Update: I’m (mostly) vegan now! How it will affect my blog and why it took me so damn long to take this path!

Before I start going on about why I’ve made this choice and explain the “mostly” part, I’ll just say

How it’s going to affect my blog

  1. I will be reviewing vegan stuff (obviously)
  2. I will not be deleting posts where I reviewed non-vegan things in the past since I don’t believe in pretending the past didn’t exist for various reasons
  3. I will be writing some posts about what it’s like transitioning.
  4. I will probably change the name of my blog again, but keep the format of writing reviews where I find things to complain about.

Now that that bit is done.. I want to add I’ve had this in my drafts for over two months. I’ve been very reluctant to tell others that I am vegan now because I don’t want them judging me and I don’t want to create uncomfortable situations with people who aren’t willing to listen and people who aren’t interested in learning. Just a warning that this will probably be one of my longest posts. I have only recently told some friends so I wouldn’t have to completely avoid social events or be stuck eating rabbit food. I also won’t be paying attention to any negative comments, you can make them, but I don’t give. You don’t have to read this after-all!

And now, let’s get this super long post started… I know I still won’t be able to say everything I need to say but at least it’s a start.

Why It Took Me So Damn Long To Take The Vegan Path

When I was a child, I remember I first wanted to become a vegetarian after seeing the movie Babe. I stopped eating pork after I saw that film, and probably would have gone further if I had more resolve, or if the people around me didn’t make it so difficult. I did like the taste of meat then. I don’t remember when I first learned meat came from animals, but I do remember being upset knowing that. I also remember trying to rationalize eating meat by convincing myself that all of the chickens I ate were boys (because they obviously needed the girls for eggs, right? WRONG), and all of the cows I ate were also boys (because they obviously needed the girls for milk, right? WRONG), and plenty of boys in school were mean to me, girls were nicer, so at least I wasn’t hurting girls (I know this was totally sexist and wrong, please do not judge who I was as a child that’s in the past). But alas, how very wrong I was. If I knew then what I knew now, I may have had enough resolve to have gone vegetarian around the age of 6 or 7.

Then when I was maybe 8 or 9 the first mad cow scare happened, and my mom wasn’t buying beef anymore. And I stopped eating beef, and have not eaten beef since, but I began eating pork again. There were other times I again tried to go vegetarian but it just didn’t work out, again, because of my own resolve lacking and because of those around me making it difficult. I was still never one to make fun of vegetarians, I always respected vegetarians for being able to do something I had wanted to do for so long. I didn’t quite get vegans and thought they were crazy when I first learned about people who thought taking milk and eggs hurt animals or was bad for them.

I first learned about the horrors of factory farms when I was in high school. I still didn’t eat beef, but had somehow convinced myself it was alright to kill animals, but that they should live happy lives before being killed. I begged my mom to buy free-range and organic animal products (I later learned these labels are LIES) but she wouldn’t because it was expensive. Sometime around then our family also visited a farm museum, it was either upstate or in Vermont. There I learned that on normal commercial farms as soon as hens’ egg production drops entire rows of them are sent off to slaughter, and that if the yolk is a pale yellow it means the chicken had a terrible diet. I was also told that in order to get milk, the calf had to be separated from its mother as soon as possible after birth, otherwise the cow won’t let anyone else milk her.  I didn’t like this, but it didn’t quite wake me up yet. There were a number of things stressing me out when I was in high school, my insane drive to work hard, all of the clubs I was in, and dealing with undiagnosed Crohn’s disease.

Later in college, I learned about factory farms again in some pamphlets from some group. They urged that even eating less meat would help cut down on factory farms (which is true), and I wanted to, but again, I didn’t want to start problems with my mom, I was also dealing with undiagnosed Chron’s disease at the time and there were a lot of things I couldn’t eat to begin with. I couldn’t drink the most widely available vegan milks (because carrageenan gave me flares), the same went for a lot of creamy dairy products, very fibrous food, and raw plant food. Plus I was weak and hardly had energy to do much. My dad told me to stop thinking about factory farms and all of the bad things happening it since I couldn’t make it stop, and because there wasn’t much I could eat to begin with. He also told me that the animal you eat lives on within you, and that the native americans thanked the animals they killed. I didn’t understand why they had to have such miserable lives, but I chose not to think about it. Stress would give me flares too. I know it’s no excuse, but I didn’t have the energy or capacity to try going vegetarian again, or to try and incorporate more vegan food into my diet.

