Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for May, 2010

Defending a movie I’m not keen on seeing…

I admit it. I’m not going to see “Sex and the City 2.” What I’ve gleaned of the plot seems interesting, the problems real enough- but I was happy with the way the first movie ended.

That said, it surprises me how venomous the reviews for SATC2 have become. Not surprisingly, male reviewers don’t get the movie and find it to be tiresome and not interesting. Female reviewers tend to be a bit kinder. Most seem to say it isn’t as interesting as the series or the movie, and those who weren’t fans of the series tend to say so. (Rotten Tomatoes has it ranked rather low, but part of me wonders how many of its reviewers are men and women)

There are very few movies that are written and made for women. It used to be that you could see a sweeping romance, period movie or musical. But these days, studios have decided that the main audience to appeal to is the young man, then kids, and after that more men. No matter how you look at it, women fall to the bottom of the heap. (There are a few chick flicks put out each year, but only a few when you break down how many movies are released) Read More…

Webcomic Friday: Girls with Slingshots

I admit it, I meant to post this on Wednesday. I had this post in mind… and then I forgot. So, sorry.

Today’s in Girls with Slingshots, a webcomic that’s definitely for adults (language & frankness about sex & sex toys). By Danielle Corsetto, it follows the life of Hazel and Jamie, two best friends that seem to be polar opposites by compliment each other beautifully. Hazel’s stubborn and cynical, while Jamie’s the cuddliest, sweetest girl you’ve ever met.

She’ll be nearing 1000 strips this July, and the archives are definitely worth reading. She’s also done some cross-overs with Randy K. Millholland’s Something*Positive. The artwork has become less realistic and more stylized over the years, but not one bit of expression has been lost.

Danielle has collections of the strip available for sale in the store on her site, as well as an etsy store where she sells prints of various strips, and also occasionally figure drawings she’s done. But for those with tight purse-strings, she also has a monthly wallpaper that is available to anyone who donates to her site. As she’s a working graphic artist, she does count on the donations to make sure that she can put up 5 strips a week and pay the bills. You can also find her on Twitter @dcorsetto.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” HAS to go.

Right now, the House has voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) by a vote of 234 to 194. A Senate panel has similarly voted 16-12. The next step to repeating DADT is for the Senate as a whole to include it as an amendment to a Defense Department funding bill and pass it.

And it’s about time. The US is big on equal rights. We have constant opinions on Muslim countries and their treatment of women as second class citizens, and yet, we treat gays and lesbians the same way.

We acknowledge that those who choose to serve our country are choosing to make a sacrifice for all that our nation stands for. We honor them, and in many cases, most Americans will go to great lengths to vilify anyone who dares say anything against the men and women in the military. Yet, for a percentage of them, these men and women are being asked to live a lie every day. They are forced to hide who they are for fear that they will be booted out of the military, and unable to ever return to the life that they had chosen because of the sexual preference they were born with.

What was the big deal? Did they worry that gays and lesbians would corrupt the straight soldiers and be so focused on having sex with them that they wouldn’t concentrate on the war? Because, honestly, they’re people. They know (quite well) that straight individuals can’t be swayed. They’re there first and foremost to serve their country. To imply that is an insult out and out.

From a statistical standpoint, the military is stretched far too thin as it is. Just based on populations, it’s a statistical inevitability that there will be homosexual individuals in the military. If they’re removed from the military- that’s even FEWER soldiers out there. Which means longer tours, more frequent tours… and for what? Because a few homophobic individuals refuse to believe that gay people are well, people. People who can put duty first. People who understand that sexual orientation is instilled at birth, and thus, you cannot switch teams. People who just want to lead the same life that a straight individual has.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the night and clean up the living room. Strike that, reverse it. I’m going to clean the living room and then enjoy the rest of the night.

Celebs who diet? Please.

Admission of guilt: I have a subscription to US Weekly. Ages ago, I did a magazine package deal and as magazine by magazine that I liked shut down, they apparently rolled all my remaining issues into US Weekly.

