We Will Defile Doctor Who with Our Womanly Hands

Earlier today, the BBC announced that for the first time ever, a woman would be cast in the role of The Doctor on the 54-year-old series, Doctor Who. My initial reaction was one of being pleased (ah yes, I’ve heard she is a good actress), and then later I actually teared up (watching the reveal for the 4th time) when I realized how much it meant to me to have my favorite TV character portrayed by a woman.

I, of course, blasted out the reveal video to my Facebook community and Twitter followers. I wanted to share my excitement with all of my friends.

Are we surprised that the backlash was fast and furious? Of course we’re not. The only backlash that I feel compares in fervor was when JK Rowling agreed that yeah, Hermione could be black. (Sure, yes, people are not happy about the A Wrinkle in Time adaptation in which the main characters are mixed race, but no one cares about A Wrinkle in Time – admittedly my favorite book – like they do about Harry Potter or Doctor Who).

Why are there so many sexist people in the nerd-world?

Yes folks, if you are upset that the new Doctor is woman that means you are… dun dun duuuuuuun: SEXIST. Hate to break it to you. “No Emily”, you say, “it’s just that it doesn’t feel organic” (a legit thing said to me). First off, let’s address this statement, before I dive into anything else: TV show and movie casting has nothing to do with anything organic.

“It felt forced…. The show runners and producers wanted it to happen.” Uh, yes, because that’s how TV shows are made.

“They have an agenda.” Yes, it’s called entertainment and appealing to the masses. Oh, you don’t think people want to see a woman Doctor? Let’s ask 49.6% of the world’s population – who all happen to be women. (Yes, I am aware that the entire world does not watch Doctor Who, just go with it.)

Why are men (and some women, let’s play fair) upset about a woman playing the Doctor? Honestly, I can’t tell you. I had a friend email me after he saw my post, to tell me that he was not happy about the casting. I was hoping he would give me a really good reason, but he couldn’t. He says he loves strong female leads, especially in sci-fi shows and movies, but that the casting of Jodie Whittaker just didn’t feel true to the character. I pointed out multiple times that the character of the Doctor is fluid, that each of the previous 13 Doctors (don’t forget the War Doctor!) have been incredibly different from the one before. But no, he still just said, “It wasn’t right.” Sure, dude.

At one point he tried to make this comparison: what if Ripley in Alien had been recast as a man in Aliens? While this was an interesting attempt at trying to make me understand what he was feeling, it didn’t work. First of all, that’s a hypothetical that would never happen. Second, the default for action star is male; Ripley was so badass because she was a woman doing what a man would do (and because Sigourney Weaver was so freaking good). He seemed to be ignoring the fact that the Doctor has been recast over and over – so recasting the Doctor as a woman would have literally no effect except to add another actor to the roster.

But Emily, you ask, did you mention to him that (SPOILERS!) The Master regenerated into a woman and became Missy? Why yes, I did. And he admitted that he didn’t much care for Missy. (It was here I became incredulous because Missy is one of the best characters on the show, in my opinion.)

This friend and I fought for a bit – I called him sexist many times and he got more and more angry, but continued to try to make his defense. At one point he said something along the lines of how he felt that they were pushing for “sexy romantic everything” and ignoring the fact that the Doctor “was 2,000 years old.” (This was around the time that he tried to backtrack and say he was upset that she was young, not that she was a woman). It was here that I started seeing red. Is this what men believe? That by casting a woman we’d suddenly have a romantic comedy on our hands?

Ugh. Needless to say, I’m exhausted.

Look, my friend is not a sexist. He said a sexist thing and thought a sexist thing, but I know he’s a good guy. I’m sure that it’s not even 100% that she’s a woman, but just that they’re changing the actor – look back to every recast of the recent series and you’ll see a lot of people mad about the choice. Peter Capaldi was too old! Matt Smith too young! (Everyone was happy with David Tennant, let’s be honest here.) But that’s the problem: while you may not be a sexist, being upset that a network shook up 54 years of tradition by casting a woman and making, you know, progress, that sort of makes you sexist.

The casting of Whittaker has nothing to do with being PC (is that even a thing anymore?). It has everything to do with wanting to be progressive, with wanting to get with the times. With wanting to give a woman a chance to play an internationally beloved character (fun fact: David Tennant supposedly mentioned The Doctor in every one of his school papers all the way through university. Maybe Whittaker has always dreamed of being The Doctor, too).