When I finally got diagnosed with Chron’s and went on medication, things got better. Then I had some flares again, and my doctor put me on cimzia, a biologic medicine, and I’ve been doing so much better since. I can eat just about anything now (though I’m still afraid to try things with carrageenan in them, or eat too much of them), and I have energy to keep going all day at conventions and other things (I didn’t have this before). Maybe it’s been about three years that I’ve been doing better.

For the past year or so (last semester of my master’s degree), I’d gotten fed up of living at home and not having as much control over my life as I’d like. I’d gotten tired of asking my mom to cook more vegetarian food on occasion and not being able to cook things for myself because of how disorganized and cramped our kitchen is. Then, I think a couple of months ago (sometime this April) a friend posted this video to my wall on facebook, it was of a small child, perhaps 3 years old asking why an octopus had to die for food. Then for whatever reason, I decided to click one of the links in the description, and watched this video (warning, it’s long but worth the watch).  I don’t agree with everything the speaker said, but he made a lot of good points.

I realized that as children, just like we aren’t born racist, we aren’t born wanting to kill and eat animals either. These things exist because they’ve somehow become ingrained into society over generations and generations. We may have needed to go hunting in our nomadic days, and even sometimes after we settled down and learned farming techniques if there was a particularly hostile winter, other environmental conditions or warfare resulting in the destruction of crops. But in the society that we live in today, there’s no need for meat at all. All eating meat does is harm countless animals, the environment and even other humans. If land and water wasn’t being utilized to feed livestock, it could be used to feed people. It takes over 10lbs of grain to produce 1lb of beef. It also increases water consumption because you need water to grow the grain, and the cows need water to drink. Land in the rainforests is being cut down to raise cattle, and to grow food to feed them.

I really wanted to go vegan then. But I didn’t want to start problems with my mom… then I snapped around the end of April or the beginning of May and stopped eating meat. I had a small fight with my mom over it, and she’s forgotten once or twice, but I think it was worth it.  As good as any dish might look, thinking about what goes on in these factory farms (and for no reason at that) makes my stomach turn. My desire for most of these foods has gone because I realized I don’t need them, and that they aren’t worth the suffering they cause. I might miss the taste and texture of some foods, but at the end of the day I’ve realized that my appetite and whatever fleeting pleasure I might get out of the dish is not worth making an innocent sentient being suffer and die. I slowly phased out milk (in products, I’d stopped drinking it when I learned about the pus in it) and eggs over a month or so when I was adjusting to reading the packaging on labels. Now that I’ve finally moved out this month, my kitchen is vegan, and I’ve made the rule that I’m not allowing non-vegan food in my house. My fiance can eat what he wants when we go out or when he goes out, but in our apartment he’s vegan with me. That wasn’t forced on him, he agreed to it, doesn’t mind and us open to trying it with me. He’s told me he’d like to be able to reach the same mental state I have where he can give up non-animal products altogether. He does like animals too and wants to be nicer to them.

tl;dr – It took me so long to go vegan because in order to made a bit of an extreme life change you need to be at a place in life where you can think things over and are open minded enough to do so, you need to have full access to accurate information, and you need the resolve to do it. It’s experiencing an enlightenment.. it may be possible for everyone, but you have to work towards it until the conditions in your life are what they need to be and until you’re internally and physically ready in order for it to happen.

About the “mostly” part

The main reason is that I’m calling myself mostly vegan is because strangely enough giving up fish was more difficult for me than giving up cheese. I think because it’s easier to feel empathy for a cow than a fish. I still don’t really feel -that- bad for fish, but I know I don’t need them to die for me to live. I still may stray and eat fish a few times a year but it’s not my preference and I would not order fish when going out to eat. I would like to eliminate fish from my diet completely one day.

The second reason that I’m using the word “mostly” is because of super militant vegans on the internet (some of which will probably find this post and call me names), and ones I’ve known in real life saying that to be vegan you must not buy products that contain sugar that aren’t organic, because normal refined sugar is sifted trough bone char. So no, technically non-organic white cane sugar isn’t vegan. I respect those who abstain from it and companies seeking to use vegan sugar and sweeteners in their products. But I logically believe that they are not killing cows to make bone char for the sugar companies. If everyone stopped eating cows, their bones would not be so cheap, and that it would be cheaper for them to refine their sugar in a vegan friendly manner. And if one is to avoid this kind of sugar entirely, it makes going vegan more difficult unless you have tons of money, or don’t buy any prepackaged foods and make everything yourself from scratch. If going vegan seems too difficult, it may drive away many people who are curious or want to try. But if continuing to consume products with sugar in them makes it easier for people to not eat products that have obvious animal products in them like milk, meat or eggs, it’s still benefiting the animals. So yes, I still eat Oreos and spicy sweet chili Doritos despite their added sugar because it makes it easier for me to stay vegan (otherwise), at least until I find other snacks that are just as affordable and satisfying.

