Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A is for Aliens, of course!

I caught wind of a blogging challenge this month where people write on topics from A to Z through April. I think I can do this, stay on topic (which was aliens and Black girls), AND somehow keep them relatively short! So instead of trying to play catch up, I will just start with today as A and make sure to remember what I had planned for the rest of the letters. There is still plenty of time to do a blog a day and keep up!

So A is for Aliens (of course.) You can browse the rest of the BGVTA blog and see that I was and sort of still am a little obsessed with the extraterrestrial. And why not? The organisms on this planet aren't always the most civil and interesting beings, so imagining what sort of supernatural lifeforms are out there is definitely much more fun.

Plus, if I'm going to live up to the stereotype and survive an alien invasion, I have to know my enemies!

I guess to make this simple, I'll just highlight some of what I've learned of the alien categories that might even help you, non-Black girl human who may be reading this, survive as well. I mean, we Black girls can't repopulate the world ourselves after the invasion wipes out most of humankind. (I hope you have good hair!)

Type 1: Resource Hunters - The most common types of aliens are those on the prowl for resources that their own home world is lacking. These can be the most dangerous if that resource is something equivalent to our own water or food supply, like those "ugly mothers" from "Independence Day". Let's hope that whatever hostile aliens are interested in our planet have the same hydrophobic/hypochondriac reaction as the "War of the Worlds" tripods or "Signs" walkers.

If, by chance, the aliens are after something less survival-based and more like treasure hunters, this doesn't exactly mean we are safe. In "Cowboys and Aliens," the aliens were actually after gold around the same time as our own country was suffering from gold fever. Contemplate the result of vikings, conquistadors, or Manifest Destiny pilgrims on the shores of a "new world." It's not always a happy ending for the natives. I have seen space herpes and it has sharp teeth!

Type 2: Hungry Killing Machines - Sometimes you just have angry aliens with a stick the length of a comet trail up their butts for no obvious reason. I suppose the Reavers from "Serenity" are a close enough example due their savage and primal nature. While they weren't really from another planet, the decomposition of their social abilities turns them into monsters who's basic instincts are to kill, eat, and destroy. The Thing is another instance of a violently-hungry E.T. who, if you think about it, probably just wanted to escape the Antarctic cold in the warm cocoon of human flesh. Couldn't it have settled for cuddling, instead?

Type 3: Breeders - This could tie into Type 2 aliens pretty well since a hungry mommy is going to gorge herself silly while she's waiting to push out hundreds of disgusting alien babies, whether from her own gooey loins or your own comfortable chest cavity. (How's that for a visual?) Breeders just want to make more aliens. Period. While this is arguably any organism's basic survival instinct when you get right down to it, it doesn't always involve some sort of natural birth. In Resistance for the PS3 (at least to the point that I got which was game 2), the aliens seems to be creating MORE aliens from humans. First in factories (yay science), then in these convenient (and disgustingly gooey) pods. No need to haul the humans back to the base; it's Insta-Alien 2000! I suppose the Body-Snatchers could also fit into this category, though you're really not breeding if you're just stealing someone else's skin.

Let's toss sexy aliens like Asari and Orions in here too. I mean, nothing screams "I want to have your babies!" more loudly than aliens who can have sex with their minds with any other races, or those who use sex as their weapon. Kudos to the green and blue-skinned alien sisters!

Type 4: Passive-Aggressive Refugees - I'm going to put your super-powered aliens like Superman and Goku in this category because I feel like none of them ever come to Earth thinking "Gee, I can't wait to see how that yellow sun/low gravity will affect my personal strength. I think I'll become a superhero!" It's more like "Oh snap, my planet exploded...*sad face*.

As we learned from "Men in Black" we can live in peace with most of the alien races we encounter as long as we use some diplomatic approach. Then again, I have a feeling the world is more likely to a situation like in "District 9" where aliens are abused and at the mercy of an apartheid government because humans are more afraid than welcoming. That in itself is a scary thought because of the "passive-aggressive" part of the refugees that at any moment can turn to just plain aggression, be it towards one Lex Luthor or one entire human race.

