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My longest-running superhero genre roleplay character is called "Feral" when she's fighting crime, but if I were a superhero, I'm extraordinarily confident that my supername would be "Maximum Verbosity".
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Every once in a while, I look up "Karl Kohler" on Google.  He moved away from Poway a week before we did, and to a different base, at the end of 2nd grade (we were around 6 or 7 at the time).  I haven't found him, as all the ones on the search are the wrong age, and at this point I doubt I will.  I can't really say that I miss him, but he was the last really good friend that I had for several years; he introduced me to anime, and taught me how to play the card game "War".  Wherever he is, however he wound up, I certainly wish him well.
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In fact, she's my icon:  Elektra of the Teen Force, one of four superhero groups featured on Space Stars.

I wanted the teleportation, the telekineses, the long red hair, and the super-cool space bike.  I wanted to have durable, unquestioning, mutally supportive friendships with a couple of peers -- preferably guys, because even at age eight, a lot of the girls in my class were of alien mindsets to me.  I wanted the first question people asked about me to not be "who are you dating?" but "who are you fighting?":  what matters should be whether I'm a useful part of a heroic team, making the universe a better place, not whether I'm a decorative support for somebody else.  I thought Jan and Tarra were kind of disappointing:  they spent their entire existences being rescued by the nearest male character or admiring the lead male character.

Honestly, I'm pretty sure that this was not some early notion in my head of feminist concepts.  It's just that any character so useless, even the animal is more relevant to fighting the Bad guy ... I couldn't respect that character, much less identify with her.  Bad guys would see Elektra, though, and have the "Oh, crap!" reaction, and then she'd subdue them.  I could totally do that!  All I needed was a nifty outfit, complete with helmet, and to dye my hair the same color as Mom's, and learn how to ride a space bike....

Needless to say, it never quite worked out.  I did learn to keep aware of opportunities to handle a given situation with team tactics, though, instead of trying to promote myself as the primary hero.
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The worst teacher I ever had was my first grade teacher, at Painted Rock Elementary School in Poway, California, starting in 1978; none of the listed names ring a bell for me.  I would tell her the following:

1:  I don't even remember your name.  I remember nothing that you meant to teach me.
2:  The only thing you taught me was that an adult can be unreasonable and vicious.
3:  I had never met a child who was a bully before I met you.  I had no idea what a bully was, before I was a student in your care.
4:  My mother never forgave me for lying to her that year.  My lie was that "school was fine today".  I paid, for the next fourteen  years, for your unprofessionalism.
5:  I still color outside the lines, and in colors that aren't pastel.  I still have a messy desk.  I still sing under my breath when I'm fully involved in a task.  I still write my capital J with a hat on top in print, and with pointy bits to the left and top in cursive; no one has any trouble figuring out what letter it is.  I still stand up, speak up, and get in the way when someone tries to use authority as a flail against their unfavorite.  Threatening to attack me in addition, or instead, just makes me more determined to ruin every aspect of the bully's professional life.
6:  You had no business being a teacher of any age group.  You played favorites.  You liked to make a big scene, whether handing out praise or criticism.  You should have taken a clue from the fact that no other teacher had any problem with me, whether we were combining two first-grade classes to practice our letters or we were turned over to the librarian for an introduction to the lending program or we had a substitute for a day.
7:  My hair was prettier than yours then, and it still is now.

Part of the problem with this woman probably came from my educational past:  I'd never attended preschool, and half my kindergarten year was spent at a Montessori-style class.  She expected me to sit quietly at my desk, remain completely organized and focused on the current task, and for God's sake I should take school seriously.  I still thought learning was a joy, though I was a little curious when she'd start teaching something I didn't already know.  By the time we got into addition, which of course was still rote memorization at that point, I was so excited to finally hit something new that I read every line of instruction and threw myself into the problems.

I'm horrid at rote memorization, though, so I was lousy at math.  I had to do every problem more than once, trying to figure out what the expected answer was.  I'd be so relieved when my answer came out the same twice, and then get yelled at for being wrong -- or for writing the numbers crooked -- or for taking too long -- or for wiggling in my seat as I worked.  The best I could hope for was no reaction at all, which meant that I'd gotten everything the way she wanted it.

