Monday, 23 November 2015

Hormonal Movie Reviews: Steel Magnolias (1989)

I give this comedy-drama 10 fun sized Kit Kats when you promised yourself only 5 out of 10.

Main themes include: Southern weddings, fancy hats, big hair, Dolly Parton, pastels, outliving a child, religious fundamentalism, new beginnings, and of course, the strength imbued from our ride or die bitches. 

Highly quotable, and full of iconic 80's divas, Steel Magnolias (1989) offers laugh out loud dialogue mixed with numerous misty moments where you are left choking back audible sobs.  At the climax of the film, I had tears streaming down my face.  Many eye-burning scenes effortlessly blended sweetness with sass and even some melancholy for a sharpness that cuts straight to your feel bone. 

Starring Sally Field, Miss Dolly Parton herself, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and the 80's romcom sweetheart queen Julia Roberts, it is easy to get wrapped up in their tight-knit small town aging girl gang.  Peppered with Julia Roberts's pampered defiance and Daryl Hannah's awkward but endearing evolution from distraught to devout, to finally absolutely audacious, it is hard not to feel instantly attached to all of these characters.  My stand out favourite  character was unquestionably the fabulously rich widow, Clairee Belcher, played by Olympia Dukakis with sass for days.  Clairee delivers lines that are already being worked into my repertoire of cheeky comments, especially such gems as:

 "Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

"[Y]ou sound almost chipper. What happened today - you run over a small child or something?"

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."

Clairee: I've just been to the dedication of the new children's park.
Truvy: Yeah, how did that go?
Clairee: Janice Van Meter got hit with a baseball. It was fabulous.
Truvy: Was she hurt?
Clairee: I doubt it. She got hit in the head.

I could copy and paste quotes from IMDB more, but you should hurry up and just watch Steel Magnolias right now instead.



















Saturday, 24 October 2015

Ladies' Interest Sites

Bustle is for basic bitches.  With stories about body positivity, PSLs, and totally true online personality quizzes, they need to take a damn seat.  One moment they are tearing down the "basic" label, then the next they claim to educate on how to identify a basic bitch.  #contradictorymuch
End of story.  #byefelicia

Monday, 12 October 2015

Never Stop Learning

So I graduated from university on Thursday!  Hoorah!  I am still perpetually busy, but I am taking a drawing and design basics class to learn some art skillz.  I am hoping to challenge myself to illustrate a post a week and do many fashion sketches over the Fall season and beyond.  Anyway, in the meantime, here's some food for thought:

I have always been unbearably uncomfortable with mascots.  Tonight I saw a video on Facebook of a sport mascot absolutely slaying the gesticulation game.  I can appreciate the art of movement and gesture that some professionals have mastered.  Even their costume design is done to evoke jaunty responsive movement to maximize visual communication.  There is art in it.

After watching the video above, I got to thinking about the experience and training necessary to use movement so efficiently to communicate to enormous stadium crowds.  In my curiosity, I found Hogtown Mascots.  Please read this page if you want to read some wonderfully worded tactful suggestions.

http://hogtownmascots.com/custom-mascot-services/mascot-training.htm

Anyway, I have gained a lot of respect for professional mascots today.  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone, ours is in conjunction with Anglo/Germanic harvest festivals of olde, among other large areas of uncertainty such as rebellions between Upper and Lower Canada and such,  and not the squashing of indigenous cultures so there's that.  And a lot of turkey, of course.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Jock Jams

Was anyone aware that the song Cotton Eyed Joe has a music video?  A friend and I were discussing the song, as one does, and I didn't think much more about it.  As I cleaned my room tonight, I got into the 90's music video part of YouTube and the suggested videos for Aqua's Barbie Girl included that infamous Cotton Eyed Joe.

For your viewing pleasure:



I do so, more than anything, want to have a Cotton Eyed Joe themed party.  Not country music, not red neck theme, just Cotton Eyed Joe themed.  Horse Rave.  It'll be the next big thing since ABC parties, I reckon.

Pulling wild rats out of your hair?  Sounds like my dream party time.  Who wouldn't want this?  And how about that Hill Billy Kurt Cobain lead singer?

Are you seeing it?  I see it.  The resemblance is uncanny.
Plus my favourite part is the subtle nod to the king of creeps, Beetlejuice.
Whatever you do, don't say Rednex three times.




Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ageism in Cartoons

I don't normally share academic work, but this was a fun and eye opening project on ageism as a ubiquitous influence on cartoon characters.  I learned the Jefferson Transcription System for Language and Social Development last year and it has actually come in handy a few times since then.  Oh wow, university education can be useful!

Ageism and Society – Cartoon Analysis of Aging Stereotypes

     This essay will focus exclusively on the portrayal and perpetuation of ageist stereotypes in cartoons. Cartoons are an interesting platform for conveying social norms due to the diversity of their target audiences and often satirical tone, which can be problematic because “older adults appeared in 1.5 percent of all television portrayals, and mostly in minor roles”, casting a negative light on older adults which often emphasizes “stereotypes of their physical, cognitive, and sexual impotence” for comic relief (Montepare & Zebrowitz, 2002, p. 107).  In other words, older adults are not well represented in the cartoon genre and often used as comic relief instead of displaying more realistic and empowering qualities of living into the third and fourth age (Laslet, 1987).  The goal of this paper is to identify some of these common stereotypes across cartoons geared towards older audiences , the family, and children.  A simplified version of the Jefferson Transcription System (Jefferson, 2004) is used to present the dialogues from each cartoon excerpt.
Example 1: Positive and Negative Ageism of wily Grampa Simpson in Last Exit to Springfield (1993) from series The Simpsons 16:20 -  17:20 
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pD3rd_ueBYM/U0S_WsWllyI/AAAAAAAAAmA/EsCZEfROBhk/s1600/47grandpa.png
            Mr. Burns, the nuclear power plant owner, asks his assistant to hire a security team to keep his striking employees at bay during a union dispute for their dental plan.  A crew of five elderly gentlemen appears at his desk, in tattered civil war uniforms, led by Grandpa Simpson, known throughout the series for his convoluted and long winded stories.
Mr. Burns: Smithers, get me some strike breakers, like the kind they had in the 30’s.
Grampa: We can't bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m'shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Gimme five bees for a quarter," you'd say. Now where were we... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. I didn't have any white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...
            The scene begins with Mr. Burns sitting upright and alert with his hands tented.  As Grampa rambles on, Mr. Burns, who is famed for being ambiguously ancient, frowns at Grampa in exasperation with his head resting on his hand from boredom. He is also tapping his finger on the desk as Grampa talks, signaling impatience. Mr. Burns starts to close his eyes and then he and Smithers mutually roll their eyes at each other as Grampa continues on with the convoluted yarn.
            Grampa Simpson seems completely aware that his stories go absolutely nowhere, by referring to his tales as a “trick” to keep people in line. He seems to enjoy playing the part of the senile old man.  A common stereotype is that the elderly love to ramble on regardless of the dismay and discontent of their conversation partners.  This clip is an example of positive ageism because Grampa is being a bit of a trouble maker, and willfully abusing his elder status as an outlet for his rambling stories to torture those who will listen because he is still sharp and has a sense of humor.  To remedy the ageist stereotype of the senile elder, Grampa could have played up his amusement of torturing listeners with his stories that don’t go anywhere.  The clip leaves ambiguity if it is really for Grampa’s amusement and not because he actually has lost cognitive capacity.
            Mr. Burns is also an older adult, who is possibly older than Grampa, but he was dressed in a modern suit, giving him a timeless appearance appropriate for a business mogul. The shabby uniforms signified that the older men are an “other” group, and living in a different world or time period separate from modern society because of their status as elderly (Johnson, 2011).  The band of older men could have been dressed in normal street clothes or in an updated uniform instead of in the tattered civil war re-enactment outfits to show that they are accepting modernity, or not holding on to their pasts.
Example 2: Quirky, Senile Granny Defying Some Expectations and Confirming Others in Parents Day (2000) from the series Hey Arnold! 17:35 – 18:40
