East Is Up

Wicked Witch 1

The second prompt in the nail art challenge I’m participating in over on Instagram is “Wicked Witches,” and who’s more wicked than…okay, so I was going to say the Wicked Witch of the East, but we don’t ever really get to know her, either in the Wizard of Oz or one of those interminable Wicked re-imaginings I can’t stand (the books; can’t speak to the stage productions.)

No, we don’t know much about the easternmost point of the witch compass, though we DO know that she had the flyest threads in the Merry Old Land of Oz – pun very much intended.  I’m totally on board with any babe badass enough to pair black-and-white striped hosiery with glittery red pumps.  Shame about the house business, though, and that footwear-thieving Dorothy.  Honestly, that’s how I would have written The Wizard of Oz – screw this avenging sister, Wicked Witch of the West business.  I’d have the broad rise up, brute force Dorothy’s sepia-toned shack off her bod like the friggin’ Hulk and then dump it directly on top of Miss Dorothy, her cabal of broken toys, AND the little dog, too.  Then I’d have her set fire to Oz (starting with the headquarters of the Lollipop Guild) with her Superman laser eyes.  The Wicked Witch of the West doesn’t factor into my story at all – you really don’t need someone on your team whose greatest nemesis is WATER.

Hmm, seems I’m feeling a bit witchy and twitchy myself today – just call me the Wicked Witch of the West End.  Well, at least I have the nails – and now also the glittery ruby slippers as well! – to pull it off.

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Literary Inspiration: 20th Century Ghosts

Pop Art Collage

So the long and the short of it with regards to Joe Hill, son of Stephen King (a fact relevant only in that there’s an inescapable comparison to be made between the two; they are both authors who work in the area of weird) is that I don’t jive with his writing.  And with all apologies to the man, too, because even if it’s an inescapable comparison, it’s a patently unfair one – he is not his father.  But as I mentioned in this post from 2017 about Hill’s book Heart-Shaped Box, I am so well versed in his father’s works that I have a hard time not likening one to the other, and Hill’s writing invariably comes up short.

Heart-Shaped Box didn’t leave much of an impression with me (beyond the memory that it was utterly obsessed with hand and fingernail trauma) and neither did this 2005 collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts.  I read this quite a few months ago, and before doing these nails, I had to go back over all of the stories in order to remind myself of what I had just read.  And then instantly regretted it, because I suddenly remembered the story that kicks off this 316-page book, a grimy little tale about a literary editor caught on the wrong side of a Texas Chainsaw-esque family that itself reminds me of an infamous episode of The X-Files that I in turn will not remind you of, and you’re very welcome.

20th Century Ghosts actually begins with an introduction from its editor (who is thankfully not being terrorized by hillbillies from hell, that we know of) and the not-very-encouraging assessment that “Modern horror is not often subtle.”  Well, it can be, but as presented in 20th Century Ghosts, it isn’t.

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So there’s the story about the folks from The Hills Have Eyes, “Best New Horror.”  There’s “You Will Hear the Locust Sing,” a squicky tale about a teenage boy living on the edge of a nuclear test facility who turns into a gigantic insect.  That was a real WTF-er.  There’s a haunted theatre story, the titular “20th Century Ghost;” “Abraham’s Boys,” a deeply perverted reworking of the vampire mythology; and “My Father’s Mask,” a Wes Anderson-by-way-of-David Cronenberg familial mindf**k.

There’s also “Pop Art,” a melancholy tale about a sensitive young man whose best friend, Arthur Roth, is inflatable.  Yes, inflatable, as in made of white plastic, nearly totally featureless, incapable of speech (though Art is real hell with crayons and a pad of paper) and bearing a little nozzle under one arm that allows him to be pumped full of air.  Art has adoptive parents (humans, both) and interacts with the larger world the way any other person would (save the bit where bullies kick him up onto the roof of the school) although you’re never quite sure if Art is indeed a person, just with a major, life-altering disability, or an imaginary construct of the narrator’s admittedly troubled mind.  It was actually a really heartbreaking story; I liked re-reading this one.

