An Officer and the Extra-Terrestrial

Thirty years ago today, Steven Spielberg unleashed his schmaltz upon us in extra-terrestrial form, complete with marketable candy-coated goodness.

I hate to break this to you, denizens, but I’ve never liked this movie. It’s riddled with forced sentimentality as only Spielberg can inflict upon audiences. But I couldn’t resist this idea when it popped into my head. My only hope is that someone out there gets my weird sense of humor (it actually does make sense if you know a little movie trivia!), and that they laugh even a fraction as much as I’m still laughing.

I Don’t Give a Damn ‘Bout My Bad Doppelgängin’

I warned you, denizens. There was a reason for my last Flashback Friday choice.

Truth be told, Joan Jett’s 1988 release Up Your Alley is my favorite album, holistically speaking. This probably stems from the fact that this was my first taste. However, I can find something enjoyable from all of her Blackhearts releases. I can even dip back into her Runaways years and find stuff to make those long commutes at least audibly enjoyable. All I have to do, though, is just see the cover art for Up Your Alley, and the Loba Happy-O-Meter is cranked to 11.

None more black, indeed.

This was quintessential Jett in many ways, especially in visual style: teased black rocker hair, black leather all around, kohled eyes, “come here if you dare” stare. However, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the cover of her 1983 release, Album. Atrocious jaundiced background aside, this has always struck me as one of her most “fun” covers:

Nothing better than a Jett in flight, eh? I’ve always loved this pose…so much so that I’ve considered getting the silhouette on a T-shirt. Plus, she’s decked in her trademark black, including the leather pants, but she’s still holding onto her punkier Runaways style with her red Chucks, that bandanna thing she kept going for quite a while, and some badass black leather-studded accoutrements.

I love this version of Jett so much that this is the photo I chose as the inspiration for my own Joan Jett costume for a rock-themed party this weekend:

Close enough for government work, right? I was pretty pleased with the overall look (although I’m sure there was more makeup on my pasty face that night than on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race). I thought about taking my Guitar Hero controller with me for effect (after covering the Aerosmith logo, of course), but decided that I didn’t want to run the risk of spilling anything on it. And there was much to be spilled. Open bars make awesome parties.

Most people immediately twigged to who I was supposed to be. One couple, however, did ask if I was Jack White.

Damn young people. Learn your rock history!

Of course, I did have a disturbing epiphany when I finally stumbled back home that night and caught a quick glimpse of myself in the foyer mirror. With my mullety hair and my thickly lined blue eyes? I looked a little less like an 80s rock star and more like a motorcycle-riding graduate of Eastland Prep…

Loba as Joan Jett Totally Looks Like Nancy McKeon as Jo Polniaczek

Take the good. Take the bad. Take ’em both and there you have just a part of Mi Vida Loba…

The Holidays As They Were Intendant…

Yes, denizens, it’s time once again for me to drop a little holiday geekery on you. I’m returning to my Trek roots this year, with a traditional geeky greeting from the Mistress of All Things Naughty, The Intendant.

Because, really, nothing says holiday cheer quite like an unhinged Bajoran wrapped in a pleather onesie.

Whatever your pleasure might be…whether it’s pleather or tweed or somewhere in between, I wish you the merriest of days, filled with peace, love, and joy.

Ode to…Pöpcørn?

I love the Muppets. A lot. I’ve already talked about how Jim Henson is one of the greatest influences from my childhood. Seriously, the two things that continue to make me proud to be an alumna of the University of Maryland at College Park are: my three aunts graduated from there; and Jim Henson graduated from there.

I still haven’t made it to see the new Muppets movie. I’m actually quite irritated with myself over this fact. I haven’t wanted to go see a movie in a very long time, but frog dammit, I want to see this one. Time to finally finish off that Fandango card!

In the interim, however, I’ve been watching some of the YouTube videos put out by Muppet Studios. Two have quickly become my favorites. Two of my favorite recurring characters are Beaker and the Swedish Chef. Poor Beaker, always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop stick, no matter what. All the horrible things that Bunsen Honeydew did to him, yet he continued to rise like some kind of orange-tufted, felty Messiah (ooh, have I offended the fundamentalists? Good). Even when he’s on his own, as in this video, he still somehow attracts an incomparable level of disaster that is equal parts traumatic and hilarious. Okay, that’s a lie. They’re just hilarious…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnT7pT6zCcA&w=640&h=360]

