Secret Project Revealed!

Secret Project Revealed!

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Good morning, gentle viewers!

Oh, I’m so excited.

If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you’ll remember a series of posts about SuperWomen. Ever since I was a kid, I longed to see female superheroes, but as we all know, they’re rather thin on the ground. After my recent post about superhero clothing and the sexist attitudes toward women displayed by the creators, I got to thinking.

There’s been a lot of stuff in the media lately about women in geek culture, from Jim C. Hines posing like the women on fantasy covers (with John Scalzi, and for charity to boot!) to showcase how ridiculous the poses are to Tor.com posting about one particular pose. Then there’s the amazing Hawkeye Initiative and my new favorite Tumblr in which artist Alex Law uses the superhero costumes of little girls to show that their gender expectations haven’t been set in stone yet, and they are better at creating badass superhero costumes than the people who do it for a living.

And I thought, “This is all great stuff.”

But I wanted something more. So I’m making it, along with three other women.

We’re creating the Searching for SuperWomen blog. It’ll be a place for geek women (and the men who love us!) to come and love the things we love, from sci-fi to superheroes. It’ll be a place to celebrate the role of women in geekdom and show Hollywood that we ARE the audience they want us to be. A place where we make it clear that after eight Superman reboots and two Spiderman trilogies and eight Batman movies, it’s about goddamn time that they make Wonder Woman and make it well, without giving it the Elektra-deluxe treatment of shame.

Pretty soon, we’ll be looking for YOU. People who love geek culture and have something to offer. Art. Music. Cosplay. An essay on Xena. Whatever you love in geekdom. So come by, get to know us, and get ready to go on an expedition.

We’re Searching for SuperWomen. Follow the link and come see us!

The Searching for SuperWomen editors are:

Our first post will go up on Wednesday. For May and June, updates will be Wednesdays, but look out for more, because we’re on the prowl.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Popcorn, Bosom Friends, and Solemn Vows

List of U.S. state foods

List of U.S. state foods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you were floating around Twitter for the bulk of last night, you may have seen some odd things. For instance, a single tweet that just said “Prawns.”

Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley, Diana Barry

Anne and Diana after the concert at White Sands.

Or a hashtag #bosomfiend.

These things came about because my friend Kristin McFarland (who, on a much more serious note, interviewed me on Wednesday for her Why Write project) and I have been reading through the Anne of Green Gables books. She came across them between undergrad and grad school; I found Anne when my grandmother gave me the Canadian films when I was a kid. I somehow made it to adulthood having never read the books, but I can’t say that anymore.

Kristin got me to read the books, so I thought it was only fair I get her to see the movies.

Last night we settled in, three states apart, to watch them.

Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of ...

Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We sighed over Gilbert Blythe, tried to hug Matthew Cuthbert through the screen, and fell in love with that little redhead all over again.

It made me wonder how a rather simple story about an orphan girl finding family and love could affect me as much as it did when I was a kid. I remember seeing Anne shriek at Rachel Lynde and calling her fat and wishing I had the guts to stand up to the people who were mean to me. I remember seeing her break a slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head and knowing that I was learning to take no shit.

Anne rapturously declares to Marilla that she wishes to have a bosom friend, and Marilla chuckles, “A what kind of friend?” But Anne finds in Diana Barry the truest kind of friendship most of us only hope to share with another person.

If you’re truly curious about the public side of our screening for these films, check out the Twitter hashtags #solemnvow and #bosomfriends.

We even made our own solemn vow.

We even made our own solemn vow.

As we were watching, I got to thinking. It’s always a bit funny to watch something you loved as a child with an adult perspective. Some things you’ll watch and wonder where you ever got the idea that it was a good use of your time. Other times, you’re struck by the layers of meaning, the hidden purpose, and the power that remains, turning memory to new discovery.

Anne_and_gilbert_3

Anne and Gilbert at school, image from Anne of Green Gables

That’s how it’s been with me for Anne of Green Gables.

Reading the books was like diving into a richer world, learning and growing alongside Anne. There were new characters to meet who I could tell had been distilled and shifted, combined and compressed into characters in the film. There were familiar moments of fear and trepidation and love.

Watching the films as a child, I don’t think I ever quite understood the fullness of what happened when Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decided to keep Anne Shirley even though they’d sent for a boy.

As a child, I just wanted Anne to be able to stay at Green Gables because she loved the place so. She seemed so self-sufficient to me that I never questioned her ability to survive elsewhere. Through the years, though, and now having read the books as an adult, that moment is something more altogether.

English: The “Anne of Green Gables Bridge” on ...

English: The “Anne of Green Gables Bridge” on the EICanada headquarters property in Stouffville, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She arrives at Green Gables with more adult experiences than a child should have. Caretaking, housekeeping, even medicinal knowledge. She’s capable, intelligent, independent. She’s a dreamy little kid, who escaped the harsh reality around her by fleeing into the boundless wealth of imagination.

More and more, when I relive this story, I see myself. Just like Anne, I fled poverty and chores and cruelty at school and the stress of many, many moves by fleeing into my imagination. Into countless books and worlds. When something didn’t exist, like Anne, I made it up. And I yearned for a bosom friend, just as she did.

Anne greeted the world with a sense of awe and wonder, allowing it to thrill her in a way most people don’t. She showed Marilla and Matthew that in spite of her misfortunes, the world was still a beautiful place. And when she arrived, they knew that sending her back could end up breaking her, snuffing out that light that she allowed to shine so brightly.

They made the decision to take that child and give her love. To give her love and family and an education and an opportunity. An elderly pair of unmarried siblings wanted to give Anne Shirley more scope for her imagination.

And oh, the love.

Anne Shirley is a veritable magnet for it. She wins Matthew over the first time she speaks to him. And Marilla the first time Anne tucks her trusting hand into that of the older woman’s. She dazzles Gilbert with her resolve, her perseverance, and her intelligence. And, of course, there’s Diana, Anne’s bosom friend.

Matthew Cuthbert, Marilla Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley, Lucy Maud Montgomery

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert

When I think about the love this child found, it’s made even more poignant fully understanding from an adult perspective what exactly Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert did for her. It reminds me that it’s what I got from my second mom and later, my stepdad. The ability of an adult to raise a strange child as his or her own. I benefited from that kind of love as well. And like Anne, I’ve continually reaped the blessings of love in this life. From finding Jordan and Julia (MY first real bosom friends, who walked me down the aisle) to my loving husband, who is a true partner in life.

Kristin and I spent several hours last night watching these films a couple hundred miles apart from her. At one point, we were discussing another film we both love and Capclave (which she is joining me for), and Kristin said, “Plus, we’ll have known each other for like two years by then and NO MEETING. It’s outrageous.” And it’s true. We’ve been chatting on almost a daily basis for a year and a half. We watched Anne and Diana skip about the beaches of Prince Edward Island, and that struck me all over again. Technology has made it possible to form friendships with people hundreds or thousands of miles away. We’ve done Google hangouts and talked on the phone. We’ve “introduced” our husbands via video and shown each other our critters.

For all our rather goofy tweets about Miss Fortune and bosom fiends  last night, we really are friends.

This world still holds wonder.

The best thing about watching something like Anne of Green Gables with someone who loves the story as much as you do is that it’s a nice reminder to be grateful.

I’ll be damned if that Anne Girl didn’t work her magic again.

Back on the #ZAP Wagon

ZAPLogo

 

Back in November, a funny thing happened.

I got on the scale, and it exploded.

Okay, it didn’t really explode, per say. But it showed the highest number I’ve ever seen it show. I got off and got back on just to check.

Yep.

I looked up my BMI and it helpfully informed me that I was on my way to becoming obese.

I wasn’t okay with that.

So when December rolled around, Spouse and I began a drastic shift in diet. I dropped about 12 pounds in fairly quick succession, but I also gained a serious bug. For most of December and January, I was very ill, and the scale went back up due to my having to stay in bed.

Finally, last month, I got myself to the gym again. I’ve gotten my weight from borderline obese to just under the “overweight” line. I’m officially back to a normal weight. It feels good, but I still don’t. I feel the pain in my knees and my back. I’m still lugging around 25 pounds that I didn’t have when I moved here.

This where ZAP comes in.

If a zombie pandemic started today, I’d be in trouble. I can barely run two miles without getting really winded, which is a far cry from the easyish 5Ks I was running five times a week in the autumn. I know that the ideal weight for my body is about 20 pounds lower.

So I’ve started running again, and today (hand in hand with a friend), I’m starting to get my diet in check again. This time no excuses. It’s taken a couple bouts with the exploding scale and experiencing knee issues for the first time in my life to drill home the message that I have to make a definitive change. Plus, I need to be in the best shape possible for when those zombie hordes start shambling down the sidewalks.

Here’s my goals:

– lose 25 pounds by September and keep it off

– run three times per week (at least one mile)

-run two miles at least once per week

-begin strength training with the goal in mind of being able to complete 100 push ups in four sets or less and do at least 5 pull ups in one set

-stay within calorie goals five days per week

And that’s that.

At work, I’ve had a lot of people tell me recently that they can’t run. If I can do it (an asthmatic with a history of severe lung infections and shin splints), I can’t be unique. I first ran a straight mile last summer after avoiding it since high school. Then I slowly upped it to three. By the time I do the Run For Your Lives zombie obstacle course 5K in October this year, I want to be able to run 10K without stopping. That’s about 6.25 miles. Possible? Well. If I used to think running three miles straight was impossible and did it anyway, what else can I do?

It’s time to find out.

What about you, folks? Any fitness goals heading into summer? How are you gonna thwart the zombies?

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