Five Good Things for 12/4/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

Friday again! I hope everyone has some awesome weekend plans. Mine include more holiday markets than you can shake a stick at. I’m most looking forward to the annual Christkindlmarkt and watching the parade of St. Nicholas while sipping on some European-style hot chocolate. In the meantime, here are some other items to brighten the end of your week.

download (7)1) Without a doubt, Octavia Butler’s sci-fi masterpiece, the Xenogenesis Trilogy, is the best work of speculative fiction I’ve read in years. Butler is truly one of the greatest writers of the last century, and this work is the pinnacle of her talents, creating a moving picture of the end of Earth while exploring issues of what it means to be human, sexuality, race, gender, and so much more. Beautiful and haunting I’ve never read anything quite like it.

JJ02c2) The Mary Sue has a thoughtful discussion of the Kilgrave fandom (from Marvel’s Jessica Jones) which I was very impressed by. The comment section is worth a read too.  I would add to all that sometimes grown, healthy adults with no history of trauma find themselves really turned on by something kind of terrible, while fully aware that it is terrible and with no intention of pursuing it in the real world. That’s what fantasy is for and that’s why fandom should be safe space where we don’t concern troll other over their fantasy lives.

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 12/4/2015”

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Five Good Things for 11/10/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

giphyI’m still struggling to find my footing this week, what with having to completely change up my habits to factor in the fact that I don’t have a car right now, the cost of getting said car fixed, some crazy work hours, and, oh yeah, apparently when I was working said crazy hours on Sunday my dog took a giant dump in my supervisor’s office which she found this morning. Guys, I’m not loving this week. I hope you are though! I’ll try to do better, myself. Starting with a very feminist Five Good Things.

download1) Okay, this is a heavy one, but I think it’s important. Comedian and actor Margaret Cho is telling her stories of sexual abuse and encouraging others to share theirs through her #12DaysofRage hashtag and videos. It’s leading up to the release of her music video “I Wanna Kill My Rapist”. She’s getting some really ugly responses, but also a lot of great ones from women who never told their stories or felt like it they were allowed be furious at what was done to them. Her story, and all their stories, deserve our attention. Don’t judge, just listen.

Continue reading “Five Good Things for 11/10/2015”

Five Good Things for 11/6/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

tumblr_mft4d6Wwyc1qg1mbqo1_500Happy Friday, ya’ll! Allow me assist with your end-of-week goofing off. We had our first snow here today, which means I feel like I shouldn’t have to do anything because snow day. Yes, it was less than an inch and melted immediately. Still, I’m more than ready for the weekend, which for me holds the first winter market of the year, helping my parents move, and recording a podcast. Hope all your weekend plans are fun and safe from snow – let me know in the comments!

9601) Adventure Time episode “Varmints“. I’m just gonna go ahead and assume if you are reading this blog, that you watch and love Adventure Time already, because that’s just the kind of charitable human being I am. Tuesday night’s episode, “Varmints” was one of the best of the series and warmed the cockles of my little Bubbline-shipping heart. Even if that’s the most we ever get between Marcie and Bubblegum, I’m pretty happy. And aside from affirming my worldview, it was just a really sweet episode about what makes PB tick, about a really long and meaningful friendship, and about kicking Alien…er… Varmint Queen arse! All in a 11 tidy minutes.

IMG_29182) So I have a big black dog, with big black toenails. They were kind of long when I got him, as he wasn’t being properly taken care of but was walking on pavement a lot, but the fact that he hates having them trimmed, is extremely strong, and that I cut the quick last time I trimmed them because he had a weird shaped nail means that they have got out of control. At home I feel like I’m being stalked by 8 tiny supermodels in high heels as he clicks across my floors. I’m working on remedying the situation and found this guide to trimming dog nails really helpful, particularly if the quick has grown longer than it should.

