Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dear Mr. Plaschke,

Recently I read your article in the Los Angeles Times about this seasons Super Bowl match up. Now, as an avid fan of the Seahawks I was interested on what you would have to say about their upcoming bout against the Denver Bronco's, a team that has come out on top in two of their Super Bowl appearances. But as I read your article I could hardly contain the vomit that filled my mouth. Rarely are there such biased pieces of reporting that so blatantly screw up when it comes to fact checking.

I personally enjoyed your attempts to slam the Seahawks for talking trash when your whole article does nothing but put them down. Like, really, Bill? Can I call you Bill? K, thanks. Yes, the Seahawks do talk trash. But then again, the Broncos probably do as well. In fact, sometimes the only way to get pumped up on the sidelines so you can have a 15-3 season is to smack talk the other team. Where is the problem there? Yes, the Broncos have a large fan base, but so do the Seahawks.

And then there's the whole "they whined about the officiating thing when they lost the Super Bowl" thing. The NFL publicly apologized to the Seahawks for the bad calls during their one Super Bowl appearance and it is the ONLY Super Bowl in history to ever be decided by the officials. Had the game been called correctly we would have seen an entirely different Super Bowl back in 2006 with a much closer result that could have tipped either way. But Super Bowl XL is in our past. Super Bowl XLVIII is in our future, and statistics favor the Seahawks as the winners.

"It's Manning versus Sherman" Yeah, Peyton Manning (isn't he getting old?) is all over television. He likes to be on tv, we get it. He's a great quarterback. But in the past year he has dropped more passes than Russell Wilson did in the past TWO. Out of Manning's 659 attempts (the most in the NFL) 43 were dropped, averaging about 15 passes per drop. Wilson averages about 29 passes per drop and ended with 14 drops on around 400 passes. If you add that to last years stats, which were 24 dropped passes, you'd still have less dropped passes than Manning with 100 more attempts. Sherman, the Seahawks cornerback who has declared himself the best (he just may be right), will be attempting to intercept or block Manning's passes (assuming they don't get dropped anyways) and with a record like Sherman's and moves like the ones he displayed during the playoff game against the 49ers, you can be damn sure Manning is going to have a helluva time getting anything past the Seahawks defense. One can assume that Sherman will be pitted against Demaryius Thomas, the receiver that Manning has been using as a crutch all season long. Now, Thomas is a big man and in the past season has been able to dominate the corners placed against him just by sheer size. Richard Sherman, however, is also a big man and as stated by bleacher report "is seldom tested by opposing quarterbacks". If the opposing cornerback had only allowed just under two catches a game with an average of 13 yards a catch and 8 pick offs during the regular season I wouldn't mess with him either. So yeah, it is Manning versus Sherman, I get what you're saying, but why is that a bad thing? How can you be the best unless you prove it against the best?

And yes, Manning is the provincial "what a good guy" character, and Sherman gave an interview after the
game that started with yelling and shouting and stuff...but let's start by saying his team had just made it to the Super Bowl and you shoved a microphone in his face. But it wasn't just any player that you shoved a microphone in front of, it was the man who had just swatted away a pass and caused an interception that won the Seahawks a ticket to the Super Bowl. I would yell like that, too. And here's the thing. you mention that Sherman flashed 49ers player Micheal Crabtree a choke sign and then was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, Sherman's "choke sign" came after he attempted to shake Crabtree's hand and Crabtree shoved Sherman in the face. Funny how you left that part out, Bill. You could say I'm making that up, but then I would tell you to look to the right. Yes, Sherman apologized for his post game interview, stating that he could have "obviously....worded things better...and had a better reaction and done things differently" but its all in the past now and we can just accept it and move on. Even Sherman says that the interview was loud BECAUSE it was in the moment.

