Misunderstood Kaiju.

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In all the years we’ve had Thomas the Tank Engine tracks in our house, there’s been a constant: TheBoy will kick over bridges as he walks over. I’m not sure what it is, but he just can’t seem to get his foot up those last couple inches to clear it.

We groan, fix the track. But after Pacific Rim came out, the Kidlets became well versed in Kaiju. The next time that TheBoy knocked over a bridge, one of them shouted, “Kaiju!” And it became the new thing.

kaiju in sodorLast night, TheBoy knocked over a bridge after he’d every so carefully picked up stray pieces left behind by kids too tired to clean. “Kaiju!” I stuck my tongue out at him, and laughed.

He sighed, looking at the mess. “Do you ever wonder if the Kaiju were misunderstood?”

“Like maybe they just had bad depth perception or were just klutzy?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, continuing to stare at the toppled bridge.

I started to laugh, the long deep kind that usually leads to snorting. It’s something I haven’t been able to do much this week, and it felt exhilarating to do. “We didn’t mean to destroy your city, we just tripped on our way to say hi?”

“Exactly.” He walked off into the kitchen. I’ve decided that Misunderstood Kaiju is my new band name.

The #Roadto10k, tripping and falling.

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Surprisingly, I’m not being literal. Last week, my normal running routine was disrupted, and so I ran on a treadmill (it’s why I didn’t post any pictures or runtimes).

I hate running on treadmills. There’s the slight incline, so your pace is always worse than usual. And then it’s boring. It doesn’t matter what you’re watching, the route’s just straight. No turns or curves. Just straight ahead, and constantly thinking about whether or not the speed is where you need it.

Sunday, I didn’t go on my big run. It was just the kids and I, and nobody to watch them in the morning when it wasn’t 80+ degrees. Monday, I meant to go on a run, but there were extenuating circumstances that I can only vague blog about. (Not all things that happen around me are my story to tell) Yesterday I was too tired to drag myself from bed.

So, today. I went for a shorter run than usual, and ached. Not the usual pull of muscles when you haven’t run for a bit – but my breasts. I know I’m delving into TMI territory here, but… PMS. My breasts were sore, and I wore the sports bra that’s comfortable and usually allows a little bounce. But that was too much bounce, and I had to walk. Which led to me breaking down in tears because I felt like I was failing… which while I might have felt that way – I blame PMS for the tears.

I’m being honest about my stumbles. And finding things to be proud of. I got up early, and I went out even though I had a migraine last night. Even though I was already achey. Sometimes just getting out is the win.

One thing’s for sure, tomorrow I’m wearing the sports bra that is so tight I have to be peeled out of it.

Anyone else training for something? I’d love to hear about how you handle the rough days.

Little Kidlet and the Case of Shyness

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The Oldest Kidlet is outgoing. Plunk him in a new situation and he’ll make the most of it, and probably come out of it with a friend for life. The Little Kidlet, on the other hand is shy.

He just takes a long time to warm up to people.

This summer, we’re doing our library’s reading club. The kids read books, report on them and get prizes. It’s Oldest Kidlet’s third year, so it’s old hat for him- but it’s the Little Kidlet’s first year doing the bigger kids’ reading group (the little kids have a reading log). And LK was unbearably shy when we went to sign up, though the very cool librarian (who wore Deathly Hallows earrings!) got him to relax.

We went Friday to report on books, and Oldest Kidlet went off with a librarian to talk about his two books on space shuttles. Little Kidlet got one of the teen volunteers, and started to immediately shut down. The girl asked his name, and came back with a smile. “You wanna tell me about the book?”

So he started to flip through, telling her everything with the painfully adorable lisp he has at the moment. And you could just see her melt, and then she started giggling at how earnestly he was in telling her exactly what the books were about- and taking lots of time to tell her how silly things were. He wasn’t flirting- he’s still very much in the “I don’t know what I think about girls” phase. He’s just apparently fond of telling stories if his brother isn’t around to tell them for him.

