Sep 25
2016

RUNWAY! RUNWAY! RUNWAY!!!

You may have heard that Tim Gunn recently published an editorial the pointed out fashion didn’t want to design for the majority of women. Probably his actual feelings, but also is probably a tie in with this week’s episode.

The task? Design an outfit for the everyday woman, one that is appropriate for all ages and sizes. In 12 hours using $150 worth of fabric from Mood. To be worn by models. Winning look will be featured, sold, distributed, etc. by online retailer JustFab!

So the designers make it work, and there are some looks I, as an everyday, average woman, would wear. And many I would not. There is also some serious cattiness going on with the early emerging “mean designer” Cornelius.

Cornelius is featured saying mean things about a lot of people and a lot of people gave him some serious side eye. This also means I cease to care about his designs. (Please take note, majority of season 14 designers, you were all mean to Ashley, you can all forget about me buying your stuff) Congrats on making the villain slot, Cornelius!

Top Three:
So winning look? Belongs to the elegant Lawrence, who has a sad, beautiful backstory. She made a jumpsuit, that while lovely, I would not wear. Solely because I don’t like the idea of stripping to go pee. Something designers,and the judges, seem to forget.


One of the runners up is also one of my faves, Alex’s chiffon shirt and pants. Yeah, the crop top chemise would not be worn by me, but I would switch that out for a longer chemise. Easy switch and you can change the colours our. Plus, bonus, Alex has proven he is a kind soul who continues his one day a week teaching by helping other designers.

Erin is the final runner up with a nice pop of a colour, but a dress that looked bulky and would only add to a woman’s size, given the neoprene fabric choice. I liked the fact she built in the belt to change the look, but that’s something a decent stylist could teach you to do. But the judges thought it was revolutionary.

Bottom Three:
Kimber found a gorgeous pattern for her top, but then ruined it by making it a floating tent of a crop top. Anything beyond an A Cup would mean you need to pick a matching bra for this outfit. Which, no.  Bonus points though for lining the pockets of the pants with the fabric.

Sadly Brick also turns in a bottom three look, a bland grey jacket and black and white pants. The pattern on the pants is cool, but the pants have the beginnings of a drop crotch, and I don’t think it’s on purpose. There’s also some tummy showing, which again, I am not doing any time soon.

But the losing look belongs to Linda, who thought a knit fabric would be flattering to all women. No, Linda, no. I get that the fabric looks interesting on the shelf, but as someone who taken that super cute knit top off the shelf only only to be bitterly disappointed in the universe in the changeroom, just no. As the judges point out, even the model has a saggy bum. She sadly has also added a white, see-through kimono for some reason. Because that’s something every woman wants to wear.  So this sends her home, even though as Nina points out, she took a risk, while Brick just gave us bland.  But they felt, given her oft repeated backstory, that she was the one who should have rocked this challenge and sent her home.


So all in all, decent episode, but judges, Brik’s sweet beach locks must go home soon. Unless he starts turning out looks like his top from the first challenge on a regular basis, then his talent doesn’t match the rest of the field.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Sep 21
2016

Why Hermione Should Not Have Ended Up With Harry

The Harry Potter series ended in a tidy bow of Harry marrying Ginny and Hermione and Ron ending up together. Many fans didn’t like this, thinking that Hermione and Harry were meant to be together. Even Rowling speculated that she had made a mistake and should have favoured that pairing.

To that, I say poppycock. I mean. I’m all for a good bit of relationship fanfic, but there are some very good reasons why Harry and Hermione should not have ended up together.  Others have written about this, but I needed to get this off my chest.

Why Hermione would not want to be with Harry

Awkward

First off, Hermione is described as the brightest witch of her age. She is an equal to Harry in almost every way. In many ways, she exceeds him. He would not have succeeded without her. But if she marries him, she ceases to be his equal. She becomes “Harry Potter’s Wife”. She will always be second place to him. Brightest witch of her age, but second fiddle to her husband? Would she have been able to climb as high in the Ministry if she had been seen as second fiddle to Harry?

Besides, Hermione ending up with Harry is a trope. The hero defeats the villain and gets the girl as a prize. We’ve seen it a MILLION times before, and sadly, we will see it many, many more times. It’s expected. It’s old. And, quite frankly, it’s dated. By not ending up together, Hermione and Harry change the narrative. Harry doesn’t spend the series fighting bad guys with the woman he loves. It is one of the things that makes the Harry Potter series so endearing, that it doesn’t give into the trope.

