Month: February 2015

Morgana (2012)

I still hold that lackluster foreign horror is still generally a better bet than most anything American mainstream studios are putting out right now.

Morgana is not an awesome film. I’m not sure if the movie is that bad or if the plot just feels stale. Morgana, the titular character, finds herself in the middle of increasing danger surrounding the abandoned house next door, a doll-and her own secrets. The movie plays off of a lot of traditionally feminine horror tropes and outcomes with an almost puzzled air of ‘well of course this would happen this way. Why wouldn’t it?’

Even the ending feels obvious-as in, the closing shot feels like the production staff sort of went, well why wouldn’t a woman feel this way? Of course Morgana is now full of grace and forgiveness. She’s now an adult. Satisfied head shake.

I’m sure part of this is the cultural lens (I’m watching a Mexican film as an American), but honestly this seems to be one of the stances that is fairly universal throughout the horror genre regardless of country.

-Spoiler Break-

Horror does not seem to handle the concept of impending motherhood without sliding into that ‘but of course I’m now a loving and protective person who’s capable of great forgiveness. That’s what mothers do. Personally I am much more impressed when a film is able to break out of that trope and just admit that parenthood isn’t all cooing and love and warm cuddly feelings for people who may have harmed you. I don’t think all films need to go quite as far into it as Rosemary’s Baby does, but at least we’re not claiming that -it’s okay you’re being attacked by demons because of a baby-.

Word of the Year Check In-Tough (Self) Love and Gangsters

Me and Bugsy. And those weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Me and Bugsy. And those weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

I was going to do a check in for my word of the year since we’re nearing the end of the first quarter anyway but the universe is twisting in on itself. I’m being tagged on links on Facebook about how sometimes self love is a battle, and you’re going to fight yourself the way that you fight any person you love.

I will say this much-I am not at peace or center, but I’m so much closer than I was in mid-December.

It’s been a matter of cascading situations. I had a wake up call about how much I had hit bottom before the New Year, and have been slowly adding routines back into the swing of taking care of my self. Starting with moisturizing, which led to cosmetics (again) then to de-dreading and rehabbing my hair, to exercise and now I’m drinking water (I hate water).

Here’s the thing though-my self wears a fedora and talks like Bogart. It swaggers like the bad boy in a noir rendition of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. It swears and throws its weight around. It doesn’t want to be fluffy, it doesn’t want to be pretty, and it definitely doesn’t want to be feminine. My self wants to rock my natural Baba Yaga power brows and lip colors you sort of don’t like. It wants to wear mono-color eyeshadow just because you don’t wear mono-color eyeshadows. It wants to dance because fat girls don’t dance, and it wants salads because lettuce just tastes good.

For the first time in close to a decade, it wants to be seen-and that’s a huge, huge deal for a woman who had that desire stolen out from underneath her.

And that’s pretty *&(* good, too, right now, if that’s what’s going to take me closer to certain and something like stability.

My favorite photo of myself right now is one I took randomly at night when Mid plunked a fedora on my head. I’m wearing dregs of the day’s makeup and I’m sneering.

The article that I was tagged to on Facebook used the phrase ‘ganster self love, it’s punk %$#(ing rock self love.’ and that’s actually a pretty $@$$ accurate description of what’s going on right now. We have an agreement, me and my self. There’s nothing wrong with lace and fluff and gradient brows and all the trappings of traditional femininity. We’re just heading in a different direction.

Can Al Capone be a beauty deity? ‘Cuz he sort of is for me right now.

 

Pashima With Tails [The Easiest Wrap You’ll Ever Wear]

I am fully wrapped in this tutorial. No hair is showing. I am however wearing a cami tank, as I was getting dressed while taking these photos.

*Photo quality isn’t awesome, and most likely will be reshot later. First photo to the left is #1 and then so on.

PicMonkey CollagePashima with tails is my easiest, go to daily wrap. You can decide which side to wear your tails, or split them as in the last photo.

