We've talked about crushes here before and it got lots of attention as well as quite a few responses. From my experience, developing crush on a character from fiction in any medium is almost a right of passage in the 'Geek World.' But as my last list about crushes proved, we cannot always choose who we develop feelings for both in real life or in our own heads. In fact, even sexuality doesn't seem to factor in.
Sexy Abe Sapien
Can you categorize this type of sexuality??
Before I introduce the list I'd like to make myself perfectly clear: I'm not gay. I identify as straight and have confidently done so my entire life. However, that doesn't mean I can't be attracted to a fine 'specimen' of a woman. I'm not blind after all! My friends have told me that I have 'Bi tendencies' but I prefer to think that I simply appreciate sexiness in all of its forms, even if I only look but never touch.

Me and my VERY bisexual friend Margaret have had quite lengthy discussions on the sexiest and most kick-ass women we've found ourselves pining for and found both or our choices to be eye-opening and unexpected. Therefore we must share the women that made it into our Top 10!

(Caution: The following contains OPINIONS that you yourself may or may not agree with! If you find yourself with an opinion differing from ours please comment below stating your own in a CIVIL manner! That is all.) (BTW, some spoilers ahead)

10) Esmeralda from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame

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I've never been one for Disney princesses myself. Yes, lately they've been marginally better but they still don't quite cut it for me. It's been the forgotten Disney 'Princesses' that always caught my attention. Megara from Hercules has wit and spirit enough to make a Greek God fall for her, Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron is already escaping from The Horned Kings' dungeons when we meet her and proves to be a useful and headstrong ally, while Kida from Atlantis is a fricking warrior who becomes Queen of a lost and magical empire by the end of the film. But my favorite was always Esmerelda, not just for her ability to defend herself both physically and vocally, but for her heart and how much she cares for her people and the outcasts in her city. Her music solo always gets me right in the feels and I fall in love all over again. And, man, can that girl dance!

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Now that's a limber lady.

9) Saffron (etc.) from Firefly played by Christina Hendricks

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Let's get this out of the way, Miss Hendricks is very well endowed. I'd be lying if I said that my eyes didn't travel south when she showed Malcolm her 'wares'. But beyond her physique, her character ended up being one of the most intriguing of the short-lived series and I don't doubt that she would have shown up a few more times had there been more seasons (*sobs*). At first she seems to be just a confused and naive women, but ends up scamming the crew of the Firefly showing her true colors as a very crafty con artist. Later on in the season we see even more facets of her personality that are unexpected, but if you don't know about that already then I implore you to go watch the series. Right now. Do it.

8) Kaylee Frye from Firefly played by Jewel Staite

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Okay, I couldn't pick just one girl from the Firefly series. But I feel as though it would be a huge disservice NOT to include my favorite character from one of my favorite shows of all time. The thing is Kaylee is adorable, almost unbearably so. Despite being an exceptional engineer and having the appearance of a tomboy with her pants and dirty face she's also sunny, warm, a bit naive, and extremely supportive of everyone on her ship. It's a brilliant contrast that makes her nothing short of lovable and I just want to hug and cuddle her across the galaxy! Her character is the very definition of 'Shiny'.

7) Ros from Game of Thrones played by Esme Bianco

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No she was never in the books, but dammit she did something to me whenever she appeared onscreen. She's certainly not bad to look at (and we get to see EVERYTHING as she's a prostitute) and I must admit that I've noticed that I have a thing for redheads. I know full well that her only purpose was to reveal things about characters that actually 'mattered' in the grand scheme of things, but Esme breathed such charm and life into a role that could have ended up being cliché or dull that I couldn't help but develop a soft spot for Ros. When she started spying for Varys I had a sinking feeling that her days were numbered. In fact, the biggest reason why I don't like Littlefinger to this day is because he gave her up to Joffrey.

6) 7 of 9 from Star Trek: Voyager played by Jeri Ryan

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For quite a while, Star Trek kept it's male viewers happy by introducing a new sexy alien chick each episode, but with Next Gen we started seeing a multitude of women who not only stayed over the course of many seasons but had big roles to play on the Enterprise. There's lots of women to choose from in the 'verse of Trek, but for me, none even came close to Seven. Forgetting that she wears a form flattering uniform and is gorgeous, she was by far the most interesting addition to the Voyager crew. She added a new element that made the show as a whole far more entertaining than it had been before her appearance. Yeah, she clashed with pretty much everyone on the USS Voyager but she made us all think about what humanity really is (the good, the bad, and the confusing) and I'll always love her for it.

5) Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer played by Alyson Hannigan

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I'm probably going to get a bunch of hate for choosing Willow over Buffy or the countless other amazing female characters from the Buffy-verse, but I'll do my best to explain my decision. I got Willow, I understood her to a 'T' because she was pretty much who I would be in that universe. She's unsure of each new weird foe that her and her friends have to fight but she'll be there to do research and help in any way she can. Later on she'd have pretty powerful witch powers to contribute as well which I, unfortunately, can't relate to but the powers helped develop her into a compelling multi-faceted character that I admired and looked up to despite the fact that she made major mistakes as the show progressed. Also, she's a lesbian so I'd have a fighting chance with her.

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Adorable.

4) Lady Loki from the Marvel Universe

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Loki is my fictional boyfriend. It's true. He was a favorite of mine back when he was just in comics, but after he appeared in the films? Pffft, forget about it! Whether he intended to or not, Hiddleston made Loki a Sex God that I would gladly worship. So when I went back to catch up on the comics and found out he took a female form, my libido didn't know which way was up. The same personality and power but in a female body that can only be described as scrumptious? I was wrong. I CAN love Loki more.


3) Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games and Mystique in the Lastest X-Men Films

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This choice is far from unique seeing as everyone loves this woman already. If you dislike Jennifer Laurence than you need to re-evaluate yourself as a human being. She's not perfect, no one is, but she is so real and genuine despite her fame that watching her is like taking a breath of fresh air after being cooped up in Jabba the Hutts' throne room all day. She's the perfect choice for Katniss (IMO) and brought a great vulnerability to Mystique that I don't think I've seen in any of her past onscreen personifications. Keep being you, JLaw!

2) Harley Quinn from the Batman Universe

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She's crazy, can be an airhead, and has a high-pitched Brooklyn accent. You'd think she'd be annoying as hell, right? Wrong! By all accounts she should be one of the most hated villains of the Batman universe but I've yet to meet any fan who doesn't at least love to hate her. When introduced in BTAS, she was pretty much a Looney Tunes cartoon. She was funny because she was so outlandish in the violence she dished out and received (except from the Joker, that violence wasn't cool) and always rode that line between dark and hilarious, all while being incredibly entertaining. You can't watch a ditzy blonde dressed as a harlequin clown treat killer hyenas like puppies and not be instantly bewitched. If I had to choose one person to show me a fun night in Gotham, Harley would be the only person I'd call!

1) Wonder Woman from the DC Universe

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Do I even need to explain this one? I've crushed on Wonder Woman since I first started reading comics in which she starred. She's a pioneer for every female superhero that exists today for Pete's sake! She is  literally an Amazonian Goddess and looks the part, strong AND sexy. Her weapons were avant garde for sure, but she still managed to be a force to be reckoned with when using them! And you can't forget that she's held her own against Batman AND Superman, two of the most famous and powerful heroes in comics. You may as well just put the ring on my finger now, Diana.

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Haters gonna hate.
What are your girl crushes? Do you think I missed anyone important? Leave your comments below.
 
 
If you've been watching this blog long enough you'd know that each week a new post is put up on Wednesday. But once and a great while, an exception has to be made. And after the events on the show Game of Thrones this past Sunday and the subsequent reactions to it, I felt a need to put in my 2 cents about the matter. This is a blog geared towards women in geekdom, after all.
Sansa Stark Season 1
Image via HBO
SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. Nothing but spoilers, folks!
In the last episode of GOT, Sansa reluctantly married the ruthless and terrifying Ramsay Bolton so that him and his father would have a rightful claim over Winterfell, and, in turn, the North. You're all aware of what a couple usually does on their wedding night, but knowing Ramsay, it's going to be twisted into something much worse. Ramsay rapes Sansa while making Reek, formerly Theon, watch the whole thing. After the episode aired, everyone flipped out! There were claims from hundreds of fans saying that they were done with the show or threatened that they would stop watching if this kind of thing kept happening. A politician even had some harsh words to say, so you know it's serious *sarcasm*.

Initially the thing that confused me the most, was the impression that everyone seemed to have that the show was somehow endorsing something as heinous as rape. In what way are they doing that? The man raping Sansa is one of the most hated and feared characters of GOT! I've yet to meet any fan that likes him or finds him in any way redeeming, whatsoever. Not once in the series has a protagonist openly communicated in any way that sexual violence is A-okay! Whenever they do decide to show such a thing, it makes the viewer cringe and silently outraged; that isn't on accident people! They wrote, shot, and edited each of those scenes to make you understand and feel the injustice and inhumanity of what you're seeing.

Then I realized that this is far from the first time they've shown something like this on the show. Where were all of these threats to stop watching when a sobbing Dany was forced to consummate her marriage to Khal Drogo in the first friggin' episode? Why did no one make a fuss when they found out Craster kept dozens of daughter/wives sexually enslaved in his keep? Where was the outrage when Joffrey tortured whores in his chambers? I don't even remember people getting this upset when Jaime assaulted Cersei at Joffreys' funeral! The entire plot of the series wouldn't be the same if a woman wasn't assaulted at some point.