I’m sure we’ll see some more rampant sexism to come. I mean, are they going to cast a woman companion or buck tradition and cast a man? Can viewers handle TWO women at once? If they do cast a man will we have to worry about the sexual tension between the two of them? Wait. If they cast a woman will there be lesbian sexual tension? OH THE HORMONES HOW WILL WE HANDLE IT?

Oh. Right, like we have the other ten seasons. The Doctor, if she has feelings towards the companion, will pretend she doesn’t because it’ll ruin everything. (Rose + The Doctor 4EVA.)

Oh my… how will people handle the Doctor’s marriage with River Song? Will there be a boycott? We shall have to wait and see, I guess.

Oh, my favorite tweet about this whole thing:

Be scared, sexist people. We’re here to stay.

Oh, and before I go, let me point out one very important piece of canon that a lot of these jerks are forgetting (hat tip to my husband Jason for reminding me of this): in episode 901, Missy says to Clara that she has known the Doctor since he was a little girl. See haters? The Doctor has already been there, done that.

Advertisements

Why I Marched

Yesterday hundreds of thousands – no wait, millions – of people came together to march for women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, affordable healthcare, immigrant rights… basically recognition as a human being by the new President, Donald Trump and his cabinet of billionaires. At this time, reports are showing that there were 673 sister marches in cities across the world in addition to the march on Washington, D.C., and that over a million of those participants were in D.C. I myself marched in Boston, with an estimated 175,000 of my closest friends.

I decided to march last-minute. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not deciding to march when they were first announced – I am guilty of not quite understanding the “why” of the protest. Let’s be honest here, I didn’t even seriously consider marching until my husband, a person I credit for getting me to read and think and have an opinion about politics, turned to me 36 hours before the march and said “we should do this.” So we did.

We marched with some of my closest girlfriends. Apparently we all lost our skills for planning and sort of fell into each other. My friend Marissa had already asked us if we were interested in marching with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, where she volunteers, at our monthly book club meeting the week earlier, and only one of us seemed to be paying attention. When I learned that Becki was marching, through her blog,  I told her we wanted to join her – lucky for us that meant joining up with Marissa too. I casually mentioned to Kelley and Michelle that Jason and I were going, and they in turn decided the morning of to join us. Sarah had planned to go by herself, a decision I thought was brave and beautiful, and at the last-minute changed her mind and joined up with us, partly for safety, partly because if you’re going to change history why not do it with your friends? (apologies to Monica and Allie and Jacy and anyone else in the BBC – we didn’t mean to leave you out. Love ya girls.)

We didn’t have signs. Jason wore a No Mas sweatshirt. Marissa wore a bandana from the BARCC made for the occasion (due to scheduling we ended up not marching with them, but check them out online). Michelle wore her Hillary Pantsuit t-shirt and Michelle Obama leggings. I wore a pussy hat – given to me by someone I knew that bumped into Jason and me on the train to the march. Some of us were hung over, some sore, some just cold and hungry  – Michelle had to come late and still managed to find us in the crowd because she is a magician – but we were there and present and proud.

We couldn’t get close to the front. Actually, we were probably pretty close – we could still hear the speakers but only just. But who cared? We were surrounded by thousands of women, men, and children holding signs, chanting “justice” and “march” and cheering on Elizabeth Warren and Marty Walsh as they asked us to stand up for our rights. Every once in a while we’d hear a shout from the distance, “Fuck yeah!”, followed by an apology to all the children for the curse words. We took pictures of our favorite signs and applauded a group of ten people that snaked through the crowds with huge signs that spelled out “F-u-c-k-T-r-u-m-p-!” on one side and “P-u-s-s-y-P-o-w-e-r” on the other.

When the march finally started moving, we made it over a small rise and looked down into a sea of protestors. The sun was peaking through the clouds, the city was a hazy background, and it was stunning. Thousands of people were jammed together, all jovial, all supportive, all ready to stand up for what they believed in. As we inched towards the exit to the streets, we pointed out our favorite signs to one another.

Ultimately, our group realized that we weren’t going to be able to actually march. Boston is a small city and no one had expected a crowd this size, as peaceful as it was. We were all exhausted and aching (standing without moving for three hours is HARD) and hungry. So, with a little disappointment, we all made our way back through the crowd to the train station.

Still, WE WERE THERE. We rallied for our rights. We were high on life, let me tell you.

I titled this blog post “Why I Marched” and I haven’t even talked about why I marched. I would hope that why I marched, me being a woman, would be obvious, but I know there are a lot of people out there that won’t allow themselves to understand why millions of people felt the need to hold a peaceful protest that day.

