Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stop "Shipper" War!

I’m the first person to admit that when it comes to terms that fandom’s use to describe certain things, I don’t always grasp the meaning right away. Maybe it’s cause I’m not online all the time and don’t always live tweet when my shows are on. It could also be that I’m a more restrained fan in that I don’t buy a lot of show themed merchandise and I’m not a big convention-goer or cosplay. Not because I don’t enjoy my shows, but I don’t have the time to indulge as much as I would like to. In fact I owe my one attempt at cosplay and my two convention experiences to the show Once Upon a Time. I’m a big fairy tale/Disney nerd so this show appeals to me in a big way. However, it was this show that exposed me to the term ship war.

Now when it comes to OUAT, I love the whole cast and all the stories that have been told so far. As to the 4 main romantic couples, I love them all, but in order to keep from being accused of not being objective, I will not be stating which couple is my favorite. I’ve only been live tweeting when the show’s on since the second season and really didn’t become aware of the shipper wars going on until the 3rd season. The way I became aware of it was comments from fans that I follow showing up on my timeline relating the posting of hateful comments that were being directed at writers, cast members and fans of two ships, the ship of Emma and Captain Hook #CaptainSwan and the ship of Regina and Robin Hood #OutlawQueen.

When all this started coming to my attention, I tuned it out at first because I’m generally a positive person and if stuff gets heated online, I try to avoid it as I don’t need all that bother. However, as I read through the comments, I saw that much of the negativity that people were referring to was coming from a shipper group called #SwanQueen that I’d never heard of or would have thought existed given the fact that a romantic relationship between those characters doesn’t exist or has even been hinted at. Now before anyone starts getting ticked at me, I do want to say that I understand that not all #SwanQueen shippers are mean nor are they all hoping for a romantic pairing of the characters. Some support the term as a moniker for the alliance and friendship between Emma & Regina and the fact that they are both rising above their differences so that they can be good mother’s to Henry. In that sense, I’m supportive as I think it’s important to show friendships between strong, independent women as so many shows on TV depict cat fighting and backstabbing behavior between women.

However, the friendship faction of #SwanQueen has lately become overshadowed by the increasingly volatile and vitriolic filled posts of some SQ fans who want there to be a romantic relationship between Emma and Regina. The writers constantly get bitched at for not writing about this (non-existent) relationship even after Adam Horowitz and others have said that an Emma/Regina romance was never the intention nor are they planning to go that route with the characters. Anger has been directed at Lana Parilla & Jennifer Morrison for what SQ fans perceive as a lack of support from them for the SQ ship (even though as actors it is their job to promote that stories that the writers create). Both of them are very anti-bullying and always promote no hate online so it’s very sad to see some of these fans who claim to love and admire them ignore their message and attack them and others.

One thing that first upset me about all this was an article that appeared on that criticized Jennifer Morrison for posting about stuff related to CaptainSwan on her Twitter page even after she also thanked SwanQueen fans for their support. Even Colin O’Donoghue and Sean Maguire constantly receive hate for anything their characters do onscreen with Emma and Regina or if they tweet stuff that SQers think is a dig to their ship. Negativity even comes from online reviewers of the show who should be objectively relating the events in each episode instead of using it as a way to promote their own feelings. I’ve seen this constantly from a reviewer on who not only writes reviews that are completely skewed towards SwanQueen romance, but who also fills the reviews with memes of screen caps with dialog they believe Emma & Regina should say to each other. Seriously, it’s a wonder this person is even able to focus on anything else going on during the show.

Of course, I’m not going to claim that #OutlawQueen and #CaptainSwan fans have kept away from the drama. Negativity has come from both sides, but based on my observations, anytime an #OutlawQueen or #CaptainSwan fan has posted something negative towards SwanQueeners, it has been in response to something that the SQ fans have done. OQ and CS fans make the effort to either speak up to defend an actor or to defend themselves from bullying. I experienced hate from an SQ shipper after I spoke up in defense of Sean after he kept getting slammed when all he was doing was trying to raise money for a sick child. When I addressed a comment of encouragement to him and told him tune out the bull, I got called a goody-two shoes and a bitch and was told to “mind my own fucking business.” I didn’t dignify that with a response and blocked the person, but it still got under my skin.

From what I’ve heard, this negativity is not limited to online. I’ve heard that at conventions, Lana & Jen get put on the spot with SwanQueen questions that make it very awkward. A friend who attended a recent convention witnessed some SQ shippers yell “SwanQueen forever” at Sean while he was waiting for an elevator. A more recent kerfuffle occurred when Jennifer, in an effort to avoid drama & keep the peace after SQ fans began flooding twitter with demands as to why there wasn’t going to be a duo photo op with Lana, announced that she would not be doing any duo photo ops with Colin either at the Fairy Tales Xivents convention in Paris this summer despite an initial indication that there would be one. It just keeps escalating.

It’s getting to the point where I’m worried that because of this drama, one of two things could happen. Either the actors will get so fed up/scared over this volatility that they will stop attending conventions and maybe even want to leave the show as they certainly didn’t sign up for this stuff. Or some unstable SwanQueen fan will get all worked up from the conflict and start thinking that if the Hook or Robin characters are removed as an obstacle, Emma and Regina will be able to be together and so this hypothetical unstable fan then tries to hurt Sean or Colin. As much as I hate that my mind goes there, given the increasing levels of hostility that has been directed at them and how prevalent celeb stalking is, it’s unfortunately not outside the realm of possibility.