To hell with being a short blog! This information was important! I hope you all learned a little something about alien categories today--I know I did, and I wrote this. Do you think I left anything out or want to discuss your own examples of the 4 types? I'd love to hear your geeky thoughts on this!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hair Today: Craving Pink and Braids for Spring

I've decided to spend half of my lunch break deciding how I want to get my hair done this weekend. The other half should be spent eating, but more than likely it'll be canceling my apartment utilities like interwebz and energy. Not to mention changing my address... Did I mention I was a child of extreme procrastination?

Hair is most important right now. It's spring, it's lovely outside, and it's HOT!! I mean, summertime-style hot! Hot means pools, pools means swimming, and for Black girls, swimming means at least an hour of washing, drying, styling, and straightening--unless you're natural. This Black girl loves the permed look, so natural is out of the question; although I am pretty sure it still takes a long time for natural girls to get their lovely lady locks back to normal after a swim, they just get to skip the straightening part. (Luckies.)

Since I've put the pink hair in my bangs and cut the rest of my hair short I've gotten a lot of compliments...mostly on the pink. I went about a week and a half looking like Goku, unsure of what the heck to do with my super short hair after it lost its "fresh from the salon" look. It wasn't pretty...but I seem to always need about a week to figure out what methods work best to deal with post-salon hair depression. The last time I removed my weave and went with my own hair for a while, my savior wound up being bobby pins. Since that style they've been scattered from Atlanta to Washington, DC, but I don't have need for them anymore. Thank you, oh bobby pin angels!!!

What saved me with my current style was remembering hair bandanas. The most ornery part of my short 'do was the middle where there were layers of long hair were supposed to go to the front and short hair stayed in back. Sometimes these wisps of long hair found their way to the back and gave me a weird Gollum look, for lack of a better description. I solved that with a bandana headband right across the middle. It even allowed me to try spiking the back in a more rock star, less roadkill sort of way.

And NOW, I'm craving pink again. Not just for my bangs, but all over! I'm going to blame my blossoming love for cherry blossoms (pink and white), mixed with my ever-growing love for Nicki Minaj's fierceness, and my unconditional love for the "late" Pinky Shear's ability to own the color and style so royally!

I've tackled the short hair and I'm excited to have it start growing healthier than it was before, hopefully. But this is not a style for swimming or profuse sweating. And while I've notices that long hair is quite sweat-inducing in its own way, I'll take the low-maintenance, high-style-possibilities route over short and sweet.

Now, the real question is HOW to do the pink! I want to keep my bang style, maybe a little lighter pink if I can find it. For the rest of my head, there are so many possibilities! I've managed to boil down to are these styles:
  • Full braid extensions, half dark brown/half pink wrapped (ipukeglamour)
  • Half dark brown braids with loose pink weave ends
  • Braided extension/twists with pink braided/twisted into certain strands
  • Straight up long weave with pink highlights (hairstyleideas)
That last one seems the easiest, but it's also requires a lot of maintenance when washing, etc. And it's pricey. Actually...they're all pricey, so let's just forget I said that without me actually deleting that line.

So what do YOU think? Of course, I'm eager to get this done ASAP, like Saturday morning! (It's Thursday now.) Spring deserves a cute look and I've been drooling over ponytails, pigtails, and cyber-dread updos all day. (Well, all day between getting all of my work done!) A work buddy actually suggested that I contact her mother, a stylist nearby, for braids since my amazing Hair Goddess doesn't do braids. She will, however, be redoing my relaxer and bangs tomorrow, and I'll more than likely stop by the beauty shop near her to find pink color options.

Hooray for hair! Gotta look cute when fighting aliens! Or at least try to blend in with their stellar style if they're civil!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Captain Wren Tackles Racism on YouTube

This will be a rather short blog because I spent most of the night editing a video so it can fit on YouTube. (Did you know there was a 20 minute time limit?) You can also see this video on YouTube via my Captain Wren channel. It's pretty bare at the moment, but maybe with time it will be a blossoming broadcast station!

