Monthly Archives: March 2018

Not For You – Jerome Taylor



NOT FOR YOU  is a high-end men’s streetwear clothing brand which is inspired by love, music, and real events. All the clothing is made specifically in Wellington, New Zealand and each piece is significant. 

Jerome’s Vision

When Jerome created  this collection, he wanted to represent homelessness and the complexity of poverty. This particular piece was styled to represent the true meaning behind homelessness and what individuals in these situations find themselves facing. If you take a closer look at this piece, you can recognize a story being told. To begin with, when analyzing the front of the jacket, the words ROUGH NIGHT are displayed. This is because all it takes is one rough night to end up finding yourself in a difficult situation, in this case, battling for survival.  The story progresses with time; you can envision ones life spiraling down into losing their homes, their cars, and their families, all until you become completely invisible to the world.  This is represented on the back of this piece when it demands the following: “LOOK AT ME.” 


Fortunately,  this week I had the opportunity to walk for Jerome Taylor @ Vancouver Fashion Week Season 18.  My experience, beginning with meeting Jerome, to wearing his clothes on the runway was incredible.



When I first tried on my outfit for the show, I remembered feeling empowered and notorious. I personally love wearing layers with my everyday outfits, but what Jerome did with his collection was unique. Each individual layer had it’s own meaning, and as a collective, it illustrated homelessness and personality.

Walking down that runway wearing that outfit, I felt untouchable. Before our show we had a rehearsal and Jerome explained to us what his vision was when creating this collection. He said, “I want you guys to feel like your absolute best when walking down the runway. I don’t want you feeling dead, but rather you feel like the best version of yourself.” While rehearsing, I didn’t feel like a model, I felt as if I was a king in my own world;  I didn’t  give a fuck about what anyone thought of me. 

Contact Information
Jerome Taylor
Not For You Clothing



Steev-uh the Stupid Solicitor

Happy Sunday y’all. It’s been a wild week for me, but I managed to post, so I count that as a win.

Steev-uh’s one of the creepy customers that come into my store. Apparently, he is harmless, but all the creeps start off that way… And given that he is a non-paying customer, I really just cannot be arsed to deal with him.

Being Followed from my car:

So one morning, 4:20 am, I exit my car to walk towards the entrance of the cafe. My opening supervisor had not yet arrived, but I usually like to feel the crisp cold air against my face and enjoy waiting a little bit outside the shop (yeah. I’m weird like that). As I am approaching the walkway, a man dressed in a hoodie and cargo shorts approaches me swiftly from the side.

“Good morning,” he aggressively greets me.

I am immediately on edge. He is not someone I recognize. His hood is drawn up and his face is obscured from view. His cargo shorts are also suspicious-looking.

Anxious, I choose not to reply to him and I speed up my walk. He too picks up his speed. He is quickly approaching me from behind. If I am outside the store, there is a chance the cameras in our store can pick up any nefarious interactions I experience. My phone is clenched in my hand, 911 pre-dialed in case I have any problems.

“Good morning,” he says again and again. Each time, he grows angrier and more aggressive.

I speed-walk to the door and pull out my phone. He stops and waits, glaring at me. I feel as though I am about to live out a Criminal Minds episode – in a bad way. No Penelope Garcia humour and wit to save me.

Luckily, at the same moment that he takes a step forward towards me, my manager pulls up in her car. He greets her, just as aggressively as he did me, but this time, he gets a response.

I am still feeling the adrenaline from being scared out of my wits. So I enter the store and lock the door before he can even ask if he can sit in the store before we open.

Every open after that, I refuse to leave my car until my opening supervisor has arrived and exits their car.

Steev-uh Solicits

Steev-uh usually waits a half hour outside our doors before we open so he can get an iced water. It’s strange and something I don’t quite understand, but it’s a thing that he does.

Recently though, Steev-uh has taken to soliciting other customers to pay for his coffee. He will wait outside, creepily chat up anybody that is also waiting for us to open, and then feign forgetting his wallet in order to elicit pity.

He even does the whole frantic pat-down of pants pockets. It’s quite ridiculous.

But every time, he gets a generous human being to buy him a coffee.

I hate it.  JUST BUY YOUR OWN DARN COFFEE. Also, soliciting is prohibited.

The post Steev-uh the Stupid Solicitor appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

Election Results: grow-up soon


The Crafter cult took initiative at yesterday’s tumultuous election speech and have brought forward a proposal for deal with the ‘children’ problem.


Rabid murders of children run rampant all over Sporyn; there’s a murder of particularly vicious soccer boys ages ten and under known to burrow underneath restaurants then claw their way up through the floors, robbing cult members taken by surprise; and another tiny group causing massive amounts of mayhem makes friendship bracelets out of the hair of their victims.

At first, as I watched these little kids scaling up decrepit skyscraper walls with their talon-like nails, I thought, more power to them, this apocalyptic age freed up everyone from familial constraints. They were scavenging and stealing just like the rest of us, even if they had no interest in joining any cult at all.
But then, these kids started luring in their victims to their death, through pretending to be sick, or injured, or setting one with eyeballs in cute places to beg for food, and when someone gives in to their whimpering cries, the others attack. (Luring victims, of course, isn’t unheard of, in fact, the Grafts have a monthly meeting where they bet on the best traps to set for your enemies and whoever catches the most on their hit-list wins)

These kids will no longer get a free pass from Sporyn justice. After this election, the age of adulthood is now five years old.
Go get a real job you freeloading soccer creeps.

Community Calendar: Compare Mutations

WHEN: 13th solar flare, goes util some starts a fist fight

WHERE: Annie’s oil drum

WHAT: Compare mutations.
Is the fact your hair turned into strings of curly metal the coolest? [IT SURE IS]
Think you’re a real hot shot for having that extra toe sticking out of your elbow? [YOU BET]
Are your scales flashier then all the rest of the half-fish mutated people out there? [SHOW IT OFF]

Annie is a Graft member with a documented kill count of twenty-eight people per month. What a cool gal. She’s even fashioned little aviator sunglasses for all her sets of eyes over her body. You’ll never know which set is looking at you. I presume she’s set up this Community event because she thinks it’s a competition she’s already won, but it’ll still be fun to go out for some lighthearted judgment as you, your neighbours, friends and enemies all critique each other’s entire bodies!
This will be a Graft heavy event, as the only way to enter the cult it to look as far from that one Sears advertisement of a modern man; with their bodies all soaked in radioactive sewer residue, they have enough insane mutations for all of us.

The pink scales I’ve got covering up half of my face may pale in comparison tomorrow, but it’s still heartening to remember none of us would be acceptable humans if the apocalypse hadn’t ensued.


Commes Des Garcon- Playlist #2

“People in your life are like season, and everything happens for a reason”

This week’s vibe will give you the kick start you need to get your week rolling. I have a busy week ahead of me and after creating this playlist, I’m excited to get started. This week will be a busy week for me because I will be modeling in Vancouver Fashion Week Season 18, which begins in literally less then 2 hours from now! There are over 80 international designers who will be flying in and showcasing their vision throughout the week. With that being said, I cannot wait to see what the designers will be bringing in this season, and hopefully get the opportunity to walk for some of these amazing designers. Also, during this week, my partner and I have landed our first of many clients; we will be digitally marketing for their company.

This has been something we have been working on for the past few months and finally, after a lot of hard work and patience, we are launching. Along with all the business stuff, I need to try my best in keeping up with my school work. I find that doing it can be a bore, but what I have learned is that having good work ethics for school will portray even better work ethics when you begin your own company one day. Nobody is going to force you to do something you do not like, but if you keep an open mind, you will be surprised how things fall into place.

This week I want people to try something new daily, and begin creating a plan to follow for the week. Creating a weekly plan is something I have started to do, and I personally love it! I feel like it keeps me more focused and consistent since I am an extremely forgetful person. In addition, I have reminders that  notify me every 30 mins before my next task. I have started using  Google Calendar as my go to app for these daily reminders and organizing my weekly schedule, and I highly recommend it! First, I would start by planning out one single day, and then follow with the rest; each day should have it’s full potential used. I promise you will feel so accomplished when you realize how many things you completed in one day. With such a realization, it will push you to strive even further in the upcoming days and weeks.

Community Calendar: dinner or death

WHEN: Fifth solar flare

WHERE: That really weirdly shaped rock – you know the one

WHAT: Dinner or Death?
Will those dandelions flashing like neon yellow strobe lights melt your eyeballs or taste fantastic on a light summer salad? Does that tree bark just appear to be infused with uranium or shall it turn out to make a great late night snack?
If these are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night as you chew the marrow out of a rat bone, this is an event for you!

Join Sandra as she wins the ‘Greater Good’ award, snatching up vegetation to test if it’s edible for the rest of us.
Sandra is an esteemed member of the Crafter Cult, who allegedly lived with a PHD in horticulture before the apocalypse, endlessly hindered by the formality of science protocol from eating the plants in her lab, which was always her one true desire.

Election Results: time for time


In an unprecedented event of compromise, an insane war was avoided when Crafter’s, Grafts, and the Nihilists reached a consensus on the need for time in Sporyn.


