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Archive for July, 2016

I will start this out by saying that I’m going to be one of “those” people…I’m going to talk about a movie without seeing it first. I know that pisses people off to no end, which is why I’m doing it. Just kidding…I’m doing it because I don’t need to see it to say what I’m going to say, and also movies are expensive–I don’t have the time or money to see a movie I have no interest in right now.

I am not a huge movie person. I like movies, but I tend to never take the time to watch many. I have seen the original Ghostbuster movies, but that was when I was child and I barely remember them. I’m sure I liked them at the time, but it’s not like they made some lasting impression on me that I wanted to go back and watch them over and over again. Apparently, they made a lasting impression on every person on my facebook page and social media right now, because for some reason….that’s all I’m seeing some days. It was actually worse when the trailers were being released than it is now after the movie is actually out, but I finally saw another post yesterday that made me want to just explode. This has been a common theme in the posts and articles I have seen, and I am going crazy to keep myself from commenting on them. Because as most logical people know, posting an opposite opinion on facebook is literally asking for a disaster.

The theme is: If you don’t like the new Ghostbusters, you are not a feminist. It actually is more along the lines of, If you don’t like the new Ghostbusters, you are a piece of sexist, misogynistic (probably white) male trash who should never speak again!

As the noted feminist of my whole family (my family and my husband’s family) and pretty much my group of friends (not to say some of my friends aren’t feminists, but they don’t really speak up about much or go on rants like I do, so I’m just the designated feminist of the group), this is one of the dumbest things I have heard lately. I won’t say the dumbest, because…you know, with the political stuff and everything, I have been hearing a lot of dumb stuff. But really? You’re misogynistic for not liking a movie?

And I actually do get the premise for the opinion. People were originally freaking out because they are rebooting another beloved movie (they really need to stop doing that….just make a sequel or an original story) and casting….wait for it…women in the roles of what used to be men! GASP. I honestly don’t think *most* of the outrage was purely because they were women. I really don’t. Because even my husband said something along those lines, and I literally said, “Oh, gasp! Women!! How could they!” And he rolled his eyes, because that wasn’t what he meant. But that’s how it’s coming off…and I am aware that some people literally were pissed because it was literally women being cast. You will always have “those” people, too. What my husband was ultimately mad about was that they were remaking a movie he remembered from his childhood, and they were changing the characters. My husband is not a sexist pig. He’s really not. Trust me…I wouldn’t be with him if he was, and he wouldn’t be able to handle me if he was.

It’s the same idea of all of this change going into comic book characters. The big one I heard about was Thor is becoming a female character. Let me tell you…I freaked out about that one, and not in the way most people would think. I think I really surprised some people with how mad I was. Aside from being a feminist, I am actually a huge fan on mythology. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic…that was my poison when I was in elementary-high school. I would read actually encyclopedias about it. When we had a small segment in 12th grade on Greek and Roman mythology, I listened eagerly even though I knew it all and then aced the test with my eyes closed. Anyways, the idea that they were taking a figure from mythology that has been around for years and years and years…I was pissed. I was yelling at my husband, Do you know how many female goddesses there are?! They can’t just change his gender! Thor is a guy!! Pick one of the other hundreds of goddesses! He just kind of sat there while I yelled haha. I think he originally thought I would be thrilled to see another female character so he would have to argue why you shouldn’t change long standing characters. Lucky him, I wouldn’t even let him get a word in. Because to me, it wasn’t the fact that, “Yay, a new strong female character!” That’s the reaction they want everyone to have to things like Thor and the new Ghostbusters. I’m looking at it like, “Why are you taking an established character and drastically changing them?” It’s not casting someone with brown hair for a book character that was clearly described with blonde hair.

