Film: Short Film of an Empty Paris

This makes me miss Paris a whole hell of a lot.

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TV: Favorite TV Show Intros/Opening Credits (Part 2)

Best:

  1. Orphan Black
  2. Broadchurch
  3. Sherlock
  4. Henning Mankell’s Wallander
  5. Friday Night Lights
  6. The Walking Dead
  7. American Horror Story
  8. Endeavour
  9. The Americans

Worst:

  1. Orange is the New Black
  2. Parenthood

Meh:

  1. Torchwood
  2. Sleepy Hollow
  3. Continuum
  4. Life on Mars

Commentary:

Broadchurch: I love that each one is different and obscenely well done. That show is just such a masterpiece, in every possible way.
Orphan Black: one of the all time best, absolutely mesmerizing.
Friday Night Lights: perfect song
American Horror Story: all 3 seasons’ opening credits are good, but I like season 1 best of all.
Orange is the New Black: I like the pictures, I hate hate hate the song; I cringe everytime it starts and I don’t fast forward quick enough. Same thing happens with Parenthood. this version is much better.
Life on Mars: I don’t hate it, and I’m not sure I would change anything about it, I just don’t love watching the title sequence.

Part 1 TV: Favorite TV Show Intros/Opening Credits

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Music: The Mars Volta

Two songs by The Mars Volta that I like. The first, Inertiatic ESP, is one of their more famous songs, and the first song that drew me to them. The second, Since We’ve Been Wrong, is a softer more meditative song that conveys their brilliance. Their music is psychedelic rock that was an offshoot of the emo rock movement (formed by former members of the emo band At The Drive-In).

The Mars Volta – Inertiatic ESP

The Mars Volta – Since We’ve Been Wrong

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Culture: “Fitspiration” Photos

The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos.

This blog post popped up on my newsfeed and it’s awesome.
I hate those “fitspiration” photos on Pinterest and Tumblr.
They are so disturbing.
Exercise Anorexia is a very real thing. Let’s not encourage it. geez.
“Strong is the new skinny” is just all kinds of messed up.
And reading this reminded me of when broadcasters were picking apart the bodies of female athletes for not being skinny enough or pretty enough. WOW, they’re at the Olympics, have some goddamn respect.
So you see, it’s not really about being healthy, or strong, or proud of yourself. It’s more shaming of women.
Par for the course.
And I’m having none of it.

Choice quotes:

“Training so hard as to induce vomiting and uncontrollable sobbing is to slowly undermine the basic human judgement of what constitutes challenge versus what causes injury”

“Strong isn’t really replacing skinny; being skinny is no longer enough. Now, ladies, you need to be skinny and ripped. It’s an additional layer of self-loathing  (perfectly suited for hypergymnasiacs), just in case people had started to get desensitized to the omnipresent and psychologically crippling display of corpse-thin women in the media.”

“If your body or your mind says “it hurts” or “I need to stop”—and I’m going to be as clear as I can about this—FOR FUCK’S SAKE STOP. It isn’t even a joint health thing at this point, it’s just creepy.”

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Music: The 1975

I’ve been really into Brit rock recently.
And the radio turned me on to The 1975.
Their song “Sex” immediately caught my attention.
It reminds me of my teenage years.
Which is a bit disconcerting, feeling that teenage heartache again.
But also so cathartic and addictive.
Plus their album is spectacular.
I advise looking up the lyrics, all the better to feel those feelings.

Songs after the cut.

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Me: A New Category

You may have noticed a new category that popped up.
My first Me post was to inaugurate little updates about me into the blog.
But then I decided that I would also begin posting my essays that I want to write, about myself obviously.
So watch this space for my musings, observations, and opinions!

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Fashion: Style.com

If you haven’t noticed, most of my runway fashion posts come from  http://www.style.com/

Style.com has a huge catalog of runway shows.
They post shows almost instantaneously.
And I don’t visit as often as I would like because I would spend all day drooling over the shows.
And the reason I prefer Style.com is that they have the entire runway show, not their picks, I like to see the whole thing.
They also have really good quality photos and you can zoom in to see those artistic details. Invaluable.

