Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Love for Modern Family

As always I've arrived as a late member to a bandwagon, but recently I have developed a particular love for the abc series "Modern Family", a mockumentary style television show that presents the lives of members of an extended family in modern times.

While the show features nuclear families, which are becoming not so modern, there is a gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell and their adopted daughter Lily, who just might be my favorite character, and then there is Jay, who is on his second marriage to a younger woman who brings her son, Manny. The other family, Phil and Claire, are the most "normal" family of the bunch, having one man and one woman of the same age, but that's where the normality ends, as is true with most families. Jay is the father of Mitch and Claire, so as I said, they are all one extended family.

Each episode has excellent humour, writing, and the actors are all superb, even with the ridiculous story lines they are given, time after time. I'm not saying ridiculous is bad, either. I mean, how often do you get to see a man dressed in a costume from Cats sitting in a tree, protesting it's removal? But then there is something to learn in it all, whether it is the importance of loving your children even though they get kicked out of college, or the hardships of raising a child being worth it all, the end of every episode is one giant sigh of happiness, as you watch these characters grow. Honestly, at the end of every single episode I have happy tears in my eyes.

There are other things I admire about the show too. As I said before, the show features a gay couple and their adopted child. Because Modern Family is a comedy it would have been easy for the writers to make a mockery of Cameron and Mitchell, have them be overly flamboyant and live up to every homosexual stereotype in the book. However, they did not. Cameron and Mitchell are portrayed very realistically, as two normal people who happen to be attracted to be people of the same gender, and that is great. Because the gay best friend or the flamboyant gay man/couple trope is getting real old, real quick.

And the writing. The writing is great. The show is so...quotable! There are cute, heartfelt lines, but really this show is around to make people laugh, and the writers do an excellent job of ensuring that happens. In the last episode I watched, Haley stated that "Elle Woods won her case in Legally Blonde because she was true to herself and looked cute." to which her father replied, "This is about a serious issue, not an excellent movie". Or when Gloria, angrily says, "I'm not a hothead, I'm a Colombian. I'm excited, our entire country is covered in coffee beans!" The banter is witty, without being malicious, and the script does an excellent job of showing growth in characters across the seasons.

My point here would be to go watch Modern Family, because hopefully you'll love it as much as I do. If you're a fan of Parks & Rec or The Office, Modern Family employs the same single camera shooting style and the same mockumentary format, so it's a safe bet that you'll like this show as well. Till next time!

Alexis Olmstead has recently turned into a part time hostess and a full time cat lady/servant. If you don't believe her on the cat servant part, meet Rifka, the princess of the couch, also known as Alexis' master. For more random reviews, rants, and thoughts, check back every few days or so.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The World is Dumb

At what point will people on this planet stop for a moment and realize that hey, maybe they are doing something that really isn't good at all? Recently I posted a list of things that prove humanity isn't doomed, but today I'm not so sure, because if it isn't doomed, I think I wish it was.

Why? Why have I suddenly become so cynical and/or pessimistic? the 2016 Olympics, and the ignorance of people online. 

Let me explain. 

The 2016 Olympics are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In preparation for the XXXI Summer Games, Brazil is building venues for all the events, parking lots, and generally prettying up their city so that when the world tunes in to watch all the events on television and when competitors show up from all over the world, Rio doesn't look like a complete hell hole. Too bad the site of the planned car parks was already an indigenous museum that doubled as home to 20 Aldeia Maracana families who been living in the building for seven years after the building was retired. On March 22 all the families and supporters of the group, who fought to stay in their home and preserve part of their history, were forcibly removed or arrested. Are the Olympics really so important that indigenous people need to have another part of their existence erased from the face of the planet? I mean, honestly, isn't there somewhere else to put a damn car park? Let's think about this. The Olympics literally do nothing to preserve anyone's history. It is neat to watch the best of the best from around the world compete, but it is not necessary to preserve the history of any one group of people. However, this museum, which the people living in wanted to restore and use a tourist attraction during the Olympics to showcase their traditional way of life, did indeed preserve a group's history. It showed where they came from, the struggles they faced and overcame as a people and now, now it is gone so that some 16 year old prodigy can win a gold medal. The trade off isn't worth it, Brazil. Hop in your Deloreans and go back in time to reverse this stupid action. 

