She said she liked puppies

Digging up old information from html websites, they do shed some light on what she said in one USATODAY interview. In some of those profiles, Britney Spears said that her favourite animal is puppy and she tends to like smaller dogs. It should be noted that in some of these sites, she had a Rottweiler though who knows if it was a puppy at the time.

And who knows if she got scared of dogs after buying two German Shepherds. A better question is if she had changed preferences or not. But it’s safe to say that while she didn’t exactly specify the timing, her preference for puppies (and smaller dogs) is related to her experience with getting bitten by other dogs.

It’s also safe to say when she photographed her son posing with a Retriever, she would have tolerated it and like any mother whose child is playing with a strange animal she would have allowed it for awhile. She also didn’t photograph herself posing with it so that clears things up.

Who will play Detective Barry Allen

I said several times before that drastic, even damning changes are coming to the Flash. One of them being the possibility that in S2 Barry will become a detective after losing his powers. The problem is whether or not the actor behind the character can live up to it. He can but will he?

I haven’t watched his performances though who knows if he can pull off a role where the character (Barry) deals with a life-changing event where he has to move on from being a superhero. Maybe yes. Maybe no. He’s not untalented but who knows if he can play a superhero turned detective.

Barry might not be the first superhero turned detective. There was one from Marvel called Jessica Jones who’s like this. Barry could at the very least be a very infamous example of one, albeit if the Flash writers decide to insert Clash jokes every now and then in S2 starting with him using a bass guitar.

Again who knows if Grant Gustin could pull this off too. He can sing and dance though who knows if he does method acting. One might doubt his ability to play a character undergoing drastic changes in S2. Not that he’s bad, he might not adjust well to Barry becoming a bass-wielding detective immediately. But then again it remains to be seen.

Observations on body types

Here’s the thing about body types in cartooning. Even if they’re not exaggerated, there will be some nuances missed out in body type representation. If a character is muscular, he will also broad-shouldered and deep-chested. Even if he doesn’t have bulging muscles, as long as he’s robust-looking and broad-shouldered he looks imposing and manly.

There are slim, narrow-shouldered and ripped types in real life but in cartooning they almost always default to either runners (sprinters, footballers and rugby players are very buff and powerful) or commonly teenagers. The lack of broad-shoulders among male characters gives an air of youthfulness. Broad shoulders indicate manliness.

Likewise even if a female character doesn’t have large breasts but if she has wide hips and a slim waist she will look very feminine. It may not be the intent but wider hips indicate femininity, sometimes better than having bigger breasts though the presence of wide hips would either balance out the size or make it look smaller.

That’s the odd thing I noticed in comics and cartoons whereas in live action productions tend to be relatively random in determining body types. Actors like Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin could make themselves buff but usually you can tell that they’re not naturally powerful by looking at their bone structure. Musclemen in comics and cartoons are almost always mesomorphs if it weren’t for their strong bones.

It’s weird when you start realising it.

I did it..with the help of someone

I have been making skirts several months ago. I don’t know where my black and red floral skirt went though I don’t remember bringing it elsewhere outside of this house either.

But moving on from that I had some of them completed with the help of someone. I don’t know how to put on the waistband myself to be honest and I don’t know if I can really do it on my own since she’s away.

But with her help I completed two skirts. Another two are to go. All I need to do is to look for the other waistband, even if that makes me really pissed if I can’t find them immediately. Maybe with more patience and practise I can make it.

Curse of the superhero fatigue

There’s been some talk about superhero fatigue and how several superhero movies are beginning to underperform. The signs were already there with the disastrous Green Lantern movie. It got followed by Avengers 2 (which underperformed its predecessor), then Ant-Man and recently the Fantastic Four reboot.

A few years ago, there was a new Fantastic Four cartoon and there were two other Fantastic Four cartoons in the past, including the one with the Herbie robot. Green Lantern has appeared in cartoons and even live action before. Ant-Man made his appearance on Super-Hero Squad Show as well as that 2010s FF cartoon.

I have a feeling that history is repeating itself. This decline in sales has been observed in superhero comics before, then came oversaturation and failed attempts to modernise superheroes for an ageing readership. It’s the same characters and storylines all over again only updated for this increasingly bored generation.

Does anybody remember Ultimate Marvel? Prior to Marvel Now, Ultimate Marvel was an attempt to modernise stories and characters for the new millennium. It lasted as long as it could but in some stories the writers practically lost any good ideas for it and even then they were rehashing the same storylines and characters. Just as Marvel 2099 is a predecessor to Ultimate Marvel, Miguel O’Hara predated Miles Morales by almost twenty years.

Likewise in the 2005 FF, WASP Susan Storm was played by Latina Jessica Alba and Alicia Masters was played by a black woman. 10 years later, Johnny Storm is played by a black man and there was a preceding Fantastic Four film in 1994. While that film was unreleased, at least Fantastic Four’s cinematic presence is forthcoming and the team was an influence on the Incredibles.

