Friday, April 23, 2010

Push Me - Pull You

“Have you been on a journey?”

“Yes.” There is the pause. The shifting. “Yes I have.”

“Will you tell me about it?”

“No.” Here is the firmness. “It is not my story alone. It’s not solely mine to tell.”

Then the unexpected.

“Why not?”

Between asking and answering there is the abyss.

The great yearning squirming blackness, not empty, but full. Moving so quickly that to others it looks still. Squiggling ropes of truth gathering round and twisting so that it looks framed in steel.

Youth will answer the question “I don’t know,” but Youth isn’t being asked .

Knowledge will answer the question with “Perhaps it is not time,” but Knowledge is keeping it’s own counsel at the moment.

Wisdom’s answer is silence. Wait long enough and the unexpected will change shape and become predictable.

Wait longer still. It will become a plea.

Time can change it to aggression, defiance, repetition, inevitability, ritual . . . .

“Why not?”

“Because if I tell you the story, you will still think it’s mine, but it will only be yours.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

No. Sorry. It's on the to-do list. Really.

I'll get to it as soon as I can, but I'm a bit behind on shunning the frumious bandersnatch and you can see how that creates project slide at least on the timeline.

But the budget is coming in really low, everything is being loaned in like the vorpal blade and the Tumtum tree. We are having some weather issues we can't control. It's not mimsy at all right now, and there's no telling when it wil be. The Bororgroves are completely lined up properly in the grabes -- there's nothing outside the box there! I do know it was supposed to be the Mome Raths outgrabe and all, but we're an agile project team and the Borogroves are perfectly capable of it, especially without the mimsy.

Also, to be perfectly honest I think the jub-jub bird is out of scope. It only shows up when it's brillig and I know that brillig is part of the critical path, but I really think adding the jub-jub bird is just overreaching risk assessment masquerading as a task.

I'll check with the slithy toves. Maybe we can collapse the tasks and shorten the timeline and then I'll get all caught up on my gyring and get in the requisite gimbling. I loaned out time under the TumTum tree for extra uffish thoughts - I'll schedule our manxome foe analysis for next Tuesday. It's a perfectly good day even though it doesn't have a fancy name like "frabjus". The Mome Raths should be back by then and we can reassign the Borogroves.

And I'll get to the Jabberwock, I promise . . . . but first I have to get the Green Knight project into it's implementation phase and then I'll be right with you.

I still haven't had my breakfast and I'm only up to 4 impossible things . . . . could I at least get some coffee?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poppet Goes to See Coraline, Lollipop Theater and being Haunted by Neil Gaiman

Poppets like movies.

I like Poppets.

Lollipop Theater managed to achieve their goal of trending world wide, and I promised this story, which is about the first time the Most Adventurous Red went to the Movies, to see Coraline.

Which is funny because Neil Gaiman is sort of haunting me.

Of course he can't really haunt me. He's quite alive, hale, healthy and looks to be a perfectly nice human being all around. I suppose I'll explain some other time. Mr. Gaiman is most certainly not terribly aware of my existence, so the status of his haunting me is mostly irrelevant. Except that I wanted to see the movie initally, and then later found out that he had written it, so he was a surprise. "Boo."

Which is probably why I took all the pictures last year, saw the movie, enjoyed the company and played with the website for Coraline the Movie and never, ever wrote about it. Because there is silly, and well . . . there is slightly absurd.

And then there is the "no one will ever believe me." kind of thing.

Righto then . . . .

So back to the point. Last Year we went to see Coraline because it had a mouse circus in it and I love mice with a deep, deep childhood love, the way some little girls love horses. My mother did not share my love of mice or worms, or frogs. This led to my hiding them, and her eventually making me put away my own clothes and staying out of my dresser drawers.

But mice most of all - so when I saw the trailer or snippet with the Mouse Circus, I was going.

The Most Adventurous Red informed me that he was going too. Poppets love Neil Gaiman and sometimes pretend to be him. I wasn't sure that it was a good idea to bring a Poppet to a movie theater - things are very big and dark and sticky, but the Most Adventurous Red told me to quit being such a worry wart, after all I wouldn't want to deprive him of the Mouse Circus would I?

Well no. I'm not that mean.

So he picked out a jacket with a comfy pocket and settled himself in. He wouldn't really need a ticket since we were bringing his seat. At least that was the initial reasoning.

This is the Drinne's Eye View - I found I was very nervous about being transport.

Everything seemed normal and movieish at first, but then I had realized I hadn't been to the movies in an actual movie theater in a very, very long time. Possibly about 3 years. Some things had changed. Like the sizes.

