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31 October 2014

I have a treat for you!

 

Happy Halloween! As you can see it is time to start planning for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. To kick things off here is a coupon for $2 off admission. The Fair runs from 10am - 6pm on Saturday, November 22nd and Sunday 10am - 5pm on November 23rd.

AND....a free family pass! And yes, big families, NO LIMIT.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
1) Comment on this blog and tell me your favorite game as a kid.
2) Additional entries (still must do #1) for tweeting, Facebooking, etc about this giveway. You can either tag me* or link to your social media mention in the comments.
3) That's it! Pretty simple, eh?

This giveaway ends on Monday, November 3rd at 12 pm Chicago time.


* My social media
T: @veronicaeye
F: vivalafeminista
IG: veronicaeye

30 October 2014

Illinois Feminista Voter Guide


It's that time again folks! And I have again put together some helpful tools to help you prepare for your visit to your polling place.

1) Where to vote? Check out "Where's My Fucking Polling Place?" Not only will it tell you where to fucking vote, but also who you can fucking vote for:

2) Who to vote for?

Since we're feministas here, I don't think I need to say who to vote for in the Governor's race, but I will point out great places to look for endorsements for the other races.
  • Judges: I put this first because most people do not take the time to get through the whole ballot to vote on judges. I think mostly because we have no idea what to do! So hit up VoteforJudges to find out what the different Bar Associations (groups of lawyers & legal experts) think of each judge. Or you can skip right to the PDF'd summary of the judges. It is important to note that a judge running for retention must receive at least 60 percent of the vote in order to be retained.
    • Interestedly VoteforJudges does not list Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier. Only those of you in Southern Illinois get to vote on him. You can read about the race at the Chicago Tribune. Page 5 [PDF] of the Illinois Bar Association ratings has their rating on him.
  • Personal PAC has a list of endorsements
  • The Better Government Association has a non-partisan comparison of the candidates for governor.  
  • IVIPO has a list of endorsements and a printable PDF sample ballot
3) What to vote for or against?

Not just people are on the ballot! But a lot of initiatives. I think that the Mujere's Latinas en Accion Guide is the one to print out and take into your polling place.

4) Wait? How will you remember all of this?

You can bring in a list of people and initiatives to vote for. You just cannot be wearing a QUINN FOR GOVERNOR button or anything that declares your vote to the public.

Do you have other voting resources feministas in Illinois should know about? Please leave them in the comments!

AND...take a photo of yourself after voting (NOT IN THE VOTING BOOTH!)  and tag it #votefeminist and share it on your favorite social media channel!

27 October 2014

Day 300 of #365FeministSelfie!

wow...Every time we hit a milestone I think the same thing. I cannot believe we made it this far.

Three hundred days of selfies by people who call themselves feminists.

What I have noticed over the course of these hundreds of days is the extraordinary way we are living our ordinary days. Many of us have kids and the selfies with kids show frustration, fear, love, and joy. Some of us are students, mostly in graduate school, struggling with imposter syndrome. Some of us are working on leading a healthier lifestyle. Some of us are just trying to get by. We express our feminism in different ways. We have pics at protests, escorting at clinics, teaching our boys that it is ok to cry, watching our girls be brave, bringing home the bacon and frying it up while our partners are away from home.

I have said it before and I will say it again, it has been an honor to meet all of you. Even those of you who have only posted a few times or ran out of steam.

I do have a few challenges in the hopper for November and December as I am also weary of this project. Which is why when people ask if this will continue into 2015, I say, "Not by me!"

Or maybe it will.

If you have ideas on how we can keep this momentum going in 2015, please share in the comments or ping me on social media. I do know I want to continue all your smiling, frowning, scared, joyous, hurt loving faces.

23 October 2014

I'm part of the 99%

of women who have used birth control.

That is what a new t-shirt designed by Natasha Lyonne and Selenis Leyva says. Sales of the shirts go towards supporting Planned Parenthood.

Oh yeah, on the back it says, "It's My Business, Not Politicians." I say we wear these on election day!



22 October 2014

Review: Ms. Marvel, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman and Thor

I can't tell if my new habit of buying and reading comic books is a symptom of a midlife crisis (reminder, I turn 40 in December, send cupcakes & Southwest points!) or a reaction to all the awesome woman-led comics on the market. Let's go with the latter. I say that because 2014 has to be the year of the woman superhero in comics. While I am not a regular comic book reader, I do try to keep my ear open for news like this. So let's do this:

Ms. Marvel: Launched in February 2014, this is the story of a teenage Muslim girl who obtains the powers and title of Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan lives in Jersey, has overprotective parents and thus has a very strict curfew. I'm currently on issue #9 and continue to fall further in love with this character. Kamala is super bad ass because she has so much to fight against. Not only in terms of the mysterious bird-man genius who keeps testing her intelligence and strength, but well, her parents and the expectations they have of her. I was a hesitant to like "Ms. Marvel" at first because when Kamala turned into Ms. Marvel, she was the stereotypical Ms. Marvel - blonde, leggy and buxom. But once Kamala learns to have some control of her powers, she remains Kamala but dressed as Ms. Marvel. Because she is still in high school, it has some Buffy-ness to her. There are moments she just wants to be a normal girl, but for the most part she embraces it.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Launched in August 2014, this series is a collection of "non-continuity stories by an ever-changing roster of creators," so no need to worry about jumping on this late. There are only two out so far, but I am enjoying posting snippets of the issues on Instagram.