Basically you'll get the gist of the video from the title. Racism is bad and people who openly make negative comments about others' races are ignorant. Period. So I'll leave you with some cosplay photos of mine that transcend color and focus on craftsmanship and the even more amazing miracle of great photography (unedited, might I add!)

Remember, the only way to survive the alien invasion is to come together as the HUMAN race, which we can't do if we're so focused on race in terms of skin color.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Confessions of a Chronically-Impaired Procrastinator

What a weekend! It's almost as if Saturday didn't exist, which really sucks because I had a LOT I needed to do that day. A lot of appointments missed, promises broken, engagements not kept due to a little car shuffling that was totally my fault! I'm almost too upset about my lack of follow throughon Saturday to even go into details. I'd like to just forget all about it and just say SORRY to everyone I let down, including the boyfriend who was so gracious to drive nearly 100 miles to help me out at 3am Saturday morning.
I say this too often and don't follow through but I'd like today to be "the first day of the rest of my life." I actually heard that phrase on "Rocko's Modern Life" years ago and always thought it was pretty philosophic for a cartoon about butt-jokes and other disgusting bodily functions. A good start to a new rest of my life is to admit my issue: I am chronically-impaired. In other words, frequently tardy. Time-retarded. Always late.

I can almost rewind any big issues I've had in my life with procrastination and being late to something. If I had started earlier/on time for A I would not have been late for B, run into C situation en route, and could have been ready when I needed to be at D event. And thus, I might be considered for E more often.

I should give up blaming things on physical barriers, namely anemia, because I know a LOT of talented, famous, and on-time people who have much more dire health situations than something that makes me a little sleepy and can be put in check by an iron pill once a day. I think my whole body just got into a lazy, procrastinating groove that's never really been punished to the fullest extent. Sure, warning at work and the occasional demerit, but usually I fix the issue just enough to get by. It's by no means acceptable and everyday I fear it'll will be the day I pay biggest for it.

Playing around with my work schedule is pretty dangerous (I gotta pay those bills!), but I'm most disappointed in myself when I let others down in areas that I care about the most. Showing up late for call time, forgetting to post an important flyer, missing an event completely because I've overbooked or underestimated my time. It's terrible because no one wants to work with someone who cannot be on time or follow through with commitments. And even more sad that I talk so much talk about wanting to perform, travel, meet tons of people, maybe even get a bit of stardom and fame one day for talents I can improve on. No one's ever gotten famous oversleeping, miscommunicating, making excuses, or showing up late.

As of right now I'm prepping to move out of my apartment, and wouldn't you know it I have until Wednesday (3 days from now) to be out. Percentage of my apartment packed, cleaned, and ready to ship out? I'd say maybe -4%. That negative accounting for all the trash and useless crap I shouldn't even still have lying around, but do because in my case procrastination seems to tie in with a bit of hoarding. That, however, will have to wait for another blog.

This move is supposed to help me save money and maybe get me closer to downtown so I can be closer to the action there. Contrary to the boyfriend's beliefs, it's not all about partying and clubbing. My hoop instructor is downtown, members of Musee de Coeur and the Imperial OPA perform downtown, and there is so much I haven't explored to the fullest after living in the Metro area for 16 years! The downfall is that my commute to work will go from 7 minutes to 47 minutes (without traffic), at least for a couple months until I find a nice happy medium between my work and play. Still, distance won't mean a thing if I can't manage my time better! This should be the ultimate test of my ability to change. I know have it, the ability, but I need to shake myself violently from my comfort zone.

Again, sorry to anyone who reads this who I disappointed this weekend. I really dropped a few balls, maybe even made some dents in the pavement where they fell that could lead to bumpy roads in the future. At this point all I can do is keep going forward with what I have and prove I can do better. This is pretty far from the usually content of BGVTA, but had to be said!

