Saturday, January 28, 2012

My re-introduction to The Transformers, How I became a Transformer Fan.

I was born in the Mid-Seventies, so it comes to no surprise that I am a Star Wars Fan, a a fan of vintage cartoons and TV shows along with the toys marketed with them.  One of my younger brothers was born in the early eighties, thus I was surrounded by Legos, Plastic Robots, He-Man Action figures, G.I. Joe figures and Hot Wheels along with my Barbies, Herself the Elf Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  We often would mix up our toys together, play and watch all the same cartoons during our indoor playtimes.  (Sue me, I love my little brother and he played fair.  Dad insisted we play together and ride our bikes together.)   Anyway, some of these toys, mainly “The Plastic Robots” looked complicated and I was afraid I would break them.  These were my kid brother’s Transformers.  I preferred all of these Robots in Vehicle mode because I would use them with all the Lego Mini figures we had.  (I had and still have a wild imagination, I made it work).  My brother was able to transform these toys in seconds and I could never figure it out.
We watched all the afternoon cartoons including the Transformers and G.I. Joe block.  I was around 9 or 10 at the time and my brother was 4 or 5.  I remember us singing the theme songs to both of these shows and thinking these songs were better than the cartoons at the time.  I would halfway pay attention to these cartoons while my brother was fully engrossed while they were on.  (It was Barbie time for me; these shows were just my background noise.  It was bad enough I was getting teased by some of the fast ass girls at my elementary school for still playing with Toys.)  Nevertheless, it appeared that kid brother was a casual fan who liked the cartoon and owned a few Autobot toys.  Years went on and we apparently grew out of our toys and got more into sports and music.  

Fast forward to more than twenty years later, I’m Iiving with someone who has been a Transformers fan from the beginning (Since he was 10) and is just as passionate about it as he was when he was a kid.  Not only does he own the entire series and all the Transformer Series that came after G1, he has a huge collection of Transformer comics. Also, this man owns many G1 and G2 toys and refers to all the Michael Bay movies as Bayformers. (Did I mention that his toys are in great condition and many are still in the box?) In addition, he builds Transformers out of Legos and they are on display in our house.   He goes to the main Transformer Convention, BotCon and has been going off and on from the mid nineties.  After he’d get back from BotCon, he would show me pictures and I thought it was neat that people were still fans and got together to hang out at conventions.  (I remember thinking, BotCon 1997 looked really cool!)  .  Keep in mind, I always knew that he was a huge fan all of these years I’ve known him, but I didn’t realize how huge until we became a couple.  When I actually saw every toy and how his collection continues to grow, I became fascinated.    Some of my girlfriends do not get it and do not understand why I am okay with toys being on display in my living room.  Sometimes when you live with someone, you become more curious about some of their hobbies that differ from yours, especially if it seems interesting and cool to you.  

Furthermore, being an avid movie watcher, I was dragged to the Transformer movie that came out in 2007. (I will not mention who dragged me. A mouth-breather.)  I thought the movie was so-so and I recognized that they didn’t really stick to the classic cartoon.  In fact, I thought the robots in the Michael Bay film were ugly and looked like the Predator.  Therefore, when the live action Transformer sequel came out, I had no interest in watching these ugly robots and I assumed the movie was going to be another lousy “popcorn mouth-breathing flick”.  Like a lot of die hard Transformer Fans out there, he watched the G1 cartoon in its entirety once a year.   The first year we were together, I decided to watch it with him. It took awhile for me to get into it, but by the fourth episode I was hooked.  I thought the Robots were handsome compared to those ugly Bayformers and Starscream cracked me up!  What a whiny pain in the ass!  As I continued to watch the show, I found that my favorite Autobot was Wheeljack and I loved Soundwave.  I was becoming too emotionally involved with the storyline and very soon I realized I was a fan.   A couple of my boyfriend’s friends stated that I only liked the G1 cartoon, because he did. (Insert annoying eye roll here.) I was not forced to watch this show and formed the opinion on my own.  Why can’t some geek/nerd guys accept that girls do think for themselves and not all of us are snotty FiFi girls who scoff at Toy collecting? Also, there is nothing wrong with being a new fan.  Why does everyone put so much rank on how long someone has liked something?  I’m sure Hasbro is welcoming all the new Transformer fans!

I have always like costuming and had just recently started cosplaying from time to time at local conventions, so I asked about Transformer cosplay.  I was really interested in putting my own spin on Transformer costumes.  I did a few You tube searches and my boyfriend recommended that I do a human version of Wheeljack.  We focused on getting the color scheme right and even adding some small details like the logo.  So I began creating my Wheeljack costume...

  He introduced me to some of his old friends, Tony and Rose who have been going to BotCon from the beginning.   Rose gave me a few tips on Wheeljack as well and shared how she designed her human “Nurse Rachet” costume.  