In these two issues, Wonder Woman has reclaimed her crown as the feminist superhero. In issue one she comes to the rescue of a fanboy who is teased for liking "girl stuff." Issue two features an origin story with a young Diana being tasked with upholding justice.

The nifty aspect of this series is not just that writers get to put Wonder Woman in any scenario without having to worry about continuity, but that it is a digital-first series, so by the time I get a copy of the issue at my work-neighborhood store, it's already been online for some time.While I enjoy reading "Buffy" as a digital comic and I swear that comics and magazines are why tablets were created, I'm sticking with the hard copies. And yes, it is with the hope that Ella will find them, pick them up and enjoy them as I have.

Last in this ladies of comics round-up is Thor, the new girl on the stand. There's only one issue out and it is all about how the original Thor dies. Sorry for the spoiler but this is how we get to have a new Thor. There's also some hint that a larger power is in on the end of oldThor and the rise of newThor. The guy at the comic book store said that the people in charge of Thor (2014) are fabulous and to fasten our seat belts for an amazing ride. Despite referring to Thor (2014) as "girl Thor," I'm gonna trust him on this. Just because any comic this as a variant cover has to be good. And I can't wait to dive in to see what Thor has in store for her enemies.

17 October 2014

Review: "They Came Together"

In a world of "Scary Movie" sequels skewering horror flicks, it was great to read earlier this year that Amy Poehler would take on the genre of romcoms. I was really looking forward to seeing this film that I let out a squeal when I was offered a review DVD copy of "They Came Together."

While I laughed a lot, I was also a bit disappointed. 

The high points: The characters practically talked to the camera to point out which rom-com trope they would enacting. Especially the way Amy and Paul Rudd described each other in the opening scene. It was a brilliant piece of writing and acting. Then the way NYC is introduced as another important character (it's also on the DVD case) was like a cherry on a sundae. Amy and Paul are spot on in their characters. 

EXCEPT...there are too many moments in the movie where they try to a shove one more trope into the movie and it just seems forced. Plus any movie with a rape and Nazi joke has to get them spot on and they were just off. 

But back to the good stuff...There are a lot of laughs stuffed into this film. Some are great laughs, most were "OMG, this is so dumb!" laughs. Of course, when you think it is dumb is really just a recognition that a certain trope of rom-coml movies is revealed to be so dumb its laughable. Cue poop jokes, surprise kid, and the cougar mother-in-law. 

There is a lot of smart stuff in this film, but again too many spots where it falls flat. Maybe I expected too much considering how much I adore almost everything Amy and Paul do. Maybe they just tried too hard. I'm thinking a lot of both. 

"They Came Together" is rated R and available on digital download and DVD. 

16 October 2014

Space Camp: Post-landing thoughts about Day One

There is the proof! I made it to Space Camp and it was awesome folks. I could write for the rest of my life and not fully describe how awesome it was to be there.

As I have said before, I was inspired to be an astronaut after the Challenger explosion so the shuttle means a lot to me. Thus being this close to Pathfinder, even if it was never built for space, was freaking awesome. Advance apologies for over using "awesome" in this post. Pathfinder does include two solid rocket boosters, genuine space shuttle main engine nozzles and a genuine external tank. So there's that.

I seriously was so nervous for this trip that I had a nightmare the night before I left that I overslept and missed my 6 AM flight. Then I was worried that I booked a flight for the wrong weekend, because well, sometimes I am prone to writing things down wrong. I double checked times a zillion the dates when I booked the flight and every few days since then. I guess when you have been dreaming of something for almost 30 years you get a little anxious about details. I wasn't calm, er, sure this was happening until I met another camper at the airport. Two people couldn't be wrong!

We got picked up by the Space Camp SUV from Huntsville Airport and a quick drive found us at SPACE CAMP!!!!! After a quick check-in process I found my room and bunk. Yup, bunk. We get the same accommodations as the kids do.

I unpacked and waited for my roommates to show up. One did and then left. She checked into the hotel next door. Yup, the bunks were certainly not hotel worthy. They were bunks. But hey, it's part of the experience right? Soon my other roommate showed up. Mary stayed. Yay!

She had made a friend, Lynna, on the way to camp and as fate would have it, she was next door and all three of us were in the same mission crew. So we headed out to find some food and picked up my airport friend, Stacy. Afterward we headed over to orientation where Stacy had to join her crew while Mary, Lynna and I met the rest of the crew of the Endeavor. We had a two couples and a father-son in the group. Our first task was to start building a rocket. The goal would be to successfully launch said rocket AND ensure a safe landing for our egg-stronaut. It has been years since I launched a rocket, pretty sure we did it in high school physics class, so I was a bit lost as to the best way to do it. And wouldn't you know it, we had an engineer on our team!