Why Hermione might actually want Ron

Awww

This whole discussion also assumes that Harry is the better catch than Ron, but what if Ron really is a better choice? In the books, Ron is described as tall, lanky with red hair, freckles and blue eyes. (There is also a reference to big hands and feet, but let’s not go there.) So he appears to be good looking.  So yeah, attractive.

Ron is also incredibly loyal to his friends, several times actually going at Draco for insulting Hermione or Harry. He also repeatedly risks his life to help Harry bring down Voldemort. That is something to be valued in a partner. Loyalty. He also seems to have a good sense of humour, which is apparently, something women really value in a mate.

But let’s look at his place in the Weasley clan. He is the 6th son, behind the amazing Charlie and  Bill, the pompous Percy and the trouble making Fred and George. He isn’t even the youngest or only girl; that spot is reserved for Ginny. He’s used to being in the background, and while the mirror of Erised shows him wanting to be more, the post-Deathly Hallows world shows that he really isn’t. He becomes an Auror with Harry Potter and helps George with the joke shop.

So Ron seems to be someone who wouldn’t mind if his wife is more successful and powerful than him. In fact, I think he would love that his wife is Hermione Granger. He would have no problem bring the kids to the store while she goes to a conference or a meeting.

His mother is also Molly Weasley, perhaps the strongest willed character in the Harry Potter universe. She is not afraid of voicing her opinion and single handedly raised several heroes of the Second Wizarding War, in addition to being one herself. So Ron is used to being around a strong woman. I can’t see his masculinity being threatened by Hermione’s strong personality. He might even find it comforting and a bit of a turn on.

Why Harry would actually want to be with Ginny

Cute couple

But let’s go back to Harry. In the books he ends up with Ginny. The assumption by the Harry/Hermione crowd is that Ginny is not a desirable mate for Harry. (I think they have something against Weasleys, personally.) But in reality, Ginny is what Harry wants. By the last few books, Harry clearly finds Ginny attractive. (She’s a redhead like his mom.), and Ginny proves herself to be a hero in her own right, leading Dumbledore’s Army and fighting in the Wizarding Wars. But perhaps most importantly, by marrying her, he becomes a Weasley. He gets what he’s always wanted, a large family full of people who love him.

Why does Hermione have to end up with anyone at all?

It’s 2016

Finally, why does Hermione have to end up with anyone at all?  It’s 2016. She could have a complete and happy life without Harry or Ron.  Or with both of them. I get it is a children’s book and there are still societal expectations, but the people behind this theory are adults. Yet they want to lay the “traditional” view over this series.

So in the end, I think Rowling got it right the first time. Hermione with Ron. Harry with Ginny. All this mucking about after seems silly to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Sep 17
2016

Project Runway – Season 15 Episode 1

Confession time. I love fashion. I love it’s drama, it’s whimsy, it’s frivolousness. LOVE IT. I don’t follow it too closely, but I do enjoy a good runway show.

As part of this, I have come to love Project Runway, even with all its flaws. I am especially fond of Tim Gunn, who was my alternate birth coach if my husband was unable to attend. Tim never knew about it either.

Imagine him coaching you through labour. Make it work!

So when season 15 started, it was a perfect time to settle in and watch.

Episode 1 brings us the unconventional challenge. Designers are told to use the material at their welcome party to make a look. They have a day and all the glue their glue guns can squirt.

This challenge is a far cry from the original unconventional challenge, which saw Austin make a dress out of corn husks. It also lacks the energy of the season where they tore the mattresses apart for fabric.  But it gives us some cool looks.

The winner is from Erin, who made a dress out of wigs, gumballs and other yellow things.

I also liked Dexter’s look. Who knew a carpet and pillow could be so cute. Dexter, you are my spirit guide!

Brix annoyed me in the pre-season show where he was clearly vamping for the camera, although my distaste from him weakened when I saw sparkly (if badly made) pants and Thor at the beach hair. I’m not saying either was good, but they were pathetically cute in the way of your little cousin. You know its dorky, but you it makes you smile anyways.

 

untitled-drawing-1

But the loser of the week was Ian, who not only got lazy and made a shift dress with some shredded Polaroids taped onto a dress, but he also had the temerity to talk back to Tim when the mentor was trying to help him produce something that would keep him in the competition. Sadly, Ian did not listen and was sent home.