After he was finished, we found his brother (who, despite being taken first, took much longer to talk about his books- not a surprise) and picked out a couple new books for each of them. Little Kidlet picked a book about a train we hadn’t read before, and I grabbed a book that seemed like it had an entertaining title. The Oldest Kidlet, who has graduated out of the picture book section, wandered through until we found the section with books about the Titanic. He took one, picked out a non-fiction book about trains… and we called it a day.

For those of you who know shy kids, what’s the magic thing that brings them out of their shells? Books, games?

#Roadto10k, the beginning

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If you follow me on Instagram… or any social media account, now that I think about it, you probably have seen some pictures tracking my runs- all tagged with #roadto10k.

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This August, I’m running the Disneyland 10k, as part of RunDisney’s Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend. It is by far the longest run I’ll ever have attempted (and will probably attempt), and I chose it in order to really get myself out the door.

So I set up a training regimen designed to get me running about 5.5 miles by the race (knowing what I know now- I can probably finish the rest of it on adrenaline alone). I started running a mile, with 3-4 runs a week depending on how hectic my schedule is. Each week, I’m increasing the distance by .25 miles. (Though once I start to feel comfortable with it again, I might up it by a half mile each week)

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What you don’t expect.

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Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet. The Kidlets’ school year ended shortly after Memorial Day, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make summer vacation work with my work from home job.

It hasn’t exactly been easy. The first couple days were fantastic- the Kidlets made sure that I had a solid 4 hours of work in the morning and then we’d run errands and do stuff in the afternoon. But the Little Kidlet? Well, he’s decided to spend his days like this:

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Isla Vista: the discussion we should be having.

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By now you’ve probably heard of Elliot Rodger, the 22 year old man who killed six people (two of them were women) and injured seven others (one of those, confirmed as a woman) in Santa Barbara as part of his quest to get revenge on women who rejected him sexually.

I haven’t been able to read many of the stories. I haven’t wanted to see what the media is saying on television. It’s too much of a reminder of being stalked by boys/men who wouldn’t accept that I wasn’t interested in them. But in skimming headlines, it’s abundantly clear that the media is trying to frame this as an isolated incident, focusing on the fact that he was seeing a psychiatrist, that he legally owned the gun he used – instead of focusing on the very real dangers of misogyny. Because this is not an isolated incident.

In the past month, I can think of two other news stories that stood out to me like this. There was the death of Maren Sanchez, just 16 years old, who was murdered by a classmate because she turned him down for prom. The other was Mandy Boardman, who watched her ex-husband be sentenced to 8 years of home confinement for repeatedly drugging and raping her for three years of their marriage (she divorced him after learning of what he’d done). Prosecutors had asked for 40 years in jail, and he was sentenced to 20 – with 12 years of that sentence suspended. Worse than that, even, was that Judge Kurt Eisgruber during his remarks asked Boardman to forgive her attacker.

And there are similar stories from around the world, week after week. These stories seldom get the attention they deserve, and it isn’t until something like this spree happens that they get a fair amount of airtime. It’s one situation where as a society, we’re failing as a whole.

We live in a society where we’re told that “boys will be boys,” where dress codes are enforced in schools to keep girls from distracting boys with their appearance. Where we air shows about “pick up artists” who tell men that they can turn any no into a yes, we have numerous television shows that center on men who reassure their male friends that women who reject them are bitches and crazy. We allow men to sexualize a children’s show (a show geared to empower little girls, by the way) to the degree where googling artwork for the show generally yields adult material, while at the same time cartoon companies are canceling cartoon shows because too many girls and women watch it. And say very little about it.

We try to legislate breastfeeding in public because as a society we’ve done our best to rebrand breasts as being something sexual, instead of literally a way to nourish babies.

When teaching rape prevention, we teach girls to dress modestly and think about their surroundings instead of teaching boys and men not to rape them. We allow colleges and universities to investigate rapes that happen on campus.

