Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

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[Vlog] Whitney Watches Teen Wolf – 3.24 “The Divine Move”

It’s been awhile since I’ve recorded a Vlog, and it seemed like a good time to discuss one of my favorite TV shows, Teen Wolf!

This week saw the end of Season 3B! This video is spoiler filled, but I’d love to hear what you think.

Any other TV shows you want me to do video discussions for? (I plan on writing recaps for Supernatural.)

Whitney vs Days of the Wolf

So I’m a big Teen Wolf fan. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those of you who follow me on Twitter (or Tumblr).

I admit, I wasn’t sure about watching it – a non-reality show on MTV? And it’s based on a movie from the 80s? After being wooed by GIF sets on Tumblr, I gave it a shot. I was drawn in by the blend of horror and teen drama. The way that the characters faced just as many real issues as supernatural ones- and then the show evolved into something that other shows I love lacked. Actual character growth.

Anyways, I won tickets to Days of the Wolf through FanBolt forums. DOTW is a fan convention that was this last weekend. First fan convention I’ve gone to, though I’m going to Creation’s VegasCon (for Supernatural) next month. Day One had Holland Roden, Crystal Reed and the Carver twins- as well as a few contests.

I cosplayed as Kira Yukimura, one of the new additions to the cast this season. I even tried my hand in all the contests. The first was a yes/no trivia contest (I got out on a question that was worded trickily, but eh). The second was pitching a Teen Wolf movie (which really wasn’t too far out of my wheelhouse, having done advertising for a bit – but I forgot the audience, and pitched a good story vs something that would appeal to a younger crowd – the winner pitched them being in college, and doing normal college stuff and having to come back to Beacon Hills to solve some vague mystery. Mine was time travel. The whole pack is cursed by a witch and get sent back to just before the Hale Fire, so they all have to try to get ingredients to reverse the curse. But Derek’s tempted to change things, to stop the fire from happening, so they have to avoid all their past selves and keep Derek from doing something reckless. Oh well), and I got a Teen Wolf mug for playing! I also tried my hand in the costume contest, and didn’t place- but I got another mug. So now TheBoy and I can each drink from a mug while watching Teen Wolf.

All in all, it was a great day. We met up with a friend we’d worked with at Disneyland (who I’ll dub T) as well as her husband. Sat in the ballroom and enjoyed the panels, joked, and had dinner together. It was a great time.

But this wasn’t exactly typical for me. None of it. I’ve gone to cons by myself in the past and talked myself out of talking to people, and I did three separate contests. And I talked to people!

Just before Crystal Reed’s panel on Saturday, I spotted a girl dressed as Abaddon from Supernatural. When I realized she was with a girl dressed like Dean, I snapped a picture and uploaded it to Tumblr. It started to get some reblogs/likes, but I just kept liveblogging Crystal’s panel.

At the end of it, Abaddon and Dean showed up. “It’s you! We saw your picture and followed you on Tumblr, and then I saw your post about Crystal-” And just like that, I started to talk to them! Without panicking! And then I got an even better picture of them- they’ll be at VegasCon, so I’m hoping I see them again.

On Day Two, I was excited because there were four panels that day! And as soon as we got there, TheBoy suggested that I buy the photo op for Tyler Hoechlin. The pit of my stomach fell out, and I gave him a million reasons why I couldn’t. And he just looked at me and told me that this was a chance I wouldn’t run into very often, and I’d regret it if I didn’t.

So I went for it. And honestly, of all the celebs I’ve met (and I worked at Disneyland, I’ve met plenty), he was probably the nicest. No, really. He introduced himself to every person in line (“Hi, I’m Tyler, it’s nice to meet you.” – like we didn’t know who he was, it was adorable), smiled, laughed. It was just sort of magic. But I did it! I was terrified of all the unknown, and I did it.

I’m going to put up pictures from Days of the Wolf on Friday. I took a bunch on my cell phone, some need editing – and I need to scan the picture from the photo-op. But, Friday.

But there you have it. TheBoy’s been helping me push myself safely in bringing myself out of my shell. He’s known me for long enough that he tends to know better than I do what I can and can’t do. Not that I don’t- but for those with anxiety issues, sometimes you talk yourself out of something you could do. And he knows where my boundaries are.

Love and Friendship in the Wizarding World

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, odds are you heard about the interview where JK Rowling said that looking back she thought that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together as a couple.

And the internet went crazy.

Not because they thought that she was right, but because they were upset. As a writer, I can understand what JK Rowling said. In a way. You always wonder if you did the right thing, if there was a way to make the story stronger. But honestly, as a fan… I am upset. For a number of reasons.

