Literary Inspiration: Fahrenheit 451

451 Collage

Continuing my run of thoroughly depressing dystopian lit, this manicure was inspired by the latest book I’ve read in service of my friends’ reading challenge, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  Banned books was the theme, although I actually couldn’t find it on any roundups of the usual verboten subjects.  I’ve no doubt it’s been banned, though, in pockets all across the world, time and time again, staggering irony notwithstanding.  I think Fahrenheit 451 will always be a lightning rod for that kind of attention, though I couldn’t find any major examples.  But I did think an entire novel about the violent destruction of written material and, by extension, the very essence of critical thought would more than suffice for the purposes of this challenge prompt.

Along with Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (the super feelgood book I’m reading right now) I read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in grade 9.  And I understood the import of the underlying themes of both about as well as you would imagine, which is to say I was utterly clueless.  “Well, that’s bad,” I naively thought, “you shouldn’t burn books.”  And that’s about as deep as my critical assessment went of a world in which the written or recorded word has been banned, mindless reality TV reigns supreme and squadrons of “firemen” are dispatched to the homes of uncooperative citizens to violently torch their secret libraries.  I’m actually rather ashamed at how little thought I gave this all-too plausible nightmare, often a problem with material that has been assigned as school work – school books = ultimate boredom in most matriculating minds.

451 2

But one thing that hasn’t changed between then and now is I still don’t like Fahrenheit 451.  A large part of the problem I have with the novel lies with its protagonist, a by-the-books (pun intended) fireman by the name of Montag in the midst of a major identity crisis – after a chance encounter with a quirky neighbour named Clarisse, a young woman filled to the brim with all of the whos, whats, wheres and whens sorely absent from Montag’s sterile life, he begins to question his purpose as a fireman, and indeed the very purpose of humanity itself.  If it sounds like weighty stuff, that’s because it is, and Montag barrels into his new role as a rebel agitator with very little care or forethought, dragging literally everyone into his unhinged, treasonous orbit – a kindly old academic, his deeply disassociated wife and his boss, the fire chief.  With the exception of the old academic, who simply has the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, these are terrible, craven people (maybe not Beatty, the scripture, prose and poetry-quoting police chief who willingly walks into his own demise) and they deserve their fiery ends.

But might Montag not also deserve such an end simply for being such such an unrelentingly insufferable know-it-all?  I mean, sure, you’ve got the violent autocrats on one side, the sort of people who use a robot called the Hound, a kind of euthanasia machine on legs, to unilaterally mete out their warped vision of justice, and on the other you’ve got a guy who’s really just overly enthusiastic about a thing he only just learned about yesterday, but somehow, the newbie is worse.  Montag is that guy who reads an article about cryptocurrency in the Economist whilst waiting for the dentist, only to go home and bankrupt the next four generations of his family purchasing mining gear.  He doesn’t think through anything, and he delights in throwing his newfound enlightenment in the alternately shocked and uncaring faces of his friends and family acquaintances and colleagues.  He’s drunk on knowledge and about as insufferable as a second year J-school student, a most dangerous state to find yourself in when cunning, stealth and careful planning are paramount to your very survival.  He’s Nicholas Cage screaming his blasted head off as he and ultra calm Sean Connery break out of Alcatraz in The Rock; the man just has absolutely no chill, not even when lives are on the line.

And as it’s through Montag’s lens that we get the story of Fahrenheit 451, it stands to reason that I’d then find the novel to play out like one giant lecture.  It’s groundbreaking work, to be sure, both at the time of its original publishing in 1953 and somehow still now, but it feels weighted down by its own self-importance.  Montag?  More like Mon-nag.  Heh.

451 1

My copy also contains numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes, editing errors that make this insufferable J-school grad cringe, but also sort of wonder if this, too, was some sort of commentary on the unavailing nature of the written word – that it’s not the form the word takes, but rather the ultimate preservation of the word, the thought, the message.  Or maybe it was just crap editing.