The series, in both the book and television, takes loads of inspiration from historical people and events that took place in European history around the 1400s and beyond. Knowing how violent and patriarchal society was in those days, you can bet your butt that the way women have been treated in the show is accurate with the times.

Listen, if you're the casual viewer who just can't stomach the amount of blood, sex, and violence in the series then don't watch the show. I completely understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea. There are even a few friends of mine that I have steered away from GOT because I know they wouldn't be able to handle it. But if you've been an avid watcher since the first episode, and up to the current episode of season 5, and you're only now complaining and throwing a fit about it's content, then you're a hypocrite. Plain and simple.  You can't suddenly act all high and mighty after coming this far and seeing the countless boobs, blood, and violence. The moment Sansa was given to Ramsay you knew what was probably going to happen.

I suppose lots of credit needs to be given to Benioff, Weiss, and Martin for making the Game of Thrones universe so real to those watching that they forget Sansa Stark isn't an actual person that lives in Westeros (Which, guess what, also doesn't exist!). It's incredibly sad to me that the same people who are outraged over a television show can't have the same reaction to the fact that real women are sexually assaulted and raped every minute of every day across the globe. 

Here's what I think the main issue is that people have had with the recent 'developments' of GOT: Sansa is innocent. Since we've known her as a young girl she's been naive and even a bit spoiled, dreaming of being a princess and someday even a queen. Then over the course of each episode, that dream is slowly torn down, piece by piece. She comes to realize that her intended is a monster, watches her father get beheaded, is constantly abused in nearly every way by the crown prince, made to marry a man that is seen as a joke throughout the kingdom (thereby making herself a joke), threatened and assaulted by what she thinks is the only family she has left, and finally taken back home to Winterfell to marry the biggest monster in Westeros. The worst part of it all is that somehow she's managed to keep her 'virtue' intact throughout all of this madness. The way in which she finally loses it can almost be seen as an incredibly cruel and callous joke.

Being familiar with storytelling and development from my college studies, what Sansa has been through this entire time is called an 'arch', in which a character (usually the protagonist) starts off with certain attributes and goals but then goes through a journey where they are changed into something else. Usually they change for the better and overcome whatever obstacle is put in their way. Right now, Sansa is at the lowest point in her journey, rock bottom, the thing she's kept safe has been stolen from her and it looks like she may never have the idealistic, fairytale happy ending that she's always dreamt of. After this point in the story, characters will make the change that is needed for them carry on and succeed. It's a plot device as old as dirt. 

I'm actually intrigued as to where Sansa's character could go from here. She's been nothing but a victim for several seasons and that may be about to change. What kind of change she's going to make and whether or not it will be towards the dark side or light side remains to be seen; this IS Game of Thrones we're talking about after all. But, like any women who goes through something as horrible as what Sansa went through they can rise up and be stronger, be a voice for sexually abused women when everyone else puts their hands over their ears, refusing to look or listen because 'they don't need to think about that' or because it's 'upsetting'. Who knows, she may now become a huge playing piece that changes the course of history in Westeros.

And that is why I'll continue to watch Game Of Thrones.

Rant over. Phoebe out!
 
 
(Slight Spoilers Ahead)

AVENGERS!!!!! AGE OF ULTRON!!!1! SQUEEE!!!!

Okay, I'm done. Actually, no I'm not, it was awesome!
Avengers Assembled
Pictured Above: Awesomeness.
Do I really need to review this movie for you? From what I've heard, everyone seems to agree that it was great. Now, I wouldn't say it's better than the first, but in my opinion, it's pretty much equal to the first. Even though it does have a different feel from its predecessor.

How, you ask? Well, hold on to your butts, folks, here comes one of my weird analogies. The first Avengers film feels like going to an amusement park for the first time. Your senses are overwhelmed, there's delicious food, fun games and attractions, and of course a ton of different rides but you can only do so much in just 2 hours. It's still fun, and you loved the experience, but there's so much more you want to explore and experience. The second time you go to the park you have a plan of action, you're still entertained, but you have a set goal and purpose this time to get more out of time you'll spend there. That's Age of Ultron.

At this point, we're familiar with the members of the Avengers, how they work together, and how the overall story could pan out, but now with AOU, we have a new threat, new characters, and a sense of an overarching plan of action revolving around a certain piece of handwear.
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Hence the earlier fangirl 'squee'.
APU isn't a darker film necessarily, but it does want to get down to business and show you its plan. Nothing wrong with that, as someone who knows what the plans are for the next few installments, I'm pumped! And you all should be too! In fact, read the comics first so you can properly anticipate the amount of awe-inspiring goodness coming to theaters the rest of this decade! Seriously.
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So much goodness....
I'll admit that I've been in superhero frenzy lately (surprise, surprise) and have done my best to feed the hunger with all things Marvel and Avengers. While I can't afford to go to the theater and watch it for the 22nd time, I can placate myself with looking at forums online, reading other blogs like my own, and watching any and all behind-the-scenes coverage of Avengers or interviews with the cast and crew.