Goodbye, Ian. Let others learn from you, listen to Tim.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Jan 01
2016

Thank you, Internet

The Internet is many things: a place where I spend a lot of time, a water cooler, a public square, the Wild West, a dystopia.  But what it has been for many of us is the place that spoil us on the movies, books and TV shows that we haven’t yet enjoyed. I have friends that go into lock-down two months before a large property is released so they can enjoy it with out knowing the “twist”. I avoid Twitter when my shows are on. Even with these precautions the twist revealed before someone gets a chance to see/read/listen to. Then we hear cries of “SPOILERS!” and “YOU RUINED IT!”

So it was with some trepidation that all of us approached Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We all looked at the Internet with suspicion, worried that we would be spoiled by a passing comment from a good friend or favourite website. We all heard the story of the guy who saw the movie on opening night and then spoiled it for a line full of movie goers. Turns out that was false, but it summed up what we were all feeling.

But something miraculous happened. The Internet bit its tongue. Spoilers were out there, but they were carefully hidden behind warnings, and did not appear in the mainline of stories. People published spoiler free reviews and discussions. Discussion groups were formed, but carefully hidden from casual eyes. There were even spoiler free guides for parents who wanted to know if they could take their kids to see this movie.  A week and a half passed before I saw something that revealed the BIG SPOILER of the movie.

It’s now two weeks on and the spoilers, while out there, aren’t in your face. It’s as if the Internet came to a mutual agreement to behave well. And it’s refreshing.

So I want to take a minute to thank the whole Internet for their good behaviour. You did good kid. I’m proud of you.

good-kid-2

Posted in Internet, Star Wars | Leave a comment
Dec 05
2015

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1) – A Review

JewelViolet used to live in the Marsh, the poorest area of the One City. But she possesses a genetic variation that allows her to manipulate the world around her using what is called the Auguries. This makes her perfect to be a surrogate, to carry the child of the royalty who can no longer give birth to healthy children do to inbreeding. Once this was revealed, Violet is taken from her family and put into a special school where she is trained to use the Auguries.

At 16, Violet is sold at auction to the Duchess of the Lake and stripped of her name. The Duchess has an ambitious plan to have Violet produce a daughter within three months to be betrothed to the new born Elector (the title of the One City’s ruler). Once this is done, Volet will be steralized and sent to live the rest of her life at a retirement facility. Meanwhile her best friend Raven, who is also a surrogate, is starting to behave strangely.  Violet begins to suspect that there might be more going on than she has been told. Can she take action to save herself and her friend?

This is a distopian YA novel that marries the Handmaid’s Tale to the Selection. It had the potential of eing BRILLIANT, but the author AMy Ewing threw in a romance for Violet.  While well written, it was unnecessary and detracted from the main story. It would have been much better if the story had just been focused on VIolet’s journey into the Jewel, her realization that something wrong is going on and then her beginning to fight back.  To have the revel hinge on the romance reduced Violent from a freedom fighter to the victim of a Victorian melodram.

Only for the rue YA distopian fan.

Posted in Book Review, Distopan Fiction | Leave a comment
Aug 15
2015

Hawkeye: My life as a weapon

How do you make something lame cool?

Hawkeye is lame. The world knows it. There are whole tropes about his lameness. No one should be surprised by this. Originally conceived as Marvel’s version of Green Arrow, poor Clint didn’t really have a chance.

Enter Matt Fraction and his take on Hawkeye. In this story, Clint is an experienced hero, a man struggling to find his place in a world where whe he is a second string hero on a team of superheroes. He lives in the poor section of town, in an attempt not to be recognized.

The first story of the collection sets up Clint as a man who, like the Green Arrow before him, looks out for the little guy. In his attempt to deal with a corrupt landlord, Clint ends up rescuing a dog and buying an apartment building. The next story show us how Clint knows he’s lame, with Kate Bishop ribbing Clint about trick arrows. This merges beautifully with a fight later on in the story.

11202867_10155937909635581_3503531968012596925_n

The third story focuses on Clint’s past as an operative. The final story is a Kate Bishop story from the Young Avengers book where Clint is a secondary character.

Fraction clearly knows his main character is perceived as lame and has injected his stories with a good dose of humour to deal with this. And for the most part, it works.

11873478_10155937909550581_4616496816624621327_n

Clint knows he’s a second tier hero and is doing his best with it. Stories are fast paced, full of fights, action sequences, quips and solid characterization. Through most of the book, Clint is a mentor to Kate and that lends a nice bit of back and forth between the two, growing both characters.

