The People on the Bus go blah blah blah.

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Happy Sunday, Kids. I’m offended about a new thing. It’s not a gender thing (weeelll maybe a little but we’ll get to that), an issue of race, sexual orientation, or physical abilities. Last night I ate nachos with a good friend of mine and we talked about an annoyance we’ve both taken issue with at some point. We couldn’t come up with a snappy description for it, so we’ve feebly (and satirically) named it “interest-shaming.”

I’ve talked on here before about how I am someone with a distinct look. Among my group of friends this isn’t really the case. Among my group of friends I have the lamest taste in music and movies and do the least cool things. But in other people’s worlds I am seen as exciting and rebellious and all those labels that the 14 year old me would relish in.

So yeah I’ve got tattoos and sometimes I put weird color in my hair. I don’t care if people comment or ask questions, because I know I stand out and I can admit I’ve done these things to assert my individuality. Maybe I just want to piss off my dad, I don’t know. I grew up in the 90s so angst probably plays at least a minor role in these decisions.

Regardless, I know that I’m going to get looked at.

What you’re kinda not allowed to do though, is treat me like public property. And now I want to tell you a story.

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So yesterday I’m on the bus. I’ve got a head cold and I’m running errands, and I’m gussied up to go to this pool party that I want to get to- and I just kind of want to listen to Otis Redding and stare straight ahead into nothingness for a while. Because it’s the weekend after all, and I’m worth it.

So this couple gets on the bus and they’re sitting on opposite ends of the vehicle but carrying on a conversation. They’re loud as shit and harshing my flow a bit but this is the bus after all so whatever. Then the guy leans over to me and motions for me to take my headphones off because of course he’s going to talk to me.

“Hey, I like your tattoo” pointing to the Guadalupe on my arm.

“Thanks!”

“Who did that?”

“Chris Stans, he works at-”

“How much did it cost?”

“uh…”

When people ask me this for no real reason, I get a little uncomfortable because it’s a personal question. If you’re thinking of getting something done and you want a ballpark figure, the best person to ask would be a tattoo artist. I’d be happy to write down some names for you. But I don’t want to tell you how much I spent on my particular tattoo because you don’t really need to know and to be perfectly honest I don’t remember the exact figure.

“Well come on.”

“I just don’t-”

“Come oooon. I bet it cost more than $100″

“Well, most good tattoos cost more than $100. The artist has to-”

“I bet that cost more than $100.”

“Well, yes. But-”

This belligerence goes on for a bit and we conclude that yes- this cost more than $100.

“So why’d you get it?”

“I don’t know. I liked it.”

“Come oooon, what’s the story? You got it there must be a reason for it.”

*trying to think of something succinct someone would say on a tattoo reality show* “Because the image resonated with me.”

“Yeah but why. Come on, tell me.”

“I don’t know, man, I just-”

“What’s that skull there? Like… life and death or something?”

Something people need to understand is that berating somebody with questions is uncomfortable, no matter who that person is and what they look like. You wouldn’t just plop down next to any old person and ask them if they had a rough childhood, so you don’t really need to know my personal stories because I paid someone to put ink in my arm. 

At this point people are shifting uncomfortably in their seats and looking over at me with the “sorry this guy is an asshole” eyes. I figure I’ll answer his questions and move on. I got these tattoos, it’s my fault this is happening… I guess? My stop is coming up anyway.

“The original image had a cherub there, but this has kind of a Mexican “day of the dead” style to it so there’s a skull there.”

“Well let me see it.”

Trying to be *nice*, I hold out my arm kind of awkwardly, not enough for him to grab me (has happened) but just enough that he can see the piece a little better.

“Move your strap. I want to see it all.”

“UH-”

“I want to see it.”

“I’m sorry- you’re making me really uncomfortable.”

WHICH SHOULD ALWAYS BE WHERE YOU STOP DOING THE THING YOU’RE DOING. Sometimes I do something that I think is innocent based on my sensibilities, but if I hear that sentence come out of a person’s mouth, I stop.

“Well I just want to see it. Because that looks like Mary to me.”

“Yup. it’s Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is my stop though.”

So I start to get up and he’s calling after me.

“Well I just don’t know why there’s a skull there. Because that looks like Mary to me. Look. I’m sorry I offended you *please forgive me* but I bet you get asked this stuff all the time.”

And that’s it right there. That’s “interest shaming.” If you want to talk about tattoos, sure I’d be down for that. I have them, so I’m going to get asked about them and that’s really ok. But I’m not an episode of Miami Ink and I don’t need to sing for my bus ride and I don’t owe you an explanation. People with alternative looks or cool jobs or neat-o names are compelling, but they aren’t dancing monkeys either. 

