Monthly Archives: December 2013

Red

Home for the holidays!  Well…for my birthday at least.  Chanukah is long gone.

I just wanted to write today about one thing.  A book I saw in the YA section of Barnes & Noble the other day that I think you should know about.  It’s called Red.  The author’s name is Alison Cherry.  And here is the synopsis for you:

Felicity St. John has it all: loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:
I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say strawberry blond. Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

This is a published book.  THIS.  I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover (or the blurb on the back), but I am judging away.  THIS book is published, and I am struggling.  How is that even remotely fair?  There are even positive reviews at the bottom of its page on the B&N website.  I mean, I’m not saying it’s terrible.  I haven’t read it.  Maybe it’s pretty good, or a successful satire, but I don’t really care right now because LOOK AT THE SYNOPSIS!  It’s about a girl with dyed red hair who doesn’t want people to know she dyes her hair!!  Jeez!

Okay I’m done.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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The Horrors of Anthropomorphic Food

Just a quick reminder that I created an Etsy shop and it is well stocked.  I added some new stuff, including two pairs of earrings.  Click back to the previous post to read all about it or just click here to have my shop open in a new tab.  I don’t have a lot of ways to advertise, so even if you don’t buy anything, if you could share the link around it’d be much appreciated [EDIT 12/31/14: I closed my Etsy shop because I’m a quitter.  Sorry].

On to the post, which has nothing to do with writing.  I just want to get something off my chest:

Selling food in commercials by anthropomorphizing that food is horrific!  Please stop!

There are three offenders I want to talk about today, though I’m sure there are more that I should include.  Think I’ve forgotten an important one?  Let me know in the comments.

1. M&Ms

The thing I hate about anthropomorphized food is that we’ve taken something we eat and given it the chance to either scream and fight back or smile pleasantly, as if ignorant of its obvious fate.  M&Ms fall into the former category.  Commercial after commercial has presented our two male protagonists – Red and Yellow – finding themselves in various situations where they are about to be eaten alive.  And we are supposed to find this funny.

M&Ms

In this image I took from a recent commercial, the female, brown M&M is at a party.  She learns there is a woman there – Kristin – whom she should “steer clear of” because “she can’t control herself around chocolate.”  This goes from bad to worse when it cuts to Brown setting Red up with this woman.  The commercial ends with the woman – Kristin – dragging Red outside.  Red even comments “Oo strong grip.  OW!”

So let’s break it down: One living chocolate is casually told to avoid a person at a party because that person will straight up murder her with her teeth.  Then, knowing this, the brown chocolate arranges for the murder of the red chocolate.  There’s no other way to see this.  We are supposed to laugh as the red M&M is dragged to his slow and painful death.

I could go on to talk about how the two female M&Ms – Green and Brown – are portrayed as sex objects, but I honestly don’t even want to touch that one.  Let’s just move on.

2. Frosted Mini Wheats

Frosted Mini Wheats’ mascot used to be a two-faced, M&Ms-esque cartoon.  I tried to find a picture or an old commercial on Google and YouTube respectively, but could not.  So we’ll just move on.  The current Frosted Mini Wheats commercials have taken on a new advertising tactic – make the cereal pieces seem like little smart-making shoulder angels for children.  I guess some scientist found somewhere that eating a food consisting entirely of stuff your body can’t process or take nutrients from – pure fiber and sugar – was  a surefire way to help kids concentrate and learn.  And how do they convey this?  With adorable little cereal squares that have smiling faces, legs, arms…

Frosted Mini Wheats

…and a total acceptance of the fact that they are going to die very soon.  Here you can see them lounging in a hot bowl of milk.  The blue one and the pink one actually start off outside the bowl and they choose to get in with the others rather than run for their lives.  What the advertisers want you to think is: Oh, that cereal would taste good with warm milk.  What you should think is: Oh, all those cereal pieces are perfectly happy to be eaten alive.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare with this:

3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Just look at this picture here.  But be prepared to lose your appetite.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Yep.  Cinnamon Toast Crunch decided to take this to a whole new level.  Not only do their cereal pieces have faces and limbs, but they actively cannibalize each other.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch 2

Cinnamon toast crunch 3

See?  They eat each other.  They friggin eat each other!!!  How is that okay?  How does anyone see this and think, “Hmm…I see.  The cereal is so delicious that it can’t even resist eating itself.  I fully intend to buy a box, and I hope I only find one piece inside of it, having just finished polishing off its brethren.  And then after I eat that one piece, I’m going to murder some hydrangeas.”