And then there’s the Swedish Chef. I can only imagine that he must be offensive on some level to true Swedes. Right? I mean, come on, such a blatant mockery of their native language must ruffle their feathers at least a little. Yet there’s something so delightfully underdoggish about the Swedish Chef. He’s utterly incompetent and frighteningly inept at his profession. But he means well in his attempts. And he botches his dishes in such hysterically horrifying ways…such as this attempt to make Pöpcørn Shrimp. I can’t stop watching this video. Also, please, please, please make sure that you have the closed captions activated while you watch this. Trust me. You will appreciate it that much more…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE&w=640&h=360]

I like how my favorite characters are two of the Muppets that have regular Muppety heads but have “real” hands (the Swedish Chef always had human hands; in fact, they originally were Jim Henson’s hands and Henson’s voice…Beaker has human hands as well, but they’re covered with felt). Also, neither one speaks a true language. The Swedish Chef is somewhat understandable at times; Beaker though…I have no freakin’ clue there, denizens. Just makes him that much more entertaining. Although, really, maybe Beaker isn’t even a “he.” How the hell can you tell? Maybe it’s a girl. I don’t know. Do you?

While you marinate on that question, here’s one final video, of both Beaker and the Swedish Chef together, bringing their…unique dialects together for this musical interlude. Watch for a guest appearance from one of my other favorite Muppets along the way…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXKUb5A1auM&w=640&h=360]

Don’t Bogart That Roach

She might not have come from the awesome Silver Snail, but Debbie Stevens is finally a part of my collection. Along with all the Freddy K. movies and the awesome Never Sleep Again documentary that Heather Langenkamp did on the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

Can you tell that I’m getting ready for my most favorite holiday of them all? Winter may be coming for some, but Halloween is coming for Loba…

Strictly Ink Is Strictly Awesome

eBay is a dangerous place, denizens. A wonderful, dangerous place. It feeds my need for collectibles. It never judges me for my nerdy passions. It remembers what I like most and makes awesome recommendations based on what makes me squee.

It also introduces me to things that I never knew existed, and in doing so, makes me wonder how I ever lived without them.

Okay, that’s an infamous Loba HyperboleTM. However, eBay did show me a new dimension to trading cards to which I was previously clueless. It’s been a while since I dabbled in this particular collector subgenre, so imagine my delight to discover “sketch cards.”

Maybe it’s because the concept of trading cards has become a bit quaint and silly (yes, I’m fully aware that “normies” would argue that they have always been silly). Whatever the reason, I have noticed a few snazzy concepts that have been introduced to genre card series that have helped keep these as viable collectibles. The two standouts that I already knew about were limited edition autograph cards and costume cards, which contain pieces of fabric cut from costumes worn in genre shows like Star Trek, Xena, et al.

These are both creative concepts, even if they didn’t really reach me on any particular level. I’m a bit old for autograph collecting (unless it’s Keith Birdsong…or the autograph accompanies latex body parts), and the only costume prop I actively lust after is a Dr. Crusher lab coat. And I don’t want a scrap from it. I want the whole enchilada.

The sketch card concept that I just learned about, however, is one that I think is utterly brilliant. The trading card companies design a shell template that identifies the card as being part of a particular set, but they leave the bulk of the front side nothing but white space. They then disseminate copies of this shell to various genre-related artists and pretty much say, “Show us what you can do in this space that’s somehow related to our [show, cartoon, comic book, etc.].”

What you end up with is a pint-sized original drawing that gives a unique take, not only on the trading card concept but also on a genre favorite. Like this card, part of Strictly Ink’s CSI sketch card series:

Loba's protective pawprints of approval added for effect...

This sketch card of Sara Sidle was done by artist Rowena Pagarigan. I love everything about this card: the still visible pencil guide marks; the rough, cartoonish coloring; the random details like the surfer-esque beaded necklace and the pensive eyebrow arch. It’s quirky and one-of-a-kind. Just like Sara Sidle 😀

Does this mean that I’m going to start collecting trading cards again? Nah. But do I think this is a wonderful idea? Absolutely.

Now if you’ll excuse me…I still have some lunch time left. I’m going to go stare at my sketch card a little more…

Sugar and Spice and Everything…Catty?

Today’s EXTREMELY long-winded feminist rant will be brought to you by the letters C, S, and I. You have been warned.