Time, of course has been a tricky construct to enforce since the sun rises and sets at random, uncalculable, intervals, with solar storms continuously raging; sometimes burning blisteringly bright for what feels like days, while at other times rising then immediately plunging us back into darkness three times in a row. However, since more and more people are finding themselves assimilated into the Cults of Sporyn, it’s gotten hard to coordinate any sort of meet up larger then four people.

In true Nihilistic fashion, the Nihilists (myself included) predictably did not want any way to measure our lives or anyone else’s. We argued that the inability to tell people when to meet up in massive numbers helped keep the city peaceful, since war cannot be waged without organizing troops based timing, and all conflict can be kept to wholesome one-on-one fights to the death.

The Crafters were all for creating a new way to standardize their lives, as well as everyone else’s. They agreed with us Nihilists for the most part about needing to keep peace, and offered to draw up plans for some for of police force, which thankfully was immediately shut down.

The Grafts could be persuaded either way, but felt time would be beneficial if they wanted to construct some kind of military parade one day.

A compromised was reached – there will be a reliable way to measure time, but you only have to pay attention to it if you want.

Events will be planned based on solar flares!

Since there are always solar storms no matter how long the sun is up for, tell your friends to meet you at when a certain number of solar flares transpire. That way, only the people attached to the plan have to pay attention to the flares, and anyone opposed to time can go on living as normal as possible.

Professional Complaining – AKA election time

Got a grip? We’ve got an audience.

The apocalypse may have eradicated suburbs, streetlights, waterways, all wheelie chairs, and the concept of Tuesdays, but it did not eviscerate our innate desire to have someone yell about life qualms, while everyone else waits to scream in support of a statement they agree with – This is called Voting.

Oddly enough, this is as non-partisan as the Cults of Sporyn get.
Collective memories of what ‘politics’ were before the great incident of human idiocy (which wiped out a whole tax-bracket of people who considered themselves above death for stringing up sentences like “ethically frugal public-funding”) couldn’t recall much that politics actually helped near the end. Having Cults take out the need for those self-righteous Parties. A distillation of what people actually liked about the whole system turned out to already be a favoured past-time of sentient Sporyn residents; giving speeches about whatever’s going on in their head at any given time.

So we made it a community event.
Sometimes it actually cumulates in something getting changed!
REMEMBER: Topics of this Soapbox screaming time have been already narrowed down by the Crafter’s since those over-organized road kill scrapbookers love micromanaging the rest of us.

1. What to do about the excess children.
Since no one has claimed responsibility of the wild, parentless kids running around Sporyn, and their crying and complaining and entitlement to others finding clothes and shelter for them is getting a little distressing, what do you think should be done about it?

2. Pros and Cons of standardized time.
As no more clocks exist, and day and nights never last for predictable intervals anymore, we’ve been going without measurements of time for the last little while and managing it pretty well!
If you want it back, state your case!

3. The Accountants are pissing us off.
(This problem is particularly dear to my heart)
Those stuck-up apocalypse deniers are just gonna keep going off acting like the old world didn’t get destroyed, judging the rest of us with those blank stares and old world shakes of their heads while they pretend to get promoted at their steady corporate jobs?!
Are we really gonna stand for that?

If you have any thoughts on any of these issues at all, come to the speech ceremony!
Through anger, you too have the power to incrementally improve the City of Sporyn.

Boys Matter Too — Portrayals in Cartoons

Female portrayals are improving immensely within the arena of modern-day cartoons. Alongside the increase of women showrunners, writers, and storyboard artists within the animation industry, many female characters are being placed in the roles of leaders, fighters, and influential advocates. A few examples include: Star Butterfly of Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Marinette Dupain-Cheng of Miraculous Ladybug, many of the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe, and essentially all of the central female characters in the Avatar franchise.


Previous articles including:

discuss both the issues of, and improvements being made in, female portrayals within animated works; however, many of these articles fail to acknowledge the other half of the population. Rather than solely criticizing and assessing the way in which female personalities are written, it is vital to correspondingly address the way in which male characters are portrayed within these same works.



Characters who are beloved by many, myself included, do not escape negatively stereotypical traits. Some examples include: Robin of Teen Titans,  Mike Chilton of Motorcity, Danny Fenton of Danny Phantom, Ron Stoppable of Kim Possible, and Peter Parker of Spectacular Spiderman.

Within these characters live prominent examples of problematic tropes. The first being the promotion of masculinity as defined by strength and dexterity above all else.


