Archives For culture

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As much as I love all horror with reckless abandon, women in the genre often fall into clear-cut tropes: the whore, the virgin, the Final Girl. However, we’re starting to see women slip into more sophisticated and complex horror roles. Do yourself a favor and add these films to your Halloween watch list, and be in awe of some of horror’s best badass women.

1. Green Room

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While most horror films spark frustration towards characters’ dumb decisions, Green Room leaves you in awe of the characters’ thoughtfulness and resilience. Among a small cast, two of the main characters are mouthy, smart women, who strike fear in the hearts of neo-Nazis everywhere. I’m not sure what more you could want. I guess you could toss in some punk rock and call it a day.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane

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If you haven’t seen 10 Cloverfield Lane, you’re missing out on one of the best films of the year. Lightyears beyond the first Cloverfield, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance will blow you away, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout this intense ride. I recommend watching with snacks to keep you from biting your nails.

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Behold! The creepy cuteness born out of the mind of artist Ashley Love. Prepare for much gushing over her work.

I think the concept of cute nihilism is brilliant, and there’s an entire section of Ashley’s online store categorized as “Nihilism + Existential” with adorable designs and soul-crushing text that says what we’re all thinking—or maybe it’s just me?

I mean, just take a look at these cute nihilist stickers:

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If you’ve never been to PAX, it can be tough getting your bearings. There are lots of weird little things that you wouldn’t know unless you’ve been before (or you’ve read a post like this one). Here are the tips I wish I’d known before attending for the first time:

Don’t Forget Your DS

You’ll be floored by the number of people ready to go toe-to-toe in multiplayer Nintendo DS and 3DS games. It’s a great way to pass the time in long lines or while you’re waiting for a panel to start.

Wander Outside the Convention

Some of the coolest stuff is outside of the convention center. Last year, HTC showed Vive demos in a little trailer, and it was one of the highlights. You’ll also want to wander outside the convention for parties, game meetups, and amazing photo ops like this one:

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PAX West is just around the corner! My nerdy heart goes pitter-patter just thinking about it. At PAX, I love walking the floor, attending panels, and playing games—but I also love taking advantage of the beautiful host city. Last year, I had so much fun spending a couple of extra days in Seattle, exploring like crazy. Because it’s so massive, the options can be a little overwhelming, so here are my top recommendations for what to do while you’re there.

1. Make Friends with a Bridge Troll

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This friendly troll resides at 4505 North Troll Avenue in Fremont, under the north end of the Aurora bridge. Getting to this troll’s abode means taking a 15-minute Uber from downtown, but it’s worth it. Not only do you get the unique experience of coming face-to-face with this massive monster (which will put a smile on your face), but there are lots of other cool things in the Fremont area—it’s my favorite neighborhood in Seattle.

2. Visit Add-A-Ball in Fremont

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Pinball, arcade cabinets, booze, and an insane Patrick Swayze mural reside in this cozy underground gaming space. Bonus: there’s a nice patio out front with seating if you need to get some air between heated matches of Bubble Bobble. Add-A-Ball is located at 315 N 36th Street, Seattle—just an 8-minute walk from the bridge troll.

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charlie bradbury supernatural badass

Supernatural wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for Charlie Bradbury. Not only is she one of the few fully-fledged characters, she facilitates emotional communication between the Winchester brothers, enabling them to reconcile their feminine-gendered traits. Arguably, Dean and Sam both exhibit femininity throughout the show, despite their cookie-cutter emulation of American blue-collar, heteronormative masculinity. However, in the first six seasons, the brothers only show outward emotion in certain contexts—a pattern that Charlie disrupts.

In the first six seasons, even though Dean regularly denounces things like yoga and chick-flick moments, Tanya Michaels compares Dean to a soccer mom, who sees himself as the protector, nurturer, and upbringer. Michaels says, “In Mary’s absence, can there be any doubt that Dean was the most nurturing influence in Sam’s early life?” (82). Even in Sam’s adulthood, Dean watches over him and would give his life to protect him. There’s no question that female-gendered qualities abound before Charlie enters the scene; however, they seem to only surface in specific contexts.

Through most of the show, Dean would rather keep his feelings to himself and pound a few beers (or a fifth of whiskey) before talking to Sam about his feelings. The exceptions to this rule usually involve a heart-to-heart in the Impala, what Melissa Bruce notes as “visual space that is typically masculine, yet the series uses it as a device through which to filter the more intensely emotional moments” (154). In other words, the Impala renders the feminine show of emotion as acceptably masculine. In the rare instances where the boys do express emotion outside of the Impala, Lorna Jowett notes: “Dean and Sam sit […] facing straight ahead. (Typically, the characters do not look at each other while expressing emotion)” (45). Meaning, in the first six seasons, the Winchester brothers express emotion in specific contexts to uphold their carefully-guarded masculine personae.

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On July 24th, Utah celebrates Pioneer Day, commemorating the Mormon Pioneers who traveled 1,300 miles by foot and wagon train and finally settled in Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It’s a big deal in Utah– like a second Independence Day– with fireworks, parades, and festivals. Many local businesses even shut down for the day, including local banks.

For those who feel out-of-place in Utah’s greater culture, and for most residents of Salt Lake City, it’s easy to feel outside of the festivities. Luckily, in the last few years, Salt Lake has embraced Pie & Beer Day to celebrate, maintaining the tongue-in-cheek, counter-culture spirit that makes Salt Lake wonderful. This year, more restaurants and bars than ever hosted Pie & Beer Day events. The most popular was Beer Bar‘s second annual Pie & Beer Day bash, featuring a Pie Pass (for 6 slices of pie!) from several local bakeries.

Jeff and I decided to take a quieter route and go to one of our golden favorites: Avenues Proper, a restaurant and brewery in our neighborhood, walking-distance from our apartment. We devoured apple-blueberry-raspberry crumble pie with stout ice cream from Hatch Family Chocolates. It was everything I’d ever wanted, and the stout ice cream was the surprise star of the dish. (Mind you, good pie and ice cream is my favorite dessert, only possibly rivaled by fruit-stuffed beignets, which are basically little fried pies.)

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If you haven’t gathered by now, we love food. Cooking, sharing food with friends and family, and experiencing edible art are a few of our favorite things. One of the things I love about food is that it’s ephemeral. You can have the same dish multiple times, but you’re never going to have it in exactly the same way. Ingredients will vary: one tomato is not exactly the same as another tomato, even of the same variety because ripeness, flavor, and aesthetic differs from one to another. Preparation of dishes also varies. A chef may do their best to achieve uniformity, but there’s going to be small differences every time you have the same dish on different occasions. That’s the nature of chopping, cooking, and pouring– there are so many factors that it’s imprecise to some extent, even at its most masterful.

When you eat delicious food, it’s a transitory moment that you can’t experience in the same way ever again– and I love that. I love forcing myself to focus, to be mindful of my senses, and to thoughtfully process what I’m literally taking in as part of myself. This is why– despite the ridicule of being another basic Instagram girl– I love photographing food, as a reminder of an experience, a memory of a feeling.

Because food is the source of so much of our happiness and gratitude, for Jeff’s birthday we decided to do a progressive dinner around Salt Lake City, visiting our favorite haunts and ordering a dish or two per stop. It was unlike anything we’d done before and not for the faint of heart: 10 straight hours of eating and walking around the city with a couple of our closest friends. It was quite the event, and below you’ll find our itinerary and a documentation of our adventures.

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