How do you binge on your favourite fandom? Is Netflix your drug of choice? Or perhaps you spend all your money on books and then cry when you can’t afford food.
I am definitely guilty of being a Netflix binge-watcher. I spent all weekend watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars and trying to twirl a lightsaber, desperately avoiding my responsibilities.
It wasn’t always like this though. I mean, I’ve always avoided responsibilities, but there were dark times before Netflix. Very dark times. Where I had to try and get the full story of Pokemon by hoping the episodes would be in the right sequence, or go down to Rogers when it still rented videos and paying money to obsessively re-watch the same movie over and over and over.
And then there were books.
I am still a bit of a bibliophile. I love buying books, reading them within two days of buying them, and then hoarding them like Smaug on a fancy bookshelf and tucked away in closets. But that was when I was young and someone else was paying for them. My mom would take me to Chapters, give me a $60 limit and wouldn’t let me pick books under 250 pages. Because then I read them too fast and complained that I had nothing to do.
Now, I have a hard time justifying $30 on a book when I can read an ebook for half the cost. It definitely doesn’t stop me from buying them, but I’m much more conservative about which ones I drop money on – especially if it’s a series.
When it comes to book series, once I finish one book I immediately need to start reading the next. I am obsessed. Books are a natural resource to me, meant to be mined and consumed, left with broken spines and writing in the margins. There is destruction in my wake when I read. And then I feel like shit because I spent $30 on that book and wrote all over it and dog-eared the pages.
You’ll never feel more involved in any medium than you do with a book, and that’s something that keeps drawing me back to them. When you read a truly great book, you are living in that world. Everything you see and touch is filtered through the light of its pages – and that’s a beautiful thing.
The Netflix Junkie
Then Netflix came into my life and I realized I can delve into new worlds and obsess over new characters to my heart’s content for just $9 a month. Really, it started as a cost thing, but it’s turned into an obsession.
I’ve gone so far as to download a chrome extension so that way it automatically skips the 30 seconds between each episode for me, because 30 seconds is way too long I need Star Wars right now or I’ll die.
With Netflix releasing more and more kickass exclusives as well, it’s no wonder so many are converting. You can’t help but be seduced by award-winning original series, and next thing you know you haven’t left your couch in a week and the Cheetos crust has become a part of you. Gross – but somehow just so right.
The Internet Dependant
Confession time – I actually don’t know what I did on the internet before reddit.
It’s like every second of the day that I’m not doing something in the real world, I’m on reddit reading articles or looking at stupid pictures. It’s mind-numbing and probably not very healthy.
Look at that smug little smile. He knows that you’re going to get lost down the rabbit hole of subreddits and end up on a page where people spend disgusting amounts of time photoshopping arms onto birds. Seriously, look at r/birdswitharms (https://www.reddit.com/r/birdswitharms). That exists. That’s a real thing.
Now that Marvel and DC have moved to online services, where you pay a monthly fee and can read all the comics you want, it’s like there’s no hope for any other media. The nerds have flocked to the internet in droves. It’s a safe space where they can write shitty fan fiction about Lord of the Rings and make weird crossovers that make no sense and you still read it because you know you’re garbage (totally not projecting here).
The internet is also bad for sucking me in while I’m already consuming media. I don’t think I can make it through a whole episode of any T.V. show without magically finding myself on my phone reading a wikipedia article. It’s like one second I’m watching Hannibal, then I blink and suddenly I’m on a wikipedia list of mysterious disappearances.
Why did you do this to me, internet? You took a fragile mind and shattered it with your strange videos about cats.
So there you have it. I have a fandom problem, and I’ve tried to quit but everywhere I look there’s shady content dealers drawing me in with their weird stories and sexy eyes.
Now, I can’t pretend that I’m an aficionado of theatre. I love musicals, but I’m pretty vanilla about it – Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Hamilton – but I’m pretty inexperienced with theatre.
Tuesday night I went to the Theatre Projects Manitoba performance of Reservations by Steven Ratzlaff.
The play was actually two one-act plays that focused around indigenous issues. The first was about a mennonite farmer that wanted to gift his land to the Siksika first nation, and the second was about a couple who’s indigenous foster child is taken away from them by Child Family Services.
