Middle Earth Mood

My Nana had two VHS tapes at her house that I must have watched every time we visited when I was little, and both gave me a deep love for the worlds they built (and probably sparked my love for world building in general). Those tapes were episodes of the Moomins and the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings cartoon – and I highly recommend both!

I remember my gradual introduction to the world of Tolkien after watching the cartoon, moving next to the Hobbit (which I also had on audio tape), the Lord of the Rings, and then the Simarillion and beyond. I’m glad I got to live in the world before the movies came out, so I was able to create my own imaginings and visuals – which I enjoyed comparing with what the movies did.

(I have various feelings about some interpretations the movies made, but that is a whole rant for another time. In general, I adore the movies and they are one of my favourite ‘comfort food’ watches – the ride of the Rohirrim is stupendous – and the soundtracks are among my favourite of all time.)

Since mood boards are my go-to activity to de-stress and I’m not really feeling fashion trends right now (c’mon, neon and tiny sunglasses?! Get the fuck outta here with that please) I’ve turned other sources of inspiration.

Númenor

Ah, what folly. Numenor was like the decadence of the early 00’s before the crash (or, in their case, a wave). Don’t listen to pretty lies, for it will end badly.

Gondor

Admittedly, I’m a bit more #TeamRohan when it comes to the world of men but I do like the colours of Gondor a bit more. Despite missing the black wall (stickler for details), I thought the movie representation was brilliant.

Hobbiton

Who wouldn’t want to live in the cosy, comfy Shire? I totally get why Gandalf loved to visit so much and the appeal of a circular front door.

Lothlorien

If I were an Elf, I’d choose Lothlorien over Rivendell or Mirkwood. Not only is it a protected haven, but I bet Galadriel has the best stories from the first two ages.

Mordor

You cannot simply walk into it… unless you’re two Hobbits, I guess. Although I didn’t really picture Sauron quite so literally, I kind of liked the crazy big eye tower. It was certainly an impressive vibe.

Rivendell

The last homely house, where Elrond must be used to (but growing tired of) people just showing up unannounced to stay. If you don’t want uninvited house guests, don’t be super knowledgeable and live somewhere welcoming. I think Elrond secretly likes the company since his sons skipped off to the North.

Rohan Palette

Why Rohan over Gondor? Well, I like their earthier vibe (wood over stone) and you know they’d be more fun at a party. Although I like the colours and flag of Gondor more, I’d probably enjoy living in Rohan more. As if living in any of these places is a possibility… but whatever, it’s easy to get carried away when you wander into making mood boards.

But as we all know, not all those who wander are lost.

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Content Overload

There is just too much content online. As someone who works in producing digital  content, I know I am part of the problem. I’m talking more specifically about the sheer volume of television shows and movies online, and my daunting list of what to watch.

Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO, Amazon Prime, and even some ongoing/new shows, I have no shortage of things to watch when the mood strikes. Whether it’s movies or television, there is always something just a tap away from entertaining me. But is anyone else finding it difficult to keep up? My list keeps growing, and I’m now seasons behind on some shows so much that it feels I’ll never catch up. An awards season passes and I’ve only seen a handful of the hyped movies (even though I work in entertainment!), and sometimes a movie can feel like something you should see rather than want to see.

Binging television and movies is not always easy to fit in with a full time job and other non-couch-based activities, and then it’s sometimes hard to be in the right mood to watch something heavy. If I’ve had a long day at work, I’m not really in the mood for a heavy trauma-filled or emotional rollercoaster, but something light. Then something prestige-y can sit on a list for so long, that it feels more like a chore to watch.

I’m finding the video speed plugin a pretty handy tool to get through some shows that I want to see but have a tendency to drag (cough NETFLIX cough) and honestly the only thing that looks a bit funny are fight scenes or sex scenes. You’d be surprised how slowly people must talk in shows, because speeding them up sometimes has very little effect on how their voice sounds. I also will turn back to regular speed during the finale episodes, just to do them justice, and even if I’m usually doing something else (multitasking y’all) when watching the series, I haven’t found things impacted negatively to my recall events or be less emotionally impacted. I’ve not tried it with movies yet, but I’ll let you know if it worth trying there too.

If I didn’t work in entertainment, maybe I’d feel less pressure to get through all these shows. It’s not just important to be up to date when meeting with clients, but for my own reference when brainstorming or if I need to work on a franchise or series.

This isn’t even considering how I feel I lag behind on staying up to date with podcasts, music or reading books too. I like turning things off and silence, which isn’t conducive to the always-on lifestyle that is important to churning through all this info, so reading isn’t too difficult to slot in although listening is easier to do at work.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing the shows or myself a disservice with this hurried approach, but I don’t know any alternative given the pressing need. Despite the list, I also sometimes feel the need to rewatch an old favourite (do you have comfort-watches too?) because not only is it guaranteed to be great but you can notice things you might have missed before or you benefit from an older perspective. I suppose there is naught else to do but continue to plug away at the list and hope my rate of watching is faster than the rate the new shows debut.