Frankly I don’t understand this brouhaha over a ship that does not exist nor do I understand why fans of this romance continue to watch the show when it’s not going to happen. It kind of goes into masochistic territory if you would willingly subject yourself to something that constantly upsets you. I can only speak for myself, but when a show ticks me off to the point when I can’t just sit and enjoy it, I just stop watching. For example, when they killed off Charlie on Lost, did I keep watching and let myself get worked up every week because he wasn’t with Claire and write to the writers that they were stupid? No, I changed the channel. And as for when they killed off Derek Sheppard on Grey’s Anatomy, I proclaimed that show as being dead to me one minute after they unplugged him and I haven’t looked back! I mean seriously why stress yourself for something that you have no control over.

Now I do understand that one reason for the drama is a perceived slight towards fans who would like to see more gay relationships on TV and that by the writers and actors denying that this relationship exists, they are called them homophobic. For me when the show first came on, I wasn’t looking for signs of romance between Regina and Emma because there was so much else going on with the characters. Since all this controversy started, I’ve made a point that whenever I rewatch older episodes, I look for any clues just to see if I missed something and I still don’t see anything of that nature. And before anyone accuses me of being homophobic and seeing what I want to see, I fully support the LGBT community. I have a cousin who is gay and when his home state of New York finally recognized Gay marriage, I was one of the first in my family to ask when the wedding was going to be. I also have many gay friends who I adore and when Mulan was revealed to be a lesbian on OUAT, I thought it was a great twist on the character and would love to see her brought back so that it could be played out. So yes, I agree that there should be more gay characters on TV, but that does not mean that I’m ok with SwanQueen fans using a television show to further their own agenda or them resorting to harassment and bullying of show creators to make established straight characters gay. I would say they would do better to use that passion to stand up for the rights of gay couples in the real world then for a fictional ship on a fantasy TV show.

There are two other issues that I want to address and those concern the reasons SQers use to justify their hate towards the Robin and Hook characters. For Robin, their reasoning is that he committed adultery when he fell for and then slept with Regina and then that he cheated on Regina with Zelena. Well, when he first met Regina, it was established that his wife was dead so no adultery there. Now once “Marian” appeared in Storybrooke and Robin and Regina slept together while she was frozen, yes it looked like he was very much in the wrong, but then hazzah, its revealed that Zelena killed Marian so wifey was dead the whole time. Boom! Adultery argument is invalid! As for cheating on Regina, he thought he was with his wife. Robin was just a noble guy trying to do the right thing, but was being manipulated by a jealous sister in such a way that no matter what he tried to do, it would turn out bad for someone. That is not Robin’s fault nor should Sean be getting hate for it as he is just playing a character.

In the case of Hook, SQ shippers justify their hate for him by saying that he’s obsessed with Emma and has stalked her. First off, I have to wonder if any of these people who put forth this theory have actually seen what stalking looks like and can recognize the signs. I did know someone who was stalked for a time by an abusive ex-boyfriend and I can say that Hook has done nothing like what my friend’s ex did. If the theory of Emma being stalked can be applied to anyone (SwanQueeners are probably going to really hate me for this) it’s Regina. The term stalking describes people who pester and harass others and can be defined as the willful and repeated following, watching and/or harassing of another person with a series of actions that occur over a period of time. These actions can include both subtle and outright threats towards their victim, persecution and harassment in a public forum to humiliate their victim and harassment of their target’s loved ones as well. Now let’s take a walk down memory lane for season one when Emma first arrived in Storybrooke and how Regina reacted. Regina repeatedly issues warnings/threats to Emma. She frames Emma for stealing Henry’s patient files and has her flunky Graham arrest Emma. Regina then gets her other flunky Sidney Glass to dig up dirt on Emma’s law troubles and then puts it in the paper to make Emma look bad. Then she went after Mary Margaret (Emma’s family although Emma and Mary didn’t know they were mom and daughter at the time) by framing her for murder to drive a wedge between her and David.

According to a study done in 2000, five types of stalkers were identified, one of which is called a “Resentful Stalker” who is described as pursuing a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims and is motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim. Now doesn’t that sound like Regina? Again, this will most likely get some drama thrown my way and I’m not trying to say that the writers were meaning to portray Regina as a stalker. I didn’t even look at her that way as I thought of her more as a hurt/damaged soul and the character has come a long way. The only reason I even brought this up is because I think it should give SwanQueeners something to chew on before they start tossing around the term stalker just to suit their needs.

In fact, SwanQueeners might benefit from studying the part in the description of stalking that says “harassment of another person with a series of actions that occur over a period of time and can include both subtle and outright threats towards their victim, persecution and harassment in a public forum to humiliate their victim.” They might want to take a good look in a mirror because it could be applied to them. Now maybe they didn’t intend in the beginning to be pushy in their requests for Emma & Regina to be together, but it has escalated and gotten so out of hand that it’s disturbing.

It used to be that when a couple that fans shipped either didn’t happen or happened but was then broken up, the fans were usually content to satisfy themselves with their fan fiction and converse with each other in online forums. However, with the anonymity of the internet and an inflated sense of entitlement that seems to pervade this generation, these fans have the arrogance to assume they have the right to throw hissy fits and demand and bully writers, actors and other fans to get what they want. I have to wonder if they even realize how much damage they do to their own cause as all the drama and hate they spread doesn’t exactly seem to endear them to the writers and actors. Maybe it’s that they don’t even care how bad they look. It may be that they’ve given so much energy to it because they have nothing else going on to engage their minds and that if they give up, they will realize how much of their time they wasted and that’s kind of sad. After all a negative mind will never give you a positive life.

Wow, that was a lot to get out. Now I know that some people will come after me for this, but that’s ok, because the ones who will be those who will be defensive because I hit a nerve and they are the people I avoid and ignore anyway. Some may wonder why I spoke up when I’ve admitted that I don’t really involve myself in online debates, but I feel that when you don’t use your voice to help stamp out wrongdoing, you become part of the problem. Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Lana and Sean and they are truly very nice and kind and having spent even a little bit of time with them has made me like, respect and admire them on a more personal level. As a result, I care a little bit more and find the drama they have been subjected to personally offensive and I’m not just going to sit quietly and not defend them. They and the rest of the cast do not deserve all this bad treatment and it needs to stop.