Ever since the first film I've slowly yet surely developed a huge amount of respect for Scarlett Johansson and Joss Whedon (Whom I already respected, so he's pretty much a god to me now) for their clever feminist agenda. If you've spent enough time on geek social media you may already be aware of the many times where ScarJo has reacted beautifully to sexist questions and responses regarding her character, Black Widow.

While the guys get the questions about their own geekiness, deep characterization and stunts, Scarlett has to answer questions about her outfits and her diet and exercise regimen. This is incredibly unfortunate because female superheroes can be, and are, just as intriguing, and powerful as their male counterparts, oftentimes more so. I'd love to hear Scarlett talk about Natasha Romanoff's past, what her part in the group is, or what drives her to turn away from what she was trained to do and save the world.

With all this being said, you may remember a piece I wrote around Valentines' Day where I attempted to create a 'Romantic Period Piece' story where the gender roles were reversed (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). I took all the conventions and typical stereotypes of both men and women in period romance and turned it on its head to give everyone an idea of just how entertaining, and innovative a story revolving a female lead who doesn't need to rely on males could be. One problem with this in a 'Period Piece' is that chauvinism was the norm back then. You can't really make a story like the one I wrote for Hollywood because it simply would NOT have happened!

However, this is a new age where us girls have the opportunity to be our own person, and enjoy the freedoms of the male gender (for the most part). So, I'm going to write another story where the female takes the lead. Seeing as nobody seems to want to make a proper Wonder Woman movie or a standalone film about Black Widow's past, I'm going to try and make do with what I know of the Superhero-verse and make up my own female superhero story. Hope you enjoy!

Rachel Moore is a soft-spoken nursing student who could fit perfectly into the category of 'nerd,' complete with thick-rimmed glasses. She wants to be a nurse because she wants to help people, and make a difference. But while in school, she's surprised to learn how cutthroat the world of healthcare has become as of late due to the rising demand of healthcare professionals, and literally thousands trying to get into the profession. Despite her knowledge, skill, and genuine heart for the work, she's often overlooked, and undermined by her peers. The only one that is actually nice to her is Scott Mallory. He's popular amongst the class, intelligent, kind, and absolutely gorgeous! But he's already got a bitch of a girlfriend, and there's no way Rachel could ever attract the attention of a guy like that.

One night the class is called into an actual emergency room to observe, and if absolutely needed, help the staff. Everything is calm until a bunch of patients are brought in from a mysterious accident. It's all hands on deck, and Rachel does what she can to help, but gets lost in the frenzy, and silently wonders if she made the right career choice. Is she really cut out to be a nurse? She can't even help herself! How can she expect to help other people?

That's when she notices an older looking gentleman with a blood all over his face and chest, waiting to be helped amongst the chaos. He was obviously brought in with the others, but he was standing upright and mumbling darkly to himself, so the nursing students either ignored him, or actively tried to stay away from him. Even though the man gives her a weird vibe, she goes to him ready to give him any kind of care she can provide. As she begins to work on him, he thanks her, then yanks her hand and places something into her palm. He tells her to keep it hidden, and safe “within herself” then he stops breathing.

She gets some of the actual doctors to see him but it's too late. He's gone. She feels the thing he put into her hand but only sees a strange rash in the shape of a diamond on her palm. Maybe she only imagined him giving her something...She doesn't tell anyone about their interaction.

That night she goes home and has some weird dreams. A deep voice saying something about her destiny, ancient warriors, and a dark diamond-shaped stone kept showing up. The next morning she wakes up feeling strangely energized despite the dreams making her toss and turn. She puts on her glasses out of habit, but realizes that she doesn't need them. In fact, she can see perfectly! When changing her clothes, she notices that she suddenly has abs and spends a good 5 minutes flexing her now incredibly toned arms. This is really strange. Actually, this should be impossible.

As she goes about her day, she realizes that she can see things a good mile away, perfectly hear a conversation happening on the opposite side of the noisy lunch hall, and grab a fly that was bugging her out of the air between two fingers. Unable to concentrate, she pretends to be sick, and goes home early to figure out what exactly is happening to her. When she hops into an elevator, she hears a familiar voice call for her to hold it and is elated to find out that it's Scott. She's so excited by Scott's appearance and smile that she fails to realize that she made finger indents on the elevator door where she grabbed it.

She tries to look up her 'symptoms' at home, but the search yields no medical results, and there isn't anything in her medical textbooks either. It isn't until she adds the strange diamond mark on her palm as a symptom that she gets the result she never expected. She finds lore and legends about a 'jet stone' being passed from one person to the next since before recorded history. This diamond-shaped stone would supposedly gives its owner super human abilities as well as beef up the strengths they already had. She goes back to the hospital where the man had died to try and find out who he was, but there are no records of him being there despite other nurses and doctors remembering him. At a dead end, she spends the next few days getting used to her new found powers and wondering if she'll be rid of them.

