Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Fuck Off, Mr Darcy!

Yes, you HEARD me!

Fuck right off!

Your dashing Regency reign of my heart is over!


I have a NEW heart-throb now
from British days of yore.


Oh, the SLAP of her leather gloves!

I feel quite, QUITE faint!

Her butch lesbian crossdressing ways
have ENTIRELY CAPTURED my heart!

I adore the whole erotic lesbian subtext
of the series' opening credits.
Even its editing style is hawt, LOL!

Have any of you watched this new HBO/BBC series? It is seriously worth your time. Gentleman Jack is based on the historically true story of Anne Lister, who was a wealthy member of the English landed gentry in Yorkshire in the early 1800s.

How was Anne Lister able to live as quasi-openly as she did in such homophobic, misogynistic, repressive times? Her class and uncommon financial independence allowed her to escape other women's economic fate of having to enter a conventional marriage and abide by the forced heterosexuality that came with it. Additionally, Anne Lister had a phenomenal amount of sheer bravery and bravado that allowed her to live the relatively free and unconventional life which she did.

Five out of five stars!

Friday, 14 February 2020

Sweet February the 14th

Okay, now let's get REAL.

How do people REALLY spend Valentines Day?

However you spend it, remember:

Tomorrow is a new day!
And chocolate will be half-price!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Questionable Valentines

It's Valentines Day on Friday!

I hope none of you give or receive
any of these rather "iffy" valentines.

And for gawd's sake, make sure you can sing
before you serenade somebody!

Always be careful with food gifts 
as tokens of affection.

They can backfire sometimes.

Some of you would LOVE
this next box of chocolates,
I know!

And finally, heartfelt valentines greetings from
Her Royal Highness the cat --

Friday, 7 February 2020

Tai Chi Fan Performance

"Fan" is my favourite tai chi routine. As mentioned in an earlier post, it took 5 months of almost daily lessons and practice for us newbies to learn this 3-and-a-half-minute routine in our tai chi group. I was worried that my somewhat arthritic hands would not be able to manipulate the fan. And yes, some days my fan was dropped or flung or only partially opened.

But the surprise issue for me was how hard the routine was on my legs. At times, I could barely keep up. My legs were burning and aching. Everything was happening so fast! But once the routine is finally learned and becomes part of muscle memory, it seems to slow right down to a much more manageable pace.

There are a lot of subtle hand and wrist movements required in using the fan. These movements are not meant to be purely decorative. The teacher corrected one of my wrist movements in class, showing me how to twist my wrist in a certain way before opening the closed fan. "You must gouge your enemy in the side first," she told me.

This photo shows two of the most difficult moves in the routine --

Because we are geezers, we get to do modified versions that are not so hard on us. We don't have to hold the one-legged pose so high or so long. And we don't have to get down anywhere near so low to the ground on any move, including this most extreme one. Thank the Baby Jesus!

Here is a wonderful video of a tai chi master doing the routine. (Just pretend it's me, LOL!) I love hearing the snap of her fan! And watch for the grips and slices you saw demonstrated in the martial arts videos from my previous post --

While I was learning this routine, I would wake up in the middle of the night and that music would be running through my head on an endless loop. Talk about a crazy-making ear worm, LOL!

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Performance Fans versus War Fans

A tai chi performance fan is made of bamboo and silk. The one I have is a peony style in black silk, as pictured here in the middle --

A tai chi fan routine is, like all other tai chi routines, based on martial arts. The decorative performance fan is a safe stand-in for a martial arts war fan. These have steel ribs, either blunted or pointed. The inside bottom rib is essentially a knife with a razor-sharp cutting edge. For example --

The Tessen ("iron fan") was created by the Samurai warrior class in ancient Japan, so that they would never be unarmed in situations where their swords, bows or spears could not be carried. A decorative folding fan (Sensu) was an expensive status symbol among the feudal Japanese upper class. Everyone had one, both men and women, so a fan tucked in a waist sash was above suspicion. If attacked, a Samurai could defend himself with his war fan.

Here's a couple of short videos showing how war fans are held and used to inflict damage. The demonstrator is, of course, using a safer performance fan to illustrate the moves. All these same grips and strikes are used in tai chi fan routines as well, although in much slower motion.

My next post will be about the actual tai chi fan routine. And yes, there will be a performance video! Not of me though, LOL, but of a tai chi master.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Practice Makes Perfect

Every weekday morning from 8:00 to 10:00, the tai chi group with which I practice meets in the large hallway of a big local mall before the stores open. Members include men and women in their 20s to their 80s, although most are retirees in the 60+ range (like me). Most members are Asian but there's a fair-sized non-Asian group as well. We practice both tai chi and qi gong over the course of our two hours.