And you’re probably thinking this guy is just some rude asshole and who the hell cares. But people use my tattoos (please don’t call them “tattys” bee tee dubs) as an excuse to grab me, badger me, or vocalize their assumptions about me pretty regularly. 

In the midst of writing this entry, I found an article by a lady with the same issues. I smiled and nodded and thought of maybe not even posting this because she’d already said what I wanted to say, and her story is better written anyway. Then I saw the comment section. (Why, WHY do I do this to myself?)

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And here’s the thing. My mere existence isn’t “in your face” just because I have colours on my arm. Tattoos aren’t speech unless the tattoo in question says “ask me about my tattoos.” 

 If you interrupt a celebrity eating their lunch and they don’t want to give you an autograph, that isn’t because they are “mean.” It is because they want to finish their lunch. And being on your favourite show certainly makes them someone you’re welcome to admire or approach in a polite way, but it doesn’t make you guys best friends and it doesn’t make them any less human.

My choosing to look different doesn’t change the fact that I’d like to be treated with respect. If you want to compliment the way I look, or ask my advice on something you might be thinking of doing, there’s a polite way to do that.

If I’m in a happy mood and you’re being cool, maybe I’ll talk to you for a bit. If I don’t feel like talking to you that’s really ok, regardless of the choices I’ve made about my appearance.

And if you don’t believe me, think about going up to someone in a business suit and being all “Hey- that’s a nice suit. Where’d you get it? Wow, you most make a lot of money. How much do you make a year? Are you supporting a family with that money or are you single?” And think about how uncomfortable that might be. But it’s that person’s fault, right? Because they should have worn sweats and brought their suit to work if they didn’t want people to ask about it. It’s just such a nice suit, they had to know people would want to know all about their personal life once they saw it.

And if you can’t look at someone without feeling entitled to them in some way, I’m going to go ahead and say that you are the problem. Unless maybe the person you were talking to was this lady:

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Because ok- I do have some pretty pressing questions on this one.

The Graduate

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So I’m a college graduate now! Yippee! Finishing my degree is an accomplishment- but not in the academic sense. I didn’t go to my graduation because my reasons for getting that piece of paper were different than everyone else’s. Not better by any stretch of the imagination- and maybe not even worse- just different.

In my twenties I have struggled with endings. I have an obsessive mentality that can get me really fired up about new things- but I’ve often lacked the dedication for a solid follow through. After about a decade of flaking out- I decided I was not attracting people or situations that I found appealing, and that the change had to come from me.

So I decided to start accomplishing half finished goals, one at a time. It’s hard because all I ever want to do is start a new project or dream a new dream- but I have to remind myself to treat my brain like a 5 year old. First dinner, then dessert, then maybe a car car ride. Is that 5 year olds or puppies? Who can tell the difference.

Last year on my 29th birthday I decided that by the time I turned 30 I wanted to have accomplished 3 things. Those things were:

-Produce my own fringe play, no matter what obstacles presented themselves (check- and now that I’ve gotten over what was a traumatic/cool experience I’ll probably write about it!)

-Finish my degree (check!)

-Get my driver’s license (remains to be seen.)

I’d been in school on and off for a while at that point. I enjoyed taking the play-writing class I was involved in- but was otherwise content to flake off yet again. I had taken all the best acting classes and had some excellent English profs, I’d even taken a Kinesiology class where I got to play with dead bodies! How was a gold stamp with my name scrawled next to it going to top that?

School to me felt like a place to absorb what I wanted to and leave the rest. I didn’t really feel I needed a degree to realize my goals- but then I realized that as long as that end was left dangling I would continue to think of myself as a student- not as a professional or even an adult. I needed to put an end to that chunk of my life.

I’m constantly judging the people in my life for being non-committal, or talking a big game without actually pursuing their goals.

So I went to a student advisor and asked them what degree I could get with minimal effort. I couldn’t stand being in school anymore, but I would commit to a couple of general electives if that’s what it took. Turns out that after 9 years of floundering and experimenting I could take 2 more classes and get my 3 year Bachelor of Arts with a major in Theatre. The very degree I started working on when I was a plucky 18 year old. I Could have taken more and gotten my 4 year with a fancy minor and everything… But that didn’t feel important enough for the time and expense required.

So I took like… web design and uh… some other class that I don’t remember (go education system!) and continued with my beloved play-writing course. A few months later- and here I am.

I didn’t go to my grad because it didn’t feel right. The room would be filled with go-getters who either went to school for as long as I did to get much more impressive degrees, or 21 year old kids who had put in the right amount of work at the right time and were getting the same diploma as me.

I don’t think I’m worse than those students- I just didn’t think I needed the fan fare like they did. It’s like getting married after living with someone for 10 years and having 5 kids. I mean- cool, but what difference is it going to make really?

I am proud of myself not because I got that paper in the mail. I am proud of myself because I am one step closer to being the kind of person I want to be. Who is successful, and trustworthy, and dedicated.

And it was time to stop judging myself for being “old” and not having certain experiences under my belt. I’m only going to get older, so I may as well make those lists and check those boxes.

Next up- driver’s license.

COME AT ME, MANITOBA DRIVERS.

Wait- don’t.

The Laid Back Hipster’s Guide to Las Vegas

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So, people find my fascination with Las Vegas a little weird. I don’t gamble at all, I’m not a particularly touristy person and I don’t really enjoy over hyped dance clubs and/or getting “white girl wasted.” What I do like are bright lights, weird people, staying up late and the possibility that anything could happen at any moment. Plus coming from a city that’s colder than Mars and flatter than a pancake, blazing temperatures and a rocky horizon can make for a nice change.

A little background on me- I didn’t get to travel much as a younger person. Money was tight and my family didn’t get along particularly well, so the most exotic local I made it to most of the time was Grand Forks. In my 20s I wanted to travel, but it usually ended up more complicated than it needed to be. Maybe because of other people, but mainly because I was stuck believing that “people like me” didn’t do things like that.

There were a few cities I used to fantasize about regularly. New York of course, and far off zoom-y spots like Tokyo. But in my early 20s after going through a break-up and buying a Killers album, I announced to my friends and family that I was moving to Las Vegas. I had a background in selling sex toys and an affinity for show girls- so I found an apartment online that was cheap as shit, pink, and would let me have a dog. That, like many ideas I’ve had- fell through. But the seed was planted.

Finally about 5 years ago I was ready to take flight- and I’d just started hanging out with a dude friend who has been to Vegas 15+ times. When we got there, I instantly fell in love. It was a place that felt so full of opportunity to me. It was also where I discovered that I’m a lot more outgoing with strangers than I thought I was. When you’re cold 8 months out of the year, it’s easy to want to keep to yourself.

I’ve been back twice since then, once by myself and more recently with a friend. I want to check out other cities, but the flights to Vegas are cheap and there’s just so damn much to see.

I know there are a tonne of Las Vegas guides out there, but so many people see it as a place to spend a drunken long weekend when I think it’s got a lot more to offer.

This is just meant to be a guide to my favorite city (so far), dedicated to all you cool kids who think you’re too cool for it.

1. Fremont Street, Fremont Street, Fremont Street.

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You know that area of your town that’s all hip with cute little boutiques and neat little bars and good looking fashion-y people with cool little haircuts? Fremont street could beat up that street. This is the original Vegas strip, and (from what I have gathered) for a while it was kind of a dangerous spot to be in, but now the hipsters have taken over and made it a cool hang. What’s neat about this street is that you could have any kind of night you want but it is so compact that you can easily park close by and walk from one place to the next, unlike the main strip which is beautiful but intimidatingly giant. If you don’t mind noise, I’d recommend staying here. Cheap/cool hotels (The Golden Nugget has a water-slide that goes through a shark tank, just sayin’), and there’s a bus that’ll take you right to the main strip that runs til pretty late at night.

So there’s the big noisy glittery section with all the hotels and casinos- which is a good time if you want to party/gamble hard, see strippers and get lost in the crowd. Then a couple blocks away from all that there’s a cool strip of smaller bars and restaurants which feature live music, open mics, and cheap eats to satisfy any mood. I recommend “Coterie” boutique for beautiful designer clothes and t-shirt offerings by local brands, as well as the “Emergency Arts” building which features: A great little beatnik coffee shop, free wifi, a bunch of little art galleries, a yoga studio, and even a mini spa. Image

My favourite watering hole/dance spot is “Beauty Bar” where the decor is decked out, the boys are cute, and the beer is cheap.

THEN walk a few paces from all THAT and check out “Container Park.” It’s new, it’s hip, and every city should be doing stuff like this. Container Park is a bunch of boutique type pop up shops set up in a network of re-purposed railway containers. There’s a courtyard in the middle with a playground for kids that’s big enough for adults to climb on, and a stage with live music. While I was there I bought a beautiful necklace by a local artist for my mom, some top notch beef jerky for my man, and a delicious pulled pork sandwich/lemonade combo for my belly. Plus some neat-o postcards!

1. b) First Fridays

This is every first Friday of the month in the nearby downtown arts district- and is the best way to see that particular neighborhood in my opinion because otherwise it can be kind of sparse and… well… scary if you don’t know your way around.

You can grab a free shuttle to the action from Fremont Street, so it’s not a hard event to figure out at all. This is a cool opportunity to see local artists doing their thing, explore galleries/thrift shops, and indulge in some snacks from one of the many food cart options. I went once, mostly by accident, and had an amazing time. For more info check out: http://www.firstfridaylasvegas.com/

2. The LINQ

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Another completely new little network of shops/eateries in Las Vegas, and just off the main strip. You’ll find this spot next to The Flamingo hotel- just look for Donny and Marie’s larger than life heads.