Then while Rachel sits on the city bus, a car comes out of nowhere, and causes the bus to crash and rollover. She opens her eyes, and realizes she is completely unscratched but notices that others were not so lucky. Without thinking, she pulls heavy debris off of other passengers, and carries two or three out of the vehicle at a time. She even lifts the bus off of a pinned passenger. She makes sure to check everyone of course, and finds that while many people have some pretty extensive injuries, whenever she touches them, they get slightly better. Bruises disappear, cuts and scrapes vanish, their bleeding slows down, and those with head damage become more lucid. She leaves the scene quickly, afraid that there will be too many questions from police.

She realizes that her newfound powers have given her the ability to do what she's wanted all along, to help others and make a difference! So she embraces it, and dons a black hoodie, jeans, and sneakers along with a cheap, black masquerade mask. At first, she thinks she might be out of her element as she wanders the streets, and back alleys of her city until she hears commotion in a parking lot. When she investigates, she sees Scott Mallory himself being threatened at gunpoint by two thugs who want his wallet and car. She goes into action, and while she is awkward at first, she's fast enough to dodge the shots they fire and strong enough to knock them unconscious with a bit of fighting.

Scott is beside himself and instantly enraptured by his rescuer. She asks him if he's alright (which he is) and turns to leave but he has to ask, “Who are you?” She isn't going to tell him, obviously, so instead she says, “I'm the one who's going to heal this city.” and disappears into the shadows. Thinking back on it she thinks that the line sounded kind of corny, but it'll do for now.
Yeah! Just get a taste! Go ahead, Hollywood, make your move!
 
 
Here we are in the middle of March, and I bet you didn't realize that we were also in the middle of Women's History month. If you did, then major kudos. If I'm being honest, I actually forgot. It only remembered when the topic was brought up by my dear friend, Margaret, during our monthly book club meeting. I was slightly embarrassed by this faux pas when she called me out on it because typically, I never forget things like that. I'm usually the one bringing up such facts. Maybe this turn of warm weather is messing with my internal circuitry.
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Come on, even Leslie Knope drops the ball sometimes...
After the meeting, I tried to forgive myself for this error by thinking about all my favorite female heroes from both real history and fictional history, that have blazed trails in their own times, and inspired me in my own. So, this week, I'd like to reflect on my history in the world of fandom and present to you, my top five women that are responsible for turning yours truly into Geeky Pheebs. 

5) Lisa Simpson

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Since "The Simpsons" and I have been on this earth for almost the same amount of time, I really don't remember a time without it in my realm of fandom. Like most Americans, everyone can relate to at least one of its colorful characters. For me, it was always Lisa. Lisa Simpson was always hungry for knowledge and knew all the icons of feminism. Her willingness to embrace the things she was passionate about no matter the labels by her brother Bart or other school children always inspired me to do the same long before fandom was fashionable.


4) Ursula Le Guin

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When I was in the third grade, I had to do a book report for class. While roaming the bookshelves, the kind librarian, Mrs. Wellington, noticed my proclivity for all things Lisa Frank and suggested I read a book called "Catwings" by her favorite author, Ursula Le Guin.  That's where my love for all things Fantasy began (my love for all things Sci-Fi began sometime before that, but that's a tale yet to come).   It's also when my own fandom for Ursula Le Guin began. I ended up acing the book report, and subsequently read the other books in the series (looking back now, they're much better when you're under 10).  I've gone on to read almost everything Ursula has ever published and admire her not only for being a trailblazer for other female authors in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres, but for not imitating the voices of male authors before her. Instead, she crafted her own unique style that inspires many authors today, both male and female. As a special bonus, check out this short film, "The Field of Vision" by my filmmaker friend, Siri Rodnes. It's based on the Ursula Le Guin short story "The Field of Vision."

3) Amelia Earhart

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Ever since I've been into Sci-Fi, I've always dreamed of flying, and when I first learned there was another woman born a long time ago that also dreamed of being beyond the sky, I knew I had to learn more about her.  Talk about being a bold woman, this aviatrix dove head first into an all boys club and demanded to be a part of it with or without her their blessing. Just think for a moment, if this woman never existed, we wouldn't have had a Sally Ride! Heck, a myriad of fictional female pilots or space captains wouldn't have existed, as I am sure many creators based their characters on the Ms. Earhart.