Tumblr, if you haven't heard of it, you are so streets behind because its basically the future of social
networking sites if they would ever get a bloody instant messaging system going. Anyways. On tumblr, people will post anything they have heard and think is vaguely true that other people will then read and just accept as true without doing much research. Today I "learned" that in Greece they were rounding up trans* people into concentration camp type facilities, the Church of England was going to ban same-sex marriage, and that Russia was spreading anti-gay propaganda that made it dangerous to be a homosexual in that country.

Let me tell you what is ACTUALLY going on.

Greece is putting all of its illegal immigrants in one location, which could be defined as camps, but they come with food, water, beds, and various forms of entertainment. The purpose of these camps is for illegals to sort out their paperwork and become legal citizens or to get them back to their country of origin. The Church of England dropped its opposition to the passing of the same sex marriage bill after they were extremely outvoted in the House of Lords. So, that's wrong, and it has been wrong for about a month now. Russia recently passed a bill that outlawed anti-gay propaganda so that it would be safer to live as a homosexual in Russia. Dear readers, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, least of all when it comes from tumblr.

You also shouldn't pay any mind to the senate when it comes to women's issues because they are completely incapable of discussing anything when it comes to women's bodies and what should be done with them. Here's what should be done about women's bodies, senate, nothing. Let women do whatever they want with their own bodies, especially when the senate is currently a predominantly male group who will never have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy or birth control or worrying about whether or not they can get the morning after pill because they won't know whether its legal or not. Senate, stop making women stand for 13 hours without being allowed to use the bathroom, eat, lean on anything, sit down or use a back brace in order to strike down a debate directly related to our anatomy. Male readers, if you walked into a room full of women debating whether or not you should be allowed to masturbate into a sock or napkin or anything, really, because technically you're killing potential children, would you be upset? Yes, you would be. And why? Why would you be upset? Because none of those women have penises. My point being, no uterus, no opinion.

And then there is Supreme Court who did a really cool thing by defining DOMA as unconstitutional, but then went and struck down the key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which stated that nine specific states, mostly in the south, had to seek advance federal approval before changing voting laws. Obama has stated that he is very unhappy with his decision, as the first Black President, that means a lot. I honestly believe that the VRA probably helped a lot of the minorities who voted him into office have enough freedom, and confidence and general feelings of safety to vote for someone who wouldn't be so popular down in the southern states. I mean, this decision made such little sense that Justice Ruth Vader did a very rare and unusual thing and stated her disagreement from the bench, saying that Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy and America's commitment to justice had been "disserved by today's decision." And I can do nothing but agree. The VRA allowed for progress in racial equality in America, and until complete equality is achieved I believe that the Voting Rights Act is necessary.

While our planet continues to make leaps in bounds in certain areas, I find that usually these leaps and bounds are made by citizens who have no part or influence in our governing bodies. If the people who supposedly have "our best interests in mind" could maybe catch up to these outstanding individuals, I would be a happier human being with more faith in the future.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time armchair activist who believes very strongly in her opinion and will debate with you as long as you're respectful and intelligent

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Racism Related Rant

I honestly don't get racism. I mean, especially when comes from those of the Caucasian persuasion. My fellow white brethren, I hope you realize that America is quickly becoming a country full of minorities, which would technically make them the majority and us the minority. So...pick on someone your own size and all that good stuff.

As of June 1st the population of America was reported to be 316,037,000. While White Americans (including those who reported as White+Latino) still make up 72% of the population, over 50% of the infants in America are minorities and 69% of the national population growth was from the Hispanic and Latino American groups. There are so many non-white people in the United States right now that immigrants, U.S. born descendants, and minorities are expected to contribute most of the countries population growth in the coming years. Why am I spitting random facts and figures your direction, reader? Because if White racists think that they can justify their beliefs based on the fact that "there are more of us than them" then they are wrong. And I like to prove stupid people wrong. Americans hate the fact that a small group of people decides so much of what goes on in our country, yet they then turn around and try to play the majority rules card when it comes to deciding how people of colour should be treated.

Sidenote: there are 3.2 million more females in America than men. Patriarchy also doesn't make sense on the "majority rules" scale.

White racists may enjoy thinking that this is "their country" and that "they were first" but they are quick to forget who they took this country from. How can someone be so angry that non-English speaking people come into America and refuse to learn or have a hard time learning English when Europeans came to America, absolutely refused to learn any of the 500 different Native languages and then forced the Natives to give up the traditional language of their people and learn English instead? I mean, are they just upset that people are tired of having one of the hundreds of the languages on this Earth forced upon them and are happy speaking Spanish or Russian or Chinese or French?

