Getting Connected.

I recently told you all about learning ASL, okay time to confess:

I have been watching ASL videos almost nonstop the past three weeks. I’m talking about every single day.

And those of you ho have tried to learn a new language know, it can make your head ache.

But when you do it that much, you will either have so much in your head it can’t compute, or if you’re like me and already are partially familiar with ASL, you will start thinking, breathing, even dreaming in  sign language.

There will be moments when instead of spoken words coming first, sings will come to your mind.

You won’t be able to sing without using motions.

yeah, someone out there knows what I mean.

Or, in my other language of study, Spanish. Sometimes I voice things in Spanish. I do have to think about it and the grammar.

Probably everyone knows about the effects of having a second or third language. One thing I’m particularly proud of is being able to sign while speaking Spanish. Or even another language. So long as I thoroughly know what the other words mean, I can sign it too.

But actually that’s not so difficult. Other Signers have talked about being able to speak two languages at once. The hard part is singing and talking, not really what language you’re talking in.

I know talking about this isn’t my typical subject matter, but it is something I’m interested in, and I think other folks are interested too.

Actually there’s  a growing interest in deaf culture. A lot of young people ware interested in it.

I’m fortunate to have discovered some good YouTube channels and  a Deaf Center not too far from where I live, but for years I had neither of these. (One of the Channels has only been around for a couple year to begin with, I started learning before then.)

Deaf people no longer consider their lack of hearing to be a disability, but most hearing people do. And many even treat deaf people like they’re stupid. Or make fun of sign language.

Even I have heard the jokes about knowing sign language…followed by getting the finger. I mean, seriously?

What’s worse is that I found out to be an interpreter you need five years of training at least, and that is for legal or medical signing.

I can’t sign legal or medical terms extensively, I don’t know how I would learn that unless I got involved with some program for it. It’s not everyday speech for the most part. (I mean, deaf people talk about that stuff of course, but they wouldn’t to someone they didn’t know well anyway, most people don’t do that.)

I am more interested in interpreting at a Church, or some other organization that would be less formal and involve more friendly interaction. But when I was assessed, I was assessed only on  News/political and medical categories. (Plus speed and accuracy, which I did poorly.) Naturally I hadn’t studied either of those much.

As important as those things are, there’s everyday situations that I would probably learn to handle a lot more quickly and would come up a lot more often. What I’m not sure of is if interpreters are used for that.

So you see, I know very little myself about the culture.

But since I’ve been studying it more, I’m convinced the gap does need to be bridged.

A lot of the Deaf are convinced that the Hearing community can’t understand them, and that overall it doesn’t want too. In my experience that’s not always the case, but I have limited experience.

A person like me, who has no deaf family and has not been to school and studied ASL there, and who is still interested, is rare. There are not many who just want to learn without having any personal contact with  the deaf world.

I’m unique in that way.

For me it started with the language and then eventually I started being more interested in the speakers of the language.

Anyway, here’s the thing about the cultural difference:

What I hate is when people assume I can’t possibly understand them because I was raised differently. It always makes me determined to understand.

The way I see it, I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, or blind, or even Hispanic. It’s true, that’s not my culture.

And they don’t know what it’s like to be me, in my culture. No one knows what’s it’s like to be me, except me.

So it is silly to say that having the ability to hear or not hear puts any more of a barrier between people than just having different lives and backgrounds always does.

What I feel, only I know. I and God. What they feel, only they know.

My point is that we’re all human, I happen to believe that humans beings can understand each other as much as they wish to. They just don’t usually wish to. And that goes for any relationship under any circumstances.

If anything, being bilingual will help you appreciate someone’s choice to try to communicate with you at all, instead of being resigned to awkward silence.

I have a feeling we all have had that experience  too many times for comfort.

I would rather not be put in a box. I would rather not have anyone assume I feel one way because I’m hearing; because I’m white; because I’m middle class (barely’) because I’m young; because I’m a Millennial; because I’m a Christian; because I’m a conservative; because I’m from a two-parent home; because I’m homeschooled.

All these things shape who I am. Only one of them defines it. (You can guess which.)

No one should assume I think a certain way or feel a certain way until they know me beyond the labels. No one should put me in a box.

And that goes for deaf, blind, special needs, and any other thing you can think of.

It’s not what category I’m in but how I act and believe that will make me what I am.

And that transcends any disability and any difference that’s only on the surface.

So, that waxed very poetical towards the end, but I think I made my point. Until next time–Natasha.


Awkward grace.


For King and Country–2

In my previous post I explored the knee bending issue, but I wanted to get into the actually reason for the title of these two posts.

I recently heard a pastor point out that whether you like the President or not, you should respect him. And I was surprised, not for any lack of agreement, but because I don’t seem to recollect hearing that preached on before, even for a brief moment. (Though I have read the idea at least.)

Do you know what happened when Hitler took over the Youth of Germany? The system began teaching them disrespect for the old and weak, (and anyone not a German.)

It was horrifying in cultures where respect for elders was a given principle of life, but I believe every tyranny of that sorts starts out by teaching the youth to despise certain things.

In China it was the Rich, the wealthy, the overlords. Anyone who had any valuables.

Those of us who aren’t in the Country and who see value in these things, are dumbfounded that people could ever be convinced they were worthless. But it’s brainwashing. They weren’t allowed to question it.

You can guess where I’m going with this, I think many people who influence this country are now trying to bias it against the morals that would make it harder for them to take over.

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, Slander and Libel, (See. J. Jonah Jameson for the difference between the two,) were considered low things to commit. Everyone knew of course that people did it, but those people were looked down upon as being willing to say anything for a sensation.

Now, that goes without saying.

Now the thing that we are all supposed to forget about is Respect.

Respect for leaders, for authority, for law and order.

Think about it, there is no such thing as respect for any of those things in most of the Media now. In many parts of the country, people disregard the value of those institutions.

It might seem that the leaders of this country have more to lose than gain if all the youth in it have zero respect for the leader themselves, but that’s where their plan becomes diabolical.

In addition to not giving anyone respect whom we don’t personally like, we are taught to blindly listen to anyone who echoes our own beliefs, the opinion we want to have supported, and who appeals to our personal taste.

It doesn’t matter how immoral they are, we like what they do.

To youths of this country, Older People may seem prudish when they don’t like the things they watch or listen to (or even when they do like them) but the fact is, some of them at least have their reasons.

Some of our parents and especially Grandparents can just remember a time when people were not revered if they behaved in the ways celebrities often behave now. They were not defended by any decent folks.

They can remember a time when not all sin under the sun was glorified or laughed at.

I wish I remembered a time like that.

To get back to the main point, The President should be respected.

There will probably be those who wonder if I respected Obama.

The answer is, as a man, no. I had no respect for him, his intelligence, or his ideals. I couldn’t.

As a leader, I was never happy with him, but I would not say things like what I hear being said now.

We are allowed the right to criticize the president, by the Constitution. But not to make death threats against him (or anyone) and his family; to slander him without a cause, or to lie about him.

To show videos of him that can be interpreted many ways.

To call him the names that he has been called.

Now, though I considered what we do with our mouth to be vital, I’ll admit that we are given the right to say whatever we want. The Founders knew that plenty of folks would criticize the leaders, but the also wanted to have a balanced view of the population.

Not a one sided view that tries to shut up any voice that goes against it.

I don’t think they intended for us to be lied to constantly as a whole.

I also don’t think they intended to ever suggest that leaders do not deserve respect; but even if they did not address the issue, the Bible does.

That might not matter to some, but there are plenty of Christians saying the same things as the secular world view sources.

Pure hostility is dishonorable, and it never changed a nation. Except to turn it against the very people who would have preserved it.

The German youth turned against those who would have told them that  love for your fellow man, and respect for the old are vital things if you would become wise and prosperous in a lasting way.

The Chinese turned against those who could have resisted the new government most effectually, and who could have kept some wealth among them.

We are turning against those who could have united us, and slowed down our path toward utter chaos and destruction.

Even now we could turn back, if we realized what we were doing. It’s why deception is so maddening to hear about and to see,  because the deceived believe themselves to be clear sighted.

But having said my say, I don’t intend to worry about it for long. My hope does not depend on the Government. I don’t feel grieved for my own fate as much as for the fate of millions who will never know what hit them.

One more thing, supposing that, in a future time, I come to think our president is not what I had hoped him to be.

Even so, and even though Obama was exactly what many feared him to be, my respect for him should not waver when it comes to the public. Whatever  I think in private, my public opinion should be put in such terms as will not disrespect, however much they may offend, the president and his supporters.

You can be honest, and not hostile. Blunt, and not cruel.

That’s my perspective–Until next time, Natasha.

Wish Fulfillment.

I’ve been rereading “Pride and Prejudice” for the umpteenth time.

I am not one of those Austen-land level fans (though I’d totally spend a week at an English manor wearing Empire Waist dresses and having tea.) But I have to appreciate the brilliance behind that book as much as the next person.

Jane Austen loves the Cinderella story. Poor girl attracts rich man with her charms of sense and character, and they eventually live happily ever after.

Even if a lot of the ending does seem like wish fulfillment, it’s the best kind of wish fulfillment. We all know how it should end, and in books if no where else, endings ought to be what should have happened, at least 90% of the time.

I had no problem with wish fulfillment endings before I started watching movie reviews on YouTube. Then I was introduced to how critical my generation tends to be.

And the one who aren’t critical seem to blindly like whatever movie panders to them, be it good or bad.

I would not be the one to say we should all just drop our differences and get along because sometimes there are legitimate points on both ends of the spectrum.

Too much criticism renders anyone, but especially a youth, cynical.

No criticism at all renders anyone gullible and empty headed about art.

Wish fulfillment is one of the main things that gets complained about.

“Oh that was convenient.” “She is such a Mary Sue.” “This ending makes no sense at all.”

My problem more often is that I feel that the movie provides its happy ending just to avoid making people angry, and doesn’t bother to work it out so that it’s convincing.

Heck, all the difference between a good ending and a bad one can be made with just the actors. In book form that’s a little harder to pull off.

But my question is what is so wrong with wish fulfillment anyway?

Don’t we all want to get what we wish for? Isn’t that how we define a wish?

On what planet then do we complain about getting what we wanted?

On Planet Earth of course.

I guess people only complain when the fulfillment was what someone else wished for, not them.

I can’t argue with that myself. I certainly prefer endings I wanted, but there have been times when a different ending works out well and I have to admit that.

But in life, many of us just want to get what we want.

Though to be honest, I wonder if most young people know what they want now. The ones I know don’t seem to have more than a vague idea. I know I only have bits and pieces. Even older folks don’t seem to have a clue what they want.

If you went up to ten different people and asked them “What do you want? I mean really want? More than anything else in the world?” Most of them would give you either a stupid answer that they clearly didn’t think through, or possibly a blank look and a shrug.

For example. If you were to say the next iPhone, that would be a stupid answer. You want other things more than that, even if you don’t know it.

You would be amazed at how few people know what they really believe, but even fewer know what they want.

There are some tried and true answers to the question. All of us want love, in some form or other. We all want meaning. We all want to be important to someone.

Notice that those three elements primarily make up Happy Endings.

Then there are our more specific dreams.

Lot’s of young people have dreams now, very diverse dreams. Many of them even have the drive to fulfill those dreams. Oddly enough, no one is calling this Wish Fulfillment.

Even though we all know from Cinderella that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

I was annoyed by the song after a certain point, but I think she’s right about that.

It really is isn’t it? Your heart has a wish to do something, that becomes your dream.

For many of us it’s been a long time since we had a dream.

We find a place in life and in line that we can make work, and it suits us to a degree, and it’s fairly safe because we know  a lot about it, and that’s where we decide to stay.

For some of us our comfort can even be in pushing ourselves to new degrees of excellence, provided it’s excellence in an area we feel we have a shot in.