2) Ellen Ripley

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Speaking of famous, female Space Captains. I saw the original "Alien" way too young. When I was a kid, my babysitter (knowing that I liked Sci-Fi) grabbed the first video on the shelf in the Sci-Fi section of the local Blockbuster, and plopped my little sister, Stella, and myself in front of the TV so she could "hang out" with the boyfriend. While the movie scared Stella for life, I was in awe of this strong sweaty woman named Ripley. There she was, in command of a crew of men and had to lead them against a ferocious monster. She was also the first female character I saw on screen that wasn't pining for the attention of a man. All she was interested in was doing her job. I must admit, Ripley has been the basis for a lot of the characters in my own work and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm really looking forward to seeing her in the saddle again for the Neil Blomkamp reboot.

1) Grace Hooper

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The number one spot goes to the MOTHER (^bonus points for "Alien" reference?^) of computer science, Grace Hooper. She worked on Harvard's Mark 1 computer, invented the phrase "debugging" and was a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. So if the "Avengers" were real, I'm pretty darn sure she'd be on the team.
As a Linux lover myself, I owe a big debt of gratitude to this woman for inspiring me to learn just the point and tap aspects of computers. Also, I can almost guarantee that without her, we'd still be using typewriters and pagers.

That about rounds it out. Although I did this list 1-5, the truth is I love all these ladies equally in their own unique way. As a way redeem myself for my forgetfulness I presented this list to my Margaret and asked for hers in return and I'll issue the same challenge to you. So, what women have inspired your fandom?
 
 
This past weekend there was this "super game" on TV and it had something to do with guys in tight pants.  Just kidding, I do know a little something about football, as my wee sister Stella has dated exclusively jocks ever since junior high. 

If I can catch the Super Bowl on TV, I watch it, but I really only care about the commercials and halftime show (BTW anyone else thinking cartoon shark cosplay?).
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Margaret can probably whip that up.
This year, I was able watch it, as a member of my artist collective was hosting a party at his house on a big screen TV.  As always, I was most excited to see commercials for the slate of upcoming summer movies. My excitement was quickly dashed when I saw the spot for the newest entry in the timeline twisted Terminator tale, Terminator: Genisys (which by the way, you can't do on Nintendo).
I'll spare you a long diatribe of what's wrong with this J.J. Abram alternate timeline non-sense and get down to the nitty-gritty.  The biggest thing sticking in my craw is this business of Khaleesi from my much beloved "Game of Thrones" being cast as Sarah Connor.  She's so-so as the "Mother of Dragons," but she is no mother of mankind's only hope (John Connor).  Honestly, there is no way her skinny doe-eyed self is ever going to pull off filling the shoes of tough-as-nails Sarah Connor as originally portrayed by Linda Hamilton. Seriously Emilia Clark, did you work out even once before filming began? Check out Ms. Hamilton and to a lesser extent the other Sarah Connor, Lena Headey.
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The original with a sets of guns. Get it?
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The lite version.
Sure, in the first Terminator, Sarah Connor wasn't all buff and stuff, but there was toughness in her performance and as the story unfolded at the end, you could see that this woman was strong enough to take on any threat. In this newest version [Genisys], I don't see any strength in Emilia Clark's performance at all. Heck in "GOT" even when Clark yells, most everyone just over pretends to be scared. She really doesn't even command much authority with her dragons either.
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I'm yelling REALLY loudly! Please be intimidated.
To be fair, I guess Clark really didn't have to bring much toughness to the role of Connor, as it appears in the promos that she has access to every firearm know to man.

*Sigh*
 

I guess this is just going to be another example, in an ever mounting pile, of the "powers that be" retroactively weakening powerful female protagonists.  Maybe I'll be proven wrong.  We'll find out for sure this July.
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Ripley, you're next to be wimpified.
I'll give Emilia Clark this much, her face does bare an uncanny resemblance to a young Linda Hamilton.

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Creepy.
If you've never seen "The Terminator," do it now if you want to live.
You can find out more about the film on Amazon. Use either link to click through and buy.
 
 
This past weekend, my friend Lisa was super excited to tell me about a sci-fi book she just read.  It was about a group of astronauts sent on a spaceship to destroy an asteroid on course to destroy earth.  In typical fandom-snob fashion, I scoffed as I usually do at little Lisa's 'discoveries.'

Because she's new to fandom, she never tells me about anything I haven't heard of before.  So as I began to tell her that the book was probably a rip off of the 1998 Michael Bay film "Armageddon," she smiled with glee, as she knew she finally one up'd me.
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In 1998, they left the woman on earth.
She told me the book was called "The Moon-Maker" and was written in 1916. Curious, I promptly downloaded it to my Kindle and began a voracious reading session.
PictureProfessor Gibbs
As I read, I was surprised to find an engaging sci-fi tale with a strong female lead named Professor Rhoda Gibbs. After much research, I realized that Professor Gibbs was probably the first sci-fi heroine.  So for that, I offer kudos to the co-authors Arthur Train and Robert Williams Wood. They were way ahead of their time.

