The Princess Problem

I have a bunch of fantasy story pet peeves.  Like the care bear stare.  I also have things I love like the arrival of the cavalry.

The Princess Problem is one of the former.  I’m going to paint in broad strokes here…

Put a princess in a story and she will have a problem with her betrothed.  It generally turns out that the prospective groom is a cad, but long before that is apparent the princess will rail against the unfairness of being forced to marry.  When I indicated I disliked the fantasy series I just finished this was one of the items that bothered me.

Why does it bug me?  I’m certainly not pro forcing people to marry against their will or against marrying for love.   Here are a few reasons:

  1. It is an application of current cultural mores on what is ostensibly a prior time.  Although I can ignore a lot of anachronisms, but this one bugs me.  This one also might be a bit unfair.  We have at least as far back as King Edward of a monarch actually leaving the throne for love…
  2. But that raises my second peeve.  This is almost entirely a female plot.  The poor princess is unjustly being forced to marry, but the prince is always fine with it.  There aren’t many fantasy stories that I’ve read where the prince is forced to marry against their will.
  3. Finally, actual royalty are raised to know their responsibilities.  Nobility didn’t actually have much – their land, their title and their family ties.  (And the legal system on their side of course.)  Marriage was the primary method of maintaining, strengthening and extending all three of those.  It was essential to the way of life.  The next best option was war… came with greater risk though.

Like any cliche, it can be done well though.  Romeo and Juliet is a variation on this theme.  (Although they skip the ditching the appropriate prospect and move straight to the love…)  Downton Abbey has has this as a central theme for two of the girls in the family.   The big difference is moving past the rote, obvious reactions and motivations and finding some humanity under them.

When that happens it becomes less of a problem and more of an asset.

 

Go Team Family Go!

We’ve always been proud of my brother.  Y’all fail to notice his accomplishments

He has a fancy after degree.  He’s the more dutiful and sympathetic child.  He has almost none of my many flaws.  But he is like Rodney Dangerfield – he can’t get no respect.

Now that should all change.  He’s transformed himself, literally,  and figured out bilocation.  And he is running in the provincial election in a riding in Calgary.  After he sweeps his riding, we’ll all need to finally acknowledge his everpresent greatness.

Check out his website.

Note: um – parts of this post may be lies.  Some might be damn lies.  But there aren’t any statistics.

Weekly Recap

OK – the big news.  OK – there is no big news.  Last week was a quiet week.

I had no additional problems standing up last week.  But then again I didn’t try and repeat the activity that I couldn’t do.  I found another way instead.  I’m wondering if maybe I just need new shoes.  My heel is worn on the outside back side and it naturally causes my ankle to fold.  Even in the brace it forces the whole knee out that way.  That isn’t the whole thing, but getting new shoes might help.

It was on my list of things to do this weekend at the mall, but I forgot.  Treek and I grabbed brunch at the mall.  Then I tried to go to the Hunger Games but the elevator was out of service.  So then I tried to replace/upgrade my cell phone.  But the computers at all the kiosks for my provider were out of service.  So we went to Zellers and bought a drain stop.  New shoes and some glass tumblers were forgotten.  Nuts.

This was the week I got my Apple TV set up.  (Thanks bro.)  I bought it to play my music from my music library (now all digital) on my stereo speakers).  It works like a hot darn.  I tried watching a movie and that was fine to.  Then it all fell apart.

I had Apple woes.  My phone wouldn’t hold a charge on Saturday and spent the whole day drained.  Grr.  I finally figured out that it wasn’t the phone but that my Mac wasn’t properly powering the USB port.  It needed a reboot.  (This figuring out took from daybreak until bed time – no phone all day).  Strike two. After watching the rented movie on my Apple TV, the unit then locked me out.  It took away all options except to rewatch the movie.  That came back after I gave it a good long time out period in the corner standing in the garbage while on its knees on a desk.

But everything is back to normal now.

I finished the fantasy series I dislike.  Book four (the last) was finished on my way home from work Friday.  The ending was disappointing.  Sad.  It had grown on my in books two, three and the first 2/3s of book four.  But the ending had the same problems that the beginning had.

Six out for gaming on Friday.  We tried out two new games.  One of mine.  And one of Tim’s.  I won both.  Or neither.  I might have only played one of them and had my butt whooped.  I thought I was in it.  I was wrong.

Finishing the books gave me time to finally catch up on my comics.  I had fallen behind.  There were some pretty nifty books.

Today the writ dropped on the next election.  Yay.  I love election season.

That was the week of Todd.  Take care y’all.  As usual I have friends with family in need.  They are in my thoughts and prayers.

Arrogance and selfishness

I tend not to think of myself overly burdened by the vices of arrogance and selfishness.  Now I must admit that I have a fine opinion of myself.  I filled out a profile for work (I’m featured this week in the ministry newsletter/intranet).  In it I said, “I always just wanted to be cool, but I had to settle for awesome.”  My co-workers were tickled by that bon mot and have offered to get t-shirts made.