I will end as I started: Please stop!

Word of the Day: Anthropomorphic (adj) – ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity.

Oh my!  What is this?  That’s right it’s a comic!

Writer's-Block-Strip-39

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Hopefully Won’t End up on Regretsy

[EDIT 12/31/14: I’m leaving this post up because I at one point took the time to write it, and also because no one should ever forget that Sarah Palin hates Chanukah, but I have since closed my Etsy shop.  I am a quitter.  Sorry.]

You probably don’t know this, but the holidays are right around the corner.  If you need a reminder that Sarah Palin thinks Christmas is way more important to the world than Chanukah (or any other religious holiday that falls around this time of year), you need only look as far as this book she wrote.  Please do click on that link.  Scroll down to the bottom to find soundbites from the audiobook.  Her nasally voice will teach you all about how the attempts to recognize more religions than Christianity in our country are jeopardizing our religious freedom.  As a Jew, I find this acceptable.  I mean, between hearing “Merry Christmas” from the teenager who just put my groceries in a bag, and hearing “Happy Holidays,” I’d definitely go with “Merry Christmas.”  Everyone knows a Jewish person’s comfort zone is being ignored, oppressed, demeaned, or belittled.

Anyway, more important than Sarah Palin: Anything really!

And more important than that: For the holidays I decided to make all my female coworkers glass pendants, since I have access to a small flameworking studio and I know how to do a bit of flameworking.

The thing is, I made way more necklaces than I actually needed.  Which left me with only one option: Open an Etsy shop and capitalize on the yuletide gift-buying season.  Click right the frick here to go to my shop.  But also keep this page open to see an exclusive, behind-the-scenes peek at how I make my pendants.

Flamework1
All flameworkers know that the first step to making any piece is taking a ridiculous picture of yourself wearing the mandatory weirdo glasses that help you see into the flame.

Flamework2
These are the materials – rods of clear and colored glass.  Fun fact: Red glass (seen above, in the middle) turns clear when heated, and only turns red again when it’s cooled and/or annealed.

Flamework3
I decided to go with pink since I hadn’t made one that color yet.

Flamework5
Fun Fact #2: This seemingly clear glass is not clear at all.  It’s one of my favorite kinds: Amber-Purple, which only looks clear or slightly yellowish until it’s heated.  Then it becomes (you guessed it) amber and purple.

Flamework6
See what I mean?  Same rod of glass, different end.  Someone accidentally fused red glass to it thinking it was clear.  They were Amber-Purpled, to coin a phrase.

Flamework7
Anyway, you start by heating up clear glass…

Flamework8
Mix in a little pink…

Flamework9
Until you get this.

Flamework10
Then you heat the crap out of it…

Flamework11
And flatten it with this spatula-looking thing.

Flamework12
Which gives you something like this.

Flamework13
In flameworking there are two kinds of seals: A hot seal and a cold seal.  Hot seals are when you melt two pieces of glass together in the flame, making them into one piece.  Cold seals are different.  If you heat up one piece of glass then stick it to a cooler piece of glass that isn’t in the flame, they’ll stick together without actually fusing together.  This means you can use another rod of glass to help manipulate your piece, and when you’re done with it it’ll come right off.  That cold-sealed rod is called a “punty,” seen on the right in the photo above.  With the punty in place, you heat up the glass circle and twist it up a bit, seen below.

Flamework14
(The punty is on the left now)  Once you’ve got your twirl, you just heat up the clear glass end and pull it out a bit to create a hook…

Flamework15
Like so.  Tweezers help at this point to form the loop there.

Flamework16
Once your hook is formed, you heat the crap out of it again until you get a good, hot seal – meaning the hook won’t break apart later – and give that punty a tap.  It’ll come right off.  And suddenly you’ve got a pretty little pendant!

Even better news, that pendant will be (or “is now” if you are reading this in the future) for sale in my shop!  You can buy the very same piece from the above pictures for a very modest price!  Gift buying season is upon us, folks.  Share the love!

Happy Holidays!

Word of the Day: Anneal (v) – to heat (glass, earthenware, metals, etc.) to remove or prevent internal stress.

P.S. Apparently I’m seriously out of the loop and Regretsy is gone!  But I’ll never forgetsy.

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