23 November 2014

Years and years of dirty destructive politics have turned Romanians into passive citizens. There was no point in voting anymore, as if everyone turned to Mark Twain's words: If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it. All politicians were just as corrupt, annoying and hypocritical.

The first round of the 2014 elections (November 2) had two finalists: Victor Ponta, the country's Prime Minister, named by President Traian Basescu himself. The other was the one rejected by Basescu -- Klaus Iohannis, mayor of Sibiu (Transylvanian town) for 14 years, an ethnic German born and raised in Romania.

Two Radically Different Human Types

A journalist wrote, "Iohannis is everything Ponta isn't." During the following two weeks, people could see the huge differences between the two: Ponta was aggressive, was lying and turning around every righteous accusation. He avoid making the necessary changes that were in his power when Iohannis urged him to do so. He was interrupting his speech, not keeping his promises and generally being rude. The German was considerate, respectful, discreet and had dignity.

The Diaspora

There are millions of Romanians working and living abroad. Some say they are about 3m. Hundreds of thousands of these are in big European cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Turin, Madrid, Rome etc. In these cities, the voting locations were too few and were closed too early on November 2 for everyone to get in and vote. Loud protests followed, in Romania and abroad. Solidarity was finally born.

When he was asked about this disaster, Ponta didn't accept voting as a human right.

This whole scandalous situation sparked revolutionary thoughts. The diaspora was ready to record the events of the next round and spread them on social networks for people 'at home' to see them. Ponta promised we would get a fair election process and that everyone abroad would be able to vote this round.

Ponta Digging His Own Grave

Ponta promised to fire his men if the next voting round wouldn't go well ( = if people still queue without hope). His men promised they'd send more money abroad, but money was not an issue. It was all about time: voters spent way too much time waiting. The personnel at embassies and other such places were deliberately slow.

During televised confrontations, Ponta also showed his true character. It was a source of disgust in millions of people. The #puiemonta hastag was born and it became increasingly popular (it is a funny way of saying, "suck it, Ponta"). Intellectuals and artists rallied against him and tried to educate the population.

Unfortunately for Ponta and his party, many genuine videos surfaced and showed the state of the nation: the scandalous situation abroad, people's revolt and the horrible misinformation in isolated parts of the countryside. Some peasants didn't even know that voting means there are two candidates to choose from. They were simply 'taught' by the mayor or the priest to "choose Ponta or his symbol" on that damn paper.

The power of the Internet was underestimated.As people started posting with the hashtags and haring massively, it became obvious that the Ponta government is doing its best to prevent a fair voting.

Loads of people who stayed at home during the first round were now angry enough to go out and cast their vote. This is how Ponta lost. He never believed there could actually be smart people who would see his treacherous ways and stand against.

The 'Common Sense Revolution'

Iohannis won because he resonated with many Romanians. Those who used to be passive and pessimistic found a new courage to express themselves and to fight against the lies. It was an awakening. Their clever, eye-opening messages starting pouring on Facebook.

Iohannis was the successful and beloved mayor of Sibiu (European Cultural Capital in 2007 and vastly different from the rest of the country in a very good way), elected again and again with percentages of over 70% and even over 80%. People knew that and took it as undeniable proof that he is a capable leader. They already had the proof.

Beyond being capable, Iohannis was also a man of a different breed: composed, cool, gentleman-ish, of great dignity, courteous, righteous, empathic, rational, mannered.

Facebook Warriors of Justice

Thank God we had the Internet and they didn't cut it down!

Organised under hashtags, all the illegal moves spotted that day would be publicly shared and seen on Facebook.
Sadly (and unbelievably), the Romanians in foreign countries were once again troubled. The voting process was not improved as promised. Video proof of the real situation was available on Facebook, coming from countless frustrated voters. Ponta, in spite of his promise, did his best to compromise this once again.

Weto see a different face of Romanians. The warriors for justice. They did what was in their power: they went to cast their vote, humble but determined. It took them many hours (on occasions even 13) and loads of coffee to go through the cold wet weather and reach the desk. The mockery was obvious, yet they persisted and didn't become aggressive.

The treacherous promises and these foreign events showed undecided people that they'd better go vote against Ponta. Yes, much of it was 'anti-Ponta', because not everyone can fully trust Iohannis. We cannot see the future or know everything happening behind the curtains. What we could see was what happened during the past weeks and during that Sunday especially. This is what got tens of thousands of Romanians out in the streets and made many undecided ones pick up the stamp and cast their vote.

People informed one another. Truth won. The true meaning of democracy was finally seen. People recorded and photographed undeniable evidence of fraud during the elections, and it was all against Ponta's party. There was no complaint concerning Iohannis's.

What Happened on Sunday, November 16

I did not believe in voting, but the way Ponta's party tried so hard to falsify the votes spoke volumes. "Perhaps there is something real in it, since they're struggling so hard to get more on their plate..."

Ponta and his men used not only propaganda to convince uneducated and isolated people, but also FRAUD. Deceased citizens' names were found on their lists. People who did not come to vote were 'replaced' with a fake signature by their men.

And then... the buses. On an awfully rainy and cold November day, suddenly hundreds of citizens decided to go on a trip! A trip to the most plain, uninteresting places in the country. It was indeed called 'tourism'. In fact, what was happening was that countless buses would take brainwashed people to various voting locations along the road. They would vote on the available 'special lists', meant for those who don't reside in that specific place. This is how the non-attractive county of Teleorman got to have a 263% voters presence, when the country average was of 50-60%!

