But…I Don’t Do Super Hero Movies!!

Anyone who knows me could have told you one for sure thing about me – I don’t do Super Hero movies. (Or Star Wars, but that’s not germane to this post.)

Or, I didn’t.

Until last weekend.

I had my belt test for my Single Black Stripe in Taekwondo last Saturday and was meeting up with some friends for dinner that evening after the test (one day I will have someone there to watch just me, LOL). And somehow I suggested we go and see Wonder Woman.

It seemed kind of apropos to the day and the reason we were getting together – and I already had my ticket for On Your Feet the next day. So we got our tickets (in advance thank goodness as even getting them on Thursday our seat selection was limited (our AMC theaters in NYC have reserved seating, which makes it so much better than the old line up and then scramble for seats routine) but we got 3 together) and after dinner we headed to the movie theater.

I had heard all the buzz – I knew it wasn’t the Wonder Woman of the tv series I remember watching (ah, the twirl to get out of street clothes and into the Wonder Woman costume – hey, my parents watched it and we had family tv time after family dinner time). And I tried to go in with an open mind.

And I was captivated from the very start. THIS was a Super Hero movie I could get into. And no, not *just* because of the Amazons and the training sequences. Everything was different to the other Super Hero movies I’d seen. (Yes, I’d made myself watch a couple of Marvel ones when I worked at The Disney Store – usually when I was on a cruise and didn’t have to pay for it. So I knew the standard formula.) I knew this was Diana’s origin story as Wonder Woman, but even so it was MORE story even with the action.

Early on, it was pretty clear this was directed by a woman who wanted to present women in a strong light, but also with realism – I’ll get to the major thing with that later. There were times that there was some slight flesh overhang in places where real women have it sometimes – and other real-woman things that likely would have been taped up or computer fixed away had this been a male director.

There was humor as well. The infirmary scene with Steve and Diana was full of double entendre which drew definite laughs particularly from the women in the audience both times (whoops…did I just let a spoiler for this post out?? stay tuned!) – “You let that little thing tell you what to do?” got an especially large laugh. And then later the Diana’s quip about men being necessary for procreation but not so much for pleasure got another large laugh.

Watching Diana through training and what self-discovery she is able to have under the protectiveness of Hippoltya (really over-protectiveness), seeing her discover what she could do – sometimes through training, others through circumstance, it hit a nerve for me personally as I’ve discovered things about myself and my abilities through my Taekwondo training. NOT that I’m under any illusions there, but I know that it’s made me stronger…and its made me recognize a strength that I always had but tended to let lay dormant.

But let’s get to THE scene. The scene that for me puts this film above the other Super Hero movies I’ve seen. Where we see that ultimately it’s love and compassion that drive Diana (yes, I would argue that in the final battle sequence it is ultimately love and not vengeance that drives her – but that’s not the scene I’m talking about here). The scene that as I understand it was almost cut.

No Man’s Land.

I got chills followed by tears as Diana looked at the men telling her she couldn’t but then boldly climbed out of the trench and marched across the barren land, fending off bullets (with some pretty awesome outside blocks, by the way) and then using her shield as cover so that the men could then come up and fight for themselves.

For me, that scene was as powerful as the scene in Maleficent when Maleficent awakens to find that her wings had been removed. Both are pivotal scenes for the characters, and both are scenes that will stay with me.

It’s in that scene that Diana truly comes into her own – yes, even before she learns who she really is in her battle with Ares. And it is breathtaking. Simply put, had that scene not been in the film, I do not think it would be the film it is and have the impact it is having. She acts out of love and compassion for innocent people, not out of some need for personal glory. And later in the battle with Ares, love and compassion are present even there, even though there is an element of vengeance for Steve’s sacrifice, it is ultimately her compassion for humanity that drives her.

And now to what I alluded to earlier. The realism. Diana’s thigh jiggled. Slight, true. But both in her striding across No Man’s Land as well as when she lands after the epic battle with Ares, her thighs have a slight jiggle. Because guess what? Women’s bodies jiggle! It happens. Even muscles have a bit of jiggle on impact. And that is mind blowing!! How many other times has that been computer-fixed so that we don’t see jiggle, we don’t see imperfection, no matter how slight.

I applaud Patty Jenkins for keeping both the scene AND the jiggle in the film. Thank you Gal Gadot for bringing Diana to life with such compassion, strength, and humanity. Thanks to all involved for making this wonderful film.

Yes, I have gone back to see it a second time. Yes. I have bought the Art and Making of book as well as the novelization. It solidified my desire to go to Greece (next summer!!). It’s fired me up in Taekwondo training (at least 18 months from Black Belt test) – already instructors have commented how fired up I am in class. And I will go back again to see this film. Probably Friday!

So I can no longer say “But I don’t do Super Hero” movies truthfully. Now I can say “I don’t do ALL Super Hero movies. But I do Wonder Woman!”