They touched on a lot of very serious and prevalent issues, such as what right do people have to land and inheritance, whether CFS works towards helping the child or the community, and how people interact with the indigenous community.
The acting was a little stiff in the first half, but as they warmed up it got better. The dialogue was clever, but it had moments where it felt like it was talking at you, instead of telling a story.
Given the ideas they were wrestling with, I don’t think the big words and long sentences really took away from it – but it would have felt a little more human for the emotional aspect of it.
Seeing plays is new to me, and I’m honestly sure how to – let alone if I have any right to – review a theatre art piece. I don’t have much to compare it to other than high school plays… This was obviously in a much different league.
That being said, I feel very confident in saying that they captured the emotions and struggles involved in indigenous rights.
In the second half, hearing one of the characters talk about her experience growing up in the north end, not knowing where her family came from and where “she belonged” was emotional and relatable. Whether or not you are indigenous, most people have felt at some point in their life that they don’t belong, and this was captured beautifully.
The set, as a somewhat side note, was stunning. They used drapes and projections and minimal props to set the tone of a prairie farmstead and then a posh home.
The cast held a talk back after the play and to be blunt, it was lacklustre. I am glad I stayed to hear the sound tech talk about his experiences, but that was all I really walked away with for it (and some free refreshments).
All in all, you should really check out the fandom of your local theatre (especially you, Winnipeg).
I am obsessed with Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland.
It was released over ten years ago, but I still find myself going back to it. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, maybe it’s the fantastic soundtrack (that I actually paid for on iTunes), or maybe I just need to vicariously live through a character with a Mohawk and a skateboard because I have neither of those things.
I played a lot of the Tony Hawk games growing up. Enough so that for my 10th birthday I begged my parents for a skateboard. I got one. Rode it maybe four times before realizing it’s much, much more difficult in real life, and went back to Tony Hawk Underground.
It’s also the only video game I can beat my fiancé at. He plays a lot of video games and generally schools me at everything – but I absolutely destroy him at Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. Like, not even a fair chance, three times his score, undefeated champ, destroy him.
I literally just googled this to see what all the fuss was about. And all I have to say is…
I’m out of touch with the youth.
Let’s be real for moment here, this isn’t actually a fandom – but it is a good opportunity to talk about how things go viral.
There are many fandoms that seem to spring out of the ground overnight. Like you went to bed unaware of Doctor Who and you were woken from your slumber by screaming fangirls circling your bed and chanting “Matt Smith”.
It’s always a bit of a mystery how things go viral, but even if you’re not all that plugged in with social media or what’s happening online (I thought I was but apparently I’m not – what’s a Snapchat?) you always have a sense of what’s blowing up in popularity. Remember when everyone was super into Lost?
This is pretty much unavoidable on any platform. Some, however, seem to ride the waves of popularity more frequently than others though.
I love to take stabs at Batman, but maybe it’s because deep down I respect the hell out of him (I don’t. At all. But I do respect the hell out of Batman’s marketing department). No matter what’s going on in the world, people are just generally pretty pumped about Batman.
Star Wars, though it goes through its growing pains and phases, is also always on top. It releases so much content on so many platforms that this isn’t all that surprising, but it’s still definitely praiseworthy.
But what happens to a fandom after the viral phase? Well, your sonic screwdriver becomes a pair of sunglasses and Moffat finds his bags on the curb.
Fandoms grow and die, and I am always nervous to see a fandom I love balloon. It’s often just a sign that it’s soon to pop and become a soggy, crumpled reminder of something that I used to love.
Festival du Voyageur is a Winnipeg tradition. People come out in droves to see ice sculptures, play in the park, watch bands and jigging, see magnificent beards, and celebrate francophone culture. It is one of the many things in Winnipeg that families look forward to every year, and the event – based on tradition – often becomes a family tradition itself.
My favourite event would have to be the Mascot Challenge – where mascots race around and complete obstacles that are definitely not designed for giant felt suits. I have a strange fear of mascots, and I revel in their inability to climb snow. So here’s to you, creepy mascots, I’m glad you’re a part of Winnipeg’s greatest festival.