And in fact, I have heard people complain about things like that!! Like, seriously! They thought no one would complain about gender changes?? People have *actually* complained that a movie character had different hair or eyes than the one described in the book. So think of it in that context. Also, think of it in this context, which is my ultimate way of thinking on this: As a feminist, I want more female characters. I think that’s awesome. But why do they have to be roles that have already been established as a male role? Because now, all that will happen is the new one will be compared to the old one. That happens with EVERY reboot and remake ever. There is a comparison. And more likely than not, people generally say the original was better for whatever reason, may it be nostalgia or something else. So why start out awesome female characters in a deficit? You need to start them out on a flat level so through good acting and good casting and good writing, they can be praised. Not…well, I’m pissed it’s a remake, the original was amazing, but I guess they acted okay…it was an okay movie. I want original new strong female characters…not ones that are trying to one-up a male role that’s largely beloved.

There are a ton of comic book characters, most of them completely original (things like Thor and Lucifer are obviously not original, but they get original backstories and adventures at least). Why not make completely new characters with awesome backgrounds? Why is that not a thing? Making Thor a girl, or some character black or Asian or Native American…you’re just making fans of the original mad. If they remade Gone with the Wind but Scarlet was now a man…people would be pissed! Why would they even do that! It doesn’t make sense! That would be the outcries…and that’s what they are now.

Just do original stories. Stop trying to make people mad—in fact, do something you know will make a lot of people mad, and then be like, well, if you don’t like this, you must be a sexist! No! That’s not necessarily the case.

So to the people posting, if you don’t like the new Ghostbusters you are a piece of garbage who hates women…I can strongly attest that that is not true. If I go and watch it and think it’s not even remotely funny….it’s because the acting was bad. It’s because I don’t think the characters had chemistry. It’s because I’m thinking, wasn’t the original a bit funnier? More action?

We need to stop being soooooo offended by everything. If someone doesn’t like a female character, I’m not immediately offended. If they go into something really horrible, like, women couldn’t do that, they have no arm strength! Or, how could she save the world when she has to eat chocolate every month on her period?? Something obviously misogynistic…then yes, I’m either going to verbally or physically sharpen my claws on him/her. But we need to stop being so quick to judge people who we think are being quick to judge. Ask them to further explain why they didn’t like that movie/character. You might be able to open their eyes to something, or they might make a point that will make you go, Oooh, yeah, didn’t even think of it that way.

So just stop. Stop talking about that dumb movie and let’s bring back more important topics, like equal pay and workplace harassment and I don’t know, things like why rapists aren’t getting serious judgements against them.

-AV

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To be completely honest, I have been avidly avoiding the news even more so than usual lately. I hate hearing about the terrible things happening…not because I want to hide my head under a rock, but because it literally puts me into a deep, dark depression. I can’t stand it. And I don’t understand it.

I didn’t want to write about something like this, but it’s getting to be the point of overwhelming. It’s every day now that you hear about more violence, more shootings. I would have to lock myself in a room with no TV, no internet, and no people in order to avoid it at this point. So I’m just going to throw out there my opinion, and it’s an opinion that thankfully a few of the people I follow on social media have been echoing, but unfortunately not a lot of people honestly have. And I know it’s because a lot of people feel like they don’t have the option to think this way. For those people, my heart bleeds. This country is in a lot of turmoil, and I’m not sure there really is an answer to solve it.

But we need to stop taking one side or the other. Why does it have to be that you’re pro-such and such and therefore automatically against something else? Can I be against killing cops and also against killing people of color? I think that’s what we should all be. Against killing in general. That’s not a way to solve the problems. I’m not going to go into the gun debate right now…that would be a whole other long talk…but the killing needs to stop. We need to stand together and stop all of this hatred. Maybe it’s because of the generation that I grew up in, but I don’t understand it. I get nervous when I see a police officer, but I can’t imagine being terrified when I see one, wondering if they will hurt me or even kill me. And I can’t imagine being a police officer who, every time they pull over a minority or pass one in the streets, wonders if things will escalate out of control and if he/she will get shot.