"Knowshon Moreno vs. Marshawn Lynch". You go on to talk about how sentimental and loveable
Beast Mode #2 vs The Saints 31 yds Seahawks win
Knowshon is and how he cries during the national anthem and yada yada yada. That's nice. Sentimentality doesn't win football games. Talent wins football games. Hard work and dedication win football games. Furthermore, in this match up why does it matter if Lynch didn't appear in front of the media? I wouldn't either! How well I talk to journalists does not relate to how well I play football. AT ALL. Now as running backs go, Knowshon is pretty good. This season he has 241 attempts with 1, 038 rushing yards (longest run 31 yards) and 10 touchdowns compared to Marshawn's 301 attempts, 1, 257 yards (longest run 43 yards) and 12 touchdowns. But you didn't want to comment on how well Marshawn plays, you wanted to comment on how he is called "Beast Mode". Well sir, when you turn a three yard run into a 67 yard touchdown ramble and cause an actual earthquake, henceforth known as the "Beast Quake" you get whatever nickname you want. The thing is, Marshawn enters Beast Mode on the field and ensures Seahawk victory. He is a key member of the Seahawks defense. Ask Russell Wilson. Knowshon Moreno is good. He just wishes he was Marshawn Lynch good.

And then you go and talk about Orange Crush versus Skittles. Let me stop for a minute here and tell you that Skittles aren't a team thing. They are a Marshawn Lynch thing, and if you knew ANYTHING at all, Bill. It would be that Lynch eats Skittles when he gets nervous or over excited because the sugar in the coating helps calm his stomach down. "Coach keeps them in the med kit next to the advil" he once joked. Orange Crush is the name fans have given anything the Broncos do...EVER. Seahawks fans, however, aren't only loved by our team, we are our teams 12th man and we put the team on our back. We support the Legion of Boom in whatever they set out to do, including but not limited to winning the Super Bowl. 

The only thing that matters in this game isn't who is the good guy and who is the bad guy, because really there is no good guy/bad guy dichotomy in football, it is the fact that both teams are 15-3 and this could be one of the most exciting Super Bowls yet. So see you at the Super Bowl, Bill.

 The Legion of Boom will be waiting.

Alexis Olmstead is an avid Seahawks fan and despises biased articles with faulty fact checking. She also wants you to enjoy this video entitled "What the Hawk Say". Go ahead, enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The New Aerie Ad Campaign and Why It's Awesome.

aerie Real is shot by John Urbano
"The girl in this photo has not been retouched. The real you is sexy". Since aerie Real's release earlier this month the ad campaign has been receiving major attention for holding themselves to a standard of natural beauty, and not retouching the models shown in their photographs.

Everything from tattoos to stretch marks has been left on the models, all for the public to see, and honestly, I'm loving it. Everywhere I go I see pictures of what I'm supposed to look like, and what I'm supposed to be, according to society and the fashion industry. But this campaign, and aerie, get it. Because so many images are shoved at us everyday that tell us that stretch marks are wrong. Thighs that touch are wrong. (side note: a very small percent of the population has a thigh gap and it's not important to anyone, least of all dudes who will never notice.) Belly rolls are wrong. Crooked teeth and uneven skin tones are wrong. Body hair is wrong. But the whole idea that women, in their natural state, are wholly disgusting and need made over is WRONG. However, this idea is cemented into our thought processes by the women we see on tv and in magazines, who have been so airbrushed they don't even look like themselves anymore. The women we see in magazines are lies. Those women don't actually exist. Because no woman has perfect skin and is perfectly shaped and also, who has the right to dictate what classifies a woman as a "real woman"? I digress.

Aerie's target demographic is women between the ages of 15 - 21, the group that is influenced most by what they see in the media, in regards to their ideas on beauty. But now...we are being empowered. We are being told that we are okay. That is perfectly fine to look like we do. That I, with my crooked smile, thighs decorated with stretch marks, and random mole on my face, am pretty.

Thanks, Aerie.
And yes, this is definitely a marketing ploy. But hey. If aerie is trying to move merch by telling me I'm sexy in my own skin, I'm going to let them. Because the world doesn't tell me that enough, and even though I'm a confidant young woman, it's really nice to hear the world tell me I'm hot without all the make up and photoshop once in a while. In a release, aerie stated that their whole intention with the campaign was to "challenge supermodel standards in young women". Aerie wants women to feel like we don't have to be supermodels all damn day long and that's sadly, revolutionary. So many companies make their money off of telling us what we could look like in their clothes, what we should look like and what products to buy to make us look that way and here comes Aerie, holding our hands and saying "hey, so what if your thighs jiggle when you walk. You still look cute in our underwear".