Apparently, everyone who goes to movie theaters now is a giant. I had no idea. But we ordered 2 small popcorns and 3 small cokes and this is what we got!

This is not an acceptable version of "small". As a matter of fact they look suspiciously like what used to be called "large" for the popcorn not so long ago, and "Xtra Large" for the sodas.

There was also a new and baffling temple to Things Bready. The Most Adventurous Red wondered if perhaps it was a tribute to Indiana Jones.

On closer observation however he thought that maybe they were trying to make a face.

The Pretzel Bites looked like they might be good for carving into Poppety easy chairs. We though about it for a while - it might happen someday.

We went inside and saw the wonderful amazingness that was Coraline.

And I decided that at least if someone is haunting me, that I'm lucky it is a gentleman who makes really cool stuff and inspires other people to make really cool stuff too. I started reading more of Mr. Gaiman after meeting Lisa. He writes people like they really are, like they wish they were, and like they are afraid they might really be. I am developing a deep appreciation of that.

We saw it in 2-d that first time and soon after that saw it again in 3-d. I was glad that we did it that way. We used that system again for everything but Avatar. The world of Coraline was beautiful and the story (which I had not read yet) was wonderful and I liked it with the part of me that was like Coraline's mother and the part of me that was a little like Coraline.

We stayed until the very, very end. Because we always do. The Perfectly Normal Husband always claps for the Best Boy and Key Grip and Gaffers.

In Coraline they were all listed together as:

And we were very happy that there was anyone like a Key Grip or Best Boy to clap for.

And we always applaud for for the accountant on the behalf of the Perfectly Normal Husband, because he's way to modest to point out how important accountants are. In Coraline the accountant was:

Jamison EmpeyPost-Production Sound Accountant

And then it was really, really over. When we left the theater to go out into the hallway where all the other theaters in the building discharge their audiences back into the tunnels that lead out to the real world the Most Adventurous Red saw a challenge he could not resist and so he climbed to the top!

At which point he found out that the whole top of Rascals Fruity Mountain was curved and promptly slid. Thus earning his second chip.

We think it makes him look rakish.

It is most certainly well earned.

So thanks to Mr. Gaiman, and Mr. Selick and hundreds of dedicated other people we started going to the movies again. We were actually seeing movies at the same time other people were again. It was very nice and felt very human.

Which is why this story is posted after the Tweetathon for Lollipop Theater that we mentioned in the last post.

Here is a link where you can make a direct donation.

The Most Adventurous Red, thanks you for your support!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Help Poppetropolis support the Lollipop Theater Tweetathon

The Poppets at Poppetropolis are getting ready for the Lollipop Theater Tweetathon tomorrow. Poppets like movies and helping silly humans. This is both.

UPDATE ! The Tweetathon is Today! April 5th!

The Organization - Lollipop Theater

Kids know about movies faster than Variety when it's something that they really care about. They are the captains of the Good Ship Anticipation. The movies they are waiting for, whether it's Coraline, or Invincible Me or the new Alice are things they anticipate and talk about for months in advance. Grown up movie fans are really just keeping in touch with their younger selves when they do that. In many ways shared movies and TV shows are how people define their relationships to each other.

But kids who are stuck in the hospital for long, indefinate or permanent stays miss out on the excitement of new releases, they have to wait until the hospital can get it on DVD and put it into rotation, by this time all their peers have moved on and what might seem trivial becomes isolating when you're excited as hell about the Sorcerer's Stone, and your friends are sick of talking about it and have moved on to Xmen- and they keep telling you spoilers dammit. It becomes just one more little straw on your back to make your life "different". It might not seem like a big thing - but it's another Thing, in a long list of Things.

An unnecessary loss of a moment of excitement, joy, living in the now. Living just like everyone else.

LOLLIPOP makes it possible for hospitalized children around the nation to see the season's biggest blockbuster movies* at the same time as their friends and siblings.

They go to the hospital and literally roll out the red carpet, create a movie preimre atmosphere and distribute movie tickets and memorabilia. Here's the important bit - They screen movies ONLY available in theaters.

Sometimes the stars of the film drop by. To ensure that no child ever misses a movie, LOLLIPOP provides multiple screenings in group and isolation settings.

And tomorrow, April 5 they are doing a really big awareness/fundraising Tweetathon. Here at Poppetropolis and the Dreamtime we're going to help. You can skip the personal note below and go right down to the "What's going on" heading.

The personal note is just why this charity is important to me.

A Personal Note:

I don't usually put real-life, completely direct information in my blogs, but for this I will make an exception.