In hindsight, that was an affectionate tribute. Later on we get multiple versions of Fantastic Four and people are going to tire of them. Not because they’re lame but because it’s the same thing all over again. So what will solve the superhero fatigue? What would solve it is a drastic change that would superficially kill the genre beginning with the Flash turning into a detective story.

It wouldn’t be much better but to have Barry be a detective would be a way to keep the genre alive for longer but not enough to delay superhero fatigue. It might as well hasten it.

The Unusual History and Nature of Fashion Design

In the book ‘Overdressed’ by Elizabeth Cline, there were fashion designers before though they weren’t made into big stars the way they are today. Charles Woolsworth is the first fashion designer proper though he had been a tailor before. Likewise Gabrielle Chanel was also a seamstress. Fashion designers of today still have skills in sewing and dressmaking though they’ve become big celebrities since the mid-20th century if it weren’t for their close association with Hollywood.

While fashion design and modelling have become a vital part of the clothing industry, the most important components are construction, dyeing and selling. It’s one thing to draw the dress you want to wear, it’s another to sew and sell it to other people which means having to be less selfish and be both cooperative and in tune with what they want. Even if you don’t intend to sell or share it, it’s pretty difficult to make the clothes you want to wear.

Liz Edelkoort is another seasoned fashion professional who said that fashion students shouldn’t just stop at fashion design. They should try their hands on other parts of that industry, which is something where they might be better at but then again in order for a fashion designer to thrive in that industry for long they have to have entrepeneurship, cooperation, tough skin and craftmanship in addition to fashion design. No wonder why a lot of fashion labels fail the first time and why it’s necessary for fashion designers to have these.

Patronising Diversity

Here’s the one thing that I don’t get about the push for diversity in geek media. The ‘diverse’ characters are almost always types, never people. It’s good to have more nonstereotypical POC and queer characters but not when their characterisation feels empty and uninteresting.

Maybe that’s how I feel about stuff like the Flash where while there are women and POC, they don’t stand out as much but in a manner that makes them suspect. Cisco and Caitlin are going to be villains anyways. Joe and Iris aren’t perfect but the former has yet to kick Barry out for wanting to flirt with his sister, which is a no-no in the West household and at work.

POC can’t always be perfect and it’s interesting to have evil POC set up to challenge the hero but based on what I know from the comics, characters similar to Cisco and Caitlin are either plot devices or wasted opportunities. Others like Wally West and Weather Wizard are practically cases when writers really don’t know what to do with them and make them really distinctive or interesting.

That’s right, the only thing writers can do with Wally is to make him black when there is already a black speedster in DC lore and that’s Jenni Ognats. I can take back about what I said about Cisco Ramon but the problem with tokens is that there is not much insight into their personalities and backgrounds. I could be wrong about Ramon again though one could say similar things about Nyota Uhura.

The problem with diversity in a lot of geek media is that it’s often patronising and lacking insight. The character has to be a type first before having any real personality. What’s worse is that they don’t really develop much as their own people. I think that’s the problem with Cisco, Iris and Joe at this point.

There is a black villainess in the Flash but with Cisco and Caitlin being made into villains one might wonder if they’re plot devices in that they’re not challenging Barry from the start the same way Peekaboo does.

You could say I have internalised racism when I root for white characters but that’s because they’re more interesting, relatable and better-developed than their POC counterparts are. Like the problem with female characters in fiction, the white characters are hardly ever depicted as plot devices or for shock value the same way their POC counterparts are. Cisco dies and comes back as a potential villain. Barry dies and comes back as a hero.

Replace Cisco with Manuel Lago and you’d see a similar development. I think Manuel’s more of a predecessor to Cisco than Paco Ramon is that is in relation to being a plot device to advance the Flash.  Heck I think white musicians like David Bowie are way more interesting than he is and that is saying something about the writing.

Perhaps that also stems from the fact that I actually bother to look elsewhere to find POC representation. Sometime ago I had to look for African webcomics to look for any real black representation. I even found a Nigerian Yoruba webcomic on SmackJeeves. I forgot the name but it was pretty interesting despite the art and I found several more Swahili comics on Children’s Library for free.

I could spend an extended period of time not reading superhero comics to look for these characters. Perhaps that’s why I’m so disappointed with what’s going in superhero media and why I find it so patronising.

Curse of Buffy

I said before that people like Joss Whedon and to some degree, Chris Claremont have raised the bar for strong female characters way too high to the point where they come off as unattainable and unrelatable to most other women. Of course that happened gradually, there were still relatable heroines even though they had their implausible moments every now and then.

Likewise a number of superheroines didn’t start out this way, a more blatant example is Patsy Walker, alias Hellcat. Kitty Pryde was supposed to be a relatable character and was early on. She still has her moments but lately she became a very implausible character that writers don’t really know what to do with, which says something about the lack of a voice.