I mean, honestly, as far as racists go, they have NO room to talk about people of colour needing to "go home". Y'all are the ones who need to go back home, to Europe, where you came from. And take your ethnocentrism with you.

In all seriousness, though, racism towards other groups doesn't make sense at all because we're all equal and human and just because you are white doesn't mean you are entitled to anything except maybe my boot up your butt if you continue behaving in your racist ways, least of all a whole country which you stole from another people, who you then WIPED ALMOST COMPLETELY OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. But also, because when you say people like African-Americans need to go back home, you sound like an idiot. Who brought African-Americans to America? White people who were so lazy that they bought and enslaved an entirely different race so they wouldn't have to cook their own meals. Furthermore, if you don't like another human being solely based upon the colour of their  skin, you need to get your priorities straightened out.

Colour sorting is for laundry, not people. Also, if you're a racist Christian then there a few things we need to talk about. First, as a Christian, you are supposed to extend love to everybody, regardless of colour. Second, there is a widely believed theory that Jesus wasn't white, so if that turns out to be true, your spiritual life just got real awkward, real quick.

Stop colour sorting people in your life, if you're a racist and you happen to be reading this. I'm trying to be all deep and everything, but honestly, if you don't have respect for somebody because their skin colour is different than yours, then I don't have respect for you and neither do a lot of other people. And just for the record there is absolutely no excuse to be a racist, even if you are 100% native to the country in which you live. And if you are doing something racist and someone has the decency to correct you and tell you what you are doing is racist, you should definitely not get angry with them, you should thank them for being the kind, enlightening soul that they are. Because the only thing worse than being a racist is being an ignorant one.

Also, for the record, appropriating someone else's culture is indeed racism. I'm looking at you, headdress wearing hipsters, girls who wear their hair in braids and then say they are "being Pocahontas"and people who
wander around aimlessly in Hawaiian skirts. If White people took the right from people of colour to do/wear the thing you are doing/wearing then you shouldn't be do it.

Racism freaking sucks. A lot. Don't be a racist. Or I won't like you. And if you don't think that carries much weight, just remember I have a blog on the internet that people read and if I tell them not to like you, they won't. I think.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time hostess, failed poet, attempted children's book author, and a full time angry blogger. For more rants, reviews, and general words typed into a big blank box, check back often, such as every few days or so. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sexism in Advertising

Once upon a time I was scrolling down my tumblr dashboard when I saw a group of some of the most sexist advertisements that I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Now being from small town, USA I don't actually see to many print ads that make me want to slam people into walls, but today I just really am feeling the need to crack some heads open. However, since I'm not strong enough to actually crack heads, I will unleash my massive amounts of sarcasm and logic on these ads.

First of with milk trying to calm woman with PMS. If you apologized to me with those words and three gallons of milk I would smack that scared look right off your face. If you say something to me that makes me freak out and go nuts on you, chances are, I'm not PMS-ing, you're just stupid. And chances are, Milk Man, you made the mistake of then going "Are you on your period or something?" Bad. Move. Because if I'm not, you're going to get a hand to the face, and if I am....well let's just say I won't be the only one bleeding today.

There are a million other ways the "got milk?" campaign could have gone to make this ad both funny and informative. I mean, we all know it builds strong bones, but how about a picture of a fat cat drinking milk and then ending up skinny? Because milk drinkers are thinner than their non milk drinking counterparts. I mean honestly, so many non-sexist ways to go with this ad and you chose THIS ONE.

Quick! What famous model actress person endorses PETA while not wearing clothes? Palmela Handerson! You got it! Oops. I meant Pamela Anderson.

It is true that all animals have the same parts. But some animals happen to taste better than other animals,which is why so many men, which this ad is clearly aimed at, partake of red meat. Like that little cow with the heart in the center left of the ad.

Honestly, I think that this ad isn't going to turn many people into vegetarians. However, it will end up under a lot of teenage boys beds. So there's that. Also, yes, all animals have the same parts. But you don't see society hyper-sexualizing a chicken's legs, do you?

On another note, this photo is blatantly photoshopped, but that's a rant for a different day.

What the actual F*** was The Organ Donor Foundation thinking when they came up with this print ad?

I mean, what happened in that board meeting that caused this ad to be born?

