I had about 10,000x more fun sorting out my wardrobe when I blogged about it (approaching a year ago, I believe?!?).
I’m taking a page from Hollywood and creating a sequel long after anyone needed or expected one. That’s right—the Fashion Blog You Never Knew You Needed returns for part 2, in which I expand my wardrobe and buy clothing of a business casual nature.
My obsession is ModCloth, but I also managed to get a bit of thrifting done at my local Goodwill and put together some pretty nice outfits if I do say so myself. Allow me to introduce you to my recent-ish fashion acquisitions.
The Spring Weekend:
2. The Librarian with Too Many Sweaters (Or Not Enough???):
3. The Vintage ‘80s Chic Colorblocking Throwback
4. The Weekend at Woodstock
What about you? Any fashion finds you are particularly proud of lately or on the prowl for? What I would really like is a pair of sweat pants that look like dress pants, honestly.
Featured image via Unsplash; all other photos by me (obviously).
This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for honestly months to years because I completely forgot to post it. I don’t think the person I stole this from is even on WordPress anymore, though admittedly I’m an extremely unreliable blog neighbor. Apologies if you’re still out there.
Either way, here goes Book Would You Rather at last!
Book Would You Rather
Would you rather: read only trilogies or stand alones?
Standalones. I usually avoid series because I HATE. Waiting.
Would you rather: read only female or male authors?
This one is the worst. I’m going with female because of Margaret Atwood and Charlotte Brontë, but it kills me that I can’t invite Michael Chabon to the party.
Would you rather: shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?
Amazon, for I am lazy and prefer to avoid human interaction whenever possible.
Would you rather: all books become movies or TV shows?
TV shows because Kavalier & Clay would make the greatest show.
Would you rather: read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
5 books/week. Especially if that would mean I just stay at home and read books all of the time.
Would you rather: be a professional reviewer or author?
Author, but reviewer is very tempting as I do like to read and provide scathing commentary.
Would you rather: Only read your top 20 favorite books over and over or always read new ones that you haven’t read before?
Always read new ones. It would be sad not to be able to revisit my favorites, but I have too many books on my TBR pile for that shit.
Would you rather: be a librarian or book seller?
I AM a librarian. And convincing people to buy things is not my strong suit, so I’m going to stick with my career decision. Ask me tomorrow, though.
Would you rather: only read your favorite genre, or every genre except your favorite?
Hmmmmm, as a genre denier, this is a rather difficult one for me. I’d say only my favorite genre because my favorite genre changes A LOT.
Would you rather: only read physical books or eBooks?
Physical books. While eBooks appeal to my lazy nature, I despise staring at screens for hours on end (and fuck Paperwhite).
Feel free to participate, blog neighbors, but I hope you realize almost every one of these scenarios is a catch-22 if you love books.
This week concludes high school month, which is somewhat bittersweet. Largely because we don’t have a theme for next month, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Don’t worry—we’ll do some research BEFORE making our minds up unlike some, ahem, recent decisions internationally (sorry, Christa, I’ll cool it with the political asides).
Dazed and Confused
Where to Watch:
You’re on your own
Teens celebrate the beginning of the summer of ’76 with the timeless American traditions of beating people up, driving pick-up trucks, and smoking weed. A lot of weed.
The Uncondensed Version:
This is about teenagers, so of course everyone’s big concern is what they will be doing tonight, the first night of summer. Will it be another night of hanging with the guys, going to the big party, finding some weed, or just sort of being an asshole for no reason? Yes.
But that’s not really the point of this film so much as taking a snapshot of what it was like to be in high school in the ‘70s. Fortunately, remembering all of the characters’ names also not really the point.
You have your jocks, of course, as in every high school movie. Half of them, including Ben Affleck with the most ‘70s hair in existence, spend the bulk of this film chasing around freshmen and spanking them with a paddle (not a euphemism). We also follow the freshmen Ben Affleck torments, who continuously outsmart him and manage to make a pretty great night of it.
On the other end of the jock spectrum is some dude whose name as a character and as an actor I don’t remember. Whoever he is, he’s the last holdout on this new policy—all sports ball players must sign an agreement not to smoke a lot of weed, amongst other nefarious activities. This guy is just one hair’s breadth away from becoming a conscientious objector as he is extremely reluctant to sign the agreement. Which is pretty admirable, TBH, especially when you consider how many papers I sign without actually reading them.
