My, What a Guy! (31DC2014)

Gaston!I’m still neck-deep in Disney manicures as the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge enters its fourth and final week. Yesterday’s theme was “inspired by a song,” which posed a bit of a conundrum for yours truly, as there’s a long list of songs in the Disney canon, from classic musical numbers to movie scores to the steel drum-tinged tunes that play in and around the parks, that set my feet a tappin’.

But I do have a favourite Disney ditty, and I suspect it’s one a lot of people like, because no matter the form – stage, screen, blasting through your headphones – it’s a real showstopper and a true Disney classic. So what song am I speaking of? Why, the Gaston song, of course (simply and creatively titled “Gaston”), that drunken, rollicking ode to the Beauty and the Beast villain and some of his more Neanderthal-esque qualities. Gaston’s a real nasty piece of work, the town bully and an abusive, misogynistic ass whose behaviour is only just barely tolerated because he’s got purty, purty blue eyes and a swell cleft in his chin. He’s doted on by his toadie, a snivelling little jerk named LeFou, and lusted after by three of the local tavern wenches, star-eyed girls with heaving bosoms who collapse at his feet when he deigns to throw them a glance, yet positively reviled by Belle, the adventurous bookworm who turns his grotesque proposal down FLAT (good girl.) That, of course, irks him to no end, so when Belle ventures off and falls in love with the Beast, as one is wont to do, he does the thing any heartbroken guy would and has her father committed to an insane asylum before declaring war on the Beast’s castle and its occupants. That plan actually doesn’t work out so well for Gaston, a man who freely admits to difficulties with thinking, and – SPOILER ALERT! – after a rain-soaked battle with the Beast, during which he plays cheap and stabs the Beast in the back when he isn’t looking, he falls into a gorge and presumably dies. I mean, we can hope. Because nobody needs a direct-to-video “Beauty and the Beast 2: Gaston’s Revenge: The Body Hair and Antlers Edition.” They just don’t.

So Gaston might be an epic jerk, but his song is a delight. In the film and stage versions of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston’s ditty is performed by a tavern-full of drunken villagers who quite literally sing his praises, either because they really like him (LeFou) or because they’re too afraid not to like him (pretty well everybody else.) In between chugging sudsy steins of brew and leaping around the tavern, Gaston’s mates enumerate all of the ways they admire and are in awe of him, from his tree trunk-sized neck, to the dozens of eggs he consumes every morning to maintain his barge-like stature, to the antlers he uses in all of his DE-CO-RATING! It’s such a fun song befitting a much nicer, kinder, less douchey character, but we take what we can get, right?

For these nails I tried to capture some of the “qualities” that make Gaston the primeval jerk we all know and hate, from his red and yellow tunic, to the dandy little bow he wears while wooing Belle, to – my favourite – his ultra plentiful, super crispy chest hair. Gotta love a dude with hairy man-cleave, right? My, what a guy, Gaston.

World of Color (31DC2014)

World of ColorToday’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge commands – commands, I say! – the participants to produce a mani inspired by a colour, but I say why stop at one? There’s a whole world of colours out there – plural – and for my Disneyfied purposes at least, one World of Color light show at Disneyland’s California Adventure park that’s long overdue as the inspiration for one of my Disney manis.

Here I’ve shown some of the rainbow-hued water jets that go off in formation during the half hour hydrotechnic show, along with the ferris wheel at Paradise Pier with Mickey at its centre that acts as the focal point of the night time light-and-water extravaganza.

Nice One, Mustard Tiger!

Mustard Tiger

I’m no rocket appliance, so I’m not sure how popular or well known they are outside of Canada, but here in the true north strong and free we stand on guard for a comedy troupe/television phenomenon by the name of the Trailer Park Boys. The Boys themselves are rum-swilling meathead Julian, the “brains” behind their many, many, MANY criminal endeavours, Ricky, quite possibly the dumbest human being on the planet, but a whiz at growing dope and mangling the English language, and sweet, kitty-loving, near AND far sighted Bubbles, who will follow the Boys anywhere (including to jail at the end of nearly every season) because they’re his family and he loves them. The Boys live in the Sunnyvale Trailer Park, a down-on-its-luck mobile home community in Nova Scotia, and spend their days scheming of ways to retire rich (“rich” being a relative term in the park, where $30,000 is enough to retire on), while getting drunk and high and trying (unsuccessfully) to stay out of prison. Despite the fact that the show contains some of the FILTHIEST language you’ll ever hear and routinely (like, every episode) concerns itself with seriously divisive topics like gun violence, prostitution, incarceration, alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness, it has, amazingly enough, a terrifically sweet heart and so much love for its thoroughly weird and broken characters (of which the Boys are only three), you can’t help but be charmed. Make no mistake, though, unedited for TV (which in itself is an experience, given that the NSFW language flies at a rate of about two “fucks” and a “cock” every six seconds) it is SO filthy, both in terms of content and language, so if you’re especially sensitive to that kind of talk…well, you’re probably already offended! I’d be; the residents of Sunnyvale are gre-eee-easy.

