Tag Archives: geek

Just because it isn’t real, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

My 14 year old daughter is writing a paper at the moment about Freedom and she was discussing with the family how she was going to compare the ‘Kony 2012’ movement with the women’s rights movement. And during this discussion on how ideas start and spread I pulled out one of my favourite Gloria Steinem quotes:

gloria_steinem_quote

And then I gave her a wonderful one by Jane Goodall:

Jane_Goodall_Inspirational_Quote_EnvironmentAnd finally, before I left to give my son a driving lesson I pulled out a deep and awesome quote that teaches us that small, every day acts make a difference, but I didn’t tell her who said it until afterwards.

gandalfAfter hearing this she nodded and said “Yeah, I like that. It’s really good.”

I asked “Do you know who said that?”

“No” she replied, looking enquiringly.

“Gandalf.”

She tilted her head and looked at me as if I had been no help whatsoever and I was just being silly.

Now I take exception to this notion she seemed to convey that imaginary people can’t be deep and inspirational. Or right. Because he is right. Just because he isn’t real doesn’t make the point any less valid. I reminded her that a very real man had that thought and wrote it down, in the same way that a Jane Goodall or Gloria Steinham did. Tolkien just did it under the guise of fiction. Fiction I might add that has graced the bookshelves and movie screens of generations for over 60 years and sold over 150 million copies in print and grossed $871,530,324 worldwide at the box office. * Fiction that makes wise thoughts and lessons about the human condition accessible to the masses.

Paraphrasing Chesterton, Neil Gaiman said “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

The Brown Coats showed us that it is important to stand together and fight; and even if you don’t win the battle – you don’t have to give in and live life like those who oppress you have won the war.

Malcolm shows us that there is strength in protecting those who are important to you. Compassion doesn’t mean weakness or softness of character.

Zoe shows us that women can stand alongside men as equals, without apology for who they are or explanation for their belief that they have every right to do so.

Inara teaches us that there is beauty and power in owning your choices, values and sexuality.

Kaylee reminds us that there is beauty in the world around us no matter where or when we are and that attitude does not have to be dictated by circumstance.

Wash is particularly important in showing our young girls that men can love and respect a strong woman and find her attractive without trying to control or dominate her. **

Simon is a constant reminder that family is of the utmost importance and that we should travel to the ends of the ‘Verse to make sure that family, in all its forms, know that we love them and will protect them from harm.

And River is instrumental in showing us that no matter how broken we are, we can kill people with our minds we can still make connections the best way we know how, be a valued member of a community of people. And through the broken pieces of our lives and minds, stand up and kick arse when pushed too far.

And Jane. Jane reminds us that no matter what happens, assholes can be tolerated and useful in life as long as you remember to be cautious about their motivations and loyalties.

So read your children fairy tales. Immerse your teenagers in dragons and wizards and space cowboys. The most important lessons are waiting for them dressed in robes or carrying rings or flying a spaceship.


*According to Wikipedia. Please don’t tell my Uni lecturers that I quoted a Wiki as a credible source. I’m not sure if they can issue a failing grade for this blog post, but I don’t want to risk it.

**Also, Joss, you know that I love you, your work and your feminism to pieces but I’m waiting for my written apology for killing Wash. I still haven’t come to terms with his death and I’m not sure I ever will. Go stand in a corner and think about what you have done.


Fun in the sun – when you don’t like the beach.

So we are planning on heading on a family holiday to the South Pacific.  14 glorious nights cruising around 3 gorgeous countries – Fiji, Noumea and Vanuatu.  Sun, sand and snorkeling.  The only drawback is that, in the words of my youngest daughter, “I’d like the beach if it wasn’t for the sand and the waves.” Also, there is no wifi on Mystery Island, which is a problem if you are an fan-fiction addicted 14 year old who secretly dreams of being a superhero.

Amedee Island, 2013
Who needs wifi when you can be swimming here?