This burned book manicure was great in theory, but perhaps ever so less successful in terms of execution.  I guess that’s what happens when you literally burn a book (hey, just a redundant page from one of TWO forewords, but I won’t lie and say I don’t LOVE the irony at work here) and stick it to your fingernails.  Things got quite messy, and this manicure is ultimately a marvel of creative photo editing.  There were also about nine different tense changes in those last three sentences – take THAT, Bradbury!  Immutability of the written word, my grammatically incorrect butt.  Clearly I’ve learned much since grade 9. 😉

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Pop Workout

Pop Workout 2

I know these nails are quite random and a bit mental, but perhaps so is the basis for which I drew inspiration for this manicure – a favourite pair of workout pants.  Or rather, a favourite print on A pair of workout pants; the actual pants themselves are oddly cut and don’t look a thing like their photo on the website, so bit of a bust, that, even though I still wear them all the time.  I really love the print, though – all of those tightly packed polka dots, the overlapping designs and the bold mix of colours, a should-be-incongruous mix of light grey, red, sky blue, black, charcoal grey and neon yellow, lend these pants a very comic book sort of look.  It’s a very zippy pattern, which is key – I’ll take all the zip I can get when it’s treadmill time.

Pop Workout 1

Splashdown!

Splash Mountain

Brer Rabbit’s twitchy little bunny ears take centre stage in this manicure inspired by a beloved Disney ride, Splash Mountain.  Come on, who doesn’t love getting soaked straight through to the bone while animatronic stereotypes bellow Dixie at you from the prow of a riverboat?  Nobody I want to know. 🙂

But do you know who I would like to know?  The guy in the back row of this on-ride photo, taken during our Christmastime 2017 soaking.  I know it’s bad form to post a stranger’s photo on your personal blog, but the look of delight on this guy’s face never fails to put a smile on my face – dude is living his very best day, and glee like that is infectious.

Splash Mountain Collage

However.  Owing to perhaps the weight distribution in our boat (we still big folks) or maybe even a bit of reburb tinkering on the part of Disney, we got SOAKED.  There have always been these adorable “You may get wet!” signs posted all throughout the line, which over probably a dozen lifetime rides has proven to be more or less accurate – you may get wet.  This time it seemed to be a foregone conclusion from the moment we sat down into about an inch and a half of water left over from the previous occupants of what was naturally the very front row.  The 52-foot drop into a thorny tangle of briers also didn’t help.  Our boat basically entered the water like a shovel, and we got hosed.  And we paid money for this!  And it was THE MOST fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

Having a (Gum) Ball

Having a (Gum)Ball

Well, would you look at that – nail art for the second day in a row, just like I promised yesterday!  I probably shouldn’t be quite so excited about just honouring a rather easy-to-hold promise, but as I mentioned, oh, months ago now, I’ve been having a lot of difficulty motivating myself in the direction of my nail art supplies, so this really is quite an accomplishment.  Today I’m featuring a simple gum ball-type design, quite easy – just dots made with a dotting tool and a handful of rainbow-hued polishes – but still very striking.  Actual candy for these fingers. 😉

Rose Gold Mickey

Rose Gold 3

Rose gold anything is currently THE jammiest of the jams down Disney way.  Whether it’s glittery Minnie ears, teeny little mini backpacks, cupcakes, macarons and churros or those weirdly misshapen spirit jerseys (“spirit jersey” is apparently fashion speak for a gigantic sweatshirt with zero tailoring) rose gold is well represented in the parks and beyond.  This ballet pink polish, KB Shimmer’s Turning Pointe, is THE rose gold ideal; if they sold it in the parks (or at one of the cute little boutique beauty stores in Disney Springs) there’d be lineups out the door for this blush-hued beauty.