"Hey Jim, I don't know about you, but not enough men are becoming organ donors these days, what should we do?"

"I don't know Bob, put a prostitute on a print ad?"


I'm sorry, but again. Since when has seeing naked or nearly naked women caused men to do anything except lose the ability to think clearly?

Oh. Oh wait. I get it. If they're being stupid they will go become organ donors? Was that the plan here?

No. The plan was to up the visibility of their print ads. And in order to do so, they needed something that people would look at and react to. Something like nearly naked women! And I mean, obviously its working somehow because this is one print ad that is receiving a lot of criticism. I can tell you that right now.

You know what's great BESIDES having one of your organs inside a person of the opposite (or same if you swing that way, no judgement) gender? Having the chance to save someone's life and taking it.

DR. Pepper 10 is not for women. Its for misogynists. Because apparently women couldn't handle something that had 23 flavors and only 10 calories. Not like women are the number one consumer of diet sodas or anything. Not like women can pretty much handle anything men can't, including pain like childbirth.

DP Ten is a failure of a marketing campaign and since I haven't seen it in stores in months, also a failure of a soda. I wonder if it was because women weren't buying it since its not for us, and men weren't either since they don't normally drink diet soda? I don't know. YOU DECIDE.

 American Apparel is known for its print ads that showcase people in very non-modelish but also modelish poses and some sort of slogan underneath. However, it also known for its unethical practices regarding hiring/firing and photoshoots of employees or wannabe employees that are then used as ads, sometimes without their permission. The company has been sued several times for sexual harassment and a handful of those times the suit included the companies photographers.

Now they have gone even farther in almost advertising the fact that they are one of the skeeziest clothing companies in America right now, right behind A&F and don't even get me started on this one.

This girl does not look anything on her is open. Seriously. She looks really scared, and super uncomfortable. But she was probably told she had to take this photo or she wouldn't have a job, so there's that. Nothing sells clothes like an uncomfortable model in a scandalous pose, that's for sure.

Also, when I saw this at first I thought it was an ad for a strip joint and I'm not even joking.

Nothing says high fashion like...what the hell are they even doing in this photo? I don't know but somehow that woman is being sexualized, possibly taken advantage of, and there are three men who aren't doing anything about it.

Mmmm. You go D&G. You sure know how to make print ads.

One of the reasons we continue to see so much sexism and patriarchy in the world today is because the advertisers notice it is a trend in society right now and capitalize on that. I honestly believe we wouldn't see so much of the social injustices as we do right now if advertising could stop contributing to things like sexism, patriarchy, body image negativity, and the like.

But they won't because that is what gets the ads noticed. So be aware of the wrongdoings of the advertising world and do your best to not be influenced by them. Especially if they are so willing to make a buck that they would willing dehumanize females in the name of selling clothing, or soda, or anything.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A List That Proves Humanity Isn't Doomed.

We are in a pretty low...low when it comes to stupidity and general awfulness on the planet right now. Some have even go so far as to say that humanity is doomed BECAUSE of our collective idiocy as humans. Some would go so far as to say by the year 3000 Earth will be just like a scene out of Idiocracy. That's terrifying and I hope wrong. 

Here at Alexis, Unwritten, I occasionally like to look on the bright side of life. If you need help looking on the bright side, first listen to the song from Spamalot and then read this list of things that show that our world is not proved, we are good beings and that there are people who in the world who to continue to improve on our condition every day. 

Pink Loves Consent!

"FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is a creative activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent. We believe that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in America to face the realities of sexual violence, and we envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent. As activists, we are here to force the issue." 

Late last year FORCE members created the website and fooled a large part of America into believing that in lieu of their usual "Sure Thing" slogan on thongs, VS would be instead selling underwear that said things like "Ask First" and "Consent is Sexy". According to the fake site, the difference was a simple case of the Then and Nows. "Then we loved styles all about rape culture. Now we love styles all about consent!"

About 100 members of FORCE's facebook group were behind the satire site, which caused mass confusion, but an overall positive response. The site went viral with people contacting Victoria's Secret telling them how great they were doing with rape culture awareness and how happy customers were with the new line. And what happened when they found out it was a hoax? They cried out in sadness and are now asking VS to make the consent themed underwear line a real thing. 

So what did VS do? They forced FORCE to take down the website, fearing customers would confuse the satirical website with the actual one. No worries, though. It was later reinstated and now you can see it in all its glory.  

