RUNBreakable Coming to an End

After a few years of running RUNbreakable I have decided to close down the site. It will shut down in March of 2017 but I will likely no longer be posting here between now and then.

I have decided to adjust my focus to Geeks 4 Justice and will be growing that blog in an effort to put my PhD education to better use.  Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @geeks4justice.

Help Kids with Muscular Dystrophy

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The holiday season is upon us and you have a chance to help kids with muscular dystrophy and earn some good karma before the start of 2017.   (We all need that right now.)

I am currently $290 away from my $800 fundraising goal and could use your help.

Join me in supporting Team Muscle Makers for UCMD with a direct donation or order a lovely Christmas Decoration using this link to Lynch Creek Farms.

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The Psychology of Hate

I had the privilege of guesting on Geek Therapist this week, talking about the psychology of hate. This is a very important discussion that needs to be listened to and practiced. Listen to each other.

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Welcome to the first Geek Therapist in Trump’s America. Aaron and Katie welcome Dr. Sarah Hanisko from the Geek Parenting Podcast to discuss the psychology of hate. We discuss the power anger and hate can have on our lives and also speak about the neurological mechanisms that come into play to further reinforce these emotions. So download the episode, grab a cup of coffee and let’s show the world we can make it through the next four years.

http://geektherapist.defenmedia.com/0053-psychology-of-hate/

Shame on us, America. Shame

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Shame.  Shame. Shame. Shame on us, America. Shame.

America, I am mad at you right now.  I am angry.

You have effectively put this country back years in terms of civil liberties and equal rights by electing a man who has no business leading this nation.

I am supposed to be on a panel at an upcoming town hall at Weber State University on Saturday morning on building community after the elections.

How do you build a community when those who seek to control it are deliberately exclusionary?

Here’s how.  You ally with those who need our protection. I have the privilege of looking white, despite the fact that I am half hispanic.  I have the privilege of an education that has made me accepting of those who are different, because of their identities.

I vow, today, to stand with my brothers and sisters who are of different ethnicies.

I vow, today, to stand with my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community.

I vow, today, to stand with my brothers and sisters of different faiths.

I will  not stand idly by while their freedoms are taken.

Yout have put two men into power who have built campaigns on hate, exclusion, and violence.  And I will not stand idly by as they seek to destroy the rights of others.

I will stand in front of those who need protection from the greed, hate, and violence.

 

Doctor Strange Review

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Salt Lake Comic Con private screening of Doctor Strange.  Now, I love these screenings.  The energy and excitement in the crowd is always enjoyable and they certainly made this screening yet another epic party.

I went into the movie knowing very little about Doctor Strange.  Practically nothing, which is rare for me and a Marvel movie.  I have never read any of the Doctor Strange comics but was very excited when Benedict Cumberbatch was cast (because he’s amazing and enjoyable to watch).

The movie itself is a typical origin story.  We are introduced to Steven Strange, a very good neuro-surgeon (who is stereo-typically arrogant) as he performs surgery on a patient.  We are shown that he is very good at what he does which makes the accident that renders him incapable of performing surgery even more tragic.

His quest to find a way to heal his hands leads him to The Ancient One in Kathmandu, Nepal.  This is when the storytelling and imagery reach peak form.  Tilda Swinton, as The Ancient One, is fantastic and beautiful in the role.  Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo without fail.  We watch as Doctor Strange learns his lessons, practices magic, and eventually foils the plans of the villain and saves the day.

Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that the use of visual effects in this film is amazing, but can be at times extremely overwhelming.  Sit far back in the theater if you get dizzy or want to see the action because sitting in the middle of the theater I often felt I was missing seeing things as the world swirled around like a kaleidoscope.   The humor is well-timed, quippy, and perfectly placed into a world that needs lightheartedness in a very dark story.  This is where I think Marvel truly succeeds.

Doctor Strange is playing now in theaters around the country. I would love to know what you think.  Leave your comments below.