Anyway, so school ends and the freshman hazing begins. This means getting the shit beaten out of you if you’re a dude, and for some reason sitting in the back of a pick-up truck with a pacifier if you’re a girl? Whatever, I didn’t make the rules. The girls also have to lie on the ground while the upperclassmen pour ketchup, mustard, flour, eggs, etc. on them. My biggest takeaway from this movie is that kids are mean fuckers (I could’ve told you that for free, man).
Yet another part of the hazing involves the freshman girls proposing marriage to various guys, one of whom has sort of a blonde John Lennon vibe. If that even makes sense. I know there’s only a 3-4 year age gap at most, but he looks SO much older than this freshman girl. But I’ll try to be more open-minded. (No, I won’t.)
This, of course, is all before Matthew McConaughey and his signature “Alright alright alright”s show up. I feel like 50% of people watch this movie solely for the alrights, so I’ll wrap it up here.
I just didn’t really get this one honestly, though I confess I wasn’t paying the most attention ever because I was also catching up with GoT this weekend.
But beyond that, I wonder if this is a kind of “You had to be there” thing? I have no particular objections to being a teenager in the ‘70s, but if everyone was that much of an asshole, I’m really glad I wasn’t. My general feelings of not giving a fuck about high school and not so much pausing for a backward glance probably don’t contribute in a positive sort of way.
I just felt kind of “eh” about this one and wanted to kick a lot of these kids in the shins.
Since I’ll be hiding from the sun all summer anyway, and inspired by my incredibly cool, ambitious blog wife Christa, I’m posting my summer reading list. Most of these are Humble Bundle impulse buys (once you start visiting Humble Bundle, it’s a downward spiral), book sale purchases that have been sitting too long accumulating dust, and SearchOhio/OhioLINK requests that I can’t (and won’t) stop placing.
I’m cheating a little (a lot) since (a) I’ve already started chipping away at the books on this list, and (b) 8 of these titles are graphic novels. My more significant goal is to finish reading a book a week during the summer AND actually write a damn book review for each of the books I’ll be reading.
Without further ado, here’s my book list for the summer (quite a lot of fantasy on it…something has to distract me from Democalypse 2016, no?):
Queen of the Tearling (Erika Johansen)
Invasion of the Tearling (Erika Johansen)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)
The Broken Kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)
The Kingdom of Gods (N.K. Jemisin)
Brighton Rock (Graham Greene)
Crow Road (Iain Banks)
The Mirror Thief (Martin Seay)
The Lock Artist (Steve Hamilton)
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (Sunil Yapa)
The Passage (Justin Cronin)
Barren Cove (Ariel S. Winter)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Sydney Padua)
Two Brothers (Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon)
Soldier’s Heart (Carol Tyler)
Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine (Kelley Sue DeConnick)
Monstress (Marjorie Liu)
The Infinite Loop (Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier)
Julio’s Day (Gilbert Hernandez)
Heart of Thomas (Moto Hagio)
Btw, you can see Christa’s list here and check out book reviews on her blog!
If you are like me, you are so sick of all of this political bullshit because you care about it so much more than you want to. It’s vital to have some political awareness, but it also hurts, like getting a colonoscopy or going back to work after your vacation. As such, I will take a page from John Oliver’s book and reward you for reading this post with an adorable picture of a puppy and kitten who are best friends at the end. Oh, what the hell—you can just skip to the end now if you really want to.
I didn’t write anything about Orlando because I didn’t know what to say. Don’t know what to say. There are levels of hatred beyond words. I still can’t organize my thoughts enough to say something about my unwavering support of the LGBTQ community and Latino-Americans, shame in the victimization of Muslim, and anger that the right not to be murdered in a public place takes a backseat to the “Don’t Tread on Me” gun-toting mentality of fringe groups in the U.S.
These are a few recent experiences I’ve been processing in that context:
Someone I know (I’m keeping this all as anonymous as possible) admitted her LGBTQ son may be attending the Catholic University where I work (keeping it super vague because I’m not sure exactly how he identifies). And she is afraid. Many of the faculty and staff are open-minded and supportive, but some of the students are so conservative and unsympathetic. Perhaps that’s the way people have always been, but I’ve really experienced such a lack of sympathy for those in pain, those who are different, and those who aren’t well understood lately. There’s no room for sympathy where there’s hatred, which is what concerns me the most. And that kind of hatred leaves such a lasting impression on young people.
There was a wheelchair outside the women’s bathroom in the library, which was a bit strange, but I went inside anyway. Inside the bathroom was an older man just outside the handicapped stall, who immediately rushed to explain, “I’m just helping my wife, who’s in a wheelchair. I’ll wait outside.”