Movie Reboots + Remakes

It’s Comic Con weekend and the news, trailers, and releases are coming thick and fast. This isn’t exactly a new or hot take, but damn are there a lot of reboots and remakes swarming around. Would you call a belated sequel a form of reboot too? I’m not here to say all remakes/reboots are bad, but quite a few are and it’s beginning to feel rather lazy and pandering.

I understand why it’s attractive for a movie studio to reboot or remake: established audience, lots of guaranteed press, repositioning a movie to be more ‘woke’ to win PR points. It’s all bankable nostalgia cashing in. I don’t know about you, but I’m more psyched for a movie that’s telling a wholly original story. Something unique for the time we live in (not forcibly updated) and with a tale to tell that we don’t know already.

Sometimes the themes and message of a movie from the 80s should exist in its own time capsule, and doesn’t work if you shoehorn it into the society and messaging of 2018. I don’t mind ‘inspired by’ movies or some of the belated sequels, as these can add to the world built in the first movie but still allow them both to stand alone.

I understand that the movie business is eager for franchises – for the financial security – but if a one shot movie is a huge success out of nowhere, rushing a sequel is rarely a good idea. TV too is not immune to this, as we saw with the rushed follow up to True Detective. I’d much rather either no sequel happened, or the film makers and writers were given as much time as they need to make one that feels true to the story instead of a cash grab.

I feel this annoyance most keenly when watching a documentary or a show like Drunk History, which has these amazing true stories of past events or people that would totally make an awesome movie. Why isn’t there a good (drama, serious) Rasputin movie? What about the deviously magical Alastair Crowley? War heroes like Daniel Inouye? Eleanor of Aquitaine? Ir’s not just historical dramas I’m looking for, but original stories. (Maybe they need to buy scripts from women, people of colour, differently abled and discover a whole new trove of stories!)

I think the box office is reflecting that original stories are resonating, from indie movies like The Big Sick and Lady Bird to bigger movies like LA LA Land and Moonlight.

It’s not a coincidence that these original movies did well at the awards, but even movies that were never going to be Oscar nominated can perform exceptionally financially (eg. The VVitch) despite not being part of a franchise or remake. I hope that that entertainment industry is brave enough to remember the one-shot movies from the 70s/80s/90s that were allowed to do really well and not get a sequel. There is definitely a place for big franchises, but not every movie should be shoehorned into one. 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts: Not Enough To Be Their Own Post

  1. Those DNA-what’s-my-heritage companies probably have just preset results to send out to tell people their descendants of a Cherokee Princess, Queen Victoria, or a President, depending on a quick Google search of what the applicant would like best.
  2. Watching streaming shows at 1.7x speed (via plug in) is honestly the only way I can have time to actually watch all the shows out there. There is too much content. I am still so far behind. How else do you find the time?
    1. Fight scenes and sex scenes are the most hilarious sped up.
    2. It’s no surprise that even at speed, those Netflix Marvel shows can still drag. Except Jessica Jones. Season 1 of JJ and the Cottonmouth arc in Luke Cage are the best, IMHO.
    3. No, it doesn’t speed things up and make the voices all squeaky. It’s just faster.
  3. Whenever I’m driving and I see another driver do something foolish, it’s always in a Honda. (Sorry not sorry if you drive a Honda but damn it’s always a Honda).
  4. I blame Industrialization for so much wrong with the world. Actually, I probably could write a whole post about this.
  5. Once I got out of the habit of shopping, I’m now kind of averse to shopping. I’ve even begun selling my stuff. I hardly recognize this person, but she seems cool so I’ll roll with it.
  6. Eating yogurt/apple sauce/ice cream/etc with a child/baby spoon is the best. Extra points if the spoon is plastic. I have a secret Hello Kitty spoon for such things.
  7. When it’s really hot and I’m running the AC, I have intense guilt because I feel like the harder the AC runs, the more it will affect the environment and thus contribute to global warming. It’s a vicious circle and it makes me have a knot of guilt in my stomach all summer.
  8. That said, I love the heat and have an odd tolerance to it. Even humidity. I’m always cold so I imagine myself as a lizard sitting on a rock to soak up heat. Warm me!
  9. Am I the only person who doesn’t like wrap dresses because they never seem to sit right? I’m always put on pause when I see a pretty dress that’s a wrap style instead of a ‘hidden zipper’. The same with skirts.
  10. I have very strong opinions about Middle Earth.

Expat Existence: Accent Ownership

Although it’s been almost ten years since I moved to America, I still get regular reminders that I’m not from here. Most overtly, it’s my accent and my feelings towards its ‘difference’ has been somewhat of a rollercoaster.