But Pride and Prejudice might show us this, that it’s only when we find our perceptions turned upside down and inside out that we begin to finally see our way clear to what we should be.

Maybe it’s when we’re cornered and have to face up to our own flaws that we start to find a way to push past them.

I had such an experience recently, more then one as it so happens. I have more coming I am positive.

If I might wax philosophical, I think that Happy Endings are what we prefer because we are meant to have them.

I think that we have to work towards them, as Sabrina Carpenter sings in “The Middle of Starting Over.”

I think also that they come to us.

In every human life I believe there is an intertwining of the results of our own choices, and the events caused by a higher power.

The Bible says we partner with God. I’d have to say the evidence points that way.

Wish Fulfillment is not a bad thing when it is born out of someone becoming the kind of person who wishes for the right things, and a belief that righteousness is, in the end, rewarded.

Jane Austen’s books would all be examples of such a blending of ideas.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-4

I hope I am not wearying anyone of this topic, I could probably go on about it for hours.

But I promise this is the last installment.

This last thing I want to look at about the two couples in question is what gives each of them the foundation they have/

I’ll start with Batman and Wonder Woman this time because they have the more common kind of relationship.

What attracted these two to each other?

Despite the flaws I’ve covered in the previous three posts, we can all agree both these superheroes are good people. we don’t hear much on Wonder Woman’ side, but we do hear Batman once explain some of his reasons for liking her. She’d a remarkable woman, he says; she’s a devoted friend, she’s…standing right behind him, isn’t she?


But there we have it, she’s loyal and devoted to her relationships. Just the opposite of him in some ways, and opposites attract.

But like also attracts like. They are both selfless when it comes to saving other people. they both care about the good of mankind, and they both enjoy being in the League.

This is where most relationships start from. Two people meet and find thy like the same things and so they spend time together  and eventually it may turn romantic. OR it may not. But I always found there to be plenty of chemistry between Bruce and Diana.

They both esteem each other. Just like most healthy couples at least start off as seeing only good in the other person.

So why is Batman afraid to move forward? Because of trust.

This is where we see that trust cannot really be built just on another person’s merits. You could be mother Teresa levels of kind and unselfish, and someone might refuse to really trust you because you are still human and they don’t trust people.

I have seen this in my own life and the people around me. Trust is earned but it is also a choice.

And the choice must be made even when we allow for the other person sometimes letting us down. Trusting human beings is in essence saying “I know you aren’t perfect, but I know you well enough to know you’ll be as good as you can be, so I will trust you because I trust you overall character, and not just by your individual actions.”

Clearly people sometimes trust the wrong person because of this, that’s where they mistake the overall character to be better than it is.

However, I submit to you that the obstacle in Batman’s case is different.

He doesn’t trust anyone (as superman fondly admits in episode one.) This is not their fault. It is because he has unresolved issues in his life.

Ladies and gents, you will not have a healthy relationship for long if you do not resolve your issues either before entering it, or at some point early on. (I do not mean you cannot fix it later, but it is better to do it sooner.)

The problem here is that Wonder Woman wants to move forward before either of them have really faced their deep issues with themselves and the world. She has made some steps forward in t he course of being in the League, but he has made baby steps, or none at all in some areas.

Ladies especially may want to do this. But plenty of men will do it to. Only they fear commitment because they know they aren’t ready and so the relationship often ends after appearing to be getting serious.

But is Batman right to use issues as an excuse not to be together?

Let’s return to Scott and Barda:

The important thing about both of them, and the path I admire Kirby for taking, is that both their journey’s start apart from each other.

In the Fourth world, people who still have a shred of conscience and self awareness are referred to as having the Divine Spark. We know Scott has it from the get go, but what is less obvious is that Barda had it too.

Barda’s journey to escaping Apokalips actually began with Auralie, the weakest of the girls in her force, but one she had a particular fondness for that she never showed to any of the others. Barda disobeyed the laws of Apokalips while trying to protect Auralie and was ready to disobey them again when she found out she had been tortured to death. That marked the first moment when she and Scott actually had one mind, and thought hey were not a team yet, they stopped being suspicious of each other.

Scott’s journey began with Himon, the e one free mind on Apokalips.

more importantly still, Scott went to Earth without Barda and continued learning about freedom and goodness until she arrived. Barda in tur mad her choice to complete her training, which came in handy later, and then broke free herself of its grip.

Barda began to hate the system because of her friend, not because of Scott. Though he was the reason she continued to move forward.

These two are not independent of each other, but the y are not codependent on each other either. Barda did not need Scott to leave Apokalips, and he did not need her. They only come together after both making several independent decisions.

My point here is to show that Barda and Scott both work to become the person that is right for each other, before they even know they’ll be together. Barda makes sure to please Scott even before she thinks of them as a couple, because she esteems him. Scott tries to keep Barda healthy and happy even just as his friend because he is grateful to her.

If they had not been committed to doing what they thought right before hand, they could not have suited each other so well.

To be honest, the principle of “Become the person who the person you want is looking for” is one I have yet to hear talked about outside of Church, but it applies just as much to people who are not religious as to people who are.

Like attracts like. Sluts attract whores, criminals attract criminals, nutjobs attract other nutjobs. And good people attract each other.

Very rarely will any of us be Scott and Barda in every way when we meet out spouse, but we can at least be them in this way. It’s not really about getting someone to fall in love with you. It’s about the kind of person you are.

Resolve your issues now, and when you meet the one for you, you’ll have a super good relationship on your side, and not a super dysfunctional one.

But one more thing:

I still ship Wonder Woman and Batman for this reason; broken, messed up people are the only people you’re ever going to meet. Though they may be very healthy, they will always have some weak points.

And we cannot let that stop us from loving deeply and trusting other people, because we share this earth with them, and we need each other.

I would tell Batman he needs to try, and I would tell Wonder Woman she needs to be humble about letting him work his way forward, and always be striving to be a better person herself.

