Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Duchess Shoes

The American Duchess has a new shoe coming out soon!

The Kensington shoe comes in red or black and is so pretty.

From the blog description of the shoe:

"Our new "Kensingtons" come in ruby red or coal black, and are the picture perfect shoe for re-enactors and Colonial costumers, particularly for those portraying the 1770s and 80s. Kensies feature our custom designed Louis heel, along with a hand-stretched pointed toe, and period-correct latchets and seaming."

Plus, there's a giveaway right now if you blog or post about the shoes on FB or Twitter or whatever :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Valmont vs. Dangerous Liaisons

For the final project in my costume design class, we're doing Midsummer Night's Dream. I'm setting mine inside an 18th century painting. What I'm actually doing for the costumes is another post, but I like watching movies while I'm drawing the costumes. Since I'm doing 18c, I've been watching a lot of period movies. Today, I really wanted to watch Dangerous Liaisons, but I can't find my DVD (grrr....) and it isn't on Netflix instant streaming. So I'm watching Valmont on instant streaming instead.

I'm about halfway through now and incredibly disappointed. Let me sum it up for you: Annette Benning is about forty gajillion times sweeter than Glenn Close, making the whole thing with Cecile's mother being all "you're such a good influence, spend more time with my daughter!!" a lot more believable, but also makes the whole calculating manipulative female version of a player incredibly unbelievable.

It's the same problem with Colin Firth. I haven't gotten to the bit where Cecile sleeps with him, but I can't see him seducing her the way John Malkovich does. It just isn't plausible. On the other hand, in Dangerous Liaisons I spend the whole time trying to figure out what Michelle Pfeiffer actually sees in Malkovich.

The rest of the characters honestly seem pretty much the same between the two. I like Michelle Pfeiffer better than the no name playing Madame de Tourvel and this Cecile manages to be innocent without annoying me, but otherwise they're pretty evenly matched.

But then there's the costumes.

See, at first glance, some of them are 18c and some are just 18c inspired. But then there's a scene where you Cecile changing clothes. They unlace her back (ok, that's believable. She's 15 wearing one of those transition gowns where it closes in the back but looks like it's front opening), and that's when you realize that her gown is actually separate petticoat and bodice, and I'm fairly certain the sleeves were separate from the bodice... And she has one petticoat. And the paniers are part of the petticoat.

Anyway, so once she's taken off this monstrosity (which was only sort of a monstrosity before you realized how it was made) you realize that she's wearing some kind of weird tank top with shorts with lace on the cuffs. This is also when you realize that her stays were part of her bodice.

And don't get me started on the thing she puts on. This is a scene that has no equivalent in Dangerous Liaisons. Basically the Marquise is trying to get Cecile and Chavalier to hook up, so she arranges for them to meet in a brothel. When Cecile gets there, a woman helps her change into this... thing.... It's multiple pieces, same as what she took off, only the pannier-petticoat-thing is only as long as panniers... Like if you made panniers out of your fashion fabric. Ish. And there's all this veily stuff hanging around everywhere. It was bizarre.

So far, that's been the only pathetic foray into undergarment land.

The gowns themselves vary. They're all clearly wearing stays (or their bodices are stayed...), and somehow they all have full skirts, even if it's only one petticoat. It does move like it's multiple. The trim, cut, and sleeves are the problem.

But that's before I start complaining about the fabric. I know about this much *holds up fingers barely a millimeter apart* about prints and even I know some of these prints are atrocious. My favorite so far I think is the coat Colin Firth is wearing when you first meet him. It's this white floral print (and looks practically identical to the print Cecile is wearing in the same scene... Which entertained me immensely...). I'm not saying you can't have a print on a man's coat. I'm just saying if you want to put one on a man's coat, you'd better go ask someone who knows more than me 'cause my instinct is no way, jose. I'm not sure I've ever seen that... And the print itself strikes me as very much not right. It's very... open, I guess is the right word. Very white. With very pink flowery stuff. It just looks funny, especially on the coat...

And then there are the wigs. The women's hair is all over the place and I have complaints about every single style in every single scene. The men are all wearing those wigs where the hair is less than two inches long all around the head and just kind of tries to lie flat until it gets to the ponytail. They look so stupid....

Ok. That's my rant. I'm going back to my drawing (and really lousy movie) now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A letter to Lieutenant Joe Cable

Dear Joe,

You've got a great voice. Really, it's lovely. I've got one problem with it though.