tumblr_myh23wzVBA1qljdepo5_4003) I am one of the few Whovians, I think, who loves literally all of the 13 Doctors almost equally. Of course I have a special bond with Ten, because he was my first Doctor, but really… they’re all pretty great! However, I’ve been really enjoying Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor lately so I was excited to hear him speak out about ageism and misogyny on TV and in movies. The industry really needs a reality check, and who better than the Doctor… even if the character does rather gravitate to quite young companions. I mean, a 2000-year age gap is ridiculous even for Hollywood! 😉

1-Lapsang-Souchong_front-on4) One of the things about being a tea person is that once other people know this about you, they will get you tea. All the time. One of the other things about being a tea person is that you will never, ever get tired of this. At work alone I have special loose leaf teas from my trip the UK, from my husband, from a close friend here, and from my BFF. Every time I drink one of them I think of who and where it came from and it brightens my day. Today, I’m drinking a single origin Lapsang Souchong I got at the historic Twinings Shop in London. The strong, smoky flavor isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect to buck me up on our first wintry day and brings back memories of roaming the streets of London this spring while fighting off The Worst Cold Ever.

Tea Tin herb Garden5) Since I drink and receive so much tea, I have a surplus of beautiful tea tins that I’m absolutely incapable of throwing away. I think I might have to try this project (plus the wine cork labels) and turn them into a kitchen herb garden. Just as soon as I build a shelf in my kitchen…

Five Good Things for 10/23/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

1) Carol Rossetti, an artist from Bazil, has done a large series of posters about women, affirming all kinds of women and all kinds of choices they can make. It’s some really excellent feminism that’s inspiring and encouraging to women of all races, creeds, orientations, and types. Her posters are simple but powerful and she makes them personal. I can’t choose a favorite, but one I saw today that I like says “Susan wears a hijab out of choice but many say she is just another woman ‘oppressed by Islam’. Susan, what you wear is your personal decision and the real oppression would be to strip you of your freedom to choose!”. Go check them out and support Carol’s work!

download (1)2) Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert is a simply adorable children’s picture book about a cat in ancient Egypt who was buried with his queen and now wakes up every 100 years to see if she’s come back for him yet. It’s cute, spooky, a little sad, and full of facts about life in ancient Egypt. A perfect Halloween book for your little budding Egyptologist. Continue reading “Five Good Things for 10/23/2015”

Ginger Snaps – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 16

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS.

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Ginger Snaps (2000)

Starring: Katherine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers

Synopsis: Brigette (Perkins) and Ginger (Isabelle) are high school outcasts, anti-social and obsessed with death to the point of having made a suicide pact as children. Their main hobby is filming and photographing elaborate, realistic, and gory scenes of their own demise. They are each other’s only friend, and their parents, particularly their overly cheery, pushy mother, don’t understand them. Suddenly, during a string of mysterious attacks on neighborhood dogs, everything changes. Ginger gets her first period and then is attacked by a creature of some kind while she and Brigette are in the middle of playing a prank on their main antagonist, a cheerleader named Trina. Ginger heals swiftly from the attack, but over the course of the next month begins to change. Her teeth become fanglike, she sprout hairs from her swiftly-healing wounds, and even grows a tail. Her behavior changes too, she fights with Brigette and becomes more outgoing, sexual, and even predatory, leaving her younger sister behind. Brigette figures out that Ginger is transforming into a werewolf and getting increasingly out of control, to the point where she savages and infects her boyfriend and kills Trina, who comes looking for her dog. Brigette, with the help of greenhouse worker and pothead, Sam (Lemche), figures out how to make a cure from the monkshood flower (wolfsbane) and attempts to save Ginger. But Ginger isn’t interested in being saved. Before she can be cured, she transforms fully into wolf form, killing Sam and finally attacking Brigette who defends herself with a silver knife, stabbing Ginger. As wolf-Ginger lays dying, Brigette puts her head on her sister’s chest and cries.