But what I would tell all of you is that it is better still if you have a perfect God in you life who can never fail you. Because then, as the saying goes, you can let man be man, if you let God be God.

(And by the way, Barda and Scott have an equivalent of that known as the Source.)

All right, I’m finally done with this, until next time–Natasha.



How to have a super relationship-3

Part three here we come:

So, I covered the foundation, the way they handle each other’s values, and disagreements. I didn’t exhaust any one of these subjects by any means, but I touched on them.

Now we come to the worst part: Fighting.

Fights are not the same as disagreements. Disagreements can be unemotional, but fights, for the purpose of this post, will be classified as the times we actually hurt each other deeply.

Barda and Scott have only one real fight on record, as I mentioned in the previous post. From what I understand, they split after Barda complains that Scott is ignoring her needs because he is so caught up in what he does, even when it’s a good thing, that her feelings are put on the back burner.

At first I discredited this. How could someone so unselfish as Barda complain about this?

But then I realized, with a little help from my sister, that it is actually a pretty rational fight to expect of them.

Barda and Scott both have traumatic backgrounds in which they were never taught that they deserve any love. (Note the word deserve.) Both of them believed that for a long time.

For the first few years of their marriage, I’d venture to say, they didn’t have a problem because both of them believe the other to be worthy of love and preference more than themselves, they would pour into each other so much that they would never stop to ask if they deserved more.

But… I could easily see Scott, who is always the absent minded professor type at the best of times, getting caught up in helping other people. (I think maybe it was even with the Justice League) and thinking that his wife would be fine. She’d never made demands on him before. (How many men get caught in this trap?)

Meanwhile, Barda suddenly finds he’s not home, or not paying her much attention when he is, and since she has few other interests to occupy her time, she starts to resent that.

You can imagine the rest as easily as I can.

So they separate for awhile though I don’t think they ever think of divorce. There’s no two people more suited for each other. They could never find anyone else just like the other person.

I imagine they reunited after both realizing that they are better off with each other if only for a few minutes a day, than apart forever.

AS far as I know, they have no further problems beyond small disagreements that are bound to happen and are forgotten the next day.

The important thing about this story is to ask what changed? You probably got my hint. They started thinking about what they deserved. In other words, Pride.

Normally you would not find more humble people that Scott and Barda. They are willing to give everyone a fair chance, to take in people they know have emoitonal issues and try to help them, and to bear with each other’s own weaknesses.

Barda is convinced Scott is the better person, but I think he considers her to be the most loyal of the two.

So what could have caused them to change? Simple, they came to expect one thing, and when they didn’t have it, they felt threatened and started to demand it.

I have a feeling Scott was probably surprised when his beloved bride started resenting wheat she’d always supported in the past.

There’s another issue too, Barda started trying to be a regular housewife before that time. She’s not so unsuited to it, but to someone like her, staying at home keeping house has to sting when her husband is out doing what she used to do all the time.

No one’s making her stay at home, she put limits on herself.

That’s where we find trouble so often. We decided how far we can go and no further, then we blame our spouse or our other family for our unhappiness.

Bard and Scott work it out in the end because they have true love and common sense on their side. But our other couple suffers from almost the same problem.

Wonder Woman is a Princess, as Batman points out to her, and he is a rich kid with many issues. Though his excuse is lame, his point is not necessarily without merit.

These two are not ready for emoitonal intimacy.

I think the ladies will all agree with me when I say Wonder Woman would be in for some shocks if she were to get close to any man, let alone Batman.

She’s from an all female island, and she has guy friends, but she doesn’t really get why men are they way they are sometimes she complains about it.

I relate becuase I am typically surrounded by women myself and I don’t claim to really get men. I know that’s an obstacle I have to overcome, but she is in blissfu lignorance of that fact.

Batman onthe other hand is the DArk Knight for a reason. He has his allegiance (Gotham) and he prowls around on his metal steed looking for anyone in distress.

I want you to try to picture these two sharing their turf.

If you can’t laugh at that, you’ve probably never watched either of t hem in action.

Oh my gosh, what a nightmare. Batman’s worst nightmare in fact.

I think men often overlook this when they get married or get into a serious dating relationship. Women want to be a part of your whole life. They want to feel like you value their company in whatever you do.

Men tend to want to separate their lives into categories. Work. Batmanning it. Home.

I will not say either is entirely wrong. Standing alone is necessary, so is getting help.

Batman would probably feel like his criminals and his city are his personal property, and the guys in the League, or the other girls, would never dream of swinging around Gotham without his consent (like Batgirl.) But Wonder Woman would naturally expect to be able to help him out.

I know that was speculation, but there was plenty of evidence for it on the show. Often Batman will hold her back from interfering in a situation where he feels like it’s someone’s personal call. He also did it with Robin on the Animated Batman Show. Batman believe you’ve got to stand on your own sometimes, and that makes perfect sense.

Diana probably never fought a single battle without a whole crowd watching, ready to step in if something went totally wrong. She might understand giving someone breathing room, but utterly leaving them to themselves, she’d probably find that a bit hard. Though she’s been known to take on problems single handedly, she tends to do that from a belief that she is totally over-capable of beating them.

Scott and Barda had perfect teamwork because they never made any bones about dong things together, unless there was a good reason to split, then they allowed it without making a fuss. The one exception being what I mentioned above.

Pride. It gets us every time. If there’s one thing Batman and Wonder Woman both have in abundance, it’s pride.

This may have made it sound like I don’t ship these two at all, or like I expect people to e perfect. But I don’t. I’ll get to that in part for.

Au revoir–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-2

Continueing on from where I left off…

So, our two power couples are a lot alike and very different.

One couple is operating out of a place of mutual trust and admiration, the other out of a place of mutual attraction but no commitment.

I don’t think I really need to say which of these is more common to us.

Scott and Barda actually have the most functional relationship of any supers I know.

I’m going to highlight a few instances that show more differences between the two and also some examples we could do well to heed.

First of all, when Scott and Barda are reunited, Scott is right in the middle of a battle with this spirit-demon thing that causes panic and hallucinations in mortals. Scott is protected against falling for it, but the demon, Bedlam, is determined to have him killed through the panic. Scott ad to figure out how to escape without hurting the people who are only temporarily out of their minds.

Barda shows up prepared to kick the crud out of all and any who are threatening Scott, and Scott greets her only by warning her not to interfere because he promised to have no help in this.

Now, I know if I was received that way after crossing galaxies to fight some demon creature with a sick mind, I’d be kind of put out if that was my hello.

But Barda is totally calm. And later when Bedlam accuses Scott of using her help, she says outright “I would risk my life for Scott, but I would never make him go back on his word.”

If you can not see how romantic that is, you need help. If a man were to say that to me I would be like “Oh yeah, you are awesome!”

This is the first principle I want to bring up: In a healthy relationship, the other person will not only respect your values, but they will support them even when it hurts them to do so. They will stick up for you.

I’ll tell you guys right now, if I met a couple who believed entirely the opposite of me, I would still respect them more if they stood up for each other out of loyalty and honor then if they caved under pressure and agreed with me.

How do our other subjects handle this?

I think one of the most notable examples was in Maid of Honor. To Batman’s credit, he does not totally disregard Wonder Woman’s perspective.

Both of them have instincts about the villain and the political situation of the plot, and both of them end up being mostly right. But Diana nearly costs them the mission when she recklessly crashed Audrey’s wedding without waiting to hear Batman’s plan. batman doesn’t think the less of her, but it’s important to observe that they don’t solve anything till they start working together as a unit and not just as two concerned parties.

See, even if two people in a relationship are both right, it doesn’t do any good if they cant work together. That’s what makes the real bond between them. Diana makes a classic beginner’s mistake of thinking she can handle it on her own. But her passion clouds her judgement and almost gets her killed and loses her friendship with Audrey. Batman’s cooler headed approach works out better.

But in all fairness, he was wrong in suspecting Audrey and her father and Diana set him straight on that. SO when they come together at the end, you can see they’ve made progress and whenever the two team up after that there’s a certain understanding between them that doesn’t exist between the other members.

Onto another example: Disagreements.

I have yet to read any real disagreement between Scott and Barda, I’ve heard that they have one really bad fight during the course of the comics, and I’ll deal with that later. For now I’ll talk about how they resolve their different points of view.

there are multiple times when Scott prefers to settle things peaceable and through reason or through cunning, while Barda prefers to just crush the problem with her mega-rod.

I would say at least 50-60% of the time, Scott’s way is what prevails. After Barda arrives he establishes his role as the leader of the house by right of arriving first (which is fair, he knows more about Earth than her) and tells her that they will all act as friends. “The strong don’t rule here.” Barda may not see the sense of this, but she accepts it out of respect for him. She never actually tries to harm Oberon or any of Scott’s “Guests” again.

Barda could be the poster girl for feminism, a thing which if often joked about in the comics itself, but she chooses to let Scott lead most of the time because she trusts his judgment. (Remember, mutual trust is what their relationship is built on.)

But, sometimes it goes the other way.

When the people Granny Goodness sends after them start attacking more and more often, Barda does not hesitate to physically drive them off. When she and Scott return to Apokalips, Scott wants to do things his way, but Barda decides there’s been enough of that. Scott lets her have free reign when he sees she’s determined.

This is important, Scott is not looking to tame her.

There is a difference between tempering you’re love interest and taming them. We all need tempering, we all need more control over some areas and more sharpness in others. But true love will celebrate the strengths of the beloved, and when it is right, allow them to go full throttle with them.

Scott enjoys Barda’s toughness, and that it=s what makes it so darn irresistible to love these two. Even before they are romantic, they enjoy each other’s personalities and character’s and learn to respect them.

On the other hand, our other couple does things a bit different.

I would not dump on them just to prove a point. Wonder Womana nd BAtman both enjoy each other too. But that happens to them is that because of that trust thing, they hit a wall.

Batman and Wonder Woman often take two different approaches, and when they disagree they don’t spend time trying to understand the other. Nor do they submit to the other even when it would be wisest to just pick a way and stick to it.

When they do argue, which is only once in my memory, they both push for their own way. Batman does this by blocking out everything but his own reasoning and laying that down in a very insensitive manner. (Guys, you know you do this. It’s ok, girls do it too.) Wonder Woman does it by not really hearing what’s behind his words, or if so she does not speak to it, but just keeps pressing for her own way.

These two deeply care about each other but nether knows how to express it in the best way to the other. The real problem is that Batman at least is determined not to try. Again, Wonder Woman is less at fault for being willing to go there.

Okay, wow, that took a lot longer than I expected. I hope you’re still interested because there’s more to go into in part three.


How to have a super relationship-1

Today I’m going to do something fun.

After all my Justice League related posts I’ve been anxious to do more, I have fun pulling things out of those old memories.

So, just to be different, I want to talk about superhero relationships. (Yes, that was a joke.)

Still the reason superhero relations ships are so fun is because they take the same problems real relationships have and below them up to a much bigger scale.

Actually, a good rule of thumb when you’re judging superhero films and comics is to ask if the supers are dealing with common problems but on a magnified scale, like Spiderman/Peter Parker always is. I find that to be the most believable, because it doesn’t matter how may powers you have, you’re still human.

That especially applies to relationships.

I have two couples in mind today. I’ll be referring to the JLU show again, and the Mr. Miracle comic, because the similarity between these two couples struck me almost as soon as I read the latter.

I present for you consideration the power couples Batman and Wonder Woman, and Scott and Barda.

You may not like the Batman=Wonder Woman dynamic, but it’s the best one to serve my purpose so bear with me.

Over the course of the first two JLU seasons the writers teased the viewers with hints that Wonder Woman and Batman had, in their words, “a quasi relationship.’

I think it started from the moment Batman saw her take out some alien freaks int he first episode, and gradually they built up a mutual respect and trust, Wonder Woman somewhere along the line learned both his and Superman’s secret identity and became one of the big three. She keeps a good balance between the two more sober men.

But Batman eventually began to feel like they were getting too close and started saying he had no time for a serious relationship. Wonder Woman thought this was crud, but she couldn’t really force the point.

Scott and Barda I’ve already covered, they met on the hellish world of Apokalips, she saved his life, then followed him to earth, he saved her life, she stuck with him and it was a match made in heaven.

But if we were to take a closer look at these couples we could compare a lot of their stories.

Batman and Scott both share a traumatic past, losing their parents, and having few friends. They also share a talent for escaping and a love of justice.

Barda and Wonder Woman both share a fierce loyalty and a quick temper when they feel they or their friends are disrespected or threatened. They both were raised to be tough warriors, the best of their kind, and they both left that life, though for different reasons. (Not so different if we went by the old Wonder Woman, but the JLU one is not the same.)

They even look a lot a like.

But when we put these two couples together, there’s a huge difference in how they interact.

Wonder Woman did almost all of the advancing in the relationship, and not in what I would consider a bad way. Batman thought none the worse of her for it, I think he liked it. That was actually the trouble. Batman would not be honest about how he felt. Though on several occasions he showed a reference for her that was almost foolish, (and very cute,) he would never admit to it afterwards. She spelled it out as far as a woman can with any self-respect.

Those of us who have studied Batman’s character know the reason he was so hesitant. He is scared to be close to anyone, most especially someone he could really love. and more than that, someone like Diana who he could not control or intimidate, and who is not a criminal. She was his equal and that’s what freaked him out, because he couldn’t use any of his typical excuses not to let people get to him. (Which is always they are either too young, they work for him, or they are evil.)

How many men, and women, see themselves in Batman? They maybe date people, but they date people who are no good for them, who the y could never marry, or whom they feel distant from. If they ever meet a person who would really challenge them,t hey back off because they’ve been hurt too badly in the past.

I think with Batman, and most of us, it goes back to being left alone and helpless by his parents, with neither him nor them being able to do anything. he is always afraid of the same thing happening again. And he knows even Wonder Woman is not safe from all his enemies, though his fear that they could go through her to get to him seems a bit ludicrous. She faces enemies just as bad or worse than his on a regular basis and nothing he could do is going to change that. IF they aren’t after him they;ll be after her.

Wonder Woman herself seems to realize this is stupid and even insulting, but we never ear a satisfactory end to that conversation.

This is known as a dysfunctional relationship. Notice that Wonder Woman is mostly the functional part of it, she had a secure bringing up, though she couldn’t’ begin to understand what men are really like, and Batman knows it. but she’s at least willing to go there. She has a lot less issues then him, but he doesn’t want to mess her up. the thin is, he probably wouldn’t. It’s just an excuse.

That’s where we get to Scott and Barda.

Scott takes a similar path to Batman, but he starts it when he’s a lot older though young in doing the right thing. Scott also realizes that relationships should not be avoided, though he does not take them as seriously as some. He quickly makes friends with his assistant Oberon, and with other people he meets. He is similar to Bruce Wayne in that he has an older and (inferior in ability )servant/friend. And that eventually he has a young prodigy.

But Scott wants to involve Barda in his life and his work almost as soon as she shows up. When she first saves his life, his one regret is that she would not come with him. Perhaps from the beginning then Scott learned that you can never be quite satisfied when you leave people you care about behind.

The best men in real life, and women to thought hey often need less encouragement to do so, are the ones who bring their friends and family along for the ride. They are willing to show them what they do. But they aren’t pushy about making them join in. They invite and encourage but they don’t force people to be part of their lives.

I’ll close with Barda and then the rest will have to be in part two.

Barda is by nature a small circle person. Like Diana she often is the one to advance the relationship, not by trying to however, just by being herself and being honest. What you love about her is that Barda never wastes words. She says what she feels plain and simple.

She’d jump down a shark’s mouth for you and never expect you to thank her for it.

Barda, to put it succinctly, does not over complicate. She is not catty. She doesn’t nag or do things for selfish reasons. I’ll get more into this in part two.

Until next post–Natasha.




The Princes’ Quest.

I’m going to review a movie you have probably never heard of: The Prince’s Quest. 

This movie is, as it tells you, about two boys. One is named Azur, the other Asmar. Azur is the son of a nobleman, who had blue eyes. Asmar is the son of a nurse, with brown eyes. Asmar and his mother appear to be of Middle Eastern descent, I am not sure it is ever clarified what, but my guess is Arabic, because the Nurse tells both the boys a story about a Djinn Fairy. Or Djinn Princess, she’s referred to as both.

The story goes like this:

A small boy

Becomes a big boy

Crosses rivers and valleys, puts out fires

And he saves the Djinn Princess

Together they live in happiness


It sounds better in the native language she uses, but I can’t write that for you.

This song is a sort of prophecy, and both boys want to be the one to save the Djinn Princess.

But meanwhile, Azur is being trained in the arts of nobility, dancing, riding, and what not. Asmar is watching and trying to learn by imitation. But they have their share of tiffs. The worst  being over only having one parent, (though Azur says Janine is his mom also,) an dover who will save the Djinn fairy.

Azur’s father gets tired of him fighting and associating with these lower class citizens so he sends him off to boarding school and drives Nurse Janine and Asmar out. With no money and without even letting them pack their belongings.

Azur grows up and declares to his father that he intends to sail across the sea and search for the Djinn Fairy. His father thinks this is nonsense and doesn’t seem to consent, but Azur sets sail anyway, till a wave comes up and sweeps him overboard. He washes up on the shore of a strange, and he thinks ugly, land. And realizes he’s lost everything. No one could find him here.

Azur goes looking for people and finds some, who speak the language of his Nurse, though he remembers only a little. But he doesn’t get much of a chance to try for everyone runs from him and one man spits at him, telling him that his blue eyes bring bad luck.

As stupid as this seems, Azur believes that he has no choice but to pretend to be blind for the rest of his life.

He gets directions to a city from a different group of folks who think he is only a blind beggar, and on the way he meets a guy whose name I forget, but he offers to be his guide if he’ll carry him on his back. Claiming to have a problem with his own legs. They proceed to the city, where his “guide” proceeds to criticize everything, but the people do give him alms. And some food too.

I forog to explain earlier, but the prophecy of the Djinn fairy also involves three keys. One of fire, one of spices, and one of steel.

While Azur is walking around, his guide mentions that the keys are reputably hidden in the temples of each thing. At least we see two temples, one of heat, one of spice. The Temple of heat has been all dug up in the search for the key, but Azur, never opening his eyes, feels along the outer wall and finds the key hidden behind one of the stones, which was hot.

Later he finds the spiced key on the peak of the Temple of Spices.

After this Azur is told where the house of Janine is, whom he recognizes as his old nurse. She is now wealthy and owns a huge property and a lot of servants. With the help of his guide he finds her door and knocks. They don’t let him in, but he begins yelling for “Nanny” and Janine opens the door. She doesn’t believe it’s him, she says she left Azur across the sea. She says Azure did not have his voice. And Azur was not blind. Azur answer all these in turn, and answers the last by opening his eyes. Janine gasps and embraces him.

After that it all happens pretty quickly. Azur is brought in, and fed, and told about what happened to her. Janine makes the servants stop talking about his eyes. Asmar is also at the house, but he is less enthused to see his brother. He is bitter over what Azur’s father did.

Janine agrees to help Azur with his quest, just as she is helping Asmar. She sends Azur to see the Princess ( I can’t remember or spell her name) who gives him three gifts to help him. She gave these same gifts to Asmar, and now there is none left. (If you think this is convenient, then remember this is a fairy tale.)

The two men set out, and endure many difficulties, finally they reach the tunnels and caverns of the mountain where the Djinn Fairy is supposed to be. They get close, but then they are attacked by other men looking for her, who are not so honorable. Asmar gets stabbed for warning Azur, and Azur carries him into a tunnel. They find three doorways, one of fire, one of gases, one of sword blades. Azur uses the two keys he has, and then the one Asmar (of course) had, to open each door. Asmar is fading fast, but Azur carries him on till they come to two doorways. One leads to shadows, the other to the Djinn fairy. Azur chooses one in a hurry as Asmar is saying he’s going to die.

They find only blackness. But just as Azur is despairing, a voice gives command for light, and the whole room is lit by hundreds of light djinns, and the Djinn Fairy herself is sitting behind a wall of glass. Azur reaches for her and the wall shatters.

The Djinn fairy is able to save Asmar. But then they can’t decide who it was that actually saved her. Both boys say it was the other. They bring in more and more people (pretty much all the principal characters) to decide, no one can. Finally the Djinn fairy calls her cousin the Elf Fairy to come and decide. The Elf Fairy appears. She is white and blue eyed, whereas the Djinn Fairy looks Arabic.

She can’t choose either, but everyone else realizes that the answer is clear. One Prince for both fairies. The Djinn Fairy chooses Azur, and the Elf Fairy prefers Asmar. Neither Prince seems to have a preference. Everyone ends by dancing and living happily ever after.

This took way longer to tell than I expected, so I’ll try to sum up briefly why I thought it was worth sharing:

This is a very old sort of story. But that doesn’t mean it lacks depth. It covers themes like forgiveness, brotherly love, treating people equally no matter what they look like, and also self-sacrifice and true worthiness which comes from bravery and unselfishness and honesty. (Yes, like in Pinocchio.)

Three is also plenty of mythical danger and obstacles to satisfy the fantasy lover.

The only real flaw is in production. The movie is clearly low-budget. But once you’ve got through the first ten minutes, you stop caring, and the art is still pretty stunning in its own style.

Anyway, it may be out of stock, but if you can find it anywhere, I recommend checking it out.

Until next post–Natasha.

P. S. (Would you believe spell-check doesn’t recognize the traditional way to spell djinn? Honestly.)

What I learned from ASL.

They say third times the charm: But I have failed for the third time at the Driver’s Test.

I blame the system at this point.

Even if I am really just that poor at Driving, there’s nothing I can do about it except try, try again.

Here’s a thing you all may not know about me, I am a language buff.

I am studying three different languages currently. Fluency is slow coming since I am self taught with limited resources, but it’s still fun.

Lately I’ve had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of one language, ASL, by mingling with  both deaf people and sign interpreters.

Here’s some things to know about deaf folks, they aren’t insulted if you use that term. If you use “Hearing impaired” they think it means someone who is only partially deaf. It’s not like with blindness. (I don’t know if it’s the blind or the seeing who decided we needed to say “visually impaired” instead.)

Also, ASL stands for American Sign language. But there’s a few other sign languages used in America. There is English signing. Which it not the same as British signing. English signing is word for word. American sign is supposed to convey the idea of what you’re saying more than the individual words.

When you can’t hear what someone is saying, you have to learn to understand a lot by just watching them. So it’s better to use less motions so there’s time to watch facial expressions too.

Now I’m hearing, and I have no deaf relatives, which a few decades back would have made me a pretty rare anomaly in deaf culture. Only a few hearing people used to be familiar with sign language. But now that it’s taught in school, even hearing folks are becoming interpreters and being part of the deaf community. Which is pretty much the community no one else is aware of unless they’ve known someone who knows someone in it.

Folks are trying to make it possible for the deaf to be a part of regular society. Job-wise anyway.

Anyway, I took a fancy to ASL a few years back and have studied it off and on since, as well as taught a little of it to s couple people. Unfortunately I’ve yet to mean someone else with my passion for language.

You may wonder why I’m sharing this.

Well, for all I know, a deaf person could have clicked on my blog and I never knew it. So hey, if that’st he case, welcome aboard.

But more than that I think that learning ASL has changed me somewhat. Just how much is yet to be determined. If I choose to pursue a real career in it, then it’ll change my whole life. If it remains a hobby, who knows? You never know what might come of something like this.