The young romantic lead is supposed to be a tenor. Not a baritone. Not a bass. A tenor. When there's multiple male leads, you should be able to tell them apart by their range. Look at virtually every show on the planet, the romantic lead is a tenor. When there's more than one romantic lead, like you and Emil in South Pacific, the young one is a tenor and the old one is a baritone or bass. When there's multiple leads and some are romantic and some aren't, the romantic one is the tenor. Don't ask me why. It's just true. Look at Phantom of the Opera, multiple romantic male leads, like South Pacific. Raoul, the young guy, is a tenor. The Phantom, the old (well, older) guy is a baritone (ok, not so great example 'cause a lot of guys can play both. But the parts are written so Raoul pretty much always sings a bit higher....). Look at Les Mis. Three male leads, Marius, the romantic guy, is a tenor. Javert and Valjean are a) older and b) not romantic, they've got epically awesome baritone-y bass-y parts (since I've never actually had to worry about the difference between a bass and a baritone, being neither, I'm not really clear on what defines the two.... I just know a baritone doesn't go as low... I'm inclined to think it's like the difference between a mezzo and a soprano, but I have no idea....).

You're a young romantic dude. That means you don't get to sing low. I'm sorry. I know it's disappointing. But it's true. I know lower is cooler. Don't get me wrong, you sound awesome. You're the only young romantic male lead I've ever even remotely crushed on (I tend to be indifferent to tenors.... That is when I don't actively dislike them... I'm a sucker for a bass. I mean, Some Enchanted Evening? I'm in heaven. Virtually everything Javert sings? Awesome. But I totally zone out during everything Marius sings....). But you have no business singing so low. I used to never be able to remember if you or Emil sings Younger Than Springtime 'cause you sing it so damn low!!!!

Unfortunately, South Pacific is one of the shows that I've never seen on stage and I don't think I've ever even heard the recording of the stage version (apparently the whole world likes Mitzi Gaynor better than Mary Martin...), so I have no idea if this is your fault or Rodgers and Hammerstein's. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's either their fault or the idiot people casting in the '50s when all the R&H were filmed, since I seem to recall Lunta in the King and I being epically low as well (and also being pretty epic sounding in his lowness...). On the other hand, the Sound of Music gets it right. The Captain is on the lower end and whats-his-face (the one who winds up being a Nazi and has the hots for Liesel. Or is it Liesl?) being annoyingly high in that tenor-like way.

So I'm thinking it's the fault of whoever made the R&H movies about Asians, or at least who ever dealt with who sang what.

Or R&H just randomly decided in two of their shows they'd make the guys who really OUGHT to be tenors be baritones/basses.

Alright. I'm sorry. It was unfair of me to blame you. But you are an easy target. Remember, I'd totally avoid you if you sang higher..........

Sincerely, Wendy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eff You, Drug Companies

I very rarely swear when I post things on line. This post is going to be one of those rare times when I'm pissed and frustrated enough to ignore my usual not saying anything I wouldn't say to my grandparents rule (that said, I probably would swear if I were talking about this to my grandparents... So I guess I'm not breaking the rule...).

Fuck you, drug companies. Just.... Fuck you.

Let me explain.

I don't know the details, but drug companies right now are screwing patients and not making a lot of meds.

This means that Adderall is on back order.

This morning, I took my last dose of my current Adderall prescription. I'm supposed to take two capsules in the morning and one capsule in the afternoon as needed. I won't be taking my afternoon dose today (which sucks 'cause Tuesdays are one of the days I normally DO need it...).

I went to CVS last night, knowing that I only had enough meds for the morning.

"Sorry, it's backordered. We don't have ANY of your dosage."

I'm signed up for the mall trip this evening, so I called the drug store in the mall just now. They have absolutely none as well.

I just called the only other easily accessible pharmacy. They have 12 generic pills (so, 4 days if I take it as prescribed. 6 if I don't take my afternoon dose.) and 66 brand name.

My prescription is for 90 pills. Normally, my insurance is only cool with 68 pills in a vial. Last time I filled this prescription, I wound up with 68 pills. Since I don't take the afternoon dose every day, it's not the end of the world, especially since a lot of weekends I wind up only taking the afternoon dose.

And insurance only covers generic. They cover my brand name anti depressants, but only 'cause the generic hasn't come out yet. I have to call them and beg to cover the brand name this one time 'cause that's all I can get.

And if they won't cover it... Well, let's just say Adderall doesn't come cheap.

Let's imagine a world where I can't take my Adderall, just for a minute.

I will continue to function, yes. My inability to function comes when I don't take the Lexapro (anti depressant), not not taking the Adderall.

When I don't take the Adderall, I function like a 5 year old. That's when I'm not a three year old. Which is still better than a two year old.

With even the smallest bit of stimulation, I may as well be drunk without Adderall. When I say I act like a little kid, I mean a little kid in a candy store with grandparents in Disney World. We're talking wired, psycho, hyperstimulated, the highest energy you can imagine.

I'm also fearless.

This doesn't happen every time I don't take my meds. Normally, I just get more obnoxious, lose a lot of inhibitions, don't recognize limits, and whatever ability I have to recognize social cues goes down the drain.

