Calamity Carol

Calamity Carol Bottle

As in Carol of The Walking Dead.  Although…alluringly alliterative though it may be, is “calamity” really the correct descriptor for Carol Peletier’s very particular brand of post-apocalyptic madness?  Girlfriend’s ice cold, and I kind of love it.  Or I loved it right up until she suddenly – and abruptly, because this is The Walking Dead – began acting completely contrary to her long-established character, running off alone to ruminate on man’s inhumanity to man, when she should have been back in Alexandria terrorizing small, frightened children with her apocalypse cookies and impressively detailed death scenarios.  I totally hate-watch The Walking Dead, so I actually don’t have much of a stake in it one way or another, but I’d like to see Carol get her mojo back next season – every apocalypse needs its rage goddess.

Personal feelings on both the show and the comics aside, I love the idea of The Walking Dead, as evidenced by this TWD-themed polish from Dollish Polish, Look at the Flowers, Lizzie, a mucus-hued favourite.  Straight up, this polish looks like snot – ain’t nothing wrong with that!  Here I topped Look at the Flowers, Lizzie with two sweet flower studs and a couple of badass silver spike strips.  I definitely think Carol – any version, really – would approve.

Calamity Carol Fingers

Sunday Night Simpsons

Sunday Night Simpsons

It’s been a long time since my standing Sunday night appointment with The Simpsons, but man, back in the day, I had a real Simpsons problem.  In university when I lived at home with my parents, I’d hog the remote and make them watch two episodes over the dinner hour.  They always laughed, but after the fourth time hearing “Yes, Lisa, a magical animal” (my Dad’s favourite, and frequently uttered, quote) they started feeling a bit of Simpsons fatigue.  I watched a bunch of season 4 episodes this afternoon for the first time in ages, and they were absolutely hilarious – must add more Simpsons to my life, starting with these nails!

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Fingers

Raspberry Pi circuitry nails, for the major nerd in your life.

The major nerd in MY life (Mr. Finger Candy) has been messing about with the Raspberry Pi (basically a super stripped down, build-your-own-computer system) for years now. One Saturday morning three or four years ago I sleepily stumbled out to the livingroom to find my him gone, save for one tiny, computerized, rainbow-flashing display blipping away on the coffee table, repeatedly informing me that my husband was out procuring breakfast and would be back shortly.  It was super cute.  His nerdery is really quite adorable, even if three-quarters of the time I have no freaking idea what he’s talking about! 🙂

Literary Inspiration: The Walking Dead

the-walking-dead-collage-again

After kicking off my friend Julie’s reading challenge with my favourite novel, The Virgin Suicides, an ultra light and breezy choice (sarcasm), I thought I’d lighten things up a bit by diving into the comic book world of The Walking Dead, where of course nothing bad ever happens and everyone lives in perfect happiness perfectly, forever and ever (further sarcasm.)

The second challenge prompt called for a book inspired by art and literature, be it art history, a book on technique or, say, a comic.  I went the comic route, seeing as The Walking Dead Compendium 1 is right on my bookshelf (as is 2, for that matter), and as a casual viewer of the show, I’ve always been a little curious as to the similarities and differences between it and the books.

Compendium 1, a MASSIVE, forearm-taxing beast written by Robert Kirkman, Charles Adlard and Tony Moore, clocks in at 1,000 pages and covers the first 48 issues of the comics.  Save a childhood obsession with the graphic novel Tales From the Crypt, comics as a storytelling format have never really been my thing – I prefer novels.  And indeed, I had a bit of a hard time getting into a decent reading rhythm with the comics, with the dialogue either entirely absent (Rick waking up from his cop coma) or spurting from characters like word vomit (pretty much anyone upon introducing themselves to THE GROUP; after that you won’t hear from them again until they die.) Which might just be the style of comics in general, although if the show is any indication, I think that one may be particular to The Walking Dead.  I also found there to be a weird condensing of seemingly-pivotal moments (Rick’s awakening, Shane’s death, THE GROUP’s introduction at Woodbury) in favour of endless scenes of morality talk (but again, that might just be The Walking Dead.)

the-walking-dead-book-and-fingers

But after an initial period of hesitation, I started really, really getting into the story, digging hard on the parts where the book and the show would intersect and then deviate once again (Carol and Tyreese!  Super unhinged Hershel!  Sexy Dale and Andrea time!)  It was all going so well.