First, it’s pretty upsetting to me that it should be important in any way who Hermione falls in love with. She’s one of the great heroes of the whole thing, who stuck with Harry through thick and thin… who made her own parents forget about her to protect them. She’s brilliant, she’s tough. She deserves a lot more respect than to be boiled down to a romantic pairing.

Secondly, her relationship with Harry is pretty unique. In most book series, the main female character is usually the love interest of the main male protagonist- if not for the entire series, for at least part of it. So in a way, Harry and Hermione is what should have been expected. But it never happened. Instead, we got a storyline where two good friends of opposite genders could be friends instead of in love. That you could become family, because they really were like brother & sister.

Instead, we had the long, slow build of Ron and Hermione. Who didn’t particularly get along in the beginning, slowly became friends and then became more. It actually reminded me a lot of the stories my own family members told about meeting their future significant other, and hating them in the beginning. It felt real to me. And the two balance each other personality-wise.

Besides, if we’re going to bring up anyone else from the book series who could have ended up with Hermione, it’s Viktor Krum. Viktor, who saw Hermione’s brilliance and beauty before anyone else did. And who basically got shoved to the side, and did so gracefully. Now that’s a man who doesn’t get nearly enough respect.

Of course, there’s the option that nobody mentions – why does Hermione need a romantic partner to get her happy ending? With family and friends, she could have easily decided to throw herself into a career. Use her passion for knowledge and brave heart to protect others.

While I understand JK Rowling considering whether or not she did the right thing by her characters, I respectfully disagree with her conclusion.

Your thoughts?

Find a Better Idol.

I’m almost 34. I keep accidentally saying I’m 34 already.

This isn’t a post about getting older. It’s actually about being young, to be honest. I remember being young and crushing on an actor or singer, thinking they were perfect and good.

But that was back in the 90s, before the internet (I know, I remember life before the internet, and the early days of the internet). Back before the 24/7 news cycle, where it was possible for a celebrity to have a personal life that different from their public persona. When it was utterly shocking when River Phoenix died of a drug overdose- because that stuff just didn’t happen.

Yes, this post is about Justin Bieber. And R. Kelly. And Chris Brown. Actually it’s more to the girls who keep standing behind them.

I was once in your place, and live and died by the music I listened to. I crushed on the trumpet player in this local swing band, even though he was in his early 20s and I was barely 16 when I started going to all their concerts. I had no idea what this guy was like, but in my head he was perfect.

But none of these musicians are perfect. Chris Brown has a history of anger issues and violence – but his fans not only stood beside him, but blamed Rihanna. R. Kelly has a long history of sex with underaged girls, who by the law are not old enough to give their consent. He writes about women as objects, and women continue to support him, and insult the girls who have spoken up.

Justin Bieber, is certainly the least offensive of this list, because he’s an immature little boy pretending to be a man. He moved into an exclusive gated community and has proceeded to antagonize the families that live there already. He egged his neighbor’s house. Oh, and he drag raced while under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs.

You can try to say that fame is difficult. It is, I’m never going to deny that. But for every Lindsay Lohan, you have plenty of singers/actors who make that transition from teen star to adult without winding up making a fool of themselves daily on TMZ. You can try to excuse his age, but honestly? You’re just insulting every 18 or 19 year old out there who makes good decisions. His stupidity and recklessness has nothing to do with his age, just his decisions.

Notice, I’m not even touching any issues of addiction. Because realistically, addiction is an illness, not a weakness of character. So I’m not going to judge anyone for struggling with that.

But my real point is that you as a fan deserve better. You deserve a singer who respects his fans enough to not do something as monumentally reckless as drag racing while drunk. You deserve someone to crush on that actually lives up to your fantasy.

You don’t have to settle. That’s probably one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life. Just because a guy is cute doesn’t mean he’s worth it. And there is no amount of jackass behavior that is worth it either. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a pop idol or a guy you want to date. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car while drunk isn’t worth your time. Because they don’t think that other people’s lives are more valuable than their own.

End rant.

Ant-Man, focusing on Lang?

Earlier this week Edgar Wright announced that in the upcoming Ant-Man movie, that Michael Douglas would be playing Hank Pym. Which caused me to pause and wonder. Because they’d already announced that Paul Rudd was playing Ant-Man.

Turns out that Rudd is playing Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. And I’m disappointed.

While yes, Hank Pym’s history in Marvel comes with some controversy (he beat his wife Janet, which led to their divorce)… there is no way to tell Hank Pym’s origin that doesn’t include Janet Van Dyne. Who is The Wasp. They were two of the founding members of the Avengers, and it’s been rare that an Avengers line-up didn’t include one of them them, at least as an auxiliary member, if not active.