I said, “That’s okay—it doesn’t bother me.” But he left anyway, which was considerate but heartbreaking. I’m embarrassed that we are so shamed about acting appropriately for our gender that a man helping his wife in the bathroom feels like a criminal for doing so.
Men, how can you not be feminists when the patriarchy dictates what you should do and how you should behave too?
On another political note, since everyone in the world has a goddamn opinion about it, I may as well weigh in on the EU Referendum (I refuse to use the “Brexit” word because it’s stupid and sounds like a horrible type of cereal. John Oliver is with me on this one). I know the world wants the opinion of another Midwestern American.
I admittedly have a very selfish interest in seeing the British pound retain its value because the sale of my grandfather’s London house is finally supposed to go through in July. This is the only time I’m pissed about the dollar being strong compared to the pound.
What concerns me the most is the anti-immigrant platforms that have been so successful in the UK and the US. I did talk to one of my students about the EU Referendum, and how enraging and small-minded it is for the anti-immigrant mentality to persist. We are so interdependent—our economies, our political decisions, our lives. Like all empires (and don’t get me wrong, I include the US in this), a slight majority of the UK has had a convenient memory lapse about what it has taken from other countries and what immigrants have brought to the UK.
I’m avoiding reading all of those click-bait articles of reasons the EU Ref is a good sign for Trump because they make me panic. A man who has been like a grandfather to me went on a bit of a rant about Trump being a Democrat conspiracy to destroy the Republican Party (had to bite my tongue before responding “I think they’ve done fine on that without any outside help whatsoever”). He also asked if I thought the country was getting worse and, in spite of the bigoted and completely irrational groups on the rise, I don’t. Our systems are deeply flawed, but we live in a country that is more open, more diverse, and more creative than it ever has been. How can that possibly be a weakness?
Anyone else in the mood for a political tangent? Feel free to rant/despair/agree/disagree on this blog. Just remember there is a person on the other side of the screen.
As promised, here is the picture of adorable puppy and kitten BFFs.
This week’s film is brought to you by bad decisions to revisit, ahem, “classics,” and by the sudden realization that you had terrible taste as a child/teen/human being.
I just wanted to remember Melissa Joan Hart before the “attack on Christianity” propaganda films. Is that wrong?
Drive Me Crazy
Where to Watch:
Melissa Joan Hart is a high school overachiever who grooms her vaguely grungy neighbor into her prom date rather than face the horror of attending prom solo.
The Uncondensed Version:
This is a teen rom-com, so obv it’s a given that 2 high school kids from different cliques couldn’t seriously go to prom together…could they??? I think you already know the answer to this question.
MJH is an overachiever, and I can’t remember her character’s name at all because she will never not be Melissa Joan Hart/Sabrina to me. She’s very into the school’s upcoming centennial, ‘90s fashion, and star basketball player Brad.
Though MJH and her neighbor, aka that dude from Entourage, used to be childhood friends, they haven’t spoken since middle school. Entourage dude, who I remember is named Chase (mostly because that is the most ‘90s name) is something of a rebel/slacker/prankster without entirely committing to the grunge scene. I’m not really sure what clique this would be considered, but the film wants us to take away from this that he doesn’t care about school spirit or “normal” high school teen stuff.
One of his schemes involves putting orange dye in the water sprinklers while everyone is at lunch on the lawn, apparently b/c of his contempt for mochaccinos and the music of Celine Dion. Which I mean, yeah, I’m not into either of those things, but IDK if I would ruin anyone’s white clothing over that.
MJH and Chase both seem happy with their respective high school lots…that is, until Brad asks another girl to the centennial dance, and Chase’s rebel girlfriend breaks up with him for not being that into “real” activism.
After getting extremely drunk at a party, MJH decides she and Chase should pretend to be a couple so she’ll have a date for the dance, and Chase can make his ex super jealous. First step = go to the mall and clean up Chase. It’s actually one of the worst ways I can think of to begin a relationship, but I admittedly have a fear of malls bordering on paranoia.
Anyway…unsurprisingly, cliques of all types are resistant to this mixing of high school cultures. MJH and Chase brush off insults pretty easily, and it doesn’t take long before taking the time to understand their differences means the two develop genuine feelings for each other.
You know there will be complications, however, as there are still 45 minutes left.
What will happen when Brad breaks up with his cheerleader girlfriend, Chase’s ex wants him back, and MJH’s bff decides to be a bitch for no reason?
DRAMA. DRA. MA.