Rose Gold 2

I’m not quite so sold on the whole rose gold deal.  My phone is actually in rose gold, although you’d never know it; it’s typically enrobed in a fetching protective ensemble of neon pink and turquoise rubber.  But when it comes to the Disney stuff, I wasn’t too crushed when I couldn’t find any rose gold Minnie ears when we were there at Christmas; not too surprisingly, I prefer the ones with, I dunno, donuts for ears or a giant cupcake right on top in the place of a bow.  I mean, if you’re wearing mouse ears in public, wear mouse ears in public and staple some sort of foodstuff to your head.  You know it’s what I’d do (um, it IS what I do!)

Rose Gold 1

I’m also trying something new this week, or new-to-now – daily posting and daily nail art.  I’m out of practice on both and I miss my little lacquered corner of the sky; time to pay it some much-needed attention.  A demain, friends.

Muffin – and Teenage Boy – Madness

Muffin Madness 2

A breathtakingly stupid story from my youth forms the basis for these scrumptious-looking nails that pay homage to the mighty manicured muffin!

So it was round about the end of high school when a friend fell in temporary infatuation with a cute boy from another school we used to pal around with (I defy you to call it anything other than temporary when the boy in question wears an upside down bookkeeper’s visor unironically.)  There was a big party coming up, and it was pretty well expected that it would be during this soiree that they would declare their feelings for one another in all manner of debauched Hughesian awkwardness.

But because teenagers are generally giant tools, the very first thing they did upon arriving at the party was to furiously ignore one another, my friend seeking solace in some girl talk, with Upside Down Visor doing likewise.  With another girl.  And a whole lot of public groping.  Real party killer, that.  Also the end of any flirtation between my friend and Teenage Dirtbag.

Anyhow, some time later my friend and Upside Down Visor once again found themselves at the same party, and she asked him what had happened that night – it hadn’t been her imagination, right, there was maybe something there between them?  Why the stupid freeze-out?

Oh no, he confirmed, there was definitely something there; he actually liked her a lot.  But here was the deal – and then he launched into THE dumbest explanation of the romantic-existential dilemma I have EVER heard.  Seriously, this happened nearly 20 years ago and I still admire the balls-out stupidity of this guy.  Allow me to throw it to straight dialogue:

Upside Down Visor (UDV): Okay, so it’s like this.  What’s your favourite food?

My Friend (Friend): Muffins.

UDV: What kind do you like best?

Friend: Chocolate chip.

UDV: And after chocolate chip?

Friend: Blueberry.

UDV: Okay, so let’s say you go to the bakery and there’s two kinds of muffins there, chocolate chip and blueberry.  You want the chocolate chip muffin the most, but it’s been, like, sitting out for days and it’s gone all crusty and stale and it has this weird mold starting to grow on top.  But then beside it there’s the blueberry muffin, and it’s all warm from the oven and tender and buttery and ready to be eaten………like, seriously, which would you pick?!

Friend: You’re an idiot.

And scene.

And so here we have chocolate chip and blueberry muffin nail art.  I like both interpretations equally, but in the immortal words of UDV, like, seriously, which would you pick?!  Such decisions. 😉

Muffin Madness 1

Northern Lights

Northern Lights 2

Rainbow multi-chrome styles.

I’ve actually never seen the Northern Lights.  Supposedly they’re periodically visible in my neck of the eastern Ontario woods (literally; the Gatineau Hills are staring at me from directly across the Ottawa River) but never have I ever.  I’ve also visited the way-up-north of the Great White North, Nunavut, home to little else but mile upon mile kilometer upon kilometer of endless sky, and still no Northern Lights.  I also didn’t see a polar bear, but for that I’m more grateful than disappointed (not for lack of hype; when I stepped off the plane in Iqaluit, the very first thing I saw was a poster advising me to please NOT feed the polar bears.  Hey man, done and done – you don’t need to tell me twice!)

So, one of these days.  But for now, nails. 🙂

Northern Lights 1