They also post well written reviews of the various shows.
Have to appreciate good writing about fashion.

If you are into fashion you should definitely check out Style.com.

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Fashion: Thom Browne Fall 2013

Thom Browne Fall 2013 Ready to Wear

Lets go back in time a little, to Thom Browne’s presentation for the season that is just beginning.

I love the textures and colors, so very fall, and so very British (the vision of UK upper class fashion in the international consciousness).
Luxurious and gorgeous.
And so over the top!
I’m not always into things that are over the top, it can be very much a caricature.
And perhaps people critique Thom Browne for that very reason, it veers to cartoonish.
However, I am newly aware of his work, and I am enraptured.

Some inspiration for fall:

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Fashion: Thom Browne Spring 2014

Thom Browne Spring 2014 Ready to Wear

What a crazy collection!
I love the sculptural elements in the pieces.
And I love how disturbed the runway show is, the models look almost grotesque! Awesome.

My favorites:

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Fashion: Libertine Spring 2014

Libertine Spring 2014 Ready to Wear

Some of the prints were a bit overdone/too repetitive.
But a good collection none the less.

Here are my favorites:

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Fashion: Maintaining the Illusion

I read an article over at Jezebel called Even if Fashion Is an ‘Illusion,’ It Still Has to Face Reality.

Summary:

“As it stands right now, fashion is an illusion. It does not map onto real life. As the British Vogue film strives to show, it promotes an impossible ideal of beauty and body size. And, as the WaPo article argues, it’s an illusion in other ways as well: the industry continues to be hideously whitewashed even as America grows more diverse and countless mass retailers are propped up by unlawful and completely unethical labor practices. Acknowledging that “fashion imagery does not equal reality” is a good first step, but the real solution lies in making the world of fashion more accurately represent the real world — not in insinuating that it has no responsibility to.”

In reading this article I can’t help but think of how popular fashion bloggers have become.
And fashion bloggers are almost the anti-thesis of what fashion magazines claim their readers want.
A person who blogs about fashion (usually) looks like a real person, doesn’t have the technical skills to be overly photoshopped, and can’t afford to  wear “inspirational” clothes.
I’ve always been bothered by the fashion spreads as inspiration and so there is nothing in there a real person can afford.
I love fashion spreads as art, yes, I do not mean to diminish their beauty and importance in finding inspiration in fashion.
But I believe that those artful and amazing fashion spreads need to be interspersed with other features in a magazine that show clothes the reader can actually buy, and outfits they can actually put together.
And I think this is the void that fashion bloggers fill.
In a way I have sometimes found Tavi to be more inspirational than any fashion magazine I have read in the past 3 years.
And I’m not even going to start in on the fact that I haven’t seen a good fashion spread in a long time.
And I love beautiful actresses, but they are not models.

I think that fashion magazines have begun the march towards becoming obsolete because they are completely unaware of their own failings.

Everything has gotten so detached from reality that it’s just untenable.
And I don’t know where the Grace Coddington I fell in love with went.
All of Vogue is just ads, and half of the ads have ugly clothes in them.
And I love high quality products, they make me swoon, but I don’t love the industry.
I mean a well made purse is fabulous, but Marc Jacobs, 400 dollars for fake leather??? ARE YOU KIDDING?
Because I’m certainly not buying that.
I don’t agree with buying something just for the name. And I don’t like brand recognition.
I don’t want someone I see on the street to know how much I paid for something, I don’t choose my purses as status symbols. I choose them because I love the leather and the look of them. If they are a no-name brand, are well made, and don’t cost 400 dollars all the better!
Selling an “image” is so much a part of the white-washing and “illusion” problem.
You’re buying the Marc Jacob’s girl status. Her image. Who she is. She’s a slightly edgy rich white girl.
I just want to buy a purse.
I want to express my own self, my sense of style, my personality, not a designer’s.
I don’t need to see an “illusion” to be inspired. How very little imagination they must think we all have.
I know for myself it’s so hard to imagine a piece on myself when it’s on a model who looks so different, much smaller, a different shape, and different coloring.
Maybe if magazines actually showed how to convert trends in real life wear-ability people would be able to dress better.