I think that sometimes we forget to start at the absolute beginning-that before we learn regals and crowns and even hijab we need to figure out how to get used to the -size- of a scarf. This is a great tie to get used to just working with the size and bulk of a scarf. You can wear this is a full range of scarf lengths. This does work best with rectangular scarves.

If your hair is long enough to be put up, pull into a pony tail. If it’s long enough for it, put it into a bun.

1. Take your pashima and find near center. Place close to center over the center of your hair. I have always worn my hair parted in the middle so center goes over my part. Don’t freak out about getting it too balanced-to steal a phrase-tails are sisters, not twins.

2. Drape the ends of the pashima over your shoulders and pinch or twist the ends slightly. This makes it easier to handle the tails.

3. Pull the tails to the back. You’re going to tie your pashima in a half hitch, or like the first step in tying your shoes. Overlap your tails and pull one end through the gap between the overlap and the fabric against the back of your head (it’ll make more sense when you’re tying it).

4. Pull the half knot snug but not terribly tight. If you are worried about slippage, use a velvet head band or bobby pin the front. I very, very rarely have issues with slipping and I rarely use a band or pins.

5. Place your tails to the front. Or not. Wear them down the back or to one side or another.

Cleaning, in 2 Minutes Bursts

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I have no idea why this was tagged as cleaning on Pixabay. But it amuses me.

Bear with me.

I know that a lot of people are going to cross their eyes and wonder what sort of weirdness I’ve gotten into this time-or truly how deep does my laziness run.

I’m a terrible person to ask cleaning advice from. I’m a horrible housekeeper. I’m not a horrible housekeeper the way that bloggers say that they are and mean ‘I haven’t bleached the grout in the last 15 minutes, take my blogging card away from me until I get my act together, lawl, lawl’-when I say it I full and truly mean I’m a slob.

Contrary to what people will sometimes whisper I’m not a hoarder. My issue isn’t with throwing stuff away or getting rid of things. I just hate cleaning with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I don’t like it, I don’t feel better in a clean house-I lived with an ultra clean person in grad school and it was like living in a dentist’s reception area.

There are so many other things that I would rather be doing with my time than cleaning.

The point being, if I’m telling you that I have started a collection of cleaning tips that have helped me immensely, then you should probably pay attention.

[If this is not an original idea and you know where it comes from, please let me know so I can credit them! Thanks!]

Clean in 2 minute bursts

Not, like, literally in 2 minute bursts. But do that too, if that works. My friend Victoria passed this tip along to me and it actually works for me. Break tasks done into things that can be done in less than two minutes and then do as many two minute tasks until you can’t take it anymore.

Most of the time it’s the size of the project that turns people off of cleaning-and the momentum to start. Again, if you’re the type of person that can power through four hours of cleaning and then just do spot cleaning then this tip probably won’t make sense to you. My list is sometimes broken down into ridiculous sections like ‘put the knife in the sink.’

But you know what, you do enough ‘put the knife into the sink’ sections and you’ve made a dent in the cleaning.

Take Breaks

I got this tip from A Beautiful Mess years ago and it’s really stuck with me.

For the most part, you don’t need to power through your cleaning. If you need to clean for five minutes and then take a break for 20-there’s actually nothing wrong with that.

I think I needed to hear that it’s okay to have whatever natural cleaning rhythm you fall into. Not everyone has the same levels of patience for housekeeping than other people do.

I can’t clean but I can babysit a canner for 8 hours. It’s all in our individual tolerances and it’s okay to do what  you can handle and then stop for awhile. As long as you start again. That’s the hard part for my slob soul. Remembering to start again.

The Last House on Cemetery Lane

So this movie is sort of adorable.

I’m not saying that it was aiming for cute, or that it’s a cuddly film.

I’m not even saying that it’s good (because it’s not). It’s just that it’s one of those movies where it’s sort of like watching a really good LARP- the acting isn’t believable, the script is stilted and the plot is clunky and forced. But it’s like watching people who are really into what they’re doing role playing. As in, you can tell that the actors are acting but you don’t really care because watching them act is sort of enjoyable in and of itself.