For as good as this book was and so obviously trailblazing for it's time, I'm surprised that the book is not better known.  I think it's time to fix this. I highly recommend "The Moon-Maker" to everyone and if you like it, please tell others.  It offers a smart and strong female lead that pulls her own weight and contributes heavily to the mission. I think Professor Gibbs is a strong role model for any young woman that has any interest in science or math and is a more realistic role model than say, gun-toting Ripley from the "Alien" franchise.

One of my favorite bits in the book is when Professor Gibbs is introduced to the 'hero' of the book, Professor Benjamin Hooker. While they are sitting on a bench, Professor Gibbs, in a sneaky manner, solves a complicated math problem for Professor Hooker with ease and grace.

Now, "The Moon-Maker" is a sequel to another book called " The Man Who Rocked the Earth" that stars Professor Hooker, but it can be enjoyed without reading the first part.  If you'd like to "The Man Who Rocked the Earth," Amazon offers the annotated edition of "The Moon Maker" on Kindle, which includes both books. You can find a link below.   

You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
Last week ABC premiered, "Agent Carter," yet another Marvel project on the not-so-big screen. Presumably, because the executives think that we'll start riots in the streets if our Marvel quota isn't constantly being met. "Agent Carter" is a six-episode long mini-series that follows, Margaret 'Peggy' Carter of "Captain America" fame.  It's set during the mid-1940s, not long after Cap's crash in the Atlantic sea. When the series starts, the SSR has relegated her to secretarial duties because either: one, they had forgotten (or perhaps aren't aware?) about all the times that Peggy has proven herself to be more than capable of kicking ass, or two, in the 40s men were sexist and amnesiacs.

When an old friend, Howard Stark, asks her to prove his innocence after being accused of selling his own weapons on the black market, Carter's dull office life gets far more interesting. Since the SSR see Stark as a traitor to be apprehended, she effectively becomes a double agent, and uses her skills and resources to find out who's really responsible for Starks' weapons falling into the wrong hands.

In all honesty, "Captain America: The First Avenger'" is one of my least favorite Marvel films. The characters in it were either not likeable, or had little depth. I also found the pacing strange and the plot was all too familiar.
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Nazis using mystical MacGuffins in order to gain power and world domination?! What'll they think of next?

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

At first, the pilot episode was slow, and right out of the gate, they hit you with a continuing barrage of sexism until we get to Carter's first 'mission' for Stark. I found this set up to be reminiscent of a vintage, more boring version of "Alias."  Early on, my hopes were starting to drop, until she brings one of Starks' dangerous inventions home. After one intense deactivation scene, sudden roommate death, and engaging fight later, the show managed to give Carter some much-needed dimension and (more importantly) got me hooked. Yes, the whole "everyone around me gets hurt" is a bit tired and usually comes off as whiny, but Carter has literally just lost Captain America and now her friend is dead because of her, albeit unintentionally. You start to realize the pressure and frustration Carter must feel in striving to be an exceptional agent, while also dealing with the emotional strain of constantly being unappreciated and losing all the people she cares about.

END OF SPOILERS!

While the first episode wasn't exactly mind-blowing, it did manage to give Peggy Carter's character a little more life and will provide you with an engaging 40s era spy story if nothing else. And if you're a Marvel fan you'll definitely appreciate how much the story is steeped in Marvel lore.
PictureJennifer Walters, She-Hulk & Lawyer
For example: The cab service, "Lucky Star Cab Company" that was prominently featured in "Captain America: The First Avenger's" chase sequence, is frequently used by characters in the series. Also, Roxxon Motor Oil is once again part of shady goings on, as it has been in both "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and in the comics.  In addition, I caught an offhand remark about a neighbor who is a secretary at Goodman, Kurtzman, and Holliway for all of you fellow She-Hulk fans you'll know that's where Jennifer Walters works. Finally, there's a certain butler for the Starks that becomes a main character, named Edwin Jarvis.


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Pictured: Marvel's version of Alfred Pennyworth.
PictureNetflix's Daredevil
I'm really hoping that this series doesn't peter out by the end of its run but am not too worried as it is only slated for seven episodes. I hope they keep adding dimension to Carter's character and I'm excided to see how much modern-era Marvel can be set up in the 1940s. So if the creators and writers are as good as they've proven to be so far, then I'll be riding this one out until Daredevil begins on Netflix in April.

You can stay caught up on Agent Carter by visiting Amazon Instant Video and if you get a TV Season Pass you save 7% off the price of each episode aired!

You can find out more about the show on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
During the recent New Years Eve, I did what I always do: indulge in a massive movie marathon into the midnight hour with my girls. This year, core member, Margaret, decided to attend a swanky party with her new beau, Dustin, at some downtown hipster joint. LAME! So, Tiffany and I invited our new friend, Lisa, to join us for the "reel good time."

