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.!