Balancing it out; Listening to the body and Looking for the beauty

It was awesome last week having the time off from school to recharge. While the cold weather made me question my sanity for deciding to cancel the cruise I’d initially scheduled for last week, it turns out that my “stay-cation” was all for the best.

First, it allowed me to go to some of the morning classes at the dojang, which I fell in love with. It was all women (apparently that’s usually how it is) with the exception of the Wednesday instructor and the Friday co-instructor. Wednesday was “Beginning Sparring” which was different from “Sparring Basics” in that we did a lot more light sparring rather than the kick and block drills we do on Monday. I’m not complaining about those at all – I need them to learn! But as much as I like to quote “Mulan” regarding sparring (“But I don’t wanna kick the other kids’ butts!”), it was kinda fun. Do I want to build up and maybe compete sparring? No clue yet. But… At the end of class when we paired up and sparred for 2 minutes, the others were all like “Look at that face. So competitive!” And Master Lim said to them “That’s what you need! You need the competitive spirit!” then after, one of the black belts I’ve worked with before said “Get her trained and this one will be your best fighter!” I don’t know about that…we’ll see. But they were all so supportive – one even said “I remember even when you were a white belt…you were always smiley and friendly, but I could just see you NEVER quit. I said ‘She is made for this!'” So it was sadness to leave Friday knowing I won’t be back with them until the summer if then because the schedule sometimes changes.

Other stuff with Taekwondo is going well. I’ve definitely got my form (Tae Geuk Sam Jang) down to the point that it’s all about nit-picking right now. Which is good because the next belt test is on March 5!! Whee!! Tuesday’s class was…challenging. I was not totally on top of things, and it showed – my instructor asked me about it last night; he could tell something was off with me. It’s just a lot of stuff – school is always stressful so there’s that, I got the “we need to verify your identity before we process your refund” from the IRS all of TWO DAYS before I was supposed to get my refund – so now it could be up to SIX WEEKS until I get is (don’t get me wrong – I’m glad they’re concerned about identity theft, but it seems like it should NOT take six weeks if we verify everything correctly; PLUS if they were going to flag a return, they should do it BEFORE they give the submitting agency (TurboTax in this case) a refund date!) which is just added stress as since I’d been given a date I’d planned budgeted stuff around that and was having to scramble to figure some things out (ok, lesson in don’t count on things before you have them, but who knew that this kind of reverse would happen), and I’m tired.

I recognize this.

And that’s why I didn’t stay for Basic Sparring on Monday night, Adult Basics last night, or go tonight. I opted to go to Modo for a yoga class this afternoon, which was great. I may actually make it a habit – take Thursday off from Taekwondo and do yoga. I think it’s a good plan on so many levels. So hopefully I can stick to this and make it work. Of course, next week is Open School so I can’t hit a Thursday yoga class – but I can’t go to the dojang either, so… I guess that works.

So it’s about finding lots of balance with stuff right now. Balance, peace, tranquility…

Yeah, and it’s an election year. *eyeroll* Let’s be honest… I know which party I will be voting for regardless in the general election. BUT… For the primaries, I am completely torn 50/50. There are aspects of each of the two candidates I like – and there are aspects of each ot the two candidates I dislike. If I could create a person with the LIKE qualities of both and none of the DISLIKE qualities, that would be the ideal candidate for me. But as it stands now, unless something happens to turn me completely towards or against one of them, I’m thinking I may just skip the primary. Believe me, I’m all about voting and the power and responsibility that comes with it. But when I’m this torn for the primary candidates yet know I’ll vote for whichever gets the nomination, it seems better for my mental and emotional state to just not vote in the primary. We’ll see though.

I do wish Twitter had a way to “mute” political tweets if one chooses. There are a couple of people I follow – people whose NON political tweets I like so I don’t want to unfollow or mute them completely – who are on totally opposite sides of one party. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is not uncommon to wake up and find that each of them has retweeted (since honestly they don’t usually have original thoughts on the candidates) AT LEAST 25 tweets belittling the other candidate, and it’s ANNOYING. Call me idealistic, but I would prefer that campaigning – by the candidates AND their supporters – would stick to talking about THAT candidate’s strengths and stances. But I know that in the real world it’s all about belittling the other candidate so that it ends up looking like two kids screaming insults on the playground – at least as far as supporters are concerned. Which to me doesn’t help either one of their cases. So I’ll be happy when this is all over. Perhaps wanting to move to Canada or somewhere else. But happy.

In the meantime, I’m opting to use what extra funds I have to support beauty and art in the form of truly independent film. Yes, I’m talking about “Lost In Time” again. Kat released another couple of scenes and man. I totally cannot wait for this film. I so admire that Kat is so far solo producing this (along with all of us supporting the campaign on GoFundMe) and is therefore able to stay true to her vision. She’s said on twitter that story, the people, and everything about this deserves THE BEST and I totally agree. That is why I feel so strongly about supporting this truly indie project and WILL do whatever I can to help it!! You can see the clips Kat has posted from the film as well as learn a bit more at the website: GoFundMe – Lost In Time. Please go and check it out!!

