Because it is no longer insulting enough to infantilize female readers of mainstream fiction by labelling books as chick lit? Am I suppose to be charmed by a term that stereotypes all women as inconsequential breeders who are too simple to comprehend the term erotica?

If publishers really want to develop a genre of porn-related books it should be series of parenting books authored by the parents of porn "stars."  It could be called "Learn From the Awful Mistakes I Made That Led My Child Into the Depravity of Performing Sex Acts For the Gratification of Strangers." The impetus for this idea came to me while reading a wikipedia article about Sandra Bullock's ex-husband's ex-wife. I spent a diverting and disturbing hour reading profiles of other porn "stars." By the way, some of the photos on those wikipedia pages are rude so make sure your kids are not around. The narratives all share a common theme: none of those people grew up aspiring to work in pornography. They fell into the industry because of bad choices, awful luck, and piss poor childhoods. Hence my idea for the "What Not To Do: Parents of Porn Stars" manuals.

You know who should NOT write parenting manuals? People whose children are still children. Unless an author's child is over the age of 22, has completed some post-secondary education, is not addicted to anything, AND values monogamy, I am not going to read their book. Or in the case of Alicia Silverstone: her blog.

I don't care that Alicia Silverstone (aka, that girl from some Aerosmith video, the woman who named a human Bear in the Big Blue House, an underemployed actress who authored a vegan cookbook) feeds her kid from her mouth. I'm more offended by:
1. the way she manufactured the controversy to plump up interest in her lifestyle blog, and
2. how she defended her actions by declaring "people have been feeding their kids that way for thousands of years."

I am weary of attachment parents justifying their choices by saying it's a traditional behaviour or technique employed in a pre-industrial culture. So what? Paleo Indians (for example) didn't co-sleep or carry their kids in slings or breastfeed because they thought more advanced forms of technology made them less authentic or more in tune with their children's needs. They had no other choice. If Silverstone and her fans want to perpetuate this post-modern Noble Savage concept, they should stop cherry-picking cultural components and completely shun industrial, western society. Buh-BYE!

If Alicia goes away, I hope she takes Ashley Judd with her. As with Silverstone, I give Judd partial points for cultivating media attention on her own terms. Everyone had forgotten about Judd's March appearance on Marilyn Denis' show, until Judd authored a wordy treatise about people's reaction to her appearance. It was published just in time for the premier of her new tv show.  Isn't that manipulative serendipitous?

Let me save you some time and give you the Coles' Notes version of the piece:

"Women made rude remarks about my appearance because patriarchy promotes misogyny."

I assume Judd was aces with our patriarchal society when her good looks were securing media attention, acting jobs, endorsements for cosmetic companies and the love of Michael Bolton:


Judd is a very smart woman, but I think her matriarchy-will-rock! group-hug failed. Partially because she came across as smug. Also because you can not simultaneously shame and inspire. It didn't help that she couldn't resist bragging about her weight (8! 2! She's not fat!) and her skin (flawless! unwrinkled!). Should I cut Judd some slack? She was writing under the influence of patriarchy.

Of course this begs the question: would I enjoy a parenting book authored by her mother? That Naomi Judd does look like a hoot.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Give a 40 year old stripper-slash-mom a break."

I'm not a doctor, but I recommend you seek medical advice if:
- you've had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- you've got white stuff on your tonsils,
- your throat is red,
- your tongue is white,
- your ears hurt and you can hardly hear anything,
- your whole body aches,
- your snot is green and thick,
- it's painful to swallow, and
- you can not sleep longer than 3 consecutive hours.

On Friday evening I recited this list of complaints to a HealthLink BC nurse. "You need to go to a health clinic or the ER. Now. Promise me you are hanging up the phone and seeking medical attention. Promise. Me." she said with more than enough conviction to scare the shit out of me.

My husband was happy to accompany me to the ER, "It's like we're having a Date Night." Which wasn't far off the mark, since we did catch a show. "I just pushed that guy, I don't know why he got so mad," was the oft-repeated catch-phrase from an intoxicated, jovial Philadelphia Flyers fan who was getting bandaged up. We found him more amusing than the ER nurse or the attending RCMP officers. I assume it was not the first time they'd caught his performance.

I'm still not feeling 100%, but I am 100% besotted with my new penicillin prescription.

This post will conclude with photos of my cats. They're cute.



  


Monday, April 9, 2012

This post is for you, HappyGeek75.

What are your thoughts on parsley? Personally I don't care for it. However, I do have strong opinions about cilantro. I LOVE cilantro. LOVE! Like Oprah loves when women have muscular arms. Like Gayle loves Oprah. Like Steadman loves when Gayle and Oprah go on a road trip and he gets to hangout by himself (and babysit Oprah's 18 dogs).

LOVE!

Other things I love: BLOGGING. I was in the mood to write this afternoon, but couldn't think of a topic upon which to expound. Thankfully my twitter friend HappyGeek75 suggested a multitude of topics! Consider this a preemptive apology/warning/explanation for what's about to come.

• • • • •

I like my politicians to be nicely coiffed. Not that I would say this out loud. Partially because I don't want to admit how truly shallow I am. Also because I'm not sure that coiffed is a real word.

I don't like it when politicians are spending too much time on their hair.  Maybe Condoleezza Rice should have spent a little less time getting her hair dyed and a bit more time...uh...erm...doing whatever it is that an American Secretary of State is suppose to do. HEY! I'm Canadian, my ignorance of the American political system is 100% acceptable. The same excuse doesn't apply to Sarah Palin. Yes, she has nice hair, but she's also shockingly ignorant about politics (and a multitude of other topics). Mitt Romney's hair is pleasing. Just a bit of silver at the temples. It's very distinguished and Mormon-y.