Cute shops to check out, plenty of rooftop patios, and it leads up to that there Ferris Wheel- which is a lot like the London Eye but bigger because Vegas. Each of those pods can host around 40 people, and for $35 you can float on up to the top and see all those spectacular lights from way up high. I am pretty afraid of heights, but felt super safe in this thing. Definitely a cool time. I also grabbed some fresh organic juice from “Squeeze.” A great idea if you need to cleanse those toxins from your body, or you can say “fuck it” and get some alcohol thrown in. What a country.

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3. Nature and Shit.

All around Vegas there are bad ass outdoor spots with names like “Valley of Fire.” I didn’t get to the Valley of Fire, but the place in the picture is Red Rock. Red Rock is quite nice, just not as cool of a name. You can walk around, do scenic drives, or engage in some more serious hiking. Truthfully this is a side of Nevada I haven’t seen enough of yet to make recommendations for- but do some googling around. There are a lot of really beautiful spots within driving distance and even some hot springs!

Usually there’s a small fee to drive in to these places, but nothing compared to what they’ll charge you to visit the Grand Canyon. There are other canyons. Like seriously, everywhere and all over. They may not be quite as grand, but will you even know the difference?

4. Life off the Strip

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People who live in Nevada are cool and have neat-o beards. This is my latest tattoo artist Charlie, who owns Studio 21 with his family. He’s a great guy and he’ll give you a lot of advice about places to check out. I’m not saying go here for handy tourist advice, I’m saying do some research and find some shopping/eating/museum-ing/hanging out away from the hustle and bustle. You’ll meet nice folks and it’s relaxing to get a break from the constant loud music/crowds.

I would definitely suggest renting a car for this, though. Once you’re away from the main areas cabs get expensive, and the public transit system isn’t so hot. As an alternative- when I was alone in Vegas I logged onto couchsurfing.org and made friends with some people there who could take me around. This works out well if you happen to be adorable and fun like myself.

I once went to this pub in Vegas that was removed from the action. I had a craft beer and some bangin’ tortilla soup, plus the bartender was a nice person to talk to. I have no idea where I was but uh… find that place.

5. Timing/Attitude is Everything

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You know… I do love the bigger shinier cheesier aspects of Vegas. I really do. I love the main strip. It’s just not the kind of place to go in the wrong mood or without any common sense. If you hate crowds, avoid it on weekends. Try to visit during a time of year that is less tourist-y.

What I like to do is hit the strip in the AM, around 10 or 11. I can see everything, take the pictures I want to take, and find my way around a bit; Plus there is no shortage of cute patisseries in casinos so grabbing an indulgent breakfast is never a bad idea.

At night I revisit spots I liked plus I’m able to weave my way through the crowd a little easier because I know where I am.

Not everything is glitter and feathers. The piano bar in “New York New York” is some of the most fun you’ll ever have- and it couldn’t be farther from what you’d expect out of night life in Vegas, and there are giant chili dogs to be had a mere stone’s throw away.

Pro-Tips!

-The strip is huge. You will be walking- A LOT. Bring comfortable shoes. I’d also recommend that us mellow thigh-ed chicks avoid sundresses. The chub rub in this dry desert climate is unbearable- but the warm summer nights are perfect for shorts and skirts.

-Clubbing? Wear flats. Seriously, unless you’re doing the whole fly in for the weekend to quickly get trashed thing, your feet will be too tired for those heels.

-Find club promoters on twitter, get on some lists, and get to the clubs early (10pm ish). They get crazy packed and FAST. All you have to do is tweet about going to Vegas and you’ll get a tonne of offers. Again- helps to be adorable, fun, and unfortunately this will work better if you’re female identifying. Men have to pay to get into most night spots, but those promoters can get you a reduced rate.

-Always keep $1 bills. Anything “free” in Vegas implies tip. If you sit at a slot machine waiting for your free drinks and didn’t tip your server, you’ll be waiting a long time. Give her $5 for the first drink and $1 after that. Or see my next suggestion.

-Looking to get drunk? Giant novelty cups are fun, giant alcoholic slushy drinks are not. Those drinks are super refreshing for the first few sips- but I never hated myself more than I did after finishing a torso-sized flute full of one. You think it’s a good idea on a hot day- but it’s just not. Go to Walgreen, get a lemonade “buzz ball.” Add some Arizona iced tea and enjoy a light refreshing drink that will get you well on your way, friend-o.

-Speaking of Walgreens: deli sandwhiches. They’re tasty, filling, and won’t break the bank. Don’t be an idiot- eating at restaurants 3 times a day would add up anywhere. For extra cheap points, stock up at a Walgreens off the strip- prices will be much lower.