Next we were given positions for our first mission. I received the job of talking with the International Space Station. That meant I had to relay anything from Mission Control to the ISS and vice versa. I also had to help them solve any issues. During our training the trainers threw a lot of anomalies our way with O2 and N2 leaks galore! There was one point where I basically threw my hands up in a "I HAVE NO IDEA!" way. All the codes were a mystery to me and the anomalies just kept coming.We had three different reference guides and it was all written in code. The quick reference guide was neither quick nor reference!

But in the end it was all a lot of fun. And practice for our actual mission on day two. More on that later.

Astronaut selfie! Margaret Rhea Seddon's husband Robert L. Gibson! Margaret was part of the first group of women astronauts & went to space 3 times. Robert flew 5 shuttle missions! He told amazing stories. #LaunchRoniAfter dinner we received the treat of a lifetime...we met a real astronaut! The second astronaut I've had the chance to meet! And not just any old, astronaut (is there even that kind?) but Robert L. Gibson who is married to one of the original women astronauts, Margaret Rha Seddon! Yes, I was equally excited to meet an astronaut who flew 5 of the six shuttles AND was married to a woman astronaut. While I was a kid and memorized a lot of NASA trivia I use to be able to name all the original women astronauts. Gibson told some amazing stories of not just his days as an astronaut, but also has a fighter pilot. I'm drawn to space exploration for the exploration part, so I sometimes forget how intrinsically it is tied to the military, especially in the early days when being a fighter pilot was a requirement. You could tell we were at Space Camp because after he spoke to us and we watched "The Dream is Alive," the line to meet him was three times as long as the line for wine. AND...AND...I impressed him. How? My selfie taking skills. OMG, for reals! I impressed an astronaut. Sweet.

07 October 2014

Further Thoughts on Sparkle Science

I'll be talking Sparkle Science on The Morning AMp on Vocalo and then The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ on Wednesday. 

From deviantart.com
On Monday I threw in my two cents on the "Sparkle Science" debate via an op-ed published by USA TODAY. Overall I've received positive feedback and more "thank yous!" than I expected. But in the midst of writing on deadline, I missed a few things, but I want to address the only push back I've read...so far.

The first is that I framed the conversation in too much of a bifurcation of girlhood/femininity. I should know better as my daughter is certainly a tutu-wearing skinned-knee girl. OK, I can't recall the last time she wore a tutu, but she's a girly girl who also kicks ass on the soccer field.

That was the point I was trying to get across. Girls these days are much better at the fluidity of femininity than any of us were at their ages, hell even now!

Second, while I am against most sex-segregated activities, I am a proud Girl Scout and a volunteer for my daughter's troop. There are sometimes a place for girl- or boy-only spaces. Also, the idea that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts had separate workshops most likely stems from badge requirements. When we have attended museums for workshops, they tailor the activities to ensure we hit all the requirements for our badge. I assume the same with the Boy Scouts.

And as Michael Story pointed out on Twitter (I saw this after my op-ed was live), the Carnegie Science Center does offer a variety of science programs for girls with & without sparkle:
Going to show that sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words, but the whole photo says even more. Of course the full photo does not excuse the sole offering for Girl Scouts.

Lastly...since a photo is worth a thousand words, here's the photo of the letter my friend's daughters received from GoldieBlox. OK, so I got axels and bloxes mixed up, sue me!

06 October 2014

Quick Hit: Selfie the TV Show

Because I launched the #365FeministSelfie project, I have been asked a few times what I thought of "Selfie," the new TV show on ABC. And I finally had a chance to watch it tonight, after a fairly boring episode of "Once Upon A Time," we'll discuss that show's fall from awesomeness another time. Back to "Selfie."

As most of the comments at "The Mary Sue" said, the first half of the show was sooooo hard to get through. It was seriously painful to watch as I could not feel anything for any of the characters. But the last half...now this is where we were able to see some real action. There were a few "really?" moments such as a certain character living in a glass house. Come on!

What struck me is that the premise of the show is completely the opposite of #365FeministSelfie. Almost two weeks ago we rolled past the 265 mark meaning that we're into the last 100 days of this project. The premise of "Selfie" is that Eliza is beautiful on the outside and not-so-much on the inside. The premise of #365FeministSelfie is for us to realize our beauty everywhere despite our insecurities, body issues, and sometimes emotional abuse that makes us feel ugly everywhere. I think the wedding scene is where the show hooked me - Eliza is not just using selfies to be popular, but to hide. And part of why I started the project was to ask women, especially moms, to stop hiding behind the camera and get in front.

So maybe the premise is similar, even if every five minutes they are slandering the selfie. I guess I'll just have to keep watching to find out.

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


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