It’s really hard to be objective about this one because I LOVE Melissa Joan Hart and she’s so adorable as a 22-year-old teenager (which is probably one of the more reasonable age gaps for a teen movie, TBH).
But I have to confess I lost interest in the plot long before this movie was even halfway over and only powered through because of my commitment to this blog (you’re welcome, readers). This is an example of a film better fondly remembered than disgracefully re-watched because this one was so much worse than I remember.
Additional thoughts, in no particular order:
That girl who is always the best friend in teen movies is in this and is a total bitch for seemingly no reason except maybe “that’s how girls compete.”
Every time there’s a misunderstanding…so. Much. Moping. Say what you will about Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare was spot-on re: the teenage impulse to jump to stupid conclusions and do really insane shit as a result.
So many butterfly clips had to die in the making of this film.
I thought the “loser” friend characters, Ray and Dave, were quite sweet, though perhaps thinly veiled versions of the filmmakers (esp. re: revenge sequence in video project form).
Usually I would object to a film not featuring the titular song, but “Drive Me Crazy” is featured for no reason at a random party that has very little relevance to the plot. Everyone knows the time for “Drive Me Crazy” in the ‘90s would be, uh, PROM.
2/5 Pink Panther Heads
This would very possibly be 1/5 without MJH. Do yourself a favor and re-watch Sabrina, Down Under instead if you’re longing for a simpler time in MJH’s career. Or cross your fingers really hard and hope a Sabrina, the Teenage Witch reboot happens.
Did this one drive Christa crazy in the good way or the bad way? Find out in her review here!
High school month continues, which I promise will feature at least one cheesy throwback teen rom-com. Prepare yourself, Christa. For now, teen horror comedies abound!
Where to Watch:
Figure it out
A high school teen’s best friend experiences a transformation into a bloodthirsty demon, causing a rift to develop between the two.
The Uncondensed Version:
Memorably, Amanda Seyfried tells us “Hell is a teenage girl.” No argument here—except perhaps hell is being a teenage girl.
In the present, Amanda aka Needy has been institutionalized for reasons as yet unknown. All we know is she has amassed a fan following that sends her letters, and she frequently has to be placed in solitary confinement for her violent outbursts.
Before all of this, though, Needy was just an ordinary nerd whose BFF was gorgeous cheerleader Jennifer. They have a somewhat uneven friendship, as Needy has to constantly overanalyze what she’ll wear so she looks cool but not better than Jennifer. Needy’s boyfriend Chip notices the weird connection between the 2 girls and the way Needy follows everything she says.
Jennifer and Needy go to pretty much a dive to see a band led by Goth Adam Brody (say what). Though Jennifer jokes about becoming a groupie, at some point she seems to become literally hypnotized by the band. Also a fire breaks out, which the girls manage to escape, but others are not so lucky. The band appears to do nothing to help and, in fact, seems pretty set on getting Jen into their van. Obv Needy has a very bad feeling about this, but she can’t dissuade Jen from getting into the van.
Is this the last of Jen? Of course not. Just when Needy thinks she must be gone for good, Jen shows up at her house, looking all scary and blood-soaked. She eats a chicken, vomits blood and needles, and leaves.
The next day at school, Jen returns and is completely normal by all appearances. However, it becomes clear pretty early on that she hungers for flesh. Specifically, she’s pretty intent on murdering and disemboweling high school boys.
Needy becomes increasingly disturbed until Jen finally crosses the line by murdering Needy’s Goth friend Colin. Jen does explain that on the night of the fire the band members sacrificed her to Satan in an effort to make it big as an indie band, instilling in her a thirst for blood.
After doing some trusty library research, Needy discovers how to destroy demons and warns him the dance will be a feast for the band and Jen. Chip, of course, doesn’t believe her and only cares that he’s already bought the corsage and everything.
You know for certain some Carrie-level shit is going down at prom.
Better than expected in the beginning with slightly more depth than the average teen horror comedy. I thought this could either be the greatest or a complete disaster, with no room in between. I wouldn’t call this a great film, but it was entertaining and surprisingly feminist(ish).
There is quite a bit of exploration concerning friendship between high school girls and the darkness that can creep into those relationships. It doesn’t work as well as Ginger Snaps, though, and frequently feels like a watered-down version of that film albeit with demons instead of werewolves.
Being a teen movie, stereotypes abound regarding each of the cliques. Stereotypes aside, this is one of the more realistic approaches to high school dynamics I can think of—Needy has friends in many different cliques rather than being friends only with nerds.
