Sunday, March 25, 2007

And I thought blogging was self-indulgent . . .

On my wanderings today, I followed a link to a YouTube video. The video I was looking for was no longer available, but a title on the homepage caught my eye: "Sorrow". The description read, "I decided to film myself today while feeling sad and crying, because Everybody Hurts, Sometimes."

I knew I shouldn't have done it, but I couldn't help myself. Really. I clicked on the video.

What followed was an excruciating 1 minute:58 seconds of a gal trying to look sad and cry. No sound.

It was like a very, very bad acting exercise. You know, the kind where you're asked to think of something sad in real life and relive the moment of sadness so you'll look authentically sad while merely acting sad, but people will think you're really sad because it's such an authentic feeling of sadness you're portraying? You could almost hear the gears in her head clicking, "I'm sad, oh so sad. Remember when Scottie died, such a cute puppy, hit by a train. Not sad enough. How 'bout trying for some tears. Looking up and scrunching my face should work. Maybe not. Chewing on nails and looking down? Wow, I need a manicure. Better. A couple of sighs and rolling my eyes up, maybe a trembling lip will help. Geez, hope I have enough. Better squeeze out a few more seconds."

It's got to be a joke, right? Who in their right mind films themselves crying and being sad? Just the act of setting up the camera, logging on and typing out the descriptor must be enough to get over the said feeling of sadness. I'd be in hysterics by that point. Or maybe she just loves to wallow in self-pity and, better yet, get other people to wallow along with her.

Whatever her motives, it hasn't been well received. Most of the comments run along the lines of, "The worlds a bitch and then you die. get over yourself and deal with it because everybody else has to" and "Yeah ok sure!!! Go n get a life dumbass", and those are some of the nicer, non-expletive-laced ones.

However, I found one response that is absolutely hilarious, brilliant and on the money.

It's a video response. Re: Sorrow

Now, this guy knows how to make a comment. Unfortunately, not many members of YouTube understand sarcasm and irony.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I've been inspired by yet another Time Goes By article, Elder Fashion – An Oxymoron. Ronni's article contends that it's next to impossible to find clothing for 50+ women that is both stylish and that fits properly. This struck a chord with me and I'm sure many of her readers.

No matter what you do – exercise, eat properly, etc. – your body shape changes with age. There may or may not be extra pounds, but the distribution of those pounds change. The waist thickens, the butt and breasts drop, extra padding appears on the hips. You may still look fabulous, but it's not the same fabulous of your twenties, thirties and forties. Shopping for clothing becomes a frustrating chore.

Over the years, like many women, I found a few brands of clothing that meshed good fit with my particular style. However, even within these brands, it's more and more difficult to find what I want. The fit isn't what it used to be: If the waist fits, the hips and butt are too big; if the shoulders fit, the front sags; and I'm really not into "flirty", bias-cut floral skirts anymore. I'm heavier than my old prime of 108 at age 40, but by no means obese. So what's a gal to do? Mostly, I avoid shopping until it's absolutely necessary.

Anyways, having read Ronni's article, I sallied forth to find more information about fashion for older women (or euphemistically called "the mature woman"). The first article I came across was titled "Designers research fitting clothing for older women". What a great start! Just as the title states it was from the Cornell Chronicle about a study done to design clothes that fit older women.

Then I realized the article is from 1996 - eleven years ago. So where are these clothes that are designed for older women? I searched further. More references to the same study, but no actual clothing being made using the information from the study. How typical.

Many pages of searching later, I came across this article in August 2005, announcing the opening of The Gap's new retail stores named "Forth & Towne" - stores specifically aimed at catering to fashion for older women ('older' being women over 35). This, I thought, seems like a small step in the right direction even if I'm not the biggest fan of The Gap's business practices.

About two more articles further along in my search, I came across the headline, "RIP Forth & Towne". Uh oh, this didn't sound good. Sure enough, only eighteen months after the launch of Forth & Towne, The Gap was announcing the closing of all the retail outlets by the end of June 2007.

If you'd like to see a sample of the fashions they were offering at Forth & Towne, take a look at this article with slide show by Julia Turner on Slate: Go Forth and Go Out of Business.

Turner's article points out some of the flaws of their (The Gap's) misdirected efforts, namely: thinking older women want to wear twenty year-olds' clothing, only cut larger; or that we want large-sized no-style, elastic-waisted (as in velour track suits) clothing.

The Gap went into the venture only thinking of the bottom line and the "untapped market" and didn't do enough research about the needs and wants of their target market. I wonder how many real life 50+ women they actually interviewed and had try on their darn clothing before they launched the stores. Too bad for them. The market is still virtually untapped, awaiting someone smart enough to do the job right. I think it needs a woman, preferably over 40.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pro Age

Several weeks ago I read Ronni Bennet's article, N*ked Older Women, about the Dove Pro Age ads on TV. I wanted to comment, but was pressed for time, so filed it away in the dumpster known as my memory, to be responded to or blogged about later.