This go round of our yearly tradition, it was Margaret's turn to pick the movie series. But since she wasn't there to attend, we gave the honors to little Lisa. She's the youngest in our group at 20-years-old.  Due to her excitement surrounding the new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens," she decided to select the Star Wars Saga. Tiffany and I rolled our collective eyes, and were immediately regretting our act of good will to our full-of-fandom friend. As a way to alleviate our annoyance, we demanded that we at least watch the unaltered editions of Episodes IV-VI, to which Lisa agreed, under protest.  Kids these days...

As we were watching, "The Empire Strikes Back," there was as scene that caught my attention for the first time ever. Maybe this was due to the fact that I have never taken in the Star Wars Saga in secession before.  It's the last scene on Dagobah. Luke is in his X-Wing preparing to take off for Bespin in the hopes of saving Han and Leia. The spirit of Obi-Wan appears, and tries to talk Luke into completing his Jedi training, but in Obi-Wan fashion, fails miserably at trying to convince a Skywalker do something. As Luke takes off into the atmosphere, Obi-Wan states to Yoda: "That boy was last hope" [Jedi kind]. To which Yoda retorts, "No, there is another..." Nowadays, due to "Return of the Jedi" we know that since Leia is Luke's sister, Yoda was referring to her, but at the time [1983], people must have been confused as all heck.

What struck me as this scene played out? Well, keep on reading as I present to you a shocking theory about your beloved Jedi, Yoda and Obi-Wan.

Now that we have the benefit of Episode III and know that Yoda and Obi-Wan knew about both Luke and Leia (as they were present during their respective births); the scene I just recapped, made me wonder, 'Why was Leia plan B, Yoda?' This then made me ponder: 'Wouldn't it have been a better plan to have Leia be trained as a Jedi, as she was the adopted daughter of royalty?' After thinking about these questions for quite some time, I yelled out at some point during, "Return of the Jedi:" "Hey, Leia was way better equipped to be trained as a Jedi instead of Luke!" This garnered some strange looks from Tiffany and Lisa, as they weren't privy to my internal monologue (sometimes I forget).  After crashing back into reality, I explained to the gals what I was thinking about since about the Lando punch. My diatribe to them went on until about 3am.

The first thing I did, was lay out to them my evidence as to why Leia was more qualified for Jedi training, and I will present it to you here:

Based on skills that were important to the way of the Jedi as portrayed in Episodes I-III, let's see how Leia does at the start of Episode IV:
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Pretty solid. There's a lot to work with there. Put a lightsaber in her hand, have her jump around a swamp, and you got yourself a Jedi that's ready to rebuild the Order.  

Now let's look at how farmboy, Luke 'Whineypants' Skywalker stacks up in comparison:
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Hmmm. Not a whole lot to work with there.  I'd say I'd be like training a semi-truck driver to be an MI-6 agent. It'd be a lot easier to train James Bond how to drive a semi-truck, which is essentially, all you have to do if you go with Leia.  

Now, like my girlfriends, you may say: "But Luke was more 'Force sensitive' than Leia." To which I reply, "Quiet you!" Since Luke and Leia are twins, it's fair to assume that each of their collection of midi-chlorians were the exact same, and thus, would both be equally qualified to be trained into successful Jedi.

After I presented my infallible evidence, I next unfolded my theory to the ladies and now to you:

Seeing as Leia was far more qualified than Luke to be trained to be a Jedi, the only logical conclusion as to why Obi-Wan and Yoda picked Luke was because he's a man. Take notice of the line by Obi-Wan: "That BOY was our last hope.." Then Yoda says: "No there is another..." Oh, you mean Leia, Yoda? The one you were okay with letting die not 10 seconds prior, if Luke 'honored what she was fought for?' Jerk.
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They probably thought that only a big strong man like Luke, could take down the likes of Darth Vader.  Search your feelings, fans; you know it to be true. I did offer my friends the opportunity to present a counter argument, but they couldn't. They ended up giving up and fell asleep sometime around 4am. Maybe you all have some thoughts to counter this theory?

Now I realize it's just a movie and that a lot of things don't make sense with the existence of the Prequels, but I just thought the theory was something interesting to explore.  Let's hope that future storytellers will consider that sometimes you just gotta send a woman in to do a man's job.

Interestingly enough, there is a comic book series, published by Dark Horse, titled "Star Wars: Infinities," that explores different story possibilities in the Star Wars universe.  It's the equivalent to Marvel's popular "What If?" title.

In one of the "Infinities" runs, "A New Hope," the creative team explores what would happen if Leia was trained as a Sith by Darth Vader. Leave it to the bad guys to recognize talent. Geez...

I've read the "A New Hope" run and the other two in the series: "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" as they have been collected in an Omnibus edition and highly recommend it. All the runs are fun reads that explore everything from a Jedi Han Solo, to a good Darth Vader.  You can find it here:

You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.