There are a few elements that were at least entertaining in passing-a lot of the effects and shots that were used to try to build tension were enjoyable in passing. Nothing in this film is particularly terrifying, even for a low budget piece.

John Davies moves to Wales for a short time in order to get away from the monotony of his normal life. When he finds the house not as advertised, he questions his decision to move in. However, he does take the house and notices that things become increasingly odd. At the urging of his neighbor, he decides to attempt to communicate with the entity or force that he is sharing space with. What he finds is certainly not what he was hoping to get out of a relaxing trip.

On Flooding Apartments and Body Positivity

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From SomeEcards

 

I have to give the universe some credit. This winter, while brutal and painful and hellish and overly long and white, has been easier on me in terms of stress.

If I could keep my apartment from flooding, that would be awesome. Once a month for the last three, I get a phone call at lunch-

“Did you know that there’s water coming in through X ceiling?”

Mid…I’m at work. How am I supposed to know that?

So I had another one of those phone calls last night. So I’m off today so I can clean the apartment in case the landlord wants to come in. The living room ceiling leaked once and then dried, so we’ve gone from freaked out, this is a huge issue, to, maybe the gutters need to be cleaned/the upstairs apartment spilled something last night.

I’ll still clean the apartment but I can get away with an email and hopefully not having someone in and out of my space all day.

————————————————-

I am a firm believer in body positivity. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with the body that you are in right now and I really do believe that the bigger problem is how we talk about bodies, not the bodies themselves. I truly believe that people have the right to do with their bodies as they want to, and it’s no one’s business but their own. Ultimately, that does mean that I am completely fine with both my own fat body and other people’s fat bodies.

Part of this attitude comes from my recovery (I have already discussed my EDNOS on a few occasions so I won’t go into that again). I am in fact ill-but I am not ill in the way that people really want me to be in because I am heavy.

The problem that I am facing right now-and it’s truly not uncommon, from what I see of the blogging world-is how do I go about accepting that my body is fine as it right now and wanting to change it?

This is not some sort of stats grabbing. random babble, Katie needs something to blog about comment. I have trauma issues that I’m attempting to finally work through, a back that keeps wanting to blow out on me, and a new beauty routine that I put in place to combat depression. It’s very hard for me to tell myself (and others) that I love myself as I am when all of the outward signs is that I don’t.

There is tension in the body positivity community. Again, I’m not really saying anything new here. As a larger woman (I’ll be blunt, I’m an American size 18 and have been for close to a decade) the body positivity movement is a beautiful thing. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with my body being the size that it is. Even if there were to be something wrong in relation to my health (there isn’t, at least nothing that isn’t related to meds I have to be on for other reasons and my EDNOS) that’s my business and my medical team’s concern-not the world as a whole. You don’t get to call the shots on other people’s bodies. That includes making comments like ‘I don’t find your body attractive.’

No one asked you.

But it can sometimes swing back too far to the other side-where you don’t allow for freedom of exploration or change. What do you do with a size 18 woman when she says, maybe I really would be happier at a smaller size? What if I really just want to try to dancing again? What if I want to try experimenting with cosmetics? What if I really do sort of want to claim some of the thin privilege that’s forced on us and not be made to feel like I have to fit for authenticity in society? That sounds suspiciously like a lack of body love right? You don’t want to change things you like, right?

The language surrounding the body is so arbitrary it can make your head spin (Reddit’s now decided that the ultimate beauty sin is wearing one (1) shade of eyeshadow. You must wear all colors in your palette expertly blended with puppy eye liner and dipbrowed power brows at all times or You Have Failed) that it’s hard to balance out messages that say on one hand, love yourself as you are and don’t let anyone bully you into changing, and ‘but you would be so much prettier if you were smaller? Why don’t you want to be smaller and embrace the dipbrow?’

I want to be in less pain, not be smaller. I’ve been at this size for long enough to know it’s not an issue with my weight, it’s an issue of my core strength. If getting my core strength back means losing weight, okay, but I’m not chasing after the scale and sacrificing the things I love just to make other people more comfortable with my self [for the record, myself and my self are two different concepts-hence why they’re spaced differently in these entries].