Sarah Palin Visits Small Town in Washington to Give Commencement Speech

 Governor Sarah Palin may not be the favorite of every person in America. But you can't say she doesn't have a big heart. Republic High School's graduating class really wanted Sarah Palin to speak at their graduation and they got her there. While she was criticized by popular news outlets for choosing to go to such a small town to give a speech, Palin did a magnificent job, telling the graduates that the secret to success was to "get off your butt". Her speech was really great, and I'm just going to let it speak for itself.

Way to go, Republic Tigers Class of 2013. Your daring-do got you a really great speaker. I can honestly say I think a lot of you are going places. 

Or at least I hope you are, because otherwise, Sarah Palin wasted a dollar on you.

The Case of the 590.5 Million Powerball and a Cut In Line

Crandell and her 10 year old daughter.
If you follow the news at all you've most likely heard about the mother who let an elderly lady cut her in the line to buy lottery tickets and went on to find out that the elderly lady won the jackpot. If I was that woman, I would be kicking myself in the butt and note it as a lesson to never let elderly people cut me in line again. 

However, I am not that woman, and she is not me. However, she IS 34 year old Mindy Crandell and she has publicly stated that she has no regrets about letting the winner, 84 year old Gloria Mackenzie, cut in front of her.  Crandell added that she hoped the money, paid out in one lump sum of 380 million dollars after taxes "truly blesses the family" and that "sometimes it is better to be patient than right. We are teaching our daughter the right thing." 

What a good mom.  

USASF Allows Special Needs Cheerleaders to Compete at Worlds

Every year towards the end of April, all star cheerleading teams level 5 and higher from across the world attend USASF and IASF Cheerleading Worlds at Disney World. Any team below level 5 competes later on in the year at an event known as Summit, which is similar to Worlds except for a lower skill level. This is true for all teams except for special needs teams who, every year, cheer at USASF Worlds. 

And that just makes me melt and feel all happy inside. Because in a world where they will always be treated as different and sometimes less than we who lack that extra chromosome, special needs cheerleaders are made rock stars for at least one weekend. 

In the cheer world there are certain people dubbed "cheerlebrities" who most other cheerleaders look up to and take inspiration from. But I choose to take my inspiration from the boys and girls on special needs teams who work their hardest day in and day out to so they can walk on to the blue mat at worlds and wow the audience of thousands.  

Big G! Little O! Go! Go! 

Angelina Jolie Has a Double Mastectomy

Okay, the title is a bit deceiving. Jolie's double mastectomy is not a good thing as in I would WANT it to happen. However, what is good about it is that instead of focusing all the attention she has gotten after revealing the news of her surgery to talk about herself and how hard it was for her, Jolie is using the media and her new limelight to spread the message that breast cancer does indeed suck and women need to get themselves checked before it is too late. In her New York Times article Angelina Jolie stated "I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent."

"I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices."

Celebrities have a lot of influence in the world, whether we like it or not. I'm just glad that some of them choose to influence the world in the right way.

Boston Marathon Runners Keep Running

When the Boston Marathon was bombed earlier this year, a lot of people were injured. A lot of them needed blood transfusions. And there were a lot of runners still crossing the finish line who ran an extra two miles to go donate blood after running a marathon. I'm pretty sure the Boston Marathon is 25 miles long and the runners KEPT RUNNING after finishing a 25 mile long race, and then gave blood. 

There are things in this world bigger than ourselves. There are people who know that. And because of those people, our world is not doomed. It is bound to get better.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Introduction to Finality

Sometimes we as people remember something and it instantly makes a lump appear in the back of our throats. Why do memories of good times make us sad? Because as the author and vlogbrother John Green said, "it hurts because it mattered". There are chapters in life we can only revisit between the pages of a scrapbook, with a bittersweet smile on our face. Experiences like high school, college, thing thing you gave up so you could do another thing, that one musical you worked on, childhood, et cetera can only happen once and too often we forget that.

Everyone starts a new chapter of life everyday. So make today count. When looking back on this chapter from your next one, why leave room for regrets? Make everything you do important, make it good, make it worthwhile, because all of it is taking up a page of your life's story. I think it was Jo Rowling that said that a life lived too cautiously is no life at all, so remember that. Make memories.Take chances. Give yourself something to look back on, and live without regrets.

Life is too short for regret.

Life is a great big canvas. Throw all the paint on it you can. - Danny Kaye