Posted in Uncategorized

Believe Women – Internalized Misogyny

“It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” Sally Kempton

There are so many things I wanted to blog about in regards to the whole Kavanaugh national disgrace, but the thing that keeps coming up for me over and over again is internalized misogyny.  We all have it, but there are so many women out there commenting about Dr. Ford being a “liar trying to ruin a man’s reputation” that I’ve been pissed off and frustrated.

While the Kavanaugh hearing and debacle has dredged up so many things I thought dealt with or buried in dealing with my own abuse and trauma, I keep remembering this girl in the 4th or 5th grade.  I can’t remember her name, and I wish I could because I’d try to reach out to her and apologize.

This girl was 10-12 years old, as was I, and she said that the orchestra teacher had molested her.  Ten years later this man was finally caught and arrested.  I’m assuming no one believed the girls that came after her, either.

More importantly to this narrative, *I* didn’t believe her.

I remember quite clearly lining up to go inside after recess and me and my bitchy friends were talking about it and she overheard us.  She motioned me over and asked if I wanted to know what happened, and I said yes.  She told me about this man – who my family nicknamed Chester the Molester a few years after this incident because it became a known secret that he did this – and how he shoved his hand down her shirt.

And being a bastion of hope, kindness, and open mindedness, I went back to my friends and said loudly, “She told me but I don’t believe her.”

I said it loud enough for her to hear and I said it with venom.  There is no making this more palatable – I was a fucking bitch to this girl.

Now here I want to forgive my pre-teen self for being an unmitigated bitch.  I want to talk about how my grandmother would say – any time she heard of anyone being raped that they should have just kept their legs together.  I want to say that I had internalized the culture of disbelief and was just doing as I was taught.

But honestly, that’s all bullshit.  This girl – who wasn’t popular and was often alone – told me what happened and I smacked her down for it.  I think about this often as I see clips of Dr. Ford’s testimony.  The shaking, the voice, and the suppressed panic – this girl exhibited all of this and my bitchy childhood self took it as an indication of someone lying.

So, to this girl – god how I wish I remembered your name – I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that to you or about you.  I’m sorry I didn’t believe you and I’m sorry it took so long for the man who did this to you to get his comeuppance.

I’m sorry I was an asshole to you over something indescribably traumatic.  I was shitty to you and I should have led with kindness not viciousness.

Seeing all of the women out there that as grown adults acted the same way I did as kid is pretty distressing.  Hearing all of the men out there call Dr. Ford a liar – and after the hearing, I honestly believe people who believe him over her are delusional, a Devil’s Three-way is a drinking game?  What the fuck ever, Brett – why on earth would women come forward in this culture?

My hope is that many of the women commenting this heinous stuff are never put in the same situation with a victim I was in or if they are, I hope they reply more compassionately than I did.  However, with the way Republican women came out and voted for Roy Moore, I’m not optimistic.

The #believewomen hashtag is moving across the internet and I’ve had even allies come up with problems to this.  “Oh, just believe women automatically without any proof or anything?!  That’s insane!”  Yes, I think you should believe women when they tell their stories, especially since most of these stories are being posted online and they aren’t in a court of law.

If the accused is “innocent until proven guilty” the accuser should also be considered “innocent until proven guilty” but no one thinks this way.  Believing women doesn’t mean you get a posse together and go after anyone vigilante-style.  It means be supportive to the women in your life and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t just discount what they are saying as some sort of knee-jerk ingrained reaction.

 

 

Posted in Cats

I Mock Cats

Every morning, I wake up and use the bathroom, with a black cat accompaniment.  Shadow, our aptly named black cat my husband discovered on the side of the road, likes to follow by leading – this means he trots out in front of you and tries to guess which way you are going.  When he isn’t sure, he stops right in front of your feet like a very solid, furry wall.

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He’s not supposed to be on the countertop.  He’s well aware of this.

He sits on the sink while I sit on the toilet, and mostly it’s pretty companionable.  He can be demanding – he’s trained me to turn on the sink for him so he can drink from the trickle.  Or he digs in the sink so I will depress the drain guard and his trickle can become a puddle.  If I don’t do these things, he fwaps my face with his tale.  Accidentally, I’m sure.

