A Note on Transformers: Why Lip Color Matters and What It Has to Do with Fighting Aliens

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4:12 a.m. Once again I’m up writing in the ungodly hours of the morning, and I swore I’d stop staying up so late once I finally finished college. Oh well. The problem is, I just got home from a late showing of the new Transformers. Dang what a long movie.

And while I could talk about the action overload that left you feeling like you’d just been thrown through a washing machine, or the attitudes of the individual Transformers and how they didn’t help the story, or the outstanding performances of Stanley Tucci or Mark Wahlberg, I’ll leave those kinds of topics to more dedicated Transformers fans.

With your permission, I’d like to talk for just a moment about something else.

It starts with Tessa’s lips.

Tessa’s lips caught my attention first because they’re a magenta that sets off her perfectly smooth, tan skin and classy dark eye makeup just right. In the beginning I can kinda buy it, because Tessa’s a pretty girl and, well, maybe she’s really good at doing makeup so that her day-to-day look just sort of magically looks as great as if she had a team of artists before, during, and after a film shoot to help her look her best. Ok, I guess.

But then Tessa’s lips start cracking me up, because no matter what horrifying debacle she runs into throughout the movie, the camera makes sure to get at least one close up to let you know yep, don’t worry, her lips are still perfectly magenta. It’s hilarious.

CIA agents holding her down in the grass with a gun to her head while she cries for her life? Still nice smooth magenta. Being chased by freaky murderous alien robot wolf things? Still magenta. Screaming in terror while stuck in a car being dragged up with Optimus Prime by the bad guys? Yeah, that scream is coming out of perfectly pouty magenta lips.

That’s not how it works. I have a very nice magenta lip color too, and I happen to know it stops looking good a matter of hours after I apply it, let alone days after sleeping in makeshift shelters with no showers and no makeup to refresh. Fighting with aliens, no less.

Same thing goes for Tessa’s exquisite dirty blond hair, which sort of kind of gets a little messy but really just ends up looking bohemian. And I think we all know thanks to Pinterest that that’s not a symptom of a days-long chase by aliens and the CIA—that’s a desirable quality girls slave for. Convenient. And somehow through all this, Tessa’s hair, in all its wild bohemian-esque glory, stays completely un-greasy. What, does Tessa keep a can of dry shampoo in the back pocket of those tiny shorts for emergencies? Or does her hair magically wash itself? Wish my hair did that.

This post is getting redundant, so I won’t go into her perfect clothes (on the run for days in those clunky heels?), her perfect little gold jewelry that stays on no problem through bombs and aliens and guns, her perfect periwinkle nail polish (days of Transformers action and it doesn’t even get chipped? SERIOUSLY?), or her perfect anything else.

The way Tessa looks at the end of the movie, with her perfectly messy hair and her nearly perfect mascara and eye shadow (oh yeah, for one frame it was almost a little smeared kinda, which makes it totally realistic) and her perfect magenta lips and her perfectly tan skin smudged with just a touch of perfectly attractively gritty dirt and her perfect nail polish, is not how a woman looks after a couple of normal days, let alone after a couple days of what Tessa went through.

I know, because I am one (a woman, that is), and I’m writing this in the middle of the night and by now I kind of resemble one of the zombies from World War Z, which I just watched the other day (yay for new movies popping up on Netflix, am I right?).

It would be one thing if Tessa’s perfection were just a slightly cheesy aspect of an action movie that really isn’t concerned with realism. Which, I get it, in some ways is the case.

But in another sense, it’s a symptom of a very serious disease our society has been stricken with basically forever. There are enough posts out there about the impossible standard of physical perfection set up by TV, movies, magazines, and the Internet, so I’m not going to go into the problem in detail. But Victoria’s Secret Angels, Vogue magazine covers—we hunger after achieving this impossible beauty that physically does not exist even though by now we all know it’s fake.

It’s 2014. Aren’t we past this yet? Haven’t enough passionate articles been written, enough Dove Evolution videos posted, enough picture collages compiled showing step-by-step the transformation from normal-looking girl to wildly different-looking glamorous model under layers and layers of Photoshop and makeup?

Haven’t we seen past the smoke and lights to the man behind the curtain yet?

We’re trying to keep our lips magenta in the face of aliens, and that’s just not possible. And it’s hard for me to just shrug off the issue and say it’s no big deal when according to Google 20 million women are currently sustaining eating disorders in pursuit of impossible beauty.

And also I just realized it’s 5:09 in the morning. Good night, world.

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Rapunzel’s Haircut: a drawing, etc.

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Although I am unapologetically and unashamedly a huge fan of Tangled, and though I was particularly charmed with Disney’s twist of having Flynn Rider cut off Rapunzel’s hair, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of the classic haircut moment between Rapunzel and the witch. I mean, I cried when a hairstylist took off three inches of my hair without my permission once, so I guess the thought of losing feet and feet of glorious golden locks to an evil enchantress kind of staggers me.

But speaking of the classic tale “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm, have you read it? If not, it’s the perfect macabre, what-even-are-fairytales cure for the Monday blues. Brew a cup of tea, get comfortable, and read about Rapunzel and her weird rampion-laced escapades here. (And if the story freaks you out, watch Tangled to make everything better again.)

Concept Art: a rather lighthearted fellow who was intended to be, ah, not lighthearted.

A drawing I did in the corner of an old church bulletin; some concept art for my story. (That deadline looms nearer and nearer.) Not sure if he’s pauper or prince; he was supposed to be dark and brooding, a melancholy burdened villain-prince, but that was clearly a fail.

Pauper or prince? I'm actually not quite sure myself yet, which is an odd situation since I drew him for my own story.

Pauper or prince? I’m not quite sure myself yet, which is an odd situation since I drew him for my own story.

Faerie Picture

I told myself it was taking a break from fantasy art, and then this happened. I think I’m a lost cause.

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I’d like to say she’s straight out of a fairytale, but I’m afraid part of her was inspired by Pinterest. Well, part of her hair, anyway. Trailing the side of her head is a braid that was definitely drawn with a classic Pinterest “pancaked” braid in mind.

The Desperate Drawing, the Deadly Deadline, and the Title with Too Much Alliteration

Recently mustered up the nerve to commit to my first-ever self-imposed writing deadline, and now suddenly I find myself strapped to finishing a manuscript I’ve been working on for three years in a matter of months. So I drew a little concept art to help immerse myself in the feels. Because, you know, what’s better for getting passionate about story than feels?

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On the absence of Iron Man: a Captain America blog

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Besides a comment about Steve Rogers wearing too much makeup, I haven’t encountered all too much criticism to note of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As I write this, the film stands at an impressive 8.2 on IMDb, an even more impressive 89% critics’ approval on rotten tomatoes, and a staggering 94% audience approval on rotten tomatoes.

And deservedly so. The movie is both thrilling and thought-provoking, an excellent marriage of action and story. Though I still think The Avengers reigns over Marvel movies because of its supreme blend of the best of all the Avengers, I might vote Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be my favorite individual Avenger’s movie so far.

Now, I can overlook fighter jets having non-bulletproof windshields (yeah, Nick Fury gets a jacked-up supercar but the official S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter jets have normal glass windshields for the Winter Soldier to shoot right through?), and engine turbines being conveniently damaged by the Cap’s shield in a way that might possibly work if I squint my eyes and tilt my head and look at it just right and imagine really hard, but there is one issue I can’t quite get over.

To quote my boyfriend as we walked out of the theater after seeing it the first time, “I loved it, but all I could think the whole time was—where was Iron Man?”

As it turns out, that’s a very, very good question.

Tony Stark is one of the thousands targeted for termination by Hydra, we find out near the end of the movie. I actually missed it, but I was made aware that if you look closely, you can catch his name right on Stark Tower as Hydra is revealing who they’re about to destroy. It’s like Marvel is nodding at our question, recognizing that there’s a Tony-Stark sized hole in this movie, but they still don’t answer.

Nick Fury is dead. (Well, “dead.” Spoiler alert.) Massive destruction is being unleashed at the S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Captain America is even shot three times. There’s no way Iron Man isn’t aware of this. But he isn’t even going to try to show up and take care of business?

With Tony’s technology and attitude, that doesn’t make sense.

Now let me clarify. This is a Captain America movie, about Captain America, with a fantastic plot all set up for Captain America to save the day. And I’m cool with that. It’s a Captain America film and Iron Man can’t come in and take over; I get that.

But explain that to us. Get Tony tied up in the Middle East. Send him to space on a secret mission. Something, anything. Just one line would cover it, a passing remark by Fury or something. I just want to know why Iron Man wasn’t there, because there’s no way in this carefully-crafted Marvel universe that he was just sitting obliviously with Pepper in Stark Tower, waiting for Hydra to kill him. Even with the events of Iron Man 3. Come on, this is Tony Stark we’re talking about.

It’s not that I necessarily want Iron Man in this movie (although was I the only one hoping he’d be the signature Marvel cameo to show up for a second or two?). It’s that I can’t reconcile the fact that he’s not.

And, for the record, I do agree about the makeup.

That said—when can I buy the DVD?

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