How Fantasy Points to a Future World Nov20

How Fantasy Points to a Future World...

I am an escapist. I spend my time thinking about other worlds, dreaming about impossible things, and playing make-believe with my friends. But it’s hard to admit that I enjoy escaping. It only takes checking my Facebook feed to see all the pain and devastation in the real world. Just when I finished absorbing the details about the truck attack in New York City, I heard about the church shooting in Texas, and my heart breaks for everyone involved. I feel guilty setting those events aside for fantasy. If I really cared, shouldn’t I live in reality? As a Christian, shouldn’t I be focusing on how to make a difference? But one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century was an escapist too. C.S. Lewis wrote a children’s fantasy series, an adult science fiction trilogy, and several other speculative fiction works. The main characters in The Silver Chair, a later volume in Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (I’m still waiting for the movie), are forced to believe in a reality that stifled imagination. Maybe stories like Lewis’s provide a glimpse into something new and fantastic. English children Jill and Eustace have been sent by Aslan to find Prince Rillian, who was kidnapped years ago. Aslan gives them instructions and sends them on their quest, but they miss and ignore the signs they’re supposed to follow. Their thoughts wander even more when they slide down a tunnel to the underworld and are taken by gnomes through cavern after cavern, down farther and farther until Lewis writes, “And the worst thing about it was that you began to feel as if you had always lived . . . in that darkness, and to wonder whether sun and blue skies and wind and birds had not...

Reading Grimm: Selfishness begets Fear Nov17

Reading Grimm: Selfishness begets Fear...

People in fairy tales really don’t trust each other. Husbands assume their wives are lying and listen to the advice of murderous mothers-in-laws, a bird believes his housemates’ are overworking him, and a father plans to kill his sons for fear his daughter won’t be taken care of—just to name a few. Oftentimes, selfishness lies at the heart of this mistrust, and characters try to hold on to their desire so tightly they are constantly afraid of losing what they have. In the fairy tale “The White Cat” (the Grimm version is known as “Cherry” or “The Frog Bride”), a king has three sons “so clever and brave” he is afraid they will take over his kingdom before he dies, so he gives them an impossible task to perform. Whoever succeeds will receive the crown. I can’t help wondering why the king is so scared about losing his throne. If people in power are so constantly afraid of losing it that they spend all their time worrying, what’s the point? He’s actually inviting resentment from his sons by pitting them against each other, though they don’t seem troubled by his decree. While the youngest son is on his quest, which is to find the smallest and most beautiful dog in the land, he stumbles upon an enchanted mansion in a forest and there he meets a talking white cat. He decides to stay with her because he likes spending time with her so much. When the year is almost up, she reminds him that he still has a task to complete, then provides him with a dog tiny enough to fit into an acorn. The son presents it to the king, who has nothing “to say against the beauty of the little dog.” But...

When Warped Community Feels Right Nov15

When Warped Community Feels Right...

There’s wisdom in seeking counsel from those who are older and wiser than me, from friends who can view my situation from an unbiased perspective. Any time I have to make a big decision, I consult those close to me. However, advice still needs to be taken with careful consideration. A solution that worked for someone else in a similar situation may not work for me—it might not even be the wisest thing for me to do. In Stranger Things 2, Eleven meets Kali (another girl with superpowers). She finds safety and belonging with someone who can empathize with her troubles. Kali gives her advice on how to harness her power and tries to coax her into seeking revenge against the people who hurt her. But Kali tempts Eleven to the dark side of the Force—I mean, convinces her to do more harm than good. She advises Eleven to use anger to fuel her abilities and be unmerciful to those who have hurt her. Eleven chose the more difficult path—one where she had to face her ultimate fear and reconcile with people who’ve hurt her. Kali’s advice isn’t malicious; she genuinely wants to help Eleven. But Eleven comes to realize that Kali’s life is dark and bitter; and Kali is surrounded by friends who let her thrive in her depravity. Eleven soon realizes Kali’s life is not something she wants to aspire to. Kali tries to convince her to kill a man who abused Kali and hurt Eleven’s mama. When Kali tries to kill the man herself, Eleven stops her and Kali responds by saying, “If you want to show mercy, that is your choice, but don’t you ever take away mine. Ever.” Kali respects Eleven to make the decision to show mercy, proving...

Episode 106 – Snape’s Littlefinger Nov14

Episode 106 – Snape’s Littlefinger...

It’s the only podcast who wishes the Justice League was a little more limited, it’s Infinity +1! Join Jason, Allison, and Kyle as they open up some Saved Files from a very busy month and reiterate how much they enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok. Then, in the second segment, we examine what happens when great characters make not-so-great choices about love. What can we learn about the difference between obsession and love from characters like Professor Snape or Littlefinger? Allison’s article The Ickiness Of Mistaking Obsession For Love might just have some answers. Question of the Week: If you could transform into a mythical beast at will, what would it be? The music in the break is “North Hill Transit Speedrun” by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

All Hela Breaks Loose: The Goddess of Death’s Obsession Nov13

All Hela Breaks Loose: The Goddess of Death’s Obsession...

To be Asgardian royalty is to have daddy issues. Thor and Loki’s struggles with their father form the crux of past films in the series, but in Thor: Ragnarok, the brothers’ anger is vastly overshadowed by the rage of Hela, the older sister they never knew existed. As Odin’s firstborn, Hela once held her father’s favor, ruling and fighting by his side—only to be banished when Odin had a change of heart. Under normal circumstances, Hela’s anger over Odin’s rejection would be understandable—except that Odin’s repentance was entirely justified. According to Hela, they had rebuilt an Asgardian empire by violently conquering other lands and peoples. Hela not only played a vital role in the battles, but served as Odin’s executioner—and she loved every minute of it. But Odin eventually realized his actions were unjust and decided to become a wiser, kinder king. Hela didn’t agree with the decision. Suddenly, Odin’s most powerful asset became his strongest opposition. Unable to cope with Hela’s power and unwilling to let her continue her bloodthirsty rampage, Odin banished Hela from Asgard and imprisoned her. Hela doesn’t just toy with the deaths of others; she revels in them. When Odin dies, his power can no longer keep Hela contained. Mere minutes after being freed, Hela breaks Thor’s hammer, strands him and Loki on Sakaar, and heads to Asgard to reclaim the throne. Hela doesn’t just toy with the deaths of others; she revels in them. Upon her return to Asgard, she is challenged by a group of soldiers and slaughters them all. While walking among their broken bodies, Hela exclaims, “Oh, I’ve missed this.” Death is a weakness that every mortal being shares, and Hela loves exploiting that weakness. She eagerly inflicts death on anyone who opposes her, and...

Reading Grimm: Don’t Follow the (Blue) Light Nov10

Reading Grimm: Don’t Follow the (Blue) Light...

Making a deal with darkness never seems like a good idea, but in Grimm’s “The Blue Light,” the action is rewarded and even considered praiseworthy. “The Blue Light” is a fairy tale about a soldier whose king releases him from service due to his “many wounds.” Unable to earn a living, the soldier requests lodging at the home of a witch. She agrees—if the soldier does as she wishes, giving the story a deal-with-the-devil spin reminiscent of Esau in the Bible, who sold his birthright for a meal. The witch sends the soldier down a well to retrieve a magical blue light, intending to trap him there once he hands her the lantern. The soldier guesses her scheme, however, so the witch releases the rope and drops him into the well, light and all. The soldier, assuming his end has come, sulks for a while before deciding to smoke his pipe. He uses the witch’s lantern to light the pipe, again demonstrating his folly by using the resources of a witch. In a strange twist of fate, his smoking summons a magical dwarf, much like a genie in a lamp. The dwarf tells him, “‘I must do everything you bid me,’” and the soldier doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation. Not only does he use the dwarf to escape from the well, but he also steals the witch’s gold and has the witch hung. Apparently, the Brothers Grimm didn’t consider theft, forced servitude, and revenge to be wicked. Fairy tale tradition might justify theft and revenge aimed at an evil person, but the soldier doesn’t stop there. Blaming the king for his problems, the soldier has the dwarf kidnap the king’s daughter while she’s asleep and makes her clean for him, thinking...

Race and Gender: A Timeless Issue Nov08

Race and Gender: A Timeless Issue...