I have a lot of feelings about fashion.
And the above is a bit of a jumble.
But the point is that I agree with the Jezebel article, and I hope the fashion industry gets a reality check.

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Psychology: Mark Manson

So I stumbled onto this website: Mark Manson (subtitle The Psychology of Life).
And he has some good articles and good observations.
I don’t agree with everything, but that’s life.
I have read a bunch of stuff because there can be some gems in there.
A summary of two articles I found to be really good are found after the cut.

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Travel: Backpacks

So I recently traveled to Italy.
I went at the beginning of August.
The absolute worst time to go weather-wise, and if you want things to actually be open.
But I had a great time regardless.

Before I left I bought two backpacks that were amazing and I thought I’d write a post about them.

1) North Face – Women’s Surge II
in black and turquoise
Features that I like:
– comfortable straps that fit my frame
– laptop compartment (separate from the main compartment)
– nice zippers that don’t stick
– tons of pockets and internal compartments (I actually use almost all of them)
– hipbelt that I can stow if I don’t want to use it (helps distribute the weight when it was really heavy carrying a ton of stuff)
– side water bottle pocket
– holds a lot of stuff
Overall I love this backpack, and once it wears out I will probably replace it with another North Face. Highly recommended.

2) Pacsafe – Camsafe Venture V16 Slingpack
in black
Features that I like:
– sits comfortably on my body
– I can sling it around to get to my camera without having to take it off
– there is a stabilizer strap to secure it from the other side
– multiple internal compartments and pockets
– side waterbottle pocket (or tripod)
– can hold a tablet / small computer (separate compartment)
– remove-able padded camera compartment
– “Tamper-proof zippers/compartments that lock or latch on to a spring-loaded metal clip thwarts pickpockets.”
Traveling to Italy I wanted a backpack that would be a bit harder for pick pockets to get into. Obviously if they were going to steal my stuff they were going to steal it regardless, but I wanted to make it a little harder. And you can choose to not secure the zippers if you want. Overall if you ignore the theft deterrent features this is still a really great camera backpack. I’m really pleased with it. I have a really nice DSLR and this is a much easier way to take it with me while I am out and about. Also highly recommended.

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TV: Twenties

 

This should be on my tv so I can watch it.

Up-and-Comer Lena Waithe Is More Than Just the ‘Black Lena Dunham’

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TV: Jack Gleeson on Playing a Villain

Jack Gleeson GQ Interview

He is an excellent actor.
And I didn’t know that he is Irish.
Also, it’s a nicely filmed interview by GQ.

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Society: Gender Flipping

Is Gender-Flipping The Most Important Meme Ever? 

In the article they referenced this feminist website called The Hawkeye Initiative. What disturbed me the most about the Hawkeye initiative was how, even seeing the two examples juxtaposed, I still had to work at it to see how unnaturally contorted the female characters were.

My favorite gender-flip thing so far is the cover-flip. Coverflip: Maureen Johnson Calls For An End To Gendered Book Covers With An Amazing Challenge. I love book covers, and I hate the “girly” covers. So it was awesome to see them gender-flipped.

In summary:

“The basic skill to develop, though, is the one that lies at the heart of flipping: asking, “What if?” If I were a woman, would I talk to me at parties? If women told men their complaints were irrelevant, would that attitude be worth worth fighting? If I were writing about a male musician, would I talk about his clothes and his famous exes this much? If I drew Hawkeye in the pose I’m sketching Black Widow in right now, would he look ridiculous? If Trayvon Martin had been a white kid, and George Zimmerman a black man, would the verdict have been the same?

The Hawkeye Initiative and Flip The News won’t make us all into enlightened, thoughtful social justice warriors overnight, but those moments of epiphany and empathy add up. Social change happens slowly – often so gradually, you don’t even notice until it’s all around you.”

I am happy to see this kind of awareness and social change happening around me.

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Books: NPR Summer Books 2013

I love the NPR Summer Books list. I look forward to it every year.
Most of my reading list comes from NPR recommendations.