Many were shocked at how much Iohannis had recovered. He was 10% behind, but eventually got ahead and won, even before the diaspora results were calculated. He eventually recovered about 14% and won the elections. 6.2 million votes for Iohannis, a record for Romania.

He has German origins and is a Protestant, but he is much more of a Romanian and a Christian than his opponent, who even threatened priests and their families and who used popular Romanian saints to promote his deceitful messages. 

5 October 2014

From Gothic erotica to classical & modern hybridisation, the Dracula myth has been screened for so many times, each vision leaving me with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I'm a Romanian. I learnt about Vlad Tepes in school. I know some of the history that many prefer to ignore... and now, I happily find this film to be truthful, beautiful, inspiring in many ways and very poignant.

In a cinematic era of too many ridiculous, far-fetched heroes, an era of watered-down (again ridiculous) vampires, this new Dracula brings quality to the table (and, I hope, smashes all those fake gods). Moreover, the fantasy element was perfectly and honourably intertwined with the real story. There was something about the acting, the lighting, the emotions, about every scene... that felt just right - not underplayed and not overdone. Also, there was the right amount of cosmetisation.

[some spoilers ahead]

The wonderful costumes are spot-on (excepting the dragon armour - too much like a Comic Con thing for 15th century Transylvania and looking like painted plastic), along with Transylvanian landscapes and churches (the castle was superb, but nothing like Transylvanian architecture of any age. It was a lot like the Western Gothic cathedrals). The sins I mentioned are easily to forgive, though. Maybe one went a little too far: I am sure that Transylvanian peasant women had no smokey eye makeup back in that century!

I loved the scenes in the forest, by the river and those when Vlad and his family met the Turks. Everything felt so genuine - the acting, the landscape, the looks. I was so afraid they would turn Luke/Dracula in a sort of Marvel hero, which sadly happens to too many film characters these days, but that was not the case. It was all believable, which I find to be the number one quality of a good production. This was what I did not expect.

The artwork, banners, posters, trailer don't really do justice to this film. I had no high hopes, really. For some reason the mantled Dracula, transforming in a swarm of bats, felt like they were trying to sell something too modern and cheesy, not to mention the dragon armour! Thankfully I was wrong, everything flew so nicely and was perfectly immersive. I thought it would be all about some visual effects, skilled fights and a weak plot but nooo, my dear, it was rich, smart and sublime.

I loved how they integrated all the conflicts, all the fantasy elements to the main story. Nothing was out of place and that's difficult to do when you have such a story to begin with.

For example, when the old vampire tells Vlad he's got only 3 days to either resists the thirst and return to being human or drink blood and seal his fate as a vampire,  you think there will be a climax when he feels tempted to drink someone's blood. you don't expect that to happen a couple of times, then have the real climax when his own (dying) wife begs him to drink her blood. It's all unexpected and very clever. Also, there are no silly lines that hint at the coming plot developments.

Thanks to the addition of sultan Mehmet, it was delightful to be able to connect it with other deeds of this sultan, like the siege of Constantinople in the same century. The two events have many links connecting them and the siege is something I've been feverishly passionate about lately.

On to the other characters, I can't complain. The film is a short one and there are many twists and turns in the plot, many dramatic moments. Vlad's wife, Mirena, falls off a cliff, just like the legend says. I don't agree with those who consider her role to be so passive - she's actually very active, courageous, outspoken and gets to seal Vlad's fate. How isn't that a big thing?

Nevermind, let's talk about Luke Evans (Bard the bowman in The Hobbit, hooray!). He was BADASS and yeah, this word has been popping inside my head many times while watching. Finally, a Dracula who is hot but no ladies' man, who is a fierce warrior but not a torture-and-blood-addict. Also, the performance is good, natural, believable. Even more, Luke Evans has a soft warm voice that he uses very well here.

Ultimately, I understood why I loved this version so much. There's a good man and his good followers turning 'dark' (going BADASS) and fighting against the true evil. Throughout time, I've been deeply fascinated by things like "when angels go to war..." or "beware of the revenge of the innocent" or "when a good man goes to war..." - you know the rest. It's about that crushing power of the innocent ones, the good who were done wrong and are now retaliating instead of just taking s*it. Just like in The Equalizer, it's great to see the bad ones being shocked at the power and determination of the good guys.

Well done and thanks for doing what we, Romanians, have been unable to do: honouring our history and our praiseworthy ancestors, along with their impressive achievements!

29 September 2014

First of all, let me say that I'm not buying when a celebrity ( = influence and many, many views) is addressing an issue like this. Secondly, she is an actress, yet her voice was trembling all the time. "Oh, but she is really invested and really cares for that cause, that was real emotion!", you will say. I'm not entirely sure. I repeat, she's an actress.

I liked her speech for the real issues it emphasised, though: feminism getting a bad name because of bad feminists, men being asked to suppress their feminine side etc. As a woman with a very strong masculine side, I enjoy my personality as a whole and would never suppress its masculine traits. I also support men in becoming 'whole'. This shouldn't mean ditching their 'manly' traits. Yes, I stand for 'girly' and 'manly'. I love these. These will keep on going until we no longer have people born with penises and people born with vaginas, but have a hybrid of the two.

Food for thought: if both genders are being discriminated and feminism got a bad name through numerous bad actions, why we call it feminism and not egalitarianism?

Like many have said, feminism is defined not by nice quotes, nice dreams and speeches, but about the deeds of feminist individuals and groups.

What deeds do we have in recent years? Extreme feminists have spread hate, intolerance, violence. Unfortunately, this kind of feminists are much more numerous than the good ones like Emma might be. Most feminist I've known rejoice when a man is suffering, call a woman bad names when she disagrees with them, hate religion (but hide behind a speech of "accept anyone, any race, religion etc."), hate anyone who dares to disagree, spread false statistics, beat up people, break down stuff, objectify themselves, support murder of human beings in the womb and call them as their own body and much more.

More Wrong Things in Emma's Speech

  • Her girlfriends dropped out of their sports teams because they didn't want to appear muscular - Wasn't it THEIR choice, Emma? Why do you insists on all other people doing things your way? Yes, feminists do this all the time. God forbid you want to do things differently, like choosing how you want to look!

  • She was sexualised in photos - Then why did she accept those photo shoots?!

My Very Recent Experience with a Feminist

Just go on Tumblr or dig up Ukrainian feminism to see more negative feminist examples than you can take. I'm going to entertain you with the latest one in my life.

House party, numerous guests of various skin colours, beliefs and so on. Everyone's having fun and discussing about the things that unite us. One woman decides to make herself heard and, without having been in any way provoked to do so, starts avertising herself loudly as 'feminist'. Loudly. Repeatedly. In the company of very decent men. She starts poisoning the party atmosphere with her gender issues, with her false statistics (one in every four women is raped?!? who taught you maths?!). Her body is muscular and her voice is rough, coarse. Next to her, I see women who truly honour their femininity. Soft, gentle, loving and kind, smiling, talking positively. She, on the other hand, insisted to turn the party into a fiery feminist speech that was never required. Some of the men left early. so did I.

Another shocking claim she made was about phrases that speak bad of women's bodily parts (such as when you tell someone, "You're a c*nt"). She complained how only women's bodily parts are given a bad meaning. Well, I can't even start telling how wrong her opinion was! How about "Don't be a d*ck"? Ohh, perhaps we are allowed to talk badly about the male body? Also, it is a cultural thing. In my country, people speak badly only of male genitalia, while women genitalia names are used to describe something as 'cool'.

The whole thing left me wondering why do feminists always have to be so strident and stand out in inappropriate situations. That gathering was made of Christians, Hindus, non-religious individuals, vegetarians, omnivores, white, black, straight and maybe gay people. None of these ever felt the need to speak about their options. The feminist did.

The Feminists I Know

I wish I lived in Emma Watson's fairytale. Sadly, the feminists I know are awful, most of them. Also the feminist 'men'. They are only hoping to have more of a change to get some p*ssy by siding with feminists. I've known them all too well. A confident man needs no such gimmicks. He loves and respects women without sporting a fancy label. Also, a confident, proud woman doesn't need to beg for men's help to become equal. She simply becomes.

3 September 2014

"The play makes me want to tear my own flesh off my bones",
said wonderful actor Richard Armitage in an honest talk about The Crucible

Admirers of Richard Armitage and fans of The Crucible play as rendered by Yael Farber were invited to join a one-of-a-kind event in September, right at the theatre, less than 2 weeks before the final performance.

Ticket sales were announced sometime during summer and all seats were occupied in the blink of an eye. For some reason I didn't even try to attend (having understood that only Old Vic community members would be entitled to tickets) but fate eventually stepped in and the glorious RA fandom provided me with a ticket. Even better, it came from a friend whom I've met earlier in the season, when seeing the play.

I arrived at The Old Vic at 4:30pm and there was already a happy crowd of adoring fans. Having been around for many times, I can tell this round it felt so different: a special vibe, different from the performance time. A very happy day, with smiling faces all around and very obvious excitement. Those people... I am sure I must have crossed virtual paths with many of them on social networks... and here we are, we meet, we greet - those of us who planned to do so or who are able to recognise each other.

Time to enter the building, take a few more photos with the fancy mirror made famous by the RA himself and go to our seats (for me - right in the middle of the Lilian Baylis circle - not bad!). Right next to me, there was a man who got his notebook ready and started taking notes. I did the same and I am glad I did, because the chat transcripts have missed on a lot of important things.

We witness the final preparations. Cameras are in place (hooray!) and there are 2 red velvet cushion chairs in the middle of the stage, with a small table between them. In the audience, I can see people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s...

The well-known humble nature of the beloved actor showed right from the start. There was no kind of announcement, nothing whatsoever - Richard just stepped in and had our spontaneous applause. His presence, the smile and tone of his voice, as well as the audience laughing, gasping and so on, made it feel just like a meeting between friends - hundreds of friends. It was an intimate feeling, something that could only resemble my experience at The Hobbit film premiere in Madrid.

The following come straight from my notes and please forgive if there are any mistakes:

Richard describes the play's evolution "like watching a child grow".

He was "shocked" (in a positive and inspiring way) by the audience reacting (through laughter or breathing). "The audience feeds the play".

To him, it was all about "being at the right time in the right place: the director, the Old Vic..."

The flashbacks: "I was a 20-year old actor who knew nothing about life".

"I was in a musical, in Cats, but I actually grew up and knew what I wanted to do".

"The play makes me want to tear my own flesh off my bones" (while it was still in talks and was questioned on how he felt about the role)

It was "a privilege to take the character to that place" (and who could have done it better?)

"When he calls for God at the end... I feel an ascent".

There were also the fun bits - for example at a matinee he had a bit of carrot from Elizabeth's stew stuck in his throat.

Confessed how scared he was during rehearsals, complaining to Yael about having to do the play even twice in a day. Often said, "I don't know if I can do another one" but "the play takes you there".

The play will keep evolving to the last performance.

"I find it disrespectful to just shut him (Proctor) off" at the end of the play, so Proctor stays with him.

Went to Salem, milked cows, cleaned dirt, made a wooden axe.

"I listen to a lot of classical music". Also plays weird music in his dressing room, which "keeps people away". Then stays in the dark for the last 15 minutes before the play starts.

Has the play changed him? "I suppose I already feel changed (...) Proctor has opened a part of myself that has frightened me before but no longer is".

There was only time to answer two fan questions, but we were promised another chance to ask more through Twitter. All in all, on this 2nd and sunny day of September I enjoyed such a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with the audience laughing heartily so often... a truly fulfilling event. It lasted for approximately 45 minutes and afterwards some of us went to have a glass of wine downstairs in The Pit Bar. We literally couldn't contain our emotions. The excitement pushed us to share things on Twitter. Funnily, Richard himself was doing that, too - in the same building, only in different rooms, of course. While we were writing our updates, he also tweeted, which was lovely.

Many thanks to all who made this possible and to the dear ladies I met - you know who you are! I wish I had spent some time with those whom I didn't know that well, but time isn't always on our side!

26 July 2014

There are good reasons why the Cosmopolitan dating advice is known to suck.

It's been more than once that I encountered bad words spoken about the dating and sex columns in Cosmopolitan. Not that I ever had any high expectations of it. That thing's only purpose is to sell - not to inform, help or enlighten. All those things and selling have nothing to do in common.

Sadly, at some point I got to face the disgusting reality - the awfully bad dating advice Cosmo is pushing down innocent throats. Do yourself good and never read it. Or, if you do, keep in mind to act the exact opposite way. Here are the undeniable reasons why it's so, so painfully bad.

1. It's written by extremist modern-day feminists. 
Feminism achieved wonderful things back in its days of glory. It's great to stand up for women rights and for equality, but not to be a complete ignorant on how the male-female thing works or adhere to all that non-sense like being pro abortion = pro CHOICE (you had a choice when you had sex, you know? ever heard of contraception? perhaps you need to emancipate yourself and find out about those real choices out there?). Cosmo editors seem to be just that type: ultra-liberal, pro abortion (= pro irresponsibility and pro murder), extremists and hateful. Also, they will push anything else into the conservative extreme or whatever they have there in the US.

2. It aims to change the laws of physics. 
As a woman, it's perfectly OK to ask a man out, to make the first step, to be the first one to initiate sex, they say. Go on, you're a modern woman, forget about how it worked for thousands and thousands of years! (like you could erase all those evolutionary traits so quickly... yeah). Actually, no. Men and men and women are women, still. Scientifically, our brains are different, just like our bodies. Our hormonal make-up is different. No matter how the Cosmo people prefer, there are still millions of women out there searching for a "real man", meaning a man who is a provider, a man who dares, a man who makes the first move and maybe the second, too. That does not make them lazy or inferior. They will do their part. The feminine nature is receptive and responsive, it receives and nurtures. The male is the achiever, the provider, the protector, the initiator. A large percentage of men still want that and it makes them happy to be so. Of course, you may as well choose to be a dominant woman and take on that masculine energy yourself. But then, your partner may be the kind to spend more time in front of a mirror than you do and cry over a broken nail. Your choice. Many women I know (in fact all of them) would not be happy with a partner like that. It's not yet possible to change the way most people (nature) work(s). See point 3.

3. It completely ignores reality.
Why are you still waiting for that guy to ask you out?! Make a move!! Like, heeey, it's already 2014!!
Oh, don't they love saying this... What's this supposed to mean, anyway? It's like saying, "The Earth has been revolving around the Sun for billions of years already. It's time to change that!" Seriously, are you not bored with this Earth & Sun thing? It's like soooo billions of years ago. Yes, dear "emancipated women". It's THAT stupid. Just like human beings still have 2 legs, 2 arms, 2 eyes, 1 nose etc., just like men and women have different sex organs, so we have different energies: masculine and feminine. It's not always in the same percentage, but if you have a penis you're at least a little more masculine than a person with a vagina. That was the weakest 'argument' possible'. Go ahead and ask men out. Let's see how happy you'll be. Talking to all the women out there will reveal to you a very different truth: just hear them out - there's a big choir out there yelling how bad things turned when they asked men out. Why? It's simple. No matter how flattered they are, real men will unconsciously feel repelled by a woman who has to be so active in the dating game. Not only that such action unconsciously repels them, but it emasculates them.

4. They publish false statistics.
According to this wonderful and enlightening and life-saving magazine, over 90% of men (crushing percentage, isn't it?) would want the woman to make the first move. Do we really need to say how many statistics give a way different number? Look for what people really say, look for what the good psychologists and dating coaches out there word out. The reality is the complete opposite. There's a really easy way to prove them wrong. Go out there and try it yourself as many times as you want. Talk to people and see what they say. See what works, see what bring happiness and fulfilment. See what people really want.

5. It tries so hard to offend.
Are you against abortion? You are an idiot (yes, it's out there, written by their brilliant contributors. How professional and smart!). Basically, you are an idiot if you have a different opinion on anything. Are you a woman who wants a manly man and expects him to make the first move? You are sooo old-fashioned, which translates to retarded and idiotic. Is this really worth any attention since it has no problem badmouthing people with different views? That doesn't even meet the basic requirements of journalism. FAIL.

Let me say that again. BIG FAIL, Cosmo. That's why you never have the respect of smart people.

21 July 2014

As my first Crucible review informs, my first time to see the play was during the previews. Few words could be used to describe the wonderful artistic experience it was. Now, you may expect that, since I am so familiar with the play, with its plot and the performances, I would just go to the theatre, sit there, smile and enjoy a second viewing.

While I struggled with tears in my eyes during my first visit, this time there was no way around it - I just let it all happen: I cried and cried. Seeing other people sobbing around didn't help. Why was this, though? The answer lies in the gripping performance itself. Just picture this: you know everything that's going to happen, yet you get so involved once again, you get to feel their emotions at such a raw level that you can't help it - you live the actors' experience; you go through it once again, with an even greater intensity than before.

It was on a Saturday night, meaning the cast also went through a matinee the same day. How tiring it must be! Yet, Richard Armitage had the same uncompromising roar. Towards the end, as he was torn between painful decisions, desperate to save himself and his wife, his voice would break down and sound totally hopeless, defeated, in tears. His John Proctor is so authentic it's impossible not to cherish this production. Also, Adrian Schiller's Reverend Hale is a character to remember. Excellent acting there as well, and another exhausting role! This time, Adrian Schiller was even more driven than in the previews and his acting was more desperate towards the end, when trying so hard to vouch for Proctor's innocence. You may go watch this play for Armitage, but you will discover many other actors who are well skilled and who will enrapture you.

The Old Vic dressed down for the play

The first scenes were significantly changed. At first, Tituba used to chant slowly for a few minutes in a long dragging scene. This time, it was all better polished: no chanting, but an eerie music and a sombre atmosphere and Tituba walking while holding an incense bowl. We could smell the incense and that took us immediately to Salem. We were there as witnesses. The next moment, the whole cast slowly comes on stage. Before, they used to come bare-footed and eventually put on their shoes, in a well-placed symbolic gesture. I was surprised to see they cut that part. Now they only came onto the stage, shoes on, took a seat for a short while, then left. There was a focus on John Proctor. He sat there for longer, covering his face with his hands. At that point, it became obvious that he was the one going to face a tragedy.

Apart from these, the first part felt a bit rushed but soon everything was flawless. I was happy to see they kept the slow transitions, the silent atmospheric moments that build up the tension and take you even further into that eerie darkness of Salem. Also, there were more convulsions than the first time and there was a bigger emphasis on the demonic possession idea. It was a great thing that I got one of the cheaper seats - up there at Lilian Baylis Circle, in the left corner. I loved seeing the play from above, it's a totally new perspective that's revealing some details I could not see from other angles, such as all the emotion on John Proctor's face when kneeling down and talking to his wife. That is a very good angle for the bathing scene as well, unexpectedly.

Richard signing for fans
Although I am one of the lucky ones to be in London for an extended period and see this play repeatedly, there was one powerful thought within my mind: that it needs to be on a DVD. Some might just never get the chance to see this and it is not fair. I saw it, yet still want a DVD - that should give them a clue of how important it is.

Seeing The Crucible for the second time was a far more intense and rewarding experience than I expected, in spite of getting one of the cheaper seats.

Oh and by the way. It was a FULL HOUSE ;)
Relaxed atmosphere at the Stage Door

14 July 2014

The same old story - large women feeling put down, not really doing anything about it (and this may range from making healthier choices to working on their own psychological acceptance issues) and deciding to go on a parade. What happens is that they attract the comments and attitudes to naturally follow such behaviour.

This post is meant to paint a picture of what really happens there. I am in no way put off by the fatkini photos, but by the attitudes behind this form of activism. I think beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. I am aware that some are bothered by such posts. I've tried to be as nice as possible to people with extreme weight, but they can't seem to accept any other view but theirs. They could never accept the fact that skinny people are being bullied equally. They usually say "OK, I know you get your share of rude behaviour, BUT...". There is always a 'BUT'. The fat ones always pose as the more victimised, the more abused, the more hated and unaccepted. Endless victimising and we all know what that is - it comes from a lack of self acceptance and no will to take charge and do something for yourself.

Sadly, this is mistaken for... confidence.

1. Confident people don't parade.

When you are truly confident, there is no need to expose yourself like that. You are what you are and you go about your business happily, not needing to prove anyone anything. When you are confident, you are not put down by a bully's opinion. You don't feel the need to post pictures of your own body in order to feel accepted. If you are mentally sound and healthy, you don't need to do that to have self-acceptance. Also, you don't have to get anyone's acceptance.

2. Confident people look at themselves only.

Compare yourself only to what you really want to be. You like yourself fat? Fine, but be aware that there are very real health risks involved. Want to slim down? Get a good physician's advice and start doing something about that. Don't hunt for those skinny people and tell them how they should eat a sandwich or more. Don't spit at the 'evil media' for not preferring you. Look inwards at your own acceptance issues. Needing to make condescending comments on people who look differently that you do shows nothing but self-hatred and low self esteem.

3. Confident people understand how standards are being formed.

Being thin is the norm? You think it's the media that made it so? Think again.
Tomorrow, the media may want to promote a different ideal. What if this one would mean having 4-inches long nails and a dozen nose piercings? That surely wouldn't gain much popularity. Would people conform? NO. In order to become the norm, a standard needs popular SUPPORT. In other terms, people like skinny, that's why it's popular. It would have never been the norm without the support it's been getting. This is a fact and nothing can change it.

4. Confident people understand and accept that overweight or obese isn't healthy.

You may be feeling well now, but soon those ugly health troubles will creep up on you. This is a proven, highly visible scientific fact. Too much fat leads to illness and to premature death. The other big issue is that the fat activist are starting to spread false science, claiming that thin individuals are prone to the same conditions. FALSE! Unless one looks like a poor starving African or they make huge dieting mistakes, there is no need to worry. Being thin in itself, even very skinny, is no problem at all.

5. Confident people know the facts.

OK, some of these facts were already mentioned. In general, we mean that smart, accepting, confident people who are fine about their looks know what the truth is. They don't buy the fat activists' lies. They know, for example, that the healthiest and longest-living people in the world are rather skinny. Take a look at the Japanese and the monks everywhere. Of course, there are skinny people in Africa and Asia, but that is because of poverty. There's not much poverty in Japan though, is it? In any case, social groups like the monks are very thin, yet they live long and healthy lives. Again, a fact you cannot change.

6. Confident people don't need to put down anyone.

This one speaks for itself.

7. Confident people don't see others as privileged.

Since thin is the norm, many large people somehow believe that it's OK to pick on thin girls (it's mostly about the girls), because anyway they're put on a pedestal. "They are already accepted, so they won't suffer like we do!" I smell DOUBLE STANDARDS here! If you want to be admired and accepted, don't act to others in the opposite way. If you think the others have too much cake, don't try to get some of it on your plate. Go and make your own cake and enjoy it.

Therefore, if you are large/fat/overweight and reading this, do yourself good and stop blaming others. Stop blaming them either for your weight or for your lack of acceptance. Go ahead and post bikini pictures, there's nothing wrong with it. Just don't do it out of desperation, out of a desire to be accepted by others. Society will never be like we want it to be. You're not saying anything positive about yourself when you are doing that.

11 July 2014

It appears that this blog is turning into one exclusively dedicated to the wonderful British actor Richard Armitage. His latest film, the US-made Into the Storm, was previewed at the Warner Brothers Preview Theatres in Holborn, London. With the help and generosity of some amazing people, I managed to get a seat and see the film long before it would hit the theatres here.

Into the Storm is yet another US tornado/disaster film. In all honesty, I had no great expectations of it. I have always been fascinated by storms and extreme weather phenomena in general, but what is there left to show on screen concerning these? Ok, let's start with the negative aspects, all in my humble view. It doesn't bring anything shockingly new, I had a constant feeling of deja-vu. The plot is developed on some basic human emotions and that is no plus in my opinion. It's normal for parents to risk their lives for their children, is it not? Sadly, the plot is weak and full of clichés. Perhaps some other viewers will find it more exciting.

Nevertheless, there are good parts about Into the Storm and the whole experience is quite immersive, as I couldn't shake it off not even hours after the viewing.

The visual effects are of the highest quality, a lot better than I expected. The film heavily relies on these and there is no moment of "hey, that looks so artificial...". None at all (Still, I have something to criticise here, sadly: winds strong enough to break down walls and entire buildings don't pose any difficulties to humans walking around? There is no way people could still be standing in such wind).

The music is good, very good.

As desired, the film has an authenticity feel - there's footage from various characters involved, separate bits that come together to create the story, a story which includes busy parents, horny teenagers, terribilistic adventurers.

The best, as expected, is Richard Armitage's presence. The suit may not fit him as perfect as usual, but
who still cares about that when the storm eventually makes it all wet? (yes, all of it)

Also, Richard has something really strange about him - you guessed it, it's the American accent he tries to fake. If you've watched him in as many productions as I did, you will feel it's kind of awkward. This is nothing to say that he's not doing his part well, because he surely is! At first, his character (Gary Morris) is an ever-busy, hard-to-talk-to father and teacher. Then, he gets to turn into a hero (there is one cute scene with Richard and a dog) and goes to the rescue, defying the infernal weather. In the end, he becomes the sweet Richard we know - the last scene with him is adorable.

This is why I noted so far concerning the good and the bad about Into the Storm, which will have its UK première on August 22. Go see it - for RA, for the visual effects, for the thrill, for the humorous bits in it. I can't predict how the film will do in theatres, but it seems it doesn't even matter to most, because Richard Armitage is now covered with glory thanks to his superb 5-star performance in The Crucible at The Old Vic theatre!

2 July 2014

Posted by Anna Notaras | File under : , , , , ,
The Crucible is not about religious hysteria. It is not about the 17th century Salem witch hunt. It is about the human propensity to harm the others, to hunt the others, to pursue selfish goals ferociously, to manipulate anything they have in order to get that which they want. In this game of human cruelty, the innocents pay the highest price.

Official photo - Richard Armitage as John Proctor

London - the home of top quality dramatic performances. The home of internationally acclaimed actors, both on stage and on the silver screen. Ever since its previews opening on the 21st of June, The Crucible (by Arthur Miller) has made comments pour on social sites. By all means, this is due to the now huge name of Richard Armitage - star of The Hobbit. Once a Londoner, R.A. is finally back, to the delight of most of his admirers.

I witnessed his performance as John Proctor on June 25, yet it is only now that I am finally able to put my thoughts of it into a somewhat coherent review. With the press night set to July 3, The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber, is big with the social media. The play in previews has already raised a storm of reactions. As soon as the lights go dim and the haunting music begins, you are completely immersed in a strange, eerie atmosphere. It has a mystical feel to it, nonetheless. Soon, Armitage's well known and well loved voice resonates wonderfully through the theatre. If you are his fan, it is truly a surreal feeling. This John Proctor, however, soon delivers his lines in shattering roars. And, as a surprising and pleasant coincidence, many of these lines are similar to Thorin's (The Hobbit). John Proctor is righteous, brave, humble, outspoken, loving and protective towards his wife, who appears to have a hard time forgiving his adultery. Abigail Williams, the one who can't let go of him, trying to continue the illicit adventure, is frightening in her teenage infatuation and in the way she manipulates the entire community to believe her version of the story. The power of her lies will chill your blood. On the other hand, Elizabeth, Proctor's wife, is transformed in such a beautiful way - from a cold, troubled spouse into a soft, devoted, honourable and righteous woman. This all culminates at the end, in tear-drawing scenes of passion and despair.

We're in for a treat! The glamour of London manifests itself at the Old Vic
The value of the artistic production could not be any higher. Even the scene transitions are courtesy of the actors and they change the setting in such a fascinating, highly artistic manner. Impossible to describe! The light works are yet another remarkable aspect, praised in unanimity. I'm tempted to think no photo could ever do justice to that. At times, the light is only focused from aside onto the actor's feet - what a wonderful effect! Then, as John Proctors washes himself, he does so by the fire. Every detail is well though out and, of course, the Armitage effect is maximised with premeditation. They surely knew what they were doing, especially with that one scene.

Meeting the man himself (Richard Armitage)
At the end of it, one should have their lesson learned. At its very least, this play
should make one wonder why in the world would someone choose to die when they have a way to save their life (and here I have to urge you again to read The Dark Angel by Mika Waltari, there are very similar themes). It is a deep play with mind-blowing acting, a perfect atmosphere and a very moving tragedy. There is no way I would not recommend The Crucible and The Old Vic. At the end of each performance, fans had the chance to greet Mr Armitage and they always queued so orderly, in silence, manifesting their admiration in honourable and mature ways.

I will get back to see the play once again, as many have already done. So far, it looks like it has been something that amazed even the Old Vic staff, thanks to the crowd response. Well done, casting crew, director etc.!

6 February 2014

Are you aware that Marylin Monroe was "skinny" for her time? That the absolute symbol of elegance and femininity, Audrey Hepburn, was actually underweight? Do you realise that by putting down people with a different figure you only point to your own bodily and image issues?

I came across a post explaining how women called "whales" are actually happy, loved and enjoy all the good things in life. OK, I get it that it's insulting to call a fat woman a whale, but isn't it a bit too far-stretched to say that your fat is the product of wisdom and knowledge? Come on... That's fairy-tales for kids you're telling there, you know it. Also, the same post claimed that "mermaids don't exist, and if they did, they would have no sex life, would not enjoy dinner with a husband or fun times with friends". Oh, dear! How hate-driven you have to be to invent such things? To completely shut your eyes and say that those skinny women don't exist...

Why in the world would skinny women not be able to do all those thing? There are naturally skinny people there - me being one of them - and trust me, they stuff themselves with all the goodies possible, they have sex and nothing stops them from having dinner with anyone they want! So what is the problem exactly?

You hate thin women so much that you close your eyes and pretend they don't even exist? Get over yourself and accept, truly embrace the way you are... So far, you are only pretending to accept yourself. You're not happy with your life when you are posting such things online, I can really tell the hate and shame underneath it all.

You hate the beauty industry and the standards it promotes?
Think about it... Would people accept standards that don't resonate with them? It's all very simple: people like what they see and they want it. They are not forced into accepting that standard.

Are you aware of the weight loss industry? Do you know how huge it is? It's because people want to lose weight. If people didn't want this, that industry would simply fail at some point. Instead, it is THRIVING! What does that tell you?

Is there a weight gain industry out there? Try looking for fattening supplements or solutions. They are hard to come by.

See? I'm talking about facts here. No need to insult or to shame you. Just facts and realities you can easily observe on your own. No hate. I just hate your way of telling skinny people they are "wrong" or claiming they don't even exist or that they are the absolute most miserable beings on earth.

Miranda Kerr - Victoria's Secret supermodel: skinny and adored. She is married to Orlando Bloom and they have kids together. No sex life, no happiness and no husband, you say?

She's making loads of money on that, darlings!

Skinny women can eat whatever they want and as much as they want. There are countless medical reasons why one never stores fat. You already hate them for this, don't you.

Skinny women can model for any famous brand and don't need to diet.

Skinny women are never worried about calories when they're invited over for dinner. They don't count calories when they cook, when they shop for food or when they reach for a snack.

Skinny women don't feel jealousy when they see models or cover girls (ok, I admit I am jealous when they have better hair than mine).

As for men... they prefer whatever they prefer, and that ranges from obese to skinny. Try ask a thin woman how many dates she gets, there's a lot more than you believe. Now stop closing your eyes saying that such women don't exist! I'm real. They're real. 

Also, in your desperate efforts, you could be doing real harm to people who just don't deserve it. Some people may be too poor to afford adequate nutrition. Some have been dealing with too much stress to keep the weight you want them to have. Some people have food allergies - do you know how hard it is to live with that? Some people have awful diseases that keep them thin. Some people are actually thin because they are constantly told they are! The mind picks up on it and it shapes the body as told!

MARYLIN MONROE.  Skinny-haters nowadays promote Marylin's image in an attempt to show that fatter (or 'curvy', as they feel better calling it) is superior to today's standard. However, they ignore that the way MM looked back in the day was actually SKINNY for those times. So, this means that in those times there were actually loads of women who would loathe MM and call her a skinny ugly bitch, eh!

"Real women aren't skinny"
So if she's got a fast metabolism that is simply genetic, she should be taken out of the 'women' category? Or should she be ruled out just because she isn't like you?

Breaking news: skinny women have vagina, have breasts and even have curves that you don't notice or that their clothing may not show. It's all about the hip-waist-shoulder ratio and about proportions. Her thighs will still be wider than her calves, for example. And if some men lust for fatter women, it doesn't mean that you have to ignore all those who actually drool for magazine models.