Until I'm stimulated. Stimulated might just mean chilling out with someone when something strikes me as particularly funny. Something about the laughter pushes me into psycho fun mode.

Last time that happened, I ran up and down the hall of the dorm I was hanging out in asking everyone how they felt about penises. One of the first people I asked gave me a thumbs up. After that it was all, "do you think penises are thumbs up?????"

Apparently most people do, although they tend to add in that it kind of depends on the bearer of the penis as well. I thought that was very fair.

And I hadn't even drunk anything.

Yes, I successfully completed 6 and a half years of school unmedicated. I didn't start taking Adderall till the very end of 7th grade.

But when you're 12 or younger and you occasionally act like a toddler or preschooler when you're seriously wound up, it's not a big deal. Your parents just spend a lot of time debating if they should have you tested for ADD.

When you're coming up on 20 and you're in college and people expect you to have social skills and the ability to behave like an adult at least some of the time and you sort of have that ability, but you also know it can disappear at any time, you're screwed without your meds.

Yes, I have tricks up my sleeve for surviving meds-less. But my tricks are mostly relevant to weekends or when my meds have worn off.

I don't think I've gone to a morning class unmedicated since about 10th grade. I've known in afternoon classes I wasn't medicated because it had worn off, but I HAVE to have my meds for class.

Not because I can't concentrate. As long as there's even a little bit of structure I can concentrate.

And not because I get distracted. At least not exactly.

When I'm functioning normally unmedicated, there are two really really big signals that I'm unmedicated.

My handwriting and my obsessive compulsive tendencies.

Successful people with undiagnosed ADD tend to have some level of OCD or at least OC tendencies (my psychiatrist says it's only a disorder if it interferes with your life... I like to say I have OCT). When you have a disorder that often makes you disorganized, you probably have some coping mechanisms that look like OCD.

And plenty of people with diagnosed ADD have things like that too. My brother and I (or is it me?) being wonderful examples.

I like things to be aesthetic and I like formats. All of my notes for any given class are always in the same format. If I type my notes, I'll make a template in my word processor so it's all set up for me every class. When that gets messed up, I will sit and fix it. Until it's fixed.

When I get a hand out in class, I write my name and the date at the top of the page. I always do this in pencil. I prefer the look of pen, but you can't do what I do in pen. If it doesn't look the way I want, I will erase it and write it again. And again. And again. And again. Until it looks how I want. By now the teacher has moved on to whatever we're actually doing and I've missed it.

I'm getting better about doing this medicated (I used to always do it. Now I focus really hard on not doing it). But medless is a whole different story.

And then there's my handwriting. Normally, I have pretty decent hand writing. It's usually legible, neat, sometimes even pretty. This is good since I like things to be aesthetic.

Without my meds, it's a huge struggle. I have trouble actually physically writing by hand, and once the letters are on the page they are atrocious. It looks like a little kid who's just learning how to write wrote them.

And remember the OCT, so the need for everything to be aesthetic is worse and the ability to actually make it aesthetic is virtually non existant.

It can be all but pointless for me to go to class unmedicated because I can't follow the class, not because I can't concentrate but because my desire for perfect notes gets in the way of actually taking notes.

I imagine I'm not the only one who has serious trouble actually functioning in adult life without meds. Some people have trouble functioning in social settings too, not just work or academic. When people can overlook how obnoxious I can be and forgive my inability to read social cues, I'm fine socially, although people sometimes think I'm drunk.

But until drug companies get their act together, I am FUCKED. And this is just brain shit. From what I understand, drug companies are also not making things like cancer meds. My brothers both have Lyme and they wound up having to change antibiotics when they only had like a week left on their regimin because they couldn't get the one they were taking.

So, to drug companies I say this:
I'm so glad that your money and proving America can't function without you is more important to you than letting Americans like me actually function. Yes, we need you. Yes, when all the companies get together like right now you have a monopoly (which is illegal. I think. It's called the anti trust laws. It means a bunch of companies can't get together and have a virtual monopoly.). Yes, you have a shitton of power. THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD USE IT.

Have some common decency. Realize that there are college kids out there who are facing the very real possibility of the last two weeks of classes WITHOUT MEDS and then finals WITHOUT MEDS. Realize that there are people with life threatening conditions who will get better if you MAKE THEIR DRUG. If they die, IT'S ON YOU. If I get absolutely nothing out of my classes for the next two weeks and fail my finals, IT'S ALSO ON YOU.

Make the fucking meds. It's not that hard. Yes, I'm being selfish. Yes, I'm blaming everything on you. Yes, I'm ignoring the other shit in my life that could make me fail my classes. But you know what? If I'd had a perfect semester and rest of the semester looked golden, I'd STILL suddenly be terrified that I wouldn't be able to pass without my meds.