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGt09cH2X64
            Arnold, a 4th grader at an urban public school in New York, is competing in a Parents Day tournament.  His parents went missing on an archeological expedition when he was a toddler, so he has been raised by his quirky grandparents in their boarding house.  After losing the egg toss to Arnold and his Grandpa, an overly competitive parent slanders the unorthodox family and puts Arnold in a funk over the peculiarity of his situation.  Arnold asks his grandparents to withdraw from the tournament but has a change of heart when his grandpa tells him the real, unembellished facts surrounding his parents’ disappearance.  The next morning, his Grandmother is wearing a black-belted gi and is making miso soup for breakfast.
Arnold: uuh, I was thinking, maybe we could go back to the parents tournament?
Grandpa: really?  But I thought you said it was just for kids with actual parents?
Arnold: yeah, but for me that means you and Grandma.
Grandma: then it’s time to man the battle stations!  We’ll fight ‘em in the trenches, we’ll fight ‘em on the beaches!  We’ll give ‘em heck, Harry!
            As Grandma gives her battle speech, she stands on the dinner table and her robe exposes defined varicose veins on her calves, the table creaks and groans, and collapses, sending her flying into Grandpa’s arms.  The whole family embraces.
            This example assumes that older adults become senile after a certain age.  Although Grandma Pookie and Grandpa Phil are loving caregivers, this piece of cartoon reinforces that grandparents are fundamentally different from parents. Even though the intention of the cartoon is to show that family can be diverse, and it is raising a child with love and compassion that matters, the negative stereotype remains by making the Grandma into comic relief with her senility and kookiness, she consistently may not be a reliable and competent caregiver due to her unpredictability.  When Grandma gives her clarion call on the table and it collapses, it not only uses her energy and enthusiasm as an element of surprise because it goes against the stereotype of the withdrawn, out of the loop elder, but it also makes the viewer question what is safe for an older adult.  Drawing attention to her varicose veins is an interesting and subtle technique to implant the notion that although her spirit is strong, her body is deteriorating.  A younger character would probably not break the table and the whole scene would have been very triumphant, but instead it was wrought with comedic relief in an otherwise emotionally charged episode.
            Grandma, a white, lower middle class New Yorker, is a very unexpected person to be well versed in Japanese culture (the miso soup), and certainly not karate.  I think those unexpected elements of her character are essential for the show’s dynamic; however, making her completely senile perpetuates a hurtful stereotype for the elderly.  People can be weird, quirky, and have a tricky sense of humor, but by keeping her short term memory sharp, it would help give young viewers a more positive outlook on cognitive aging and hopefully garner more respect for their own grandparents.  Grandpa Phil acts as the voice of reason.  Grandpa delivers his line about “actual parents” in a tone signifying that he already knew Arnold had had a change of heart, but he wanted Arnold to come to a conclusion on his own.  Grandpa Phil is perceptive and caring: if Grandma’s craziness was toned down and she was more consistently involved with parenting Arnold, then it would help convey a more respectful portrayal of an otherwise enthusiastic, quirky, and theatrical grandmother as caregiver.
Example 3: Ageist Stereotypes of Physical and Sensory Deterioration, Incontinence, and Loss of Mental Function from Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip (1999) 23:48 – 25:38
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11H3bJ2VlIg
            Dexter, a boy genius super scientist, travels into the future to band together with his 20-something year old self to save the world from an unknown evil.  Once in the distant future, Young Adult Dexter and Boy Dexter come upon the beacon tower of elderly, world saviour and scientific deity, Elderly Dexter.
Boy Dexter: We must be at the top a-runnink the whole show! (sniffles and wipes away a single tear) I did-a not think it could happen, but I am more of a gen-i-us than I already am! Shall we?
Young adult Dexter and Boy Dexter approach the door of the impressive tower and ring the bell.
Elderly Dexter:  (very hoarse voice) WHO DARES DEESTURB THE GA-REAT AND POWERFUL DEX-TOOOR WHILST HE DROPETH SCIENCE UPON THE WORLD?
Boy Dexter:  We are the Dexters of the-a paaaaast.  We have come from the paaast to find out how we save the fu-ture, your all knowink presence.
Elderly Dexter:  PRESENTS?!  I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!  I’LL BE RIGHT DOWN.
From the outside, Dexters can hear a toilet flush and the clanking of Elderly Dexter coming down countless flights of stairs and huffing for breath. 
Elderly Dexter:  WHO PUT THESE STAIRS HERE?
Clanking and huffing continues until he can be heard screaming and tumbling down the stairs.  He eventually crashes at what we assume is the exit of the tower.
Elderly Dexter:  AHHHHH MY HIP!
The doors to the tower finally open and a binding green light bathes the younger Dexters.  A wiggly little arm using a wrench as a cane is the first visible part of Elderly Dexter.  He shuffles over to the other Dexters with squinting eyes. 
Elderly Dexter:  Hello!
Young Adult Dexter: HI!
Boy Dexter:  Hello!
Elderly Dexter: hmmm
Young Adult Dexter: HELLO!
Boy Dexter: Hey!
Elderly Dexter: (looking concerned) What?
Young Adult Dexter: HELLO!
Elderly Dexter: Hi!
Young Adult Dexter: HELLO!
Boy Dexter: ...stop it.
Elderly Dexter: Who?
Young Adult Dexter: what?!
Elderly Dexter: HELLO!
Young Adult Dexter: HI!
Boy Dexter: ...stop it!
This sequence carriers on about 3 more times.
Young Dexter:  STOP IT!
Elderly Dexter: (3sec) Where are my presents?
            There are many elements at play which combine to form an elderly caricature complete with the most daunting aspects of aging while exuding comic relief.  Even before Elderly Dexter leaves his tower, it is insinuated that he is frail and incontinent because viewers can hear him flush the toilet before venturing out into the world and can hear the metallic clang of a walking aid as he struggles for breath down the stairs.  His voice is hoarse, subtlety signifying that he has to yell to hear himself speak because he has lost most of his hearing.  Throughout the verbal exchanges with his past selves, exemplified by the extended greeting process, he seems to first miss the initiation of greetings because he cannot hear, then seems to have his memory reset every few seconds so that the process of greeting becomes drawn out and painful for Boy Dexter; however, Young Adult Dexter is oblivious to the frustration and confusion. 
            Although Glass (1996) states that seniors do experience stiffer joints, weaker lung functions, hearing loss, and reduced bladder capacity, Elderly Dexter is a shuffling ageist stereotype.  He could be an example of successful aging at its finest, considering that Dexter is supposed to be the greatest scientific mind in the history of the world.  He could have easily been a beacon of hope to children about aging, by having a brilliant intellect, quick humor, and mature conversational skills.  Instead of shuffling with a wrench for a cane, he could have made an awe-inspiring mechanical walking aid or power suit to cushion his joints, which would also discreetly reinforce his intact procedural knowledge for mechanics and physics.
References
Bartlet, C. (Writer & Director). (12 April, 2000). Parents Day [60]. In Harrington, M. &    Lamoreaux, M. (Producers),Hey Arnold!. United States: Nicktoons Productions.
Glass, J. C. (1996). Factors affecting learning in older adults. Educational Gerontology, 22(4),      359-372.
Jefferson, G. (2004). Glossary of transcript symbols with an introduction.  In Conversation           analysis: Studies from the first generation. (13-31). Retrieved from http://www.liso.ucsb.edu/liso_ archives/Jefferson/Transcript.pdf
J├Ânson, H. (2013). We will be different!: Ageism and the temporal construction of old age. The    Gerontologist, 53(2), 198–204.
Kogan, J., Wolodarsky, W. (Writers), & Kirkland, M. (Director). (11 March, 1993). Last Exit to   Springfield [76]. In Jean, A. (Producer),The Simpsons. United States: 20th Television.
Laslett, P. (1987). The emergence of the third age. Aging and Society, 7, 133-160.
Montepare, J. & Zebrowitz, L. (2002). A Social-Developmental View of Ageism. In Nelson, T.    (Ed.),   Ageism: stereotyping and prejudice against older persons (p. 107). New Bakerville: New Graphic Composition, Inc.
Savino, C., Keating Rogers, A., McIntyre, J., McCracken, C., Rudish, P. (Writers), &       Tartakovsky, G. (Director). (10 December, 1999). Ego Trip [Dexter’s Laboratory]. In Tartakovsky, G. (Producer).  United States: Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Targaryen Terrarium