So yeah… I’m all about finding the balance and the beauty in life right now.

Support Truly Independent Film!

More stuff about me soon, but I wanted to share something super cool and super special.

Katherine Brooks, writer and director of the films Loving Annabelle and Waking Madison is in the final stages of completing her new film Lost in Time.

Guys? From everything I’ve seen, this is going to be a great movie with a powerful story (based on true-life events) and great acting (Jill Hennessy for one!). The trailer and clips Kat has released look AMAZING.

This film is truly independent – initial funding was through kickstarter, there’s been some additional funding through some EBay auctions, and now they’re in the final stretch and SOOOOOOOO close to having all the funding needed to complete post-production and get everything wrapped up.

So… Kat’s set up a GoFundMe page – Lost In Time GoFundMe – to raise the final bit of money. You can see the trailer there. And you can see more about the movie itself here – Lost In Time.

With all the talk about lack of recognition for women directors in Hollywood (as well as diversity in general), it’s great to see this truly independent, truly female-led film being so close to completion – just a little more to go.

No, Kat did not ask me to blog about this – I’m choosing to on my own because from all I know about this project I believe in it. I’ve made my own donations – through this campaign as well as through one of the auctions – a Buddah necklace Kat found in Thailand…

So I’m putting my money where my mouth is. 🙂

Seriously… Go and check out the links. This film is going to be special. Support it – and truly independent film!

Training continues (and other things)…

Training continues to go pretty well. I’m still going to PT for the plantar fasciitis – and now we’re working on massaging my posterior tibialis as it’s tight and seems to be the underlying cause of the PF (though it can also be the other way around…a bit of a chicken and egg thing). But it’s going well.

The past couple of days have been interesting in the apartment. For some reason (I’m still unclear as to why), they had to cut a hole in the wall between my apartment and the apartment behind me

and move the refrigerator and oven to the basement for the night. That part really confuses me as there was nothing done to the walls in the kitchen, so I honestly have no clue. Because they weren’t done by the time they had to leave yesterday, they put a door with a lock where the hole was

until they got here today and finished up whatever needed to be done. Supposedly an insurance guy was to be here this morning, but I was out on a run, so I have no clue. My only guess is something to do with wiring? That’s the only thing I can think that would require getting into the wall and moving the fridge and oven (assuming those are on the same power line if that’s what was going on).

Fridge and oven are back in place and the only casualty seems to be one cooked buffalo patty that has gone missing. I know one is missing because I cooked THREE yesterday. Ate one yesterday and put two in the fridge. Only one was in there today when I got home from running around Manhattan. It was very interesting to see where they had put the stuff that was on top of the fridge (cookies, cocoa-hazelnut butter packets, granola cereal, and A CAN OF SOUP were put IN THE FREEZER!?!?!?) – so who knows. Not a huge deal (other than that buffalo is rather expensive), but interesting that THAT is what was missing. I’m really glad that everything that was ON the fridge is still there as it includes the magnet Kara Goucher autographed for me AND my Disney comp tickets. But all those are accounted for.

After my run around (and around and around) the reservoir in Central Park, I came home and got a shower and saw a little of whatever was going on, then headed into Manhattan. I mainly wanted to hit Adventure SCUBA to talk with them about snorkeling lessons. When I go on my cruise in February, I’ll have some onboard credit and think I want to do an excursion. There’s one in Nassau that’s a catamaran sail and snorkel – and while I’ve asked and learned that you can do it and simply swim or just hang out on the catamaran, I’d like to try snorkeling if I can do it. And this place offers lessons – and if I can do it and like it, I get a discount on any equipment. I just have to call them and set up a Tuesday or Thursday evening and they’ll set me up with an instructor and some rental equipment for the lesson. 🙂 Yay!!

I decided to hang out in the city and try the lottery for Matlida but that left a bit of time. So I headed to a movie theatre to see what was there. I ended up seeing The Spectacular Now, which was actually pretty good (and saw previews for some movies I definitely want to check out!). Lost the lottery for the show tonight, but M and I have decided that we will try again next week. One nice thing they’re doing is keeping a list of the winners of tickets for the past 30 days, and you can only win once every 30 days! Doesn’t necessarily help with tourists trying the lottery, but at least it would eliminate some locals.

Oh, and in what may be a bit of insanity (but will be REALLY fun I know), I seem to have agreed to run a marathon with Jennifer Graham (author of Honey, Do You Need A Ride? which is only like my favorite running book!!) on her blog Endie Runners. And not just any marathon – Boston. I did give her the caveat that I’ll need to save up for the charity entry, so it’ll be a couple of years… But I’m just putting it out there now…I’ll be doing fundraising again sometime in the future. 🙂

So… That’s about it for now. I really do promise to try to get back to coherent, one-topic entries soon. But this is how life feels about now – all scattered!

Peace and running!