February favourites

I am not feeling a book review today. I’m in a bit of a reading slump to be honest. I thought I’d just wrap the month up early but I haven’t read that much, so instead I am going to do a beauty vlogger-style monthly favourites post.

Because why not?*

*Note: This post does not include even a single beauty product.

TV: Riverdale

riverdale
Netflix.com

I started watching Riverdale about a week ago, and it has since completely taken over my brain. Everyone in that show is so good looking. At 25 I have come to realise I will likely never grow out of enjoying a good teen show. However, it does come with some pitfalls. Like googling Cole Sprouse with one hand over my eyes to check his age to find out whether or not my GINORMOUS HUGE crush was inappropriate.

Finding out he was 25 may have been the best part of my week.

Being an adult is the worst. I can’t tell you the trauma of Googling a famous crush only to find they are significantly younger than you. It’s real. These are the things no one tells you about getting older. You turn into kiiiind of a creep.

Instagram: @tamanegi.qoo.riku

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. . ✳︎大きなボク小さなわたしプレゼント企画✳︎. . 絶賛集計中(≧∇≦). 抽選結果は、明日19日に、ブログやインスタにて、ハンドルネームでお知らせします。時間は未定です( ̄▽ ̄;). また、当選者には直接メッセージもお送りいたします。. メッセージをお出しして3日以内にお返事がない場合は、当選無効とさせていただき、補欠抽選をさせていただきます。. . 誰が当たるのかなぁ(๑>◡<๑). ワクワクドキドキ(≧∇≦). . . #standardpoodle #poodlesofinstagram #スタンダードプードル #whitepoodle #大型犬と子供 #poodle #dogstagram #east_dog_japan #いぬのいる生活 #もふもふ部 #わんこ部 #赤ちゃんと犬 #baby #babyanddog #adorablebaby #kawaii #1歳6ヶ月 #コドモノ #ママリ #ベビフル #キズナ #書籍化 #12月8日発売 #大きなボク小さなわたし #大きなボク小さなわたしプレゼント #プレゼント企画 #集計中

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I don’t think this requires any explanation.

Movies: Black Panther

black panther

I mean obviously. I loved everything about this movie. Shuri is my favourite. I love her.

Podcast: Thirst Aid Kit

thirst aid kit
buzzfeed.com

On hiatus currently, but they are back in March. Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins host a podcast all about: thirst. You know, that feeling you get about hot people on TV. If you have ever needed somewhere to go to talk about your pervy feelings (I know I did!), this is the podcast for you. I recommend it to everyone: it is pure joy.  If you’re looking for a starting point but not sure if you want to commit, try the John Cho episode.

Yes, you read that right. They dedicated an entire episode to him.

Bookish thing: Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Last week I gushed about how much I loved Before The Devil Breaks You, the third book in Libba Bray’s Diviners series. After I wrote that review, I read the afterword of the book (like a pro, I know #facepalm) and it gave me CHILLS.

Anyway. I have to go watch Riverdale now. I am on season two and no spoilers, but my heart is broken by a certain situation and I don’t think I can resume my normal life until it is resolved.

What are some of your favourites this month? I hate spending time with my thoughts! Tell me what they are so I can avoid my feelings! Also, if I did this again next month would you read it? I enjoyed writing it – as you can see I consume a lot of media.

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Women of the Hour

I don’t think I will ever get bored of talking about womanhood. It is my safe space, on and offline. Listening to other women’s experiences helps me to make sense of my own, of struggles I am included in, as well as those I am not.

I rarely feel this more keenly than when I am listening to Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast. Every week Dunham presents a different theme – friendship, work, sex and being trapped are some examples – and invites a variety of smart women to talk with her about it.

This show is honest, funny, painful and absolutely not, as I have seen it described ‘Girls in podcast form.’ Girls is a show built on satire, while Women on the Hour is all about sincerity.