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,

Here is the terrarium I made for my boy for Valentine's day.  I call it...the Targaryen Terrarium, because nobody has dragon swag like that house.
I started with this...charming... premade arrangement:
I really loved the forked twigs with the air plant curling around the wood.  I especially wanted to make use of the twigs for flying dragon purposes.  These are the dragons before their mystical magical sparkle-ifying. 


Add the glitter nail polish and you get:




The premade came with this foamy flower thing, it reminded me of dragon scales.
  
 
Naturally I had to put nail polish on everything.  This little pod seed cone thing reminded me of an armoured shell.  I fit a small Hawaiian air plant inside like some sort of Metal Slug creature.
 
This is the habitat without dragons.
Fire and Blood.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Unicornicopia

Hey internet,

I recently got addicted to making terrariums.  I have been craving some natural greenery in my life, and had  a vision for a unicorn wonderland.  Lo an behold, Unicornicopia!

It started out as a $19.99 premade arrangement from Garden Works.

I bought a pack of tiny mythical creatures (unicorns and dragons, duh!) from Michaels and made a few adjustments by ways of gold and iridescent nail polish. Photos do the sparkles no justice, NO JUSTICE, I say!
I also embellished the twigs with dew drops...aka tiny crystals.
A day or two after putting it all together, I realized it was missing one thing...a crystal point of course!
When in doubt, always add a crystal point.

Love, light, and unicorns.
Good bye paycheques.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Summertime Sadness

Welp, that was a pretty aweful Christmas break.  I'll be creating a post for next weekend called "What's Your Damage" serializing the disappointing winter holiday dumped upon me by cruel fate.  Anyway, one of the few redeeming factors has been spending time with my boyfriend because he came home from uni for Christmas with his own family.  Getting to just roll around and watch shows and relax was all I wanted.  We dreamed of escaping to somewhere hot, and were talking about our summer plans (or daydreams at least).  Reminiscing of summer with my favourite person reminded me of an unfinished post I wrote when we were at my family cabin over the summer.
     He had just started a new job after a string of major failure disappointing jobs with terrible or no hours, and I had been working my usual 5 or 6 AMs so we were VERY ready for a holiday away from EVERYTHING.  It was blisteringly hot and thankfully, my cabin is a 3 minute walk from the beach. 
     El Jimadors, blackberry beers, and inflatable row boat in tow, we lived on the beach those few sweet summer days.  After  a cooler or two, I started to feel antsy.  I was sweating abnormally much for the summer heat, because I knew I was reaching my bladder's breaking point.  He noticed my darting eyes and constant agitated leg shifting in the tiny inflatable boat.
     We were quite far out into the mouth of the bay and over a scary bed of eel grass, so there was NO ESCAPE.  We have been together for 4 years and don't really talk about bodily functions to keep the mystery alive, so I pushed away the desperate urge to scream and focused on the rhythmic lapping of the waves against the boat, the gleam of his tanned skin, and the coolness of the ocean through the bottom of the boat.
      It was torture.  I put on a brave face and coolly suggested we drift back into the bay to stretch out on the wooden raft and tan for a bit.  He agreed and I rowed like there was a Sharktopus after us. 
     The raft docked in the bay is nicely situated over a sand bar.  Even during the highest tides, you can see down to the sand below and revel in the emerald beauty that is the Pacific Ocean.  As soon as we were over the light sand I flung myself out the boat and finally relaxed.
     It was pure euphoria.  The hot sun always warms the first foot and a half of the ocean's surface so I floated in pure ecstasy after too much alcohol and too much hot sun.  In that moment, I was more one with nature and blissfully living the mermaid life than I ever had before.
     I resurfaced as a glossy floating head.
    You see, once a water baby has been rejoined with the sea, there is nothing that will pry them out of the salty playground.  He was hunkered down on the raft looking forlornly at the water.  It had been at least and hour and he had had the same amount to drink so I knew.
    I felt his pain.
From the water, I tried to encourage him to jump in, alas, it was to no avail.
     Normally ever the freshwater thrill seeker, I dragged my wet self onto the raft to see if I could coax him to jump in to the salty depths with me all cutesy High School Musical style.
     I tried to appear alluring, in spite of the trauma I had put my body through over the last hours.  I also needed to find a way to skirt the subject of encouraging him to unite his fluids with mine in the world's largest toilet...because that's pretty weird...even if it would make him feel a lot better.
    He was not particularly receptive to my proposition.  So I laid down for a serious tanning session.  Not minutes into my warm and calming relaxation did he turn to me and confess that his need to urinate finally outweighed his fear of the endless unknowns of the ocean.
     Just like out of every teenage girl's fantasy, I confessed that I had only jumped in earlier to pee as well, and we laughed and laughed.  We joined hands and flung ourselves into the water.  I quickly swam away from the flow of the tide to not get caught in the diffusion.  He actually swam around a bit and enjoyed looking down through the surface of the water into the clear lens to the world below.  One jump is never enough for a water baby.
     We splashed and screamed and cavorted before drying off in the sun then heading out in the rowboat again to repeat the same process again until dinner time.  It was lovely to share my favourite place in the universe with my favourite person in the universe.

It can be summer right now, ok?

Happy new year thing of stuffers!  Thanks for reading and let's hope I adhere to my resolution of unwinding through drawing and writing. >u<