Something has to give. Both sides need to forgive the other side and let down their arms, rather than just everyone feeling like they need to pick one side or the other. That doesn’t solve anything. Look at our political system. For the majority, you are either Democrat or Republican. Anymore, it’s an extremely divided issue. One extreme or the other. I rarely hear any politician spouting more “down the middle” points of view, and it’s because in most people’s minds, you have to be one way or the other. If you venture into the “other side’s territory,” you’re a liar and a flip-flopper and everything else. Why does it have to be one extreme or the other? Will this country ever unite again? Every single issue is followed by outcries of one extreme or the other.

And again, I understand that for a lot of people, they don’t get the luxury of easily being on everyone’s side. People of the LGBT community, the African American community, the Hispanic community, the law enforcement community…people have taken hard hits, and there have been deaths, and it’s hard to just relax and think–I will trust everyone. Unfortunately, with how many hundreds of millions of people live in this country, there are going to be people who are prejudice, racist, and hatred-filled. I’m not sure how you fix that. I don’t think anyone does. Maybe there’s not an answer. Between the fact that this was a “melting pot” country and it started by immigrants from all over coming here, and the divided political ideology, and the multiple religious systems crisscrossing the nation…I’m not sure whether we will be all at peace. I’m not convinced that banning guns will do it, but again…that’s a whole other topic.

I guess what I’m trying to say in a not very concise manner is that we each need to look deep down into ourselves and figure out if we hate certain groups and why we hate them. Do you have an actual, logical reason? Or is it because you grew up in a family where the older generations had certain racism tendencies and you just picked it up? Is it because of whatever religion you are, you’re not supposed to approve of whatever it is that’s different about them? Is it because you grew up in a very singular community and you just don’t understand differences in people and that bothers you? I am of the conviction that men and women, gay or straight, whatever skin color…that doesn’t make you *different* or dangerous. Every group will have people in it that are bad people, and every group will have people in it that are good people. And then every combination in-between. But we need to all stop over-generalizing, over-stereotyping, and really try to make ourselves be more understanding and more willing to listen to the other side, whatever that other side is. Try and bring understanding to someone you know who is actively against minorities. Challenge them to explain in logical, factually backed up arguments why they hate that group.

There is just too little time on this world to spend it being afraid. I hope that this nation can soon bring an end to the mindless violence. We are all humans, and we need to all start acting like it and treating one another like we are.

-AV

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A week ago, I journeyed four and a half hours away to go to a concert with my husband and my best friend and her husband. I was hesitant at first–I have been to a few concerts throughout my life, but it’s a bit rough with my anxiety and health problems to even think about anymore. But my friend was so excited, and I loved one of the bands that were playing, so I caved and said okay. We bought the tickets and then I’m pretty it was the day after the tour announced they would be playing in a city that’s about an hour away from us. Sooo…that was an irritating moment, but we kept telling ourselves it would be an adventure.

So the day arrived, and my friends drove to our house, and then we all piled into my car and my husband drove basically across most of the state. We stopped at the hotel, dropped our stuff, my friend and I did our makeup, and we were off.

Let me tell you…going to a concert that is super crowded when you are not familiar with the area is a little intimidating. We got there when they said the doors were opening and there was a good sized line. There were cops everywhere directing traffic. My husband kept turning and hoping they were leading us to the parking lot. We were very confused because we got a decent parking spot and everyone was just standing there for about a half an hour. Turns out we were in the correct spot; they were just late opening the doors.

It was about 90 degrees. We were starving by the time we got in there. My friend’s husband went off to get an alcoholic beverage while we stood in line for food. It was already very crowded, and the first opening band wasn’t going to start for another hour and a half. My friend’s beverage in a normal sized plastic cup? $15. He decided he would enjoy that one and not get another one. My husband and I split some chicken tenders and fries. I can’t eat a lot of greasy food. It was $10 I believe. A pop and a water was about $15 together. Concerts have gotten a little pricey since I last went.

The seats were crowded and uncomfortable, but we had a great view. And all of the aggravation and expenses were worth it…because the actual concert was amazing. Absolutely great. My friend and I were completely hoarse when we left from screaming and cheering.