Anyhow, I was sitting around the other evening in my three-doored car watching The Littlest Hobo on a 16 inch television, eating barbecued chicken fingers and drinking rum and Coke out of a sawed-off 2 litre bottle of PC Cola when I thought it might be high time to tackle some Trailer Park Boys nail art. I’ve been meaning to do a series of manis befitting the Boys and their friends (Sarah, Lucy, J-Roc) and enemies (Randy and Lahey), but before I head too far down that rabbit hole, I thought I’d whip up a bit of nail art featuring one of my favourite gags from the mid-years of the show, the Mustard Tiger.

So there’s this man who lives in the trailer park? Named Philadelphia Collins? (And this one time? At band camp?) Anyhow, Phil is no fan of the Boys, particularly when they lure his grown son, Jacob, into a life of low rent crime. He confronts the Boys about their involvement with his son, which could have been a powerful moment had he not been wearing a way, way, WAY too tiny, mustard-stained tiger tee stretched grotesquely across his ENORMOUS round belly, obliterating all rational thought and prompting Bubbles, MUCH to Phil’s displeasure, to bestow upon him the nickname of Mustard Tiger. The name sticks, too, much like the stains on Phil’s overburdened t-shirt and the scratches on Ricky’s car after the Mustard Tiger, enraged by his new nickname, beats it to death with an old hockey stick.

So here, for my first Trailer Park Boys nails, I looked to the Mustard Tiger for inspiration, capturing Phil’s mustard-stained, red tiger tee, if not the man behind it (’cause there just ain’t room enough on anyone’s nails, let alone my little ones, for all that belly.)

Manatee Mani (31DC2014)

A Manatee ManiThe general consensus on water marbling, the aggravatingly hit-or-miss nail art technique, is that it sucks, so take pity on the poor nail artist in your life who is soldiering away at the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge right now, because today’s theme is water marbling. The hows and whys of its suckage are vast and varied (it’s messy, time consuming, wasteful and fussy) and unless you’re preternaturally gifted at the art of coaxing intricate designs out of nail polish floating on the surface of water, a crazy act in and of itself, nine times out of 10 you’re going to have major difficulty.

So recognizing my own limitations when it comes to water marbling, I decided to forgo the struggle and make what I knew was going to be a flawed effort work for me. I started off thinking that I’d like my water marble to indeed look quite watery. The free form nature of tides and waves is a perfect fit for my highly imprecise water marbling skills, and the occasional tiny bubble, the result of insufficiently “quiet” water (really), just adds to the underwater effect. Using similarly toned colours in a few different finishes (here I’ve got a turquoise-hued duochrome and a shimmery frost over a sea blue metallic) also made things easier, as the polishes almost bleed into one another, blurring any harsh edges or glaring imperfections. Finally, in keeping with my Disney mani sub-challenge, I chose a favourite water-based Disney attraction, The Living Seas at Epcot, to inspire a bit of nail art in the form of one deranged looking manatee on my ring finger. I also added one well camouflaged hidden Mickey somewhere amongst that watery looking water marble, just to keep things squarely on the right side of my Disneyfied, make-work-for-myself sub-challenge.

A word about The Living Seas, which since the last time I visited has been rebranded as The Seas with Nemo and Friends: It’s awesome, and one of the loveliest, coolest, quietest places in the whole park to unwind as you watch fat, farting manatees for an hour and a half, much like my husband and I did on our honeymoon. Burnt out from a solid week of theme parking and finding ourselves on the wrong side of the safety warnings on Mission to Mars (actually, that was just me; my husband was fine, but I came ever so close to having to use the on-ride vomit bag – a first), we weren’t up for much more than just sitting quietly before the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked into the manatee area, calmly watching one old, heavily scarred manatee and his buddy contentedly toot and float and otherwise act like the most adorable, gentle sweeethearts in the seas. It’s one of my favourite memories from our honeymoon, actually. That and the Night of the Banging Geckos, but that’s a perverted animal story for another time. πŸ™‚