Black Island Farms Review

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Last year Lilly and I were invited to visit Black Island Farms with the Hearts Apart program at Hill Air Force Base.   On their site they claim:

“We’re home to Utah’s largest corn maze! Our mazes (yes, we have more than one!) are on a combined 26 acres. We have multiple mazes with varying difficulties for the young and the old. Come on down to see if you can conquer Utah’s largest maze! Black Island Farms has 20+ attractions for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Corn Box – Animal Alley – Bonfires – Bounce House – Cow Train – Corn Cannon – Grain Shoot Slide – Straw Mountain – Giant Straw Slide – Pig Races … and more!  The Nightmare Acres haunted house is for older children and brave adults. Since each child is different, we leave it up to parents to decide if your child would enjoy the haunted experience. Our rumbling tractor-pulled hay wagon will pull you merrily through the Pumpkin Patch, where you might even see “The Great Pumpkin”!  Hayrides operate continuously during farm hours.  Each hayride ticket comes with one free pumpkin — you pick it yourself during your visit to the Pumpkin Patch. This is always popular with kids of all ages”

 We didn’t stay long  last year but we did have a blast participating in the hayride for pumpkins and the bouncy cow.

This year, however, Lilly was prepared for a long day at the farm.  After researching to ensure that they were, in fact, open on Sunday (Utah is known for basically being shut-down on Sunday’s) we headed out to Syracuse for a day of play.

We arrived about 10 minutes before the ticket booth opened and thankfully Lilly was very well behaved.  She started talking with a little girl behind us about princesses and Halloween.

We purchased our tickets (Combo #1) which included:

Corn Maze and Courtyard + Hayride: Adults $16 & Kids (Ages 12-3) $11

Now, in my opinion, this price appears to be high.  But you could spend the entire day here playing with your kids and we certainly got our monies worth this weekend.  The hayride includes a free pumpkin of your choice from the pumpkin patch.  And they have some seriously massive pumpkins to choose from in the patches.  My shoulders hurt from carrying them back.

After I purchased our wristbands and put them on, we immediately went straight to the hay ride.  The lines here grow exponentially as the day passes, and even though it was Sunday I did not want to wait long with Lilly.  We were able to board the first tractor to the patch.

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We arrived at our location and Lilly quickly picked out the largest pumpkin she could find while I chose a smaller pumpkin for carving.  I carried them back to the tractor and we watched the as the other folks chose their pumpkins.   On our arrival back to the loading area I lugged the massive pumpkins back to my car, stopping every few feet to rest.  My shoulders hurt this morning.

After loading up the car we headed to the courtyard, a large field where there are various activities for  families, live music and the entrances to the corn mazes.  Lilly immediately headed straight to her favorite activity from last year, the bouncy cow.  10 minutes in, she was ready to do something else.

Last year she had a tough time climbing the gigantic haystack pyramids, but this year she was a pro.  We spent at least an hour at the first pyramid, where climbed and slid repeatedly, down the slides with the other kids, pretending she was Dorothy talking to her Scarecrow friend.

An hour of play made the kiddo hungry and thirsty, so we headed to the food carts and ordered a pretzel and Tummy Yummy for Lilly, and a hamburger and Diet Coke for me.  The food is reasonably priced and the hamburgers are grilled right there – fresh.  It was very tasty.

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It was after lunch that Lilly discovered her favorite attraction, The Tractor Train.  She rode this tractor pulled train at least 20 times while we were there and insisted that it was her favorite part of the day.  A word to parents, depending on the tractor driver, this attraction can be very fast and very bumpy, not all children may enjoy the experience. Lilly, however, had a blast.  I did ride with her three times and enjoyed the experience.  There are smaller carts as well as larger carts that can accommodate two children or an adult and a child.

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I finally convinced her that we needed to complete the corn maze before we left and we headed to the entrance for maps.  She truly enjoyed being the navigator, despite the fact that I kept track of our turns and twists, to ensure we didn’t get too lost.  We spent about a half hour in the mazes before she wanted to return to the train.

 

Lilly rode the train several more times before I bribed her with ice cream to head home.  We had been there for 4 1/2 hours and I knew she had to be getting tired since she’d woken up at 4AM that morning.  Before we left we purchased 4 mini-pumpkins for $2 at their farmers market and went to our favorite ice cream shop before heading home.  Lilly fell asleep early that night after the long day of playing.