Solid outing. Enough to bring me back for more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Jul 20
2015

The Heir – A review

I loved the first installment of this series, The Selection.  I literally fell into the book and emerged excited and in love with a new author.  I followed America through the rest of the series, thrilled that author Cass found a way to look at a reality tv dating show in a way that made the women likeable.  The follow up books were good, but they were not to the same level as the first one.

Often the longer series go one, the worse they get.  This is especially true when an author decides to come back to a finishesed series and add a new book or 1000.  (Piers Anthony, I am looking at you.)  So it was with mixed feelings that I picked up The Heir by Kiera Cass from my local book pusher a.k.a. The Library.

So when I saw The Heir, I got excited but I also thought about how series can be a tale of diminishing returns.  Well two days after I picked this book up, I am done.  Cass has done the next to impossible, made the fourth book of a series as good as a first.

The-Heir_612x925

This book tells the story of Eadlyn, the eldest child of America and Maxom and, by seven minutes, the heir to the thone of Ileya. She has been raised to be queen and is a strong, compentent young woman. Eadlyn has also been raised on the stories of her parents’ romance and knows she doesn’t ever want that.  Instead, she has held herself alook from her peers and is seen is quite reserved.

But though her parents have desolved the caste system of old, there is disillusionment as the youth of the country find it difficult to get jobs and move ahead, because caste prejudices are ingrained.  There are riots and attacks.  America and Maxom feel that the population need a distraction while they figure out a way to help their people. They approach Eadlyn with the idea of to have a Selection to choose a husband.

Initially Eadlyn is intially horrified with this idea. Her parents have promised to never to marry her off to a foriegn prince, how was this different? But she agrees to do it under certain conditions, which includes that she doesn’t have to marry the winner if she doesn’t want to.  Eadlyn sees this as a win-win situation where she can help her parents and gain her freedom at the same time.  She has every intention of chasing away the boys as fast as possible and not investing herself in the process.

But, as she moves through the process, she discovers several things. One, she is not beloved by her people as she believes. They are angry and the monarchy might not survive the death of her parents.  Two, that her parents’ romance isn’t as storied as she was lead to believe. They never told her details about Maxon’s father’s attempts to control the process, nor about America’s fight with Celeste.   Three, and most important, Eadlyn learns that she can’t control the Selection process.  The men will not be puppets, as they apparently have hopes, dreams and agendas of their own. Worse, she is developing feelings towards some of the men, something she never dreamed possible.

Eadlyn is a a strong, often headstrong, lead to this story. She has been raised her whole life to be queen.  Her morning mantra is “You are Eadlyn Schreave. You are the next person in line to run this country, and you will be the first girl to do it on your own.  No one is as powerful as you.” Eadlyn is difficult and, at times, her own worst enemy. She makes painful mistakes, and comes off rude and self-centered.  Yet at the same time, she is portrayed as an atractive young woman that is desirable beyond her crown. Yes, some of the men in the Selection are there because they are attracted to the wealth and titles they would get by marrying Eadlyn, but others find her beautiful and are attracted to her strength and intelligence.

To have a romantic lead in a teen romance be a woman with all the power is AMAZING (she can have people killed) and Cass handles that remarkably well in her writing. For that reason alone, you should read this book, but the book is also full of characters that entice you and pull you in.  Cass has also written the book in the first person, a technique that tends to pull me in faster.  The books ends on a cliffhanger, so there is at least another book featuring Eadlyn in the future, something I am thrilled about.

Go get this.

Posted in Book Review, Distopan Fiction, What to Read After Harry | Leave a comment
Jul 13
2015

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard

The Selection is a distopian YA series about a young woman named America Singer who is chosen to be one of the candidates to marry the Crown Prince of Illea.  The whole process is televsed to distract the populace from the two seperate nsurrections that are gong on. Thnk The Bachelor meets Cnderella meets the Hunger Games.

Selection Prince and Guard

This is a collection of two short stories, The Prince and The Guard, which retell select sections from The Selection series. The book also includes the family trees of our three main characters and a Q&A wth author Kiera Cass.

The Prince

This short story shows us Prince Maxon’s thougths at the beginnng of the process.  It was nice to see his insecurity and his attracton to America’s independent nature.  We also get to see his thought process for cutting certain women the first night and their reaction.  There is, of course, more confimation at that King Clarkson is abusive and controlling and that Queen Amberly is passive.

Not bad, but I would have liked more of Maxon’s journey, whch is neat given he is as tapped by the process as the women.

