Disney Princesses

Look, you all know that I love the idea of being a Princess, they have the pretty dresses and the tiaras, the handsome princes, dashing white horses, some sort of involvement with dragons, etc.

But in my head the princess is a kind of kick-ass figure. One of my favourite books as a kid was The Paperbag Princess in which the dragon carries off the prince and the princess has to put on a paper bag (because everything else is burnt up) and rescue him through outwitting the dragon. Or Amy in The Practical Princess who learned how to do housework and farming, etc.

The Disney Princess marketing strategy and merchandise bothers me not because it is about princesses, but because it only shows said princesses doing passive things, prancing about in ball gowns, looking at themselves in mirrors, gazing winsomely at the viewer, head on folded, gloved hands. (Although it does crack me up that sometimes they’re all in their ballgowns except Ariel’s still in her seashell bra and fish tail.)
I’ve seen all the Disney movies, I know that Ariel is capable of so much more than wistful gazing. She worked hard to get her man, she was active, not passive. She spent maybe one evening in a ball gown. Sure, she may not have lead the charge against the villain at the end of the movie, but she did stand up to her in some way.

Belle is the one that really breaks my heart to see reduced to the Disney Princess duvet cover. Again, she only wore that yellow ballgown for one night. She proactively went searching for her father through the dark cold night, through the scary wolf infested forest and when she was confronted by the Beast she stood up to him and offered to take her father’s place in the prison tower. She was scared, but she acted anyway, which is a pretty good definition of bravery if you ask me.

She refused to marry the man she didn’t love, she was bookish and ‘odd’, she disobeyed the Beast and snuck into the forbidden wing and was totally going to touch his magical rose (not a euphemism). She was brave is what I’m trying to get at, and she had way better things to do with her time than pose for photos in her ball gown. She would have been reading for Heaven’s sake.

If the Disney Princess range would just show them doing what the movies had them doing I’d be a lot happier. What the hell is wrong with showing Aurora fetching mushrooms from the forest? Or Cinderella scrubbing the floor? How about Belle curled up in a chair reading a book?

One awesome thing about the movie Enchanted is that it showed Giselle moving away from (some of) the trappings of the Disney Princess and towards more suitable actions. Example: at the start of the movie she is happy to marry Edward even though they have never talked, just sung a song together. After talking to McDreamy about how things work in the Real World, she is not satisfied with that and wants a ‘date’ to get to know each other better and ensure that she really does love the man she chooses.

Another thing is they show her at the end of the movie running her own business. Andalasia Fashions is a huge store with heaps of workers (animal and human if I recall correctly) and is shown to be a success.
It also includes the fantastic scene when Giselle and Edward are reunited and he sings their song and she doesn’t.

Edward: You’re not singing!
Giselle: No, I was thinking.
Edward, bewildered: Why?

None of this even touches on the whole ethnic side of things. Sometimes Mulan and Pocahontas are included in the Disney Princess pictures but more often they aren’t, which leaves Jasmine as the only girl with any colour to her skin. Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
I don’t know. I don’t think it’s inherently damaging to little girls to like the princesses, I just think they need a more rounded princess experience.

Read also:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-brooks27mar27,0,7487597.column?track=rss

Things I love Thursday

* We have been in our new apartment a whole week now. It is much more organised now, and there are tentative plans for a housewarming in the near future.
* Chocolate in the shape of eggs and bunnies. I don’t know why but they just taste so good!
* Our new bath is deep and wide. It’s bliss, like my own private warm clean pond. Mmmmmmmmm. I love baths especially when they are full of Lush goodies, especially bath melts or slices of bubble bar.
* Warm sunshiney weather. Even though I hardly get to be out in it, it’s nice to know we had a proper summer and all that.
* Reading a book that is so good you miss it when you are not reading. I just finished The Time Traveller’s Wife for the second time. I wanted to read it again before the movie came out and it was even better than I remembered. I walked home from work and wished I was still reading it, I missed it like you miss a lovely holiday spot.
* My darling Lee, who looks after me, even when I am whiney/sad/cranky/moody/annoying and bought me a new printer/scanner and makes me delicious dinners. Once again I wonder what I did to deserve such a sweetheart.
* Delicious cupcakes. Light, fluffy, tasty and iced.
* Seeing sting rays in Wellington harbour and just knowing that the harbour isn’t too horribly polluted to support sea life.
*The music of Tori Amos, who sings poetry that actually does speak to my heart and I find it infinitely re-listenable.