My least favorite game is when he decides that he wants to sit on my lap and chew on my hands.  This is a painful game that I don’t find a lot of fun in playing, so lately I’ve just been putting him back on the sink.  Today he attacks the crap out of my hands, so I put him on the sink, well away from my hands, so he fwaps me with his tale once, and then looks like he’s going to bite me on my shoulder.  I push him off the counter top.

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I tell him, as he sits on the other side of the bathroom – out of biting range – looking at me with green eyes full of hurt condemnation, that I am not willing to be bitten this morning.  I further remind him that I am larger than he is and that I have opposable thumbs, so he isn’t going to win in a fight and needs to stop trying.  I wave my opposable thumbs at him and explain that opposable thumbs will win against biting – simply a matter of size here.

Seeing my lack of remorse, he leaves the whole area.  Huffily he walks into the living room and then the kitchen.  Then he comes back and acts as if he’s never seen me before.  “Oh!  There you are, human.  Why, I haven’t seen you all day!  Please skritch my head.  Oh, would you turn on this water tap I’ve never seen before?  Oh, thank you.”

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This is called “resetting the room” and all of our cats do it.  If they get squirted for destroying each other or eating human food they leave the room and when they return, they act as if everything is completely new and fresh.  Reset.  All memories from a few seconds ago are now null and void as the room resets when a cat is absent.

Will and I read an article a few years back about how it is difficult for humans to remember things as they go through doorways.  The more doorways you go through, the more that you will forget what you meant to do.  Therefore, you end up tracing your steps back to where you originally had the idea in the first place.  We have started talking our ways through doorways (Iced tea, I’m getting iced tea) just to remember what we’re doing.

Cats have no such weakness, but being careful observers of human nature, they have noticed that doorways confuse our memory markers, so if you go through a doorway, the humans will forget whatever kitty transgression has been committed.  Thus resetting the room.  It doesn’t work, we always remember, but the hopeful look of innocence on cat’s face when they reset the room often does the trick.

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Sometimes, the black cat and I aren’t alone in the bathroom…

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews

Unleashed Review

This review of “Unleashed” contains mild spoilers, but nothing you wouldn’t find out by reading the movie synopsis on IMDB.

I was sick over the weekend, and we spent the day watching the new season of “Arrested Development” and when that was over, I was grumpy and frazzled.  When my depression (grumpy) and anxiety (frazzled) kick into high gear, I prefer to rewatch something familiar.  Familiar is soothing.  However, my husband was home and likes to watch new things.  I decide what we watch most of the time because I’m very much a “mood” viewer and have to be in a certain mood to watch some things.

Rather than tell Will I was frazzled and needed something soothing, I just let him pick something because he doesn’t get a lot TV time and when I’m awake he gets to watch what he wants 80% of the time.  I figure I’ll handle my mood and just suffer through whatever horror movie he picks (he likes horror movies and his queue is just full of them.)

To my surprise he picks “Unleashed” a movie he’s been waiting to watch with me.  This movie was soothing and delightful and funny and sweet.  It was a balm to my frazzled soul – Will couldn’t have picked a better movie for my mood.  I told him after we finished watching it that I don’t expect him to read my mind, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does.

Enough about me, let’s talk about the movie!  First of all, the premise of the movie is a woman’s dog and cat turn human.  Kate Mucucci portrays Emma, an orphan with trust issues.  One night her door is left open and the dog and cat run away.  While they are gone they turn human.  Hilarity ensues.

The worst thing to happen in this movie happens in the very beginning.  Emma tells her rat fink, live-in boyfriend about this night sky app she’s made.  He steals the app and deletes her iCloud (I hissed, “Oh, you bastard!” when this happened, because he didn’t just steal her app, but erased her life, too) before leaving with a suitcase.  Emma copes by getting a cat and a dog and moving to California.

Sean Astin plays the cuddly and friendly love interest.  He helps her put up fliers.  Meanwhile, her dog and cat have decided to compete for Emma’s affection, because they both want to be back inside her home, especially one piece of furniture that is very soft  that they like to nap on.  The cat tells the dog that they can’t both be with Emma because humans don’t do that for some reason, so they must compete for her.