Space Mountain (31DC2014)

Space Mountain IndoorsToday’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge is galaxies, and what better (Disneyfied) way to approach that theme than by honouring the grand dame of Disney roller coasters herself, Space Mountain? Space Mountain is a kickass ride, an indoor, in-the-dark roller coaster that’s been blasting Magic Kingdom guests into near-pitch-black orbit since 1975. On a visit with my parents when I was in university, my parents, admitted roller coaster wussies, and I all grabbed Fast Passes for Space Mountain (the “pass Go, collect $100” of Disney rides) and I rode it solo four times in a row, one walk-directly-on ride after another. Space Mountain acts tougher than it actually is (being in the dark amplifies all your other senses, which are telling you that you’re going about 60 miles an hour, although it’s probably closer to 20), but after four runs, I was feelin’ wobbly.

Here I tried to capture Space Mountain’s iconic silhouette, along with the celestially-sprinkled ceiling, blue gradient walls and neon blue guide rail framing of the waiting area. I’m particularly proud of the blue framing, which is thin and even and 99% the doing of my new detail brushes, which are so tiny and delightful! You could even say they’ve opened up a whole new out of this world of nail art design possibilities? Eh, eh?! (*groan*) Don’t worry, I didn’t laugh at that either. πŸ˜‰Space Mountain Sun

Half Moon Over the Hundred Acre Wood (31DC2014)

Hundred Acres of WoodHmm, so it would seem as though I *may* have misinterpreted day 18’s theme of half moon manis in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. The half moon technique appears to be one in which you trace the little crescent at the base of your nails, widening, elongating and embellishing with polish as you go, of course, but ultimately – and quite literally – going for a top-down approach. But as you can see, I went for a more AND less traditional half moon design at just the tips of my nails, which based on everyone else’s entries seems to be a wee bit incorrect. And as much as I dislike being beholden to made-up rules regarding nail adornment, preferring to do the lone, polished wolf thing, I do like tackling a technique correctly, simply because that’s the only way you learn (sage advice for life AND nail art, friends.)

So although these nails, a half moon tribute to the Hundred Acre Wood gang (and one giant bee arse there on my thumb), are not quite in alignment with the challenge prompt, they’re cute as the dickens AND I learned a valuable lesson about reading the assignment through carefully before putting pen to paper (wait, do people even do that any more? You mean our bionic compu-arms don’t just magically divine what we wish to write when we hold our hands over a keyboard? Huh.)

As a completely perverted aside, years ago my husband and I spent an afternoon busting a gut as we sketched out the rough idea for a Winnie the Pooh-themed plushie porn called Hundred Acres of Wood. Yes, we have the combined emotional maturity of a 12-year-old boy. It is truly the driving force of our union. πŸ™‚

Santa’s Retirement (31DC2014)

CandyCaneFiesta BottleI bought this polish, Candy Cane Fiesta from Candy Lacquer, a while ago and have been holding it in reserve in anticipation of today’s challenge theme of glitter in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. It’s THE BESTEST stuff, and weirdly reminiscent of the decor at a mini golf course in Disney World where it’s themed to look like Santa’s retired to Orlando in his off months to hang out with Mrs. Claus and the reindeers at the beach. In fact, quite a bit of Candy Lacquer’s limited edition Christmas in July collection reminds me of that mini putt course in which you can take two different runs, one through a traditionally festive-looking snow scape and another through Santa’s beachside retirement community for swinging North Pole retirees. Either way, the one time I visited, it was so much fun (and difficult; this was no slouch of a mini golf course) and being Disney, perfectly themed to within an inch of its life.

So when this polish showed up in a recent order of nail mail positively brimming with Christmasey fun (and Mickey head glitter!) I knew I’d have to put it to good use in a manicure for the prompt I’ve been looking forward to tackling the most, glitter! Here, continuing on with the theme of snowbird Santa, I topped a beachy-looking gradient with one coat of Candy Cane Fiesta, pushing some of the hearts, stars, moons, squares, diamonds, snowflakes and candy canes (phew!) around so there were no bare patches, before adding a Mickeyfied accent nail made up of some of the oversized glitters Candy Lacquer provided alongside the polish in a wee little baggie. The end result is a weird, out of season, vaguely messy configuration of glitter, colours and concepts that I just love. Indeed, they might be my favourite nails of this challenge…so far. πŸ˜‰CandyCaneFiesta Hand