First opening band was Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness. I hope I spelled his last name correctly, because I had never heard of this band until we attended this concert. I was pleasantly surprised. I assumed since it was the first opening band and I had never heard of them, that they were a new band and would be terrible. They were pretty easy going, what I personally call hippy music, and they had a good vibe and an upbeat attitude. The singer was entertaining and danced around. He even got down and ran through the crowd…which I thought was suicide. Two girls that were obviously huge fans took off after him and never came back haha. But I enjoyed their style and while they weren’t something I would jam out to, they got the concert off on a good note.

At this point, the whole place was just packed, and everyone was happy and excited. The whole atmosphere there throughout the afternoon and into the night was just fantastic.

The second opening band I was really excited about. The opening bands weren’t announced until about a week before we went (or at least we didn’t hear about them until then). AWOLNATION has been around and I had heard enough of their songs to be excited to hear them live but I didn’t know enough of their stuff that I would have bought tickets to just see them. However, they also really impressed me. They played three songs that I knew and loved and the rest I had not heard but really liked. The lead singer had a lot of energy, as did the rest of the band. The music was extremely loud and it was actually hard to hear the singer, but it didn’t take away from the show for me. Their performance really got people pumped up and ready for the first of the headlining bands.

This was who I had gone for, and who my friend wanted to see the most out of the two bands. Panic! at the Disco. Brendan Urie. Before I saw him live, I loved Panic and thought he was a very talented individual. This performance just blew me away. I love him even more than I did before. He came out with a ton of energy and just put everything he could into his performance. And not to forget the rest of the band–they all did amazing too, but Brendan was obviously the main attraction. He was the one singer I thought you could hear the most clearly over the music, and I think that was just because he’s very loud and has a great vocal range. Throughout his show, Brendan Urie sang every song, played the guitar during one song, played piano for two songs, and even played a drum set with his drummer for a segment. He nailed two backflips and jumped off of the stage at one point. And of course he ripped off his shirt at one point, which didn’t fail to impress basically every person there who was attracted to men. He picked high energy songs and even did a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), belting his heart out through the whole thing. My husband (who was only mildly impressed with Panic before this and a huge Queen fan said that he did a good job, which translates to, it was amazing).

His performance gave way to the main headlining band and the closer of the evening-Weezer. Since Weezer has been around forever, I have naturally heard a lot of their songs. My husband is a huge fan of theirs, so this is who he was most excited to see. I was afraid I wouldn’t know most of what they played since I never went out of my way to listen to their stuff or even to go through a whole CD, but I was happy to find that I knew 90% of the songs they played. I would say they weren’t quite as high energy as Panic, but I think that’s just the nature of their music. They were still amazing, though, and they were a great close to the night. They kept the upbeat energy and positivity going while chilling down a little after Panic’s high energy performance. They had a great sound, and they kept the crowd involved and excited.

All in all, if I had to go back and do it again knowing all the little annoyances and anxiety issues I would have, I would still do it. It was totally worth the money between tickets, gas, the hotel, and food. In fact, I would say it was the best concert I have been to so far. Kudos to everyone…from newer acts to acts that have been around a few years to a decade to a few decades almost, everyone showed that they were doing the thing that they loved most.

-AV

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Well, I was planning on doing a review of a concert I went to a few days ago with my husband and two friends, but that unfortunately has to wait now. Last night was a perfect reason why I usually am pretty cynical toward my fellow humans, and why I never need to bother looking at shelters or looking through ads for animals. My husband was driving, and I was in the passenger seat, and my mother was in the back seat. We were driving along a pretty major road for where I am, and it was pretty trafficked. We were talking along…and then we all saw it. And it takes a minute to settle in what exactly it was, and then my mom and I start yelling at the same time, “Pull over, pull over! Oh my god, it’s a kitten!” I honestly thought at first that it was a full grown cat, and I was going to be sad because I knew chances are it would be feral and I would never be able to get it. My mom thought it was some wild animal. But no… it was a tiny, tiny kitten, just sitting by itself on the shoulder of the road, watching all of the big trucks and cars go zooming by. My husband whipped the car onto the shoulder as safely as he could and put his four ways on. My mother was going, Omg, I can’t do it, he will run out in traffic and I will just die! I just threw open my door and walked back as quickly as I could. The little thing started meowing, crouched, and thankfully ran into the weeds instead of traffic. I was literally shaking. If it got ran over while I was watching, I was going to be pretty traumatized.

