Sunday, March 22, 2015

Binge Watching Friends on Netflix

My boyfriend was in Truro today for work, which marks the first full day I've been by myself in the apartment since we moved in. It was kind of weird since I've never lived on my own. I lived with my parents and then with roommates, so even when I was home by myself I was never really, totally by myself. I did live with my first boyfriend very briefly but that was such a clusterfuck it doesn't count. Co-habiting is technically living with someone, except there isn't really anywhere you're not allowed to go so it's also kind of like being on your own. I think. I don't know.

Anyway, he wasn't home, and I wasn't at work or school which doesn't seem to happen very often, so I figured I'd do a little baking and get the apartment cleaned up a bit. As I was scrubbing with a folded up corner of paper towel and two different types of cleaning spray, trying to figure out how to get the little specks of dirt out of the latches on my windows, I recalled when the guys I hang out with back home told me I was the Monica of our social group. At the time I thought that designation was totally unfounded - me? The Monica? Surely not. My favourite character had always been Phoebe. But quickly I realized that between my neurosis, and my love of all things food, the comparison was pretty on point.

With that seed planted in my mind, I remembered that Friends is on Netflix now. So, at the risk of screwing up my boyfriend's recommendations, I settled down to folding laundry, doing yoga, and watching Friends, which is basically what I envision stay at home moms do from the time their kids pass the fuck out to the time their husbands come home.

It's been probably two or three years since I've watched an episode of Friends (whenever the last time I lived somewhere that had cable was). But the episodes and the characters are so ingrained in my mind - like many children of my generation, television practically raised me. And Friends premiered in '94, when I was three. It's just always been there.

It's weird going back and starting the series from the beginning coz first of all the girls' fashion sense is just so innately nineties it's adorable.
i think my mom actually has this same top in the back of her closet
Also they (the Friends) just all looked so young and cute back then. Of course Jennifer Aniston looks exactly the fucking same now. Which is amazeballs. Just sayin.

One of the other things I noticed watching the first season is that, you know, Ross used to be fun. He had a zest for life. He made jokes. He had a pet monkey. He... he did fun things. In later seasons, it seems to me, repeated heartbreak and emotional trauma turned him from that loveable nerd, to a whiney, obnoxious husk of a man. To that point, I'm pretty sure the first use of the word "friendzone" was used to describe Ross' relationship with Rachel.

These are the things I notice now. Now that I am not three. I only watched maybe fourteen or fifteen episodes, which seems like a lot but I had it on in the background all day while I did other stuff. I've been very careful with Netflix since the time I was living with my first set of roommates and I sat and watched Pokemon on the couch for, like... a long time. I didn't move. I couldn't control myself. Anyway, I've treated Netflix somewhat like cocaine - it's alright to dip your nose in once in a while, but when you're naked on the couch in a pool of your own sweat for days at a time, then it's time to stop.

Another thing I noticed today (about Friends, not... whatever that last tangent was about), which of course totally blew over my head as a child, was that the Friends are surprisingly non-judgmental about sexual promiscuity. It seems to me that every show has something negative to say about that (for example, I've been watching a lot of Frasier lately and on that show Roz is almost constantly badgered and harrassed about sleeping with lots of dudes. Mostly by people who call themselves her friends. Also her boss. Ha ha, it's funny coz she's a slut. /sarcasm). From what I've seen so far, Friends doesn't really go there. The girls date (and presumably bone) lotsa different people. So do the guys. It becomes a joke with Joey but it's not really chastised so much. Sexual conquests amongst the Friends are applauded, both male and female. That means a lot to me. I've been pretty sensitive to women's issues lately, to the point where I feel personally attacked and threatened whenever any woman is judged by the number of men she's slept with. I realize this is probably a topic for another post. What I'm getting at is that it's nice to watch a sitcom and not feel gross because the girls get referred to as garbage to be picked up. I'm pretty sure it passes the Bechdel test too, I wasn't really paying attention but I think it does.

So that's what I have to say about that. Even after twenty plus years, Friends is still a pretty good show.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Mostly Leather

So Halifax got somewhere around fifty centimetres of snow between last night and this afternoon. School got closed, work got cancelled, I did all my homework and have been sitting on the couch eating craft dinner, re-watching Game of Thrones and online window shopping while my boyfriend shovels the driveway. It's days like this I'm glad I don't have a credit card. Anywho, these are just a few of the cool things I didn't buy today.

