May, 2016 Archive

Why We Love the Freaks, the Weirdos and the Outsiders

Freaks on TV - Walter White

In popular entertainment, we love the freaks. Here’s why. Scrolling through Emmy winners, or just reflecting on your own favorite TV shows, you’ll notice that pretty much every character that grabs our interest is, well, flawed. The most dynamic and engaging plots revolve around conflict: no one wants to watch a bunch of good Samaritans sit around and jerk each other off. And that doesn’t just apply to TV. Try to name a half-­decent movie or book where the best characters aren’t low-key freaks, weirdos, outsiders or all three. Even in your age-­old good-­versus-­bad deal, the best bits are when you’re not really sure which way it’s going. The greatest heroes are antiheroes. Beginning with a classic, Homer Simpson is arguably the most loved character of western television in the 20th and 21st centuries. And yet, the rotund yellow bald man is consistently mediocre, eternally sidetracked and frequently duped out of        …read more

Once Upon a Mother’s Day

Celebrity mom Jenna von Oy dishes on the everyday surprises of motherhood. Once upon a Mother’s Day many moons ago, when I fancied myself a spry whippersnapper and spontaneity was still in my vocabulary (in other words, pre-children), I booked a last-minute flight from Los Angeles to Connecticut to surprise my mom. I snuck up my parents’ driveway and called from my cell phone (the old-school kind the size of a supercomputer), overselling apologies for my absence on such a special occasion. Mother’s Day should involve a celebratory luncheon, movie matinee or all-you-can-drink mimosa bar, I lamented. Or maybe, if one were truly enterprising with her daughterly devotion, it would include all three. I put my acting chops to the test, slathering the disappointment on thicker than Skippy peanut butter. My anticipation mounting, I rang the doorbell and awaited my mother’s response. I even managed to stifle my giggling when she        …read more

Today’s TV Is Stealing the Hollywood Spotlight

Today's TV Better Call Saul

Why is today’s TV overtaking the film industry in budget, viewers and acclaim? Daily routine: hear my alarm, reach for iPhone, hit snooze, check Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, doze... Wake up nine minutes later, repeat above, roll out of bed, shower, eat, brush teeth, leave apartment. By the time I get to the cafe where I write, I’ve already engaged with 25 to 50 people, and that’s without even opening my mouth. Not counting, that is, the grunt acknowledgement to my dopey roommate in his boxer shorts, prepping for ‘hangover day’ on the couch. Everyone thinks they’re the protagonist in their own story, but the fact is, it’s more like we’re all protagonists in everyone’s story — straddling the gap between entirely alone and eternally connected. Digital media changed the way we communicate, expanding the definition of a conversation from one-one-one or a few people ’round a table, to a literally infinite stream of        …read more

Turn Up the Music Therapy

Muse- Music Therapy

That moment when a tune becomes music therapy. Whenever I hear somebody sing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” I vividly remember how this song was like music therapy for me a couple of years ago. I can actually feel the emotion of that evening when I was completely lost in sadness until I heard the music. Then my mood changed instantly. Back then I was just happy to be in a restaurant where a great band was performing. Now I find it fascinating how a few moments of listening to music made me forget about my worries and completely enjoy the evening. Humans Are Designed to Positively React to Music Imagine yourself after a long day at work, having your favorite meal with the people you love. Now imagine that again, but this time add live music to the picture. Though you’re with the same people, eating the same meal, it’s        …read more

This Prosthetics Designer Wants Kids to Be Kids

prosthetic arm

So he’s helping them create the coolest prosthetics we’ve ever seen. When Carlos Arturo Torres set out to create his award-winning IKO Creative Prosthetic System, his main objective was to design prosthetics that would “let kids be kids.” But as he set out to create the system, he discovered, and has since helped bring awareness to, the deficiencies in pediatric prosthetics. “One thing I found is that there are basically no prosthetics for kids,” the Colombian industrial designer said in a phone interview from his current office in Chicago, Illinois, where he is working for the global design firm IDEO. “That’s recently changed. With this project in the public for over a year now, I think it’s created awareness to focus on kids’ needs. When I was doing my research, all I found were basically smaller adult prosthetics and kids need more than that.” “Children have anatomical and psychological differences, so        …read more