That’s why I wrote this. Because if my comments here can even make one person pause and take a minute to think before posting something hurtful or of a bullying nature, then I feel like I accomplished something worthwhile.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Once Upon EnchantaCon part 2

After such a busy and long day, I ended up just getting room service and relaxing in the room to recharge my batteries. I allowed myself plenty of time to get dressed and do my hair and everything as I didn’t want to rush. That ended up being a good idea as curling my hair took forever and I had to do some last minute tweaking on my crown. At 8:30 I finally went down to the ballroom off the main lobby where the ball was being held. Once there I met up with my friends from earlier, Linnea, Alex and Kristi. We were a bit early so we just hung out with other ball-goers and took some pictures. I even was asked by several people who had organized the convention if they could take my picture for the website and blog. I got a lot of compliments on my costume and many people were impressed that I was able to reuse my prom dress and make the crown from scratch. There were a lot of amazing costumes to see such as three Belle’s, several Regina’s, a few Snow White’s, two Mr. Gold’s, one Hook, one Henry, some Emma’s, some Tinkerbell’s and Josh even dressed as Peter Pan. I will say that I was happy I was the only Siren as I didn’t want to be compared to anyone else by having the same costume.

Once 9pm came around they let us into the ballroom which was set up pretty nice. They had to photo areas set up which was cool. One was in the shape of an open book that said “Once Upon a Time.” The other was shaped like a coach and had lights around it. There were tables, a bar and a dance floor and they even had a dessert buffet. I tried a few things, but since I was wearing a while dress, I didn’t want to risk anything getting on it. I also didn’t want anything in my teeth. I mean how embarrassing would it have been to be chatting away to some of the actors and have food stuck in my teeth? Anyway, we didn’t have to wait long before the actors joined us.

It was so fun and relaxed as they just socialized with us. I first got to talk with Raphael again and he was so sweet. He complimented my costume and said I was pretty accurate to how the actual one on the show looked. He asked if I had made it from scratch and thought it was clever that I reused my prom dress. I told him I was just glad to get another use out of it after it had been in my closet for so long. He then said, “What like 5 years?” I then said, “Bless you but no. This is circa 2000.” He looked impressed and said, “It fits the same after 13 years?” When I said yes, he said “good for you.” We also talked a little about his career and said I had recently seen his SVU episode on TV and complimented his performance although I remarked that I didn’t like his character (he played a flasher who also assaulted some people). I said I preferred his nice characters like Jiminy or the role he played when he guest starred on Ghost Whisperer and how that role made me cry.

I also told him I really had an appreciation for what he does and explained that I’ve done a little bit of theater and he asked about the shows I’ve done. I said mostly musicals and that I would be trying out next for Spamelot. He said he liked that show and asked if I ever thought of acting as a career. I explained I had, but I thought it was too unstable for me and I much preferred doing it was a hobby. I said that I much preferred my current career as a librarian at an elementary as it allowed me to work with kids and help them appreciate literature. He said he thought that was a real admirable career and he could tell by the way I talked about it that I loved doing it. Seriously he is such a great person and he even took another picture with me.

Next I kind of mingled around the room and talk with other attendees and joined a small group that Keegan was talking with. She was such a delight and looked amazing a bright red off the shoulder dress with high stilettos again. As when I spoke to her before, she was very sweet and complimented me on my costume too. She was particularly impressed with my crown and the fact that I made it myself. She even touched the crystals I had weaved onto it and said it looked so close to the one on the show. I told her I loved making my own jewelry and had a kit for it. She replied that would be something she would like to get into with her kids. She’s truly a pleasant person and she even posed for a picture with me and Raphael.

After that I decided to get a drink at the bar (a very delicious Blue Hawaiian) and went to sit at the table Linnea, Alex and Kristi had grabbed. I was not able to sit down right away as my chair had been barrowed by none other than Tony who had grabbed it when he sat at a table next to ours. Shortly thereafter, he came over to us and apologized profusely for taking my chair and I said there were no worries. He then sat down with us for a bit and chit-chatted. He asked all of us where we were from and if we were enjoying ourselves which we said we were. Linnea and Alex (who were mother and daughter) told him a funny story of how Linnea’s husband knew that he couldn’t interrupt her while the show was on and that she thought Tony was very gallant and handsome. Tony chucked at that and joked that his character was giving the Prince Charming character a run for his money because there were a lot of people who loved Geppetto and saw him as a romantic figure who should have a love interest. He had even talked about that during the Q&A and said that there were some who favored a romance between him and the Blue Fairy or with Granny.

When he got to me one of the things we discussed was my interest in theater and I mentioned how one of the things I enjoyed about theater and performance art was the makeup process particularly in sci-fi projects. I related that anytime I had to play rolls that required a lot of makeup, I had more fun. Since he had been in Stargate, he knew all about that and we both agreed it was an art form is use such makeup. I also explained that I had recently performed in the play “The Woman In Black” which required me to look like a woman who died from a disease that made her waste away to a walking skeleton. He said he knew the play and thought it was very good. I explained that another reason I liked that part was in that my character was depressed and filled with a desire for vengeance for the loss of her child. I said it was the darkest part I ever played and I liked it because it was a challenge. He said that he liked roles like that too, but that sometimes they can be a difficult due to the subject matter. I agreed and said after I would come home from a performance of “The Woman In Black”, I had to play happy music to cheer myself up. All in all it was a great conversation and when he left he shook our hands and even kissed Linnea’s hand. He was really a class act because I saw him going to each table and taking the time to talk with each person.