PoF: My pjs
CO: The thick soft carpet in my NEW! apartment and keeping it clean. It doesn’t make lint balls, it produces little fluff bunnies.

amazing

Apologies if you have already seen this, but I am constantly amazed by the sad lonely beauty of Garfield comics with Garfield removed. It becomes a psychological study of a lonely modern man….some of it is downright depressing, and some is hilarious and sometimes you really wonder what Garfield was doing in the rest of the frame to make it even remotely funny.

In other news, living in town continues to be awesome, my morning commute is down to a minute and a half. I came home for lunch the other day and put on a load of laundry and read my book and emptied the dish washer.

Unfortunately we have some issues with a cracked cistern on our toilet, but we’re getting that fixed.
We just need to get a few things from Lee’s parents’ garage and the couple more boxes from my parent’s garage and then we’ll be able to get everything unpacked and sorted and we will be officially in.
Bliss.

PoF: Pixels
CO: new apartment

Moved in

We’re in the new place, the furniture is mostly in the right places and the stuff is mostly unpacked. It’s been a full on two days. The new apartment we knew was over ten square metres bigger than the last place, but now that we’re in and the place isn’t completely full of boxes it’s kind of huge.

Living in the middle of town is weird, lots of people shout at each other all day on the street. The vertical bungee is loud. I thought they were making people wear masks when they went on it these days.
The master bedroom’s floor to ceiling windows let in a lot of traffic noise, so we’re using the back room (which is heaps bigger) as the main room as it is very quiet indeed.

I organised the DVDs into TV/anime and then movies and then in obscure categories within that. The movie section has action/adventure, horror/comedy, period romance, contemporary romance, weird ass nightmarish children’s movies and well….sci fi. It makes me ridiculously happy to arrange my DVDs in a way that only I understand….don’t know why.

Lee’s brother is moving into the same building as us next week and has lent us his PS3 and Rock Band over the weekend. I like doing the singing part and the drums but I’m dire at the guitar.
The whole place is very dusty, since it is brand new. I have been vacuuming and setting the irobot to clean quite a lot. Lee and I are both excited to show off the place, and may be having a housewarming as early as next weekend!

PoF: dusty
CO: sleeping is nice

Moving day

Tomorrow we’re moving house. Or rather, moving apartments.

After tomorrow Lee and I will be living in the middle of Wellington City.

I can’t wait! Packing is almost all done. Just the essentials and plates and glasses to go.

Also, and I’m sure you’ve seen this before, but Garfield comics with Garfield removed are amazing. They’re like watching a psychological movie about a lonely man slowly going mad. But way funnier…mostly.

Check it out Garfield minus Garfield.

PoF: Gir
CO: moving moving moving

TV

I love Californication, I really do. I love the character of Hank Moody, he’s so rational and kind and decent. He really loves women and treats them well.

I really hate the character of Mia, who seems to love Hank but is also incredibly manipulative and cruel and horrible.

I love Hank’s daughter Becca, she looks exactly like Emily the Strange and is kick-ass cool. Wonderfully smart and a fantastic actor.

I’m torn on Danni, she’s cool but she’s also manipulative and mean, using consensual sexual experiences as weapons. Which sits pretty badly with me.

I like Hank’s agent Charlie, who is corrupt but loyal. Ugly but awesome, and sticks with Hank no matter what.
Karen is an interesting character but kind of pisses me off in the messed up choices she makes. I admire her, she is like a real person.

It’s an interesting show, set in a kind of heightened porn world where all the problems between people are cured by sex. But it is also incredibly fun and funny and cool with excellent jokes every couple of minutes and real drama as well.

Yay for David Duchovny.

PoF: New spotty hoodie
CO: Californication

Mutants and Masterminds: Potential part 3

…part three of the game, part two of the write up.

We shot forward about a month in time. Giselle had dealt with Lawrence’s unwanted affections by sleeping with Lucas. Dell Dell tried to be friends with Lawrence by forcing him to go shopping for bling and playstation games. Lucas had fun with Giselle and Mark kept his head down and fixed a car. The whole gang stayed in the weird alien secret base…which didn’t go so well…

Mark: I think that fucking alien thing is operating on us in our sleep!
(it totally was.)

Traba didn’t like Lucas sleeping with a mere human, so he tried to get him together with another woman. He organised dance parties for us with random kidnapped drunk people.
Lucas: I’m trying to dance with Giselle.
Giselle: I’m trying to dance with lots of other people.

We also started fighting crime, so as to get the public on our side and hopefully get the police off our backs. Giselle and Mark were mostly the instigators and the others started joining in after a while. Giselle and Mark insisted on X-Men style black leather supersuits from Traba but the others let him choose and got terrible gladiator style stuff.

