Tag Archives: Firefly

Second Annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig!

Standard

And so in preparation for our second annual Northwoods UU “Firefly” Shindig / fundraiser I’m  posting the video of the service that Rev Ellen Cooper Davis prepared last year.

Just a quick explanation. Every year Northwoods UU holds a Service Auction raising money for the church. As part of the auction, Rev Ellen puts a “service of your topic of choice” up for bid. In 2012 Northwoods Browncoats unified to purchase this service. Also at the service auction a Firefly Shindig is offered with each Browncoats offering benefiting our wonderful community. This year we are asking that new books be also brought to the Shindig in support of Captn Mal’s own charity “Kids Need to Read” program benefitting kids all over the US.

The service is over an hour long. Shepard Ellen gives the best sermon in the ‘verse so grab yourself a mug of Mudder‘s milk and enjoy.

(unfortunately it appears Word Press doesn’t support imbeded videos from Google drive… but here’s the link.)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzAlR5OrM00AVXdwRHVWZnVmV2s/edit

 

Browncoats Rule, Prevent Bullying in School

Standard

When my daughter was three she could sing the entire “Red Dwarf” theme song. She quotes “Monty Python” skits on a regular basis, she dressed as “Firefly’s” Kaylee at our “Firefly Fundraiser” party and she thinks Abed on “Community” is the coolest guy on TV. When she was six, she didn’t want to dress as a princess for Halloween, she went as Count Olaf as played by Jim Carry in “A Series of Unfortunate Events“… eye tattoo on the ankle, side burns and everything! At ten, she has serious conversations about God and the sanctity of all life. Her social studies project this year is “How Hunger Games Could Become a Reality”. Other kids are doing their projects on dolphins and lions. Pretty cool huh? We think so. Apparently however, the kids at school do not.

My little K is ostracized, excluded and bullied because she’s “weird”. Kids are mean, we all know that. My now 14-year-old son went through very similar difficulties at the same age. He really was the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Eventually he became so severely depressed I quit my job and homeschooled him for two years. This was NOT easy let me tell you! He was angry, depressed, with extremely low self-esteem and he was just plain sick of schooling in any form. It took some real perseverance and creativity to help free him from that negative place.

When I started homeschooling it was so stressful that I needed a doctor visit to help me figure out how to cope with the situation. I explained my situation to the nurse. She sat me down and listened, then told her own story. Her son was much like mine, commit suicide when he was 13. She wished that she had the resources to quit her job and take care of him the way I was able to do so with my son. A week after my visit I discovered a letter from this nurse in my mailbox. It was a copy of a poem she’d written after her son’s death

Just Believe

Believe in yourself, you have so much to offer.

God sure knew what he was doing, when he

first opened your eyes.

He makes no mistakes. he’s got your heart in His hands, that started beating with your very first cry.

You’re an original, there’s no one in the world even like you

no matter how hard you try to be part of the crowd.

So just believe in yourself, and the rest

will surely follow. Believe in God,

He can see through those clouds.

Sometimes life can be so hard to understand.

People aren’t’ always what they seem to be.

Be proud of who you are, God will take you by the hand.

Be for real, don’t give in, just believe.

MV

That poem, printed on blue sky, cloudy paper and now faded, is still hanging from my desk beside my computer where I look at it every day.

Today my son is going on 15, he’s tall, has long blond hair in community of short haired kids and he’s comfortable enough in his own skin that he calls himself a “Brony” .”Bronies” are a fringe community of young men who are fans of the television show “My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic”. It’s true! Google it! C has the confidence to wear a girls large “My Little Pony 20% cooler” T-shirt to school and I am so proud! I firmly believe that the time I was able to spend with him homeschooling and building his esteem away from the school environment was the turning point in his life. Before this he had the fast pass to Juvie. Lets just say that the police department knew who he was and where he lived.

We are blessed. Most parents don’t have the option of quitting their jobs to pull their kids out of a toxic situation. Most parents have to send their kids on the bus every day and worry how they are getting along all day until they come home off the bus withdrawn or in tears. Most parents have to watch as their kid dissolves into a puddle of loneliness, depression, anger, and self-loathing and they don’t have the resources to pull them back out again. Bullying, ostracizing, and exclusivity kills the spirit and leads to violence that kids make either against themselves in such forms as “cutting”, and suicide, or against others with guns, knives and murder.

Last week I had the privilege to meet with Denise Gary from the organization “Kids Need to Read” program. Other Browncoats out there may recognize this as the reading charity sponsored and supported by our Big Damn Hero, Nathan Fillion. “Kids Need to Read” supplies books and reading programs to disadvantaged schools all over the U.S. One of those reading programs is called “Peace Packages” . The aim of the Peace Packages is to help our children develop problem solving skills, teach them peaceful conflict resolution, and help teach them that there are alternatives to aggression. Bullying isn’t natural behavior in children, it’s learned. If kids can be taught to be intolerant, exclusive and aggressive, then they can also be taught to be tolerant, inclusive and peaceful problem solvers.

I am an online, Amazon merchant. I started this small business as a homeschooling project with my son, but now that he’s back in the public school system I’ve decided to stick with it and build it into a “real” business. I’ve decided to donate a portion of my sales income to Kids Need to Read and I’ve specifically asked that my donations are put towards providing schools with Peace Packages. My goal is to be able to provide one peace package a month.

Also, our community has several Browncoats that like to meet at our house regularly for “Firefly” showings. I plan to discuss with them putting out a “Gorram cuss pot”. Maybe every time one of the characters swears in Chinese we can drop a quarter into the pot and donate it towards a Kids Need to Read, Peace Package. They don’t know about this idea yet, but I’m sure they will say “Shiny!”