I expect a show about time travel to ask difficult questions like: “How much do we alter history?”, “Should we let people die just because they’re already dead in the future?”, and “Why can’t we kill Hitler? What I appreciate most about NBC’s Timeless is that it doesn’t shy away from dealing with the awful way women and people of colour have been treated throughout history. The premise of the show is pretty simple: a terrorist, Garcia Flynn, hijacks a newly-made time machine from Mason Industries and attempts to alter certain events in American history. In response, Homeland Security tasks the show’s three protagonists—history professor Lucy Preston, Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan, and engineer Rufus Carlin—with following Flynn in a second time machine to preserve history and take him down. In the first episode, Rufus is adamant that he doesn’t want to go, and tells his boss, “There is literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me.” Every one of us wishes we had the freedom to tell off our harassers like Lucy does. As a black man, Rufus is all too aware of how he will be perceived if he goes back in time, but as the only pilot trained to handle the time machine, he is required to go. The show is peppered with humorous quips (“The back of the bus was amazing!”says Rufus in 1937) and more poignant moments in which Rufus deals with a legacy of racism and marginalization. In “The Murder of Jesse James,” Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus track down the famous outlaw, who has been recruited by Flynn. To do so, they team up with Bass Reeves, the first black deputy U.S. Marshal. Reeves is thought to be the inspiration for the popular character the Lone Ranger,...

Episode 105 –  I Wanna Ragnarok! Nov07

Episode 105 – I Wanna Ragnarok!...

It’s the only podcast with a Fenrir-skin rug, it’s Infinity +1! Join Jason, Allison, returning guest Kyla Neufeld as they prepare to discuss their feelings about Thor: Ragnarok with a deity-themed Question of the Week and an appropriately bonkers edition of Conundrum. Then, in the second segment, it’s a FULL SPOILER discussion about what we all thought of the latest addition to Marvel’s cinematic catalogue. If you want to avoid spoilers, stay in the first half of this episode! Question of the Week: Who’s the most compelling fictional deity? The music in the break is “It’s Not Old Skool It’s Classic” by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Finding Hope the Replicant Way Nov06

Finding Hope the Replicant Way...

In Blade Runner’s world, the only thing darker than the City of Angels is the hearts of the people who live there. As imagined by Ridley Scott, the Los Angeles of 2019 is a dismal, rainy place. Unnamed environmental catastrophes have poisoned the Earth to the point that the best option—as announced by the ever-present advertising blimps—is to get off the planet. The streets are a neon-lit warren of storefronts and stalls where vendors compete for the money and attention of a perpetually weary populace.  Life seems to be a grim march toward a lonely death. It is a world devoid of joy and hope. This cold, wet hellscape is ground zero in a battle which asks what it really means to be human. As the opening text scroll explains, the Tyrell Corporation has created genetically-engineered robots (called replicants) which are virtually indistinguishable from humans. Replicants are slave labour; tasked with the most difficult and dangerous jobs and forbidden from living on Earth. Furthermore, to keep them in check, they are engineered with a four-year lifespan. They are considered mere machines to be used and discarded at the whim of their human creators. How do I hope for change in a dark world? Rick Deckard is the Blade Runner—a policeman who has the task of identifying and killing replicants who make it to Earth. Like the other humans in the film, he views the replicants as mere mechanisms. In an early conversation with Rachel, he says, “Replicants are like any other machine—they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.” He hunts and kills them with uncaring efficiency; the way a programmer might hunt down and eliminate errors in a block of code. More disturbingly, he later orders...

YouTube for the Fandom Loving Soul, Vol 2: Harry Potter Nov03

YouTube for the Fandom Loving Soul, Vol 2: Harry Potter...

New from the Geekdom House Records! Four explosive hits from original stars! It’s the YouTube for the Fandom-Loving Soul, Volume Two, featuring the Potterverse. The Second City, Neil Cicierega, Broad Strokes, and the much anticipated TheDCTVshow all make the cut in this once-in-a-lifetime combination that will knock your socks off. All for the low price of FREE. Money back guaranteed. Don’t wait. Watch now. 1. HOGWARTS: Which House Are You? 2. Potter Puppet Pals 3. The Greater Good – Dumbledore and Grindelwald Honourable Mention: VOLDEMORT: Origins of the Heir...