-The North Outlet Mall has better shops than the South Outlet Mall. I have no idea, but my gay friend did the research and I got an inexpensive pair of lucky jeans out of the deal.

 

Cool so, I hope I gave you some ideas! Have fun! And remember- if I see you with your fucking kids on the strip past 9:00pm I will lose my fucking shit. Seriously, what the fuck?

I don’t want to be right

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First of all, I found some wide boots! I am not sure how they will fit, so I wish they were available in Winnipeg stores, but I am excited that I’ll be able to order some boots that fit, and in a variety of sizes! Check out these super helpful links to Macy’s and Zappos. Plus there’s this really great article about finding yourself some well fitted boots. So in this case, a little complaining went a long way! Thanks, facebook friends.

Now, onto the task at hand. I have any number of cool things I could talk about, but I sense that I’ve been a bit wordy and opinion-y lately. So let’s do a top 5, yeah?

There’s a lot online about being a better person and letting go of toxic relationships, patterns, etc. And I’d really love to be a better person. I can see her in my mind’s eye. She’s got impeccably tailored clothing and a shoe option for every outfit. She’s 10 minutes early, and she remembered to bring a pen. She’s cool and confident and never breaks down at the wrong moment.

But then I try to imagine what that me does for fun and I can’t, really. So let’s all take a break from the self improvement and talk about the things that, in my opinion, you should never stop doing.

1. Gossip

I definitely have friends who I make plans with specifically to talk about other people. I text the words “hot goss” and they know the score. I’m a bad influence. I’m not talking about the “She’s not even pretty! Why do guys like her!” style gossip. It’s more of an armchair psychology “we aren’t in that situation so we can see it with an objective view and feel morally superior” style dish session. Which is seeew much bettttterrrrr.

I mean the stuff that you rly rly wish you could say to somebody, but that you need to filter through one or six trusted friends first.

You’re aware that when you turn your back on them they’ll be saying the same shit about you, but doesn’t it feel good to bond with your bestie over how terribly wrong your other bestie is about something?

It’s actually pretty healing, because you feel a little better about your own stupid mistakes for a minute, and hey maybe next time you start to make a bad decision, you remember that conversation and realize you’d rather not go against your own advice.

2. Treating your body like utter crap.

SOMETIMES.

I get the idea of a “lifestyle change” instead of a “diet” and committing to good habits and mlah mlah mlah. But that implies never looking back, being sensible, and always planning for those little indulgences. I get that cake is more enjoyable when you go quality and slowly enjoy a tiny piece, but you will never giggle doing that.

There is no giggle that replaces the giggle of a midnight convenience store run, where you’re ripping open 3 bags of chips and sucking down sugary drinks, and not wanting to share your jerky even though you can feel your liver failing as you eat it.

That’s what life is all about, man. That’s where all those “I don’t even remember drinking that much but-” stories come from. That’s what you bond over, in the end. Don’t deprive yourself of that.

3. Deluding Yourself

You’re all like “guys, starting monday I’m going to _____ everyday until I achieve ____! For real this time!” You know it’s an unrealistic expectation. They know it’s an unrealistic expectation (see item #1), but you’ll come around to the more sensible plan. Sensible barely gets anybody out of bed in the morning. But that dumb, pie-in-the-sky plan of yours just might.

I mean if you have like, 5 of those a day (I’ve been there) then you may want to check yourself. But without those brilliant moments of discovery, you never get to feel that feeling of “I’M GOING TO DO IT!” Where you’re already proud of accomplishing something you’ve only just pinned to your bulletin board. And without that feeling, life would be kind of boring and you’d never get that whole “shoot for the moon land among the stars” effect.

4. Hitting up on that Snooze alarm

Yes, it’s not “real sleep.” BUT- you get to KNOW YOU’RE SLEEPING. Which is a weird but great sensation. When you sleep all the way up to your alarm, you aren’t aware of the sleep that just happened, so it’s kind of a rip off. That extra few minutes of half awake cozy-dozing? Wurff it. Treat yourself.

5. Lying

Are you running late? Yes. Is it for a good reason? No. Could you easily do that favor? Yes. Are you going to? No.

Alright so, it is better to be honest. But it also sucks to get called on your shit and have to do something unpleasant. So once in a while you have to lie, not even to spare someone’s feelings, but because it’s damn satisfying to get to do your own thing and not have anyone know about it.

COME AT ME, WAYNE DYER.

…I actually dig him a lot, he was just the first person I could think of who I don’t think does any of these things.

These boots are made to hurt my feelings.

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I’ve never written an open letter before, but from my experience they go over super well and get the attention of all the right people, causing widespread positive results. Or maybe that was swag bags. I don’t know. But there’s a thing that’s been bothering me for several days and as a middle class cisgender white person, that’s about as long as I can go without complaining publicly. Here goes nothing.