I marched because I believe that as a woman, I deserve the same rights as a man. I deserve affordable health care. I deserve to earn a dollar for every dollar my husband makes. I marched because I am an ally for people of color, for people who identify as LGBTQIA, for people who immigrated to this country, for people with disabilities, for people who can’t afford private education, for people who are persecuted because they don’t fit some kind of standard. I marched because I want President Trump to know that he has a big job ahead of him, and we’re going to keep him on his toes. I want President Trump to understand that we will not go quietly. I marched because I want President Trump to know we believe in a better world than he’s suggesting, and that if he listened, we could work together to actually make America great.

But wait – this isn’t about me. This is about all women, all people of color, all immigrants – all of us. I marched because this is bigger than me. This is about the 150 million women in the US whose rights are being violated, whether they recognize it or not.

I marched because I am an American and a woman, and adding my voice to the 175,000 other voices on the Boston Common just made us louder.

Love Letters

When I was in college, my mother came across a box of her old love letters. Some were from my dad, some were from others. She showed them to me and I read through a few; they were quite colorful in parts, but also full of such love and affection. I barely remember what they said, but I do remember how much I enjoyed exploring that aspect of her life and coming to understand who she was as a woman, versus who she was as a mother.

My mother was, obviously, a sexual creature, but she was also someone that men adored, loved, and cherished. She was funny and witty, and beautiful. While some people might not want to think about whom their parents loved before they met, I (save the super steamy stuff) did. I wanted to know my mother as a person. (Let me note that both my parents have always been open about their past; especially my father – who has definitely gone beyond my comfort zone. Love ya, Daddy.)

This one moment has always stayed with me, so I was excited when I stumbled across my box of love letters (and other mementos) while cleaning today. When Jason and I moved in together, some of my friends (I won’t name names) encouraged me to throw away the box and its contents. Why keep old letters when you’ve got a man? they asked. What happens if he finds them, won’t he be upset? When I told my mother that I was being encouraged to throw it away, she told me not to, just to tuck it away. She assured me that their existence wouldn’t make him upset (and really, it’s not like I am asking him to read them). That moment of reading her letters resurfaced in my mind. So I didn’t throw it away, just cleared out some of the items (which, I now realize was the wrong thing to do; I fear I may have lost some wonderful mementos from a particularly serious relationship). When Jason and I move into our apartment, I tucked the box away and pushed it out of my mind.

I knew that it came with us when we moved into the house, but I never looked through it. I shoved it into the back of the closet in my office/guest room and promptly forgot about it. Then today, while cleaning, I found it and opened it, not remembering what it was.

Boy, was I glad that I kept that box. When I found it, I hungrily read the letters I forgot were there. I knew, in the back of my head, that they existed, but I forgot about the passion that filled the pages of these letters and cards. I forgot about the four page letter filled with poetry that one boy wrote me, and the dozen cards filled with words of love from another. I forgot that at one point in my life I was reckless and in love with abandon, not knowing what my future brought. (Which was, in case you’re curious, a wonderful husband who loves me very much, even if he doesn’t write me love letters.) It felt nice to remember what it was like to be that young, reckless, open-hearted girl again.

I hope that I one day have a child who wants to know who I was before I met Jason. I hope that they want to read through these cards and letters and look through the box, to get a glimpse of my young self. I hope that they ask me why I was called Tiger, or laugh after they cringe when they hear about the time I danced naked in the rain, or cry when I tell them about some of the heartbreak I endured. I want to share that part of me with them, as much as I wanted to share that part of my mother with her.

Allons-y, 2016!

Bonne année mon amis, et bonne santé!

I should probably write the typical resolution filled blog post, along with apologies for never writing and promises (resolutions, if you must) to write more regularly. But I am not someone who embraces the resolution as a yearly thing, and mostly just take advantage of having to learn to write a different year to also learn to do things better.

Fine, fine. I make “resolutions.”

This past year was quite good to me; I am lucky. I bought a house, and even though the process of renovating the house was filled with drama and stress: I am living in a house that I bought with my husband. That is a blessing. I got a new job; one that will challenge me and make me work harder, but one that will allow me to have more time, ultimately, with my friends and family. For the first time ever I bought a car! I’ve had cars before, but this was the first time that I picked one out and paid for it. I discovered Doctor Who! And yes that sounds silly on this list, but oh, how this show has affected me deeply. (It’s almost embarrassing.)