This week’s issue has Lauren Conrad and Kim Kardashian on the cover, and talks about Diets That Work. I know, it’s nearing summer, so there are diets stories a plenty. But I find these issues ridiculous and offensive.

Issue #1. The majority of the women in this issue are in their 20s and are probably size 2′s at their heaviest. Even as a woman who tends to be underweight, I find this to be offensive. The most these women are talking about losing 5-10 lbs, and except for the few who weren’t tiny to start off with, their diet tips probably won’t help anyone lose a considerable amount of weight.

Issue #2. All these women have personal trainers, and most have personal chefs. So, these magazines tout their “diet secrets” as being legit when the average woman couldn’t afford their methods.

Issue #3. Some of these women smoke, which is fairly common amongst actresses and dancers to keep weight down. So, while they might be thin, they aren’t healthy by any means.

There’s no quick route to being healthy. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig work for women (who stick with what they’ve learned) because ultimately, both programs teach how you should be eating. It takes discipline, learning about nutrition and exercise.

We sabotage ourselves constantly. Magazines like this continue to feed us lies that we need to be 5’10″ and a size 2 to be considered beautiful. That we need to make ourselves in the image of a 20 year old starlet.

We, as women (and as a society in general) need to be healthy. That means eating well (and allowing ourselves to indulge now and then), exercising regularly (but not obsessively) and learning to love ourselves. These magazines aren’t for that. Even when not touting diet secrets, they post what the stars wear and invite us to cruelly critique them. Which is brutal for two reasons. Most, if not all the celebs featured have stylists who told them to wear what they are. So you’re tearing down a celebrity who simply trusted that their stylist knew what they were talking about. More importantly, they’re encouraging us to tear down celebrities- if we’re cruel to them, it only invites us to be cruel to fellow women.

We are harsh. Rather than trying to find a way to politely tell a woman that she’s dressing inappropriately, we talk behind her back, being cattier than Mr. Blackwell. We say things about other women that would make us cry if it were said about us. Yet, we wonder why it is that women so routinely starve themselves to fit into a perfect pair of jeans or become what celebrity has deemed an acceptable size.

Women are beautiful. In any size. Beauty isn’t simply what’s on the surface, it’s what’s inside. So instead of trying the latest fad diet or workout, why don’t we try to be kinder and more accepting of other women. And try to change our lives by becoming healthy, rather than living on lemon juice and cayenne.

(Addendum: I am aware that there are many female celebrities who are actually overweight and do actually lose weight. However, very few pages are given to the women who lose weight over time and do it in a healthy manner. Why? It’s boring to read that a new mother took a little over a year to lose the baby weight. Losing weight in 4 weeks is so much more exciting)

Lost: The End

I remember ABC promoting JJ Abrams new show. About a plane crash on an island. It seemed like an odd premise, like a dramatic Gilligan’s Island or less scripted Survivor. But I watched it, and was hooked. Never once did my belief in the show falter. I played the ARGs, I watched the shows and mused about where it was all headed. I acknowledged that some seasons weren’t as interesting as the others (sorry Tailies, I really could have cared less about you, except that it meant we got Mr. Eko, Bernard and Libby).

But all through it, there was an interesting story. For all the polar bears, smoke monster and Dharma stations, it was the story about the people. How the Island changed them, and how they grew closer and further apart. They were real people, who reminded me of people that I’ve met in the real world. The snarky guy who uses humor to keep people at arm’s length. The cuddly big buy with the heart of gold. The sneaky weasel who’s in it only for himself. And the eternal optimist, who believes that everything has a meaning.

And I cared. I cried when Boone died on Jack’s makeshift operating table. I cried when Shannon died in Sayid’s arms, and when Charlie drowned in the hopes that it would save Claire. It hurt to see Locke so shaken in his faith in the Island. (Though I admit, I laughed with Nikki and Paolo’s death. I didn’t like them, but temporary paralysis and them being buried alive? That was harsh)

As the final season progressed, I reminded myself not to try to expect answers. The producers were pretty clear about saying that the show wasn’t about the mythology, but that we’d get some answers.