Honestly if I could get away with not exercising and be fat and happy without a back that wants to go out all the time I would. I hate exercising (and it’s not for lack of trying new things, there really are people who just hate exercise the way that some people hate contouring and accounting). The weird overly peppy support talk we give people who are exercising freaks me out a little-they’re going to the gym, not shipping out to the front lines.

I suppose this is a long winded, 3rd wave influenced sort of ranty flail to the effect that I don’t know what’s going to happen next-because I like who I am already but I’m sort of interested in seeing who comes next.

[And for the record, that person sort of wants to wear screamingly bright, single shade eye styles just out of spite.]

Freya

There are piles and piles of folklore and folkloric content that I haven’t mined through yet, because it’s so close to my day to day existence that it doesn’t occur to me to write about it. And I’m still fighting my way, slowly, through my review pile.

And sleeping through movie time in the morning. Sorry Netflix. You’re just not strong enough to fight the lure of my bed.

I’m slowly working through my winter beauty obsession (I seem to really only do this during the winter) and doing a lot of internal work with my body and body image. I have some very heavy. long term baggage that I’ve apparently decided that I need to go through -right now-.

There’s also some weirdness with my legs, skirts, and people making funny noises at me. Anyway.

Add in my normal alignments and dedications and I keep running into Freyja.

Freyja/Freya is one of those deities that I almost feel bad for. From a sociological/folkloric standpoint I always find it interesting to see how a deity is portrayed versus the ‘traditional’ associations. For Freya, you might get the Valkyrie connections. You might get her connections to magic.

But man. People really love to talk her up as a goddess of beauty and sexuality.

She certainly is that, and I’m not even denying that my interactions with this archetype haven’t taken me to those places. It’s just an interesting pattern, a lot like what I see happen to Persephone. I don’t know if we as a culture are still in such a bizarre place in relation to beauty that we can’t have the two (death and beauty or power and beauty) taking up the same social space without assuming a negative, or if we’re so consumed by the drive for beauty that we’re going to take that association to override all the others.

Freya is a powerhouse, and in a lot of ways is the balance to Frigg’s domesticity (there is a running suggestion, that I am not comfortable commenting on without more reading, that she is Frigg outright). Over time, she becomes linked with feminine beauty and sexuality-and is not above using either to her benefit. She is a war deity linked with the dead; she has her own hall to which half of the dead are delivered. Her connection to the Valkyries may or may not be more modern but I’ve encountered it in face to face interactions so it’s there, at least in passing. If Frigg is the hearth and motherhood then Freya is the shaman and the magician, she takes on the role of the bringer of magic.

I get the impression that as a culture, we’re sort of unsure of how to respond to Freya. She’s truly sort of terrifying. I have read descriptions of her myth’s that come with warnings: you’ll have to forgive her, they did things differently.

I’m not really one to buy into the ‘wild woman’ or ‘wild femininity’ concept. I think that encouraging that type of thought amounts to a form of positive othering; it’s okay that she does that, and it’s okay to try to claim some of that, but we don’t do those things. And those things that we don’t do-they are at the core of what Freya actually is. We don’t really do shamanism anymore, and I have a feeling if we did it still wouldn’t be the divine feminine. We don’t talk about death. We definitely don’t know what to do with feminine sexuality. So we’re left with a deity that’s a pretty, hyperactive ball of fluff in the ‘girl power’ mold. Honestly it was years before I heard anything about Freya that wasn’t just ‘she’s a goddess of beauty that just happens to do other things’-when I have a feeling that honestly it was probably the other way around.

Is this a bad thing? I don’t know. I really honestly don’t know how I stand on this one. I’ve talked about my feelings on the Persephone legends on this blog before, and I feel like while we’ve left Freya alone for the most part it’s almost like a lie by omission-and we end up in the same place. I understand that mythology shifts to reflect the needs of the times but I never know how to feel about deities and myths that have been reworked so much that we lose sight of the deity entirely.