Justin Chatwin portrays the cat, and he was the highlight of the movie.  He gets picked up by a modeling agency, because who better to strut down a cat walk than a cat?  He becomes a big deal in a short time in part because he has the haughty and arrogant mannerisms of a cat.  Whenever the dog wants to get the cat’s attention away from Emma, he uses a cat toy to distract him.

The dog, portrayed by Steve Howey, is fun and likable and also provides a lot of funny moments.  The scenes where he and Chatwin interact alone are some of the best in the movie for many reasons.  Both actors really commit to being their animal selves and this works really well for the movie.  At one point they gang up on a bully and it’s a lot of fun watching them work together with their very different dog and cat styles.

The entire cast is likable and fun.  I won’t go on a rave about how great Sean Astin is in everything all the time, but needless to say I loved him in this.  My love for Sean Astin started in childhood and adulthood hasn’t diminished that love one iota.  Kate Mucucci is great as Emma because she has an appealing awkwardness that makes you instantly root for her.  She’s a great character to watch deal with this craziness and you really want her to succeed.  And she does succeed because it is a kind-hearted and lovely movie.

This is a movie I will watch again.  It will join my list of rewatchables because I know if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up.  I’ve read other reviews that complain that there isn’t enough tension in the movie, but that is exactly what I like about it.  This isn’t a tense movie and this isn’t a movie that will exacerbate anxiety.  This is a fun, funny little romantic comedy that focuses more on Emma’s life and pets than on the romance.

I give this movie an A and I deeply wish there were more lighthearted, funny movies like this out there.

Posted in Reviews

For the Love of Paula

I’ve been re-watching NCIS lately.  The number of shows I can watch without Will is fairly small and he hates procedurals.  Meanwhile, I find procedurals entertaining and NCIS doubly so.  Below are spoilers for season 4 – since they just finished season 15, I imagine spoilers are ok, but for those who have somehow missed it, SPOILER WARNING!

There is a character on NCIS in the early seasons named Paula Cassidy portrayed by Jessica Steen.  For my Supernatural readers, she was in the season 2 episode “The Benders” as Officer Kathleen.  I’ve adored Jessica Steen for ages as she manages to be awesome and interesting and heroic in most of the things I’ve seen her in.  I still think she made a better Weir on Stargate, but that’s a whole different point.

The point here is that in NCIS Paula Cassidy is quietly badass.  Her second or third appearance, while they are hunting for a serial killer, the serial killer kidnaps her.  Everyone is panicked and looking for her and at the end of the episode, they reveal that Paula Cassidy escaped and killed the serial killer with her hands tied behind her back.

How kickass is that?

The next time she shows up, her team is killed by a bomb.  At the end of the episode she saves the rest of the cast and innocent by-standers by tackling a suicide bomber.  She dies.

Now here comes the problem – her death can really be said to have been more about Tony’s emotional journey, something that I dislike because it’s just a little bit TOO Women in Refrigerators.  However, the way it is written feels more about Paula than many of the WIR moments often do.  She expresses feeling survivor guilt as her team died and she felt she should have died with them.  Right before the bomb goes off, she looks up to see her dead teammates smiling at her – this is a touching moment that brings me to tears, but it also is much more about Paula being with her team and being a major fucking hero than it is about Tony.

However, the episode does end with Tony in tears going to his girlfriend.

I love that Paula Cassidy is unabashedly a hero.  She is a great character and while she had a great death, I really wish we’d gotten to see more of her.  She was confident and capable and moreover, the men around her knew it.  Throughout the episodes she’s in she’s funny, fun, tough, and badass.  If only more female characters were written as well as Paula Cassidy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hidden Cats

Woke this morning with our black cat, Shadow, stretched out on my legs and feet.  I was curled up against a body pillow on one side and Will was curled up behind me on the other side.

When I wake up, I tend to just stay in bed for a few minutes while the cobwebs of dreams clears and I get my bearings.  When I finally decide that the needs of the bladder outweigh the comfiness of the bed, I pull the blankets aside and discover Cecil the Orange was sleeping right next to me, completely buried in covers.  Had no idea little cat dude was even there.

