Even before I saw the latest Coldplay/Beyoncé video, I had learned of the outcry against their cultural appropriation and misrepresentation of India. So I watched it, ready to roll my eyes at the blatant stereotypes and stew in my outrage.
Here’s what I saw:
Indians can dance
India has beautiful ordinary people
Unlike in Bollywood films, women don’t wander the streets all scantily clad.
Beyoncé honestly didn’t impress. She looked out of her element and more awkward in her mediocre attempts at “Indian hands,” and looked like she was trying too hard with the massive cleavage in her clothes.
And finally, Beyoncé’s soprano is no match for Lata Mangeshkar’s. No, Bey, you are no Nightingale.
Now before you get all up in arms about how I’m defending this cultural appropriation, might I draw your attention to Bollywood films? Specifically, I’m talking about the portrayal of second-generation Indian immigrants living in the West (both these are in England, but the crap flows to America as well) in the movies Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ, for short) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (KKKG). I know these are older examples, but they are currently available on Netflix, so they continue to perpetuate the stereotypes. Continue reading Can I Be Him for the Weekend?
As a mom with four kids, the youngest being 15, sometimes it’s hard to find activities to do with them. They’d much rather disappear with friends than hang out with either parental unit. This is why I look forward to the Winter X Games every year. In years past I’ve written about different aspects of this event, from the top 14 reasons I love the X Games, to how the women athletes inspired me by their support of each other.
This year, as I walked through the Games, I noticed a lot of kids. Not just wild-haired teenagers, but school aged kids. It dawned on me that the X Games are not just a place to take your teens when you’re looking for a bonding experience, there is plenty to do with younger kids too.
While sorting through my 10 gazillion pictures, I came up with seven things to do with kids at X Games. After reading through them, you might just want to go ahead and put a trip to Aspen on your family calendar for this time next year. It’s a free event, after all, and you’ll take home a million bucks worth of new memories.
Take a great picture! There are photo opportunities galore at the venue. From action cut-outs to huge silly inflatables. Your trip photo album will be full of toothy smiles on truly happy faces.
Out of the blue, I started thinking about one of my favorite pastimes as a teenager; following the “How to Draw” guides in my brother’s CARtoons Magazine.
These were pretty basic, albeit, but they still inspired me to learn about perspective, shading and structure. Plus I was able to create some dream cars I would never in a billion years be able to recreate in real life. At least not on my current budget.
I got the itch to try some of these out again, but sadly, I hadn’t seen a CARtoons in a store since my junior year in high school. As it turns out, CARtoons Magazine, a labor of love created by Pete Millar and Carl Kohler in 1959, went bye-bye in 1991 after had a pretty good run for more than 30 years.
Well, thanks be to Google, I was able to pull up some old images of these “How to Draw” pages when I ran across something that made me giggle out loud.
Meet Mommy. She only has 15 seconds to record her thoughts while hiding from her children in the closet or bathroom. No one knows how many kids she has or what her real first name is, but one thing is certain, whether she is inventing things to make life easier or sharing poopie stories, she sure is funny!
For Valentine’s Day, Mommy got a great idea that backfired horribly…
Whether working out or in the car, listening to podcasts always seems to make the time go by faster. With these eight fun podcasts listed below, you’ll be sure to reach your destination before you know it and have a new fact you can’t wait to share.
Good Job, Brain! Hosts: Karen Chu, Colin Felton, Dana Nelson, and Chris Kohler. About: This is a show all about trivia! The energetic hosts ask each other trivia questions, discuss random facts, and occasionally offer great mnemonic tricks. Fun, interesting, and makes good party fodder! Seriously, this podcast is a crowd-pleaser and family-friendly, you really can’t go wrong adding this one to your playlist. Favorite episode: I’ll bring back a blast from the past with “A Berry Good Episode“. Yes, it was about two years and 100 episodes ago, but this episode blew my mind so many times within 50 minutes, it’s worth a listen. Continue reading 7 Fun Podcasts to Learn Something New Right Now
The Super Bowl is coming! Like winter, it happens every year and if you’re a football fan, then it’s a big deal. If you’re not a football fan, then it’s really just about eating lots of nachos and watching the commercials. The big game is only a few days away and some of the ads are already leaking, including this fabulously nerdy ad featuring aliens, Scott Baio, and avocados.