The Wasp, from Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Wasp, from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Even in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (one of the most recent Avengers cartoons), Janet was included in the founding lineup. And it’s never been just as a token female, Janet’s proven her worth (she even led The Avengers for some time in the comics).

So yes, I’m let down. While the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has been excellent in showcasing female characters that aren’t simply archetypes (Pepper Potts, Black Widow, Jane Foster, Sif, Peggy Carter, and even Frigga and Darcy have facets to them despite getting minimal screen time), they’ve yet to give us a female superhero with powers. And yet to give a female character their own movie- despite the fact that the day the Avengers came out, people were clamoring for a Black Widow movie.

Marvel/Disney, I love you. But where’s my Black Widow movie? Where’s Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel? I’m not asking as a woman. I’m asking as a fan of superheroes, who has become well aware that Marvel has a rich history of female superheroes. It just seems like a gaping void that no other franchise has been able to fill yet (because WB is still finding excuses for Wonder Woman to not get their own movie). And with the box office proving that female led films can make big bucks (see Catching Fire’s success as well as Frozen’s continuing box office domination), you’re running out of reasons not to.

So, dear readers, if you were to pitch a female character led movie in the MCU, who would you want to see?

Getting back into the swing of things.

We’re on the final week of the Kidlet’s Winter Break. Three Weeks. Three weeks away from routines, and so on and so forth. It’s going to be chaos next week, I can tell. Just last night, the Little Kidlet threw a fit when I tried to get him to go to be in his room (versus having a sleepover on his air mattress- everyone else in the house had to get up early for work). Or, maybe they’ll surprise me and just snap right back into their school routines. Who knows?

All I know is that I’m completely thrown off. I keep losing track of the days (though thank you Supernatural Family for reminding me that it’s Tuesday).

I’ve been somewhat uninspired, when it comes to blogging. Which for those who’ve been here awhile probably know means that I’ve been writing fiction. It tends to be a situation where it’s blogging or fiction, never both. Someday I’ll find that balance.

We’ve started watching Orange is the New Black – and I’ve been struck by how much I love the show. Because of it’s mostly male free cast, you’re allowed perspectives and relationships that you don’t typically get to see on television. And the writing is sharp, and characters that you wouldn’t expect to have facets do. Piper, the main character, is relatable but often shown to be shallow and quite often mean. And she often realizes that she’d made assumptions based off her privilege. Unlikeable characters are often shown to be human, and the ones who seem to be ignorant are sometimes more tolerant than characters who thought were nice in the beginning.

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that they have a trans character who’s presented as a person, not a punchline. Which is extremely rare.

It’s a show that’s all about perceptions and stripping them away. I’m a big fan.

There’ve been some things that I’ve wanted to blog about, but I wasn’t sure they were worth their own post.

Like the fallout over the guy from Duck Dynasty. I’m not even going to get into the particulars, but this is what bothered me. One, were the people who claimed A&E had no right to punish him for his opinions. Wrong. Freedom of Speech means that you’re allowed to have an opinion and speak openly about it. It doesn’t mean that you’re free from any repercussions from stating those opinions- so A&E was within their rights as an employer to do as they pleased. Second, A&E’s actions weren’t a war on Christianity. They were reactions to him comparing homosexuality to beastiality as well as making extremely callous remarks about life during segregation. The problem was with his remarks, not with him saying it was because he’s Christian. Want an extreme example of the logic? Why do you dislike Westboro? Is it because they’re a Church or because all they do is spew hatred? Odds are, it’s because of what they say. That’s what A&E’s issue was. His remarks, not him being a Christian.

I can’t tell you how many people I dropped or hid on Facebook because of that. Honestly, I don’t care if you disagree with me on a lot of things (heck, my best friend was an atheist and I’m not. My father-in-law is conservative and I’m liberal, but I love the man and we have some nice discussions). If you’re going to twist logic to try to create an imaginary war on a majority? I’m going to ignore you. Life’s too short.

I got a brand new microphone, and once the kids get back in school, I’m looking forward to using it for the vlog! (Which will return in February. January got a little busy)

Tell me internet, what have you been up to?

Cartoon Network: no girls allowed?

It isn’t very often that I find a blog topic that manages to ping all three parts of my blog title, but when it does happen, it gets me all riled up. Or maybe it’s just the subject at hand that has me in a mood.