With regards to domestic hairstyles, the title of The Hill's Best Follicles belongs to Liberal MP Justin Trudeau:


Right after this was taken, Justin Trudeau went out and robbed a stage coach and tied a damsel to a railway line. Because that's what men with Old Timey Villainous Facial Hair do for kicks.

• • • • •

If you are looking for names for your newborn son I suggest "Harold." It's so out of fashion, it's in fashion. It avoids the two biggest and over-subscribed trends in baby names for boys (ending in -N, involving low frequency consonants of -Z, -X, -Q, -V, or -K). Plus Hal is a very cool nickname.

• • • • •

I don't like potatoes. Maybe it's because at the genetic level I'm still carrying a grudge about the Irish Potato Famine. Or maybe eating them every day for 20+ years has turned me off potatoes. Either way, I don't often eat them. But if I do, it's because my husband has made one of these three recipes.

• • • • •

The best kind of cheese is the kind of cheese that I have at hand. 

Yes, I'm not very high-minded about cheese. I eat a lot of cheese because I have hypo-glycemia and cheese with an apple is a great way to get my blood sugar to level off. Ergo I have a medical excuse to eat cheese. MEDICINAL cheese. Cheese HEALS me. I win!

• • • • •

Ever wonder if there any pluses to living in a place where winter lasts 10 months of the year? YES! I only have to contend with mosquitoes, and black flies for the other 2 months of the year. Also: long johns are very sexy.

• • • • •

I don't use Star Wars to teach math. I feel like a failure now. 

• • • • •

Of all the female characters on Star Trek, Kathryn Janeway is my favourite. I loved the results of this poll on StarTrek.com:



I totally agree. Janeway showed more courage than any of the other captains. Her courage, morals, and goals set the tone for the entire narrative. Also she is the only captain to birth Tom Paris' lizard babies. I hereby crown Kathryn Janeway The Ultimate Female Protagonist of All-Time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

There Are Downsides to Being a Trekkie: Why People Hate Me For Being Amazing.

The following is a parody of Samantha Brick's article 'There are downsides to looking this pretty': Why women hate me for being beautiful, published April 3, 2012 in the Daily Mail. 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

On a recent trip to a department store, I was delighted when a stockboy came over with an armload of Uhura action figures.

"These are going on sale tomorrow, but I'll mark them down for you now if you take the lot. They're covered in so much dust, they're practically a health hazard " he explained.

You're probably thinking 'what a lovely surprise.' But while it was lovely, it wasn't a surprise. At least not for me. For one thing I was dressed liked this:


Plus I'd parked my car out front and it tends to get noticed:



Throughout my life, I've regularly had Star Trek action figures or horga'hns offered to me by people I don't know. Once a young man dressed as Ferengi asked me to massage his lobes. Another time a fight broke out between two homeless men standing close to me on a city street. The police put it down to meth, but I knew the men were suffering from Pon Farr, a neurological imbalance brought on by my innate Trekkie-ness.

While I'm no Seven of Nine, I am good-looking. For a Trekkie.


But there are down sides. The main one being that non-Trekkies hate me for no other reason than my extensive knowledge of the Star Trek universe, both canonical and non-canonical. If you're a non-Trekkie reading this you've probably already formed your own opinion about me -- and it won't be very flattering. For while doors have been opened (literally) as a result of my being a Trekkie (by the way: when will sensor-operated, pocket-doors become de rigeur?), just as many have been metaphorically slammed in my face -- usually by people who don't recognize that I'm wearing my beloved cosplay Betazoid wedding ensemble.

I'm not illogical and I'm no green-blooded hobgoblin, yet I find this fascinating. Over the light years I've been dropped by countless non-Trekkie friends who felt threatened if I merely uttered a single "Qapla'" or attempted a Vulcan Neck pinch. If their partners dared offer to play a round of Tongo with me, a sudden chill would descend upon Ten-Forward. 


You'd think that non-Trekkies would applaud me for making so much effort to wear only fashions inspired by alien races featured on Star Trek. I work hard on my appearance. I don't drink anything but synethol, prune juice or Earl Grey tea. When it comes to chocolate, I'm no Deanna Troi. I work out, even when not on shore leave. Unfortunately, non-Trekkies find nothing more annoying than someone who lives the Roddenberry-way. 


Take last week, when a neighbour driving passed me on the road did not acknowledge nor return my Vulcan salute. According to a mutual friend -- who is a Browncoat -- it's because the neighbour is afraid her husband is becoming a Trekkie. Her fear is based upon his comment that this photo makes him "giggle like Miri when she's alone with Kirk:"


(source: Nichelle Nichols' twitter feed.)


As a result of these types of slights (and I have many, many anecdotes I could share -- just ask!), I find non-Trekkie social outings nerve-wracking. More and more, I am forsaking my beloved jumpsuits and dressing "normally." I've even started to leave my Bajoran earring at home.

I'm almost 39 (by the way, if I was a Vulcan I'd still be an adolescent) and I'm fully embracing the efforts of JJ Abrams, Zachary Quinto, and Chris Pine to make Star Trek  cool again  even more amazing than it always has been. Perhaps then non-Trekkies will finally stop being jealous of me and not judge me so harshly and instead accept me for who I am: a superior form of life.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Packages.

Dear Chapters-Indigo.ca,

I appreciate the timely delivery of my recent order.  However I thought the packaging was slightly excessive. Do you agree?


Four Lego baseplates do not require a 56 cm by 39 cm by 15 cm box.

However, our cats appreciated the 5 meters of packing paper you included.



Sincerely,

Nan



• • • • • • • • • • 



Speaking of unseemly packages...


Based on this photo, I am very, very worried about the future of democracy in Canada.