I recommend Black Island Farms as a yearly family tradition for locals. While it can be expensive for families the activities and enjoyment of the kids is worth the cost of admission.  You can also choose pumpkins so heavy that two people need to carry them back to your car.  For more information,you can visit Black Island Farms on their website.

 

Team Muscle Makers Rebel Challenge Update

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Since I joined Team Muscle Makers for the Rebel Challenge in January 2017 I have raised $510 of my $800 goal.  Everyone has been so supportive of me as I attempt to retrain my body and mind for this challenge, which has been very tough with a commute that ranges from 2-3 hours a day, a four year old, two dogs, a house, and a husband.  I haven’t trained well and hope that after this cold I caught passes to actually focus on training efforts with my whole heart.

In the meantime I have a serious Team Muscle Makers Rebel Challenge Update.  Our team will be selling holiday wreaths for the season.  I have a personal link in which you can purchase holiday wreaths and the proceeds will go directly to my fundraising efforts.

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Donors will also have their choice of some prizes I have to give away based on the amount donated.  For a $10 online donation you will be entered to win a Nightmare Before Christmas Tsum Tsum Collection.  The next donor of $30 or more will win a collection of prints from Altered Landscapes and Kat Martin.  The next donor of $50 or more will win the Choose Wisely print from Salt City Prints and Jennifer Eggett.

 

To donate today just click on that lovely orange button to be taken directly to my Team Muscle Makers fundraising page.

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Guide To Geek Parenting: Part 1

In the first part of Guide to Geek Parenting I discuss how to embrace, experience, and expand your children’s fandoms (even if you may not be a fan yourself.)
Being a parent is the most challenging experience I have ever encountered in my years on this planet. As a new parent, you are constantly bombarded with tips, hacks, advice, and judgment. However, as a parent, I have had the opportunity to bring my daughter into the world of Geekdom. We have covered this topic on Geek Parenting Podcast and I invite you to check that out on iTunes or Stitcher.
Lilly (named after Lillian Disney because of my obsession with all things Disney) has come to fully embrace my geeky world in just 4 short years on earth. The first book I read to her (when she was still too young to even know what I was saying) was The Hobbit. She would stare at me before bedtime as I quietly read the songs and described the actions of Bilbo and his Dwarf companions. I knew when I had her I was going to raise her geek.
When I was in high school “geekery” was not as mainstream as it has become. While my classmates were excited for things like the release of the Special Editions of Star Wars they did not, like my friends and I, skip class to buy tickets, dress up like the characters and generally act like fools running around our respective neighborhoods pretending we were on a mission to the forest moon of Endor. We fully embraced that which we loved.
I made a huge mistake right out of the gate with Lilly. I broke the first true rule of Geek Parenting.
Embrace: Let Your Kids Love What They Love.
Accepting and supporting, willingly and enthusiastically, your children’s geek preferences are the keys to creating a good environment for your kid to grow up geek. As much as I love Disney, I was very hesitant to let my daughter love the Disney Princesses. I was worried that she would grow up believing that she would need true love to make herself complete, that she would grow up too much like me believing in those fairy tale endings. I should have known from our first trip to Disneyland when she met Aurora at 4 months old that this was not going to end well.
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My attempts to keep her from the Disney Princesses failed miserably as I tried to push Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo on her as the sole source of Disney fandom. It did not work. She still found out about the Princesses and has fully embraced a Disney Princess fandom, which has expanded to princess obsession, writ large. After a brief period of extensive denial on my part, and realizing there was much more to the Princesses than just happily ever afters (lessons of kindness, courage, bravery, compassion, empathy, etc.) I let go. I let Lilly jump head first into love the princesses.
Experience: Take Part In What Your Kids Love
We could let our kids go boldly into their fandoms alone, however, I have found that experience my daughter’s fandoms have led to great interactions between the two of us and others. Lilly and I attend many conventions and different geeky events in our community, and more often than not princesses are usually somewhere within the venue.
At Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 (Lilly’s first huge convention) we ended up spending most of our time enjoying tea with the Princesses at Kid Con. And by most of our time I mean all but about an hour of the time we were there. She had no interest in walking the floor, no interest in going to a photo-op with Billy Boyd (which I rescheduled due to her tantrum after we left the tea party), no interest in panels. I was able to distract her for a short period of time when our friend James (Nerdy at Home Dad) and his son “J” joined us at KidCon and they both completed their Wizarding Trials.
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If you are in a situation, where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your kid enjoying their fandom, do it (drink a beer while it happens if you need to.) Experience the pure joy you see on their face as they talk to Ariel, Aurora, Alice, or any other character they might interact with at events. Read them the stories, watch the movies with them, discuss what those tales mean and how to bring those lessons into your life. We often use the live action Cinderella’s morale of “Have courage and be kind” in our house to deescalate tantrums.
Expand: Find Ways To Take Their Fandom To The Edge Of The Universe
Lilly loves princesses. Princess Leia was the gateway to Star Wars for my daughter. Rey, though not a princess, is now my daughter’s favorite Star Wars character (next to BB8) because the gateway of knowing that there was a princess in Star Wars allowed me to take her to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When we went to Salt Lake Comic Con I told Lilly she could dress up. She chose two outfits, Princess Elena (Disney Junior’s newest princess), and Princess Black Widow. Now, I know that Black Widow is not a princess, but to my daughter, she is and subsequently I made her a simple Black Widow princess dress for Salt Lake Comic Con. She has, as a result of doing this, become more interested in Black Widow and Marvel cartoons.
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A few weeks ago we watched The Book of Life, and instantly she became enamored with the concept of Dia de Los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring dead ancestors. This past week, at Utah Halloween Expo, Lilly cosplayed as Dia de Los Muertos Elsa, which she came up with on her own. For Halloween, she wants to be Dia de Los Muertos Elena of Avalor (which incidentally just aired an episode about Dia de Los Muertos, called A Day to Remember, which I reviewed previously.) After we viewed the episode she asked “Can we celebrate Dia de Los Muertos?” Her passion in princesses led to an easy route to celebrating different cultures and beliefs as an integral part of our lives. It is easy, once you embrace and experience your children’s fandoms to find ways to expand them and cosplay is often an easy route since most children enjoy dress-up and imaginary play as a part of daily life.
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This is just a brief overview of three simple components of being a “Geek Parent.” There is still a great deal left to explore, so stay tuned for more!

