The Hoarder Vs. The Purger: How Do You Appreciate What You Own Without Letting It Own You?

This will be a shorter post than usual because I am visiting my family for the week while John and I transition from “school home” to our “summer job home”. In the spirit of moving, I wanted to touch on a question that might occur to anyone who has ever had to pack up their belongings: How much stuff is too much stuff?

This is an example of what too much stuff looks like.

This past Saturday John and I handed back the keys to the basement suite we called home for our last two years of university life. Despite storing our books and dishes at a friend’s house, we still ended up with way more bags and boxes than our small car could possible hold. While I struggled to decide which pants I wore least often and how badly I would need those mason jars for canning, John had no qualms throwing out pretty much anything that he knew he wouldn’t need in the immediate future. He also jokingly called me a hoarder, knowing that it would get under my skin.

As I sat on my suitcase (in an attempt to keep as many of my clothes as possible), I thought back to a couple years earlier when almost all of my earthly possessions could fit into one suitcase. What is it that makes me hold onto things now so much more dearly than I did a few years ago? Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E19 “And the Look of The Irish”: A TV Review

lookoftheirish

I was going to start this review off by wasting a paragraph on how neat it would be to eat at the Williamsburg Diner, what with its eccentric clientele and all, but instead let’s dive directly into the latest 2 Broke Girls character to rake in the site hits: Nashit. What do we know about him? He’s a poor Irish immigrant, apparently half-Indian [uh huh…], and he has sex with Max. I could go on, but his entry on the 2 Broke Girls wiki [at the time of this writing] sums him up pretty well:

tba

Yup. At this point in time Nashit’s undisclosed middle and last names could be “Tabula” and “Rasa”, because there’s really not much there at the moment. As mentioned in my review of the episode introducing him, Nashit didn’t have that much say in his relationship with one half of the titular duo. Max wants him and he more or less responds with an “okay”. He clearly doesn’t mind being with her, but it’s really hard to ascertain how much he actually likes her. Also, and this is important to mention, he has very few lines. It’s hard for a character to be well-rounded if you barely let them speak.

In this week’s episode Max decides that she’s been seeing altogether too much of her boy toy, and does what she can to get him out of the diner so that they’re not hitting the interaction trifecta [working, living, and sleeping together]. His new career path is chosen for him once he very ineptly handles Han’s gift to him [for being an employee who actually works hard], the Spritzy 5000. There’s more of that at the bottom of this post, so stay tuned. Short story shorter, he sprays himself and it turns out he’s hot.

The two girls teach him how to model, specifically for a Cocoa Puffs commercial. That’s fairly uneventful. At first he is terrible at it. Like really, really bad. Then we come back after a commercial break and he is good at modelling and all that. But it turns out that “Cocoa Puffs” is code for “pornography”! They’re at an audition for a porn movie! Specifically Sorest Rump!

At this point we get a little more of Nashit’s personality, specifically that he would do anything for Max, even “gay for pay”. Actually it’s never revealed if he understands what that really means, but at the very least he would be willing to make porn for his girlfriend, if we can call her that. It’s sweet, I guess. It’s not the best character work by any means because it’s really still just Nashit doing what Max wants. He knows that she wants him to do this [even if he doesn’t realize it’s to get him out of the diner], so he also wants to do it. Next week is, ostensibly, his last episode, and I really hope he gets to be a little more of a pretty face before his inevitable exit.

Elsewhere Oleg and Sophie practice celibacy before the wedding because it’s what her grandmother would’ve wanted. That doesn’t last for long, though Oleg does get a few great lines out of it. Joedth is looking for love after her junkie ex left the picture. Big Mary/John is beginning to get on my bad side because he only has one line and it obviously has to do with gay sex, which is his shtick now I guess. You’re more than that Big Mary/John, I know you are.

Oh, before we get to Stray Observations I should share one of Austin Falk’s tweets that provides a behind the scenes look at how this episode was filmed:

Current Total: $711.

New Total: $1,211. Last week they made $425, so with only $75 more this week I guess they’re being somewhat consistent. Again, I’ll just chalk this up to their combined three jobs.

The Title Refers To: A play on words that I actually really like! It refers to Nashit being Irish, him being good looking, and even sounds like someone with a terrible accent [see: Nashit] saying “the luck of the Irish”! This is the best title the show has ever had.

Stray Observations:

  • “Sad Ladies Book Club is reading 50 Shades of Grey again. There’s not a dry seat in the house.”
  • “Apparently the something blue at the wedding has to be my balls.”
  • “I feel like a bull in a vagina shop.”
  • “Move to call a moratorium on the words “grab”, “squeeze”, and “spray” until after the wedding-“
  • Something something what you say to get lesbians to exit a building: “There’s a Subaru outside that’s about to get a ticket.”
  • Joedth was using a dating app/site called “Lez Meet Up”.
  • “I had the decorator redo it nine times. You can feel his anger in the walls. It’s electric.”
  • “You’re eating is so punk rock. Tell me everything right now.”
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake/Beefecake Menu: You’re welcome.

nashit1 nashit2 nashit3

Explaining American Politics To Non Americans – Part III: The Democratic Party

And so we’re back, dear readers, with another installment of “Explaining American Politics to Non Americans”, in which yours truly attempts to guide you through the strange, savage, and unforgiving terrain of our nation’s government. Today we cover the other side to our two-party system: the Democrats.