Everyone knows that avoacados are delicious and that, yes, we will happily pay extra for guacamole. Avocados from Mexico wants to make sure you don’t forget the guac for this year’s game, so that’s why they’ve released this ad early. There is so much nerdy goodness in here, you’re going to want to watch it more than once. Continue reading Super Bowl Ads Get Nerdy With Aliens, Scott Baio, and Avocados
A few months ago, I wrote about the normalization of domestic violence in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There were a couple of comments on the article, one of which was to the effect of, “Well, Anakin is a bad guy, what do you expect?”
I don’t typically engage over stuff like that; through experience I’ve come to realize it’s unlikely I’ll change the minds of the close minded. People are entitled to their opinion, I suppose, even if I strenuously disagree.
Let’s play devil’s advocate for moment, however. Let’s leave the others out of it and pretend Anakin’s inherent seed of evil predisposed him to abusive behavior towards his wife. For the record, I think that’s a load of crap, but I posit it here so I may counter it.
I am going to counter it with Carter Hall as he appears in DC’s Legend’s Of Tomorrow.
I’m going to say at the outset that my only previous frame of reference for this character is the Justice League cartoon. I’ve done some research on him for a hero profile over at the Last Chance Salon, but I’m not super familiar with his comic self. What I am writing here is based purely on my observations of the first two episodes of Legends. Clear? Cool.
We the viewers are supposed to believe Carter Hall is a good guy. A hero. He has, for multiple lifetimes, been holding back the forces of darkness. He has given his life over millennia for the afore mentioned cause. He is also a lover, holding fast to Shayera whether they are together or separated. We’re to believe their love is true and enduring and has survived not only death but any possible extenuating circumstances such as: distance, personality changes, and other people.
Tentatively, I clicked Log In. At every response, I questioned whether this was the true response I wanted to give. I wanted my answers to be right. It wasn’t life and death, for sure. Still, it mattered. It mattered immensely to me. I’ve identified as this for years. Somehow, it became part of my sense of self. I watched the little pinwheel spin as the new Pottermore algorithm worked behind the scenes.
Then, the result. I might have held my breath a bit.
As the air rushed out, I saw the conclusion: You are a Ravenclaw.
It’s been a big month for the toy world and its recognition of disabled kids. As your resident amputee GeekMom writer, I thought I’d share a few of the exciting things that are happening.
I’ll start with my favorite limb different kid, Jordan, of the website Born Just Right, who recently started a campaign to get the American Doll Company to consider making a limb different doll. Jordan was born with two arms but only one hand. She is very active in the limb different community. She found out that the company had added a diabetes care kit to their accessories option after a young fan who had diabetes drummed up over 4 thousand signatures on a petition. Because she loved her American Girls dolls and truly wanted one that looked like her, Jordan decided to start her own petition. That was 21,000 signatures ago.
We haven’t had much luck getting into LEGO video games at our house, even though we know they’re full of humor and brick-kicking. But the allure of an Avengers game featuring not just the Marvel cinematic universe but also some of our favorite characters (Squirrel Girl! Ms. Marvel!) was too hard to pass up—so my 7-year-old and I settled in to give the new LEGO Marvel’s Avengers a try.
And we’re having a blast.
While I’m mixed on pulling the audio directly from the films, my daughter is beside herself at finally getting to see the Avengers in action without worrying about seeing or hearing anything inappropriate. If you’re looking for a way to introduce the MCU to young kids without tuning into countless episodes of the animated series, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is an experience your whole family can enjoy.
“No, I prefer Quarterest. I don’t gallonterest because they charge.” – my witty fourteen-year-old.
I could browse through Pinterest for hours, and have. It’s a great place to waste time, to find oodles of inspiration. As a mom and writer, I love Pinterest. And now that I can keep some boards secret, I love it even more. In addition to being the keeper of the family schedule, I also coordinate our teacher gifts, Halloween costumes, and meals. As a writer, I could use a little inspiration to get me back on task, while keeping track of all the ideas that gradually coalesce into a writing project.