Still, occasional bouts of hyperbole aside, I like to think of myself more as self-deprecating.  I rarely think I’m the best person in the room – often I have doubts even in solitude as to that score.  Still it might just be that my own doubts and humour simply hide an ego the size of the Orion Nebula from even myself.

One item I do pride myself on is my ability to communicate.  It always comes as a complete surprise to me when it turns out that I’ve fumbled it entirely.  Most often it happens when I try to joke, but that isn’t the only time.

Once I caused a co-worker to cry by failing to respond to their repeated requests for aid.  Truly I was engaged in more urgent matters, but I could have taken the time to respond to their inquiries with an, “I’ll be by to help as soon as I can.”  Lesson learned there – that was likely the second worst day I’ve ever had on the job.  (Although I now find myself unable to leave an e-mail go unanswered which my peer tell me is just crazy foolishness).

On several other occasions, I found that co-workers in remote locations felt excluded from my decisions.  I have been pretty good at telling my team what is going on – water cooler talk, walk-bys in the hall and formal meetings.  But picking up a telephone to talk to someone a few hundred klicks away?  I’m still learning to do better at that.

But normally I screw up trying to use humour.  I seem to take a weighty situation too lightly.  I seem disrespectful of others dreams and fears.  I say seem, because I think it most often just thoughtlessness.  Not that that is much better than disrespect.

And sometimes I say something ironically and it is taken at face value.  And sometimes an honest statement is taken ironically.  I’m not good at it.  When I try and make a quip it comes out as a barb.  Hopefully I’m better in long form than short.

Sigh.  It hurts to have my best tools pain me, but even more when I discover that they have given wound where none was intended.  And thus is revealed my own particular hubris.

To quote Puck:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

But unlike the little goblin, I am in no way being sarcastic…

Mining FB for idea

This blog is mostly just a copy of a conversation I and some others had on FB.  There is some commentary at the end.

The idea that made me want to blog was the contrast between maturing and sexualizing the children.

The cheer competition had a big variety of kids.  I have no idea the age ranges, but I think I saw girls from 6 to 17.  They all wore very similar costumes – short skirts, glittery tops – typically in three colours (black and two strongly contrasting other colours).  They had a hair tie to match the costume as well as shoes.  Finally they had rouge, lipstick (both red)  and eye shadow that also matched the costume colours.

I found the younger kids pretty freaky looking, but I wouldn’t say it was sexual.  At that age their faces and bodies are still round and cherubic.  Makeup or not they still look like an 8 year old.  They looked more like dolls to me.  Let me see if I can find a picture… Here this is what I am thinking off…

I can’t say what the parents were thinking of either, but I’d wager they didn’t feel they were sexualizing their children.  (Whether or not that was the result is up for debate obviously.)  In my elementary years when I was in figure skating (Mom insisted I learn to skate in figure skating before playing hockey.  (Which it turned out I sucked at. (I was scared of the puck.))) for our year end event we dressed up in little casino dealer costumes.

While I’d argue against sexualization, they costumes are obviously meant to mimic older cheer leader costumes so the maturization (note the made up words in this post) is something I’d argue for.  Which does really undercut my previous argument, but I stand by both!

So the question is, is the costuming inappropriate for kids of that age?

Weekly Recap

The Usual

Gaming was good.  I might have derailed the climax a little though.  Hopefully not.  It made a great scene for my character especially considering how he struggled in the previous scene. ‘

Still reading the book series I’m not a huge fan of.  I’m on the last book now and I’m quite engaged.  Funny that.

Movies – I saw the Lorax on the weekend.  The 3D was excellent – much better than John Carter.  he story was OK.  It had elements of a musical with some songs – I always like that.  Some of the images were truly inventive.  If it seems like you might like it, I’m sure you will.

Treek’s Visit

He came up on Wednesday and Thursday.  It was an OK visit.  I had him help me with some laundry.  Most importantly we ate out at the Keg and Brewsters.  That was Yummy.  In a normal week that would have been the big news.

Dad’s Birthday

Dad’s birthday was on Friday.  I spent the previous two weeks worrying about how I and Mom would deal with it.  (I wasn’t worried about Tim – he is plenty tough.)  I took Friday off.  I used the excuse of being around in case Mom wanted company, but in truth I wanted the time for myself too.

I shouldn’t have worried about myself.  These anniversaries don’t seem too hard.  Not much harder than any other day.  Really – I worried more during the lead up.  Maybe prayer came in handy.  I did see Mom that day and she seemed OK too.

Still – I did think of Dad that day fondly.

Standing Difficulty

The low side of the week happened Sunday morning when I couldn’t get out of my chair to go to mass.  The difference is between getting up wearing my shoes and braces and getting up in bare feet.  Both have been getting a bit harder, but the first one turned into a real issue on Sunday.

I eventually moved to option 2 and went to church in bare feet.  Kinda.  I managed to half put on my shoes while seated on my scooter.

Anyway, this is pretty worrisome to me.  If I can’t figure something out this might mean some pretty dramatic changes to the way I live.  I feel much better today.  I’m way less worried.  Which is pretty typical for me.

Good Wishes and stuff

There are lots of friends and family out there who are also struggling.  Know that y’all are in my thoughts and prayers.