To state a controversial opinion, I don’t believe Dunham deserves 90% of the shit she gets (the other 10%, I have to allow, but I don’t really think she messes up more than the average narcissist with a Twitter account (so, most users)). My arguments in favour of Lena Dunham are as follows:

  1. She is wildly, frequently and – I think – deliberately misquoted. As someone who has read her memoir multiple times (review here), I have had many frustrating arguments with people who haven’t about its contents. All this without even mentioning the ‘voice of a generation’ thing – a joke from the first season of Girls widely attributed as Dunham’s opinion of her work that she herself has accepted will likely be etched on her tombstone. Before judging Dunham – actually before judging anyone – please read the essay, listen to the interview or watch the show in question. The source material they provide will often give you a better idea of a person than clickbait designed for outraged sharing.
  2. I find it strange that in the television business, which is, let’s face it, mostly white men giving jobs to other white men, it is Lena Dunham who is held responsible for the diversity problem. Let’s be clear, we need all TV to look like Shondaland (if only), we need different voices and groups to be represented. The fault of the total whitewashing of TV however, lies with the majority of producers, directors and screenwriters (i.e. the white men) rather than Lena Dunham.
  3. Lena Dunham would get away with so much more if she was a man. The main reason she gets shit for her radical honesty, her open emotions and her mistakes is that she’s a woman. In a landscape overwhelmed with stories written by narcissistic men, one told by a narcissistic woman is jarring. Because she is – or she was, at the time Girls first came out, which was, let’s remember four years ago – one of few such amplified young female voices, she was given the task of representing everyone, an impossibility for anyone, let alone a bohemian rich white girl from New York. Male screenwriters like Josh Radnor and Dan Harmon – who are, for some reason, only ever expected to represent themselves – can spill their emotions all over screen, tie them up neatly with a joke and be considered great writers. If Lena Dunham does the same thing she is a selfish naval gazer with nothing better to do than obsess about herself. When men write introspective satire its art, when women do it, it’s considered self-indulgence. The response to Dunham’s entire career thus far demonstrates this.

Rant over. Or paused, anyway.

After every episode of Women of the Hour, I have to dedicate a morning to googling the work of every woman interviewed. Shows so far have introduced me to so many women whose work I am now such a fan of. Janet Mock, the writer and trans activist, Ashley C. Ford, a journalist who writes so beautifully it makes me want to cry, hug her and bash my own head against a wall (because I will never, in all my days, be as talented) all at once, Mindie Lind, a singer-song writer with no legs who rides around on a skateboard and Anastasia and Alba Somoza, disability activists who have campaigned for their whole lives for people with disabilities to get equal access to mainstream education.

Also, Gina Rodriguez was on it one time, and she was every bit as delightful as you would imagine.

Just listen to the show. The only way to judge Dunham’s work is to experience it yourself. Most of what is written about her is wrong.

Podcast of the Month: The Bright Sessions

Up until this point, my radio drama listening has been sporadic at best. I liked the idea of a continuous story but hadn’t found anything that kept my attention enough to listen week-to-week. Then Ashley C. Ford tweeted about The Bright Sessions. I decided to check it out, and was obsessed immediately.

the bright sessionsThe Bright Sessions are the recorded appointments of Doctor Bright, a therapist for the strange and unusual. Her atypical patients include Sam, who travels in time when she panics, Caleb, an empath who can feel other people’s emotions, Chloe, a mind reader, and Damien. Doctor Bright won’t share what Damien can do, but she’s afraid of him.

Doctor Bright has a plan for her patients. She has chosen them carefully. She needs their abilities. We just don’t know what for.

There is just something so damn intriguing about this story. Doctor Bright is a figure half in shadow. We don’t know much about how she came to know of atypical people – she isn’t one herself. Sometimes it seems like she’s one of the good guys. Other times… not so much. It is difficult to get to her true motivations. Chloe catches glimpses of them in her head until Doctor Bright decides they would be better off doing their appointments over the phone (so Chloe’s ability won’t work).

Each revelation is delicious, and leaves you begging for more. The short twenty minute episodes never quite give enough time with the characters. Just as you start to feel that you’re getting a sense of them and Doctor Bright, they are snatched away from you again.

When I reached the end of the season I literally shouted NO in my kitchen and my brother rushed in to ask me if I was okay.

I was not! And I won’t be until the autumn, when season two begins.