Facing Your Demons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fear Nov01

Facing Your Demons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fear...

If you’re not afraid of heights, riding to the top of the Empire State Building isn’t bravery. Facing someone else’s fear because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean you’re courageous. It’s when you confront your own fear, and it looms above you like a giant, horned demon, that you truly understand what it means to be a hero or a coward. In the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Fear Itself,” Buffy and the Scoobies wander through a frat house during Halloween, encountering cobwebs, spiders, and knife-wielding skeletons. But then the fears start to get real. And personal. Xander becomes invisible and unheard, because he’s afraid his friends don’t care about him and are moving forward with their lives while he’s standing still. Oz starts to turn into a werewolf even though it’s not a full moon; he runs away from Willow because he’s afraid he’ll hurt her. Willow conjures a light to show her the way out, but the spell backfires, harkening to her fear of being useless. Buffy fights vampires that erupt from the ground and tell her she will forever be alone. . . Read the rest of this article on Christ and Pop...

Episode 104 – A Grimm Outlook Oct31

Episode 104 – A Grimm Outlook...

It’s the only podcast that calls the real wold the Right Side Up—it’s Infinity +1! Join Jason, Allison, and Kyle as they ask and appropriately spooky Question of the Week, recount their weekend at Central Canada Comic-Con, and bask as Allison awards October’s Sweetdiculous Award Then, in the second segment, we put a spotlight on the limited series of Area of Effect—reading through Grimm’s fairy tales to see what can be gleaned from them today. We focus on Allison’s article Reading Grimm: It’s Always A Woman’s Fault to see what parts of old fables can still be valuable to us today. Question of the Week: Who’s your favourite monster? Sweetdiculous Award Paperbeatsrock The music in the break is “It’s Not A Keygen” by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

The Ickiness of Mistaking Obsession for Love Oct30

The Ickiness of Mistaking Obsession for Love

“I love Professor Snape,” my friend gushed. “He’s the real hero of Harry Potter. And his devotion to Lily Potter is so moving.” I simply nodded along, not understanding her fictional crush but unable to deny Snape’s good intentions; he does protect Harry throughout the series, albeit while mentally torturing the boy for being the child of a man he hated. But then again, maybe I could have denied it. In fact, maybe I could have pointed out that Snape is an obsessive, cruel stalker and not a romantic hero at all. For some reason, obsessive love is sentimentalized in books and media. And this is not a new trend. From Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Catherine, to Bella and Edward, doing anything (and I mean anything) for your lover is portrayed as a desirable feat. I raise an eyebrow when I see the image of a glowing doe accompanied by a cloaked, crooked-nosed figure and the word “Always,” Snape’s key phrase. It’s plastered on memes, throw pillows, and iPhone cases as a testament to devotion, but that’s not what it really represents. Snape is a fascinating and well-developed character, but to use him as a model for romance is a disturbing sentiment of a narcissist culture. In Snape’s eyes, Lily might as well be the doe his patronus represents: voiceless, a helpless animal to tame and protect. “He makes no effort to grow as a person,” says Hannah McGregor, one of two feminist scholars who host the podcast Witch, Please. “He ultimately supports the regime that directly leads to [Lily’s] death, and in the wake of it, doesn’t meaningfully become a better person, just remains fanatically devoted to her as an object he wanted to own and never got to have.” Though many fans’ hearts were warmed by the reveal of Snape’s history with Harry’s parents in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a childhood feud with Harry’s dad and unrequited love for his mom doesn’t make the Hogwarts teacher a hero. It’s incredibly creepy that Snape continues to have feelings for Lily years after they stop being friends. Though he shouts something cruel at her as a teenager, which is what causes the rift in their relationship, he never tries to make amends. Instead, he holds on to his childhood feelings into adulthood—including his hatred for James—feeding the flames of his obsession with the desire to effectively own her. It’s not until her life is threatened that he rethinks giving up her family to Lord Voldemort. He doesn’t have a problem with Voldemort killing her husband or her son, just with killing her. Dismissing what is important to the other person is not a testament of true love, however; it’s the opposite. In Snape’s eyes, Lily might as well be the doe his patronus represents: voiceless, a helpless animal to tame and protect. “Severus Snape” by Ludmila-Cera-Foce (ludmila-cera-foce.deviantart.com). When someone tweeted to J.K. Rowling, commenting that “Snape held no malice against Harry (which Harry came to know, eventually),” Rowling replied, “That’s not true, I’m afraid. Snape projected his hatred and jealousy of James onto Harry.” Even after Lily’s gone, Snape isn’t moved to real love; the ways in which he mentally tortures Harry and belittles Hermione for being Muggle-born, just like Lily was, demonstrate his bitterness and lack of understanding what real love is. By treating her as an object and holding on to childlike memories of her, Snape has made Lily into something she isn’t—“When we find what we think to be a suitable ‘object’ for our idealistic affections . . . we invest more of ourselves than is appropriate—to the extent of worship. Rarely do we really know the other person well, but imagination and desire make up the difference,” writes Bruce Atkinson PhD. We’re attracted to these romances because we think it takes a special kind of person—a strong woman—to love a...