It didn’t take long after moving here to discover some situations are made easier or less hassle to adopt an American accent to avoid comments, attracting attention/questions, or when you’re just not in the mood to humour the inevitable exchange. Sometimes its just helpful to do so as, for some reason, some people found my accent hard to understand sometimes. It’s accommodating and self-minimizing, probably only a habit of female expats as it’s more ingrained in us to adjust ourselves to the needs of others.

However, this accommodation and consideration evolves into a defiant ‘why should I change myself fuck that’ feeling and I swing back into my real accent and stop bothering to translate into ‘American’ terms like using Fahrenheit because it’s not my nature yet. At best, people find this charming but at worst, people get offended and confused. Although I sympathize with the confusion and then adjust myself  to ‘oh, when in Rome I guess’ and use the terms of the land I live in, if someone gets rude then I’m less likely to respond in English at all.

Because honestly, if I say “over the street” instead of “across the street” and you can’t use your fucking intelligence to work out the context then you deserve people to get annoyed at you. Many non-Americans have managed to navigate through context so stop being lazy and try to get out of your own head for once.

The final evolution of this thought process is me worrying that I’m starting to lose my accent. While I sound ‘other’ enough in this country for the comments to come every time I talk to a stranger, my family back home tells me that my accent is lessened. So, am I adrift in between the countries? Somewhere in the Atlantic? Is there now no country I can talk in where I sound like a native? How much of my identity is my accent?

Having moved around a lot as a kid, I have spent most of my life with an accent that was ‘other’, even in my own country (because regional accents are a thing) but having a unique accent isn’t as fun as it sounds. I now get assumed to be from random countries I’ve never been to, due to the odd blended I now have, and I’m exhausted from explaining myself. I’ve been explaining and apologizing for my accent for the majority of my life, and now when I’ve reached the point of ‘fuck it’ my accent has been influenced so much by moving that it no longer feels like my own.

 

(July 4th seemed like such a fitting day to share these feelings.)

Hair Recovery

Can we talk about hair tutorials and how-tos for a second? As someone who isn’t blessed with the skill to do up their hurr I am grateful that there are videos online explaining slowly how to do fishtail braids or get beachy waves. That said, why do all tutorials and guides assume the reader has thick, long, healthy hair?
Of course a messy bun or plait is going to look fab when you’ve got long thick hair! Have you ever seen a top knot made from mid-length fine hair? It’s a sad little golf ball that is flattering nobody.

My hair has been in a state of recovery for the last few years. After battling a rather nasty addiction, my hair and fingernails ended up showing the toll long after my skin and body had suffered the brunt of it. There wasn’t much I could do, except use strengthening nail polish from time to time but mostly avoid polish in general (so I could also avoid using remover) which was a bummer because my nails were a rather sickly yellow colour. My hair became very thin, and that delightful combination of dry ends and easy-to-grease roots. It was very tempting to cut it off and start for scratch, but as a person who finds comfort in hiding behind their long hair, I wasn’t in a place to cut it off.

Thanks to a wonderful, and I do mean WONDERFUL, hair dresser my hair has gradually started its encouraging recovery. Patiently we waiting for the most damaged bits to grow out, and trimmed regularly, so now the majority of my hair is the healthy stuff. It’s also looking and feeling more healthy, smoother and thicker, and even giving hints it might get its wave back. After having hair that looked like it had been flat ironed even if I air dried it, I am very happy to see a bit of life come back in the form of a wave!

In addition to my physical and mental recovery playing a [huge] role, I also decided to really pay attention to the products I used. It was initially galling to spend a lot on shampoo, but it turns out the good stuff needs only a small amount to be used and ends up lasting a really long time. After trying out a lot of different brands and products, I have a clear winner. Oribe is now my go-to for shampoo, conditioner, sprays, serums, and oils. It absolutely delivers on what it promises, and is worth every penny (which is good, because those are a lot of pennies!). Here are some of the products I own and use:

oribe

I legit wish this was an ad (hey, Oribe please send me anything!!) but it isn’t. I just really love these products. I even have the little rollerball of perfume because it smells so damn good.

So, the short story is: please don’t get hooked on pills because the detox process is brutal and you will show the signs of it for a long time. The long story is: as horrible as it all was (and is, for recovery is always ongoing), it has been good to focus on my health and seen progress in my hair becoming healthier again. It’s outward proof of the feeling of health I feel on the inside, and that’s encouraging.

I still probably can’t do a big messy bun tho. But that’s ok, because a wearing a hat is way easier anyway.

 

Sartorially Speaking: Summer 2018

Am I the only one who is quite unimpressed with the fashion trends of late? The hottest looks for the summer (according to the style blogs like Refinery29) involve those bucket bags made from netting, plastic shoes, prairie/smocked tops, tiny sunglasses, lockets, and pedal pushers. What the actual fuck. Apparently they all got bored with the good 90s trends and fancied reviving the terrible ones. 