I next had little encounters with Ethan and David. It was kind of difficult to chat with Ethan because his handlers were basically keeping people at arm’s length from him. It was two women and I swear they acted more like bouncers/bodyguards. I’m not kidding they were militant. I pretty much just got to say hello and I didn’t even attempt to ask to get a picture with him because I was pretty sure they would have bitten my head off. David was certainly more approachable and he was making the rounds. At one point a small group of us was with him and saw my drink and asked what it was. I told him it was a Blue Hawaiian and he said I should try a Mojito next which was what he was drinking. I told him I had never had one before and asked how good it was and he actually handed me his and said to take a sip. I was taken completely by surprise and of course tried to give it back to him, but he insisted. I just took one small sip and it was actually pretty tasty and I told him so. He said if I went back to the bar for a second drink he expected me to get one and I was like “Yes sir” and saluted. A short while later I did get one and made sure to let him know and what was truly funny that he even asked to sip mine. I thought to myself, “Really we’re sharing drinks now? Ok.” I’m not sure if he was just checking to make sure I followed through, or if he just wanted more as he had finished his, but it was funny. He was also was kind enough to take another picture with me so he got points for being awesome in my book.

Now, on to the best part of the evening. I got to dance with Gil McKinney. Yes, I danced with a prince at a ball. The luck of this is not lost on me. This is how it went down. Previously, I related that I got Gil’s autograph. While during the course of that meeting we were talking and as he had mentioned that he knew ballroom dance, I asked him if he was planning on getting his groove on at the ball. Now this was something I had asked all the actors so it was not a question tailored just for him. He replied that he thought so if there was good music and then he asked if I was going to be on the dance floor. I said absolutely yes as I had taken dance lessons for years and loved music. I then said, “Well if you’re there and want to dance and need a partner, I’d be happy to join you.” He smiled and that sounded great. He asked my name and I told him and also said for him to keep your eyes open at the ball as I’d be dressed as the Siren. He said he would and handed me back the autographed picture and said he’d see me later. As I walked away, I saw that he had written “Shall We Dance?” on it which I thought was sweet and funny.

Fast forward to the ball and in my mingling about the room, I encounter Gil. We said hello and he complimented my costume and said I looked amazing. He looked great too in a black suit. Like everyone else he was impressed that I had done it myself. I thanked him again for the autograph and said I loved what he wrote. I did tell him that I knew he was busy and had to go about the room and talk and take pictures so I would understand if he wouldn’t have time to dance. He however said not to worry and that he wouldn’t forget. He was indeed busy mingling, but each time we made eye contact he smiled as if to remind me he would find me for a dance. The only time I thought he forgot was at around 11pm when he and the other actors went to leave the room. I was standing near the doors and he saw me and as he walked by he caught my arm and said, “Don’t worry, we’re just going to take some pictures and then I’ll be back.” I said, “Ok I’ll be here.” He did come back a few minutes later and came straight to me and said “let’s go pick a song.” Josh the MC had an IPad that was hooked up to speakers so that there was music and we picked the song “Apologize” to dance to.

Now I’m not going to wax poetic about the dance and say corny stuff like, “everyone else faded away” or “time stopped.” Rather we just had a nice conversation. He complimented me on my dancing which he referred to as being graceful. I thanked him and said he had nice moves and rhythm and I related that I had taken tap, jazz and ballet lessons for five years and even knew some swing and ballroom. He said it was too bad my dress was too long as we could have done a swing dance. I laughed and said the way we were dancing was fine, but we did get to throw in some small twists and turns. He asked what I liked to do when I wasn’t working and I explained that I was into musicals like he was and was even thinking of trying out for Spamelot. I told him what the show was about and he said it sounded really funny and he was sure I would get cast. I also asked if he was enjoying his trip and he said yes although he was sorry that he wasn’t going to be able to do more in the area since he’d been a kid the last time he was in Florida. I laughed and said “let me guess, it was a family trip to Disney World right?” He said yes and I replied that’s usually the reason for family trips to Florida. I told him I went all the time growing up since I lived a little over an hour away and he said that was lucky for me.

All too soon the music was ending and as it stopped he dipped me which was nice. Afterwards he was sweet enough to pose for a picture with me since I hadn’t gotten one in the morning and he even joked that with my white dress and his black suit, it looked like we were posing for a wedding photo. After that, with a shared hug and kisses on the cheek, we said good night and since I didn’t think I would be seeing him again I wished him well and safe travels home which he repeated to me. The other actors were all gone by that point and he left too. The party was still going on and I stayed for a little while with my friends who informed me that my dance with Gil was a hot topic among the other attendees. Apparently there was speculation as to what I did to get him to dance with me. Well, I say here and now, that I didn’t pay off his handlers, I didn’t know him from before and I didn’t offer him anything. I was just my nice, friendly self and I treated him normally and I would have asked him for a dance even if he was another convention-goer.

I left shortly after my dance with Gil as I was exhausted from the long day and I was planning to leave in the morning as I had stuff to do to get ready for work on Monday. I said goodbye to Linnea, Alex and Kristi and a few others I had gotten to know and we exchanged contact information. As I walked back to my room, I had to pass through an open air courtyard and I paused to admire the night sky. It was very clear out with a light breeze and I literally said out loud, “what a gorgeous night.” At that moment, the song, “A Lovely Night” popped into my head. If anyone is familiar with the Rogers & Hammerstein production of “Cinderella”, this song is sung by the heroine who is describing her night at the ball. Part of the lyrics are, “A lovely night, a lovely night. A finer night you know you'll never see. You meet your prince, a charming prince. As charming as a prince will ever be.” I was on such a high that I was singing those lyrics and waltzing to my room. I’m sure I gave the people watching the security cameras a good chuckle. I even kept singing after getting back to my room and taking a shower although I switched to “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the musical “My Fair Lady.” What with the noise from my shower and the singing, I bet my next door neighbor was none too thrilled particularly was it about 1am.