I call this group the best kept secret in Edmonton, because it is absolutely free! There is no cost to participate or learn. The group's founder, his wife and the other group leaders are dedicated to making tai chi and qi gong freely available to all for improved mental and physical health. And they have no other agenda, which is refreshing.

There is a teaching element to the group as well. Lessons usually run for about half an hour. In the past year and a half, I've learned Wu style tai chi, several Yang style routines, a sword routine and a fan routine.

And believe me, none of it came easily! I am not a physically adept person, not an athlete, not a dancer. As Jenn from Coffee on the Porch with Me said in a previous comment, tai chi is like "learning a dance routine for weeks and weeks, bit by bit and then it all coming together." Very true! My initial challenge when I first started was telling my left hand/foot from my right. D'oh!

My next tai chi post will be about the fan routine. It nearly killed me, but I learned it! And it only took five months!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Marvel Universe of Superheroes Exhibit, Part 2

It was nice and quiet at the exhibit hall on the day we visited. The exhibit had already been running for about 3 months so the big initial crowds were gone. Plus we went on a weekday afternoon when kids were in school.

Here are the costumes for Thor and his sister Hela the Goddess of Death. Also the movie prop hammer, Mjolnir, which they both wielded at different periods of time.

A lot of plastic died to make Thor's costume. I'm surprised it looks as good on screen as it does, because it looks more than a little cheesy in real life!

Mjolnir is a worthy movie prop, though.

So is Loki's helmet. That's my hand and camera reflected in the glass, LOL!

Captain America's uniform is the one worn in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Bucky's costume is the post-Winter Soldier uniform worn in Avengers: Infinity War. Both outfits look like they've had a few miles put on them. The MCU gots its money's worth out of them, I guess! Still, very cool to see the movie artefacts in person.

Cap's battle-scarred movie-prop shield is also part of the display.

All in all, this exhibit was a good way to spend a snowy winter's afternoon when it was -30ÂșC outside!

[All photos © Debra She Who Seeks/My Rare One, 2020]

Monday, 27 January 2020

Marvel Universe of Superheroes Exhibit, Part 1

Earlier this month, My Rare One and I went to see the Marvel Universe of Superheroes exhibit currently running here in Edmonton. The exhibit marks the 80th anniversary of Marvel Comics and the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It includes original comics, original art, movie costumes, props and memorabilia.

Thor flies on guard high above the admission desk so there's no danger of anyone trying to sneak in without paying.

Inside the exhibit hall are a number of "selfie station photo op" statues of such popular characters as Black Panther, Hulk and Spider-Man.

But what I was there to see were the movie costumes and props! They are not easy to photograph in the dimly-lit exhibit hall since they are behind glass that catches a lot of reflections, but here's some of my favourites --

Doctor Strange's iconic costume is displayed in a multi-mirrored case that shows it off from several directions. I especially liked seeing the back of his red Cloak of Levitation.

And here are the costumes of my favourite female superheroes! The Black Widow's uniform chosen for this display is not, alas, her black leather catsuit but one that looks like it is made out of stretchy athletic fabricwear.

The fierce warrior garb of General Okoye of Wakanda did not disappoint, however. (This photo's for you, Cal!)

And here's Gamora's costume from Guardians of the Galaxy (also Star Lord's).

The exhibit features brief glimpses and memorabilia of many, many comic book characters beyond the Avengers, including X-Men, the Inhumans and more.

But I am posting here only about my MCU faves. Accordingly, Part 2 of this post will feature the costumes and props relating to Thor, Loki, Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Squeeeeee!

[First photo from the internet. All other photos © Debra She Who Seeks/My Rare One, 2020]

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

Today is the Lunar New Year, so welcome to the Year of the Rat, everyone! Gung hey fat choy!

What can we expect in a Rat Year? According to Susan Levitt and Jean Tang in Taoist Astrology, the Year of the Rat is:

. . . a time of plenty, bringing abundance and good fortune. In this auspicious year, some of Rat's prosperity can influence everyone, regardless of one's birth animal. Expect a powerful year, when people are firm about their goals, passions and aspirations. Although there may be fluctuation in world economies, it is an excellent time to start a business, buy property, invest in long-term plans, or accumulate wealth. But it is not a time for foolish risks . . . . Rat loves the pack, so it is also a time for socializing, entertaining, and enjoying ourselves.

Okay, then! Sounds good!

Here's a fun little traditional ritual to encourage prosperity and abundance for the upcoming year. Exchange a coin with another person while wishing them Gung Hey Fat Choy (Happy New Year)! Make sure each of you brings your own coin of equal value to give to one another -- don't just pass the same coin back and forth. You don't want prosperity to simply swirl or circle around -- you want it to come and stay with you!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

A Weird Fish Stew -- Enjoy!

There's no commentary in today's blog post
because, really, what could I say?

These images and cartoons speak for themselves!