Robin and Mike Chilton have this feature in common. Traits including fearlessness, ambition, independence despite being part of a team, physical strength and endurance, and natural leadership, are very admirable qualities that many people strive to achieve in reality; however, when these qualities are relatively over-emphasized to the point where they block these characters from openly displaying emotion and compassion, they are shown to have very one-sided personalities. The issue with this specific portrayal is that young viewers, boys specifically, are socialized to admire these characters and what they represent—in other words, variations of the same macho-esque archetype are not only showcased constantly, but they are typically promoted as positive role models.


This isn’t to say that characters who fall under this category don’t have any redeeming qualities, since this would be far from the case; more so, the issue is that they lack the ability to show emotion and vulnerability in the face of adversary. Rather than encouraging the healthy display of emotion, male characters throughout many animated titles are inexplicitly chastised for wearing their heart on their sleeve, and correspondingly praised for tackling every issue they face head on.


Another problematic trope commonly portrayed through male cartoon characters can be identified through an opposing set of traits: clueless, frightful, clumsy, and emotional are some adjectives that define this stereotype. Characters like Ron Stoppable and Danny Fenton (in civilian form) embody this personality. And despite often being well-loved by the audience, they are typically completely disrespected within the context of their respective series. These characters are seen to hold a low social ranking and are often bullied as a result. They typically carry relatable human insecurities that are openly seen as unfavourable, with other characters treating them as the punching bag of the series or viewing them as a form of comedic relief.


Image result for danny phantom denny

They way in which these archetypes are treated in-universe inadvertently reveals that male characters are constantly being gauged on their physical prowess, rather than their emotion and intellect—not to say that the former character type is presented as unintelligent, rather, within context of many of these series, intelligence is not held in high regard relative to physical strength, endurance, and agility.


Characters like Danny Fenton along with Peter Parker make up a combination of the two personalities, yet solidify these archetypes as problematic. Their soft-spoken and empathetic personas are targets for harassment, whereas their physically-agile forms are praised by the masses. Other factors are of course in play, including the difference in confidence that Danny and Peter’s alter egos emit, and how this reflects in their likability surrounding characters; but for the most part, being a male character who is kind-hearted and sympathetic is less likely to be presented as widely-admired.



These portrayals are slowly improving. For example, Adrien Agreste of Miraculous Ladybug is written in a way which both his superhero and civilian personas are well-liked by many, and he doesn’t have to choose between being confident, kind, and brave as these traits are seen throughout all aspects of his personality regardless of if he is wearing his mask.


A previous article, pointed out some examples of how the abundance of male creatives tend to write female characters stereotypically; however, it is important to note that this same group of creatives also develop male characters in a way that reinforces stereotypes. Many child-targeted animated series, and programs in general, reinforce societal beliefs of social roles tied to gender because the creative people behind these series were socialized into believing in these characterizations. In other words, this cycle represents a self-fulfilling prophecy.



When I published an article about how anime promotes the sexualization of, and dominance over women, I failed to mention that, within the same context, male characters are also portrayed in a negative light in being shown to treat women poorly by taking advantage of their submissiveness (though there is no excuse for “fan service” in anime that mainly focuses on sexualizing female characters to their audience, but this is a topic for another day).



The good news is that, similar to female portrayals in animated works, the presentation of male characters is also improving. Some examples of characters that embody more forward-thinking personalities include: Marco Diaz of Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Steven Universe of the series under the same name, Hung of Voltron: Legendary Defender, Aang and Sokka of Avatar: The Last Airbender, K.O. of OK K.O., and Craig of Craig of the Creek to name a few. Taking a closer look at these characters reveals many similar traits: honest, earnest, vulnerable, feminist, knowledge-seeking, understanding, mindful, and comedic in which they are written to be laughed with rather than at.



The TED Talk titled How movies teach manhood presented by Colin Stokes summarizes the issues with male versus female portrayals in all forms of media.  The lecture compares The Wizard of Oz to films of the Star Wars franchise, in how the former movie promotes friendship and leadership, whereas the latter promotes male dominance alongside gallant battles. Stokes also brings up a very powerful statistic: the fact that 1/5 of American women have admitted to being sexually assaulted within their lifetime—which leads the question, “What are [these boys] failing to learn? Are they absorbing the story that a male hero’s job is to defeat the villain with violence and collect their reward which is a woman, who has no friends and doesn’t speak?. . .We have tools at our disposal like girl power and we hope that that will help. But I got to wonder, is girl power going to protect them if at the same time actively or passively we are training our sons to maintain their boy power?”