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So much so, in fact, I put it on my nails in service of the theme of “A numeric title” in my friends’ reading challenge.  This is Art, peacefully drifting through the late August sky – just a simple, pillowy figure on a basic blue gradient.

Pop Art 1

Tea(cups) for Two

Tea Party 1

The nails are new, and better, but the sentiment about the Disney ride on which this manicure is based, The Mad Tea Party (or “That vomitous spinning teacup ride”) remains the same as it was in this post from 2014.  So take it away, Sandra of the mid-decade!

Should you find yourself in the highly enviable position of visiting the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, tread carefully around the ride on which this design is based, the iconic Alice in Wonderland-themed Mad Tea Party. A spinning teacup ride, it’s the single most nausea-inducing attraction across four GIANT theme parks, and the destroyer of more than a couple of post-spin afternoons (no ride, with the exception of Epcot’s Mission to Mars, has ever made me want to toss my Mickey-shaped ice cream bar more.)

But over the years and visits I’ve come to work out a nearly foolproof method for riding the teacups at maximum spinning speed without tossing anything, a little wisdom I’ll drop on all you noobs who would prefer not to be seen vomiting into a teacup-adjacent trashcan while a bunch of children look on – simply lock eyes with your spinning partner, crank the cup’s wheel as hard as you can and never. look. away. It’s the looking to the side (or down or up) that’ll do you in, to say nothing of closing your eyes (don’t do that either.) Just look fixedly (and sort of cross-eyed, I won’t lie) at the person directly across from you and don’t look away until you have safely disembarked the ride, remembering to gather up your children and your belongings as you leave.

This is the advice I had for my husband when we rode the cups during his first visit to Disney World on our honeymoon. Spectators lined up along the edges of the ride no doubt saw two slightly deranged, possibly too-old-for-this weirdos cranking their teacup’s wheel faster than it could keep up and staring dementedly at each other. I’m proud to say those demented weirdos were us. 🙂

I would just like to add that since writing that post five years ago, both Disney AND encroaching old age have called my bluff on which attractions make me sick – that’s now pretty well all of them, to varying degrees.  Motion simulators turn me inside out, backwards coasters make me want to toss my cookies…I was even starting to feel a little whoopsy as we departed the Haunted Mansion following our 13th run on Halloween 2017 (a Doom Buggy is perhaps not the smoothest of ride vehicles.)  Long story short, the Mad Tea Party is now the least of my worries, with or without my sweet ride hack. 😉

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Rose Gold Minnie

Rose Gold Minnie Collage

It’s a holiday long weekend here in Canada (it has an official, civic name, but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be called the Because It’s the Middle of the Summer and You Need a Day Off Day) so I’m up early finishing off an event in a game I play on my phone called Disney Emoji Blitz.  It’s your pretty standard match-3 puzzler, but themed to cute little emojified Disney characters (you have never seen anything as cute in your life as Heimlich from A Bug’s Life all squished up into a wee little emoji.)  You collect and level up the characters as you play, and there’s periodic themed events where you can win new characters and collectibles.  This long weekend I’m playing for Figment the Imagination Dragon, and I’m feeling pretty good about my chances given that I only just recently did some Figment nails.  That has to be a lucky sign!

Last weekend’s event was the big show for me, though, with a rare Rose Gold Minnie on offer.  Rose gold has been a persistently popular colour with Disney, showing up on everything from sparkly Minnie ears and apparel, to housewares and accessories.  Makes sense that it’s now making an appearance in Disney’s games, with this sweet Rose Gold Minnie making her way to me last weekend (twice, actually, in a super rare twist of good luck, and gratis, as well – I’ve been saving up my earned in-game currency for just such an event, pun intended.)  I was as happy as if I had actually done something involving a useful skill!  And then I put my happiness on my nails. 🙂

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Needs More Unicorn

Lisa Frank 1

My interpretation of Lisa Frank styles, extra heavy on the neon rainbow animal prints, which I’d just like to proudly point out were totally free-handed.  That’s why I’m not sure if I’ve got a tiger print here or a zebra one.  What I am sure of is that I’m ultra super proud of these nails, even if to truly be Lisa Frank-inspired, they need a heck of a lot more unicorn.  Funnily enough, I DO have a unicorn nail charm, but it’s gigantic – my bitty little nails can’t handle her girth, and besides, I didn’t want to cover up all this neon animal print goodness. 🙂