Where the comics lost me, though, and where I ultimately stopped reading, was with the introduction of Woodbury.  Fans of the show will remember that during the third season a new villain was introduced by the name of The Governor.  Completely insane by any definition of the word, The Governor of the TV show was an authoritarian psychopath with fish tanks full of walker heads in his livingroom, a zombiefied daughter in the closet and a super big hate-on for Rick Grimes.  So not a good guy.

But The Governor of the books is the WORST guy, a violent and sadistic rapist who cuts off Rick’s hand within about six frames of meeting him (there’s that pacing thing I was talking about) and gleefully, and repeatedly, assaults Michonne over PAGES.

As a matter of personal principle, I don’t watch or read anything that heads too far down the path of sexual assault (cruelty towards animals and torture porn as well.)  My tolerance for that is practically nil.  It’s insulting and uninspired writing used by lazy authors who can’t think of a motivating event for their female characters beyond rape (looking at you, Game of Thrones.)

So when the books – which to that point had been bleak, yes, and shocking, also yes, but still very much in keeping with the PG-13 tone of the show – took a hard, hard turn into ultra heavy sadism (there is one image I wish I could unsee that will haunt my dreams forever) I checked the hell out.  I feel like there may have been a switch in authors at this point, the change in tone – and not one for the better – is just that jarring and unpleasant.

So The Walking Dead Compendium 1 and I parted ways at about the halfway mark.  But as always, I had to do a bit of nail art to go along with my choice of book, this time a mani showing off my ultra tiny lettering skills, because every other option was just too depressing or inappropriate.  Which is just The Walking Dead for you (I should create a macro for that phrase.)

the-walking-dead-fingers

Literary Inspiration: The Virgin Suicides

virgin-suicides-collage

At the end of last year as part of my annual assessment of greatness (doesn’t that sound like something George’s dad would come up with on Seinfeld?) it came to my attention that despite quantitatively reading more than I ever have before, I read just two novels in 2016.  Otherwise, the bulk of my reading was online – my blog, other people’s blogs, and so much infuriating on-the-fly political news, my blood pressure practically demands that I return to the comforting paper (or electronic) embrace of a real novel.

And so I’ve been following along with a casual reading challenge created by my friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid in an effort to not only read more, but read better.  Also grammar gooder. 😉 And because there’s nothing I love more than making life difficult for myself, I’ve added two sub-challenges to the main thread:

1. Where possible, all selections will be made from my own bookcase.  Despite being an avid lifelong reader, I actually fell out of favour with reading as a pastime some years back – that’s not a recent development.  As such, I have a serious backlog of gifts, loaners and hopeful recommendations that require my attention, if only to finally be able to say, “I read that!”

2. To keep it relevant to my blog, I have to do a manicure inspired by whatever I’m reading at the time.

virgin-suicides-book

Which presents a bit of a challenge (within the challenge’s challenge) when the first book you pick to fulfill the theme of a beloved or favourite novel is The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.  The entire depressing story is right there in the title – how exactly do I draw nail art inspiration from that?  Carefully, very carefully, and respectfully, being mindful of the overall feeling the book inspires in me as opposed to a strict adherence to its events. Which, absent any context or enjoyment derived from Eugenides paying out the story, are just so, so bleak.

If you watched the 1999 Sofia Coppola movie starring Kirsten Dunst, you’re already familiar with the story and tone of The Virgin Suicides.  The film is faithful to both, chronicling the year in 1970s Grosse Pointe, Michigan over which all five teenage Lisbon girls – Cecilia, Mary, Therese, Bonnie and Lux – take their lives.  The story is told from the perspective of a group of neighbourhood boys whose trainwreck-like obsession with the girls stretches into adulthood, upon which they reconvene one last time for a final forensic analysis of a shattered family, a decaying neighbourhood, the girls’ inexplicable deaths and, indeed, their own passing lives.  Really lightweight stuff!