I recommend downloading every episode and putting aside an afternoon to binge listen. Once you start this story, you’ll lose interest in pretty much everything else.

Podcast of the Month: Adventures in Roommating

I want you to know that I originally hand wrote most of this post at work while my boss was on break.

This month I am going to talk to a podcast I’ve only actually been listening to for a couple weeks.

Yes, I have been binge-listening.

I have been watching Meghan Tonjes’ Youtube videos on and off for years. I like her music, her work concerning body positivity and the way she gives zero fucks about calling out famous Youtubers on their bullshit.

I was sort of vaguely aware that she had a podcast with her roommate, and that I would probably like it a lot, but I resisted. There are just so many podcasts in my life right now, I rationalised.

Then Meghan decided to film part of an episode of the podcast, Adventures in Roommating, and post it onto her channel, during which she are her co-host, Keith Battista, reviewed sex toys.

I was sold. I have been listening daily ever since.

It is worth noting that this podcast is NSFW. It’s also NSFP (not safe for parents. Or, most parents. I suppose it really depends on the parents. In my case, listening to this show with my mum would be super awkward).

Adventures in Roommating is the late night (sometimes, but not always) tipsy kitchen conversation you have with friends while you wait for the pizza to arrive. You know the one, where you talk about the movies you saw and the Internet Thing of the day (positive or negative) before moving on to the important stuff.

The important stuff being, of course, who we’re all sleeping with.

It’s also the answering of listener questions and provision of the sort of honest advice we all ask for but don’t actually want.

(the answer to the question of whether or not one should date a youtuber is almost always no)

In both life and the podcast, Keith is the one who will tell you you’re doing something wrong with an eye roll while Meghan swoops in to slap you across the face.

Listening to this one while I drag myself out of bed in the mornings has been a bright spot in a shitty couple weeks.

(nothing serious, don’t worry. Just adult life getting me down).

Podcast of the Month: Harmontown

Harmontown barged into my life like an unwanted guest a few months ago and took up residence. Despite my resentment, every week when the time comes, I download the next episode.

harmontownBeing a huge Community fan (with the exception of the gas leak year, obviously), I have been aware of Dan Harmon for some time. I, like most people, largely thought of him in terms of sitcoms and the incident with Chevy Chase. Then Harmontown (the documentary about the podcast) came onto Netflix and I watched it out of desperation on New Year’s Eve (I was psyching myself up to go out. I really hate NYE) in the hope that I would catch a few lingering shots of Joel Mchale, ideally shirtless.

So far as a shirtless Joel was concerned, I was left wanting, but what I found instead was a drunken idiot I was equal parts intrigued and disgusted by (Harmon). Watching that movie, I experienced for the first time the strange feeling of rooting for someone and wanting his girlfriend to break up with him simultaneously.

Harmontown (the podcast) is a live show featuring Harmon himself, obviously, comptroller Jeff Davis, dungeon master Spencer Crittenden (although they never really do that anymore) and (usually though not officially) Rob Schrab, Dan’s screen writer friend.

What it’s about is a little difficult to define.

Nerd culture plays a big part. Despite my frustrations with Marvel, I remain the sort of person who can listen to people get passionate about super heroes. Other times – the times when I start to wonder why I’m listening, incidentally – they talk about Dan’s Porn Hub addiction (the girlfriend – then wife, actually – did break up with him), and his thing with mannequin legs…

Schrab can always be relied on to do something ridiculous.

At its heart, though, Harmontown is its audience. It’s a community of weirdos in a safe space being weird together, and that’s reflected in the fact that Harmon doesn’t hesitate to pull audience members on stage for an interview if he thinks they might say something interesting. And – at least as far as I can tell – they are more than happy to oblige. Some of the time the conversations Harmon strikes up with adoring strangers are just silly, but other times the moment takes a turn into something more sincere. Sometimes he’ll talk to someone who’s chronically depressed, or someone he recognises as having had the same sort of childhood he did.

It’s part comedy show, part therapy session.

Sometimes part TMI.

But all the moving parts of this show connect into something generous, weird, and funny.

It’s a strange new obsession for me, this one.