As if the ad campaign isn't enough, Aerie has revamped their website to show REAL girls wearing sizes of clothing that you're searching for. On most websites you get a model wearing a 36C, pretty average (thought to be ideal but who is to say what ideal breast size is?) cup size, no matter what size you click on when taking a closer look at the product. On Aerie's new website you click on 40DD you get to see a model sporting a 40DD bra, and it is real, and it is wonderful. Aerie's site is a refreshing change from other sites that market to the same group of young women, who often use way photoshopped photos (some less obvious than others) to model their apparel. The worst offender? I bet you guessed it. Victoria's Secret who only shows one model and that model is plastic perfect in her photograph.

Aerie vs. Victoria's Secret and Forever 21
The #aeriereal trend is one that I hope other brands follow suit on. Instead of opening up Seventeen (yes, I read Seventeen) and seeing all these young ladies I can't look like because I didn't win the genetic lottery and become a superhuman, I would like to see a girl I could relate to and be one of. The solution is as simple as the Aerie Real campaign. More women need to be shown naturally, not retouched, in magazines and major advertising campaigns to let other women know that we don't have to look like supermodels day in and day out. It's okay to have a day where we just wear our hair in top-knots and go to the store in our sweats with no make up on. Anyone worth mentioning probably won't care.

So thank you, Aerie Real, for attempting to end the cycle of companies telling us what we have to wear to achieve some standard of beauty we can't actually achieve. Thank you for telling me that it is okay to feel gorgeous in my own skin, and that the real me is amazing, just the way I am.

Alexis Olmstead is an aspiring Tony winner who just landed a really cool gig portraying Dorothy in OVOC's Spring Musical, The Wizard of Oz. She frequently rants about gender inequality and how annoying she finds rude people. For more updates on her life as Dorothy or her general opinion on random things, check back often. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

On Dawn and Dusk

Another sunset to remember
 This summer, swaddled in a down comforter, skin still warm from the heat of the sun, I watched a day disappear. As the sky began to turn orange I closed my eyes and took it all in. The beauty of nature, one of our greatest renewable resources, the cool breeze that gently kissed my face, and the knowledge that no matter how many sunsets I saw, I would never see this one again. It was a masterpiece gone too soon. Whenever I'm feeling sad, or angry, I remember that sunset, and existing underneath it, and I feel at peace with the chaos surrounding me.
   I humbly submit, reader, that you too have one of these memories. I have more, most of them revolving around the sunrise and sunset. Yes, many of my favorite moments occur when a day is dawning, but more likely when its ending. Admittedly I don't actually believe 6 am exists, because I'm usually sound asleep then.
   But one summer, I did witness 6 am and the beauty a sunrise has to offer. In my most magical summer yet, I was 15 and had just moved to Omak, where met my eventual best friend and sister, Carissa. Shortly after meeting she took me to one of her favorite hangouts - "The Spot". From there we could see all the city lights, the moon, and the stars, twinkling, staring back at us, perhaps watching our little lives unfold. We laid on our blankets and tried to count all of them, but fell asleep before we finished. We woke when the sun did, and wrapped up in blankets and youth, watched the sun ascend into the sky. I believe that was the first sunrise I ever really saw.
   Watching the sun rise is almost hopeful. It validates the fact that no matter what, night will become day and things will start anew. With this knowledge comes a choice that we have to make. Do we shy away from the light of knowledge and new beginnings, or do we greet it with a smiling face and an open heart? There is a lesson to be learned there, I think.
   And the sunset is equally abounding with lessons. No two sunsets are the same. They are always changing, just as we have to do as humans. Change is hard, change is scary, and it doesn't really get easier as time goes on. No matter what, though, change will come in your life, be it big or small. But don't look back. Move forward, or you live in the past at the expense of giving up the future and experiencing the here and now. Yes, I'll never see that beautiful sunset again, but I can fondly remember it from time to time, and with every new day comes a new dusk, bringing an equally or even more spectacular sunset with it. We must change to grow and adapt, else we sleep, and miss all of the opportunities life has in store.
   There is something to learn in everything, reader. And nature may just be the best teacher we have.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time waitress and full time diva. She is currently spending her every waking moment poring over her Wizard of Oz script preparing for the start of rehearsals. For more attempts at philosophical, soul-searching posts, check back often.