Yes, I know this isn’t a lengthy blog post, but hey, I work from home and the people I talk to the most are basically cats.

Posted in Supernatural

The CW Passes on Wayward Sisters

I’m heartbroken that the CW did not pick up Wayward Sisters for next year.  This decision doesn’t make much sense to me.  The backdoor pilot received intensely great reviews as well as gave it’s parent show a huge ratings bump when it aired.

Furthermore, it continues to trend on Twitter on at #5 since the announcement.  This show has a built-in, already fiercely loyal fanbase.  It makes no sense that this show wasn’t picked up.

Unless you factor into the equation that it was the only all female led cast – even Charmed can’t boast that it’s only female.

I think rather than take a chance that would have paid off big time over the next several years, the CW decided to continue doing the same old thing.  I have to say, that I really think that its reasons for not picking of Wayward Sisters has everything to do with its diversity and nothing to do with how well the show would done.

The backdoor pilot rocked.  It was fucking fantastic, and everyone knows it.  Now everyone knows that the CW doesn’t give a shit about quality.  Although, anyone watching a preview for an episode of the new Dynasty already knows that quality isn’t high on the CW’s list, currently.

The possibility of this show gave so many people hope for a better future, even if it is was only through a television show.  It’s heartbreaking and cruel that with the work of so many fans behind it, the CW decided to not go with it.

But hey, I’m clearly not their target demographic.  I can’t express how angry and disappointed I am in the faceless douches at the CW.  Bad decision, and clearly, one motivated from misogyny.  Screw you, CW.  Screw you.

Posted in Reviews

Altered Carbon Review

As with all of my reviews, there are spoilers, but with this series in particular, I’m going to try to keep most of the spoilers very light.  This television series is can be considered both cyber punk and detective noir, so while spoiling some of the cyberpunk aspects is inevitable, there’s no need to spoil the murder mystery aspect of the series.

First of all, I have recommended this series to a great many people on my Facebook account, but I did mention to my mother that she would probably hate it.  Cyberpunk isn’t for everyone.  In talking about this series, knowing a little bit about cyberpunk is helpful.  Cyberpunk is science fiction set in a dystopian future in an ultra-urban setting, usually with a great divide between the wealthy and the poor causing an inevitable underground oppositional movement, cyberpunk is almost always violent, and has technology that enhances humans in one degree or another.  Bladerunner is one of the best known examples of cyberpunk in film, although there are tons of others.

Altered Carbon hits all of these cyberpunk qualifications, and hits them hard.  I’m not always a fan of cyberpunk because of the dark dystopic future and the ultra violence.  When humans are enhanced with technology, the options for violence can become extreme which is not always appealing to me, but Altered Carbon, while definitely being violent, has so much more going on that the violence didn’t overwhelm me.

In the Altered Carbon future, humans are backed up on discs called “stacks’ that can be removed from one body and placed into another.  They call bodies “sleeves” and the series opens on Takeshi Kovacs being “resleeved” after being killed decades prior.  Since human consciousness can be stored on disc, humans can “needle cast” to other worlds, where their consciousness is sent to another planet and then sleeved in a body.  This allows for quick travel between worlds, especially for the authorities.

Takeshi Kovacs (pronounced Ko-vach) was serving a very long sentence for his crimes, but this sentence was interrupted when an obscenely wealthy man named Laurens Bancroft (portrayed by James Purefoy) basically purchases him to solve the crime of his own murder.  The police think it was suicide, but Bancroft refuses to accept this.  In return for working for Bancroft, Kovacs will get a full pardon and a large sum of money.  This murder mystery takes us through the entire 10 episode series.

First of all, Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs is wonderful.  The camera loves him and he brings heart and humor to the role.  Kovacs isn’t always likable and has many hard edges, especially in the first few episodes, but as his history is told and the story moves forward, much of his dislikable behavior makes a lot of sense.  He’s the type of character that isn’t really hard hearted, he’s broken hearted and so he has developed an attitude to keep people at bay.  Kinnaman is likable even in the moments when Kovacs isn’t and this helped me stay interested.