So what did I think? Non-spoiler review: I liked it. Just as the producers had said, the show wasn’t about the mythology at all. It took place on this mysterious island, but it was ultimately about the people. I thought that they found a very smart and yes, sentimental way to conclude the show, and didn’t feel shortchanged in the answer department.

Spoilers behind the cut. Read More…

When Good TV Shows Get Canceled

With network upfronts come and gone, it means that tv shows have been cancelled and there are new shows to worry about meeting the same fate.

Having seen plenty of complaints from friends about good shows being cancelled, I thought I’d use what knowledge I had of ratings from working in advertising and what I’ve gleaned from the internet to give you a rundown on why shows (including good shows) get canceled.

Read More…

Webcomic Wednesday: Johnny Wander

I read a lot of webcomics. My RSS reader just gets filled with more and more and more as time goes on. While there are a lot of great ones out there, I thought I’d put the spotlight on a few webcomics that I really adore, and whose creators are equally fabulous people.

First up is Johnny Wander, by Yuko Ota (art) and Ananth Panagariya (story). Read More…

On the Road

We’ve finished leg #1 of our trip, which wasn’t too far from home. But it felt like a real vacation. How so? Our oldest spiked a fever and threw up twice. He’s fine now, but it reminded me of a few trips where my sister and/or I got sick.

And even as I gave him the world’s most expensive children’s tylenol, it made me smile. It’s our first big vacation as a family.

Sure, we’ve gone to San Diego when our oldest was 6 months old. Or the trips to Arizona for Christmas.

It might be that this is the first trip we’ve taken where my husband took the whole week off. It could be that the boys are both old enough to appreciate the journey.

Armed with my Flip camera and my cameraphone, it’ll be interesting to see what pops up.


The Newsweek article on Gay Actors, revisited

After the internet rose up against Ramin Setoodah (whose name is now one that I remember how to spell), he posted a follow-up to the original article.

In short, he was misconstrued. His point was that thus far, there hasn’t been a major leading man who was openly gay and wondering if it was possible.

Rereading it, I can see that he laid the foundation for the argument. But instead, he focused too much on criticizing two openly gay men that are in prominent straight roles. He neglected to mention that Sean Hayes received favorable reviews from critics and that he’s been nominated for awards for his role in Promises, Promises. He neglected to mention that Jonathan Groff played Lea Michele’s love interest in Broadway’s “Spring Awakening,” and burned up the stage. By only including his opinion of their performances, he wasn’t exploring the public’s perception- it became the story of a gay man, who is so critical of gay men on stage and screen that he was rejecting all their performances.

It’s disappointing that he failed to notice that he missed his point- I often worry that my soapbox posts will be similarly misconstrued. But I am my only editor, and Setoodah has an actual editor. One who presumably looked at this with a critical eye and still deemed this clear enough to print in Newsweek.

He can say he was misconstrued all he likes, that he he meant something. Had he written it clearly, a few people might have misunderstood, not the majority of the people who read it. I looked at the comments. Commenter after commenter came to the same conclusion that I did, that Kristin Chenoweth did… and very few attempted to defend what Setoodah meant to say (at least, correctly – there were more than a few who argued that no, we can’t see beyond someone’s sexuality to enjoy them in a role. I didn’t see any who said that Setoodah merely wondered if we were able to).

At least this further proves why Newsweek is in the trouble they’re in. Not that they don’t aren’t tackling interesting subjects, but that they clearly lack the editorial staff to do so coherently.

Spin it, Facebook Exec!

Just a couple days ago, I posted my thoughts on the latest Facebook changes. While I tackled the privacy issues first and foremost, there are other concerns. All my interest information is public- and there’s no way to opt out of that, other than to delete it entirely. Not only that, Facebook adjusted how my personal data is used with advertising as well as how it can interact with other sites. Rather than give the opportunity to set those controls manually, Facebook assume that I’d want to join their new program and let my friends share all my information with websites.

So when I saw that the NY Times had Facebook Executive Elliot Schrage (vice president for public policy) sit down for a Q&A session in which he’d answer questions that they’d selected from reader questions, I wanted to see how he’d respond. Read More…

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