Other reasons are because I have mixed opinions on hunting. I have a greater issue with animals being farmed. I’d rather an animal (or myself, assuming aliens were eating humans) live it’s life free up until it’s death instead of living a comfortable peaceful life (like on a “nice” farm) and then experience a massive betrayal upon death. I might consider eating hunted meat as long as it was done so in an environmentally responsible way, but I would still rather not. I also don’t have an issue with eggs that come from rescued hens or chickens that are kept as pets that will still be cared for and loved even when they stop producing eggs. If some random animal wanted to eat my bloody tampons and pads I’d give it to them because I was just going to throw it away anyway. It’s not like an unfertilized egg is that different. Some vegans also abstain from honey, which I respect, but I’m ok with honey as long as the queen’s wings aren’t clipped, and as long as the bees are not killed off in the winter (I’ve read some beekeepers do this), but really only as a remedy for when there isn’t really anything else that will soothe a sore throat. Otherwise I’m in favor of embracing the 1/4 of Canadian blood that flows in my veins and using maple syrup everywhere I’d use honey otherwise 🙂

There’s also the bit about me still slowly phasing out things like shampoo, deodorant, and cleaning products that are tested on animals or contain animal products. Keeping the food thing in check is already not the easiest thing to do, and if I had to find new replacements right away I’d probably go insane and give up all together. As I find brands and products (as well as options I can make myself) that are affordable I’ll start to incorporating them into what I purchase.

The Good That’s Come Out of This

  • It does make a difference. Sure, my mom hasn’t gone vegan too, but she was willing to try more vegan dishes and was cooking slightly less meat when I was still living at home. My fiance’s sister tried baking vegan brownies because he told her I went vegan, and now his family loves those brownies and being able to lick the bowl without fear of getting salmonella from raw egg. Every vegan meal makes a difference to the animals. There are other little things I can’t quite recall, but people who care about you may make small changes for you. This is why I know I have to start telling more people I am vegan despite me still not wanting to.
  • I’ve tried a lot of new interesting food that I never would have thought to try if I didn’t do this! In some ways limiting yourself (though I hate to call choosing not to pay people to abuse and kill animals for you “limiting”), forces you to become more creative. Expect blog entries about some of my weird crazy delicious vegan foods.
  • I am one step closer on my life long mission to becoming friends with ALL the animals.
  • I don’t feel weird guilt whenever I get new information about how factory farming is screwing up the environment, harming animals or doing things like spraying pig feces on poor POC.
  • Winning arguments with hardheaded “logical” people. It takes a while, but if they’re a bit open minded and educated, and YOU are fully educated and able to answer their questions and refute their claims, you can get them to realize the only real reasons for eating meat are taste and that it’s what you’re used to, and that it does cause unnecessary harm to people, animals and our planet. Sure they might not stop eating meat, but at least now they won’t go around making false claims because they know they are false. (The teacher in me is always in favor of education anyway)
  • The enlightenment bit–  it’s hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it. I never knew how much power food had over me, or how even one person can make a difference without becoming a big activist. It might be the closest I get to nirvana in this lifetime, but at least now I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

So yeah, that’s all I really have for now even though there’s a lot more I still want to say. I just can’t find a way to without this getting massively disorganized. If you know me personally and have read this in full, thanks, you really did not have to endure all of this rambling ❤

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

Victorian Smut (Book) Reviews: Venus in Furs and Monsieur Venus

So I said I was going to review Venus in Furs at some point when I wrote my review of the film version of the play that came out fairly recently, but since then I’ve also come across another great find, Monsieur Venus.

Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

I’m not quite sure what made me read this book. It was probably my disgust at the terrible taste of the masses that got off to the 50 Shades series. Subject matter aside, what I’ve read of that trash was just so terribly written. You could find better smut fanfics written online, FOR FREE. But I think I also wanted something victorian. Banned books are always alluring (though they can turn out to be crap), and taboo Victorian things are also kind of alluring. Venus in Furs happened to be both of those things.

