The Odd World of Television

I’ve compiled a list of five of my all-time favourite television shows (some of which I have discovered extremely recently)! All of these are slightly offbeat and odd, but I think that’s what makes them so special…

Oddities (2010-)-

I came across this show awhile ago, and have to say that it is absolutely amazing. Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn co-own an amazingly quirky antique shop, Obscura Antiques and Oddities, in New York. They sell and buy stuff from mummified body parts to sideshow memorabilia. The show also features buyer Ryan Matthew Cohn, who is extremely interesting (and has the most perfect suits!!). The eccentric customers who come into their shop are really what make this show special, however. They are constantly demonstrating their talents or sharing the most captivating of stories. (Science Network)

Oddities

American Stuffers (2012-)-

This show revolves around taxidermist Ted Ross. His shop, Xtreme Taxidermy in Romance, Arkansas, specializes in pet preservation. He works with three eclectic employees and his family. It’s heartbreaking to watch pet owners suffering the loss of their best friends, but it’s rewarding to see how meaningful it is for them to have their pets back with them again. I am also intrigued by the process that Ted uses to preserve these pets. Instead of traditional mounting (where the hide is mounted to a mold), he uses freeze drying technology that allows for the preservation of the actual, physical body. (Animal Planet)

American Stuffers cast members Joseph Phariss, Dixie Grammer, Daniel Ross and Fred Greer

Family Plots (2004-2006)-

Family Plots followed the family running Poway Bernardo Mortuary in Poway , California. Although the show mostly chronicled the running of the home and the relationships within the family, it also gave viewers into the “mysterious” world of the funeral business. It is extremely interesting for me, for I am considering going into the funeral business, but really is enchanting for anyone. Although this show has not run for a few years, episodes can still be found online if you try to dig them up (oh…bad joke). (A&E Network)

Mysteries at the Museum (2011-)-

This show relays the history of numerous artifacts in multiple museums. Some include shrunken heads at the Mütter Museum, the damage caused by a hydrogen bomb at the National Museum of Nuclear Science History, and even Marilyn Monroe’s Pill Box. I really enjoy the fact that with this show you get to truly understand each individual artifact, because sometimes it is burdensome and awkward to read tiny plaques in front of things. Every episode is unique and extremely interesting. (Travel Channel)

10 Things You Don’t Know About (2012-) –

Taglined as “What your textbooks never told you,” this show shares some interesting facts about history’s best known people. For example, did you know that Benjamin Franklin was a suspected serial killer, that Mormons built Las Vegas, or that Abraham Lincoln slept with men? Historian David Eisenbach shares some of history’s best kept secrets. (H2)

Looking through this list that I’ve compiled, I’m realizing that some of these shows seem rather macabre… but maybe that’s just what I’m into haha. The hipster in me is sad that these types of shows and interests are becoming more and more “mainstream”, but at the same time, I’m so happy that these topics are being opened up to a broader audience.

-C

Photo Credits:

http://www.donewyork.com/shopping/listing/obscura-antiques-oddities/

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/oddities/bios.html

http://m.arkansasonline.com/news/2012/jan/01/arkansan-turns-taxidermy-work-starring-ro-20120101/

http://www.poptower.com/american-stuffers.htm

http://reality-tv.findthebest.com/l/444/Family-Plots

http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/mysteries-at-the-museum/photos/la-raid-bioterror-automaton

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/

Billions of Bracelets!

So, over the past week or so, I decided to try out making bracelets I found online to inspire me for summer. I found lots of styles and how-to’s, and I’ve included a couple of photographs of the ones that I did. I didn’t do all of them, but I’ll link you to the best ones that I found so that you can decide for yourself what you want to try. Bracelets are a fun, summery trend that last just long enough before they go out of style when the weather gets cold — tailor them to boys or girls, everyone appreciates this easy gift. Let’s start off with one that I fell in love with and made 3 of — in 2 days.

Simple Wrap Bracelet

 Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Okay, so as it turns out, I am absolutely in love with these bracelets. I have oodles of old buttons that I have no idea what to do with (unless I want to start the huge project of ripping off other buttons and putting these ones on things). Plus, I’m always doing beading things, so the amount of glass beads in my beading box is endless. Plus, I have these strings of leather and twine that turned out perfect for this project! I followed the directions exactly as the lovely lady in the video instructed, and, attaching it with ropes of tape to the back of a Tupperware lid, I was able to get one of these done in an hour and a half by the third time I did it. I bet, with practice, I could get it down to an hour with the a bit of practice.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ok, the next bracelet, I have not tried, so I’m providing you with another image of the Wrap Bracelet.

Summer Zipper-Style Bracelet

http://pm-betweenthelines.blogspot.com/2010/06/summer-bracelets-diy.html

Okay, so these aren’t called Zipper-style bracelets, but they really remind me of zippers. Is that just me? Maybe that’s just me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicFashion Forward Bracelets

http://www.rtroncampus.com/2011/09/15/diy-fashion-forward-bracelets/

There are two bracelets on this blog post, one of which involves knuts and bolts, the other of which involves a gold chain. I thought they both looked interesting, but my arms are really starting to get cluttered. I’ll let you decide if they’re worth making!