But for concealing our identities…what to call ourselves?
Mark: I think we should be like Spiderman and use the names the public give us.
Giselle: But what if they name me something skanky?

Traba informed us that the superhero virus was flooding our systems and growing everyday.
Mark: let’s hope we don’t get super cancer.

We discovered more about the evil aliens that had infected us and were trying to take over the world. They were called the Groo, so I suggested we call our super group the Groo Fighters.

Then we were lured into a super giant action scene with a huge meteor plummeting to Earth, opening up and releasing a gigantic purple dinosaur.

Dell: I’m looking for something to punch.
Dale the GM: There’s a big burning strut?
Dell: I punch the big burning strut.

I used my emotional powers to make the dinosaur love me. It stopped it rampaging anyway, although it did sit down on a building. A Star Knight super protector came down to sort things out.
Star Knight: Is this yours?
Dell: what?
Star Knight: Gigantasaur.
Dell: Oh that? Nah.
SK: It shouldn’t really be here.
Dell: Yeah the Groos put it there.
Giselle: We’d like it if you took it away.

The bad guys moved in and started trying to kill us. The Star Knight was disabled by them pretty soon, we were not impressed.

Mark: Obviously the job market for Star Knights is poor right now.
Dell: Now who’s the punk? (pushes over the Star Knight.)

We see Heiress, another kid from the detention centre, who was blonde and tall and thin and wore pink.
Jenni: Does she have the power of small dogs in handbags?

Giselle attacks her with super strength after Heiress blasted Mark.
Giselle: Plastic surgery this!
Mark to Lucas: I’ve got a good superhero name for you, Friendly Fire!

The warden was there by this time and we kind of took turns beating him up.
Mark: how do you like this jell-o warden!?
and also….Damn you warden, fry!

Then there was the whole problem of the invading Groo ship that we had to stop…we were up in our ship arguing about what to do.
Traba: It would be easy if I had a bomb, but I don’t have a bomb.
Dell: Yes you do! I’m the bomb!

Lucas decides to give up his life essence to the ship to power him up: You may have an infusion of me.
Giselle: Gay.
Dell: Yo! Groo brain! (Punches the brain operating the ship.)

Once he’d destroyed it, we got out of the ship and back to Earth and that was it. We’d saved the world and looked good doing it. Well, I looked good anyway.

It was an amazing game and I loved it to bits. All of us were psyched to continue playing so maybe when Dale gets back to the country in three years we can pick up the characters in three years.

iRobot

Things that I find incredibly charming about our little robot vacuum cleaner.

  • It makes a happy little beeping noise when you call it to work.
  • It has a remote control.
  • It bumps gently into things and then goes around them.
  • It goes under the bed and the table and the couches and cleans all those places we just never manage to vacuum.
  • It got stuck under one of the lowest bar of our dining chairs one time and had to be rescued.
  • If you shut it in the bathroom it does an awesome job of cleaning up all the fluff. You have to shut it in or it’ll wander back out again.
  • You can set it to ‘spot’ clean and it will go in and out in circles to clean that one area.
  • You can drive it with the remote, so if it gets stuck in an endless three point turn like it did the other night when we were showing it off to Lee’s parents, you can save it and bring it back to a big area.
  • It’s quieter than a big vacuum cleaner.
  • When you drive it in front of its home base it puts itself away.
  • When it is docked again it does a triumphant little beepy fanfare.
  • Last, but not least, it actually does a really good job on the carpets and floors.

PoF: grey
CO: robot vacuum cleaner

Mutants and Masterminds: Potential

Dale invited me to a game with Morgue, Norm and James P. I felt like I was being asked to join the Rolling Stones of roleplaying or something. I’ve (as you know) really loved Dale’s superhero games at Kapcon so I leapt at the chance.

Dale asked us to create teenage human characters with a troubled past. Troubled enough, it turned out, to land them in juvenile detention. I invented Giselle, a spoiled little rich girl who felt abandoned by her parents and acted out to get attention. (Much like Kirsten Dunst’s character in Crazy/Beautiful.)

The first session was mostly getting to know each other and experiencing the detention facility, an experimental state of the art programme….with very tasty Jello-o.

Morgue’s character Dell Dell was a bad-ass gangsta type with a penchant for punching things. “You notice me looking like pretty much I’m gonna kill you.”
James played a street kid, Mark who mostly kept his head down and tried not to fight people.
Norm’s character Lucas was a talkative cheerful kid who didn’t know when to stop.
The episode ended with us being taken on a ‘field trip’ to MacD’s which was a set up to see how our superpowers had manifested. (The first Jell-o we had gave us a virus that caused superpowers.)