Shortly afterwards, I saw the aforementioned ads on TV. I was impressed. They were beautiful and tastefully done. And yes, the women were naked. "Well", I thought, "At last advertisers are getting the fact that women aren't all twenty-something, anorexic, smooth-skinned, flawless models. They're showing what real older women of different shapes, sizes and colours look like. They're celebrating it in fact. Hallelujah!"

I wanted to give props to Dove, despite the fact that it still is an advertising campaign, after all, and meant to sell product. A few weeks passed.

Fast forward to today. I finally decided to put some of my thoughts about Dove's pro-age ads in my blog. I did a little Googling to refresh my memory and to my utter dismay and absolute disgust, I found out that these tasteful ads have been banned from US television because of the nudity.

What gives? It's okay to show sexually explicit music videos, simulated sex scenes, violence and gore on primetime TV, but it's deemed offensive to show an advertisement celebrating women's bodies. I don't get it. They are very modest (no frontal nudity, you don't even see breasts except from the side).

It's still being shown here in Canada and, I assume, other countries. But not in the US. Apparently, various groups objected to the nudity, some even proposing a boycott of Dove. It's enough to make me want to go out and buy the entire line of products.

Judge for yourself. You can watch the ad on Dove's website. There's even a discussion forum to add comments.

Here it is: Pro-Age Dove

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Home alone

I got nothing today. Nada. Zilch. Moh yeh. No philosophical insights, no words of wisdom. What have I accomplished today? … You got it. – Nothing.

It's rainy, wet and miserable; and I'm home alone. Boo hoo. So, I'll do another Wenda and just let my fingers type whatever comes. Here goes.

It's not that I've done nothing. I just haven't done anything very useful. I've been surfing the web, writing silly flash fiction, playing Spider Solitaire, followed by Hearts, interspersed with trips to the kitchen to make tea; finding and toasting some left over garlic bread (which was delicious, by the way); and wondering what to write in my blog.

Today, I came across a disagreement on one of the forums I frequent. It got pretty heated with swearing, name-calling and sarcasm. At one point, I wanted to jump into the fray, but my better judgement prevailed, and I kept out of it. It's amazing how out of control these online arguments can get and how out and out nasty people get. Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I seldom run into these types of arguments in real life.

It leads me to wonder what the posters on these forums are like IRL (see, I can pick up online speak, too). Are they as aggressive, assertive, silly, funny, dumb as they appear to be online? (I was going include 'intelligent' on that list, but I think it's hard to fake intelligence for any length of time).

We all make assumptions about people based on what they present to the outside world, and in the case of the interweb, how they write and respond in discussion forums, blogs, and comments. I start wondering if they'd be people I'd really like to meet face to face, whether I'd like them, whether they'd like me. The more I think about it the more I believe there aren't that many I'd want to meet in person. That's not to say I don't like or am not interested in the people I've met online; it's just that I'm not sure meeting them in reality would mesh with my assumptions, if that makes sense. Although, it might make for some interesting experiences.

Those I'd probably want to meet would be those I think are both interesting and who I think represent their true selves online. Not the easiest to judge, I know, but to me, genuineness (is that a word?) means they've shown more than one aspect of themselves - the good, the bad, and sometimes, the ugly.

No one is the same all the time. We're complex creatures. Sometimes we're serious and thoughtful. Sometimes we're silly and goofy. Sometimes we're irritable and angry. It's part of being human. I like to see these different sides of a person, if for no other reason than to feel they are genuine human beings. Not to say I don't know people who always seem serious or always silly, but they seem a bit fake and, honestly, don't make the best of friends. How can you be yourself around a constant clown or someone who takes ever utterance you make as though it's a message from on high? There is time for humour in life and time to be a grown up and take things seriously, both have their place. I guess what I'm saying is that online people, like their real life counterparts are, and should be, complex. Beware, the one-trick ponies.

(So how did I get here?) Oh, right. I've learned to take people I meet online with a grain of salt. It's hard to know the real person behind the screen name and projected persona, but I think (underline 'think') I'm getting better at figuring it out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Snow in March

It's not supposed to snow here in March. I woke up to this on March 1st!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm sure I had a previous existence somewhere on a tropical island. I don't like the cold. In fact, I HATE being cold. The only way I tolerate being in cold weather is when skiing.

In my dream of dreams, I live on a small island in the south Pacific in a two bedroom beach cottage with full-width open deck overlooking the ocean. I'd spend my days alternately reading in a lounge chair on the deck, icy drink near at hand, strolling the sandy beach in search of . . . . nothing in particular, and cooling off with a dip in the sea.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A side note: My last post was a joke (or at least tongue-in-cheek). I guess a few people didn't get it - humour being so subjective and all. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.