Leather Bean Bag Chair

I realized the other day when there were more than three people in my apartment that I need a chair in my living room. So why not a bean bag chair? Why not a leather bean bag chair? Yes, such a thing exists, gracefully combining old world class with new world slovenliness. In other words, it's my kind of chair.
Source: Restoration Hardware
Price Tag: $795 for 'antiqued ebony'

Faux Leather Skinny Jeans

I attribute my need for black leather pants to Buffy Summers, and Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. I am by no means opposed to using and/or wearing leather, but the faux leather ones are easier to find. These ones are Alexander McQueen, which is a good thing if what Nicki Minaj has lead me to believe is true.
Source: The Outnet
Price Tag: $90

Steel Boned Corset

A corset can be the most versatile piece in a person's wardrobe. A lot of people seem to see them as just a sex thing but they are so much more. This one, for example, could be worn with pants, or a skirt, or over a shirt, or under a bolero, or by itself. I always wanted a corset. I had one, once, when I was a kid, that my mom made for an historically accurate 17th century gown I wore to a costume party. It was an undergarment so it was designed to be functional rather than stylish. I want something stylish. I know this one is stylish because it has 'elegant' in capital letters in the website's description.
Source: Corsets Queens
Price Tag: $89.99

Leather Jacket with Fur Lined Hood

If it hasn't become apparent by now, I have a thing for leather. I also have a need for a new fall jacket, and this one has a cool, modern Viking thing going on. Plus the fur hood will keep my brain warm on those brisk days.
Source: Polyvore
Price Tag: $2,125

Pleather Dress

This is the last (p)leather thing, honest. I like this dress. It's the kind of thing I could see myself wearing to, like, a work function and also to a goth/fetish function. It's multi-purpose, and therefore practical. I consider myself a practical person. This would then be a good purchase.
Source: Nordstrom Rack
Price Tag: $39.20

Octo-Skull Nighty

I love sea creatures. I love skulls. I love lying around in bed and not putting on real clothes (as I type this it is twenty to seven at night and I am still in my pyjamas). It stands to reason that I would want this nighty. I also really like the word nighty for some reason. It makes me want to say "tee hee, I'm in my nighty" in a falsetto.
Source: Scary Threads
Price Tag: $45

White Ball Python

I've never been very comfortable with the idea of ordering animals online and having them shipped to me. I know people do it all the time, but it's not something for me to do. I would rather drive great distances and deal with borders than put a snake on an airplane. But that's just me. Anyway, since I got my python, Ligeia, I've been fascinated by all the different colours that ball pythons come in. Something about the pure white ones really caught my attention. They look like snake ghosts.
Source: Reptiles by Mack
Price Tag: $449.99

Bride of Frankenstein Phone Case

I love me some Bride of Frankenstein. I also love me this phone case. Of course, this won't fit on my Galaxy so it's a pipe dream, really. The same seller does have one with the monster and the bride which will go on my phone. They also have a Creature from the Black Lagoon one, and a Freddy Kruger one that would also fit. And they also sell bath and body products. And they're called "Bloodbath", I think that's neat. I will definitely be buying something from them in the future.
Source: Etsy
Price Tag: $20.87

Vintage Movie Cover Yoga Mat

I really need a yoga mat, actually. Doing exercises on the floor was getting hard on the knees and back, so I started doing them in bed but I kept going to sleep, so I started doing them on a blanket on the floor but it just slips around. This mat would actually fit somewhat with the decor of my apartment also, which is something I wasn`t really expecting but it`s kinda cool.
Source: Cafe Press
Price Tag: $83

Kitty Speed Bump Scratcher

So my cats will stop scratching my fucking couch.
Source: Etsy
Price Tag: $39.25

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

5 More Books That Changed My Mind

About a year and a half ago I posted on here a list of ten books that forever altered the way I look at the world and the people in it. Since then I've read a few more books which have had a rather profound impact on me for better or for worse and decided it was time to update the list (the original list can be found here).

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr
Sometimes when I go to the library and there isn't anything I want in the science fiction section, I delve into the regular part of the library, looking for misshelved SF novels, or ones with enough clout to be considered more than sci-fi. This is one such find. Although it is set between the 2500s and 3781, it sort of defies classification as a science fiction novel. It's funny, dark, disturbing, and realistic all at the same time. It kind of caught my attention as one of the first books to surprise me in quite a while. Despite the fact that repetition is one of the main themes of the novel, I found myself unable to anticipate what was going to happen next much of the time. The book is so entertaining it sort of lulls you into a sense of security and then hits you like an arrow in the face. It stood out too because I didn't realize that so much irony could be packed into one book without becoming extremely annoying. All in all, one of the best post-apocalyptic science fiction novels out there.

Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I went on a mini-Vonnegut kicker last summer (see more below). I had read a lot of his short fiction before but never any novels, so it became my mission for a few months to burn through as many of them as possible. I read this one in two days, which is probably the shortest time I ever spent reading a book. I've mentioned before (I think) that though I enjoy reading, I do so slowly, in fits and starts. Not this. I needed this in me as fast as possible. It's not a big secret that I have some unresolved issues with my brain. I've self-medicated depression and anxiety with alcohol for a number of years, and have had a very difficult time letting go of anger and other, less easily defined emotions. This book treats time as something nonlinear, a perception that really helped me with my troubles. Some days are good, some days are bad, but you can kind of live in the good days if that makes any sense. It sounds really corny when I try to articulate it, but depression and anxiety are irrelevant when all time is the same time. You can't worry about the future or feel bad about the past if it's all the present. Reading this book made a really big difference in the way I look at my life and deal with my problems and for that I am extremely grateful.

Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I read this also. It is not as good of a book as Slaughterhouse Five - both books are psychotic and frenetic and shocking and powerful and so much more that can't really be explained in words, but this one is more of a mess somewhat. Not that I mind. But I can see, more so with this one, why people who don't like Kurt Vonnegut really don't like him. I still think those people are missing something really important but that's just, like, their opinion and that's okay. I find his style of writing to be ahead of its time, even maybe ahead of this time. I remember being in a writing class once and the instructor said something to the effect of, "it's weird how experimentation in the medium of film is considered progressive but with novels it's frowned upon". Vonnegut's novels are experimental, sometimes to the point where they maybe shouldn't even be called novels. Slaughterhouse is more an example of that but I talked enough about that book up there. Anyway, just like the above mentioned taught me about time and how to deal with it, this book taught me about people. It is mentioned several times throughout the book that no one person is any more important than another, and the book tells the story of every character, no matter how relevant they are to the story. Everybody is of equal value. Some of them tie in to the end, some of them don't. It doesn't matter. I find that a harder thing to wrap my head around than time being nonlinear. Because of course I'm the most important person in the world, I'm me. But that's not the case. Everybody is just as important as I am. Not more, not less. I still have trouble with that actually. It's hard to accept. But it's a good starting point and it's helped me in a lot of ways to stop looking up to, or down at, other people, and to stop being so angry at other humans all the time. They're just doing what they need to do. They're not doing stuff to hurt or offend me specifically, they're just doing it because that's what they do. And there should be no anger in that.

Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
But enough about the massive hard on I have for Kurt Vonnegut. I was in the library one day, browsing the science fiction section as I so often do, and unable to make up my mind about what to read. I did what any self respecting adult would do in a time of difficulty and texted my mother. She recommended this book to me. About a week later I texted her again, this time something like "why did you do this to me" and "I'm never trusting you again" (self. respecting. adult.) The next time I was visiting home, my grandmother mentioned that she was starting to read it, so I offered her my condolances. This book is good. It's really, really good. It's also hands down the most traumatizing and devastating novel I've ever read. I didn't even realize that a book could have such a profound effect on me. This is the first time in my life I've uttered the words, "I can't, I really have to go home and read this book". I talked about it at work because I needed someone to feel my pain. And then I realized that nobody can feel my pain, ever. That's what makes it one of the few things that is really mine. So, you know, it's something to be cherished. I'm going to get off that topic before I start to sound like a Clive Barker novel. This book is meticulously researched which makes it educational, it's perfectly paced, it's got a great sense of humour, and the characters are so relatable and well written that when they start dying en masse it rips a hole in you that no amount of ice cream or red wine will fill. Thanks, Connie Willis. Thanks, mom. Thanks for making me feel like a human being again.

Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist
I went to see the movie adaptation of this book when it screened at the film festival many moons ago (you can read my review of it here). I thought it was so weird and fucked up and unique I immediately wanted to read the book. It took me two or three years to get my hands on a copy - the libraries didn't really seem to have it until the American remake came out so I had to wait for that. It was worth it. The novel dives into places I can't really begin to describe. It's beautiful, it's touching, it's gross and violent. Parts of it made me feel sick. Most of it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Like I was witness to something I wasn't supposed to see. It does a really good job of capturing a certain time, and a certain place, opening with a description of the suburb as a land of failed potential, and just building it from there, getting more and more depressing and horrible to the point where death by vampire almost seems like a release. I would venture to say it's the best vampire novel I've ever read, not only because of it's rather unique subject, but also because it's not really a vampire novel. It's a great novel, with a vampire in it. It's just so crisp and the characters are so realistic and so shitty. Another unique thing about it is the neutrailty. The main character is a little kid who gets bullied, but it doesn't really sympathize with him any more than it does the kids who pick on him. They all have their own shit going on, they're all horrible and flawed humans, all victims of the time and the place. It's interesting and I've never read anything quite like it.

So that's what I have to say about that. Did you read any of these novels? Agree with me? Think I'm full of shit? What books changed your outlook on life? Why not recommend me something, friend. Go ahead. It's free, and it's anonymous. It'll be our little secret.