In the morning, I ended up waking at about 6:30 which was way earlier than I wanted since it took awhile to fall asleep and it wasn’t a restful sleep as I don’t sleep well in hotels. I ended up getting some breakfast and strolled around the hotel for a bit. The first event for the convention Sunday morning was the breakfast with the actors, but that was only if you had the most expensive package. The other events were not starting until about 9:30 or 10am and I was planning on leaving by then. To pass the time, I bought a newspaper and sat in the lobby with some hot chocolate as it was a bit chilly. It turned out to be lucky I did that as breakfast was being held in same ballroom where the ball was held which was right off the lobby (I didn’t know that’s where it was going to be). I ended up being able to see and briefly chat with almost all of the actors again. I saw Raphael again first and he smiled, said good morning and asked if I had a good time at the ball. I said yes and told him again what a pleasure it was to meet him. He asked if I was staying for the whole day and I said I wished I could, but that I had a lot to do at home. I then asked him if he was going back to filming right away to which he replied yes. I then wished him a safe trip home and a Happy Thanksgiving (since it was next week) and he wished me the same. I also had quick exchanges with Ethan and David that went along the same lines.

I next saw Tony who greeted me with a big smile and remarked how “bright eyed and chipper” I looked. I thanked him and said considering how late I stayed up, I was surprised I was able to get up at all. He also asked if I was staying and I told him about how I had to work on some things for school on Monday. He did ask if I saw a lot of kids reading fairy tales. I was able to tell him yes and that actually in the previous week some of the older grades had been working on studying fairy tales and connecting their lessons and morals to modern life. He said that sounded like a fun and interesting project and he said he could tell I really enjoyed my work. He then wished me well and a Happy Thanksgiving and I wished him the same and he shook my hand.

Lastly, I saw Gil who greeted me enthusiastically and actually sat down with me for a few minutes. When I told him I wasn’t able to stay, he said that was sorry to hear that. I said that while I would have liked to stay, there was a lot to do at home to get ready for work and for Thanksgiving. We talked about the holiday for a bit and he told me he was heading home to do a big family get together and asked if I was doing the same. I replied that I was and was actually going to start some cooking of the desserts and sides over the next few days. We they talked about staying in touch and exchanged Twitter and Facebook info so that we could add/follow each other. I then thanked him again for the dance and said what a please it was too meet and he said it was lovely to me as well. We then shook hands and said goodbye as he had to go get ready for the morning events. He was really sweet and such a gentleman. After all that I was pretty happy as I truly had not expected to see any of hem again so it was lucky and a nice surprise.

After that I briefly wandered about the event space and ran into Josh again which was nice. He looked a bit tired and I joked with him about pacing himself with the coffee as he had drank a lot the previous day and it had made him a little over-stimulated. He laughed and said he was definitely going to be careful. We made plans to keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook and then hugged and goodbye. The only actor I didn’t see again was Keegan, but I heard later that her voice was pretty much gone so it made sense that she wasn’t moving about as much.

That was pretty much it for me. I left around 10:30 to drive home which was a good idea as I was exhausted. At any rate, I came away from the experience with wonderful memories and many new friends. The convention was so much fun and aside from the last minute cancelations from some of the actors, it went off very well. The people who organized it did a great job and made sure everyone was enjoying themselves. I think the convention really illustrated how much Once Upon a Time has touched so many people and has brought them together even though many live far apart and have different lives and interests outside of the show. Many attendees’ were already familiar with each other from chatting about the show on Twitter and Facebook so there was already some fellowship built in.

When it comes down to it, my first convention ever was awesome and I know that I won’t be nervous to go to another one. Based on what others have said, I know many people hope that there will be another EnchantaCon in the near future and if there is, I will most assuredly try to be there for it. Everything and everyone was amazing and it was so nice to meet you all. Till the next time…stay enchanted!

Once Upon EnchantaCon part 1

Well, here we are a few months later and I still feel afterglow from the convention. Would have posted my experience earlier, but thought I would be able to relate it better, once I had calmed down, got some rest, collected my thoughts and saw all the pictures. Plus, the busyness from the holidays got in the way. Short version, met cool people, best experience thus far. For the long version, here we go…

When I first heard about the convention last Spring, I immediately wanted to go and started planning what I needed to do. Up until this one, I had never been to a convention before and was a bit hesitant over what to expect. Of course I had heard of ComicCon and DragonCon and was impressed with how big they were and the dedication of the fans, it seemed intimidating and a little overwhelming. Not to mention the expenditure for tickets, travel, hotel and costume. I was lucky in that the convention was going to be in Orlando which is only a little over an hour away so I could drive there easily. As for tickets, hotel and costume, that could be decided once I knew I was going.

When I heard who was coming such as Lee Arenburg, Michael Coleman, Raphael Sebarge, & David Anders to name a few, I knew I had to go. Not that I didn’t love the others, but I had some nice Twitter interactions with Lee, Michael & Raphael and as for David, I’ve been a fan since Heroes. Upon deciding to go, I immediately began planning my costume. Fortunately, I was not lacking for ideas as OUAT has some of the most beautiful costumes I’ve even seen. It was a little difficult to choose at first, but then I began to take certain things under consideration such as portability for travel, comfort, ease of construction, and uniqueness.I ended up deciding to be the Siren that tempts Charming in season 1. Not only was it a beautiful outfit, but it seemed comfortable to wear as it didn’t require a huge skirt or corset and since I was doing the Siren when she’s a blond, no wig was needed. Another reason I picked that was because even though I love the characters of Snow, Emma, Regina, Cinderella and Belle, their costumes (except for Emma) were a little too complicated and I figured there would be a few others who would dress as them. I did hem and haw about what package to get because even though the biggest package had the best options in terms of photo ops, seating and more opportunities to spend time with the cast, the expense was a bit much, particularly before the holidays. I ended up going with the Emerald package which was just as good, I just wouldn’t be able to take part in the cocktail party on Friday night or the breakfast on Sunday.

