Hay There!

Hay There 1

This polish, a China Glaze Halloween release of a few years’ back by the name of Rest in Pieces, always reminds me of straw or hay or dried cornstalks; very appropriate for this time of year.

This manicure in particular – Rest in Pieces here over Essie’s cafe au lait creme, Cocktails & Coconuts – reminds me of one of my favourite episodes of Trading Spaces.  Show of hands if you remember Trading Spaces.  I used to watch it every day in university, sometimes multiple times a day if TLC was running a marathon.  I seriously hated 95 percent of everything the designers did, and I lived for Hilde ruining someone’s mudroom by turning it into a circus-themed wine grotto.

Hay There 2

One of my favourite episodes, though, was the time Hilde and two stunned-into-silence neighbours redecorated a lesbian couple’s livingroom as the inside of an unfinished barn, complete with chicken coop mesh, rough-hewn, terra cotta-hued parging (missed opportunity here to go with a salmon-coloured base polish, darn it!) and random, only-partially-embedded hunks of straw.  Yes, actual straw!  That these two women had three children under five seemed to have completely slipped Hilde’s mind – or rather, she didn’t seem to give a crap that this was a totally inappropriate space for anyone to inhabit, let alone a rambunctious trio of curious young kids.  I remember the neighbours tasked with “bettering” their space were absolutely mortified, had in fact begged Hilde not to move ahead with some of her more asinine ideas (the straw), but the designer clearly had other plans.

I also remember that of the two ladies, one was politely horrified, her eyes wide and surprised and vaguely terrified as she glanced around at the ruin of her livingroom.  And the other was just flat out PISSED.  Livid, actually, and I didn’t blame her one iota – her livingroom had undergone a radical hatchet job.  Then, as if to underscore her furious point, one of the kids ambled over to the scratchy, pointy, dangerous wall and picked off a small handful of straw.  Ha!  Except not ha, because I felt terrible for that family, AND their neighbours, whose relationship was surely damaged by this entire reality TV incident.  Hilde remained oblivious to the end.

Hay There 3

Polkadotaroo!

Dots 1

Like most Ontario kids who were born in the 1970s and came of (childhood) age in the 1980s, I watched A LOT of The Polka Dot Door.  A production of TV Ontario (holy crap, when’s the last time you saw that name?) The Polka Dot Door was a children’s television show for the seven and under crowd that featured host-led songs and skits and play-acting, and this nutso recurring character by the name of the Polkaroo.  The conceit of the Polkaroo was that the male half of the girl-boy hosting duo would step out for a moment to perform some mundane errand – nip on down to the store for more apples, take out the trash, replace the broken round window in the actual polka dotted door.  Anything to get that guy out of there (toward the end of the show’s run, I remember thinking they had run out of things he just had to do right that very minute, because they were just, like, “Oh, him?  Um, he’s in the can!”)  Anyhow, a few moments after the male host stepped out the door, the Polkaroo magically appeared.  And the Polkaroo was pure nightmare fuel – weird, saggy, baggy plushie body, garish colours, inability to say anything other than “Polkaroo!”  I think he was supposed to be a polka dotted kangaroo, but I just thought he was tacky.

And also CLEARLY the dude half of the hosting team, because after the Polkaroo had blundered about for a bit, knocking things over, pissing off the female host and then learning an invaluable lesson about teamwork, he’d clear out and the male host would sweep back in, all “WhadidImiss?” and the music would hit this “wah-wahhhhhh” cue and the female host would look on in indulgent exasperation.

I really liked The Polka Dot Door – it was one of the better early childhood morality and socialization nudgers of the time – but the Polkaroo never sat well with me, I think because I knew I was being talked down to.  And just because it came with a little wink didn’t lessen the sting of feeling like adults were having one over on me.  Kids – they don’t like to be made to feel like dummies any more than you do!

Anyhow, these polka dotted nails, in a range of Fall-perfect holos, got me thinking about The Polka Dot Door, so that’s how we wound up with this post that has nothing to do with the manicure at hand (and on my hand.)  That a good enough tangent for ya?!  Tangentialicious!  And Polkaroo!

Dots 2

#TahaniTime

#TahaniTime

Anybody else out there watching The Good Place?  Very funny (and sweet, and enlightening, and thought-provoking) half-hour sitcom starring Kristen Bell as Eleanor, a woman who, upon her completely ignoble death – flattened by a boner pill truck while bending down to retrieve an errant bottle of Lonely Gal Margarita Mix that had rolled out of her shopping cart – is sent to The Good Place, a heaven-ish type neighbourhood filled with nothing but pleasant people, pleasant surroundings and pleasant, pleasant pleasantness, instead of The Bad Place, where she most likely belongs.  Because Eleanor in life was kind of a dick, although her time in The Good Place really begins to bring her around.

Anyhow, tangent there, because this manicure has nothing to do with Eleanor, but rather Eleanor’s gorgeous glamazon of a next door neighbour, British socialite and It Girl Tahani Al-Jamil (played by actress Jameela Jamil, who I’ve never seen in anything before, and I simply don’t know how, because she’s just fantastic.)

Tahani actually begins The Good Place as Eleanor’s nemesis, a smothering and seemingly insincere neighbour who makes everybody’s business her business and name-drops more often than she blinks.  But Tahani’s also deeply insecure, and all the mentions in the world – that time she brokered a peace accord between her friend Kanye, her good friend Taylor and her best friend Beyonce, the year she spent as Baz Luhrmann’s muse, the $60 billion she raised for charity – can’t compensate for a lifetime of emotional cruelty from her cold socialite parents.  But lord, does Tahani try.  Tries Eleanor’s patience, for one, although it quickly becomes clear that Tahani is the real deal – a genuinely good (if occasionally insufferable) person who lives – and lived – to help others.  And hey, if she could snog Ryan Gosling at the Met Ball while she was doing that – twice – then so much the better!  It’s hard to stay mad at that, and by the end of the first season (second season coming soon!) Tahani and Eleanor consider themselves friends.

One of my favourite things about Tahani, though, is her gigantic, enviable wardrobe of flouncy and floral – girlfriend wears an honest to goodness Belle dress to a first-night gathering in The Good Place, hosted by her, of course, because ain’t no party like a Tahani Al-Jamil party!  She’s quite the fashion plate (although she laments that her modelling career was so regrettably short-lived; seems her bosom was simply too ample for couture, the poor dear.)

These nails depict one of the many, many, many floral dresses Tahani wears on her adventures about The Good Place, a dusky blue number she pairs with a floppy, wide-brimmed hat, afternoon gloves and a picnic basket (stuffed with morale-boosting maple butter scones she passes out to the other residents following a bit of neighbourhood strife.)

Anyhow, big recommendation on The Good Place.  It also stars Ted Danson, and another group of fabulous unknowns – William Jackson Harper, D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto among them, and they’re all freaking hilarious (particularly D’Arcy Carden, who plays Janet, a Siri/Alexa-like informational assistant in The Good Place.)  Trust me, just watch it – it’s great. 🙂

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!

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

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!