When I was younger I worked at Barnard College for what used to be called the "Office for Disabled Students." (It is now called Disability Student Services or somesuch.) In the past I had also been a Candy Striper for Holy Name Hospital. I have always been involved with the Disability Rights movement since I was first politically active.

The most interesting thing about the job at Barnard was that I was the same age as the students that were utilizing said services and I got to see a large gamut of very smart, accomplished, young women with wide range of disabilities making the transition from childhood to adulthood, while I was doing the same thing.

As the administrative assistant to the Dean for Disabled Students and the Assistant Dean, I was the one who kept them company while they were waiting for appointments or when they set up camp waiting for the deans because they didn't have one. I worked on wheelchair access issues, computers and disability, getting Ivy League professors to meet 504 requirements and admit that Ivy league disabled kids still were entitled to some accommodation, and that it is not appropriate to say to a pre-med student that someone can "just carry her up to the steps of the class" if her wheelchair can't get in the room.

Some of our students were born with disabilities, some acquired them through illness, some through accident. Disability is the only minority anyone can join at any time.

But the one thing I knew, because we were all 18-24, was that our teenage years were very close to our childhood years. None of that fuzzy haze caused by being grown up. Our students with cancer and with cystic fibrosis and other disabilities were Ivy League students with amazing writing and speaking skills and often approached by different groups as role models for younger people with similar disabilities and diseases - so they wrote and spoke for various groups and charities a lot. We provided support for student activism too, so I was lucky enough to work with them and sometimes help them polish their presentations.

One of the things I heard a lot was what life in and out of hospitals for long stays was like for them. They wanted to do normal things, they had chronic illnesses but they weren't dying. They were still just kids. I learned about how to clean stuffed animals without losing too much fluff for kids to take them into the hospital. I would hear stories about doing makeup and trying to find way to make hospital gowns more like fashion when they were tweens, about how they hated all the hospital "themed" toys that the hospital had. . They wanted normal dollhouses dolls and play supermarkets and toy cars. A lot of hospitals would only have toys that "helped them accept the hospital environment". There were some toys that they couldn't play with because they presented risks to other kids on the floor (a lot of longterm wards mix the terminal illness with the "in-treatment" kids for various reasons like socialization or at least they used to - I've been concentrating on 508 enforcement these days so I'm less in touch).

So the thing is, these wonderful, successful, smarter-than-me young adults that happened to have disabilities had far more weight than the the studies that show what "helps" made by doctors and scientists. At least for me. And what I learned is that kids with disabilties stuck in hospitals for months instead of weeks, or years instead of months, or scheduled for long stays for care management between periods of living on the outside, want one thing universally. The same exact things the kids who aren't disabled do.

Later when I was a toy reviewer, I used to try to donate the toys directly to long term care children's wards and ran into the "only if it's a hospital, or doctor's office playset" rule directly. Not all long term wards but an awful lot. I hope that this is changing. Playmobil Castles are for everyone dammit, and that goes double for Pirate Island!

It almost seemed like because kids had medical conditions all the grownups wanted them to do nothing but face reality, and they left no room for normal imagination and dreaming.

And frankly that just sounds like the exact opposite of what's good for children who are NOT dumb and all too aware of their reality.

So What's Going on? And what are you doing about it?

So here is Lollipop Theater - a charity that wants to bring first run movies that are actually in the theater to the kids who are in hospitals (and I hope maybe someday for the kids who can't go to a regular theater because of autoimmune issues).

Movies are a gateway to imagination and dreaming.

It is exactly the kind of thing those students talked about back in the day - where they can have experiences and conversations about regular non-disability related things with everyone; abled and differently abled. It's not escape we're giving these kids, it's just little bit of everyday life and admitting that a disability doesn't define them - being a kid does. And providing them with things that let them just be kids - like the same movies their classmates are seeing.

I can't even explain how important this is. Just trust me. Or talk to your friend with CF.

So if they can't get to the movies - lets get the movies to them.

Craig Ferguson ( who is awesome) joined twitter - which I have only recently joined - they are hosting a Tweetathon on April 5 to raise money and awareness.

Here is a video that explains things a bit:

Here is the Trend Topic on Twitter

If you tweet please help spread the word tomorrow - I've kept a very low profile so I only have 7 followers, I'm sure anyone reading this has more. I'm @DreamtimeDrinne

Please tweet with the hashtag #lollipoptheater on all your outgoing tweets.

It would be even better if you could donate a little bit too.

Here is the website for Lollipop Theater itself

Please Tell A Friend

Tomorrow - in honor of the Lollipop Theater Tweetathon there will be a blog entry about when The Most Adventurous Red went with us to see Coraline in the Theater and the story of how he got his second chip.

Thank you!