Men are encouraged to be sexually adventurous, but women are called sluts for doing the same thing. We’ve created a mythical friendzone and continue to feed the lie that men and women can’t be platonic- a lie which shames friendship between a man and a woman. Shame that clearly played a large part in Rodger’s rage – in his mind, women could fill no other role than a sexual role. So any romantic/sexual rejection left nothing for him. A rage which is not singular to this case, it’s something that comes up time and time again. We’ve also created this belief that there’s some sort of a sexual transaction at play. Pay attention to a woman, buy her a drink- and she’s required to reward you with sex and affection. Women are not prizes to be won, this isn’t a video game where fulfilling certain actions in a quest/mission will get you into our beds.

We’ve allowed men to rewrite how we perceive feminism. Instead of it simply being the fight to make sure that women are treated equally and fairly, we’ve let our male-led society dictate that it’s women wanting to subjugate men – that it’s something done out of hatred for men. To the point that young actresses who talk about wanting to make the choice to stay home and be a mom someday, say that they aren’t feminists. Because somehow, as a society we don’t understand what it is- it’s about saying that we should ALL, male or female, have the choice to do as we please.

And this isn’t just how we’ve let misogyny rewrite how we perceive women. It’s rewritten how we perceive men, too. Men, you should be furious that we’ve decided that you’re so ruled by your penis that you can’t look at a pair of legs or a pair of tits without being ruled by lust. You should be furious that we’ve decided as a society that you can’t act like a decent human being without a secret agenda. That we’ve trained you to see women as prey. That you’ve been groomed through porn to misunderstand how to actually enjoy sex without unrealistic expectations.

Can we please use this horrible act as a stepping stone? Can we please have the difficult discussion about how internalized misogyny is in our society? And can we have it without men saying “Not all men are like that?” Because heaven forbid, a man be faced with the uncomfortable realization that in fact most men are like that, even to a small degree.

Because nothing will change without having these discussions or realizations. Nothing will get better. It will only get worse.

Midnight Escapades

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I realize that this title sounds far more glamorous and exciting than the truth. This is a post about kids getting sick in the middle of the night. So, proceed with caution.

My glasses were broken to begin with. I am blind as a bat without them, but have plenty of contacts – so I was coping alright when it came to life without glasses while I waited for my eye doctor appointment. I put the contacts in when I wake up, take them out at bedtime… and use a lot of rewetting drops since I have to wear them the entire day.

A couple week’s back, at 3:30 am, I was woken up by the Oldest Kidlet who calmly informed me that the Little Kidlet was puking everywhere. So I put in my contacts, put on some pants (when it’s hot, I sleep in a t-shirt) and went off to deal with the situation. Cleaned up the traumatized 6 year old, stripped his bed and changed the sheets, handed him a plastic container to puke into if he couldn’t make it to the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep. But I’d been so amped up trying to figure out if I’d have to take him to the ER, I couldn’t sleep. So I tossed and turned- and was a zombie the rest of the day.

One week later, at 1:30 am, I was woken up by the Oldest Kidlet wailing that he was sick. Apparently it was his turn to vomit. And he did. In his bed, on his arm… but unlike his brother, I didn’t think it was a stomach bug. He had a rash on his leg that required some ointment for it, and I had a feeling he’d managed to get some into his mouth. Strangely, possibly poisoning included, I didn’t go into panic mode. Maybe because the Oldest Kidlet was panicking while I was trying to shove contact lenses into my eyes, so I knew I had to be calm.

Stripped his bed, stayed up for a bit to make sure he was going to keep down the water he’d sipped, and handed him the same plastic container I’d given his brother. Same plastic container I use on bad Crohn’s flareup days. But I didn’t get that burst of adrenaline, so when he went to sleep, I was able to get some sleep. And he didn’t puke at all after that, so I figured I was right.

Unfortunately, my contacts didn’t fare so well. Putting them in the case, in the dark, one of them missed the case and dried up.

There is a bit of a happy ending. I now have glasses, so at least – if my kids want to wake me up dramatically in the dead of the night, they don’t have to wait for me to wake up enough to put in contact lenses.

What about the kidlets?

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I’ve been looking at my recent posts, and it’s all about me and very little about the kidlets. So I thought I’d share some updates.