YouTube for the Fandom Loving Soul, Vol. 1: Video Games...

New from the Geekdom House Records! Four explosive hits from original stars! It’s the YouTube for the Fandom-Loving Soul, Volume One. Mistersyms, Malukah, Lindsey Stirling, and William Joseph all make the cut in this once-in-a-lifetime combination that will knock your socks off. All for the low price of FREE. Money back guaranteed. Don’t wait. Watch now. 1. Piltover Dubstep (League of Legends) 2. The Dragonborn Comes (Skyrim) 3. Halo Theme Honourable Mention: The Legend of Zelda movie...

MCU Watchalong: Thor (2011) Oct26

MCU Watchalong: Thor (2011)...

The heroes of Earth have begun to assemble, but all is not well in Asgard. Join Jason Dueck, Michael Boyce, and Allison Barron as they make fun of Thor’s narrow wrists and smash their coffee cups in time with the next origin in the Marvel movie catalogue—Thor. Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Michael’s Twitter: @mwboyce Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

When We’re Shunned by Society...

Geeks have a history of being unloved. I have felt an outcast, particularly growing up in the church, for enjoying things like video games. Magic: The Gathering and comics were spoken about as worthless, vile and even deadly, yet I found joy, hope, community and even God in these passions. It’s tempting to turn my back on the society that rejects me. And yet, if we contribute to it instead, we foster joy instead of hate (plus, we make a better name for ourselves). In Horizon: Zero Dawn, you play an outcast from the Nora tribe named Aloy. When she encounters other people from the tribe, they throw rocks at her, ignore her, or treat her with disdain (sounds familiar). Her adopted father trains her in hunting, combat, and survival so when she comes of age she can participate in the Proving, a series of physical tests (sounds less familiar). Passing the tests would mean rejoining the tribe. Why do these people, why do I, strive to give back to a culture that doesn’t understand? Understandably, Aloy isn’t even sure if she wants to join them because of the way they have treated her. After she defeats a Sawtooth, the final challenge of the Proving, her adopted father says, “For years you’ve trained to win the Proving, but only for yourself. As a brave, it will be your duty to fight for your tribe.” “My tribe?!” she replied. “You said I wouldn’t need them.” “But I never said the tribe wouldn’t need you.” Aloy could turn her back on society and leave them to die without her. But she doesn’t. Instead, she steps into the role of protector for several tribes. She sacrifices her future for the very people who spurned her. Most people...

Episode 103 – Save Your Progress Oct24

Episode 103 – Save Your Progress...

It’s the only podcast whose food is always problematic—it’s Infinity +1! Join Jason, Kyle, and special guest Aaron Thiessen as they load up some Saved Files from a trailer-heavy month and share some stories from Jason’s recent trip to Toronto before asking a Question of the Week about favourite nerd lingo. Then, in the second segment, The Importance of Rest and Save Points by Matt Civico call our attention to the way video games use rest as a mechanic. How can we better utilize rest and slowing ourselves down in everyday interactions? Listen on and find out! Question of the Week: What’s your most-used undercover quote? The music in the breaks is “GB Hauz” by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Logan’s Run and the Question We Don’t Want Asked Oct23

Logan’s Run and the Question We Don’t Want Asked...