Once we realised that we had powers and the Jell-o was full of inhibitors some of us stopped taking it and we staged a break out. My slight 16 year old ballet trained brat manifested super strength, flight, space travel, force fields and emotion control. (Make others feel emotions.)

Mark had the ability to turn into electricity and fly and shoot bolts of lightning, Lukas got super speed, hearing and mimicry. Dell refused to experiment with his powers but eventually discovered he had leaping, light powers, healing and super strength.

The second episode we were on the run. There were some abortive attempts to get clothes that weren’t prison jumpsuits and then eventually I borrowed money off an old boyfriend and got us a hotel. First there was power experimentation…

Lucas: I’m gonna see if I can run really fast over the surface of the water, like the Flash.
Mark: We’re talking the Flash here, not Jesus.

Me to GM: what’s it feel like when he tickles me with his electric hand?

Giselle to Dell: You can’t leave, you’re the best fighter!
Lucas: So far….

Dell did take off, he had a problem with hanging with us white kids with crazy powers. I flew him out of the hotel from the cops and he crushed my ribs in panic, he took off after that. Giselle, understandably, was in a lot of pain.

Lucas turned out to be an alien and was tracking a secret alien base for us. It lead to a bookstore with a laundromat next door. He was talking to himself the whole time, because there was a hologram or something of his other self that no one else could see. There was a lot of faffing about in the bookstore with a creepy bookstore owner…

Mark watches Lucas talk to himself for a bit, then says: I’m gonna check out the mental health section of the bookstore.
Me: Giselle transitions onto the floor in pain.
Bookstore owner: She doesn’t look good, shall I call an ambulance?
Mark: No, it’s fine…
Owner: She looks quite unwell.
Mark: She’s just bulimic.

Once inside the alien base (laundromat) Giselle is healed and we meet a somewhat mercurial hologram that manifests, Traba.
Traba: I could analyse your DNA?
Mark: Uh, maybe later.

Traba: I could implant locators into the humans…
Giselle: I don’t want….(all humans are sucked into the floor and reappear with surgical scars on their wrists.) I did NOT WANT THIS!!!
Lucas: But they’re cool!
Giselle: You could’ve asked! This is such a violation!

Dell Dell is tracked to an Irish bar.
Mark: Why would Dell go to an Irish bar?
Giselle: Why would Dell go anywhere?

Dell, having beat up everyone in the bar: Alright! Who else wants to stand up for Ireland?!

OCC Geek humour in relation to rolling initiative…You’re so fast you back in time!
You get to go *last* round!

We fight a bunch of other kids from the programme, one of whom is an evil magician type that nearly turns me into a rabbit. I use a hero point to negate that…”Turn ME into a bunny?” and punch him in the face, with super strength.

We defeat them and take two of them with us, as we don’t believe them to be that evil. One is a fat kid called Lawrence who has gravity control, the other is Tia, a very shy timid girl with incredible mind control powers. I befriend her.

Third session later.

Nice Thursday

This week I had an uncommonly good Thursday. I had some time to kill after work so I went to the art gallery. They have some very impressive exhibitions on at the moment for the festival.

The Reboot exhibition is a display of a private collection of modern art and very very cool. The signature piece they’re using to promote it is a giant blow up bunny which is very impressive in real life. They have a couple of photos by Peter Peryer whom I adore and various other nifty bits and pieces.

Another exhibition is an amazingly kick-ass video installation called The Last Riot by the AES + F group from Russia. There are three screens set up and you sit down and watch a short movie. The movie is a hyper-real animated environment inhabited by incredibly good looking adolescents who are basically killing each other. It’s all very strange and very beautiful and the soundscape is very good, tying in with images of planes falling out of the sky and volcanoes exploding as these gorgeous boys and girls poke each other with swords.

I think I only saw the second half so I will have to go back, but it really was entrancing to watch and I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

They also have an exhibition on called Aniwaniwa which you are meant to lie on the floor to view and I haven’t got up the guts to do so yet.

After the gallery I went back to work because I’d left my dinner in the fridge. On the way over the city-to-sea bridge I saw a stingray sunning itself in the shallows of the lagoon. I went up to the lagoon’s edge to see if I could see it closer and there were heaps of really quite big fish chilling out and eating stuff off the sea floor. They were silver things, probably as big as my fore-arm. It was neat.

Then I had the final session (sob) of Dale’s Mutants and Masterminds game. I loved this game. I will put it in a separate entry with all the quotes, etc.

PoF: Destination Earth
CO: itchy next to nose