They’re great. I do have a problem in that I post all of the funny stuff to Twitter as it happens and forget that I have a blog. So maybe I should just save a couple of those anecdotes to post here.

The Little Kidlet is ridiculously geeky (the kidlets both are, but in different ways) and since Captain America: the Winter Soldier has come out, I’ve been treated to a lot of rants from LK wondering why we don’t have a Black Widow movie. “She does everything,” he says.

No, he didn’t see CA:tWS. He probably won’t until it’s out on DVD. But he’s seen all the commercials, and he really loves Black Widow as a character. I bought a Pop! Vinyl Black Widow bobblehead and he touches her head, and talks about how she’s one of the strongest Avengers because she isn’t a super soldier or Asgardian. “She doesn’t need to be those.”

If he was as familiar with DC as he is with Marvel properties, I’m sure he’d be asking why there isn’t a Wonder Woman movie. That’s just who he is.

He’s currently obsessed with all things Pokemon, and I introduced him to the original series.

The Oldest Kidlet isn’t as interested in the Titanic as he once was. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still utterly fascinated by the unsinkable ship and will still tell anyone and everyone the timeline (with dates and times) of that fatal voyage. But most of the time he’s been reading about pirates, or asking me about skyscrapers.

It’s one of the things I love most about him, and that I understand. He has a thirst for knowledge that’s unlike most kids I know- I don’t know many kids who say, “I’ll go see if there’s a documentary about that on YouTube,” after checking it on Netflix first. Just this morning he demanded that I look up what year the Great Pyramid was built, and was astonished that since I love Ancient Egypt that I didn’t know the year. (Admittedly, dates are not my thing, but they are his. He can still tell you the month he was sick and had to miss school in kindergarten- and he’s in second grade now!)

So things are pretty good with these two. We have some ups and downs, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

More thoughts about Bloodlines.

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I know, I already posted a vlog about Bloodlines, but that was very much my on the fly opinion.

But having given it a chance to sit, and being able to discuss it with a few people… I have a few more things that bothered me about the episode- a backdoor pilot for “Supernatural: Bloodlines.”

When the show was first announced, the list of the main characters was comprised of men. It wasn’t until much later that they started to announce female characters. Which was a bit of a relief. Since Supernatural is such a male heavy show already- I was glad to hear that there were some women in the main cast.

Violet, being insulted. No, really.

Violet, being insulted. No, really.

…except that the main female character, Violet, is a love interest. And might not be much more than that, since in the backdoor pilot she was kidnapped and didn’t manage to escape on her own, despite being a werewolf who was able to break free once the hero was also in the scene. The other notable female character is David’s sister, Margo Lassiter- who is running their family since their brother died and their father is very ill. And she fits right into the stereotype of the well-dressed woman who’s just interested in power. Great. Add in the multiple uses of bitch and whore in relation to Violet (who was being married off to another pack, as a power play), and Ennis’s fiance being fridged (more on that in the next paragraph) in the first 10 minutes of the episode… there’s a lot to be concerned about.

Ennis and his fiance in their last seconds together.

Ennis and his fiance in their last seconds together.

Fridged is short for Women in Refrigerators, the trope where a character is murdered/raped/incapacitated in order to get the hero to jump into action (named after the Green Lantern storyline where Kyle Raynor’s girlfriend was murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator, where he would discover her body and thus jump into action). It’s almost exclusively something that happens to female characters to motivate the male hero. In this case, Ennis learns of the supernatural through her death and begins to investigate who was responsible. This isn’t a new trope for Supernatural – in fact, it’s a Winchester legacy. Mary Winchester was fridged, sending John and boys into the life. Jess, Sam’s girlfriend was killed by the same demon who killed Mary in the exact same way for the identical reason. You could try to argue that WiF isn’t a thing, that it does happen with male characters to motivate women- but it happens so rarely, that there isn’t much of a corollary. Off the top of my head, all I can think of is Alias, where Sydney’s fiance was murdered- which got her to turn on her employers. The fabulous Kristen mentioned Steve Rogers – since his “death” pushed Peggy Carter towards founding SHIELD and Jason Voorhees for Friday the 13th. It’s rare, though, since there aren’t many female action leads. And typically, if we are talking about a female action lead, it’s the threat of harm to a loved one that spurs them into action. If it’s a man, there’s usually a body involved.