This past year has been good to me through my friends as well: my best friend got engaged (to one of my favorite people ever, let me add); several others announced pregnancies or had beautiful, wonderful babies; friends got new jobs, new homes, got engaged to or married the love of their life. My mother-in-law adopted two perfect cats, and my other best friend took in a wonderful dog.

And yes, this past year has been rough. I’ve had several friends dealing with some pretty heavy stuff (two words: fuck cancer). My grandma was admitted into the hospital on Christmas Eve, and while she’s out of the woods right now, it was pretty touch and go for the last week, and they’re still not sure how long she has left. Not to mention our house drama (which it nothing, when you think about it) and the fact that I have gained nearly 40 lbs in a year, and don’t feel like myself.

So 2016 has so much potential to be the best year ever, you guys. This is the year that I am going to read 100 books, learn to crochet AND knit, write stories, drink lots of gin, learn to love running, cook more, lose that weight, watch my best friend marry her soulmate (kidding, I’m her soulmate), welcome new babies into my life, start writing letters to friends, hike some crazy high mountain that I never thought possible, kayak in the ocean (why not?), kick ass in my new job, and just be awesome. (And I promise to complete my 32 things by the time I am 32.)

I want to be more in the moment.

So, in the words of my favorite Doctor (the 10th, played by David Tennant):

ALLONS-Y!

32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, Reupholster Some Furniture (part two)

Welcome to the second part of my adventures in reupholstering furniture! Part one of this task featured the recovering on my trunk, using fabric I found while actually shopping for fabric for this project: covering the dining chairs. This project was not hard, per se, but it took longer than I had anticipated and left me quite exhausted.

We got our table and chairs from my mother, who bought them off someone on Craigslist, I think. They were about $100 for the table and 6 chairs; a steal, even if some of the chairs were beat up. Two of the chairs had practically no cushioning left, and another two were a little worn down, but two chairs looked like they had never been sat in. The fabric that was on the chairs wasn’t bad, but we felt we needed something with a little more pop.

The Before
The Before

You can see how that cushion on the left needs a little TLC. Unfortunately I didn’t get to give it as much as it needed because I didn’t have the right materials. But that’s ok, it still looks pretty good.

Purdy.
Purdy.

I got this fabric at Joann’s Fabric last weekend, when Becky Neal was visiting. I originally wanted the colors to be red and off white (so it wasn’t too loud), but this fabric spoke to me. It’s technically outdoor upholstery fabric, so it won’t fade or wear down easily, plus it’s easy to clean. It wasn’t cheap though, I bought 3 yards at $21/yard (and I have very little left over). When I told Jason the total last weekend, his eyes got really big.

Pickwick decided to help.
Pickwick decided to help.
See, very helpful.
See, very helpful.

I started with one of the best looking chairs, deciding to carefully remove the cover so I could use it as a pattern for the rest of the chairs. I began by unscrewing the seat from the rest of the chair. Unfortunately I wasn’t really paying attention to how the chair was built, and accidentally took a leg off instead. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get those pesky screws back in place.

Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.
Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.

Once I got the seat removed (four screws, seriously Cervone, what’s your issue?) I painstakingly removed the million and one staples from the underside of the seat, preserving the white fabric and the cover to the best of my ability.

Staples!
Staples!
So many staples.
So many staples.
Seriously, who needs this many staples?
Seriously, who needs this many staples?

After removing the cover, I then yanked all the broken and loose staples out of the chair, to make sure they didn’t get in the way. This took me nearly an hour, but it was (probably) worth it.

Tada!
Tada!

The cover kept its shape pretty well – I laid it on the new fabric and drew a basic outline. Since the original fabric had a little stretch and the new fabric didn’t, I cute the new fabric slightly large and more square. I figured I could trim it down once I attached it.

This is gonna be good.
This is gonna be good.

Then I just stapled, stapled, and stapled some more. The first chair was the easiest, because once I finished it, I needed to make the rest look as similar as possible. Harder than you think.

IMG_0017
Not so bad, Cervone.

After it was done, I reattached it to the chair.

Classy.
Classy.
IMG_0019
The new and the original. Fantastic upgrade, if I do say so myself.

Then I did that for three more chairs (on one chair I just ripped the fabric to shreads, it was great). My hands were really hurting. There were a few mishaps: there was a thin layer on padding on all the chairs that I didn’t expect, and on the two pretty ok seats the padding had started to disintegrate. I was able to salvage it, mostly, but I wish I had been able to replace it.

The thin foam, falling apart.
The thin foam, falling apart.

I needed to replace the cushions for two of the chairs, so I completely removed the cushion from one of the chairs and traced the wooden seat on some foam to get the shape right. However, without that thin layer of padding the cushions won’t hold their shape correctly and there are hard edges where the wooden seat isn’t covered.