Mad Science for Singles: Beef Curry Recipe for 1

Beef Curry Recipe ingredients

Welcome to my laboratory. Muahaha. I’ve been busy conducting more experiments and have a beef curry recipe fresh from my laboratory for you. With each Mad Science entry, I give you a recipe and a few ideas to take your dish from basic to brilliant by changing up some of the flavors. Once you get the idea, you’ll be off on your own. Quit just watching celebrity chefs and be one. Enough with the small talk. Let’s get started.   Beef Curry Recipe A Luscious Curry Recipe in Minutes Here’s a simple curry recipe with just a few ingredients. This is the quickest way I’ve found to get the same luscious flavor you could get after a full day of cooking in just about 15 minutes! Oil for cooking 1/2 lb. stew beef, cubed 3 carrots, sliced 1 small onion, chopped 1 medium potato, chopped 2 tablespoons butter, softened 2        …read more

Lovecraft Fans: 10 Eldritch Movies & Games for You

Love craft Stories

Every Lovecraft fan should check out these movies and games. Howard Philip Lovecraft wasn’t exactly a sunny guy. His characters often wind up in a padded cell with their minds broken by what they’ve witnessed or suffering some other fate worse than death. (I can recall only one story in which the hero actually wins the day — “The Shunned House.”) Lovecraft never made a major stir in the literary world while he was alive, but since his death in 1937, his novellas and short stories have left an indelible impact on horror and science fiction. Obsession. Insanity. Insignificance. Indescribable otherworldly beings. Every Lovecraft fan looking for more — be it something based directly on his work, inspired by it or sharing some Lovecraftian motifs — would do well to check out these movies and games. From Beyond Loosely based on the short story of the same name, this 1986        …read more

Creative Space: The Artist and the Studio

A creative space can often be as important as what the artist creates. If you were to walk into Pablo Picasso’s creative space, his home studio, you would find yourself surrounded by the remnants of a life very well lived. While the artist spent large amounts of his life traveling the globe in search of inspiration, it was in his final home that he was most profoundly himself. La Californie, nestled snugly in the azure dream that is Cannes, was stuffed full of Picasso’s works and findings, all collected over the course of his prolific career. Rooms towered high with the memories of his former life in Paris; splotches of paint found themselves on every home surface possible. While the artist did have a designated studio, his work spilled into the surrounding rooms and spaces, transforming the home into a sort of living gallery. In the mishmash of Picasso’s creative        …read more

The Pop Culture Makeup Collection: For Better or For Worse

Star Wars Makeup Collection

Sometimes a media makeup collection is a stretch, but sometimes it nails it. You can make merchandise out of anything. It seems as though every semipopular story franchise now comes fully equipped with action figures, posters and Hot Topic T-shirts. But that’s not where it stops and, as any pop culture enthusiast has surely discovered by now, makeup palettes are a popular addition to media, from Cinderella to The Simpsons. Whether you want to paint your nails with colors inspired by Girls characters (Shoshanna is “virtuous and vivid violet”) or use glitter straight from The Rocky Horror Picture Show Collection, there’s something for everyone who wants to use skin, nails and lashes to pay tribute to a TV show or movie. Occasionally a pop culture makeup collection ties in reasonably well, particularly when a movie or show has standout visuals or a specific cinematographic style. But many are reaching to connect a character        …read more

As ‘The Crow’ Flies

The Crow Death Rattle

How James O’Barr created one of comics’ most iconic antiheroes, The Crow. Imagine being in love, the kind of all-consuming love that permeates you. Imagine the freedom that comes with letting someone completely know you and the stunning revelation that they love you for all the things that make you who you are. Now imagine that love violently stolen in an instant. Everything is lost. What would you do? Would you spiral into despair? Turn to drugs and self-abuse, release hate toward everyone you meet? Or would you do something different? Something...beautiful? His name is James, and her name was Bethany. In 1978 she was struck by a vehicle and killed. According to an archive from a James O’Barr / The Crow fan site, “Beth was alone on a Detroit sidewalk when a drunk driver in a van drove into her and dragged her across several front yards.” That event        …read more