The Guard

This short story looks at the revelaton of Marlee and Carter’s romance and the subsequent caning that follows, all from Aspen’s eyes.  We see his  desperation to hold on to America in the face of the Selection.  We get to see the palace staff’s reaction to America’s attempt to intervene in the caning and their growng admiration of her.

While I valued that last part, we did get to see some of that with America’s maids in the book.  What I would have liked is the story of Aspen and Lucy’s romance. How does Aspen go from being in love with the fiery, strong America to marrying the shy, damaged Lucy.  What did he see in her that he needed?

The Rest

The interview was nice, and the families trees provided context. Illera is not that old a nation, leading to its instability.  Also, I learned that America is half-Jewish, something that is never touched on in the series.  What a missed opportunity to see how relgion was or was not co-opted by the regime.

Overall, this book is for the fans of the series, not the casual reader.

2.5 out of 5 Revolutions

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Jun 29
2015

Black Canary #1

I did something for the first time this week, I went to the local comic book shop (convieniently called The Comic Shoppe) and picked up a comic to which I have subscribed.

I felt like a member of the other half.

And what was that comic that made me plunk down a deposit, you ask?

That's my girl!

That’s my girl!

Yup, the first issue of the new Black Canary series. This series sees Canary as the lead singer of a rock band.  The famous fishnets?  Are part of her onstage outfit, as are the kit boots.  There is even a scene where she switches from her daily combat boots to the black heels.

I am going to stop here and say SPOILERS.  Because I will be discussing the issue.  So stop now if you want to read the issue before you read my thoughts about it.

kCvExpU\

Black Canary is the name of the band.  Our heroine is known as “DD”, so it appears that writer Benden Fletcher is calling back to the Dinah Drake name of Black Canary I.  The discription on the DC website calls DD, Dinah Lance and there appears to be a link for the Dinah of the new 52, the spy and vigilante. So maybe DD has taken on the Drake name to hide.  Within the comic, there are references a marriage and the Justice League, but the real tip off to DD’s back story are the repeated attack by badguys, from gun-totting musicians to ninjas.  The band is having trouble getting paid given that their venues keep getting trashed.

It all comes to a head one night when DD spotes some strange things in the audience, which turn out to be aliences.  Using her mike as a weapon, she takes them out. As the leader of the alliens fades away, it indicates that they were not here for DD, but for the band’s teenage guitarist, Ditto.  Who doesn’t speak, but appears to be able to manipulate sound. There is a heated discussion about keeping the band together, and when her bandmates refuse to abandon Ditto and DD to fate, DD announces that hand to hand training will commence in the morning.

And that ends the first issue. Some interesting set-up.  DC has rated this title as teen, seemingly going after the same market as Miss Marvel.  Which is wierd, because by seemingly linking DD to the New 52 history, she is not a teen.  We’ll see if that holds.  Maybe the focus will become Ditto.  Art by Anni Wu is what I call messy modern, which fits the story/setting of this comic.  I will definately be picking up the next issue.  Heck, it’s Canary, I will be in for the whole thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Feb 07
2015

Boy/Girl Kinder Eggs

Jenna Bush over at Legion of Leia posted the following photo on Facebook

Avengers Kindereggs

And rightly pointed out that there were no female superheroes in the selection.  And she is right.  Black Widow and Captain Marvel are nowhere to be found.  Looks like another case of gender steretyping in toys.

A quick Google search brought me to the Grocery Gems blog from England that had this photo:

Kinder Eggs Disney Fairies Marvel Avengers

It appears that the braintrusts and Kinder and Disney have decided to release boys and girls versions of this toy.  The girls are supposed to want the Fairies toys, the boys the Avengers. Which is sad, because there are boy characters in the fairies series.  Even if only girls are fans, they actually might want to play with the boy characters.  There might even be boy fans.   But like with the Avengers, the assumprion is that these are single gender toys.

This is further evidence of the rampant gender stereotyping that takes place in our toy ailses. From colour choices to situations, toy manufacturers are dividing our boys and girls worlds into two relms that never cross.

Which is sad. We know gender is not binary, but instead a spectrum.  Why do we insist that our toys be binary?  And don’t tell me it boils down to economics. There are plenty of young women out there who love comics and have money to spend on merch. Give them the opportunity.  Same goes for boys who love princesses and fairies.

It’s 2015, it’s time for us to walk away from the Victorian gender roles.

Posted in Come see the sexism inherent in the system, Pinkwashing | 1 Comment