Have you ever seen the first interaction between CSIs Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle? No? Let me share:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOLg3RWL9DU&w=480&h=390]

Not the most welcoming of people, that surly CSI Willows (just look at the video clip description: “Bitchy & Rude Catherine”). In Catherine’s defense, I should point out that Sara Sidle was originally brought onto the Las Vegas team to investigate one of their own for his role in the death of another investigator. She was an interloper, brought in to suss out the possible guilt of one of Catherine’s closest friends on the job. Not exactly the best setup for a warm and fuzzy friendship.

However, this animosity between our two heroines not only lingered, it evolved…or, rather, devolved into a series of biting comments, veiled insults, and out-and-out vitriol. True, some of it stemmed from personality differences. Catherine as originally created had a world-wise brusqueness to her, not necessarily spiteful or cruel, but direct and sharp. Sara, on the other hand, arrived with a quirky, nerdy sensibility and equal doses of naivete and a “black or white, no gray” outlook that often set her apart, not only from Catherine but from others on the team.

They weren’t the only ones on the team who had disparate personalities. Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes as first conceived shared very few commonalities. Our introduction to them also showed them vying against each other for a promotion. Yet right from the start they were still shown to share a comfortable camaraderie, a friendly competitiveness that served to bring them together rather than set them on opposite sides of an ever-widening chasm. Not at all like the steadily increasing animosity shared by our lovely ladies of the pink printing powder. (For the record, I love this scene for the fact that this is one of the rare moments from the show’s early days that showcases the previously mentioned contrasting characteristics of both women in a wonderful albeit short comedic moment.)

It’s not just this loopy lupine who noticed this decidedly disappointing development default in the relationship shared by Catherine and Sara. In this PopGurls Interview, Jorja Fox had the following to say:

You’ve said that the CSI writers and producers are really kind. That if there’s someplace you don’t really want to go with the character, you can talk to them, and generally they’ll change the course or direction. When was a time that you brought up a path w/the producers that you didn’t feel comfortable with for Sara?

There have been a couple of times over the years. The first one that comes to mind—very early in the show, the writers had wanted to create a real solid tension between Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle. They started off right away that we would lock horns and that this would be a theme that would go throughout the show. Marg [Helgenberger, who plays Catherine] and I talked about it and we both felt that, since we were the only women on the show at that time, to have [us] fighting each other and jockeying for position was an area that we were hoping that [we didn’t have] to go. We wanted actually to work well together—we could still disagree on things from time to time. Certainly Sara and Catherine are very different people and they go about things differently but we didn’t want to set a tone that would last throughout the show. We went to the writers and they were kind enough to pull back on that which was great.

I felt more passionately about potential for camaraderie coming from these two women being so different instead of the opposite.

Two sharp women are better than one...

Kudos to Jorja and Marg for putting their feet down to character choices that would have done nothing but continue to substantiate a dismal stereotype of women in the workforce. Sadly, however, as with most stereotypes, this particular one grows from a kernel of truth.

Admittedly, I’m little more than an armchair sociologist, but I have noticed something about the way my generation was conditioned as young girls that is both distressing and highly counterproductive. First, a confession: During my formative years, I probably spent more time interacting with boys than I did with girls. But that’s because the boys were all into fun things like riding bikes or playing football, and they had cool toys like G.I. Joes and Transformers. The girls all wanted to play house and put diapers and frilly dresses on grotesque plastic effigies that to this day haunt my darkest nightmares. I really, really hate babydolls.

That being said, I learned from an early age that interacting with boys is a much different experience from interacting with girls. Boys are rough and brash and to the point. If they say something that another boy doesn’t like, there will be a confrontation. It might get physical. But they get it out of their systems and they move on. They’ve also got your back. If you’re their friend, you’re in their pack, you’re on their team. And boys are taught from a very early age about the dynamics of teamwork.

Teamwork was still a foreign term for a lot of the girls my age. Title IX had already made its initial impact for opening up to the fairer sex the world of high school and college sports, but I believe that the concept of girls viewing other girls as teammates was still a holistically foreign concept for my generation. Why?

Because our greatest influences in character development were our own mothers. And our mothers grew up in a time well before when girls would take to the courts and baseball diamonds the way the boys were always able to do. The only viable competition available for these preceding generations of young women was for the sole prize that they were ever allowed to strive for: the ideal husband. Even my own mother saw a future in which her biggest expectations for me concluded with marriage and motherhood.

Don’t worry. I shuddered a little bit, too, just then.

You don’t get a husband through teamwork. You get it by being the last woman standing…and you stay standing by whatever means are at your disposal.