Stokes summarizes that the media text that young boys and girls are exposed to need to present male characters as working alongside their female counterparts—they need to learn to work in unison with others regardless of gender rather than constantly being fed the idea that men are built to fight alone; because in reality, no one should face adversity on their own, head on. 



Overall, the fight for positive female portrayals in children’s media should also be met with creating multi-facet male characters that kids can look up to. Recent unproblematic series are proving that television animation doesn’t need to fall into unrealistic tropes just because they are familiar. Viewers of all ages are ready for change and, for the most part, have been responding well to characters that represent intelligence, empathy, confidence, insecurity, resilience, vulnerability, and so on—as varied combinations of these traits offer fleshed-out portrayals that many people can relate to on a fundamental level.


A/N: Feel free to start a discussion in the comments below. These thoughts were drawn out by Colin Stoke’s TED Talk (linked above and highly recommended). He leads a very thought-provoking speech that has made me realize that rather than focusing so much on the lack of female characters in media, it’s important to assess the quality of male portrayals as well—despite them being much more abundant. There are issues in the way that many creators are presenting characters to young girls and boys, and despite improvement throughout recent years, problematic tropes are still more than prominent.

Additionally, please note that I am a 20-something woman of colour who was raised in a Western country. This is the perspective that I am writing from. Please share your own thoughts as I do not have the fundamental knowledge of what it was like to grow up admiring male characters as role models. I can only try to relate to this topic by attaching my experience growing up with a lack of positive female representation to look up to, and in turn, internalizing many of the problematic thoughts and behaviours that both male and female characters presented.

Peer Review 2

My second peer review is dedicated to Nipun Tiwari, their website and internet enterprise, “Media, Popular Culture and Politics,” which can be visited here.
The strength of this website’s layout lies in its simplicity; a dark grey background presents an authoritative backdrop for posts, which appear in a concise, linear pattern on the front page, written in a readable, yet no-nonsense font. The website’s coherent structure allows for the content of the posts to be the main focus.

Though the posts present topical issues and opinions supported by detailed analysis, perhaps the website would be enhanced if more was known about the author. It’s understandable that a level of professionalism can be attained through distancing personal life from work, but in attempting to sell your personal analysis as a brand, selling yourself is also required. One way this can be done is through storytelling (Sherrett, 2012). By creating an About page for yourself, Sherrett states this will help your business “build understanding [and] emotional connections” (2012) between yourself and your audience. Since it is easier to monetize people you know and understand, this can be an advantageous asset. On Sherrett’s page, she has a fun fact about herself at the bottom, it is short, but it conveys humour and a personality reader’s believe they can connect too. This gains trust without any fanfare convincing readers you’re a good person.

Another way we’ve disscussed in lecture is through social media. Tod Maffin presented on the idea that it’s one of the best ways to get in touch with your audience. There are no links to any social media sites on the website, but Twitter or Facebook already have young demographics who are interested in the topics you mainly post about, so half the battle is already won! Though I don’t see any specifics of a monetizing plan on the site, posting your articles into those groups could gather an audience that would be monetizable through a possible subscription to your page, or merchandise for your brand.

The advantages of a social media presence and About page is a more engaged audience, as well as an audience that can connect to your work on a personal level, who will be more likely to repost and comment on posts out of loyalty to a brand they feel represents their personal interests.

It might be easier to create consistent social media content for specific online communities if you posted about a narrower number of topics, or mentioned in your sub-heading the kinds of posts you like to make. This would also make monetizing easier down the road, if you wanted to pick specific movie related advertisements to display along the sides of your page. There are many around topics of movies and the controversies that stem from actors and the industry, if that was designated as your website’s main goal it would be easier to generate traffic, define your purpose, and sell yourself at the presentation we have to give at the end.

This website’s content is strong and incredibly interesting, it deserves a dedicated audience to match.

Dare-rell’s Debit Debacle

Another Sunday, another soul-shriveling customer to share with y’all.

Today, I introduce you to Dare-rell, a man completely incapable of using his own debit card and blames others for his own ineptitudes.

In comparison to some of the other foul humans that have graced this blog, Dare-rell isn’t all that bad. Sure, he’s a pleasant man (I think). He smiles rather than scowls, never gets mad if we run out of his preferred type of coffee, and can make okay small-talk.

His biggest problem is that he just can’t seem to use his debit card. He holds up lines and sometimes yells at you because he can’t read instructions or remember his own pin.

Maybe he’s afraid of the debit machine. Maybe he’s just dumb. Who knows?

Interacting with him is a whole lot of wanting to hit your face with your own hand out of exasperation.

When I first meet Dare-rell…

the encounter is rather insignificant. He orders his medium coffee, informs me he is paying with his debit card, and goes about attempting to do so. Unfortunately, he pulls his card out the moment the machine tells him “Do not remove card.” Assuming he is just a little too excited to leave and drink his coffee, I prompt the machine again.

He does the exact same thing.

Sighing internally, I tell him to leave his card in. He (thankfully) listens to me, and merrily goes off on his way.

That’s the end of that, I thought.


When Dare-rell returns again the following week…

I expect things to be different. He orders a medium coffee, adds a medium latte, and then gestures to the debit machine so he can pay. He inserts his card with the confidence of a man who knows how to use it – he can’t.

Again, he pulls his card out too early and the piercing sounds of a machine beeping in protest alert me of his blunder. By then though, he has already walked off into the crowd, heading towards the condiment stand to pour some milk into his coffee.

I attempt to flag him down and get his payment, but he had left the store.

*deep sigh* 

The next time I see Dare-rell,

He still has not mastered using his debit card. He gestures to pay, inserts his card into the machine and accidentally (maybe? I’m not a mind-reader people) punches the red button that cancels the transaction.

I inform him that the payment has not gone through because he hit the red button. He vehemently disagrees with me, stating that he has paid, and refuses to be double-charged.

I print out the receipt for him, showing him that the transaction as indeed not gone through.

He huffs in annoyance, inserts his card again, and repeats the mistake. I tell him again, that he needs to be pressing the green button and then entering his pin. I suggest to him that he make use of the tap function on his card.

He glares at me and replies: “I know how to use my card, thanks.”

The passive-aggressiveness in his reply annoys me, but I say nothing. I prompt the machine again, watching carefully as he dithers between the two coloured buttons at the bottom of the machine.

Finally, he hits the green.

Congratulations, idiot, you can press a button after three tries. Great. The transaction goes through, and he exits the store, leaving behind a long line.

When I next hear of Dare-Rell,

He has just made Miranda (my co-worker) suffer. She is taking is order, prompts the machine for him and watches as he struggles to, once again, pay for his coffee.

After multiple attempts to enter his pin, Dare-rell gets frustrated and tells Miranda off, blaming her for his card troubles.

She informs him that she is not interfering with his payment and suggests he use the tap function. After all, he has been repeatedly entering his pin incorrectly and pulling his card out too early.

“You need to know your own card,” she tells him frankly.

There is a long line brewing behind him, but Dare-rell pays it no heed, instead, he raises his voice at Miranda. After finally paying, he angrily informs her: “I’m never coming back here again!”

I mean… that’s not the worse thing if he never comes back. I’d be standing at the door, smiling widely and waving BUH-BYE!


Alas, I see him the next day.

My manager, who finally found herself some motivational action, took his card from him and taps it for him as he is about to enter his blasted debit card into the machine.

She tells him that this method is much easier.

He nods.

AND JUST. LIKE. THAT. He learns how to use the tap function on his card. Something that I and my co-workers have informed him of MULTIPLE TIMES.

The post Dare-rell’s Debit Debacle appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters — Deep Dive Review

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The Deep Dive segment of Animation Discourse is meant to explore popular cartoons, anime, and animated film to ultimately determine what makes for excellent animated works.


Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is a Netflix Original series produced in part by Hasbro Studios. It was released in October of 2017, and has received mixed, but positive-skewed, reviews since.


As mentioned in a previous article Selling Out? Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, the series “. . . is reminiscent of a combination of both Spectacular Spiderman and Ben 10: Alien Force“, and “is actually produced and directed by Victor Cook who worked on the former project, and it definitely shows in both its art style and dialogue points”.


In the present-day animation market, which uses Marvel’s Spiderman as its keystone superhero series, Stretch Armstrong offers a much stronger alternative. Although living up to the accredited titles of Spectacular Spiderman and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ is becoming and increasingly distant dream, Stretch Armstrong walks the fine line of having excellent dialogue and exuding overwhelming charm, along with catering to traditionally younger audiences—in other words, it acts as an solid contender relative to what is currently on air.


What makes Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters an enjoyable series?



The characters of Stretch Armstrong are both down to earth and likable. They truly feel like dynamic people, as opposed to walking stereotypes (with the exception of Ricardo who is still presented as quite one-sided). Both Nathan and Jake are full of insecurities, which seem to vanish once they step into their superhero personas. The confidence that they gain while keeping their city safe is realistically shown to influence each character in their day-to-day lives—in that they are more willing to take social risks given they willingly put their own lives in danger for their city whenever needed. The trio’s team dynamic works extremely well in that Nathan and Jake have been friends for an extended period of time due to their clear similarities, while Ricardo is forced into the group due to school circumstances, and correspondingly influences their routine. They each have unique traits that are more than enough to differentiate these characters from one another, utilizing a wide range of personality traits that audiences can relate to on, at least, some level.