Fooooooooam.
Fooooooooam.
Can you see how crappy this seat is?
Can you see how crappy this seat is?

I ended up putting the rest of the project on hold (since we only use 4 chairs at a time) until I get the thin foam, and will finish it next weekend (probably).

Finished or not, the upgrade is really fantastic, and I’m glad I took the six hours to do it. While not the cheapest upgrade either, it was still less expensive than buying six new dining chairs. I sent a picture to Michelle, and now she wants me to recover her dining chairs. I probably will, for the price of dinner and maybe some wine, because I really had a lot of fun.

The (mostly) finished product.
The (mostly) finished product.

Until next time!

32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, (Finally) Reupholster Some Furniture (part one)

Initially I planned to hold off starting my “32 Things Before I’m 32” tasks until I turned 31, but I’m terribly impatient, and my BFF Becky pointed out that there was really no reason for me to wait.

So, for my first task I decided to finally reupholster my antique trunk, a gift from my mother. I’ve had the trunk since I was in high school, and my mother had last recovered it for me back in 2005, when I was getting my first off campus apartment. She covered it in brown vinyl that looked like leather, so I could use it as a coffee table. I left it that way even though I didn’t love it, mostly because I am lazy.

The trunk.
The trunk.

However, yesterday while shopping for fabric to cover the dining chairs (that will be part two of this task) I came across this fantastic Parisian themed home decor fabric (ON SALE!) and couldn’t not get some. I bought a yard, with no idea as to what I would do with it. But then, while getting ready to head back out to see The Bloggess (another entry for another day?) it occurred to both me and Becky that this fabric was PERFECT for recovering the trunk!

Don't you love it?
Don’t you love it?

I was excited to get it done, so after Becky headed back home this morning I made my way back to Joann Fabrics and bought trim and some foam (to create a cushion, which it didn’t have before) and settled down for a little fun.

You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.
You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.

First, I ironed the fabric and got it as crease-free as I possible could.

Bye-bye creases!
Bye-bye creases!

Then I took the old vinyl and trim off the trunk.

Not so pretty without a cover.
Not so pretty without a cover.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.

Once I got the old cover off, I measured and cut the foam to size (I apparently didn’t bother to photograph this) and figured out how I wanted the fabric to lay.

I like it!
I like it!

Once I got it exactly where I wanted it, I (carefully) stapled it in place.

IMG_0012

Most people fold the fabric under and staple underneath, but I didn’t want to damage the decorative wood on the underside, plus it wood look weird.

Once I got the fabric stapled down perfectly (or mostly), I cut off the excess and attached new trim with the same teeny tiny nails that held down the old trim.

This was harder than you'd expect - the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.
This was harder than you’d expect – the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.

But then, I was done! And the finished product was beautiful.

The trim is complete!
The trim is complete!
The finished product.
The finished product.
One more, for good measure.
One more, for good measure.

I think it turned out pretty great! The whole project took me about 2 1/2 hours total, not including a break to eat chocolate and having to hide while Jason got the ironing stuff out of the closet hiding my birthday present.

This kind of reupholstery is easier than you’d think, and a great project for anyone wanting to make a major decorative change in their decor without buying new furniture.

Next week I plan to recover (and re-cushion) 6 dining chairs: stay tuned for part two!

Whoops.

Every year around my birthday I promise myself that I am going to do and try lots of new things before my next birthday (and last year, promised to write about it here).

Every year about a month before my birthday I realize that I didn’t do a thing.

That’s not totally true; I have done a lot this year. I just didn’t write about it.

Since I turned 30 I have: mastered the art of the martini, learned some DIY skills, bought a house, read a lot of books, wrote a short story, shaved (most of) my head, learned to live without an oven for 2 months, and so much more. But I didn’t do as much as I wanted, so this time I am going to stick by my goals.

Before I turn 32 (in 2016) I want to: learn to play guitar, run a 10K, cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner, and write something of significance. That’s not too hard to do, right?

With a month left before my 31st birthday, I feel like I should set myself a few goals. I thought about doing 29 things in 29 days, but is that a lot to ask? What if, instead, I think of a few things to accomplish but then give myself the task of 32 things to do before I turn 32. I can do that, right?

Have any suggestions, leave ’em here and I’ll see if I can work them into my plan.

As for the next 29 days, I guess my goals are simple: eat well, drink less, workout, read and get myself prepared for 12 months of meeting my goals.