I walk the line between staying trendy and clinging to pieces I adore despite them not being Vogue-approved. In other words, you cannot pry me from my floaty Stevie Nicks witchy wraps but please give me all the well cut jeans. I like knowing what’s trending, and clicking through the shows at Fashion Week (Paris is the best, obvs) is a pleasure so I’m not sure if my displeasure can be chalked up to ‘not getting what’s fashionable’. 

Fashion Fails 2018

I think nostalgic trends only work for you if you liked them the first time around. I was never a fan of bucket bags (they are super awkward and your stuff gets lost inside), plastic shoes (uncomfortable and make feet sweaty), tiny sunglasses (I actually want sunglasses to protect my wuss eyes from the sun), lockets (bulky, sentimental and ugly but acceptable in horror movies if they contain someones soul), and pedal pushers (who the fuck is this even flattering on?). As for the other trends like sculpted heels, gingham, polka dots, and raffia shoes… I’m neutral on them, and will not be rushing to add them to my cart. 

I’m not mad though, it’s really helped me to stick to my ‘don’t buy anything’ resolution and not every trend has to cater to my whims. Since the turnaround on trends seems to be pretty fast, I probably won’t have to wait long until something I fancy comes along. My main fashion dilemma these days has little to do with trends exactly, and is more ‘what the hell am I wearing to work today?’ -based. Is it too dressy or too casual? Am I too old or too young to wear this? Is there a client meeting today? Is the office going to be cold? Am I walking a lot? Ugh, I miss working at home sometimes. 

Put up with the rain

A wise woman once said ‘If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain’, and even if you live somewhere sunny and rainy days are scarce, you still need that rainbow from time to time.

Why yes, that is a clunky metaphor thank you for noticing. One of my personal rainbows is creating mood boards online. It’s like scrapbooking, or a more focused Pinterest page I guess, but even if I don’t share them there is a certain enjoyment to sourcing the images and bringing them all together under a theme.

It’s a window into your mind, and I love to see what others create too! As the trees and flowers are blooming here, I was inspired to make a colour wheel of petals and flowers.

owls.png

Do you have a favourite flower or season? I like dark reds and dark pink for flowers, but a well-mixed arrangement is always delightful. It’s the best way to have a rainbow nearby, and silk flowers have the bonus of never dying.

Guilty Free

Whenever someone says that something is their “guilty pleasure”, I always ask why they feel guilty about it. If someone takes pleasure in killing animals or setting fires, then yes you probably should feel guilty about that, but if you’re talking about a tv show or song then save your guilt for shit that matters.

These guilty pleasures are usually things derided by society en masse, so it’s a “I should know better” kind of vibe. Like reality television or manufactured pop music, someone can acknowledge that it’s not “high concept” or “high art” and still enjoy it – but feels compelled to feel guilty about it. I know I shouldn’t, but I do! Don’t judge me as I would judge you if the roles were reversed. Why do we do this? Is it simply fear of what others might think, or is it because someone is not able to admit it to themselves for it might go against how they perceive themselves?

If a person, for example, loves rock music and defines themselves as a ‘rock music lover’ then they might describe their love for a Britney Spears song as a ‘guilty pleasure’. Is this because they want to downplay a sincere love for something in their peer group as to not lose respect, or is it because they are so narrowly defining themselves as a ‘rock music lover’ that to admit to themselves they like a pop song would mean potential soul searching?

As one of these reasons is external (appearances to others) and the other is internal (definition of self) then it might be worth looking at how the person presents this so-called guilty pleasure to themselves or how emphatically they might defend it. Do they begrudgingly like it against their better judgement, or embrace it as their ‘failing’? If the former, then maybe we need to question how we are judging things and if the latter then what else is counted among their character flaws.

Perhaps it is not as simple as one or the other but a tangled mess of how society is structured, tribalism, and classism. People are reluctant to venture beyond their self- or world- defined groups and express a passion in a vulnerable way for fear of retribution. This sounds like a dramatic reason behind calling “Real Housewives” your favourite show, but stop and think of what you believed the consequences would be if you did. Potentially, depending on your group, there is a risk of social shunning, being perceived as low-class or low-educated, or admitting to yourself that maybe you weren’t the person you thought you were. I’ve found people don’t like tugging on threads that would lead them down a path of self-evaluation, because there is a fear of what might be found.

I am probably only comfortable yanking on these threads because I’ve been unraveled several times during my brutal therapy sessions. There is enough guilt to go around without using it up on what’s on your playlist, and the world can be so horrible we shouldn’t downplay our pleasures. So fucking embrace what you love, love the person you are who loves it, and let yourself be happy.
There will always be something bigger to feel guilty about, so maybe enjoy what you can.