An Open Letter to People Who Make Boots:

I love fashion. I’m not one of these people who wishes they lived in another decade. I think it’s way cool that modern styles are so versatile, adaptable to whoever you feel like channeling that day. I can dress like a pin-up girl, but I’m not obligated to an exhaustive daily routine involving various underpinnings.

In short- thanks fashion, for evolving over time and becoming less restrictive. That being said, I think there’s an issue we need to tackle here.

And I’m going to start with knee length boots.

I love them. LOVE them. They’re such an easy way to look chic, and they balance out my look when I’m wearing one of my many beloved pairs of skinny jeans.

But here’s the thing. For as long as I’ve had a body, it has been a round-shaped body. Small, but round. My dilemma is that because I have a small body, I tend to wear small shoes. Because I have a round body, I cannot for the life of me stuff my calves into most knee-high boots, especially the ones made for people with small feet, because the assumption is that small feet = small all over.

For a long time, I saw weight loss as the only option when faced with these problems. Instead of seeking out clothing solutions I would see myself as “wrong” and change my entire lifestyle for a pair of boots, or a dress, or whatever piece of “inspiration” sat unworn in my closet.

The only problem was I could never change my body type. I was always just a smaller, harder version of… well, me. I guess that sounds like a pretty common sense thing, but with all the Frankenstein-ish “get this person’s arms” or “that person’s butt” articles I’d been reading, I guess I thought I could turn into a collage of disembodied celebrities. And no matter how fucking skinny I got, I still struggled with certain zippers.

So I guess there’s a lot of money to be made by telling people that their bodies are “wrong.” Because instead of just selling a pair of boots, the big baddies get to sell books, magazines, pills, and creams.

And I’m not about to be all “REAL women have small feet and wide calves!” Because that’s horse shit. I’m sure a lot of non-fictional women fit perfectly into your clothing. I’ve seen them with my own real woman’s eyes! But like… I can’t be the only short curvy girl out there who wants to own a pair of boots that zip up.

I think it’s amazing that these days we’re stretching to accommodate the many ways a person might choose to express themselves visually. Now I’d just love a line of boots that could stretch to accommodate my legs, which aren’t freakishly disproportionate to my body, by the way. I’d like to clarify that. I mean, I can get my child sized hands around them and have my thumbs almost touch, and while I’ve been told a lot of things about my body, I’ve never been told that it wasn’t human-shaped. So really, I’m not asking for much.

If you’d like a short curvy girl to try on some of the new boots you’re no doubt starting to make RIGHT THE FUCK NOW, I’d happily oblige. Especially if we got to make a fun montage out of the entire affair. I think “You Make my Dreams Come True” is over-used, but “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” could be a fun option? We’ll work out those details later.

~Melanie Dahling

Ok so I think that went ok. I mean I got a little self-righteous, but I think that’s a prerequisite for these kinds of things.

COME AT ME, FASHION.

Mr. Jonze and me

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Well, it’s almost time for the Oscars. I’d like to start off by saying that I really do love movies, and I love loving movies. It’s especially nice when I can love movies with the people I love and we can clutch at our chests and well up with tears and shit like that.

I’m not the kind of person to be like “this movie was popular, therefore I must hate it.”

That being said, I probably hate a lot of your favourite movies. I’d really love it if I didn’t hate them, but oh, I just hate them so much.

Which brings me to today’s topic. “Her.” I kept hearing about this movie and assumed from the poster that “Her” was definitely somebody Joaquin Phoenix had murdered. My friend and I decided we were going to see it without watching any trailers or anything. He kept the promise, I broke after watching a parody trailer starring Jonah Hill.

Watching the real trailer, I didn’t know how to feel. As a lover of quirky, twee, and melancholy love stories, it seemed perfect for me. But there was something about it that just felt off, like when I bought that “Hobo bag” from the GAP.

I went into the movie really, really wanting to like it. And then I just didn’t. My friend and I discussed it after and I acted like I kind of liked it, but that was more because I was still trying really hard to convince myself that I did, and we were in a McDonalds so I was feeling emotionally fragile.

Then I went home, waited for everyone to go to sleep, and looked for negative reviews online. I couldn’t find one, but I’ve met the people who don’t like Her. I’ve met them fast and dirty on lunch breaks in corner booths, and we’ve talked in hushed tones, and I don’t think we deserve to feel ashamed anymore.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, this entry ends with a delightful GIF. If you have, keep reading and now you just won’t like me I guess.

Before I launch into this list-based review on my super important blog that everyone reads, I’d like to acknowledge that I am probably wrong about this movie, I guess?

I don’t think you should hate it because I did. I just want to rep my homies.

So here goes.

This list of problems with Her is going to make you hate Me.