But even at a basic level, knowing ASL has opened my eyes to the world of non verbal communication.

I have been one of those folks who had trouble looking people in the eye, and picking up on body language. That I should take to signing is somewhat ironic, since it’s made up exclusively of both those things. But I never had a real problem in the signing context with looking at people.

I wonder now if it also improved my ability to perceive people’s body language.

It’s been so long and there’s so many other factors that it’s hard to say for sure. But I do think I see communication differently now.

I think everyone should be fluent in at least one other language if they have any ability to learn it at all. Mentally it will make your brain stronger and give you a better grasp of your own tongue. (And most people who aren’t Americans already know this.)

But I have found a spiritual element in it too.

Trying to learn another language is humbling. It makes you realize how dependent on language we are as humans. And how little you know when you thought you knew a lot.

Also I sometime think of how God knows every single language, and it makes no difference to him.

Honestly, maybe I just feel less different from people of other cultures. Different languages can be intimidating, but once you’ve learned one, you realize that they all have meaning and the people who speak them express themselves just as you do.

Because if humans can’t communicate, what can we do with each other? Nothing.

Which is not to say I don’t get a little fun out of being able to puzzle other people who speak only English, what can I say? I’m human.

But what I really hope is that I’ll make connections because of this hobby of mine. I believe that our gifts and interests are given to us both for our own enjoyment and to help other people. even if helping them starts with just understanding them. I can’t tell you how much that has helped me at difficult times in my life.

Well, that’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Stranger than fiction.

Stranger than fiction.

It’s the title of a movie, I’ll bet there’s probably a book called that too. It’s also an old saying “Real life is stranger than fiction.”

You know what’s funny to me? How demanding we are now about our entertainment. There are still folks who aren’t picky. But especially among millennials and younger, we’ve got a lot of critics who want to find their fiction believable.

I’m guilty of this too, and hey, it’s not exactly wrong. I’m all for having standards. It’s not that that bothers me.

It’s that these standards are often ridiculous.

Fiction creators are held up to almost impossible standards. Everything that happens in their imaginary world needs to line up with everything else. They get criticized if there’s a detour into a subject unrelated to the main plot, even though if all of a story is just about one main plot, it can be flat and lacking in depth. If their characters aren’t funny or really emotional, than they’re flat. (It couldn’t just be that not everyone has to be either really funny or really volatile. Or stoic.)

They get accused of making characters stereotypical or cliche, but are also expected to play into certain stereotypes like “strong female character” or “doubtful hero,” or “compelling villain.”

We put a lot on these poor folks who just want to tell us an interesting story. Some of the most beloved stories of all time don’t make sense, that’s part of their charm.

And we’d be wise to take a look at why that is, and learn from it.

Take “Alice in Wonderland” for example. If you are western European, you have heard of this story. It used to be the number one required children’s book in England. It may still be. (Google it someone.) This story is famously nonsensical. But I like how Jim Weiss described such nonsense. “It makes sense, but in it’s own whimsical way.”

Alice runs into a lot of silliness, but mixed in with all that are some important lessons in humor error and in logic and the value of certain things. IT also turns a lot of the phrase we use on our own heads, and so teaches us that words ae important. In fact books like the Alice books, and the Phantom Tollbooth, and Mary Poppins, all foster a love of words in the reader. I sound like the prolouge to a classic by an editor, but it’s true nonetheless.

But what I find most important of all about these books is that they challenge the persepctive on life that even children may take too seriously. Alice i a know-it-all, Milo
(Tollbooth) is bored and finds nothing around him to be worthwhile, and Jane and Michael tend to be close minded about new things. The whimsical things that happen to all of those children teach them to enjoy life more and see wonder in things that they never paid attention to. The Narnia books do the same thing in a more gentle and subtle way.

And it’s good for all of us to have to stretch our minds to see things a different way. To understand that there may be different rules than the ones we know, or that we may just only know part of the story.

Okay, so what do my two subjects have to do with each other? I’m getting to that.

We have two choices in life, ladies in gentlemen, and all our important decisions will fall into one of these categories. Good and Bad.

But good doesn’t just mean moral, it means good for you.

And our attitude toward fiction is way more important to our well being than we give it credit for.

We can either demand that we understand every little thing, in every single part, after just one time with a story. Or, we can let it sink in a little deeper, and move us; or puzzle us and thereby cause us to think and hopefully to grow.

See, all this criticism and nitpicking, it’s our way of trying to protect ourselves. Not even from bad ideas, but just from liking things that it would somehow reflect badly on us to like. We don’t want to be fooled again.

There is some wisdom in that, but we have carried it way too far as a culture. It’s really just used to keep us from ever being challenged in the way we look at things. Because as long as we can pick something to pieces, we don’t have to admit it has a point. And as long as we can assign whatever meaning we want to it (whether it be less or more than the creator intended) then we don’t have to ask ourselves what the actual meaning was.

If we can explain it, then it can’t hurt us.

That’s what we think.

But if everything must be explained, then I’ll be the first to say fiction is fiction indeed.

Nothing in fiction is more unreal than when it all makes sense. Because if you haven’t noticed, real life does not make sense.

In real life, things happen for a reason, but it’s not always a reason we know. Or like. In real life phenomenons take place that we can’t understand or explain. In real life, outcomes are not always predictable. Most of all, in real life things cannot be dismissed just because we disagree with them or find fault with them. We actually have to work out problems in real life.

That’s why I take fiction seriously. Because it ought to be helping us deal with real life, since fiction is actually far simpler.

So demanding it be perfect is demanding something you are never going to see in this life. And demanding it be compelling is pointless. Because most fiction can’t force you to be compelled, you have to choose whether to care or not. And it’s no big surprise that those who don’t care about fictional events on the basis that it’s boring will not care about real events in a deep way.

Life is most definitely stranger than fiction, and the best fiction reminds us of that fact so we can become more flexible.

Those are my thoughts for now, until next time–Natasha.