The story centers around the masochist (the word actually comes from the author’s name, as a result of this book) Severin von Kusiemski. He’s so infatuated (he calls it love) with his neighbor, a young widow, Wanda von Dunajew that if he cannot be her husband, he’d be more than happy to be her slave. His biggest turn on being dominant women in fur. They start a courtship of starts, and Wanda has no desire to get married, so eventually they come to an agreement where Severin will be her slave. As time passes she gets crueler and crueler, and he claims to want to love and worship her more and more for it, but eventually he starts to dislike it, while liking it at the same time (I was a bit confused by it). The ending isn’t exactly a happy one (I won’t spoil it), and basically ends with the sentiment that because society doesn’t allow women education and other rights, they can never truly be equal to men, or superior to them.

I’ll say it was beautifully written, like a lot of victorian novels tend to be. It’s way more than just smut, it was filled with references, usually of dominant women, in famous pieces of art, Greek and Roman mythology, as well as other biblical refrences. It really delves into how society affects the relationships between men and women, and the power held in relationships. It served as a bit of a history lesson too, and you’ll learn the names of lots of animals that made popular fur items back in the day. Seriously, all this damn guy does is go on and on about his fur fetish.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This…

  • I got some fedora vibes at times. It seemed like Severin had this idealized vision of the perfect woman in his mind, and that he was compelling Wanda to be that way to please him rather than for her to be that way for her own enjoyment. I could possibly see him sending some straight white boy texts in today’s time. Particularly one of those guys just asking any pretty girl to be his mistress, or if she likes submissive guys before even getting to know her.
  • The ending wasn’t satisfying. Though I do get that it ended the way it did because the author wasn’t happy with the way society was treating women.
  • I’m not a fan of fur.

Overall, I’d say that this book is definitely worth reading. And you can read it online, FOR FREE. I read it here, though it is available on numerous other websites. Sadly it’s not easy to find at libraries or book stores for some reason.

Monsieur Venus by Rachilde, or Marguerite Vallette-Eymery

A while after reading Venus in Furs, I really wanted something similar, but written by a woman (to avoid the fedora problems the former novel had) or in the female gaze, I searched and eventually saw someone on a message board recommend Monsieur Venus. They warned that it was violent, and that the ending was disturbing, but that it was a great read otherwise. Sadly I couldn’t find it online for free in English, only in the original French. I caved and bought it off of amazon, if you plan on getting it, make sure you get this version, as it’s the only English translation of the non-censored edition available.

The story centers around a very bold (and unusual) French noblewoman, Raoule de Vénérande. While commissioning a grown for an event she falls for a poor artist, Jacques Silvert. But she doesn’t love him as a woman loves a man, she loves him as a man loves a woman, with herself being the man and Jacques being the woman. They start a relationship, and as time goes on she breaks down his masculinity and makes him her mistress. She goes to great lengths to dress as a man and has him dress as a woman. The relationship does get abusive, as Raoule often gets jealous. They do marry,  and I won’t reveal too much more. But I will say, I knew the ending was going to be messed up, but it was not what I was expecting at all. I could never have fathomed the ending on my own. “Fucked up, but heavily symbolic and powerful” is how I’d describe it.

It was well written but a very heavy read. I’m actually going to go back and read it a second time because I don’t think it’s all quite sunk in. There’s a lot of philosophy about how gender roles aren’t natural or normal, and neither is traditional heterosexual sexual intercourse for that matter. The novel upset a lot of people, later versions were censored. A Belgian court sentenced the author to two years in prison for pornographic content (it’s not pornographic by today’s standards though). Unfortunately it somehow faded into obscurity, and it seems to be practically unknown outside of genderstudies circles.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This…

  • It faded into obscurity (along with the author) when they should not have.
  • The ending was sad. There was so much symbolism in the ending though.

This is probably the most unique book I’ve ever read in my life. I fully recommend it. ALSO, if you’ve read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, you should be familiar with the infamous “yellow book” that corrupted Dorian’s mind. I did some reading about the life of Rachilde, it turns out she and Wilde were friends and that he was a huge fan of Monsieur Venus (SOURCE), having read it before he wrote Dorian Grey. It’s very likely that the yellow book was Monsieur Venus, it may have even helped to corrupt Oscar Wilde himself. I’m completely in love with the fact that it was the work of a (genderqueer) woman that did it.

If you’ve read Dorian Grey and enjoyed it, I think you’re morally obligated to read Monsieur Venus. It’s made me want to go back and read Dorian Grey again. Although I will say, Dorian Grey is a PG-rated family friendly story for all ages when compared to Monsieur Venus.. which would probably be a heavy R at minimum.