Recently, Paul Dini spoke with Kevin Smith about why Cartoon Network canceled his show, Tower Prep. The long and the short of it was that too much of its audience were girls. No, really. Cartoon Network wanted an audience of boys. And because the show couldn’t deliver, they cancelled it to replace it with something less likely to appeal to girls.

Why? Because boys buy toys. That was their logic.

To Smith’s credit, he says that it’s bull that girls don’t buy merchandise, but you probably have to approach it differently.

And he’s right. Barbie has built an entire industry on girls buying merchandise. Same with My Little Pony – and MLP has done so through cartoons. Barbie sells movies based off the dolls, but it’s sort of the same thing.

I once was a little girl. A little girl who watched a ton of Saturday Morning cartoons. And you know what? I bought She-Ra toys. My Little Ponies. I asked people to buy them for me for birthday and Christmas. I bought GI Joes, too. And pretty much all sorts of associated merchandise. Lunchboxes, pencil boxes, notebooks, t-shirts… All the girls I knew growing up? The girls I babysat in high school? Same.

Girls today aren’t any different. Because frankly, Disney’s merchandising machine is proof that if you show it and offer merchandise, girls will buy it. Ignore the dig in the article about how it’s because girls want princesses – the fact of the matter is that girls watch the Disney movies growing up and want merchandise related to it. If anything, girls today have much more diverse interests. I know a lot of little girls who own Avengers action figures because they watched the movies with their families. Star Wars figures, too. They ask for video games for the systems the family owns, and apps for tablets and phones.

However, these studio execs are so invested in a financial model and the idea that there are only girl shows and boy shows (when let’s be honest, most children’s programming as of late has been tearing down gender lines when it comes to appeal) that they’d cancel a show with an audience because it wasn’t the audience they wanted.

Frankly, when I put it that way, it just makes the execs seem like toddlers who aren’t getting their way. Honestly, it reminds me of when the Oldest Kidlet (then age three) threw this hilarious fit: “But I didn’t want ice cream, I wanted CAKE.”

Ridiculous, right? At the time we laughed, and OK clenched his little fists and got even more worked up.

(Edit: I can’t believe I didn’t even mention the double standard here – My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic appeals to just about everyone, exceeding it’s intended target of girls to include, amongst other demos, grown men. But nobody cares. Why? The merchandise sells. So why the double standard?)

In which I know it all.

Once upon a time, three years ago, to be precise. The Oldest Kidlet was in preschool and was obsessed with pirates. He dressed like a pirate for Halloween (in a costume sewn by yours truly). When asked how he knew as much as he did, he told his friends that I’d taught him. Because I know everything about pirates.

That was the year I bought my thigh high boots. I also have a piece of cursed Aztec gold from POTC as a keychain on my key ring.

Within a week, the kids at the preschool were convinced that I was a pirate. Not a pirate expert, but secretly a pirate. They’d ask if I had a sword. I do! They’d ask if I had a compass. I do. They were disappointed I didn’t have a monkey or a ship. I told them that it was a tough market to keep a crew and a tall ship. It sounded important enough that they didn’t ask about the ship anymore.

So today, I was volunteering in the Little Kidlet’s kindergarten class. His teacher was reading to the kids, table by table- so I was keeping an eye on the other tables. That’s when I heard this from LK’s table. “Who would win in a fight,” said one little boy. “A werewolf or a whale shark.” A second little boy considered this. “Can werewolves swim?” My son, bless him, shook his head. “Whale sharks are big, but they aren’t mean. My brother knows all about them. You could ask my mom about werewolves. She knows about them, too.” The entire table turned to look at me. But nobody came over to ask.

Until I had LK at my table so that we could go over flashcards, and as we finished, he started to get a serious look on his face. “Can werewolves swim?” (I should point out that he addressed me the way that his teacher introduces me – because when I’m there, I’m technically not ‘Mom’.)

“Can all people swim?”

“No,” he said. “Some people don’t know how.”

“Then I’m guessing some werewolves can swim, some can’t.”

“Who would win?”

I leaned over. “I’m guessing the werewolf. Unless it didn’t have a boat and had to swim out to find the whale shark. It’d probably be too tired to do much of anything.”

“I’m going to tell them that.” He sad down in his seat. “My mom said that werewolves are like people, so some can swim and some can’t. I told you she knows things.”

“How does she know them?”

“I dunno.”

How long do you think until they’ve decided that either I am a werewolf or that I’m married to one?

Should there be tie-ins for The Hunger Games?

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be watching Day of the Doctor. I’m going to try to clear my schedule and watch it in my room, with plenty of water and tissues. Just so I’m prepared.