Now obviously I want my girls to enjoy our tropical holiday as much as the snorkeling aficionados in the family and since I have not yet been able to convince them that swimming with turtles and all manner of brightly coloured fish is the most amazing experience to have when on tiny islands in the South Pacific, I have come up with a crafty compromise.  Well, the amazing Stella at The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse came up with the solution, I’ve just tweaked it to fit with my families love of fantasy and things that deviate from the traditional norm. (And also because I’m essentially a 7 year old in a grown ups body and I like to DO IT MYSELF! *stamps foot in a petulant and precocious manner*).  The original post with tutorial can be found here.

Seeing Stella’s idea on Pinterest made me think about how I could make the girls’ island adventure relaxing and fun in their own way.  We’ve planned horse riding in rainforests and abseiling down waterfalls to cater to their uniqueness, but I want them to enjoy their beach time as well, even though they don’t like to swim at the beach.

So with tutorial chosen, I was off to Spotlight and find some suitable material that wasn’t all ‘beachy’.  I chose a cotton fabric with a Wonder Woman print for Miss Ash, one of the only DC characters allowed in our house without a heartfelt discussion on why Marvel is better than DC and serious debate over whether Batman is a Super Hero or not.  (For the record, my vote is cast for Ninja with Gadgets in the Batman debate.  He’s not a superhero.)  And then off to the nearest department store for 2 bath sheets in matching colours, I went with a dark grey to satisfy the curled-up-in-her-room-not-being-social-and-reading-by-the-glow-of-the-tablet vibe she has going on at the moment.

I’d like to point out that this is an excellent craft to use up bits of left over fabric and upcycle old towels, but this time I’m trying to make a brand new gift for them rather than indulge my inner hippie.

So, with 2 beach sheets, some hobby fill, a metre of Wonder Woman fabric and matching thread in hand I was ready to begin the days crafty adventure.

beach_bed_1The first step was to decide how big I wanted the pillow part of the bed to be, bearing in mind that the finished product will wrap around this, making the finished size of the bag slightly larger than the size of the pillow.  Cut the first towel into 4 pieces as shown below.  The large piece is for the pillow, I made mine the width of the towel x 33 cm, the two skinny pieces for the handles and once again they are the width of the towel x 15 cm and the last piece is left overs.  Don’t throw it away though, I have a way to use it up at the end.  I hate wasting crafty goodies.  And tim tams. Never waste a tim tam.

beach_bed_2Next I put the pillow part together by folding it in half, leaving about 5cm of the raw edge exposed (this is where the other towel will be attached to the pillow).  I sewed the edges and open end together, leaving a gap along the raw edge to push the stuffing into.  (Don’t worry about the exposed raw edge as it will be hidden by the other towel very shortly)

I sewed the gap closed and then pinned the second towel over the exposed raw edges to hide them and create the rest of the beach bed.  To make sure it was strong and the stitching reinforced for lots of lazing, I sewed it in three separate places as I marked below.  Sewing along the side of the pillow is was awkward, kind of like trying to drive a car with a Pillow Pet under each arm.  My best advice is to take it slow, pull it through straight, use LOTS of pins and remember that the toweling is quite thick, you’ll want a sturdy needle on the machine unless you want to break a few.

beach_bed_3beach_bed_4I rolled up the beach bed and set it aside for the moment and got the Wonder Woman fabric out.  I cut 2 strips that were 6.5 cm wide…rather I made two small cuts in the fabric 6.5 cm apart and ripped the fabric down to the end.  This makes a much straighter line than I could ever cut freehand and is quick and oddly satisfying.  But if you want to cut it like a grown up with scissors and the like, go right ahead.  I folded in the edges of the strips 1cm and pressed them.  If you want ties that aren’t as wide as mine, turn the edges in further or make your strips smaller. I wanted the strips wide enough that I would be able to reinforce the stitching as they will be holding the whole project shut while there is a fair amount of weight in the side pockets.

After pressing the turned over sides, fold the strips in half longways and press them again.  Run a seam down the open side close to the edge.

beach_bed_5beach_bed_6

Next it was time to put the pockets on the side.  I cut (and by cut I mean ripped) a length of fabric that was 20 cm wide

…..and I’ll finish this in a moment