DO IT, READ THE YELLOW BOOK!!!

Leave a comment »

Game Review: Pokemon Shuffle

I’m almost hesitant to call this a game review.. I’ll explain in a bit.

Pokemon Shuffle, is a free downloadable title from the Nintendo e-shop for any member of the Nintendo 3DS family. It came out in February, but I put of getting it  (or touching videogames in general) until this past weekend because I didn’t need anymore distractions from schoolwork before my midterms.

By matching like pokemon together you do damage to the opponent, and if you clear the stage you get a chance to catch the pokemon. If you have more moves leftover at the end, your chance of catching it increases. There are also special timed stages, if you have extra time at the end your chances of winning go up. In general the game plays a lot like candy crush, aka it’s a free to play, pay to win game.

Just by playing through the game you’ll get some coins, which you can use to buy temporary bonuses and upgrades in the game. You’ll also get jewels far less often which you can use to buy more coins, or more hearts. You need one heart to play one round, you max out at 5 hearts, and it takes 30minutes for each heart to recharge.

There’s also a streetpass feature. It doesn’t really do anything besides letting you see the playtime and number of pokemon other players have caught. You sometimes get hearts, jewels and coins for getting streetpasses. And there are also special stages that are only up for a limited time that you can download each day, they usually give you coins for doing that also.

And now that I’ve described the game, let’s get to…

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • I never thought Nintendo would put out free to play, pay to win nonsense. I’d like if this game had a free version, and a version you could pay $30 or so for and have unlimited life.
  • I want to be able to unwind and play this game for an hour but I cannot because I’m too cheap. Why the hell is Nintendo trying to be like King or Zynga?? I expect better of them. Hell, they’re already being like EA with all that Hyrule Warriors DLC… (I’ll rant on that another time)
  • I think this is just Nintendo using us as guinea pigs to test out what games they’ll be putting on smart phones, aka more of this pay to win nonsense that doesn’t have the option of buying a full version.
  • The tutorials at the start of the game are kind of annoying.
  • It’s impossible to clear many of the special limited stages early on when you haven’t caught stronger pokemon yet. And it’s not like you can play for an hour straight and get the strong pokemon you need to because of the pay to win bullshit they have going.
  • I looked through the pokemon list, in addition to seeing everything you’ve caught, you can see silhouettes of what you have not caught. There does not appear to be a silhouette of wooper or quagsire. Games that came out before Gold/Silver are the only games that should not contain wooper and quagsire. I might be more angry about this game not having wooper in it than I am about the pay to win nonsense. If you find wooper in the game feel free to correct me, but for now I’ll stay pissed about it.

Overall, this game is enjoyable except for your lives needing to recharge and the pay to win nonsense in general. Get it if you want a free game with pokemon in it. But let Nintendo know we don’t want them to be like King or Zynga. Don’t waste any of your e-shop balance on jewels. WE EXPECT BETTER FROM YOU NINTENDO!!! YOU ARE ABOVE THIS!!!

Leave a comment »

Review: Ramen-Ya

I needed to celebrate being done with midterms this weekend. It was either going to be ramen or trekking to NJ for Mitsuwa. We didn’t want to go to Sapporo again (I’ll write them a review eventually) since we’d been there a bunch of times, and didn’t feel like going to Jersey, so we decided to try Ramen-Ya, a new place we read about somewhere online, or maybe a friend posted pictures of their food on facebook and it made me hungry, I’m not that sure now…

Shio Black with Chicken

Shio Black with Chicken

I got the Shio Black with chicken, and Scott got the Shio Spicy with pork. We also had some tofu vegetable gyoza but we were too hungry at the time to remember to take a picture. The gyoza were probably the best vegetable gyoza I’ve had, granted I haven’t had vegetable gyoza from too many other places. The edamame in them was especially nice. But let’s get back to the ramen.

Shin Spicy with Pork

Shio Spicy with Pork

We both opted for Shio because Scott said he heard good things about it. The pork version comes with thin noodles, the chicken version comes with thick egg noodles. The thick noodles that came with mine were really good, the broth was also really flavorful and good. The only topping I wasn’t crazy about is the egg, but I’ve never been a fan of hard boiled/poached eggs in ramen anyway. I also wish it came with bamboo shoots and that you didn’t have to pay extra for them. I also wasn’t exactly full when I finished my ramen, Scott was good though. I can’t talk about his noodles since I didn’t try them, but I did try some of his broth, it was too spicy for me. I also tried some of his pork chasu, it was nice and tender, and easily fell apart, but doesn’t beat Sapporo’s in my opinion.  I almost wish I opted for the pork version since I liked it better than the chicken chasu I got. I just wish there was some way I could get thick noodles with pork. Maybe if I overcome some of my social awkwardnesses I’ll be able to ask when we go back sometime. Scott said he loved his choice overall, that the broth wasn’t too salty, and that he loved how tender the pork was.