Though the relationship between Needy and Jen is well-defined, the other characters fall flat. Chris Pratt makes a brief appearance, and JK Simmons with hair is in this (which is weird). Chip gets quite a lot of screen time, which is unfortunate as he’s a pretty forgettable character and I gave zero fucks about him. Plus I feel Chip is an acceptable name only for a chipmunk. Or, like, a Chippendales dancer.
Not destined to be a classic, but not a terrible way to spend an hour and a half either.
School is still in session in this blog as we’ve chose a high school movie theme for this month. It’s my pick this week, which I’d like to preface by saying (a) I thought it would be way better and (b) it wasn’t as bad as Monkey’s Paw. Nothing can possibly be worse than Monkey’s Paw.
All Cheerleaders Die
Where to Watch:
Cheerleaders killed in a terrible accident return from the dead seeking vengeance. With a witch thrown in there for good measure.
The Uncondensed Version:
Lexi is a cheerleader very much looking forward to senior year, as she explains to amateur filmmaker Maddy. She tells us cheerleading is a dangerous sport and cheerleaders are much more likely to suffer injuries than football players…just before she performs a flip that goes horribly wrong. Right, it’s that kind of movie.
Fast forward a bit, and the squad is holding tryouts for Lexi’s spot. In an unexpected move (almost as unexpected as the Spanish Inquisition), Maddy tries out and earns a place amongst high school royalty. However, for reasons unknown to us, Maddy reveals to her video blog (not using the word “vlog”) that this is all part of some elaborate plot to ruin senior year for all of the cheerleaders. Because that’s what you do in high school instead of read, write super emotional entries in your journal, and fear the day you’ll be called on to participate in class. Or so I’ve been told.
Complication to Maddy’s plan is Lena, a really needy Wiccan who has named a cat after Maddy and doesn’t understand why they broke up. Lena walks away angry and upset, which is probably not the best.
The new head cheerleader Tracy is now dating Terry, Lexi’s ex-boyfriend. Terry is a huge douche and cheating on Tracy, which Maddy uses to drive a wedge between them and date Tracy herself. When Terry figures this out, he’s extremely pissed off and ends up ruining a cemetery party. Honestly, dude.
Coincidentally, Lena is sitting in a dark corner near the party casting spells, tossing runes around, and doing general witchy stuff. But really this is just an excuse to stalk Maddy, who is busy making out with Tracy.
But back to Terry, who picks a fight, punches Tracy, and begins a high speed chase between the football players and cheerleaders. We get a classic afterschool special scenario in which irresponsible drinking and driving leads off a cliff into the river below. The football players come out of this unscathed, of course, and just sort of quietly slink away.
Lena has seen everything and drags all of the girls out of the river in the hopes of saving Maddy. She’s too late, but does this really bizarre ritual that makes a sort of blood snake and draws some sort of life essence into stones that each of the girls absorb. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, you guys.
The next morning, the cheerleaders wake up in Lena’s room, which is exciting because (a) Maddy is alive and (b) Lena’s weird witchcraft thing actually works. However, for some reason this also means that the girls have to drain the spirit from living humans and they also have a sort of psychic connection through the stones. I just…don’t follow. At all.
This goes on for a bit until there’s some typical high school drama, of which I will spare you the details. Then, of course, things take a turn for the worse when Terry realizes he can absorb the stones, which make him sort of all-powerful? I think? And all of this means a showdown in the cemetery where some will live, some will die, and some will…remain undead I guess? If that’s what they are?
First of all, this was a bit of a trainwreck in terms of plot and explanation of supernatural elements. Witchcraft brought the cheerleaders back from the dead, gave them a psychic connection, made them thirst for human energy, and switch 2 of their bodies??? Are they witches or zombies or all of the above? There was a further plot twist at the end that made even less sense.
Also towards the end, the writers tack on a rape revenge story, which I hate hate hate so much because it’s focused on having a really creepy voyeuristic murder scene that’s portrayed like a rape scene. And it spends way more time on that scene than anything resembling female empowerment.
Besides that, the character motivations made no sense—it was unclear to me why Maddy wanted revenge against the entire cheerleading squad when she really had a bone to pick with one particular sleazeball.
This one wanted to be The Craft but also a zombie movie while providing biting social commentary, so it made little to no sense.
2/5 Pink Panther Heads
Because there were witches, guys. Witches and I didn’t even care.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Currently, I am enjoying my new life as a new dad, but when there's free time, movies are standard. Comments and dialogue always encouraged. Happy Moviegoing!