Beaded Bracelet

http://blogalacart.com/2011/07/beaded-bracelet/

A beaded bracelet that will give you a similar look to the wrapped bracelet.

Friendship Bracelet

http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-friendship-bracelet/

Sailor’s Knot Bracelet

http://www.moredesignplease.com/moredesignplease/2010/8/4/diy-sailors-knot-bracelet.html

I’m going to comment on these at the same time, because they have a joint picture since they are both fastened tightly to my wrist. Don’t mind the scrabby little blue string. It’s a charity bracelet from Cotton On.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Now, some of the more astute-minded might be wondering why my friendship bracelet is only half-length. That’s because I thought that I might be a smart-arse and do a shortcut. As it turns out, you can’t do that shortcut because it keeps you from making an entire bracelet.

So I won’t even tell you what I did wrong. But I do like the bracelet, and the smaller size keeps my wrists from being completely cluttered. This Sailor’s Knot Bracelet (also called a Turk’s Head Bracelet) has become one of my favourites, especially since lots of people I know go to Nantucket and the Vineyard, where I’ve heard you can get them.

In other words, it makes me feel cool.

All of these were rather simple and easy to do! Tada! With a lazy summer afternoon and some bored friends, you could really churn out some new fashion. I hope you pick out one or two of these ideas and decide to make Billions of Bracelets of your own! Cheers!

-A

¡Arriba Arriba! ‘A’ Guest Blogs Mexican-American Style!

Alert Alert! I’ve guest blogged on a lovely fellow foodie blog with a post about all I’ve learnt in terms of Mexican-American leftover cooking! So… surprise! Not only do you get to hear about C’s lovely (is that the proper term?) articulated chicken, you can now cook yourself up some chicken in quesadillas with a side of guacamole! Since this is a guest post, we’re not counting it as a regular post here on the blog.

http://leannecookingforthefamily.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/delicious-and-easy-to-make-quesadillas-and-guacamole/

Check out the link!

Quesadillas

Picture Courtesy of: http://mexicanfoodrecipes.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Crab-Quesadillas1.jpg

What Do Single Girls Do Over the Weekend? Why, Articulate Chickens, of Course!

Since Easter is fast approaching, what better time to talk about chickens?!?! I thought I would share with you my latest adventure (in regards to chicken)…

A few weeks ago, I decided to set out on the quest of articulating the skeleton on an animal. I came to the conclusion that a chicken would be my best option. It would be easy to find one, they couldn’t have that many bones, and it would be small enough that I could easily assemble it. All three of these assumptions were wrong, but out of it I got my darling chicken, Fitzwilliam.

FIRST STEP: Let’s talk about the splendid experience of finding a chicken. I assumed that when chickens arrive at the supermarket, they are all intact. The butcher gets rid of the neck and legs and freshly puts them on display. This is not so. Apparently chickens do NOT arrive with these parts.

My first stop was ACME. Now, they do not have the best butchery department, but hey, they must have CHICKENS for god’s sake. Here’s how my conversation with the butcher went:

Butcher: “Hi there! How can I help you?”

ME: “I’m looking for a chicken. Would you happen to have one?”

Butcher: “Why, yes! They’re right over there”

ME: “No, I’m sorry. I meant, do you have any chickens with, you know…the head and feet still                                   attached?”

Butcher: “HAHAHAHAH!!! What, are you doing some type of satanic sacrifice? No, we don’t                                       carry them here. You’ll have to look around for one of them…”

And he was quite right. I was going to have to look around. I decided then that I was going to call places before running around like a chicken without a head (hehehe). I called so many butchers, grocery stores, and markets, but to no avail. I either got laughed at or hung up on. I guess that my request wasn’t the norm…FINALLY on a whim I decided that I would go out to the Asian Market as a final desperate chance.

I walked up to the butcher here and had basically the same conversation as previously depicted, but instead of the butcher laughing at me, he just walked away and went into the back. I didn’t know what to do so I just waited for about a minute. Then he finally came out with Fitzwilliam. My Chicken.

I glowed as I walked up to the cash-register.  Finally, It would be easy sailing from here. WRONG.

SECOND STEP: Getting the bones. I knew that I was going to have to boil the chicken because I didn’t have a colony of flesh eating bugs on hand. So, I got to experience the wonderful smell of over-boiled chicken!

THIRD STEP: Clean the bones. It was relatively late at night when I started to separate the meat from the bones and remove the cartilage. Little did I know that it would take a few hours for this process alone.