No one wants to know when they’re going to die. But for some reason, I am fascinated by a society built around the notion. The novel-turned-movie Logan’s Run deals with a shiny dystopian future that indulges your every desire, but demands that you give up your life at thirty. A crystal in the palm of your hand maps out your life in colours—white, yellow, green, red, and finally black. A few citizens decide to seek escape, running from the safety of the vast, domed city. A squad of elite policemen—the Sandmen—pursue and kill them. The penalty for trying to avoid death is… well… more immediate death. The runners choose to run because they have heard of a mythical safe place called Sanctuary. The computer that runs the city selects a Sandman named Logan 5 to find and destroy Sanctuary. As motivation, the computer adjusts Logan’s lifeclock and steals his remaining four years. He goes from 26 to 30 in an instant. He lifeclock blinks red-and-black, signaling that he has just 24 hours left. Having no other options, Logan takes the assignment. Most of us don’t face the immediate deadline that motivates Logan. In high school, I kept coming back to the story because I was just beginning to grapple with the question of mortality. Logan has an innate desire to survive that drives his mad quest for sanctuary. He didn’t think dying was something he’d have to worry about for another four years. But with a day to live and very little to go on, Logan follows one clue—an ankh he stole from a terminated runner—and connects with a younger woman named Jessica. She wears the ankh and he suspects she has ties to the runners’ underground, so he convinces her he’s a runner...

Reading Grimm: It’s Always a Woman’s Fault Oct20

Reading Grimm: It’s Always a Woman’s Fault...

You’d think if you learned your father wanted to kill you, you’d be a little upset with him. But in the Grimms’ fairy tale, “The Twelve Brothers,” the boys aren’t mad at their dad when he builds twelve coffins in preparation for slaughtering his sons. For some reason, that’s what he decides to do if his thirteenth child is a girl, so that “her riches may be the greater, and the kingdom fall to her alone.” Since their mom isn’t completely behind this plan, she warns them of their sister’s birth and they flee to an enchanted house in the woods and live there for ten years. The misogyny is clear—since they love their father, they’d rather blame the sister for being born. In fact, they’d rather blame all women, saying, “Shall we suffer death because of a girl! We swear to be revenged; wherever we find a girl we will shed her blood.” The inequality doesn’t end there, though. After they meet her and let her live, her goodness is demonstrated through housekeeping and her ability to keep everything “beautifully white and clean” (if you remember from my last post on “The Maiden Without Hands,” cleanliness equals goodness). Then she decides to pick twelve lovely lilies to give to her brothers as presents, but upon plucking them her brothers are turned into ravens. Thus, their horrifying fate is her fault. Again. You’d think if you learned your father wanted to kill you, you’d be a little upset with him. In order to transform them back, she has to stay silent for seven years. In fairy tales, it’s always the women who have to stay silent and still (e.g. “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty”). And it’s always the men who are turned into animals (e.g. “The Princess...

The Importance of Rest and Save Points...

I’m quick to believe life can be lived as a speed run. I move from one project to the next looking for adventure and thirsting for success. Stopping for a break means I’m lazy. If I’m not busy with something, I’m wasting my time, God’s time, and using up valuable resources. Or am I? Before the ever-present autosave showed up, older video games had different ways of encouraging players to save their progress. In order to rest, recover HP and MP, and save the game, players often stopped at inns, shiny spheres, or, in the case of Resident Evil, old typewriters. The purpose of rest stops is practical for gaming, and maybe I have more to learn from these quiet markers of saving grace than I realize. At the beginning of this year, I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I had a roster of new projects to take on so I could push myself professionally and personally. I planned to search out more freelance work, spend quality time with my wife, serve my church, help my friends, and attend to the needs of my family. Plus, there were video games to play, books to read, and exercise to commit myself to every day. The plan to rest just became another item on my to-do list. I’m an expert in what I want, but I rarely want what I need. Eventually, my needs caught up with me, and I couldn’t keep up the impossible pace I had set for myself—though I wasn’t quite ready to give up. An opportunity came up to get away on a spiritual retreat, so I jumped at it and thanked God. This is exactly what I need, I thought. It was a chance to recharge and maybe catch up on...