As far as the location goes, it was pretty small. We got there shortly after they opened so it wasn’t too crowded, but can see it getting pretty cramped when they’re busy. Still can’t wait to go back there again for another relaxed quiet ramen date 🙂

Leave a comment »

Anime Review: Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! (Binan Kōkō Chikyū Bōei-bu Love!)

Since the name of this show is long, I have dubbed it Mahou Shounen, or Magical Boys.

When I first saw the artwork, before a description was up, I thought it was going to be another weird reverse harem or otome anime with really effeminate guys. Then I found out that this show was about magical boys, I had to watch it. I was expecting it to be really funny, or really gay, or some combination of both. In the end, this anime turned out to be far better than anything I expected. It got better and better as the weeks went by.

The plot is very contrived, a bunch of bros are forced by a talking pink alien wombat to become magical boys, or “Battle Lovers” and fight the forces of evil, with the power of love. Later we get to meet the bad guys, who have a green talking alien hedgehog helping them out. But the plot isn’t even that important, you don’t watch Mahou Shounen the plot, you watch it because it is the best parody of the magical girl genre ever.

magicalboys2

You know how you may have wondered, and still probably wonder how no one knew Usagi/Serena was Sailor Moon when all she does is change her damn outfit? Well, Mahou Shounen explains that. The wombat’s alien technology disguises their faces and their voices to everyone but themselves, as seen above. There are plenty of other instances of things like this happening.

Also, contrary to what I was expecting, Mahou Shounen wasn’t that gay while being totally gay at the same time. Think of it as being about a bunch of bromances, you know, those relationships guys have that are gay and not gay at the same time. Following this theme, there was not a single female character in the show ever. Not even in the background. Every character in this show, background or otherwise, was a guy. Anyway, not it’s time for…

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • When you finish this show it will leave a void in you that can never be filled
  • I missed my chance to preorder keychains of the characters on amiami, there also don’t seem to be figures out yet.
  • This show is one of those rare gems seldom found in anime land. It is the kind of show that raises your standards,  but once that happens it’s easier for you to see what shit everything else is *sigh*

That’s about it. I really don’t have anything bad to say about Magical Boys… it is one of those rare unique shows you can’t help but love and appreciate. I really hope we get a few more seasons, or a movie, even though the ending did conclude everything. It even filled a plot hole they could have simply ignored. It is truly a rare gem, possibly one that is too good and pure for this world.

Leave a comment »

Movie Reviews: Venus in Fur, and My Mistress

So while losers and people with bad taste are out seeing 50 Shades of Grey today, I figured that I’d review some more off the radar slightly kinky films. Both are undoubtedly better than 50 Shades of Grey. I can say this without seeing 50 Shades of Grey, as just about everything else is better than that dumb movie. So let’s get on with the reviews.

Venus in Fur

This film is based on the stage play based on the novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The word “masochist” actually comes from the author’s last name. But let’s get to the plot synopsis.

A stage play based on the novel is in the works, but the director is having trouble finding a woman capable of playing the leading lady. It’s getting late, and he’s just about to head home when a woman arrives very late for auditions. He doesn’t want to let her read, but she begs him and convinces him to give her a shot. It starts out funny, but from there on things get interesting. Slowly she begins taking control of everything while reading her role. She prevents him from going home to his fiance, and seems to know a bit too much about certain things, everything actually. At some point it’s not laughs anymore and surprisingly hot, or possibly still funny depending on your taste (or lack thereof). The ending confused me initially, but after I slept on it and talked about it with a friend I realized what was going on.