It was obvious that the intention for this was to create a connection between Sam and Ennis- but it’s completely unnecessary. Ennis is the son of a policeman, and there are a lot of nosy children of lawmen in television (see: Stiles Stilinski of Teen Wolf). Ennis could have simply seen something suspicious on the night of his proposal and become drawn into the investigation. As a bonus, his fiancee (a woman of color, no less) would still be in the cast- and give him someone to hide the supernatural world from. Instant character conflict. And frankly, Sam cares enough about humanity as a whole to try to keep anyone else from joining the Life.

But no. They went with one of the most standard tropes of them all.

You’ll notice I mentioned that his fiancee was a woman of color. One of the other things that I (and others) noticed is that Ennis was the only person of any ethnicity other than White in the show. Anyone with any power in the show? The five families? The bar owner? All White. There wasn’t a single person of any other shade, and this is Chicago! A quick glance at data from the 2010 census shows an ethnic breakdown of: 45% white, ~33% Black or African American, ~30% Hispanic/Latino). When you look at that, it seems highly unlikely that every single person in power in the show, that every member of the five families we’ve met – would be white. There should be at least someone in there that isn’t White, since I’m assuming that they’re family in the same way that mobs were… where there might be some literal family, but mostly it’s people taken into their organization.

Considering the origin of the Djinn, I find it upsetting (to say the least) that on Supernatural (both the regular series and now this spin-off) we’ve never run into a Djinn that wasn’t white.

As I said in the vlog, I did like the premise of the show- that Chicago is, unbeknownst to the human population, run by Monster Families. That there were power struggles within those families, and the obvious complications of the human and supernatural worlds mixing.

But the writing was less than inspired (in fact an entire argument between David and Violet actually happened between Dean and Castiel). And the writers made choices with the story that weren’t anything new (see: the fridging, Margo Lassiter who just wants to start a war). Factor in the uninspired casting, and this is a show that I’m going to pass on, unless there are substantial improvements made.

Update: The CW passed on Supernatural: Bloodlines for the upcoming fall season, but said they weren’t writing off the possibility of a different spin-off. Here’s to hoping that they’ll avoid the same mistakes.

[Vlog] Whitney Watches SPN 9.20 “Bloodlines”

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That’s right- last night a new episode of Supernatural aired, and I am bringing you a short vlog about “Bloodlines” – the spin-off pilot for Supernatural: Bloodlines.

For those who don’t click through, I didn’t go into how this episode fits into Season 9, because it doesn’t really. The story begins with one of the leads from Bloodlines, and the Winchesters show up and mostly play backup to the characters. And at the end, Dean gets a message from Cas which takes them out of Chicago and back into the main timeline.

The main character, a human, is going to propose to his girlfriend- only to have her tragically killed when a wounded man stumbles into them and is murdered. The investigation into both deaths leads him to discover that Chicago is filled with monsters. In true Chicago fashion, there are five families that control the city- each a different type of monster. (TheBoy tweeted that this was Supernatural meets the Sopranos) So the human has to team up with the Winchesters and a shapeshifter to unravel who killed his fiance.

It’s an interesting world they’ve set up, and certainly a premise that’ll be interesting. But I wasn’t wowed by the writing. Especially by the way that the werewolf Violet was treated. Supernatural isn’t exactly known for shying away from calling women bitches. Dean does it somewhat regularly, and it’s jarring- but not too bad. In one episode, I can recall Violet being called a bitch three times, and a whore once. Someone will certainly try to say it isn’t as bad because she’s a werewolf, hence it’s a dog term- but I’d say it made it worse since then it becomes a slur as it’s said by shapeshifters.

However, I do like the premise. And I liked the relationship between David (the main shapeshifter) and Violet, as well as the dynamics within David’s family. I just hope that the writing tightens up.