A Top Ten List of Stuff I Never Get Tired of

Standard
Firefly (TV series)

Firefly (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all have those favorites that we just HAVE to pull out of the entertainment cupboard every once in a while. Like junkies, we just need that “fix”. Here is a list of my top favorites that never fail to entertain. (In no particular order)

1. Firefly / Serenity (best watched , over and over again, with large groups of geeky friends)

 

      Northwoods UU Firefly Fundraiser

 

2. Harry Potter both books and movies (It’s a long way off yet, but I look forward to reading these books to my grandchildren!)

Harry Potter

Harry Potter (Photo credit: Pixelsior)

 

Borders Deathly Hollows Midnight Release Party

 

3. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (smoking a cigar while viewing is a MUST)

 

 

4. Sherlock (This  fantastic BBC series is new to my list ’cause smart is definitely the new sexy!)

 

 

5. Monty Python’s Holy Grail ( John Cleese running across a field for five minutes, need I say more?)

 

 

6.  A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) (the old black and white with Allistair Sim, NOT the colorized it detracts from the creepiness)

 

 

7. Highlander (and as far as I am concerned, there IS only one!)

 

 

8. Indiana Jones (except Temple of Doom and the last stinky one….see I can’t even remember the name…)

 

 

9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the kickass TV version not the Whedonless movie slop)

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight V...

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight Volume One, written by Joss Whedon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Two Halloween Baddass Buffys 

10. The Ten Commandments (Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise just don’t have anything  on Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner in my book! I once sat next to Yul Brenners loin cloth at Planet Hollywood in Disney World, that was cool! Yes, yes, I know all about Heston’s politics!)

 

 

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. I just needed to stop for time’s sake. I’ll probably come back every once in a while and add more to the list in the comments section.

So, what’s on your list of brain crack?

Saving Terra Nova and its Implications for Power of the People

Standard

 

I’ve been pondering again. Contemplating that discord I experience within myself between my geek like tendencies and my guilt that perhaps my interests and fascinations only add to the frivolity of our North American culture.

I Twitter follow Jason O’ Mara of the science fiction television series “Terra Nova”. “Terra Nova” has finished its first and possibly last season. It’s a great apocalyptic story of a group of settlers and military going back 85 million years in time to save the human race from its self-destruction.  While there is some violence (I don’t think you can get away from violence when there are dinosaurs involved) it’s a series which many families can enjoy together.  I know my family certainly does and considering the fact I’ve a teenage son, and preteen daughter, there are not many programs that interest all of us enough to sit down and watch them together.

Over the last several weeks, it was brought to the attention of the Twitter world by Mr. O’Mara that the Fox network is seriously considering cancelling this program. I was one of the first fans to write, and tweet Fox with regard to my opinion on this impending decision. “Don’t pull a “Firefly” with this show” I wrote, “It has the potential to become the new “Lost”.”  “Save Terra Nova” now has a petition with thousands of signatures, there is a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/SaveTerraNova  and posts in several different languages and fans all over are sending plastic dinosaurs to Fox hopefully to demonstrate to the Dark Lords of Fox the worth of this program.

A few months ago Nathan Fillion, star of the current y running hit series “Castle” and beloved by scifi fans for his portrayal of Malcolm Reynolds in Joss Whedon’s  “Firefly”, twittered an article regarding freedom of speech issue. Apparently, Professor James Miller of the University of Wisconsin-Stout was being forced to remove a poster from his door which referenced a “Firefly” quote and a picture of Nathan Fillion as Mal, who delivered the line. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111227/15534717208/how-firefly-fans-made-one-universitys-campus-safe-free-speech.shtml Author Neil Gaiman also alerted his Twitter followers to this violation of the First Amendment.  “Firefly”fans everywhere cried out so loudly in outrage that eventually the University had to back down. As Neil Gaiman notes (paraphrasing here), you should never upset science fiction fans who feel their favorite show has been cancelled in an untimely way.

Why? Why do we get so passionate about these programs?  Why are we so focused on these seemingly frivolous pursuits? Here in lies the crux of my internal struggle.

I can’t help but look at these incidences as examples of the power people have when they band together in a common cause.  Just think  what the world would be like if we could channel this Geek Power and apply it to environment issues,  women’s rights,  government corruption, poverty… the list goes on and on.  As my friend and UU Minister, Ellen – Cooper Davis wrote to me in an online discussion we had on this topic “What if Firefly fans worked to dismantle oppression/empire instead of for the fictional version?  What if Hunger Games fans worked to challenge injustice and exploitation instead of just obsessing over the fictional version?” What if Terra Nova fans worked just as hard to prevent environmental disaster as we do to prevent cancelation?  Could we make a difference? If we could only get as passionate about the ozone layer as we do about the cancelation of our favorite shows, yes, I think we could.  Geeks change the world, look at Jules Verne, Einstein, Gene Roddenberry… television’s first interracial kiss was on Star Trek.

Human beings are story tellers. We’ve been telling stories since our pal eolithic ancestors first began painting on cave walls. Druid story tellers were considered so powerful that it was thought they could magically curse you if they sang a story against you. Storytelling is perhaps the most important aspect of humanity to separate us from animals. Stories give us a form by which we pass our life experiences onto others, learning not only by instinct or by experience but by the knowledge of others through generations of experiences. These television programs and movies are our modern cultures’ way of sharing stories. George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, James Cameron, and  JK Rowling  are our modern Bards, their heros are our modern  Heracles , Finn McCool, King Arthur, Achillies, Cu Culchulain, and St George.

We need to allow the power of story to work in us, and then we need to actually go out and become that change in the world. Look at what we can do when we voice with one voice! No power in the ‘verse could stop us.