  The next year rolled around and we found out that BotCon 2011 was going to be in Pasadena, CA.  I knew I wanted to go and check it out.    I am glad I did, because I’ve made a lot of new friends.

  So far, it has been the best convention I’ve attended and it was neat seeing how big Transformers have become again.  I am looking forward to Bot Con 2012 and many more to come!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chronicling my Natural Hair Journey….not!

         My hair is naturally unruly, kinky and semi fine.  It breaks easily of it is not handled properly and worn in protective styles.  People either praised my hair or criticized it.  In elementary school, the principal's secretary (Actually, my godmother's secretary, she was the principal at the time.) actually commented to my mother, "Isn't it too bad that her hair isn't more like her daddy's but like yours instead?"  Now, if that's not ugly, I don't know what is.  Why anyone would say anything like that to another human being is beyond me.  Well, moving on from that, as a kid, I always wore my hair in thick plats in pictures and wearing one ponytail was such a big deal.  If I complained I got two extra braids, screamed and hollered?  I got eight big braids and looked like a gangly brown spider.   Some girls in school had mothers that relaxed their hair or used a hot comb to get it straight.  And they got to wear their hair down. I never did!  My mom only did it on picture day if she felt like it and it still wouldn’t look like the other girls.  So I had a complex about my hair for years.  Kids would tease me and say, “You’re mixed, you are supposed to have good hair, but you don’t!”   My mom would always say,”That’s because they all have perms! Don’t listen to them! “But as a kid, when it’s coming from girls and boys, it scars you! Having a huge flat Japanese head didn’t help either.  (Smile)
        I always envied my friends with straight hair because they always wore their hair down and it flowed.  Also, they got more attention from the fellas.   People bullied me about my hair and other women always suggested I relaxed it because it was so wild.  Back in the 80’s and part of the 90’s, the hair products were not the same and you either blow dried it, used a curling iron, hot rollers or a hot comb to smooth the curls.  I had moments where I was okay with my hair, but most of the time I was dissatisfied.

        I have been natural most of my life, but occasionally would use a mild straightener to relax my curls after the age of 25.  I stayed away from the harsh perms and anything with lye.   I did it for the first time in 2003, then again in 2005 and again in 2008.   But the mistake I made was relaxing it again after 3 months in 2008 because my curls immediately came back.   So, October of 2008 was the last time I relaxed my hair. I thought I was playing it safe doing using the same hair straighteners that the white and Latin girls used.  I used the same straightener I normally used, but this time it was different.  My hair started breaking off slowly, but surely.  I never had any serious breakage before, but this was my punishment for getting a perm.  I vowed that I would never do this again.   Much of this was due to dying my hair as well, most of 2008 I had magenta streaks and it was fierce!  I loved my purple hair and I would love to dye it again soon, but I need to wait till it’s completely healthy again.  

         Furthermore, I, being a dumbass and not liking my hair used a flat iron religiously.  My hair was at my tailbone and yes, it looked nice for awhile.  I spent part of 2009 and 2010 using the flat iron when I got frustrated with my in-between hair.  Hair was still breaking, not retaining too much length.   Oh well! Then I made a resolution in 2011 to shelve the flat iron that gets up to 485 degrees and not use it.  I haven’t used it since and don’t plan on it.  I have gotten used to my natural hair and have grown to like it.  Again, I hated my hair for years because people teased me for having too much of it.  Morons I dated thought I looked better with straight hair and other women complimented my hair on a regular basis for the first time in my life.  I wanted straight hair and like most black girls, used too much heat to get my hair straight.  

         But now, I think I am over it!  I was born with big bushy curls and can use product to smooth them out and I am gonna rock my afro like tresses.  Going natural has freed me from the bondage I was in for years with my hair.  I am not focused on my hair and it doesn’t take me forever to do my hair everyday! Not only am I saving money, I am saving time and energy.   Don’t get me wrong, some days are better than others.  For instance and many sistas can attest to this, our hair looks its best when it’s dirty! HAHA! It’s true, but I have gotten in the habit of keeping it clean and wearing protective styles more often than I wear it down.   I’m grown, so I am not embarrassed to wear my hair in plats or pig tails.  In addition, I don’t freak out if my man touches my hair or if it starts raining. 

         I should take pictures just to refer back on to see how much my hair has grown, but a lot of ladies are spreading the love and sharing their journey on You Tube and blogs etc.  Thus, I really don’t feel the need to. I have always had longish hair, so it’s not about length for me, but rather health and love.    I am also sort of embarrassed to take hair pics and post them even though the growth has been tremendous.   I am just happy I am getting my hair back and vow to never complain about it again!   It’s all about self-love and self-acceptance.