As the months went by, my costume really came together and I was getting more and more keyed up about the convention. It was so nice to chat with other fans who were going as well as with the actors and everyone was caught up in the excitement. Then came that news that Lee Arenburg, Michael Coleman, Faustino Di Bauda, and Beverley Elliott were no longer able to attend due to their filming schedule. It was so disappointing and I briefly considered not going, but I thought about it and since I had already gotten my ticket and put so much effort into the costume, I decided I would still attend. After all, I liked all the other people who were attending and I figured it would still be fun. Boy was I glad I reconsidered.

I didn’t get to the convention until Saturday as I could not get out of work on Friday. I arrived at about 8:30 so that I could check in early and get the layout. I was able to meet the amazing Laurie Mahoney who was one of the organizers and picked up my badge and tickets for my photo ops and autographs. While waiting in the lobby outside I chatted with some other fans and saw many people carrying their costumes which was impressive. After a little while we were allowed to enter the main room and take our seats. It was there that I made the acquaintance of three lovely ladies, Kristi, Linnea and Linnea’s daughter Alix who also had the Emerald package. They invited me to join them in the second row and made me feel comfortable right away. I also got to meet our fabulous MC Joshua Reid-Davis who was so funny and sweet.

Josh got things started by announcing the photo ops for that day, the first of which was for Raphael Sbarge. As we waited in line, we all talked about the characters and how good he is as Archie/Jiminy. I’ve actually been a fan of his for a while having seen him in Independence Day & Pearl Harbor and on shows like Law & Order: SVU, NCIS, Will & Grace, Star Trek: Voyager, and Ghost Whisperer to name a few. I have to admit I was really nervous about meeting him and got a little shaky from excitement, but he put me at ease right away. For one thing, his smile is just wonderful and he’s very personable and has a way of putting you at ease. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. He asked how I was and if I was having a good time and was just so friendly. They were moving things along pretty quickly so there wasn’t much of a chance to say more, but he did say he hoped I enjoyed the rest of the events. I thanked him and said I would be at all of the events and I that I hoped to chat more later. I came out of that so thrilled that I had to refrain from doing Snoopy’s happy dance.

I went back to my seat and me and my seatmates all talked about it and agreed that he was just such a nice guy. He looked good too as he was wearing a blue checked shirt that brought out his eyes. The next photo I went up for was with David Anders, who I’ve enjoyed since Heroes. He was yet another great guy and quite handsome. That was my last photo op and once my friends had finished, there was time to kill before the Q&A with Raphael, Keegan Conner-Tracy and Tony Amendola so we all decided to get lunch. As we walked out we saw Ethan Embrey on the outer patio. I almost didn’t recognize him as he had grown a beard and I did a literal double-take. It wasn’t until we made eye contact that I recognized him and then I gave him a little wave and he waved back. I’ve known of his work since I saw Can’t Hardly wait so that was a thrill.

My friends and I split up for lunch as I also had to see to my room check-in. It hadn’t been ready when I arrived and they kept telling me to keep following up with the front desk. It still wasn’t ready yet, so I decided to just have lunch on site so I went to the outside patio of the main restaurant. Good thing I did because who should be sitting there but Raphael and Tony. I almost had a total fan-girl moment of “oh my God Jiminy and Geppetto are having lunch together.” It really ticked me because it’s mentioned on the show that their Storybrooke counterparts (Marco and Archie) have lunch together. I didn’t want to bother them so I took a table a little ways from them and ate my lunch. I was in Raphael’s sightline and he smiled at me and I even called out to warn him to watch out for a bird that was sitting on a pipe above his head which he thanked me for. I even saw David Anders a little later.

On my way back to the convention room, I ran into Raphael again. Seriously he was all over the place. He was by himself on the patio and chatted with me for a bit. I asked if he was enjoying his time in FL to which he said yes and also that he loved the weather (It was a beautiful sunny day in the 70’s with no humidity). He asked if I had traveled a long way to attend the convention, but I explained that I was a FL native and only lived a little over an hour away and he said that was such a lucky thing for me. He also asked if I was attending the ball and I said yes and that I was looking forward to it and wearing my costume. He asked what character I was going to be and when I said the siren and that I made it myself, he said he couldn’t wait to see it.

It was getting close to the time for the Q&A so I went back to the room and met up with the girls. Josh had everyone really excited and when it was time for them to come out, the crowd was so enthusiastic. Tony, Raphael and Keegan were so nice although poor Keegan’s voice was giving out as she had been sick. She was a trouper though and such a great dresser. Each of them was funny and very personable when answering the questions. I even got to ask a question about how they thought fairy tales could remain relevant and fresh given how cynical society has become. Each of them responded to it with Keegan saying she thought the show was important in showing the deep relationships between the characters and how despite being fairy tale characters, they still had real issues that people in the real world deal with, but they still meet those issues with strength and hope.

When Raphael answered, he remarked on how the show has touched people all over the world and brought them together. He even mentioned that there were fans from as far away as Scotland and Brazil who attended the convention which he thought was awesome as it proved the show had great power to affect and touch people’s lives. Tony responded by saying he thought the most important messages in the show were having faith and hope, doing what’s right, not being afraid of love and the importance of going out and getting your happiness. He said those lessons were important to remember every day and the show not only embraces those lessons but reinforces them.