The acting was great. Mathieu Amalric is either an amazing actor or a submissive guy in real life, or both. He was able to replicate this look guys get in their eyes when they’re absolutely transfixed by a woman. I’ve never really seen a man do this in a movie before. He was also great at playing a guy who was in denial about what he really wanted, playing off his innermost desires as something else less embarrassing to admit to. And Emmanuelle Seigner did a really good job of playing a manipulative, controlling and possibly crazy woman without coming off as annoying or as a bitch. If I spoke French I could probably better judge their acting, but over all it was very well done. The music was also great and added a lot to the crazy  mind-fuck feel the film had to it.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This:

  • It’s not really a true rendition of the novel, it’s a movie about the play of a play about the novel.
  • The ending confused me for about a day.
  • As great as Mathiew Amalric performance was, I didn’t find him that attractive.
  • If you haven’t read the novel, you probably won’t appreciate this film as much as you would, had you read the novel.
  • The director, Roman Polanski, is a rapist. Just getting the word out about that since these days everyone only seems to be talking about Bill Cosby.

However, I will add that the ending was much more satisfying than the end of the novel. I found this movie enjoyable overall, but feel bad recommending it because the director is a scumbag.

My Mistress

This is an Australin indie film about the odd relationship between an older teenage boy, Charlie, and an older French-Australian woman, Maggie. (I’m presuming Charlie’s character was of the legal age to consent in Australia, but I’m not quite sure). It starts off with Charlie discovering that his father’s killed himself right around Christmas (but it’s the summer since they’re in Australia), he seems to have a shaky relationship with his mother, plus he has the idiot teenage boy thing going on. After he sees his mom making out with his father’s best friend at his father’s funeral he flips out. Then he takes a job as a gardener at a house down the road for Maggie, a professional dominatrix. He’s overly curious about the BDSM lifestyle and “convinces” her to let him take part in it. The film also goes into Maggie’s past a little bit, it seems child services have her young son because she had a drug problem in the past. She’s sobered up and is working to get custody back.

What I found the most odd about this movie is that Charlie isn’t really a submissive guy. He was manipulative and had several angsty teenage tantrums. Instead of being polite about getting Maggie to whip him, he breaks into her house, handcuffs himself, and refuses to spit the key out of his mouth until she makes him do so.  It was more like he was curious about BDSM and wanted to do whatever he had to experience it. I didn’t think it’d be like that from the trailer. On a positive note, unlike the 50 Shades series, the movie did at least imply continuing to beat someone after they’ve used the safeword is wrong.

This was more of a story about two messed up individuals dealing with issues and trying to ease their pain by using each other. It’s not like the first half hour of The Graduate, and they’re not really a couple I could ship, despite them having some happy moments together.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • The relationship was kind of messed up, but I think that’s what they were going for.
  • The trailer was kind of misleading.
  • I would’ve liked if they went more into Maggie’s backstory, we didn’t really get that much. They also didn’t make it seem like she liked or disliked her job at all, or if she got anything out of it besides money.
  • The ending was reasonable given the story, but it was just meh.
  • Again, Charlie wasn’t actually a submissive guy. A true submissive guy is supposed to put his dom/domme’s wants ahead of his own, Charlie was pretty selfish most of the time. And he never got his rude behavior beaten out of him.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend this or not. It was nice to see something different, but it wasn’t especially amazing.

Leave a comment »

A Belated Post On MAGfest

I am so proud of myself. I have always wanted to do a convention write up but always forget to do so in a timely fashion. BUT NOT THIS TIME! IT’S MAGFEST POST TIME!

Originally I wasn’t that eager to go to MAGfest, I really only wanted to go because of peer pressure. I thought it was gonna be lots of long lines to play video games. I love video games, but I hate long lines. I also didn’t think there’d be a lot of cosplay going on. I figured the best thing going on would be partying with my friends.

What I was psyched about was our Sci-Fi & Anime club chartering a bus to take everyone there. It was a million times better than hauling our bags to Manhattan and getting a bus to D.C, and then a cab to the hotel. The seats were pretty damn comfortable and the bus ride was fun because the bus was full of cool people! Except for that one guy I won’t name who was late and publicly shamed and chided for being late.

I also got more excited about MAGfest when I found out about MAGfest Pokemon League. I bred and trained a bunch of competitive pokemon the week before and leveled them up on the busride. A friend of mine was also kind enough to help me out by gifting me a few of his pokemon, but he was a loser and didn’t give them all the awesome nicknames I thought up to spite me. It was quite sad since I take pride in coming up with fun nicknames, but all is forgiven. I even got him a keychain of his favorite pokemon in the dealers room to say thanks, but let’s continue!

When we got to the Gaylord National Resort I was really shocked at how huge it was. I knew it was huge and had seen pictures, but I didn’t think it was as huge as it was. I could post pictures but you really need to see it in person to understand.