The last time I went to school unmedicated regularly was in 7th grade. You know what my teachers always said about me in middle school? "Wendy is really great when she puts in the effort, but she has trouble completing and turning in her homework and staying on task in class." I don't remember EVER finishing a class in elementary or middle school and NOT having make up work at the end of the year. Until I went on Adderall.

Between the ADD diagnosis and the depression diagnosis, my academic problems WENT AWAY. What does that tell you?

It says I need Adderall to be able to be successful in school. When I'm not having other issues and am on Adderall, LIFE IS PEACHY.

So yeah, I've been having other issues lately. But you know what that means we SHOULDN'T do??? TAKE ME OFF THE FUCKING ADDERALL.

Oh yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I count on my Adderall. I have ever since I started taking it. Now, it's my foundation when I start dealing with other shit. If you take it away, EVERYTHING ELSE I'M TRYING TO DEAL WITH WILL FALL OVER.

Give me my fucking Adderall. Make the shit. Stop being stupid.


UPDATE 12/2/11: I lucked out in that we had changed my dosage pretty soon after I'd filled a new prescription, so I had some of my old dosage lying around, so I managed to not be unmedicated (and actually I hadn't noticed a change when I first started the new dosage... Going back to the old one and I did notice, so it kind of could have been a good thing. Ish.) for the last few days, but I got frustrated yesterday with not being able to work out how to deal with the insurance and started calling pharmacies that weren't within walking distance or I didn't know where they were. And I found a Rite Aid that had it (and they had enough and they had generic. Wheeeee!!!)!!!!!!! So I called my mother's wonderful wonderful friend who lives really close to my school and told her that I needed to go to this pharmacy but I had no clue where it was or how to get there or if it was even in walking distance and could she pretty please drive me? And she was happy to.

So at least for this month, I have meds.

'Course, I still have a problem with insurance in that they don't like to cover more than 68 pills per vial (isn't that a really random number?) and my prescription is for 90 (two in the morning, one at noonish for 30 days...), so I can only get 22 days worth (but that's assuming I take the full three every day. I tend to only take the noon dose on weekends and only the morning dose on Mondays and Fridays... Which is 15 pills per week rather than 21. Which means one vial can last more than a month... Actually, assuming you only have 4 Saturdays and 4 Sundays in a month, 68 pills actually lets me take the morning dose every day and the noon dose every week day.... But since I don't do that, it can last me longer...). Anyway, I can have my doctor arrange something with the insurance so I can get my full script, but I haven't dealt with that yet.... Although I wish I had because I would like as much time as possible between now and the next time I have to go crazy trying to find the stupid things.....

But I still am happy 'cause I have my meds again. Yay!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pemberley Shoes

The American Duchess has a new shoe and I LOVE them. I'd totally wear them for modern... Unfortunately, I don't do Regency and practically everyone in my life has this funny belief that I don't need anymore shoes, so no way can I convince my mother that I should get these...

Fortunately, Lauren, of the American Duchess, is doing a giveaway. So I'm posting about these fantastic shoes in hopes of winning them :)

About the Prize:
The "Pemberley" Regency shoes are closely based on extant footwear from the 1790s through 1810. The smooth, dyable, hand-sewn leather upper is designed to be lovely enough formal occasions, and durable enough for walking in the countryside. Particular attention was paid to the point of the toe, as well as the other hallmarks of Regency historical footwear, with the main goals being both historical accuracy and all-day comfort.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Letter to Bryn Mawr about their spam filter

Dear Bryn Mawr,

I think it's great you have such a strict spam filter. I know the Nigerian princes are disappointed that they can't get in touch with me, but I get too much email as it is and I don't need all the warnings about my inbox being full.

That said, it'd probably be best if the emails from the Student Health Division about enrolling in the mandatory health insurance DIDN'T get stopped by the filter. When those get stopped, it means I don't see them for a week... Yes, I saw it well before the deadline, but it was still worrying.

It was also worrying because the text in the email was a little weird (lots of ? in random places, as though it had been fed through a bad translator...) and it didn't come from a Bryn Mawr email address.

Let's just say I was very careful to go to the Bryn Mawr Health Center page by typing in my browser, not the link in the email....

I get that we have had some problems with email scams and things and I could tell when you strengthened the spam filter. But emails from school should get through the filter....


Friday, August 5, 2011

Pretty 18th Century Shoes

So this blog I read, the American Duchess, also has a small shop. And gets these FANTASTIC shoes. So, reenactors, check it out!

The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s. They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments.

Pre-Order the Devonshires through August 10, and get the special $100 price. We're only making 200 of these shoes, so don't miss the chance to own one of only a couple hundred pair on the planet! Visit www.american-duchess.com to order.

Aaaand keep your eyes peeled. I got the splint taken out of my mouth yesterday and there'll be a 4 weeks out from surgery post coming soon. It'll involve chewing (yay!!!!!!).