What I liked about the Q/A was that they gave each question careful thought and consideration and made sure that each person they responded to felt comfortable and recognized by keeping eye contact and thanking them. The next Q/A was for Gil McKinney who plays Prince Eric. Out of all the actors, I knew only a little of his work. Of course I’d seen his Progressive commercial and I knew that he was on Supernatural. I had even seen Grudge 3, but as I spent most of the movie covering my eyes due to how scary it was, I couldn’t really recall much of his role. I unfortunately missed a bit of his Q&A as I was still trying to get checked into my room and got held up at the front desk. I did see him before the Q&A when I was walking outside to go to the lobby. I actually didn’t recognize him because he had some facial hair. I did make eye contact with him because I thought he was just a really handsome hotel guest and we smiled at each other. It wasn’t until I got back to the Q&A that I realized who he was. What I saw of the rest of his Q&A was really great. He was so funny and he even reenacted his Progressive commercial. He also talked about his interest in theater and ballroom dancing which was cool as I’m into that as well.

After Gil’s Q&A, the next event was the autograph signing. Thanks to the package I got, I was able to get autographs from all the actors. I got to Keegan first and I said I admired her for gutting it out even though her voice was giving her trouble and I asked how she was feeling. She said she was doing better then she’d been on Friday. I also complimented her shoes which were these amazing nude stilettos with rhinestones. They had to have been five inches at least and I asked if they were comfortable and she said they were. I said I loved them even though I could never wear them due to my being a klutz. I next went to David Anders and I said I loved him on Heroes which was the first thing I’d seen him in. I told him it was a shame they didn’t explore his character more and he replied that was due to the season he was in being cut short by the writer’s strike. Before I left I said I hope there would be more of him playing Dr. Frankenstein so we could see how his brother being a monster played out.

Next I went to Ethan Embrey and I immediately noticed he was a lefty. I told him I was a lefty as well and joked about how lefties are always in their right minds and he laughed at that. I next went to Raphael’s table where there was a bit of a wait as he was taking the time to talk with each person who came up. When I got up to him I remarked how glad I was that both Disney and Once Upon a Time went against the original Pinocchio story and didn’t have Jiminy Cricket die at Pinocchio’s hands as then we would not have the character for Raphael to bring life to. He said he was familiar with that version of the story and was glad also. He then asked about my hometown and I said I actually lived by the beach and was quite close to Kennedy Space Center which he liked as he said he had an interest in the space program and he said it must be fun to be so near. I said yes as I could see the launches from my backyard. As before it was a quick conversation, but very nice.

I proceeded to the next table which was Gil’s, but I’ll save that for later. After Gil I went to Tony’s table and he is just such a gentleman. I honestly could not imagine anyone else playing Geppetto and told him so. He said thank you and I said that I hope there would be more Geppetto and Pinocchio interaction as it was always so touching and that I cried in the scene when Pinocchio died, but then became a real boy. He said those were some of his favorite scenes. He then asked if I was going to the ball and if I was dressing up. I said yes and told him about my Siren costume and he said he was looking forward to seeing it.

Once I had finished getting all my autographs, I went back to the ballroom to wait for the next event. There was a bit of anticipation with this because Josh our MC said it was an extra surprise that was super hush hush. Of course everyone was trying to get him to talk, but he held strong. However, a few of us started to suspect it was a Skype session with a special guest because a laptop with a built in camera was onstage facing the audience. We all began to hope that it was one of the actors who had to cancel and soon we were rewarded. Josh started the Skype session and who pops up but Granny herself Beverly Elliot. Unfortunately, the connection was bad and we lost her for a sec, but Josh got her back. After that she was joined by Michael Coleman, Lee Arenburg, Faustino Di Bauda and Gabe Kouth. Needless to say the room was going wild with excitement. There were still some technical issues with the sound and there being a delay, but we were all so thrilled we put up with it. All of the actors were so great and said how sorry they were that they couldn’t be there in person. Everyone later said how cool it was that they did their best to honor their initial promise to be there and surprise the fans.

After that was done, there were several more things going on such as a fan panel and the dinner for those with the highest package. I didn’t go to either as I was pretty hungry and since my room was ready, I decided it would be better to get some dinner and relax as I had been up since about 6am that morning. I did get a surprise when I took the elevator down to scout dining options. I was staying in the separate tower portion of the hotel on the 15th floor and apparently most of the actors were also in the tower and were on the 16th floor. I didn’t know this so it was a shock when I ran into Ethan in the elevator. The way this happened was that I had summoned the elevator to my floor from the ground floor. After entering the car, I went to hit the button, but just before I could, the up arrow lit up indicating that someone on the floor above summoned the car.

When the doors opened, who should be standing there but Ethan. Fortunately I kept my jaw from falling to the floor and smiled and said hello. He smiled and greeting me in return. He recognized me from the convention and asked if I was having a good time. I said I yes and said how glad I was that he was able to attend. I inquired if he had been to Florida before and he said it had been several years and he had never been to Orlando before. He asked me if I had been to Orlando before and I replied that I’ve been too many times to count as I lived a little over an hour away. He replied that was lucky for me to be so close. By that time we had arrived at the ground floor so we said goodbye and I said I would see him at the ball.

See part 2 for the ball.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Response to Rashida Jones's Glamour Essay