After checking in the first thing we did was sign up at the Pokemon table for team Aqua, and I entered my pokemon team  so I could battle gym leaders. I challenged the electric gym because there wasn’t a line. I wasn’t sure if I’d win because it was my first time battling these guys (or seriously battling in general), but my based quagsire, Swagsire, wiped out the gym and I got a badge! I lost every other gym battle for the duration of the convention, but it was ok I still had fun and Ash-earned a badge on Sunday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

badges on my team rocket hat: poison, electric,  and a tsun-tsun moon button that is not a badge, but is cool enough to be one.

Basically Sunday morning we found the Poison gym in an non-standard location. I lost 3-0, but he gave me the badge anyway because he said he was leaving early! The normal gym leader was fun. I would have won against him if I remembered wigglytuff was also fairy type. I would have done better in general if I knew more about pokemon that came after gen II, but I still had fun. Hopefully I’ll get some actual badges next year!

On Saturday we cosplayed Team rocket for fun, and because it’s a relatively easy cosplay. To my surprise there were a lot of serious cosplayers running around. I didn’t take too many photos though. Here’s one of us with more team rocket members. I regret not bringing my mew and wooper poke-dolls.

magfestteamrocketOn Saturday we also went to a Katamari music pannel, the composers were taking question with the aid of a Japanese-English translator. I don’t think anyone asked them about drugs. If I wasn’t running on very little sleep I would have considered asking if hallucinogens or any other kind of substance played a role. The best “question” was one student telling them the song You Are Smart helped him study for his finals. The composers were also really surprised they had so many fans outside of Japan, it was kind of adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe also saw the band Lonely Rolling Stars later that day. They were pretty good, but they needed more and stronger vocals for most of their songs. And having the lyrics up at the end of their cover of Lonely Rolling Star would’ve helped the audience sing along like they seemed to have wanted us to. I wanted to sing along, but remembering Japanese lyrics is always something I’ve struggled with. That evening we saw the end of The Megas before we saw some of Powerglove.

Sunday we spent some time in the indie game room. My favorite indie game was Shutshimi. You play as goldfish with guns and shoot things. The levels go by really quickly, it’s not that easy to describe, but I really enjoyed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also spent some time in the actual game room, which was huge. We did it either early in the day or late at night when it wasn’t as crowded. They had actual computers from the 80’s there with 80’s games on them. Tons of old arcade games. Tons of rhythm games. And all of it was free. I liked it, but you have to go at an odd time of day to not spend forever waiting for people to finish so you can get a turn. That type of thing brings back too many painful childhood memories of me waiting for my cousin to give me a turn on Super Mario 64.

On Sunday we also took a detour and visited the big ferris wheel we saw when we arrived!

988462_10153077393148033_2448654728045563879_n

There was also a Peeps store. We had to go. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday evening we went to see The Protomen concert. Earlier at the con we stopped by their table in the dealer’s room. Scott bought their album on a cassette tape (it came with a download code as well) and a t-shirt. He’d seen them before a couple of years and was adorably excited to be seeing them live again.  I think Scott being adorably excited to go was my favorite thing about the con 🙂 He also played some of their songs for me years ago, which I wasn’t that crazy about. They were much better live. It was a really fun concert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

woopwoop

The lights made my wooper keychain all glowy and I thought it was cool. Don’t judge me.

The concert was especially fun because things kept breaking, but they just kept going along with it. All of the songs were great. They even did a pretty decent Queen cover. And I’m pretty harsh critic when it comes to Queen covers. Scott said the audience could have been into it more, but I’d blame that on a lot of them just going because it was another concert they could easily get into, or to check the band out. It wasn’t just fans who knew all of their songs like at a concert you’d pay for. After going to this I’d absolutely pay to go see them live if they ever come back to play in NYC. I’m still not crazy about their studio recordings, and wish the lyrics were a bit easier to understand, but I don’t care that much. Also since I haven’t played the mega man games it’d be nice if someone made a summary of what story line the game actually has, and what The Protomen expanded for their rock opera. I still don’t have much of an idea as to what their story line is, but again, I don’t care that much because they put on a fun show.

Monday we spent a little bit more time in the game room before we left in hopes of beating the impending Snowmageddon happening back in New York. Overall it was a fun convention. Next year I want to focus more on concerts, and hope to win more badges… assuming I can go next year 🙂 (I think it’s a yes)

Bought him last minute on Monday!

Bought him last minute on Monday! His stand is actually upside down, and I did fix it, but I’m too lazy to take another photo.

Leave a comment »