Is it any surprise, then, that when our predecessors began finally transitioning in larger numbers from housewives to working girls, they carried these same “values” with them into the workforce? We didn’t have the sports-based team ethics that the boys had. Hell, we didn’t even get the Godfather‘s rules of “It’s not personal, it’s business”! Instead, we were taught that the best way to play the boardroom game was to steal our secretary’s ideas in order to retain our sole seniority status AND gain the attention of the alpha male protagonist.

[Loba Tangent: Seriously, what kind of fucked-up message was Working Girl trying to convey? That women can’t work with each other unless they’re on the same low-level rung of the corporate ladder with no aspirations for climbing higher? That women who do make it to higher positions shouldn’t be trusted because they’re not going to try to help other women make it as far as they have? Instead, they’re going to use whatever means are necessary to ensure that they hold their competition as far down as they possibly can? Yeah, Sigourney Weaver met a perfectly Hollywood ending…but the movie still propagated stereotypes about women in the workforce that made me cringe almost as much as Baby Boom. But that’s a completely different tangent…and this post is already too long…]

Am I guilty of offensive generalizations and of propagating the stereotypes that I claim to loathe through this post? Perhaps. I am proud to say that I’ve been lucky to have worked for some amazingly progressive female supervisors. They’ve encouraged me, they’ve depended upon me for the skills I can bring to their team, and they’ve never been duplicitous in their dealings with me. I wish I could say this was the way it was across the board, both for my own experiences and for the experiences of all women in the workforce. However, I can’t. I daresay neither can most women my age.

The sad truth is that too many generations of women have long been conditioned to view the same sex as competitors that must be eliminated, not as teammates. But is it still this way? Are today’s young girls still being taught to view others of the same sex as the enemy, competition to be vanquished whether it be for that amazing job promotion or for the old-school brass ring of marital bliss and motherhood? I should hope not. Then again, it’s my generation that is now in the parental driver seat…and this was how we were raised. Will they pass along harmful lessons to the next generation? Or, like Fox and Helgenberger, are they going to say enough to petty stereotypes that do nothing but divide and weaken us, not only as a gender but as a society?

Bajoran Down!

As some of you might have heard, we had a bit of a rumble in our area today. Okay, so not so much a “bit.” It was enough that my work building jiggled like a Jell-O mold for the better part of a minute. Fun for Jell-O. Not so fun for brick, steel, and glass, I can assure you. To be on the safe side, building maintenance evacuated us to the streets, where we stood about like disconnected drones for 20 minutes, holding our cell phones skyward, as though bringing our gizmo gods that much closer to their mother signal would somehow miraculously make them work. Then we went back in and carried on with our day.

No harm, no foul.

Until I got home. And found the body.

Poor Colonel Kira. Apparently, things rattled enough in our house that she took a tumble from my action figure shelf, her weapon nearly lost to the detritus of the shredder basket. I have to admit, I had a bit of a CSI moment when I pulled out my digital camera and started to “photo-document the scene.” I felt like I needed those numbered evidence markers to lay out, or at the very least some latex gloves.

And then there was Xena…

Rather than flipping over the edge and following Kira, she slipped backward…into Captain Picard’s crotch. While Dr. Crusher watched. Not the wisest decision made by the Warrior Princess, to be sure. She does, however, have many skills. Perhaps eluding a territorial CMO with a hypo full of poison is one them. Or maybe she’s convinced Batwoman to have her back. I doubt Ro would come to her rescue; she looks quite apathetic to the whole thing.

And there you go. Obviously, all is once more stable in the lair (or as stable as possible for me). I’m geeking as normal. Maybe even hyper-geeking: I would like to point out that in one short post, I have mentioned Trek, CSI, Xena, and Batwoman. All I need to do is point out that you can see Wonder Woman’s shield in the corner of the Xena pic and Starbuck’s flight helmet near Xena’s feet and I’m set with most of my major fandoms.

Xena’s not the only one with many skills…

Cookeh!

My apologies to those who have never paid a visit to that idyllic little vampire haven of Bon Temps, but this silly idea hit me a couple days ago and has been hanging around, waiting for me to do something with it ever since.

Strangely enough, I’m not the first person to want to see a Muppet parody of True Blood:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dAZ1-nF3VI&w=640&h=390]

Weird.

As for my own True Blood viewing, I’m still trying to decide whether or not I want to bother with renting the third season. Maybe. But without the promise of Admiral Ro Forrester showing up, I really don’t see the point. I could just as well pop in my copy of BSG: Razor or one of the TNG episodes with Ensign Ro and probably be way happier. And a happy Loba is a preferred Loba.

Oh, but I do love that surly Bajoran…