I am by no means a Pinterest pro. But other than the usual Food, Fashion, and Fun Boards, here are a few ideas on how to use Pinterest to organize our crazy lives: Continue reading Do You Pinterest?
My daughter Elodie is three and a half. And while, like many girls her age, she’s a big fan of things pink, frilly, and princessy, her heart truly skips a beat when it comes to the Octonauts. It’s her first request in the morning. It’s her favorite pretend time (especially with her little Peso doll). And consequently, it’s currently our biggest bargaining chip when it comes to doing discipline.
Most of the time when I watch a show with the kids, I sort of filter what I think they like. I break it down, talk about the education and developmental aspects, and filter it through my lens. (Well, okay — I will say, they’re totally adorable, and they super appeal to my inner oceanographer nerd).
But today I’m going to give you the reasons the Octonauts is great, not from my analysis, but from hers. Because, really, in the world of blogging, what better than to go directly to the source?
Mommy: Why do you like the Octonauts?
Elodie: Because big and tall!
Mommy: They make you big and tall? How?
Elodie: Because Captain Barnacles! He’s really big and strong.
Mommy: Who’s your favorite character?
Elodie: Dashi and Shellington and all of them. Who’s your favorite?
Mommy: Shellington. I love a Scottish accent.
Elodie: Me, too, Mom.
Mommy: What do you learn on the show?
Elodie: Captain Barnacles strike! I’m strong like Captain Barnacles.
Mommy: Okay, what do they do on the show?
Elodie: They, um, to your mission!
Mommy: Why do you love the show so much?
Elodie: Because there are biscuits. And sprinkles and sparkly ones.
Mommy: Where do they go on the show?
Elodie: To the missions!
Mommy: Where do they live?
Elodie: They live into the Octopod. It’s a squid! They live in a squid. They live in an octopod.
Mommy: What’s special about it?
Elodie: Tweak! She always makes stuff. And GUPS.
Mommy: Anything else you want to tell me about the show?
Elodie: No, actually. Well, Tweak always makes GUPS and wow, Tweak!
There you go, folks. Right from the mind of the foremost authority on the subject. You can catch Octonauts on Netflix.
As someone who stuck with band through college, and even got a little bit of a scholarship for doing something I loved and would have done anyway, I’ve played all kinds of music. I was in concert band and, since George Washington doesn’t have a football team, also in what we called “pep band.”
I put on my black and whites for stage performances and my rugby to play at every men’s and women’s home basketball game for four years (and even a few away games with a notable trip to Orlando for the first round of the NCAA tournament).
Thing was, even when we did a Pops show in concert band, it was a very different sort of music than we played in pep band. The former is as you would likely suspect. The later was mostly pared down, high-energy arrangements of things like Paul Simon’s Call me Al or Europe’s Final Countdown. Two very, very different worlds. Both monstrously enjoyable, but never did the twain meet. Continue reading I Used To Be A Musical Purist (Mostly) But I’m Not Anymore
Two years ago, we dragged two daughters along to cover Las Cruces Anime Days at New Mexico State University. They enjoyed it, but granted none of us really knew that much about Manga or Anime.
This year, we took one daughter and one over-the-top Manga-loving enthusiast to that same event. My younger daughter still enjoyed herself, but my teen Manga-nut was in Hog Heaven. What a change two years make.
I was curious what created this Manga Monster. I mean, we’re a family of readers and self-admitted geeks, so she has learned much about books, comics, music and more from us. But, Manga? Honestly, I never got into it, beyond my Batmanga collection, a series based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and a fantastic collection of Matrix-inspired shorts, called Animatrix. Continue reading Why Does Manga Mean So Much to My Kid?
Topping the list of our DC Comic reviews this week is an issue of Black Canary that utterly belongs to Annie Wu, as she draws a wordless battle of sound, a concept that reminded me of Superman singing the world back to life in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, though this is more coherent than that meandering book. Still, being in the same room as Morrison is always good.