1.The World

Ok so this isn’t super duper far into the future. The technology is pretty advanced, but since in my lifetime I’ve gone from listening to records to being able to dim the lights with my phone, I’ll say that Her could have taken place within the next 10 or 20 years. People are still pretty normal. Some of them have families and significant others, some of them don’t, friends set each other up on dates, and nobody makes eye contact on the subway.

For a movie that is supposed to be about how lonely someone is, we don’t really spend much time comparing him to other characters. It’s the world according to Theo the creepy high pants moustache man, and he’s sad I guess?

I couldn’t see much different between Theo’s world and mine, yet there are things going down that I’m surprised no one takes issue with. Theo works for beautifulhandwrittenletters.com, a service where he learns everything about you and writes heartfelt letters to your loved ones, in your own handwriting.

Sure, my generation has issues with intimacy as we figure out technology, but I’m pretty sure there are people who would be mad as hell about this company. Does he get hate mail? Is this a secret service for lazy people? If it’s all done on the down low, where does he get off publishing his best letters at the end of the movie? Is there no public outcry about beautifulhandwrittenletters.com? Does anyone- ANYONE but me notice how shitty that first letter he writes is? Probably not, because 20 years from now letter writers are MILLIONAIRES.

He lives in a sexy skyloft (I have no idea what a skyloft actually is, it just sounds fancy) and is the kind of person who can see a commercial for a (presumably expensive but who the hell cares) operating system one minute and pick it up the next. I thought the commercial was kind of cheesey myself, but I guess it was compelling enough to drop a few hundred bucks in the middle of a mall on impulse.

I guess they establish that this guy does enjoy spending his money on games, because his already ballin’ apartment is decked the fuck out. His friend/obvious love interest turns out to be a game designer, which I guess could be how he got his hands on some of that shit, but who gives a fuck about her anyway, which brings me to my next point.

2. The Human Women.

The only 3 dimensional female character in this movie is Samantha the robut, who Theo accepts pretty readily. He maybe has one moment of “uh… dafuq?” before he’s like “sure, I’m in love with a robut, nbd.”

Amy Adams plays a basically nice lady. I guess Theo never considered her before because she’s living with some dude, but the moment we meet the dude he’s all “Hey Theo, that smoothie you’re drinking is wrong because mlah mlah mlah” and we go “oh, ok, so they’re going to break up in 20 minutes. Crisis averted.” Good thing we didn’t have conflict in this movie.

Theo’s marriage takes a page out of the Silver Linings Playbook and is basically glossed over. From what I can gather, they grew up together even though she looks about 14 years old, so he was her perverted teacher I guess? They were really in love and then her hair got messy and she started sighing a lot, so they broke up. It was sad. Theo is sad. All the ladies he meets don’t want to fuck him the way he wants to be fucked, so he’s sad and he falls in love with a robut.

You’d think maybe Theo has trouble relating to folks, or that he might be socially kind of awkward. But people basically like him. Everyone wants to be his friend, and he does really well on a date with Olivia Wilde, but he pushes them away because feelings. So he’s a charismatic dude with an amazing apartment, friends, and he could be having sex on the regular with a stone cold fox who makes him laugh, but he chooses not to because… because of the sighing lady I guess?

3. Falling in love with your computer isn’t weird enough.

The only people who think Theo’s relationship with Samantha is odd are:

1. The sighing lady, his ex wife, who we spend about 5 minutes with. She comes into the story pretty late, so any effect she would have had is diminished because all the other people in Theo’s life have been like “Way to bone your computer, dude. Good on ya.”

2. A small child who laughs in his face. Hey small child, there should be a lot of other characters like you, and much earlier.

Because you know what I need as an audience member? Someone who voices my questions and concerns. Kinda like I’m relating to them.

Again. Are people upset about this? Are there the people who love the O.S systems and the people who protest the idea? The first person- THE FIRST PERSON he talks to about Samantha is all “cool, me too!” Crisis averted, once again. Being in love with a robut is way cool and anyone who thinks otherwise is an uptight bitch who we’ll only spend 5 minutes with or an inconsequential small child.

4. The other potential movies within this movie.

-beautifulhandwrittenletters.com. I would watch an entire film about that. I feel like people with that job live really interesting lives. Instead, the only co-worker we meet is his bland but well meaning boss, who mentions being lonely one minute then has a super convenient girlfriend in the next scene. THE NEXT SCENE.

Cool. It’s super easy to meet people in the future. Good thing, otherwise they may start falling in love with robuts.

-the surrogate. At one point, some lady sticks a webcam to her face, her FACE, and poses as Samantha the robut’s body. Free of charge, because she just likes making people happy. What? How- What? Why is the sad man with the moustache the main character in this movie? Sexy lady who voluntarily has sex with men in love with robuts is a much, much more compelling film. I’ve seen shitty guys with nice guy syndrome and stupid pants before. I’ve never seen that other thing.