I think Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of the novel is about as perfect as one can be, particularly that feeling of floating about inside a hazy, pastel-hued cloud.  But in both the film and the novel, there’s nasty little moldy bits creeping in along the edges of all that cotton candy fluff – cracks in the rose-coloured glasses that have let in the rot.  In the book more so than the movie, this is represented by the Lisbon family home, a staid suburban structure whose internal and external disrepair mirrors its residents’ rapidly decaying mental states.  And as the Lisbons incrementally retreat from their friends, their neighbours, the world, the family home, once a bustling hub of shimmery teenage girl activity, becomes a stale, airless crypt housing little more than living ghosts and their moss-covered memories of what can never again be.

virgin-suicide-nails

Super uplifting. 😉  And I can’t really explain why it’s my favourite book 20 years running, except that it just is. The weird heart wants what the weird heart wants, I suppose.  I just hope I did it right with my interpretation of the book’s tone, that feeling of life’s bright spark being born under by decay.  Let’s leave it on that cheery note!

Your Face is Good, I’m a Soos!

soos

I think my love of animated Disney television show Gravity Falls has been pretty well documented on this blog, both in my choice of nail art and then just everyday life, where I aim to watch at least one half-hour episode every couple of days (cartoons and chicken fingers for lunch – it’s not just for toddlers!) But when it comes to my nail art at least, I’ve always focused on Mabel, one half of the Mystery Twins duo of 12-year-old Dipper and Mabel Pines. Mabel’s the easy choice – her naturally exuberant personality and flair for knit-based fashion means there’s a near endless wellspring of adorable designs and fun little nail art touches just waiting to be tapped.

And so instead of another Mabel mani, I thought I’d finally do a manicure inspired by my actual favourite character, handyman, journeyman and all around good guy, Soos (Jesus Alzamirano Ramírez to his snoopy abuelita and the Department of Motor Vehicles.)  22-year-old Soos is an unlikely hero.  He’s shaped like a gumdrop, he wears cargo shorts without irony, he sports, in his words, a “sorta mustache,” he lives at home with his grandma and he’s the handyman at a junky curiosity shop by the name of the Mystery Shack run by Dipper and Mabel’s con artist Great Uncle Stan.  Absolutely none of that looks good on paper.

But Soos is also, in Wendy’s words, a “sweet guy with a steady job and a pickup truck.”  He loves his abuelita, who raised him from birth after his mom went MIA and his dad stopped visiting.  Moreover, he loves Stan, who’s not just his employer, but a gruff kind of mentor and father figure as well.  Handy with a socket wrench and a loofah (hey, Stan’s back is not going to exfoliate itself) Soos is willing to do anything for the Pines Family, and he adores the kids (who return his love by fighting in a futuristic gladiatorial battle for the chance to turn back time on Soos’ lonely childhood.  Soos uses the wish instead to fix up Mabel and Dipper’s war wounds, explaining that they fought monsters through time for him, when his own father couldn’t be bothered with him at all.  It’s SO sweet, and I tear up every time I watch it.  He also wishes for a slice of infinity pizza.)  He’s basically just a super sweet, really affable dood, and I really loved painting on his tiny, patchy ‘stache.  Team Soos!

(Di)vision Street Wear

division-street-wear

Oof, showing my age with that reference to Vision Street Wear, an American skate footwear company founded in the late ’70s and popularized in the ’80s.  When I was about 11 or 12, only the coolest of the cool kids wore Vision Street Wear (also Chip and Pepper, Vuarnet, Sex Wax and Independent Trucks) and it will surprise absolutely no one to learn that I had a monstrously huge slow burn of a crush on the only floppy-haired boy in school to wear his Vision tees (swoon) whilst riding an actual skateboard (commence pre-teen delirium.)

Anyhow, bit of a tangent there on the origin of this post’s title, which actually arises from The Division, my husband’s favourite video game.  The title is a play on words on the Vision Street Wear name, although it’s also in reference to the design inspiration for these nails – a limited edition holiday sweater coveted by only THE most festive badasses in the game.  That the sweater comes festooned in tiny cats, candy canes and snowflakes is merely icing on the fruitcake.  But the bragging rights that result from simply owning the sweater?  Now, THOSE live on forever!  I once likened The Division to the Sims – a collector game where managing your inventory occupies more time than actual game play.  But I’m starting to think it might be more like a fashion game, given the amount of time Mr. Finger Candy and his online friends spend managing their virtual wardrobes.  Cher Horowitz spent less time picking out her school clothes, I swear.

But it’s a very cute sweater, and my husband is a pretty cute guy, so who was I to say no? Especially when the manicure turns out this well (a real surprise; holiday sweater designs have never been my thing.)  Stay warm out there, friends (real and virtual.)