Democrats are, like it or not, usually seen as the good guys by plenty of folks out there in the wide world. More diplomatic, less rapaciously capitalistic, more secular, less imperialistic, and so on.

Or so the image goes.

But is that reputation an accurate one?

The answer might surprise you.

No, It’s Not

Okay, I guess that wasn’t really a surprise.

I’ve made no secret of my contempt for the president and my fundamental issues with liberalism in general. But my own irritations aside, the facts must be faced- Democrats aren’t the glorious heroes that the world (or they) imagine them to be.

Let me break it down here.

Democrats Are Still Incredibly Right-Wing

And that’s going to be weird for a lot of the world. Pretty much everywhere else on the planet, there’s a comparatively broad range of political discourse, though even relatively conservative parties still tend to endorse free(ish) healthcare and education. The Democrats seem to get mistaken as being simply an American version of what many beyond our borders take for granted- a center-left party advocating universal healthcare, free education, environmental protection, and championship of the poor and working class.

That’s just not how it is.

First, let’s start with healthcare.

Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of vocal liberals within the party (we’ll get to them in a second) who advocate the principles I mentioned above, the party has more often than not capitulated to these demands, rather than having fought for ’em.

The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, as it’s more commonly called, serves an example of this. While it’s absolutely an achievement (credit where credit is due), it’s about as far as possible from the systems used elsewhere in the world.

Now I’m not going to presume to know where you’re coming from, dear readers (Canada and Northern Europe tend to be big hits for us here at CWR), but I’m guessing that wherever it is, you enjoy some degree of universal healthcare. Chances are that you’re healthcare system is subsidized through hefty taxes, if not owned outright by the state. The present state of healthcare in the good ol’ US of A, however, works like so:

Since Obamacare’s legislation, all Americans are simply required to “have” health insurance. While certain points of the law keep insurance companies from preventing people with pre-existing conditions from getting service, these are all still private companies. Some programs exist to assist the extremely poor in getting some assistance in paying for insurance, but most everyone has to pay for it on their own (and it is not cheap, folks).

Does you cell phone bill equal about half of your rent? ‘Cuz that’s about how an insurance plan actually costs…

And that’s it. The hallmark of healthcare reform in this country.

The end. Continue reading

Considering Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Or: Just Another Drop in The Bucket]

As I plainly state in the alternate title to this post, everyone and their [tenuously and amusingly connected other person] has been raving about the trailer that dropped about a week ago for the latest upcoming film in the Star Wars franchise. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Since April 16th we have had eight days for the internet to collectively lose their minds over it. Generally in the positive way one does such a thing. I don’t typically like to follow up one YouTube video with another, but this very clever mashup that went viral soon afterwards sums it up a little too well:

Long story short, people are excited. Not even just excited, but actually and honestly emotional about this upcoming film. My Facebook feed was awash with friends raising the hype to what looked like unsustainable levels, yet I can see it only building in fervour the closer we get to December 18th of this year. Don’t get me wrong, I am also looking forward to it, but I’m tempering my enthusiasm for a number of reasons. Continue reading

Is “Feminism” a Self-Defeating Label?

I’m a pretty slow learner when it comes to social media. I feel like I just mastered Facebook when it started going out of style. Unfortunately for me, social media sites are important tools when it comes to blogging. I’ve been making an effort to expand my horizons, starting with Twitter. So far, my favourite thing about Twitter is the hashtags.

Even before I started posting on Twitter, I would check to see what was trending and to follow conversations about race and gender that unfolded around hashtags like #WhyIStayed, #BringBackOurGirls, #GamerGate, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, etc. Recently, when I went to tag a comment with “#feminist”, I noticed that the first two tags to show up were “#FeminismIsAwful” and “#FeministsAreUgly”. When I decided to make a comment about it, it wasn’t long before I got a response.

I’d like to consider what Jacob is saying. First, let’s set aside the long history of smearing feminism by calling feminists ugly for a second here.

Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E18 “And the Taste Test”: A TV Review

uglydresses

Just to start, I’d like to offer a brief apology for my review of last week’s episode. For the most part I try to keep a pretty even keel and take each episode as it comes, especially since I try to judge 2 Broke Girls on its own merits. That means acknowledging that it is very far from high art or what I consider to be good TV, lauding it for when it is funny and appropriately criticizing it for when it’s racist or needlessly crude or very poorly written.

I still don’t think it was a good episode by any means, but I could’ve handled it better. Here’s to me getting through to the end of this season, guys and girls and everyone else. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About (Peaceful) Protest

Readers, the reason this post is coming to you so late is largely due to the fact that yours truly, in a rare moment of weakness, opted to keep working on his latest installment of “Explaining American Politics To Americans”. The subject was going to be Democrats, and as the post stands currently, it’s just too…

…well, mean.

Even by my standards.

And this is coming from a guy who has likened certain social groups the human equivalent of cancer…

Now that’s left me with the question of what to cover instead, and as I was browsing the internet, I came across these two images:

Old, definitely, but it reminded me of a topic that I’ve touched on a lot without ever actually covering.

Peaceful Protest

…or is that even a fair thing to call it?

I mean, we praise peaceful dissent practically to the exclusion of all other forms of protest. We idolize figures like Martin Luther King Jr. while reviling folks like Malcolm X or Huey P. Newton, largely on the grounds that they advocated self defense.

Continue reading