And I, of course, was six.  Five when the school year started.  Reading at a fourth grade level because those were the oldest books I was permitted to access.  Confident, simultaneously, that the world basically loved me, and that all adults essentially agreed with each other.  If the teacher said I was a rotten brat, and I told Mom how often I was getting yelled at, then Mom would have to yell at me too for having been bad at school.  So I made up a happy story; I told Mom my kindergarten teacher had visited, and we sang songs, and we had fun; and I never mentioned getting yanked by the arm and my desk getting upended and the entire class being ordered to say that the Class Favorite's drawings were pretty while mine were ugly.  She didn't find out what was really going on until I finally cracked under the pressure.

I hope that woman wound up in a job more suited to her personality.  Hog washing, maybe.
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The Princess Bride.  It is already sheer perfection.

To be fair, I've seen very few remakes that I thought improved on the original in any case; off the top of my head, I can only think of Ocean's Eleven and The Thomas Crown Affair as movies that were equally (or more!) enjoyable in their more recent presentations than they'd been in the originals.
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When we were kids, I was pretty good friends with my sister.  Some of that was helped by our moving every few years, but I think an important ingredient was that we were just different enough -- and aware of those differences -- that it helped us to see each other as truly unique individuals, not "she's my sister, she ought to be thinking just like me!", so we had a greater appreciation for our different perspectives ... and for what we did have perfectly synchronized.

I know some families have the kids pigeonholed into categories, "the smart one" and "the cute one" or "the shy one" and "the popular one".  Our folks were always very good about not doing this to us.  We were both smart kids, though in retrospect I think Heather has always been more intelligent than me; we were brave about different things, braver together than separately, and more likely for one of us to be brave if the other one was unable to cope.

When we were in upstate New York, there were three bullies on our bus.  The one that sat up front decided to pick on one of us about a third of the way through the school year:  very, VERY stupid boy.  He was younger than me, scrawnier than Heather, and entirely mistaken as to the idea that "beautiful, quiet girl sitting next to nerdy, frizzy girl, both reading" must mean "easy targets".
When pestered as to who she was, Heather explained that she is God.*  Naturally, I answered the followup question:  "I'm God's older sister."  Why are we not committing miracles to prove it?  "What makes you deserving of special effort on God's part?"

We never had to compare notes, or worry that the other one might not back us up.  I think the biggest rift of incomprehensibility between us was that Heather was fairly well liked by her peers, and I was very much an unwanted outsider among mine.

Our friendship kind of drifted to an end when I moved away to college, and that was almost entirely my own fault.  I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was hardly ever talking with (or even to) her.  One day I looked around at my life and realized that I had next to no idea what she was interested in any more, what she thought of anything, or who she'd become ... and she was a college student in New Jersey, miserable and frustrated, and I had no way to support her or back her up or even relate, really.

If I had it to do over again, that'd be one of four pieces of my childhood that I'd save.  She turned into a pretty awesome adult, and I'm very proud of her.

*Catholicly speaking, this is entirely valid. God is in all people.  We return to God when we die.  But most importantly, Would-be Bully had no useful answer for that.


jarissa: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Ever since we got a Jason's Deli on our side of town, in between Darling #1 Husband's place of work and our neighborhood, they've become our favorite place for takeout (versus delivery).  I very seldom have a negative reaction to their food, and it's one of our rare chances to eat HEALTHY stuff without cleaning up after its preparation.

Granted, field greens and cucumbers aren't the epitome of a perfectly-balanced vegetable course on my sandwich, but it's a lot better than "black olives and shredded iceberg" on a sub from the deli!

jarissa: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I'm not sure if it really counts as a fairy tale, but Lambert, the Sheepish Lion was very much a favorite of mine at several different points in my childhood.  Here's the story of a child who has a hard time making friends in his new home, but is loved -- and admirable -- for the very traits that make him unlike any of his peers.

I especially liked that in his moment of victory, he defends his mother the way ANY sheep would:  with a headbutt.

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