I think that when The Hunger Games came out, I wrote a post about how weird it was to hear questions from the media that completely ignored the message of the movie. Most of the questions were about trying to suggest there was an actual love triangle, when let’s face it, any of the romantic sub-plot stuff is minimal at best.

While I applaud the social media angle that they took to promote the movie, by focusing on the Capitol and the fashion… it’s something that fans of the book understand. It doesn’t seem to be something that the rest of the marketing team gets.

With Catching Fire, I’ve seen more couture tie-ins than with the first movie- odd since the focus of the books and movies shifts in this one to revolution and turmoil.

And then you get to all the promo tie ins. I’ve seen it promoted on ESPN, which makes sense on the surface, but considering you’re talking about games in which kids die, seems pretty tacky.

Then there’s a Subway spot for their new “bold” flavored stuff which talked about bold being things like standing up for your beliefs (showing the man in District 11 doing the salute to Peeta and Katniss) or testing your limits and defying all odds (showing Katniss before the games start) and then immediately talks about how their sandwich revolutionizes bold flavor. REVOLUTIONIZES. It isn’t a clever play on words, it’s diminishing the message of the movies and books by equating it with Sriracha on a sandwich.

I don’t often get upset about tie-ins. I really don’t. I could care less about McDonald’s promoting a kids’ movie. But this? The entire book series is about a society where the wealthy commercialize everything at the cost of lives of the many. Where children are sacrificed to keep the masses docile, and disguised as entertainment for the wealthy.

The Capitol Couture blog is clever, because it’s from the POV of the Capitol – it’s information about the movie wrapped in propaganda. But actual tie ins with luxury brands? I really don’t see how that’s in the spirit of the books or the movies. I’d actually rather see THG promoting charities aimed at stopping hunger, promoting literacy and social advocacy. Because it isn’t a love story. It isn’t about anyone transforming themselves into anything else, or what they’re wearing. It’s about exposing a flawed socioeconomic system, using Bread and Circuses (which is where Panem gets its name).

All I know is that I have no idea what anyone in Lionsgate’s marketing department is going to do when they get to Mockingjay. Because it is a bleak story that you cannot possibly put a candy-coated spin on. Bleak. Bleak. Bleak. But they will and I’m sure I’ll complain about it.

Oh well. Time to stop hulking out for the moment, and get back to preparing for Thanksgiving.

Faulty Logic or is it Racist?

Before I get into anything else, I hope that you heard about Typhoon Haiyan’s damage to the Philippines. If you could, please find an organization to donate to. TIME has a compilation of organizations and ways you can help. If you’re going to donate to the Red Cross, click through the above link and donate to the Philippine Red Cross.

Now, having spent a lot of time on Tumblr, I’ve seen a lot of overreactions to media. As much as I’ve learned – about living with mental illnesses, different perspectives on stories in the media… often you see a lot of overreactions. People who see something and immediately declare it racist or sexist or insensitive without looking at context.

Which brings me to this article proclaiming Lorde’s Royals to be racist. Essentially, the writer says that all the things Lorde is saying that she and her friends aren’t are references to hip hop and rap, which are African-American- hence, it must be racist.

And while it is something that we should be mindful of, the writer was writing this from an American-centric point of view. Lorde is from New Zealand, so you should probably view it more as a reference from music from a NZ POV. (Which obviously, I can’t) There were plenty of commenters saying that hip hop and rap in NZ is more diverse racially than it is here in the US.

I could easily point out, not even as a fan of rap and hip hop that it’s become increasingly commercial in tone. That most of what I remember from the 80s was more about power and politics than anything else. And sex. Which hasn’t changed, it’s mostly now about peacocking rather than a show of strength.

Beyond that, if you look at all the things that Lorde mentions, while they are things mentioned in rap and hip hop- they’re also a large part of the music world at large, not just one genre of music. Where pop stars regularly talk about their fancy jewelry, timepieces, big houses, flashy cars. The music industry as a whole tries to sell this glamorous commercialistic image- and to my ears, that was what she was singing about. Rejecting the messages being sold to do things her way.

What is problematic is writing a full essay on the intention of the artist without actually interviewing the artist. Or sourcing any published interviews to support that intent. Because ultimately, we don’t know specifically what the song was targeting- all Verónica Flores had to draw from were the lyrics. And examining a song without any context is problematic.

I’m not going to suggest that context solves all problems. But certainly, having context would avoid a situation like this one. (Set down your drink before clicking through)

The post was put up at the beginning of October, and while I only learned of it yesterday, I thought that the problem with the blog post was worth mentioning. So what do you think? Was Flores right to view it solely on the lyrics, or do you think she’s missing pieces of the puzzle?

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