The stories starring lesser known DC heroes this week are also of high quality, including the soon-to-be-classic Omega Men, couple-crime fighting in Superman: Lois & Clark, Dick Grayson back to his punny self in Grayson, and Vic reevaluating his life in Cyborg. For a change of pace, check out the Scooby-Doo review at the bottom.
Alas, with change coming to DC comics yet again, Ray and I will likely lose most of these books or have already lost them. (Lois & Clark! Sob!) Read them while they’re here because word is that the new focus will be only on the movie/television characters.
As always, Ray handles the plot recaps, giving me a chance to praise, snark or bury the issue.
Black Canary #7, Brenden Fletcher, writer, Annie Wu, artist.
Ray: What started out as a quirky, entertaining road trip/band comic giving us a new take on Black Canary has quickly morphed into one of the most mind-bending – and arguably important – comics in the DCU as we peel back the layers of the post-Convergence DCU. When we last left off, an epic battle of the bands between Black Canary and Bo Maeve ended with a sonic effect that resulted in Ditto and Kurt Lance disappearing into the ether. They were then found, with Kurt mysteriously 50 years older. This issue answers a lot of the mysteries surrounding Ditto, revealing her as a mysterious sound-based creature, from the same world as the mysterious monsters who have been chasing the band for the entire run. And to make matters worse, a giant beast made from the same material is now bearing down on their location. Annie Wu’s art is absolutely fantastic in this issue, and there’s several interesting segments that give us sneak peeks at possible alternate versions, pasts, and futures of Canary’s life.
Between Bo Maeve returning (and maybe taking a few more steps towards redemption), Amanda Waller still trying to claim Ditto, and the giant sound monster, things don’t slow down for a second in this issue. Eventually, the monster is defeated by two Canary cries, but Dinah winds up unconscious and rescued by our mysterious White Canary – who hints strongly that she may just be Dinah’s mother. Are a lot of the things people didn’t like about the post-Flashpoint Black Canary being subtly retconned away? I hope so – just in time for another reboot? Excellent issue that wraps up most of the main plots in a satisfying fashion while opening the door for some interesting future adventures. Bring it on.
Corrina: Time, space and dimensions are relative in this stand-off that is a showcase for Wu’s art. The final confrontation is wordless and it’s perfect. I didn’t think Wu could top herself but she does and if I ever find her at a Con, I am going to scrape all my savings together for a Black Canary commission. Continue reading Black Canary’s Space-Time Sound Warp
This week, New York Times bestselling science fiction author William C. Dietz joins us to tell us about what made him geek out while writing his Mutant Files trilogy!
Geeking Out is a natural part of writing science fiction, and vice versa. So when I wrote Graveyard, which is the third volume in the Mutant Files trilogy, I was in the full-on geek mode.
The book’s main character is a Los Angeles police detective named Cassandra Lee. The story takes place in 2069, a time when the entire world had been divided up into a patchwork quilt of green zones (where the norms live,) and red zones (where the mutants live.)
While Sunday’s opening episode of The X-Files’ 10th season waded far into the depths of mythology, Monday night’s follow-up, “Founder’s Mutation”, looks at the emotional impact that mythology has had on Mulder and Scully, and the scars they still carry.
Read on for our recap but beware: here be spoilers.
When Lori Morgan’s three children began school, so did she. But while they studied the three R’s, Lori studied forensics. Now the Louisiana police detective is solving crimes in front of the camera, as part of Discovery Channel’s hit show Killing Fields. She’s the lead DNA expect in this season’s puzzling case. Her life has never been more complicated, or more exciting.
KillingFields is co-executive produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Tom Fontana (“St. Elsewhere”) and Academy Award-winning film director Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) and follows homicide detectives as they reopen a cold case from the Louisiana swamplands.
And they say romance writers are sentimental. They have nothing on Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey.
That was my overall reaction to bing watching on Downton Abbey, season 6, via my review copy over the weekend. You can do the same, as the DVD releases today, even though PBS just aired part four on Sunday night.