tumblr_mmfck28jDk1rdecj3o1_500Ginger Snaps is a low budget Canadian horror movie that somehow manages to be the most interesting werewolf film I’ve ever seen. In historical and popular culture werewolves are primarily used as a symbol of the monster who lives inside of a man, the part of himself that he hates but can’t control. To a lesser degree and more recently they have been used as a metaphor for puberty, a less dramatic but no less upsetting change we all go through. Ginger Snaps relies primarily on this latter comparison, though with a heavy dose of the former, but it does so in a far more gritty and gory way than the average teen werewolf flick, and twists the usual narrative to focus on the specific troubles of female adolescence. Continue reading “Ginger Snaps – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 16”

Five Good Things for 10/16/2015

Five things I encountered today that were interesting, educational, beautiful, edifying or that I otherwise found to be…well, good. None of these are promotions and I do not receive any benefit from sharing them. I just like them.

dn28191-1_8001) The only fact-based story I’ve seen reporting the strange readings from distant star KIC 8462852. I know for those of you hoping this was a sign of extraterrestrial intelligence based on some of the more sensational news stories might not find this very good news, but think of it this way: we’ve expanded our knowledge of the wonders the universe holds and we don’t have to worry about a fleet of alien world-ships coming to enslave us in 1,500 years.

download2) 103 year-old Mary Cotter celebrated her birthday today by dressing up as Wonder Woman and serving drinks at her local senior center, where she volunteers. I bet she could teach Diana a thing or two!

3) To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 14 minutes of Terry Gilliam’s brilliant animation work that didn’t make the final film cut has been released. Snail dude!

4) The New Yorker has a great, in-depth profile of Gloria Steinem, who is not only a feminist icon but still surprisingly relevant after all these years. I learned that she’s had a really interesting life… and that there used to be these things called progressive Republicans. Weird.

5) The Nikon Small World microphotography contest winners have captured some truly wondrous images, from the eye of a honeybee to tiny liquid crystals. It’s a crazy beautiful world, whether it’s huge comets on the outskirts of the galaxy to tiny textures in your own skin. Happy Friday, everyone!

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 2

October is Halloween movie month! Having been completely deprived of any kind of Halloween experience growing up, I now spend 31 days celebrating with film and TV. I like to shoot for a mix of old and new, horror and comedy, from the slightly spooky to the totally terrifying to the just plain weird. Each day of October I’ll reviewing one of these ventures in the realm of the creepy and supernatural. Some will be high quality cinema and some will require large amounts of alcohol to survive. Stock up on seasonal beer and Fireball-apple jello shots and join me! A warning, though – unless the review is of a very recent release, HERE BE SPOILERS.

hansel-and-gretel-witch-hunters-movie-2013-wallpaper

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Starring: Hawkeye, Strawberry Fields, and Jean Grey going full Dark Phoenix.

Synopsis: Framed as the aftermath of Hansel and Gretel famously killing and baking the witch in the candy house, the movie begins with a retelling of the fairy tale in which the witch wins an award for Least Subtle Crone Ever and Gretel is the one who saves the day (and Hansel) and kills the witch. We are shown that the pair then go on to be famous witch hunters, killing scores of witches all across the land.  The main action of the movie truly begins in a town where nearly a dozen children have gone missing and the siblings have been called in to do something about it. They save a woman who has been (sort of) false accused of witchcraft and then go on to battle a massive coven led by Famke Janssen in what might as well be a sequel to her role in X-Men: The Last Stand. The witches have plans to use the children plus the power of a blood moon plus Gretel’s heart (as it’s been revealed her mother was a white witch who actually sent the children into the woods to protect them and therefore her heart has special good magic) to create a potion that will make the witches immune to the usual witch-killing methods. Massive amounts of bloodshed ensue, Hansel and Gretel pick up some friends, and the coven is defeated.

I have very mixed feeling about this movie. I mentioned in my last movie review the download (2)inherent problems with Bad Witch stories (which, more here) and this movie exemplifies those problems ad nauseum. Continue reading “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – 31 Days of Halloween, Day 2”