Had to write this after reading Rashida Jones’s Glamour Essay on the “Pornification of Entertainment.” I’m not writing because I disagree with her, but because I agree with and support her opinion as I’ve felt the same way for a while. It seems like everywhere you look in music, advertising and television you are bombarded with overt, gratuitous, and at times inappropriate sexual imagery. Mistake me not, I have no problems with sex and am by no means a prude. I’m fine with a hot love scene and nudity if it works in the plot and is done well. It’s when it’s a constant/unnecessary thing that it becomes annoying and disgusting. For me the biggest issue I have with this preoccupation with sex is not only how it’s being used more and more to objectify women, but that some women in the entertainment industry are actively objectifying themselves. Take for example advertising. Paris Hilton did that commercial for the fast food place where she ate a cheeseburger whilst writhing on the hood of a car in a revealing bathing suit. Why? Because naturally that’s how advertisers think a person should eat a cheeseburger in order to sell it (insert eye roll here). Never mind telling us if the burger is in fact any good. If the commercial featured people actually talking about how good the food and service is, I would be more likely to try it. Instead they’re making a commercial that is made to appeal and attract only a specific part of the population. Oh and speaking of Paris Hilton, here’s a person who mostly got her fame because of sex which helped to bring about the whole stupid, demoralizing fad of woman filming themselves having sex in order to become famous. So yes we can all thank Paris Hilton for furthering a trend that’s lunched the likes of Kim Kardashian and Farrah Abraham into careers of……well nothing of substance anyway. With television, my main complaint are these reality shows that either feature a lot of sexuality or fighting amongst women or both and many of these shows can be easily viewed by young women. One that comes to mind is Teen Mom which instead of showing these cautionary tales of young girls becoming sexually active and not being ready for the consequences, teens look at it as a way to become famous as they get to be on TV, in magazines and on talk shows. Additionally, they see famous teens such as Bristol Palin & Jamie-Lynn Spears getting pregnant and receiving tons of attention and money for book deals and so forth and all they had to do was have sex to make it happen. As for music, much of the subject matter in these songs deals with partying, drug use and sex. I know that there are other things to sing about such as love, loss, heroism, family, hard work, dreams, and fears. Unfortunately, those songs don’t seem to get nearly enough attention even though they are very good. Songs are a way to tell stories, but now it’s skewed into what I think is over sharing of information about the singer’s life. Take Rihanna for example. Based on her music videos, concerts and performance outfits, I’ve come away with a strong impression that she’s into rough sex and bondage play. If that’s what she’s into, then good for her, but I don’t need to know about it. However, by making it part of her entertainment package, she’s made sure everyone in the world knows it and can’t avoid knowing it unless you sever yourself from all forms of media and information sharing. Another person that comes to mind is Miley Cyrus. One can’t avoid seeing her twerking her butt off, wearing outfits that leave little to the imagination and sticking out her tongue. If she’s not a prime example of someone objectifying herself, then I don’t know who is. Now I admit that she has some good songs. Wrecking Ball actually is quite meaningful and has real emotion behind it. Unfortunately, that is lost in the distracting actions of Miley straddling an actual wrecking ball while naked and licking the chain. I think it actually cheapens the song. Oh and let’s not forget the VMA performance where she rubbed up Robin Thicke (don’t get me started on him), wore 2 pieces of flesh-colored fabric, (not going to call that an outfit) and used a foam finger in a way it should never be used. Now of course, there are people who, in an effort to be diplomatic, say that Miley’s behavior is to show she’s grownup and maturing. I’m sorry, but in no way do I connect her behavior as being related to maturity. And don’t forget how she reacts when people call her out on her inappropriate behavior or try to offer advice. They are called “haters’ or “crazy” (Sinead O'Connor didn’t deserve that) for their trouble. In what way can this be considered as her maturing? For me, I have always thought that certain words like responsibility, selflessness, and respect go hand-in-hand with maturity. When I think of someone maturing, I think of them doing things to better themselves and contribute to the world around them. For example, maturing might involve seeking higher education, being responsible in your actions, being selfless and supporting others through volunteer or charity work. To me her actions practically scream immaturity and are a cry for any kind of attention like when a child does or says something shocking just to get a reaction which I see all the time with the kindergarteners at the school where I work. Aside from her actions, her words indicate immaturity as well. Take what she said about drug use. She referred to weed and molly as “happy and social” drugs. Clearly she is not knowledgeable about the negative aspects of drug use. The bad effects on your body notwithstanding, what if you hurt yourself or others while under the influence of them? Only someone who has never experienced the pain associated with seeing someone you care about suffer from drug use and addiction could have such a casual and unconcerned attitude. At any rate, this objectification is growing out of control, if it’s not out of control already and it saddens me that so many women actively do it to themselves. Now don’t misunderstand me by thinking I don’t think it’s right for women to want to feel sexy. That is so far from true. I myself like to feel attractive and appreciate when it’s noticed, but I don’t want it to be the only thing that is noticed about me. I would like to be appreciated for my intelligence, my personality, my sense of humor, my kindness for others, my creativity and my volunteer work. I am proud of these aspects about myself and that is what I prefer to put out there, not my sexual proclivities. Lastly, I did not write all this in order to “slut-shame” or attack anyone. For one, I wrote it to further contribute to the discussion that Rashida said she was inviting others to continue. Secondly, I want to show support for Rashida and thank her for speaking up. I think she is a better role model then any of those pop tarts.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I figured that now was as good a time as any to bring my blog back to life as it has languished since 2011 when an idiot professor forced me to create one or else he'd give me a bad grade. Anyhoo, I am so thankful for many things in my life. Firstly for my family who lift me up everyday and are there for me no matter what. Secondly, for my friends both old and new (hey EnchantaCon peeps. Will elaborate further in next post). Thirdly for my education and new job at the media center where I get to work with amazing staff and kids every day and get paid nicely for it. And forthly for my life and the new experiences I've been trying out. I discover something new with each and every one. As I sit here and ponder the year thus far, I am happy that there have been more ups then downs although I recognize the downs for shaping me and setting me up for other things. The year's not over yet so I'm hoping to squeeze a few more good things in. I hope everyone has had a blessed and fabulous Thanksgiving Day. Remember, if you are daring to brave the stores tomorrow, be careful with the crowds and traffic. Massive sales make people lose their minds and sense of caution. Also when you do head home, wherever that is, travel safe. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

QR code for Jing video

Here is the image and link for my QR code of my Jing video.

Jing Video-Sand Bar Recipe

Here is my Jing video. My topic is a recipe for a sweet treat called Sand Bars that I got from a Disney recipe book. I made it a few months ago and it is fabulous.