FOURTH STEP: Bleach the bones. As I finished cleaning each bone, I placed it into a bath of hydrogen peroxide. Once all of them were in, I added bleach. Apparently, when you mix hydrogen peroxide and bleach, you get a white foam…

FIFTH STEP: Clean them again…because anything left on the bones will now come off easier. Then rinse.

SIXTH STEP:  Articulate. Much easier said than done. No matter how many pictures you look at, nothing seems to fit together. In the end, I took artistic liberties and created Fitzwiliam.

He may not have ribs or feet, or even be atomically correct, but I adore him. His journey was one of adventure: from the back room of an Asian Food Market to my office shelf. Maybe one day I will be able to make him a proper sibling, but until then, he’s perfect. <3

-C

Aslan and the Oedipus Complex: A Theatrical Review of “Freud’s Last Session”

Walking out of that theatre, I was welling with utter silence. I wondered with whom I agreed more: the disillusioned Jew or the dogmatic Englishman. My first guess would be the one my culture believes to be inherently the most correct, which is determined by our modern value of logic. Freud, of course. How could anyone accept the existence of a God when it cannot be proven? When it is impractical, impossible, unsound? How could anyone promote the illogical?

Freud's Last Session

But I knew that wasn’t true. As lonely, vast, impersonal, and uncaring the universe is, it is easy to disbelieve. But that doesn’t mean it’s true. Here’s the overview of the hour-and-a-half play. Freud, a notable psychologist writes C. S. Lewis, a converted Oxford professor with a knack for fairy tales, to his London flat on the eve of the second World War. They debate many things, but, mostly, the existence of a God. They argue in a world before the Holocaust, before the hydrogen bomb, before Bay of Pigs, a man on the moon, the Internet, Woodstock. Theirs is a world with no Beatles, no contact lenses, microwaves, or wireless phones. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t know the Devil. C. S. Lewis fought in the Great War, and speaks of the horrors of the battlefield.

To give you an understanding of the trauma he felt, I’ll include an excerpt from a popular WWI poem.

C. S. Lewis

Dulce Et Decorum Est – Wilfred Owen


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Lewis’ world is one where best mates explode ingloriously mere metres away. While he taught at Oxford, his generation is, quite literally, Lost. It is from his generation that comes the 1920s literature in Paris. From one of his best friends, J. R. R. Tolkien, is borne the Lord of the Rings. He is a man ravaged by war, yet he finds peace in Catholicism, despite being an atheist for much of his young adulthood.

Freud was a clinical man and the father of psychology. Born in the 1850s, the majority of his life had no motor cars. He would die before Hitler fell. As a Jew, his people had suffered some of the worst prejudice of any. Their God is a cruel and unforgiving Old Testament God. Freud publicized the idea that much of our mind’s work happens without our conscious input. He also believed sexual (and romantic) interest originated in society disallowing young children to shag their parents of the opposing sex and blamed almost all mental ailments on sexual repression. In fact, much of his work involved sexual repression. (His wife must have been horrid in bed.) He also did cocaine, relatively common for his time.

Sigmund Freud

So who is right? The delusional post-trauma author or Narnia, or the tortured, perverted doctor? Does a God truly exist? Can we take everything in the Bible to be true? And, if not – why was it written? In the end, does it matter if there is a man in the sky? Religion has reigned for hundreds – thousands of years. Now, depending on your location, science does. Perhaps this is just another faith, a system of beliefs.

However, I question whether it matters if Jesus is a man, a lion, or even real. Whether Allah is any different from Osiris. Because if it moves us, during our painful, short time on Earth, isn’t that enough? When we live our lives on a slow march towards death, we fight a war of our own. Whether we find solace in priests or analytic papers is nonconsequential. And, afterall, both Freud and Lewis are dead now. But neither can tell us who was right in the end.

Freud's Last Session

But I should probably talk about the actual play at some point. Let me say this: you won’t get any answers there. Or any true battles between these two very assertive men. Lewis and Freud’s interactions are almost hindered by how real they are. As soon as true, uncontrolled, cacophonous chaos lurches on stage, Freud is pulled back by his illness. Lewis cannot berate a man on the edge of death and Freud cannot truly raise his voice. Thus, we are left, as always, with a dissatisfying stalemate.

Any attempt to try to reconcile two sides of this particular coin always ends the same way: answerless.

At the end of the day, they don’t live in two different worlds. Although the audience sees two different points of view, the small, dark theatre reminds us that in fact, both Lewis and Freud are living in the same world. And they are arguing two different ways or living – surviving, even, in that one world.

Freud invents his method, explaining the mind and reality in terms of the infant science of psychology, mainly through the vehicle of the unconscious. Lewis turns to religion. Both of these are attempts to answer all of the questions we truly cannot answer.

Where do we come from? Where do we go?

So, perhaps, they do not live in different worlds, but exist on the same stage. One insists there isn’t an audience, one insists there isn’t a stage.

Poem Courtesy Of: http://www.english.emory.edu/LostPoets/Dulce.html

Pictures Courtesy Of: