Tsunacon 2015

While the entire bottom half (no actually, bottom 1/3 or 1/4) of the Netherlands is dressing up as idiots celebrating Carnaval, I, for the first time in my life, attended a convention without cosplaying. Yes, on the only occasion (well, except Halloween probably) I can walk on the street in cosplay without everybody staring at me, I’m wearing my normal clothes. Why? Well the most important reason is that I didn’t have any inspiration and I didn’t feel like wearing my older outfits. Another one is that I just wanted to enjoy this relatively short convention, the dealer room, the shows and the lectures without worrying about my skirt, fake ears, sore feet, face paint, etc. The result is that I wasn’t as hyped as usual (but maybe that’s also because this is my 7th convention and it’s in my own university building), but attending the convention itself was a much more relaxed experience. I did wear a PeanutButterGamer fan T-shirt though. He’s an awesome youtuber who does game… stuff. Go check him out.

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So Tsunacon 2015. This was the 7th edition of Tsunacon. You know what they did? They took all the experience they’ve gathered in the past 6 years and they didn’t use it. The first half of the day wasn’t all that bad though. We came after the crowd, so we didn’t have to stand in line, but we were just in time for the opening of the dealer room. The dealer room is actually the same every year, and a lot of dealers also attend the other Dutch cons, but that’s not bad at all. You get to know the dealers, which ones have the best offers, what you can get and where, so that’s great! My pro-dealer-room-tip #1: When you see something awesome but they still have enough in stock, go check the other dealers first before you buy it! I found a Wind Waker Link Nendroid for €60,-, but I later found another dealer was selling exactly the same thing for €40,- (which I obviously bought).

Another tip: Go check if there’s a Bring and Buy! They basically sell second-hand stuff but most of the time the boxes are still sealed, and it’s so much cheaper than when you’ve bought it new! They also sell stuff in damaged or opened boxes (=even cheaper), without box (=even more cheap) or slightly damaged or easy-to-fix figures (=absolute bargain). I also bought super awesome-looking figures of Eren and Levi from Attack on Titan, and my boyfriend bought 2 Monster Hunter Nendroids and 2 Monster Hunter figures. I’m going to spread the pictures of our loot throughout this post because I don’t have any other pictures…

Because Tsunacon also included a part of the building next to the usual building this year, we were able to sneak into my boyfriend’s office (he works at the university) so we could dump our loot there. It was Sunday, so that part of the building was actually off-limits. I felt such a criminal (I loved it). Anyway, after dumping our loot we attended a panel of American-Japanese voice actress Lisle Wilkerson. I also attended her panel at Abunai, and I absolutely adore her. It’s a funny experience to hear her talk about Japan through an American perspective (you have to pay for extra ketchup at McDonald’s in Japan!), while we are of course looking at her American perspective through a Dutch perspective (well, duh, we’d be happy if ketchup is even included in the menu). Sadly, this is the fist occasion where I noticed that the organization could be better. Lisle probably came over from the US to attend Tsunacon (or am I being to egocentric here?), and the panel was held in a huge lecture room, but there were only, like, 20 people attending. I only came because I already knew who Lisle Wilkerson was because of Abunai, but Tsunacon didn’t promote her attendance at all.

After another round in the dealer room and a quick visit to the game room, we attended the cosplay competition. That… was not good for my mood. Because it was held in a lecture room, and not an actual theater, they were struggling with the lights a bit. You know what they did eventually? They turned off the lights above the stage and turned on the lights above the audience. I was staring at the dark corner the entire time. The announcers couldn’t possibly be more disinterested and they had trouble pronouncing literally everything. I get that you don’t know how to pronounce every Japanese name, but they even had trouble with simple English names. Before I go on, I want to say that I respect anyone who makes their cosplay themselves. It requires skill, patience, time, and those are all things I do not have. But when I go to a contest, I want to see quality. There were two contestants that didn’t even match their hair to their character (which is okay if you’re just casually cosplaying, but not when you’re entering a freaking contest!), one costume was just plain simple (a shirt and dungarees), and the majority of the acts were just bad (this is actually something I notice at a lot of cosplay contests/fashion shows). I have 10 years worth of acting experience, so it may be a bit unfair for me to say this, but when you stand in front of an audience, look into the audience, don’t turn your back at the audience (unless you’re showing off the back of your costume of course), use your entire body, make big gestures, radiate energy! Most of the contestants were just awkwardly moving at the music while staring at the ground or the ceiling, showing more of their side and the back than the front. They didn’t introduce the judges to us, so I kinda have the idea that they were just random people of the organization, and I absolutely did not agree with the winners. The only contestant I was really impressed with got an ‘honorable mention’. Again, I do respect people who make their cosplay themselves, but I blame to organization for not putting any effort in ensuring quality in this contest.

The only reason I sat through the cosplay competition is because the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition was afterwards. I love good AMV’s! I got introduced to so may good anime trough AMV competitions, and the previous years were good, so I was looking forward to this. But you guessed it, it was an ‘anyone can enter’ contest again. There were video’s with blurred subtitles (and even that failed sometimes), multiple video’s were so pixelated I could almost count the pixels, one used material ripped from Youtube, scenes were so context dependent that no-one could understand them unless you knew the anime… This wasn’t fun to watch! I once went to an AMV-101 kind of thing, and there are a few basic rules for making a good AMV: use raws (NO SUBTITLES), make sure they’re HD (unless your material is from before the HD-era), make sure that anyone gets what your video is about. This is kinda common sense right? But Tsunacon didn’t even apply the first two rules as minimum requirements! And there were 2,5 hours worth of video’s! That’s too long! They also told us that they wouldn’t be able to announce the winner in the end, because then it would be closing time. The winner would get his prize send to his house afterwards. They obviously had enough contestants, why didn’t they make a selection? And you know what you can do with AMV’s? Judge them beforehand! And you know who the judges were? The contestants themselves! Just like the Eurovision Song Festival. Because there is absolutely no nepotism (I googled that word) there. Oh wait…  On top of that, all the video’s were mashed behind each other on one huuuge video, and they gave no information on which anime was used as source material, which song was used or who the creator was. I left the room after 10 video’s. It just felt like the organization didn’t put any effort in this.

So I was very disappointed in this year’s Tsunacon. I’m not even sure if I want to attend next year. On the other hand, it’s too close to ignore (it’s in my city) and the dealer room is awesome. Let’s just say I’m happy I didn’t cosplay.

I bought a new t-shirt and the fandom that hated.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. A while back I ordered an epic t-shirt. I saw it online when it was just a possibility of a shirt and voted for it. A couple of weeks later it went into print and I bought it. Add a few weeks again and it arrived on my doormat. I couldn’t be happier. It is glorious, epic, brilliant, fantastic, multo benne and the likes. And because I was fangirling so hard I wanted to share it with the world, because that is what you do these days. Share your fangirling with your fellow geeks.

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Within the next few hours I got some reactions and they weren’t very nice. One was vomiting and another one, which I can’t seem to find right now was about the fact of combining the fandoms, some hate stuff because I liked it and something about the word epic. (Seriously, if you can’t understand how epic the word epic is, that’s just sad).

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Now I couldn’t care less that you hate my t-shirt. I’m the one wearing it, if you don’t like it close your fucking eyes. What I hate is the childish reactions. I mean are you 12? Come say it to my face if you dare. I mean, I’m a semi-sane 31 year old. I did the whole puberty raging hormones making mistakes things but really?

But what if I was say a 14 year old boy or girl, really susceptible for peer pressure. (Look it up in the dictionary if you can’t understand big words.) And I was feeling very happy with my t-shirt I bought with some pocket money and maybe even with money I earned with an after school job.

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What if I was feeling very insecure about myself and the things I like? What if I already was dealing with things like anxiety, auto mutilation, depression and such?  What if some random strangers online said those things to me? Maybe I throw the t-shirt in the trash. Maybe I would hide it somewhere at the back of my closet and every time I saw it was reminded about those harsh and ugly words. What if I thought that I wasn’t good enough anymore to wear the shirt? Or good enough to be a fan or simple good enough. What if I cut myself after reading those things? What if I stopped eating after those words? What if I just disappeared? People don’t seem to like my shirt so they don’t like me. What if this was the last thing that drove me over the edge and I tried to kill myself?

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And I know it’s easy to say things in the spur of a moment to a total stranger online. You get kicks and followers and fame for being a nasty piece of shit. Do you really want to have those things all by bringing down others?

You don’t have to love the things I love. You don’t have to agree with the things I say. You don’t have to like the things I wear. I couldn’t care less. But someone else might care.

You could be so much more to other people without all the hating and hate blogs. For one thing, get some professional help for those ugly urges you have of bringing others down.

Tumblr is a lovely place where people can share their love for fandoms, things they like, share their thoughts, get in contact with other people and so much more.

It’s also an ugly place, full of hate, crazy stuff, people who seriously need professional help.

Please just think about what you post online.

Love, your own hot cute and very annoyed girly geek.

The Disney Classics Challenge: Pinocchio

Hellow everyone! I said I wanted to watch 2-3 movies a week, but maybe I’m able to watch more this week because I’m sick so now I have a lot of unasked-for free time. And what activity can you better do when you’re sick other than laying on the couch covered in used napkins watching old Disney movies?

So we’ve landed in 1940. I was surprised to read that despite great reviews, Pinocchio was initially a box-office failure. It eventually turned a profit when it re-released in theaters in 1945. Pinocchio got theatrical re-releases in 1945, 1954, 1962, 1971, 1978, 1984, and 1992. I was released on VHS in 1993 and it was the first movie to be released on Disney DVD in 1999.

I had the VHS as a kid and for some reason, I remember the story of Pinocchio better than the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I didn’t remember the details though, since I haven’t seen it since I was a kid. I also remember seeing a live-action version of Pinocchio in the cinema as a kid, but I can’t really recall anything about it, only that it was really dark. Also, I forgot to mention this in my Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs review, but at one point a dwarf shouts: ‘Jiminy Cricket!’. I though that was a nice Easter egg (or was it just a coincidence?). This movie isn’t on (Dutch) Netflix again, but I have the DVD.

Let’s get to the movie. Like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it starts with a book. But this time, we don’t have to reads for ourselves. Jiminy Cricket narrates for us. He tells us the story that one night he came to the house of the wood carver Gepetto. We see a lovely scene of Gepetto finishing the puppet Pinocchio, and the cat Figaro and the fish Cleo are also introduced to us. I love Figaro. Being a cat-lover, I really think every cat-owner can see something of his/her own cat in Figaro. Anyway, everyone goes to sleep and Gepetto wishes that Pinocchio would be a real boy. His wish is heard by the blue fairy, who gives the wooden puppet life, but doesn’t turn him into a real boy just yet. To achieve that, he must prove himself brave, truthful, and unselfish. To help him with that, she declares that Jiminy must act as Pinocchio’s conscience. Scared awake by all the ruckus, Gepetto thinks there are intruders in his house and grabs his gun (I know this still happens, but I’m always a bit thrown-off when there are guns in kids’ movies) to scare them away. This scene is actually quite similar to the one in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, where the dwarfs find out that Snow White is in their house. Anyway, Gepetto is in ecstasy when he finds Pinocchio. After a little dance, time to go to bed.

The next morning he sends Pinocchio off to school. On the way, Pinocchio encounters Honest John and Gideon the cat (kinda funny that they have animal cats like Figaro and human cats like Gideon in this universe. Honest John en Gideon are the only anthropomorphic animals though, beside Jiminy), who want to sell the extraordinary puppet to the traveling gypsy Stromboli. They deceive Pinocchio by telling him that he will be an actor and will gain fame. Because Jiminy overslept, Pinocchio doesn’t have a conscience to tell him to go to school, so he agrees with them. When Jiminy finds Pinocchio and does tell him to go to school, Pinocchio doesn’t listen. Pinocchio’s performance as a string-less puppet is a success. Stromboli is actually a very racist stereotype Jew or gypsy (or Roma, I don’t even think it’s socially accepted to use the word gypsy nowadays).

After the show, Stromboli doesn’t allow Pinocchio to return to his father and locks him away in a bird cage. Jiminy sees Pinocchio’s initial success and decides that he isn’t needed (‘what does an actor want with a conscience anyway?’), but he wants to wish him good luck anyway. He finds Pinocchio locked in the bird cage, but is unable to free him. The blue fariy comes to their aid, but when she asks Pinocchio about how he came in that situation, he lies about it, which causes the iconic nose-growth. What I find surprising is that this is the only time in the whole movie that Pinocchio’s nose grows. And it isn’t really important to the plot anyway. The fairy forgives Pinocchio and frees him.

On their way home, Pinocchio encounters Honest John and Gideon the cat again, and this time they take him to Pleasure Island, an entertainment park without rules. So up until now we’ve seen a racist stereotype and a gun, but nothing really weird. But this is the point where everything gets bat shit crazy. All the kids on Pleasure Island fight each other and vandalize the place, and they are handed out cigars and beer. CIGARS. AND. BEER. Pinocchio is having the time of his life, smoking and drinking with his new friend Lampwick. He refuses to listen to Jiminy again, only to find out that the whole island is a trap, and that all the kids there are being turned into donkeys so that they can be sold. Because that makes sense. This scene is really fucked up btw, I’m surprised it didn’t traumatize me as a kid. Jiminy and Pinocchio escape just in time (Pinocchio does have Donkey ears and a tail now though). What also strikes me is that they do nothing about the situation on the island. They don’t defeat the evil guy, they don’t save to donkeys/boys, they just escape and the island probably still exists. Because that’s what you get when you smoke and drink when you’re under-aged, kids. You turn into a donkey. Let this be a lesson.

They swim back to Gepetto’s house(?), only to find out that it’s abandoned. I thought that all this happened in one night, but judging on the dust and the cobwebs, quite some time must’ve passed. The Blue Fairy delivers them a letter telling that Gepetto went looking for Pinocchio, but that he was swallowed by the giant whale Monstro. Pinocchio doesn’t hesitate and jumps into the ocean to look for Monstro on the sea-floor together with Jiminy (because who needs oxygen?). Monstro turns out to be one evil motherf*cker (he even has teeth!). Gepetto is trapped inside his belly and doesn’t have any food anymore. Pinocchio is eventually swallowed by Monstro too. There is a happy reunion, but Gepetto explains that they can’t escape. Pinocchio creates a fire with a lot of smoke, which causes Monstro to sneeze them out. Monstro, enraged, chases them, but Pinocchio is able to save Gepetto. To bad Pinocchio died doing that. What follows is another scene very similar to Snow White and the Seven Dwafs: Gepetto mourning at Pinocchio’s bedside. The Blue Fairy appears again and turns Pinocchio into a real boy because he saved Gepetto. The End.

I like Pinocchio a lot more than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the tempo is better, it’s more dynamic, the characters are better written, the songs are more memorable. Except for the Pleasure Island scene, it aged very well. I feel like they used any feedback they got on Snow White which caused an enormous leap in quality.

Next up is Fantasia, a movie I’ve never seen before. I’ll see you then!

The Disney Classics Challenge: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The kick-off: Snow White! Snow White premiered in 1937, and it was the first full-length cell animated (which means every frame is drawn by hand) movie ever. It had theatrical re-runs in 1944, 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987 and 1993. It has been released in VHS in 1994. I knew it was the oldest Disney film, but I’m still amazed how old this is. 78 years! I think we can all agree that this movie aged pretty well. Or do you know any other 78 year old movie that people still have on DVD?

I had the VHS as a kid, but my memory of the actual story is a bit vague. I remember that Snow White fled though a scary forest, cleaned the house and baked a pie, I remembered the dwarfs coming home from work (Heigh-Ho!!) and then I remember the witch giving her the apple and then the prince kissing her. So I was looking forward to watch this movie again, also because I could set it in the right time-frame now (as I wasn’t aware of its age when I was a kid of course). This movie isn’t available on (the Dutch) Netflix, but I had it on DVD. I even have the deluxe edition, but I never watched it.

The first notable thing is that the movie starts with some credits. Nowadays, movies only show the main cast and producer and director, but in Snow White there were quite a few slides of cast before the actual movie began. Then, we see a book that’s opened and we can read the prelude. There is no voice-over, we just have to read for ourselves.

The movie starts with a scene of Snow White singing in a castle garden, and her singing attracts Prince Charming. They sing together and they’re instantly in love. I didn’t remember this scene at all! I thought the prince just randomly showed up at the end and kidnapped her to his castle. Also, Snow White’s voice is very annoying. As a kid I watched the Dutch version, but now I was watching the English one. Another downside of that is that I can’t sing along to the songs now since I’m only familiar with the Dutch version.

Speaking of songs, I didn’t really remember if this movie had any. I only remember the ‘Heigh-Ho!’ song. But when I was watching, all the songs came back to me. Still, except for ‘Heigh-Ho’ and ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’, the songs aren’t that memorable.

Anyway, the queen says her famous words ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall…’ the mirror tells her that Snow White is more beautiful than her and the queen sends a hunter to kill Snow White. The hunter chickens out at the last moment and Snow White flees in a very scary wood (this made a lot of impact on me as a kid). Snow White eventually finds the house of the Dwarfs and instantly starts a big spring-cleaning. I found this very amusing. You’re being chased away into the scary wood because your evil step-mom wants to kill you, you find a house and then… you clean it. Because that’s what women were supposed to do in 1937.

Snow White falls asleep and the Dwarfs return home after working in the mine (Heigh-Hoooo!). Judging from what’s in the mine, they’re all 1000 times richer than the queen… Anyway, they found out that there’s some-one in the house and they assume it’s a house-cleaning killer beast. Right before they want to kill it, they found out that it’s actually a girl. Snow White explains who she is and all the dwarfs are honored to meet her. Except for Grumpy. He warns the rest for the wraith of the queen. I feel for Grumpy. I think he’s the only realistic thinker here. Snow White asks if she can stay in the house if she cleans and cooks (because she’s a good 1937 woman), and they all agree. After this, my memory is a bit fuzzy, so all that comes next is technically new to me.

Snow White made soup for the Dwarfs, but she forces them to wash themselves first. I think this is supposed to be a moral lesson for 1937 kids, but it seems quite weird now. Again, I can sympathize with Grumpy, who is grumpy (pun kinda intended) that an unknown woman forced herself into his house, cleans everything and forces them to clean themselves. Grumps, you were ahead of your time. Or maybe we’re all grumpies in the current age. After dinner they have a small party, Snow White tells them about Prince Charming, the love of her life who she’s spoken to for 1 minute or so, and they go to bed. Now another thing happens that’s totally into place in a 1937 movie but really weird now: Snow White prays to God and tells him she wishes that Grumpy will find her nice.

In the meantime the Queen found out that the hunter gave her the heart of a pig in stead of Show White’s heart and she disguises herself as an old hag to give Snow White the apple. The next morning, the dwarfs go to the mine again (and Grumpy seems to like Snow a little bit more). Snow White makes a pie (the one I remembered!) and the witch comes to visit her and tries to make her eat the apple. The forest animals try to warn the dwarfs but they’re too late. They chase the witch until she falls of a cliff by a convenient lightning strike. And then suddenly, slides.

On the slides we can read that the Dwarfs couldn’t bury Snow White because she was too beautiful, so they made a glass coffin and kept vigil around here grave. The Prince, who had been looking for Snow White all along, heard of the sleeping beauty (this pun is also kinda intended) in the forest and came to visit her. We can see seasons passing in the background. After the slides we see the dwarfs lifting the glass lid so that the prince can kiss her (necrofile). Snow White wakes up, everybody is happy, she is like K THNKS BYE to the dwarfs and leaves with the prince.

And they live happily ever after (and there is a castle in the sky. Because).

 

So what did I think of this movie? I like it in a history-perspective kinda way. Although it aged quite well, the story is shallow, and Snow White herself is shallow. She cleans, she cooks, she’s nice, she finds her prince. I really liked the slap-stick scenes with the dwarfs though!

So next up is Pinocchio, I’ll see you then!

Side Note: I decided to merge the US and the UK list and watch ‘The Wild’ anyway for the completion bonus.

The Disney Classics Challenge

Hello everyone!

After a lot of thinking that I wanted to do the Disney Classics challenge once, I finally plan on actually getting started! What is the Disney Classics Challenge you ask? Well, watch all 54 Disney Classics in chronological order. After a quick check I discovered that I’ve ‘only’ seen 32 of them, so I have a lot of catching up to do! I’m not going to set a time-frame or make a schedule, but I’m planning to watch 2-3 movies a week.

So what can you expect? I’m going to write a small review of every movie I’ve watched + a little trivia and maybe share some childhood memories. I’m going to try and write 1 post per movie, but if that consumes too much time I’m going to write 1 post per week, reviewing multiple movies. But aren’t I supposed to write about anime and manga? Yes I am, and I’m not going to stop doing that. I’m getting the New 3DS and Majora’s Mask 3D next week and I will also be attending Tsunacon, and I will write about all of those.

So I did some research regarding the list of Classics. It turns out that the US and the UK have different lists. This is because ‘Classics’ are Disney animated movies that had a theatrical release, which differ between the US and the UK. The differences are small though: The US list contains the movie Dinosaur (2000) and (ironically) Winnie the Pooh (2011) while the UK list contains the movie The Wild (2006). I chose to follow the US list simply because I like Dinosaur and The Wild seems like a Madagascar rip-off.

I also found out that the Disney Classics can be divided in eras. There are lots of different lists, but they all seem to agree on the Disney Renaissance: The Little Mermaid (1989), The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of the Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Mulan (1998), and Tarzan (1999). Apparently, the movies before 1989 weren’t that successful so Disney decided to make movies based on well-known stories, which restored public and critical interest in Disney.

I hope I’m able to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs this weekend, let’s see if I can get to Dumbo next week!

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  2. Pinocchio (1940)
  3. Fantasia (1940)
  4. Dumbo (1941)
  5. Bambi (1942)
  6. Saludos Amigos (1942)
  7. The Three Caballeros (1944)
  8. Make Mine Music (1946)
  9. Fun & Fancy Free (1947)
  10. Melody Time (1948)
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
  12. Cinderella (1950)
  13. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
  14. Peter Pan (1953)
  15. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
  16. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  17. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
  18. The Sword in the Stone (1963)
  19. The Jungle Book (1967)
  20. The AristoCats (1970)
  21. Robin Hood (1973)
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
  23. The Rescues (1977)
  24. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
  25. The Back Cauldron (1985)
  26. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
  27. Oliver & Company (1988)
  28. The Little Mermaid (1989)
  29. The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
  30. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  31. Aladdin (1992)
  32. The Lion King (1994)
  33. Pocahontas (1995)
  34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
  35. Hercules (1997)
  36. Mulan (1998)
  37. Tarzan (1999)
  38. Fantasia/2000 (1999)
  39. Dinosaur (2000)
  40. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
  41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  42. Lilo and Stitch (2002)
  43. Treasure Planet (2002)
  44. Brother Bear (2003)
  45. Home on the Range (2004)
  46. Chicken Little (2005)
  47. Meet the Robinsons (2007)
  48. Bolt (2008)
  49. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
  50. Tangled (2010)
  51. Winnie the Pooh (2011)
  52. Wreck-it Ralph (2012)
  53. Frozen (2013)
  54. Big Hero 6 (2014)

Rory Gilmore reading challenge book review: 151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I finished my mandatory books for January and high on my wanting to read books from the Rory Gilmore reading challenge was the book by Antony Bourdain.

Kitchen Confidential

I have a thing for chefs, cooking, eating and everything. This has to do with the fact I wanted to be a chef when I grew up. Until I was about 13 I had every intention to go to culinary school. Until I found out it was really hard to get into and it just didn’t seem appealing anymore for some reason.

That doesn’t change the fact I still love cooking and baking. During college I even worked as a cook in a Cuban tapas restaurant. It was a very small kitchen. We had a chef, myself and on busy nights a boy for washing the dishes. Along with bar staff and waiters and such. My boyfriend hooked me up with the job as one of the chefs was the bassist in his band. I did mis-en-place, worked the stove, did appetizers, desserts and washing up if needed.

I knew working in a kitchen wasn’t romantic. It’s a tough job, hot, smelly, dirty and a man’s world. You really need to have a thick skin, especially if you are a woman. I mean, the intellectual level of talk in the kitchen is about six feet under and if you aren’t discussing orders or prepping food stuff it basically is all about boobs, dicks and sex. You need to be one of the guys if you want to fit it. You need to be able to lust after the waitresses just as the boys, able to stand in your underwear in order to change into your kitchen uniform in front of the guys and be able to take comments about your ass and boobs. You need to be able to make dirty jokes, talk about booze, wave around heavy and very sharp knives. You need to be able to have your hands and arms splashed by hot oil and not bitch about it. You need to be able handling the bloody finger of your chef before he faints (he looked so pale, but it still gives me the giggles thinking about me fussing and bandaging his finger) You need to be able handling the yelling if you’re not fast enough or screwed up a dish. You need to be able handling the gross stuff in the kitchen (mice droppings and food falling on the ground and being put back into the pan ready for serving). Oh god I really miss it.

I learned a lot during that year and a half I worked there. I know my body now wouldn’t be able to handle it anymore, but reading Anthony Bourdain’s books did bring back so much memories. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The show he has on TV, No Reservations, is really brilliant and I never knew he’d written a book about his culinary adventures growing up and him becoming the chef he is today. I don’t think anything is exaggerated, especially how things in the kitchen go.

If you want to know what goes on inside a kitchen and have a strong stomach, are not afraid of swearing, drug and alcohol abuse and enjoying cooking or knowing more about restaurants, this is the book for you. It’s an easy read, Anthony writes like he talks, a high pace filled with alcohol, smoking and swearing. You will really enjoy this.

He takes you along his youth, what made him passionate about food in the first place, how he ended up working his first job in a restaurant, going to culinary school, his career, ups and downs, his drug abuse (by the way, what I gathered during my time in the kitchen, although I personally didn’t participate, the drugs part is true as well), how he got clean and his act together and pretty much everything else. Until his job at Les Halles, working as the chef.

Have you read this book or other culinary books? Do you enjoy cooking or eating out in restaurants?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Rotterdam Book fair!

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. For a couple of years now I wanted to go to the book fair in Rotterdam, but usually I either just miss it or don’t have enough cash. This time I made sure I didn’t forget and had enough spending money.

So on the last day of the 4 day book fair I went to Rotterdam to go hunt down some books, without really knowing what to expect.

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It was epic! It turned out it was an enormous hall filled with long tables of endless rows of books. No independent market salesmen just everything in one big heap so no haggling on prices or anything. They advertised books were at a maximum of 90% discount and all new!

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Some books were a bit damaged but I don’t mind.

At the entrance you could get a little book trolley to carry all the books around with you. I must say, they had a lot of books. Unfortunately, most of them were in Dutch. Now I don’t mind buying some books in Dutch to get a collection complete, but I do want the majority of my books in English. And I don’t know who was responsible for dividing the books into genres because all the sci-fi and fantasy books were under romance and thriller novels.

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I am very serious about my books. You don’t mix and match, you give them a proper place.

When I entered, one of the first books I saw was the biography of Roald Dahl. Since that book came out it 2010 it has been on my ‘I need this book in my collection and want to read it.’ But the price was very steep. And every time I bought new books I looked at it and still was too expensive. Until now… 5.99 in euros! It was the first book to go in my trolley. And I have already start reading it.

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I browsed the Dutch books and stumbled upon a book from my childhood. It was a series of books and I own just one of them “Tiny is ziek” translated Tiny is sick. For some twisted reason I really loved it. And now I found a second book “Tiny ziet spoken” or Tiny sees ghosts. I had to have it. Yay, second book found. The young adult section had many good books I wanted, but all in Dutch so I let them be. (Be still my crying heart).

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I did however found another Robin Hobb book I didn’t own yet. The second book in a series I already have in Dutch so I added it. Making three books now in my trolley. I loved the trolley and wanted to take it home with me. My own personal book trolley. Can I have it please?

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Finally I stumbled upon the English novels. Because it was just two tables, no genres specified I really had to dig through them to find some gems and I did. I added Dawn of the Dreadfulls, the prequel to pride and prejudice and zombies (epic, epic book) and Android Karenina (really looking forward to reading that one.)

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I also found a cheap vampire novel which looks interesting enough for just 1.99. And I found Wild Thyme beyond, a book that came recommended by Russel T. Davies, so of course it ended up in my book trolley as well.

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The next time the book fair is close by I’m going again, although I won’t wait until the last day. I seriously think I missed out on loads of good books. But I did ok and am really happy about my book haul which ended up costing me 23 euros!

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Do you go to book fairs or book markets? Do you love discount books or always pay full price?

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.