Lisa Frank 2

Stranger Manis: Steve and Robin

Scoops Collage 1

Hey look, it’s everybody’s favourite new pairing of the Stranger Things Universe, co-workers and co-conspirators Steve and Robin!  These two were an utter delight this season, whether it was slangin’ ice cream or busting Russian skulls, and I hope we see more of their adventures next season (with or without the other half of the Scoops Troop, who will be getting their own manis soon so we can round off this unlikely quartet.)

All of the nautical stripes on Steve and Robin’s Scoops Ahoy uniforms were a righteous pain in the butt to paint – Streak City.  But their ice cream parlour duds – particularly those best feature-destroying sailor hats – are the cutest things ever, and I HAD to give them the manicured treatment.

Scoops Collage 2

So I think season 3 proves that Steve Harrington is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the BEST THING EVER, right?  So fantastic, I’ve actually stopped referring to him as Steve’s Hair or the Guy Who Runs Steve’s Hair, and now simply call him Steve.  You know it’s love when I stop making jokes. 😉  Except…it shames me to no end to note that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally put it together that Steve’s last name is Harrington, as in a TON of HAIR.  How did I not put that together before now?  Steve’s evolved into such a great character, although I’ll always have a soft spot for douchey season 1 Steve – he really reminded me of a boy I was quite spun for in high school.

Steve 1

And Robin is such an amazing new addition to the cast!  She’s smart and funny and thoughtful and brave, and she’s played with so much charm by Maya Hawke, who is Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter, and wow, does she ever sound like her mom, and now that I’ve told you this little bit of trivia, it’s all you’ll ever hear.  Close your eyes and you can almost hear Robin describing the finer plot points of cancelled-after-the-pilot TV series, Fox Force Five (“Fox, because we were a bunch of foxes, Force, because we were a force to be reckoned with, and Five, because there were one, two, three, four, five of us,” and yes, that was a Pulp Fiction reference.  I’m very old.)

Robin 1

As I mentioned in my last Stranger Manis post, I have a lot more nail art coming that has been inspired by season 3, which itself is an endless font of incredible set design and neon-tinged ’80s nostalgia.  It seems practically tailor made for this kind of fan art, so I’ll be happy to oblige. 😉

Stranger Manis: Scoops Ahoy!

Scoops Ahoy 1

AHOY, FRIENDS!  Please join me today as we set sail on an ocean of flavour.  My name is Sandra and I’ll be your captain on this delicious journey.  Can I interest you in a USS Butterscotch?

Actually, I am quite interested in a USS Butterscotch, and thanks to a fun collaboration between Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors for you American peeps) and Netflix, I could pop on down the road and have one (you know, once the store opens in, oh, six or so hours.  Little early for ice cream right now.)  I have tried the Upside Down sundae, though.  Mr. Finger Candy and I shared one some weeks back, before the third season of Stranger Things had even dropped, and it was delicious, but as deadly as its namesake.  One little inverted cup of pecan-studded chocolate ice cream (the nuts, whipped cream and cherry were on the bottom, with the caramel sauce and ice cream layered on top of that; cute) nearly did us both in.  I can’t imagine the pain I’d be in if I actually set sail aboard Scoops Ahoy’s signature dish, the USS Butterscotch.

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I really love that Stranger Things is now enough of a part of the cultural lexicon that these kind of cross-promotional collaborations are downright commonplace – Stranger Things is EVERYWHERE this month.  I won’t complain (okay, I’ll only moderately complain about the awkward – and frequent – New Coke mentions in the third season.  They were shoehorned in all over the place, and a huge, climactic action sequence comes to a literal screeching halt while one character expounds on the goodness of New Coke.  It’s pretty painful.)

Stranger Sundaes Collage

But overall, I’m just totally in love with Stranger Things season 3, particularly the Scoops Troop and the nautical-themed ice cream parlour that serves as their place of employment and base of Russian spy-busting operations.  MANY more Stranger manis to come, please stay tuned.

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