Thanks for all the opportunities! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Confession of Hoop Love from a Student of Flow

Photo by Kevin Stoll.
Woah! I have a blog! Actually, this one never went anywhere, and I've at this point probably had about 100 different ones I've manages, but we won't go into my day job....
I found through a rather helpful website, Brownielocks.com that this week is Yoyo and Skill Toys Week! While my yo-yoing days are behind me for the moment, anyone who knows me is aware of my new love for the hula hoop. To some I'm even known as "The Hula Hoop Girl," which is incredibly funny because I'm nowhere near as good as my other hooping friends or my hooping sensei, Rebecca DeShon!

Still, if there is enough room and music to dance to, I'll have my hoop in tow! It's been great learning even up to the level I am now and I don't plan on leaving it behind anytime soon. I have about 5 hoops currently hanging up in the entryway of my apartment and I don't plan to stop the collection there! I think what makes hula hooping an activity I can remember to do is the fact that there are always those hoops hanging right within sight. Unlike drill team or belly dancing, there's no colorful prop to scream "Hey! Let's play!" while I'm sitting on the couch munching on french fries. Thank goodness my living room has just enough space for me to practice in, because without music and a couple of friends I still have not built up enough confidence to head outside of my apartment with my toys.

All of my hoops, except for my newest LED hoop, were handmade by Rebecca's HoopEssence. She's also who I've learned almost all of my skills from! My LED hoop was made by Cosmic Hooper's Emporium of Bliss in North Carolina. I found him through a work buddy who, surprising, also is a hooper! She's taught me a bit too, like the very basics of leg hooping and a few isolations pointers. After that, it's me in my living room flinging the hoop around, trying to remember all I've been taught, scuffing up walls, knocking over glasses of sweet tea, and destroying my window blinds. It's going to be hard explaining a lot of that damage to my landlords when I move out in a week, but I never expected to get my deposit back anyway!

Like a yo-yo, the idea of "flow" is something you'll hear a lot of hoopers, aerialists, poi performers, and other dancers talk about. Of course you have to grasp the basic skill of keeping hoop on your waist, then you move to your hands, and before you know it you can reproduce that circular rhythm with almost any part of your body. I can remember getting excited about doing an Around the World with my yo-yo in high school and college, but I could never dodge the feeling of smacking myself or someone else in the face if I wasn't careful.

Now I'm not saying that the hula hoop is safer than the yo-yo because I've definitely smacked a girl in the face during practice with my hoop. (Super sorry about that!) But with yo-yos the look is about skill more than that feeling of flow. I couldn't dance with a yo-yo and draw in astonishing looks of a crowd with it like I can with my hooping. Sure, it's not the most amazing skill display, but the overall look of hooping is more than just up, down, around the world. Not to mention, that string on a yo-yo is almost invisible when its moving fast enough, making it hard for anyone to get close without the inevitable clock in the face.

Photo by Kevin Stoll.
With a hoop, unless you're seriously not paying attention or rolling really hard (which, to be honest, is definitely a possibility depending on where you're hooping), you'll see a hoop and will probably avoid it for fear of either breaking the flow. (By the way, if you knock someone's hoop over after you HAVE seen it and can easily avoid it, you're just rude. No one knocks books out of YOUR hands when your reading or cigarettes out of YOUR mouth while you're smoking. Just saying.)

The best part about hoop flow is that you're whole body is moving. I mention belly dancing again because, even though I can't break out in an enchanting tribal routine, I can use what I've learned of isolating parts of the body, arm placements, and hip movements to put on at least a semi-entertaining show. Even if I only do the same 5 moves over and over again, I'm still maybe 4 moves ahead of the girl twerking on some stranger across the room. Believe me, I can grind, and thinks it's great when the mood and music call for it, but it's about as restricting as dancing with an airplane seat compared to the freedom of hooping.

Since I've never really had the chance to express how I much I love hula hooping before now I got a bit out of control with the word count. Still, now was as good a time as ever to mention it given this obscure, albeit appropriate observance this week. In the midst of a million things I need to get done this week, I'll try even harder to pick up and play with my hoop for at least 30 minutes of my day. And with a few new hoop isolation videos I've found, I have a lot of learning to do!