Secondary characters have also been explored enough to stand out as having dynamic personalities. And although the main characters are male, the secondary female characters (who are hinted to play a much larger role in the second batch of episodes) are not problematic in the slightest; they are shown to be dynamic, intelligent, and capable. And to add to diverse characterization, the main trio is also very culturally different, and which extends to the way each of their home lives are presented—an element that is surprisingly uncommon in children’s animation. Both the primary and secondary characters have familial issues that range from absent parents to being constantly compared to older and younger siblings. By showcasing these personal struggles alongside heroic conflict, the protagonists have to carry plenty on their shoulders. This is not only relatable within the context of struggling to balance various obligations, but also allows we as a the audience to witness the interplay between the personal and professional aspects of their lives—because no matter how much they try to keep these elements separate, they inevitably bleed into one another.



Stretch Armstrong is a lighthearted series that carries the essence of child-targeted, but the elements of all-ages. In other words, it incorporates high stakes with an intensity that doesn’t necessarily translate to the audience fully, but just enough for viewers to stay invested in its plot. A combination of being interesting but not too serious leads to a tone that fosters high re-watch value. Bright colours also add to its lighthearted tone by making it a visually fun watch.



Image result for stretch armstrong and the flex fightersCharacters of Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters are presented as realistic and relatable in part due to their dialogue. Not only is there plenty of wit in their conversations, but they also speak among each other very realistically. Nathan in particular is the most relatabe character in the way that he is written. He says whatever is on his mind, no matter how rash or off-topic it may be given the circumstance—a common way of speaking with close friends in actuality. He isn’t afraid to admit his flaws or insecurities, and corresponding to this, is able to see and vocalize his own strong points as well. Aside from some awkward taunting puns while in superhero form, which is hallmark to the superhero genre, the Flex Fighters exercise a solid amount of amusing self-awareness. Teasing one another, along with superhero stereotypes as a whole, keeps the characters’ dialogue comedic and witty.


Which areas does Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters lack in?



Image result for stretch armstrong and the flex fightersThe premise of Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is quite childish when broken down—a group of teenagers stumble upon toxic chemicals that grant them elasticity-themed powers. Not only do our heroes receive their powers in the most trope-complying way, but the element of elasticity that connects their powers as a trio is ridiculous at best. The concept of their city being overseen by a powerful technology corporation, head by its charismatic and intelligent CEO, is a huge stereotype (i.e. Lex Luther of Justice League & Young Justice, Abraham Kane of Motorcity, Vlad Plasmius of Danny Phantom). The characters’ personalities and weekly villains’ interesting designs are enough to differentiate the series from others with a similar premise, but not necessarily enough to define it as anything groundbreaking or unique.



Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters holds up a subpar comparison to its cousin Spectacular Spiderman‘s plot (but in all fairness, many superhero series don’t hold a candle to this title). Episode one of Stretch Armstrong is full of exposition that is presented in anyway but subtle. When Jake gives Ricardo a tour around their school in the first episode, the series’ writers use this as an opportunity to glorify the facility full of unique and trope-defying student cliques. This presents Ricardo as a mere storytelling device to explain the series’ context to the audience.

The plot isn’t something that older audiences can be deeply encapsulated by straight away, but its story is intriguing enough to hold attention a few episodes in. It is a series that can be played in the background without missing too much of the substantial narrative. Stretch Armstrong attempts to integrate plot twists in order to keep audiences interested; one of which is pretty obvious, and the other not being as groundbreaking as it was conceived to be; however the attempt to add intensity to the plot does not go unnoticed.

The plot of the first 13 episodes tell a somewhat linear story, which is not very common in the current episodic animation environment. The biggest strength of the series’ plot is the amount of effort and charm that is evident throughout the majority of episodes. The creative team behind Stretch Armstrong are clearly doing their best to create an engaging narrative, given their requirement to comply with traditional marketability as Hasbro ultimately has stake in merchandise tie-ins.



Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters’ largest drawbacks are due in large part to the series’ focus on marketability. It follows a specific, seemingly researched, formula that gives the three protagonists distinct colours and personality traits that translates well into merchandising. Additionally, placing one member of the trio on a pedestal, in this case Jake Armstrong, as the leader of the group is another common move done in heavily merchandised series—it’s much easier to focus on a central character as the face of the series on promotional material. And it’s no surprise that the head of the series is the only Caucasian character of the group. Unlike another superhero series that is commonly covered on this blog, Miraculous Ladybug, Stretch Armstrong tries to hide the fact that its entire conception is based on the foundation of merchandising. This approach makes the series a lot weaker, as it tends to undermine the viewers’ level of awareness to capitalistic intentions.