The books I have added to my reading list this year (and the NPR critics’ list they came from):

  1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (from Secrets Of The Universe: 5 Great SF And Fantasy Summer Reads)
  2. The Shining Girls (from Secrets Of The Universe: 5 Great SF And Fantasy Summer Reads)
  3. Love Minus Eighty (from Secrets Of The Universe: 5 Great SF And Fantasy Summer Reads)
  4. We are all Completely Beside Ourselves (from Secrets Of The Universe: 5 Great SF And Fantasy Summer Reads)
  5. Missing Links and Secret Histories (from Secrets Of The Universe: 5 Great SF And Fantasy Summer Reads)
  6. I Await the Devil’s Coming (from Lost And Found: 5 Forgotten Classics Worth Revisiting)
  7. Waiting for the Barbarians (from Making Art From Art: 5 Nonfiction Reads For Summer)
  8. The Curiosity (from Summer Adventure: 5 Thrilling, Chilling, Far-Ranging Reads)
  9. Exercises in Style (from Lost And Found: 5 Forgotten Classics Worth Revisiting)
  10. One Thousand and One Nights (from Lost And Found: 5 Forgotten Classics Worth Revisiting)

Obviously the entire list of SF/Fantasy reads makes up the first 5.
And, typically, as I read the description of each one I thought to myself “OMG That sounds really good!”

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Society: SCOTUS and Gay Marriage

Best coverage: http://www.scotusblog.com/
SCOTUS blog Friday Round Up

Buzzfeed: What Actually Happened At The Supreme Court

Opinion Prop 8: HOLLINGSWORTH ET AL. v. PERRY ET AL

Opinion DOMA: UNITED STATES v. WINDSOR

and YAY!

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Music: Nina Nesbitt Stay Out

I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Nesbitt recently.
And I would like to dedicate this song to my youngest sister, on the eve of her departure.
She is going to have such an amazing time studying abroad and I am so proud of her!
So in honor of all the fun she is going to have, and all the adventures she will go on, I present, this song:

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Society: Supreme Court Decisions on Genes, AIDS Funding and the Right to Remain Silent

While I wait on pins and needles for the big two gay marriage decisions, I’m keeping up with Supreme Court decisions like never before.

The Supreme Court decided on 3 important cases in the past week.
I guess one could argue that all cases the Supreme Court decides are important, but anyways.

Those 3 cases are:

  1. Genes
  2. AIDS Funding
  3. The Right to Remain Silent

1. Genes

The decision: nobody can patent human genes because they are products of nature
My opinion: I do not believe that genes should be able to be patented. I was born with my DNA, it’s mine. I think it’s really messed up that corporations think they can patent parts of the bodies of human beings.
Read up and decide for yourself: on NPR Supreme Court: Human Genes May Not Be Patented

2. AIDS Funding

The decision: the government cannot force private health organizations to denounce prostitution to get money to fight HIV/AIDS overseas
My opinion: I’m glad they decided this. I think that requiring organizations to denounce prostitution is counter productive. I think that if orgs were required to denounce prostitution that it would tell the people they treat (who are prostitutes) that they are less than and unwelcome. Which goes against what those organizations are trying to do, which is not to eradicate prostitution but to eradicate AIDS no matter what the source. Because I don’t think you get anywhere by telling people you don’t accept them, a safe space needs to be created to do this important work. And furthermore I don’t agree with compelled-speech.
Read up and decide for yourself: on NPR Supreme Court: Provision In AIDS Law Violates Free Speech

3. The Right to Remain Silent

The decision:
My opinion: I found the whole thing really disturbing. I would like to find a more thorough article on this.
Read up and decide for yourself: on Slate.com: You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent

A good quote from the article:

“The court’s new ruling puts the “defendant in an impossible predicament. He must either answer the question or remain silent,” Justice Stephen Breyer said in dissent (joined by the other three liberal-moderates). “If he answers the question, he may well reveal, for example, prejudicial facts, disreputable associates, or suspicious circumstances—even if he is innocent.” But if he doesn’t answer, at trial, police and prosecutors can now take advantage of his silence, or perhaps even of just pausing or fidgeting.”

 

NOTE:
My favorite reporter on all things Supreme Court is Nina Totenberg on NPR.
Check out: Nina Totenberg Answers Your Supreme Court Questions.

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