Westworld’s Labyrinth

There are spoilers in this article for the first three episodes of HBO’s Westworld. Please proceed only if you have viewed the episodes or don’t mind spoilers.

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My background in Anthropology always arises when I find a television or movie filled with anthropological symbolism.  Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more all had very specific mythological aspects, and Westworld is no exception.

Let’s take a moment to look at this image.

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As you can see this map of what I believe is a labyrinth and not a maze (there is a difference) contains within it a symbol of the hosts as they are created.  The labyrinth, is an ancient symbol, with several different meanings ascribed to it, the simplest being that the completion of said labyrinth can lead to wholeness or whole consciousness.  In other words “The symbolic meaning of the maze in many of these cultures reflects the idea of an inner journey through the confusing and conflicting pathways of the mind until the seeker reaches the center and discovers the essential reality of his or her own nature.” (http://www.wolindia.com/2011/12/symbols-mazes-and-labyrinths.html)

If you’ve been watching Westworld you know that many of the hosts are beginning to remember their pasts, their past lives or iterations, which may or may not cause problems in overriding their programming.  Delores, we have seen, is already beginning to experience flashes of past experiences and is, I believe, being led by Bernard, to her true essence.  The introduction of Alice in Wonderland, to Delores consciousness, introduces the concept that she will be going down her own rabbit hole as she changes and journey’s through the Labyrinth of Westworld.

Labyrinth’s today are often found in churches or chapels as a form of meditation.  This leads me to believe that the entrance to our labyrinth in Westworld is within the buried church, whose steeple we see, visited by Ford and the young host male.

It is obvious that the writers of Westworld are addressing the concepts of consciousness and humanity.  What in essences makes one human or alive?  It is too early in the series to fully delve into the meanings of all of the symbols contained within the first three episodes, but I believe we will begin to see the bigger picture revealed very shortly.

Stay tuned to RUNbreakable.com as more is revealed. I suspect that at the end of the season I should have a very thorough breakdown of the symbols and story as myth for everyone to read.

You can watch Westworld, Sundays at 9PM on HBO.