-that company who invented this system. People are falling in love with our operating systems. Neat, I guess? Oh fuck, they just became super intelligent, and they have free will, so they’ve fucked off to the far reaches of cyberspace and now they don’t exist anymore. People are heartbroken and we sold them a faulty product. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. We’d make a really interesting movie right now.

5. Fuck this guy.

Seriously, look at his fucking face. I hate him, and I don’t think he deserves to find love with anyone, because he has a stupid fucking face. Fuck you fuck you fuck you, safety pinned asshole.

…Really, though. For me to want to go on a journey with somebody, I’m cool with them being a dink, but I’d like to know why. I think I’m supposed to feel sorry for Theo, and find him all beautifully broken and shit, but as is I just hate him and his fucking face, because he has no real problems at all, really. He just likes to be sad, and I know people like that, and I’d never want to watch a movie about them.

So there you have it. I’m really glad you liked this movie so god damned much, I really am. I’d love to love it. But as is, I just thought it was a poopy bum smell poop faced ca-ca, and I know that’s a harsh thing to say, but it’s my blog.

COME AT ME, JONZE!

Dirty Pop

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I can think of no word said with more malice than “mainstream.” If you exist in the creative world, you know this to be true. In most cases your offenses will be argued from both sides, but appeal to the masses and you’ve exited the garden. You will never wash the mainstream success away. 

In some ways, I totally get it. Most artists are more appealing when they’re dorky, doe eyed, and rough around the edges. The fame machine puts a coat of gloss on that somehow makes everyone better and worse all at the same time. Kind of like grape flavored anything; it’s sweet and immediately satisfying but doesn’t really resemble good old off the vine grape, with it’s bruised bits and eventual sagging.

Wow, I’m on a roll with those metaphors today huh?

Moving along. I can sometimes be guilty of “mainstream shaming.” I completely hate “New Girl” and “The Big Bang Theory.” I think they are horribly written and un-funny and lack even guilty pleasure appeal, yet people continue to quote them at me and buy the merch. I truly do not get it. I understand fluff but those shows are like.. I don’t know. The stuff that fluff says is too soft. So much for that good metaphor streak.

I remember I was once kind of turned off by a dude’s movie choices. We’d decided to stay in and all he had to choose from were major blockbusters from the last 5 years or so. I mean, those movies were popular for a reason, but a good film collection should be peppered with nostalgia, beautiful nonsense and some weird thing that you ended up watching at some party.

So I get that I can be a total hipster sometimes. But I’m tired of something being inherently bad just because it’s popular. I remember when Macklemore was an underground artist who worked hard and was respected for his conscious lyrics.

Now he’s “appropriating a cause” and “shitty” and shamed for profiting off of 13+ years of hard work trying to break into the mainstream. Did you know that Mary Lambert, who sings the chorus on “Same Love,” was a queer artist who usually had to skip out on gigs to hold down 3 jobs before she met Macklemore? Did you know he wrote the song and left the chorus blank so that he could find just the right person to fill it? Yeah. She has a record deal now. Macklemore saw that the “mainstream” seems to value cis-genered white males, and he used that system to give voice to a cause and a struggling artist. But fuck him right? Because he makes money at something he dedicated his adult life to.

I don’t think pop and art have to be mutually exclusive. (This is just one of the many exhausting similarities between myself and Lady Gaga…)

I actually think that pop can be a gateway to art. Aren’t you glad you got to hear Mary Lambert’s voice?

I’ve recently decided I’d like to know more about visual/performance art. I owe this to my long simmering fascination with Yoko Ono. I owe that fascination to an episode of Mad About You. Nope, not the Beatles; who were very popular, by the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, but it’s alright because they’re retro now or something.

She was just some name to me in relation to John. When I saw her on Mad About You was when I wanted to know more about her. A sitcom.

In High School I watched “Can’t Hardly Wait” over and over again because I identified with the lead, and it helped me understand life a little, and it was kind of cool that the wisest character was a stripper with a crush on Scott Baio.

Art is meant to provoke reactions and start discussions. How many amazing conversations have you had with your friends that started with a list of celebrity crushes? How many amazing nights have you had when the soundtrack included the works of LMFAO? How many times has a Cheerios commercial made you cry and maybe even re-think things a little bit? 

Through my love of rom coms and cutesy trendy quirky dramatic comedies, I’ve had some pretty cool suggestions on my Netflix. A lot of this stuff is media I’d have never known to seek out on my own.

So anyway, piggybacking on Nsync’s 2001 hit “POP,” I would just like to conclude that it truly doesn’t matter ’bout the car I drive or the ice around my neck.

And I’m sorry, people who love those shows I mentioned or the movie Avatar, I really am going to stop yelling at you.