Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Once Again, Teen Girls are Thought to be Idiots

Ally Carter said once that if she ever needed a huge heist done, she'd get teen girls to do it, since no group is so constantly underestimated at teen girls are.  I imagine the snarky little tweet that set my blood boiling about paranormal YA romances teaching teen girls to love monsters was intended to be humorous. Let me list for you the reasons that I am unable to entertain such a notion. 
1. This assumes that reading romance could only possibly teach you about falling in love with people like the book characters you read about.  So, if I read about military guys, or firefighters, I will no longer be able to fall in love with a lawyer or accountant without first reading a book about it.  As the wonderful posts at read a romance month have shown, romance novels contain many lessons within them, lessons about love, compassion, and expecting to be respected and treated well by those who love you.  I honestly have to wonder if the people who are constantly so threatened by this, worry they are unable to live up to this idea of love and respect. We could spend a lot of time discussing what may or may not be realistic about books, and goodness knows I'm not saying every book is perfect, but dismissing a whole subgenre because someone might get a bad idea reading one, is kind of insulting really.  Oh wait, not kind of.  Totally.  Totally insulting.  No one worries that reading too many mysteries might give you an unrealistic sense of justice. 
2. Paranormal romance is of course, only ever about boys with powers. Oh wait, it totally isn't.  Girls can be vampires, dragons, witches, werewolves and all those other things.  Anyone who had done more than glance in the general direction of the shelf in the bookstore would know that.  Just looking at the covers would make that clear.  But, silly me, I'm ruining the joke with facts. 
3. And the final assumption - of course only teen girls read paranormal romance.  Not boys.  Or adults.  Nope.  Couldn't be.  Unless of course we are somehow assuming that only teen girls will get wrong ideas because adults know that books are fiction and maybe boys do to, but teen girls, apparently don't understand that lesson until they are older.  Sure.
I know, it turns out there was a lot of assumption and misinformation packed into that tweet.  So, I did what I often do these days.  I bought some books until the rage went away.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Three Interesting Things

1. This post on flexibility and yoga was a interesting and mentioned how comparisons to other classmates can hold us back. 
2. The lovely Maisey Yates wrote a post about the power of saying yes.
3. It's a tricky balance to talk about good things that result from tragedy, since certainly no one wants to believe Fate/Determinism/Deity of your choice must resort to death in order to engineer a meet cute, but there is still something quite lovely about the story of a victim of the Boston bombing falling in love with and marrying one of the nurses he met in his recovery.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tara's Muscles Chat

We are well into the physical therapy phase of my knee recovery, leading to, well lots of learning and relearning how people do things like walk normally. (I'm really good at limping now and apparently there is no good future in this, so fine, normal walking is the new black.)
So, a sampling of things my various leg, foot, and butt muscles are saying.
"Oh, sure.  Now you remember me."
"Wait.  I thought we weren't doing that any more."
"Ha, ha, we've been doing all the work and now it's your turn!...Wait, we still have to work to?  What? Who agreed to that deal?"
"This feel weird.  Does this feel weird to you?"
"Are you sure that's the way that's supposed to work?"
"Oh, no, not doing that.  Nope.  Not, wait, what?"
"Hey, that, actually didn't hurt.  Oh, wait, no, that. Didn't like that."
"Is this faster?  It feels faster than we've been going."  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

If I Stay

I had the opportunity, thanks to my book club, to go to a screening of "If I Stay" in Tyson's Corner.  (And thanks to the Silver Line for making that a more likely possibility.)  Now, I've mentioned before that I loved the book, and I wasn't really sure how they would do a movie, but I was totally willing to see, and once I saw the trailer I was so in. 
The story is about Mia who is in a car with her parents and brother that gets into an accident.  She is in a coma, and separate from her body, is able to walk through the hospital, seeing and hearing her visitors.  Woven throughout are her memories of before, of growing up, learning the cello, meeting Adam, hanging out with her friend Kim, and her family.
As with any movie adaption there are changes, most of the changes seemed to me about time, which is to say that there's a subplot or two that's different, but ultimately the changes were not egregious and were in service to time.  The movie felt like the book to me, and I also felt like they did a wonderful job of demonstrating the closeness of Mia's family, how Adam and Kim fit into that, and the tension of the choice of leaving behind the people left, versus going on. 
I also want to applaud the music direction.  Adam and Mia bond over their shared appreciation for music.  I saw an interview where Chloe Grace Moretz said she had trained on the cello for several months to get an idea, but that since Mia has been playing since she was a child, they did do some movie magic to put the hands of a more experienced cellist on screen in places.  I say this, not because I found it distracting or even noticed, but because the cello playing seem as expert as it needed to be to me, so I had wondered. 
Adam is in an up and coming band, and they did a really interesting job, both from a set design perspective and a sound perspective where the smaller venue felt, looked, and sounded a little smaller, a little like the sound equipment was a little older, and things changed as the band's prospects changes.
The acting was great, all across the board, but a special shout out to Aisha Hinds as Nurse Ramirez, a small but crucial role.  (Oh Nurse Ramirez.) 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

7 Things: The Tear Gas Edition

I kept holding off on this post, hoping it would become unnecessary. But, here we are.
1. There are a few kinds of tear gas, but ultimately it's an aerosolized irritant.  It inflames the mucus membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat making them feel inflamed, itchy, and irritated.
2. It can also causing burning, itching, and peeling of the skin.
3. Tear gas can be fitted to a gun, with a blank cartridge. So reports of shots followed by tear gas, might just be the deployment of the tear gas, rather than a cause and response scenario.
4. Not to make this all about me, but I take three medications a day to assist with my allergies and asthma so I can hopefully breathe normally. Given that an estimated 1 in 12 people have asthma, it's highly likely when you gas a town night after night, that some of these people are asthma sufferers.  Asthma is certainly not the only condition that would be exacerbated by tear gas, all sorts of illnesses would be impacted. 
5. It also, as you may expect has a greater effect on children.
6. I saw some people wondering on social media why people would bring their kids to a protest that by now has a pattern of erupting into violence.  Here's the story of a family who stayed in, and gave refuge to one reporter.  They have to turn their AC off to try to slow the creep of tear gas into their house.
7. Tear gas, per the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the US signed, the use of tear gas is banned in foreign wars, it however remains allowed for use against your own citizens.