Don't let go of your skills! Whether you like to hoop, yo-yo, jump rope, sword fight, breath fire, belly dance, pole dance, pole-vault, whatever! Fall back in love with it this week or give something new a chance!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I think this woman is adorable and totally working her hair! I love it, but if someone's going to digging in it every  other time I want to fly, no thank you. I'm already usually running late to a flight anyway. I remember I was stopped and scanned with those hand scanners because my shoes had metal studs on them and kept irritating the metal detector. I was only about 12 and I'm sure I started crying. This was also when they let people who weren't flying all the way to the gate with their guests. Does that show my age?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Heart Belongs to Blue

For those who know me in person, this is old news. But I wanted to share a bit more of myself with the cyberspace readers who are only learning about me through my very few widely-spaced blog entries. I love blue chicks. No, not the marshmallow Peeps that only every appear on Earth once a year during Easter and Passover. Nor do I mean some yet to be discovered country group of Miley Cyrus wannabes. I'm talking about blue women; and yes, they do come in that color.

By now you might have already skimmed over my article about the Real Women of Color found in science fiction episodes and--my personal favorite--a certain spectacular video game called Mass Effect. Once I discovered that the Asari were as enticing of an alien race as they were androgynous, my heart was stolen. Granted, my only completed run-through of Mass Effect does not find my female Sheppard character interacting intimately with any of the possible Asari vixens, but the love was there nonetheless.

Since beating Mass Effect I have thought much about the love-lost Liara and her bisexual race of cerulean sisters. My friends joke that I could never truly love another woman unless she indeed was blue (preferably with tentacle cornrows or some other exotic hair/head-style). My infatuation seemed futile, but I was willing to suffer. Only months until Mass Effect 2 would open new doors of inter-species relationship possibilities for Commander Sheppard, and perhaps a second (or third or forth) chance to bask in azure affection.

But then I saw them: goddesses floating in a whirl of ice and metal. Every metallic fiber of their bodies was impossible and (to quote one of my favorite Yoko Kanno songs) incredible math. They worked perfectly together to achieve their highest purpose which was..to both get ridden by a guy named Snow???

Let's shift into reverse for a moment. I'm talking about the Shiva summon from the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII coming out in March. There are actually two sisters, Styria and Nix, who make up this summon in the new Square-Enix project, and boy are they intense! Not only do they support giant headpieces of gold, silver, and steel, but they do an awkward little yoga move and transform into a freaking motorcycle! And once they become said motorcycle, the main protagonist gets to hop aboard and take out enemies on his sweet new ride. Crazy, but I love it.

Final Fantasy Shivas of the past have all rocked the icy skin and elaborate locks, but none so Tron/RoboCop as this new duo. And if there is anything I love more than blue chicks, it's anything remotely related to motorcycles or, of course, robots. After a couple of days of learning as much as I can about the Shiva sisters, I was hooked. I had found love again, mainly in the older sister, Styria, who is darker, trimmed in gold, and forms the front of the blue babe bike. Her extraordinary attire (no pun intended) and unnatural poise gave me a new ambition in life: I wanted to DO Styria.

GUTTER MIND! Not like that! I want to DO her costume. I want to become Styria. At first, the thought was overwhelming and as fantastic as Square-Enix's namesake games. I studied her legs (exhaust pipes), her sharp gold accessories, and, for the love of the goddess, her headpiece! Maybe I'm disillusioned or overestimating my novice cosplay abilities, but one thing is for certain: I am crazy in love with her complete design. So crazy that I have already begun to purchase the basic materials needed to attempt such an outrageous costume feat--gold rings, foam sheets. If the annual designers of Brazil can dress their carnival queens up 10-foot high costumes, I can at least try my semi-experienced hand at one of Enix's most exquisite and whimsical creations.

It's going to be hard sharing the love when Mass Effect 2 comes out in January. I'm just one girl in the universe surrounded by beautiful blue distractions.