One of the fun things about the show is that one actor can play many different characters.  Actor Matt Biedel gets to play Abuela, a Hispanic grandmother as well as a Russian killer called Dimi the Twin, and a drugged out violent criminal brought into the police station.  His portrayal of Abuela is fantastic, and watching him in this role you really believe that he is Kristin Ortega’s grandmother simply in the sleeve of a very scary man.  The moments between Ortega and Abuela towards the end of the episode are funny but also poignant – Abuela brought me to tears.  Then, in the next episode, he portrays a loathsome underworld figure so well that you forget entirely that he was ever Abuela.  (Yes, I know abuela means grandmother, but she wasn’t given any other name in the series or on IMDB.)

Matt Biedel wasn’t even one of the main actors in the cast, but he still brought depth and life to several characters.  Many of the actors in Altered Carbon get the opportunity to portray different characters, and Martha Higareda, who mainly portrays Kristin Ortega, has one of the best moments in the series when she gets to portray someone else for a little while.  Her performance is amazing and it is the acting that really brings the concept of different people inhabiting a “sleeve” to life.  These actors make the sci-fi concepts real and believable.

One of the other aspects of the series that impresses is the setting.  The series is simply gorgeous.  Bay City is very much a dark and dystopic futuristic city, with the Golden Gate Bridge covered with container dwellings – who needs a bridge when you have flying cars?  In this world, the rich live in tall structures high about the city, and these buildings that soar above the clouds are breathtakingly beautiful.  Since it took me an episode or two to warm up to Kovacs, the gorgeous setting kept me not only interested but riveted.  I normally watch television while scrolling through my phone or laptop, but with Altered Carbon, I simply watched, even upon second viewing.

While I’m sure much of the acting was with a green screen as backdrop, the setting comes alive in a believable way that doesn’t look like CGI.  The city below is dark with buildings crowding out the sun which contrasts the rich who live above in beautiful, idyllic surroundings.

One of my favorite characters in the show is Poe, an AI who runs the hotel where Kovacs stays during his investigation.  The hotel has an Edgar Alan Poe theme and he brings much humor to the often dry and grumpy Kovacs.  Chris Conner is wonderful as Poe and I really hope that season two will have him returning.  Honestly, I could watch a show that was just about the adventures of Poe – Conner’s character was that fun.

As stacks can be put into different sleeves, there are several characters who portray Kovacs in addition to Kinnaman.  Credited as “Stronghold Kovacs,” Will Yun Lee is Kovacs in many of the flashbacks and is Kovacs’ original sleeve.  The scenes with Lee and Dichen Lachman, as his sister Reileen Kawahara, are some of the best in the series.  Lee shows us Kovacs’ heart by showing us his past, and he brings so much depth and emotion to the role that you cannot help but care for him.  At one point, Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldberry) tells him that he is only pretending to be one of the monsters, and the flashbacks show this to be true.  My hope for season two is a lot more Lee – he was truly fantastic.

The way the series ends, it is entirely possible to have season two with an entirely new cast of characters, something I hope they do.  Although, Kinnaman was so great in the role, it’d be wonderful if they figured out a way to bring him back in the same sleeve, although if they handed the Kovacs role over to Lee, that would be wonderful, too.  I would love to see more of Lee’s Kovacs in the future – he knocked me out he was so good. There are many worlds in this universe to inhabit and many different things to explore.

After finding out that the series was also a book, I read Altered Carbon the book, and the series was better.  I almost never like a series better than the book, but the series made a lot of improvement upon the book.  They took the concepts and characters and built upon it in a way that I really enjoyed.  I tried reading the second novel in the Kovacs trilogy, but quit halfway through, as it wasn’t even close to as good as the first book.  My hope is that season two takes a departure from the books and has another noir-type mystery to tell, instead of the war story/artifact hunt that was the second book.

I will say that this series has lots of violence, including violence against women and violence against sex workers.  There was one episode centered on Kovacs going into a simulated torture scenario, but luckily the amount of torture scenes was low as the episode included flashbacks to Kovacs’ past much more than they showed the torture aspect of things.  So be forwarned about the violence in advance.  That said, between the exceptional story, acting, and special effects, this series definitely is an A.