Podcast of the Month: Infinite Postivities

I found out about this podcast through Nina Dobrev’s Instagram, proving that, despite the somewhat rocky terrain that has been season 7, my continued obsession with The Vampire Diaries can still bring some goodness into my life*.

positivityInfinite Positivities is Jenna Ushkowitz’s companion podcast to her self-help book, Choosing Glee: 10 Rules to Finding Inspiration, Happiness and the Real You. I have not read the book, but I just did look inside on Amazon and within the first few pages there’s a picture of her with Bill Cosby she probably feels some regret about now.

Each podcast takes the form of an interview with a different celebrity, loosely based around a chapter of her book. This podcast, like most of the shows I regularly listen to, is all about getting a little inspiration of a morning (or whenever your regularly scheduled podcast time happens to fall). Even though it’s a little bit shorter than I would like (episodes very from twenty minutes to half an hour), it’s very effective. Jenna is a funny and charming host, and the positivity with which she seems to approach her life absolutely translates. Her guests are varied and interesting. After week one and Nina’s treatise on not taking anything too seriously (which was awesome, by the way), Jenna interviewed A.J. Jacobs about continuously experimenting in life (he is one of those who takes on an insane challenge every couple years then writes a book about it). Most recently she chatted with Julie Plec, Queen and Master of vampire television, about working hard to make shit happen, and the good and bad of being the Big Boss (she also talked about firing people. She doesn’t like doing it, which explains… a lot, frankly (Matt and Enzo)).

Far and away my favourite episode, and the one that I think everybody should listen to, was episode 5 with Kristen Chenoweth. Everything about Kristen Chenoweth makes you feel better. She is hilarious and open hearted and exudes this totally infectious joy that has made me listen to her interview at least three times now. She talks about the good and shitty parts of her life with the same level of humour and bemusement. She is the only person I have ever experienced who can burst in to song in conversation and not be annoying. By the end of her painfully short twenty minutes I wanted nothing more than to sit down with her about talk about the universe. Also about that time she was Peter Pan and almost killed herself on stage.

This is a sweet, low commitment podcast (it’s bi-weekly and as I have mentioned, very short) for anyone needing a little pick-me-up before a day of working in retail (or whatever sucky job you have right now).

 

 

*I actually don’t think the lack of Elena is the problem, TVD side. I know that’s not what this post is about, but I felt the need to say it anyway. I have many theories on what would fix The Vampire Diaries (not Matt Donovan meeting Elijah Mikalson. Honestly I can’t even talk about that development), but resurrecting Elena isn’t one of them. Co-dependent relationships bore me almost as much as contrived pregnancy storylines.

Podcast of the Month: Call Your Girlfriend

Call Your Girlfriend is a podcast on which Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman – both awesome ladies – discuss pop culture through a feminist lense.

Obviously I would love this.

8.24_teamivanka_podcasts_call_your_gf

Should you have any burning desire to know the history of a certain rapper’s melt down on Twitter the other week… this is the place for you.

If you’re less interested in Kanye and more engaged with news about menstruation, they cover that too. In detail. Moon cup horror stories and all.

If all that weren’t enough, they also provide us with regular shine theory updates. Shine theory, for anyone who doesn’t know by now, is the idea (by which I actually mean obvious truth) that powerful women make the best friends. This is because powerful women lift each other up.

It’s kind of revolutionary when you consider we’ve been socialised to tear each other down our whole lives.

Call Your Girlfriend is a celebration of being a smart lady and having smart lady friends.

As well as the usual shows, they recently started Phone-a-Friend episodes, in which either Aminatou or Ann – you guessed it – call one of their highly accomplished, hilarious and generally friend-jealousy-inducing girlfriends. So far guests have included Tavi Gevinson, Shani Hilton and Stephanie Beatriz, just to mention a few of my favourites. If you don’t know who any of them are, I implore you to Google. They are all wonderful people.

Call Your Girlfriend is the perfect plug for the feminist podcast shaped hole in your life.

Even if that’s something you don’t think you have… you totally do. I would venture to say that the majority of people have a feminist podcast shaped hole in their lives.