For anyone that doesn’t know me, I am a huge animal lover, but I especially love cats. I have always loved cats. My parents had a lot of animals the whole time I was growing up. Throughout my childhood, there were always cats, dogs, chickens, goats, lambs, horses, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds…maybe not all at once for everything, but we always had dogs and cats. And for some reason, I just always bonded and connected with the cats. And I feel worse for them than for dogs. I knew there are groups and shelters out there helping all kinds of animals equally, but I feel like the common person thinks that dogs are the ones that definitely need humans, but cats are fine out in the wild. Just toss them outside, and they’re fine! And it makes me sad. A lot of cats are fine being loners, but pretty much every cat I’ve been around craves human attention as much as a dog. And yes they have claws and teeth and are natural hunters, but they are a domesticated animal. You can’t just take a kitten you don’t want and toss it out and think it will be fine.

And that’s where this rant begins. Who is so cruel as to just toss a baby animal alongside the road? You couldn’t have taken it to a shelter? Asked around to see if anyone would at least feed it and give it some kind of shelter? You’re only option was to just toss it where it most likely would get run over?? It most definitely was not a feral-born kitten. It ran into the weeds because it was scared, but it never hissed at me or swung it’s claws, and it let me pick it right up then. (I’m saying “it’ because it’s too young to know the gender…vet appointment this morning, so they might be able to tell.) But then I remembered…oh, right! Humans can’t be nice and civil to other humans…why would I think they should extend common kindness to another species?? Seriously. It just boggles my mind.

My mom knows someone who got their kitten from someone literally driving by and without slowing down, opened the window and tossed it out. It broke it’s leg and scraped up its body. Luckily for the otherwise very unlucky kitten, the people whose house it was loved animals. So they got it fixed up and kept it. But it makes me want to cry. How can we be so cruel to something so innocent? If you can’t have kittens or puppies…guess what, you can get them spayed or fixed! You shouldn’t have them if you can’t take at least decent care of them, and that includes getting them fixed/spayed so you don’t add to the already huge overpopulation problem! If you do make a mistake, don’t just throw them out alongside the road or kill them in some horrible way! YOU made the problem by being irresponsible. At least try to make a decent decision for how to fix it.

I realize there are a lot of people who think of animals much differently than I do. I just can’t comprehend how everyone doesn’t realize they feel pain and fear just as much as humans do. But then I come back to the realization that we are always fighting wars and fighting amongst ourselves over stupid things like, should gay people have the same rights as straight people? Democrat or republican? Which religion? Should we change the face on the freaking 20 dollar bill??? So if we are cruel to people who differ in thinking on stuff like that…what hope is there for these animals?

So for now…he/she is in a carrier in my basement, with a soft blanket, litter, water, and some canned food. Vet appointment this morning (luckily my mom has taken probably 50 stray cats to this vet, so when she calls, they are really good about getting her in last minute). And if he checks out, we will have to decide what to do. Because someone else made a horrible, poor decision, now either my mom or I will be cleaning it up. It’s not fair, but someone has to do it. My husband and I have a very small house and we already have five stray cats we took in. My mom has a bunch of stray cats she has taken in. It’s going to be a burden for one of us, but I could never be one of those people who either tossed it out or just drove by and was fine knowing it was going to die one way or another–car, wild animal, freeze, starve. And I think I’m much better being burdened with more vet bills and a little less space and having a loving animal than being one of those heartless a**holes, so whatever.

Peace and love to all of my fellow animal lovers out there, and to all of the decent human beings that do what you can to make the world a little better for people, the environment, and all of the other species we share the world with,

-AV

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