That isn’t to say that Japanese media are better off. For ever Sailor Moon and Utena, there’s going to be yet another female character who is either ultimately a second stringer to the boys, fanservice, an outlier or one who gets taken advantage easily by men. Magica Madoka is actually made for men, which says something about the content despite its female following.

Stuff like Kim Possible, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura and Totally Spies are intended to appeal to kids, girls in particular who both relate and aspire to be those characters despite having adult male fans. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any relatable female characters in adult stories. They exist but it’s a matter of looking for them and surprisingly from my experience, they’re not always the ‘strong female character’ cliche writers have been pushing recently.

That would explain why everywoman characters like Cathy can get away with this because a lot of people can relate to her than they do with a lot of strong female characters we see in speculative and superhero fiction. They’re not quirky and edgy because they are the characters people are and identify with. Perhaps it’s about time we rethink the strong female character by making her more like the people we met in real life. That’ll help things out.

What’s up with pets and broken relationships?

I have several pets but I find people who anthropomorphise pets, especially whenever they have failed relationships, to be sad. Even some of my favourite musicians are like this. One might cynically point out their lack of fulfillment with lovers and spouses so much that they turn to animals for comfort. Not all people who own pets are like that. And some people in broken relationships don’t always turn to animals. There’s always porn and the next one around so.

I have yet to enter a relationship myself. I won’t doubt if people turn to animals following a breakup or bad relationship. If it makes them happy, then more power to them that they have something better to cope with. But one might suggest they could have learnt how to maintain a longterm relationship and would be better off having platonic friends in the interim. Some of them do that. Even famous ones do that too.

But the connection between broken relationships and pets is interesting and depressing from a certain angle. These people aren’t perfect but an answer to that lies in the opposite: people who give up pets when they dedicate themselves to their families because I know someone who is like that. She had dogs before though she didn’t like the askals loitering here as I’m Pinay. When she starting focusing on her family, she stopped liking dogs in general because they were too much work for her.

Similarly this can be said of women with broken relationships who may sometimes think that being in a committed relationship with men take too much work. It’s possible to be in a committed relationship and like animals. There are people who are like this. It’s just that the ones in broken relationships and have pets come off as ones who cope with and compensate for something bad. They’re not always female though.

Mind you there are some reports about women forgoing childrearing for pet-rearing, even though that has been true before. One can be a pet owner and still have time for families and committed relationships. At least this type is better off. The ones with pets, have families and yet aren’t in committed relationships are sad because there is so much time for them to learn how to get along with their partners for life.

It’s not easy but it will be satisfying because it teaches you how to share responsibilities with other people. That’s true not only in committed relationships but also in platonic ones like friendships and partnerships. A committed, long-term relationship with its ups and downs is challenging for some and yet it can be very satisfying to feel the need to help someone along when necessary.

Not everybody can be truly responsible and hardworking. For some, an animal is too much work. For others, committed relationships, children or families are too much work. There are those who can handle all of them well and they’re not that rare but the outliers are the most vocal. That’s why people, even myself, sometimes feel sad about pet owners who are unable to be in a committed relationship especially if they have children because they’re going to miss out something good.

The Golden Age of Anime

To other people, the golden age of anime took place in the 1980s which isn’t surprising as it’s the era of a lot of anime being produced including memorable ones like Urusei Yatsura, Dragon Ball, Fist of the North Star, Gundam (it began as far back at 1979), Minky Momo, Creamy Mami, Macross, Cream Lemon , Dirty Pair and Saint Seiya.

There was forgettable stuff before though the other reason why it’s known as anime’s golden age isn’t just due to a proliferation of different animation genres in Japan as well as the strengthening influence of the fanbase but also taking place when Japan’s economy was booming. Then it popped in the late 80s and early 90s, made worse by an infamous earthquake, the growing stigma of anime fandom and an apocalyptic cult group wrecking havoc.

Ironically the 1990s was a time when anime became a huge international phenomenon, coinciding with the Internet’s growing widespread usage and when it came to be recognised by some people as something other than cartoons even though anime is a cartoon and practically done by animators so. The international anime bubble popped in the mid-2000s, which is unsurprisingly the time when anime itself got stigmatised (again after the gory OVA fiasco) if it weren’t for the dreaded weeaboos.

Studio Pierrot got its start in 1979, animating adaptations of children’s books and comics. They did lend a helping hand to the growing OVA boom but in the 1980s they produced a number of beloved magical girl programmes. Again it’s Creamy Mami but also the one with the Persia lass. Creamy Mami got translated in French, Italian and Spanish under different titles though the same thing can be said of her contemporary Minky Momo.

30 plus years later, Studio Pierrot have come to animate on comics based properties like Bleach and Naruto, becoming associated with bad animation like with Toei. They also lent a helping hand on various American productions like Legend of Korra and Green Lantern. The man behind the studio said that they don’t make magical girl anime anymore due to a shrinking young population. I got that from a book by Patrick Galbraith.

Times have changed and sometimes for studios like Pierrot, in a manner that’s almost painfully unexpected.