I’ve stuck with the show through thick and thin, though I nearly quit after Anna’s rape that somehow became all about her husband instead of her. Yet, I couldn’t completely let the show go. Why? Because as any good watcher of a soap opera does, I grew attached to the characters. Oh, not all of them. Mary could die horribly, drawn and quartered, and I wouldn’t care. (I’m also lukewarm about Daisy, Denker and Spratt.)
Oh, but there’s Edith, the Jan Brady of the Crawley clan, who has tried mightily to find happiness and keeps falling short. My one requirement for this season was “Edith gets a happy ending.”
There’s also Carson and Mrs. Hughes, who are lovely, Anna, Baxter, Mrs. Patmore, Molesley, the Countess, and, of course, the Dowager Duchess/Grandmama, who gets all the best lines.
I have pretty much given up on the DC TV-verse. I didn’t want to. But now that we’ve had a taste of genuine rogue John Constantine, even one of my favorite characters of all time, Green Arrow, can’t keep me engaged. Mostly because our dear demonologist reminded me this Green Arrow is a whiny, dour, paternalistic, douchebag.
The Flash, which has kept itself alive on my watchlist as the goofier, younger sibling went *splat* with the midseason premiere. The reasons are legion and previously ranted about by myself and others.
After the above debacles, I considered, even having been rather excited previously, skipping Legends of Tomorrow all together.
The X-Files returned to FOX last night after a, frankly terrifying, 14-year hiatus. Launching straight back into the show’s epic, and complex, mythology, Mulder, Scully, and the gang were back in fine, if confusing form in the unfortunately titled “My Struggle Part One”, an episode that delighted fans but is unlikely to win over many new faces, whilst positively alienating (pun absolutely intended) anyone sitting in the right hand side of the political spectrum.
Comics Club-4-Kids is a monthly club that explores comic books geared towards kids, of various age ranges. A couple of GeekMoms test different comic books on their own geeky kids. However, as geek moms, our intent is to use comic books as a source for exploring concepts used in studying classic literature in schools. Because schools need more comic books.
This month’s theme: morality.
Each comic book is broken into four sections: character, narrative structure, problem solving/plot development, visual text. Sample questions are provided to help parents, teachers, homeschool parents, or comic book enthusiasts to help their littles or bigs to learn critical thinking skills while exploring fun forms of literature: comic books.
This month’s comics: Tiny Titans—Return to the Treehouse (geared towards Littles), and Guardians of the Galaxy Issue 023 (geared towards Bigs).
Mario and Luigi’s newest adventure is now available for the Nintendo 3DS! Mario & Luigi Paper Jam combines the action of a Mario & Luigi game with the adorable 2D characters of Paper Jam to make a fantastically fun title.
Here are a few things you should know about Mario & Luigi Paper Jam before you pick it up for that new 3DS you gave the kids for the holidays.
It could easily be argued that 2016 is the year that Harry Potter returns. Of course, the boy wizard has never really gone away as the large crowds at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, or the Harry Potter Studios Tour in Leavesden will attest. However it has been five years since the last Potter film—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II—was released, and a frankly astounding nine years since the final book was launched. 2016 will give us our first new material in the Potter universe (excluding updates to Pottermore) since then, so it’s only right that Potterheads are celebrating, even as they continue to mourn for Alan Rickman. A whole host of things are happening in the Potter world this year so let’s take a look at them. Continue reading Return to Potter in 2016
Disney has decided to withhold Rey toys, because, you know, no boy would want to play with a girl doll, and girls don’t want to play Star Wars. The magic marketers know it all.
Left unchecked, you will crush my daughter, who plays house with boys and superheroes with girls, loves her ballet, and has a huge stack of unused princess toys because many of her relatives and friends won’t shop for her outside of the girl section.
Don’t worry, I will not let you pull the joy from my four-year-old’s play, no matter how she doesn’t fit the segmentation you believe she is in. I will help her find the toys she likes best.
You will, however, lose any revenue you might get by properly conducting your market research and your segmentation, and actually create toys my daughter would like, then market them to her. That choice and loss is yours.
Last week, I talked about some of the books that star the lesser-known DC characters need more love. That’s even more evident this week, as Martian Manhunter, Titans Hunt, Poison Ivy, Secret Sixand Doctor Fate come out this week with good issues. Yet Ivy is only a miniseries, Doctor Fate’s sales have bottomed out and the rest aren’t doing the sales that their quality indicates they should.
Then I read that the seventh issue of my fangirl favorite, Titans Hunt, will be written by Scott Lobdell, who wrote the awful Doomed and made a mess of the regular Teen Titans title. Worse, it appears the book will be ending the month after. Nooo…..
Which brings me to why readers may not be buying these quality books: if their cancelation is inevitable, why get invested in these characters? A cynical way to look at it but given that DC has a habit of using its lesser-known characters as cannon fodder in crossovers, understandable. But, I have to say, ya’ll are missing great stories.
As always, I’m joined in the recaps by Ray Goldfied, where we have a serious disagreement about an issue of Batman that includes a big turning point in the life of the new Bruce Wayne.
Happy comic reading!
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1, written by Amy Chu, pencils by Clay Mann, inks by Seth Mann
Corrina: Everyone loves the Joker most of Batman’s villains but I’ve always the female antagonists more interesting, starting with Catwoman. However, Poison Ivy is in a class by herself, a villain motivated not by money or power but by scientific curiosity and her strange ability to commune with plants. She’s creepy and I had no idea if she would make a good protagonist. But she does, mainly because all her many facets are on display in this book, from her fascination with science to her boredom with humanity and, even, surprisingly, her relationship with Harley Quinn.
I’d not expected I’d be so intrigued but I am. That bodes well for this miniseries.
Ray: I’m a sucker for stories about villains trying to turn over a new leaf. They can be dark, like Magneto’s accounting for his violent past in Cullen Bunn’s run, or lighthearted like Riddler’s Detective agency in Paul Dini’s books. This new Poison Ivy miniseries seems to fall right in the middle of that spectrum, and delivers an entertaining story in the process. When we open, Ivy and a friend of hers are in Africa to obtain a rare specimen of an ancient long-lived plant, only to be accosted by local soldiers. Ivy makes short work of them and the plant returns safely to her new base, the Gotham Botanical Gardens, where she works as a scientist under her mentor, Dr. Luisa Cruz.
The Gotham Academy kids drop by for a tour, and we see Ivy settling into her new role as a research scientist – until a more noticeable visitor shows up. It’s Harley Quinn, who isn’t quite sure how she feels about her girlfriend’s new direction in life. I felt like anything here involving Harley was probably the weak link. I enjoy their banter and it’s always fun to see them beat up goons together, but the conflict felt very forced. Harley’s done the secret identity/normal job thing in her solo title – in fact, it’s the main thrust of her book – so her questioning of Ivy’s decision to go back to her old line of work was weird. And Ivy throwing Joker in Harley’s face just felt like a way to force a breakup. But Amy Chu has a great voice for Ivy, and does the perfect balance of smart and sinister. The issue ends with a sudden death that sets up an new miniseries involving the mysterious genetically engineered plants that Ivy’s been working on. There’s a few rough edges here, but it feels in line with the stronger work done on Poison Ivy, and I’m glad to see her finally get her spotlight.
Titans Hunt #4, Dan Abnett, writer, Stephen Segovia, pencils, Art Thibert, inks, Scott McDaniel, adult coloring book variant cover.
It is always a bittersweet time for me when I settle in to watch a television series or movie based on a beloved book or series of books. I had the same mix of excitement and dread when I watched the first season of Game of Thrones on HBO as I had earlier this week when I pulled up my DVR list, poured my glass of wine, and kicked up my tired feet to watch The Shannara Chronicles.
I may be underselling the apprehension side on this one. If you happened to be lucky enough to catch my geeky origin story post from November then you’ll know that this series, and the book they are clearly starting off with, Elfstones of Shannara, was my first ever fantasy novel when I was younger. I consider it the spark that lit my fantasy and science fiction passion. I’d been exposed before, of course, but this was that pivotal OMG moment where I knew this would be my calling for the rest of my life. If you were not lucky enough to catch my origin story I have you covered. You can review it here. Go on, I’ll wait here while you read it.