I came across another desperate attempt of fat women: a post telling how "real men choose curvy women". Luckily, there was a post in response to it: "Real men choose whatever they prefer!". Now that's a truth! So you're not only trying to shame thin ladies, but also the men who prefer them... How insecure and hateful of you!

Sorry my darlings, but no matter how hard you try to make thin women 'understand' that men don't want them, they're still dealing with all those suitors lining up at their door. Ask any skinny girl who takes care of herself and who's pretty enough.

Let me put it like this:

If you don't like it when you are called fat and society wants to reduce you all to one size, then why do you want to bring others to your size? Isn't it just as evil?

You haven't accepted your "curvy body", you have only replaced your shame with skinny shaming!

The oppressed become the oppressors. Low and weak....

Also, why do you pick on thin women but not on thin men? I bet your only concern are women - when it comes to weight. Are you somehow afraid they're better than you? Is it the fear of competition?

Here's some further reading for the matter at hand:


"a bullying tactic: if I put her down for being skinny/thin/athletic, I will feel better about myself."


"I write about this in my new book, The Ministry of Thin, and I've been shocked at the backlash. The plus-size sisterhood can be frightening. Among the messages I received (only from women, and mostly anonymous) I was called a skinny bitch, a body fascist, and a fat-nazi. I was informed that men "love something to grab on to", and that "curves" are sexier than skeletons. And yet my book contains not a single word of criticism about larger-sized people"


"Before you even think about prejudging a woman (no matter her size), think really hard about what it says about you."

Before you get to full-blown rage against me, please note that I haven't shamed anyone fat in this post. I only attacked some for their low self esteem and for their hate and intolerance. I used no bad words about being fat per se. 

4 February 2014

Have you ever noticed the bubbling comment section at each vegan/vegetarian post on blogs? Even when the blog hardly gets any attention, one such posts always get the haters inflamed. Yes, that's what it is about - the haters. I guess I'm in need of some blog traffic, so here I go. Fingers crossed.

So you come across a post on the web that doesn't suit your liking. Why do you have to stop, add a ton of mean comments and just deny the author's right to have any opinion? Moreover, you resort to insults, you question their sexuality and try your best (or worst) to put them down.

Let's talk about the frustrations and hate-ridden hearts of the anti-vegetarians!

[Awesome vegan food is awesome]
they are everywhere, from humour sites where they make totally illogical and bad jokes on the topic to comment sections where vegans or vegetarians would just discuss their own stuff. They hunt for them. God forbid if you stopped eating meat and you are explaining why! Science doesn't matter, studies don't matter, real and valid experience doesn't matter. You were indoctrinated to eat meat and you have to start a jihad for this matter! You have to show how angered you are that vegetarians dare to live in a different way than you do! also, how dare they tell you what's better for your health? When your mommy told you to take an aspirin or whatever because you had a cold, I bet you threw that back to her face, yelling how you don't take advice from anyone! Go ahead and stuff yourself with meat, because there can't possibly be any connection between this and low energy levels, liver toxicity, cancers of all kind, dangerous acidity levels or cradiovascular disease, right?

It's too complicated to use your brain and actually THINK. Those people swear that letting go of meat made them healthier and more agile. You still swear that eating meat is good - simply because it's a slow killer, it doesn't do you harm on the spot. It's just like smoking.

An anti-vegetarian insulted someone because he didn't quite understand how eating meat affects teeth. Well, of course the anti-vegetarian didn't bother to think of the digestive process, of what teeth are made of and of how acid in the meat depletes calcium and other minerals from bones and teeth! It's just too difficult for these haters to think of it, eh! Too complicated of a process... science is complicated indeed! So, he resorted to HATE - even to calling the vegetarian gay and whatnot.

This is the message you are sending out to the world:

"I'm too much of an idiot to let others live the way they want and talk about it! I can't stand people who are different than me! I need them to stop, so I can feel good about myself... without having to change a thing about myself, because I'm too lazy!!"

There are plenty of examples of science and thinking intolerance on the web. Also, there is the hate towards the animal lovers. Yes, animals have a NERVOUS SYSTEM (and you'd better learn about that!) that allows them to feel pain. Plants don't. this is why your argument with how "eating salads is cruelty to plants" is absolutely stupid and will never be valid, not even as a joke! In addition, not being aware of animal suffering makes you a cold-blooded psychopath (just take a look at any murderer's history and you will understand why you resemble them and not the good people).

Also, if you are anti-vegetarian or anti-vegan you probably still believe in Santa Claus. How's that? Well, people like you are still hanging onto myths like "meat has the proteins we need" and "we can't live without meat". Take a look at monks who live well beyond 100 years to this day - they don't eat meat! Sorry dude, science has evolved and now we know there are loads of other protein sources which give us EXACTLY the same aminoacids found in meat, minus the acidity and the toxicity! Oh yeah, I forgot you don't believe in meat toxicity, just because it doesn't kill you on spot.

Do you think I'm being mean? Let me remind you that you started. Long ago and for way too many times. You are absolutely passionate about the topic, you wouldn't miss an occasion to bash a vegetarian, to insult and to be aggressive. Of course you wouldn't understand that this aggressiveness you're showing is also a side-effect of meat consumption... you wouldn't understand how that works!

Ohhh yes, keep on closing your eyes to all evidence out there that proves we don't need meat! Keep pretending that all those vegan bodybuilders simply don't exist! ;-)

 (now please go ahead and insult me, because it's far easier than looking for the evidence!)