Overall, Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters is an entertaining series within the sphere of titles clearly designed to target an 8 to 12-year old male demographic. I recommend the series to anyone that is looking for something with more substance than Marvel’s Spiderman as its charm, characters, and dialogue is much better in quality and makes up for the series’ areas of improvement.

How To Talk To Strangers

I believe talking to strangers is one of the weirdest and most courageous someone can do. I find that sparking conversations with guys is much easier than with girls. When talking to girls, I always get nervous and tend to freeze up, unless the energy is friendly, and only then do I feel more comfortable to fully be myself. If any girls have tips for guys like me, please share. 😊 I would love to hear what you guys have to say about this  problem of mine, haha! With that said, recently I have been feeling a lot more confident in myself and don’t dwell on what others think of me. If people can’t accept me for who I am, then I simply keep a distance.

Working in retail, a large part of my job is helping customers, trying to understand their problems, and giving them valuable solutions. No matter who walks into my department, I consider them just as anyone else, someone like me. At the end of the day, our whole lives revolve around those we love and the activities we do. One thing I have learned from working in retail is that sometimes, people just need someone to talk to, even if its for a short period of time. Connecting with someone and having a conversation, no matter how small, can impact someone’s day significantly. Personally, I have had days where I felt kind of down but have found myself a lot happier after speaking to someone, even if it’s just a cashier at the store. Having that opportunity to change somebody’s is wonderful and fun. You can be anyone you want to be when talking to strangers.


Occasionally, you do meet some pretty weird people, but I think that’s one of the best parts. If you can just accept people for they are, you can really enjoy their presence. If you approach life with a judgmental attitude, you begin to think in such a narrow perspective, and we begin missing out on new experiences. Overall, I believe talking to strangers is worth the discovery for everyone. You don’t lose anything, they know absolutely nothing about you, and you can be anyone you want to be.

Sigh-mon the Swamp Thing

For those of you still tuning in to this blog, thank you.

And I’m sorry. I missed my post on Wednesday. I mean, it’s not a big deal for you; you missed out on some unnecessary anger, exasperated face-palming, throwing holy water, and laughter.

But still, I am sorry. I found out that a writing project I have been working on for the last eight months (my thesis) is essentially turning me into a terrible writer (in the words of my supervising professor) and I need to, essentially, rewrite it. Yup. Life is fantastic. I’m just kind of in a mental panic. BUT THAT’S OKAY (maybe, hopefully?).

Besides, apologizing to y’all is much better than apologizing to the garbage can I just walked into earlier today.


Today is all about a customer I like to refer to as Swamp Thing. He doesn’t smell or anything, I don’t think. He might, but I tend not to spend a lot of time in his presence. But more because he looks like the character Swamp Thing from the 1997 film, Con Air. If you haven’t seen it yet, and have an hour or so to waste, GO DO IT. It’s hilarious. Nicholas Cage attempts a southern accent (keyword being attempts). John Cusack is in his prime. John Malkovich plays a crazy character.

Annddddd M.C. Gainey plays Swamp Thing. (Here’s an image for reference.)

Sigh-Mon looks like this. Just replace the golden locks for white, add a little bit of a curl to the mustache, and top everything off with an occasional cowboy hat and some weird jackets with fringe.

Now, Sigh-Mon is an asshat. Plain and simple. He’s rude, brusque, and interacting with him is quite similar to experiencing a nightmare.

His go-to drink is a regular drip coffee but in the 30 seconds of interaction you have with him, you’ll wish you never got out of bed that morning.

The First Encounter:

The first time I meet Sigh-Mon, I am working in the middle of another rush. The line is to the door, I am frantically trying to brew coffee, and my co-worker manning the cash register is still new. In shorter words: it was a mini gong show.

She takes Sigh-Mon’s order (the aforementioned drip coffee) and I grab it for her, placing the cup on the counter closest to me. All he has to do is shimmy to his left, grab his coffee, and go.

He doesn’t do that. Instead, Sigh-Mon gets angry at the fact that I have failed served him his coffee – that I have not brought it in front of him. I didn’t realize that signing my contract of employment meant signing a contract of servitude. My bad.

He says: “Hello. I am over here.”
I reply: “Hello. Your coffee is over here waiting for you.”

He rolls his eyes, frowns, and tells me off.

“I’m over here. You need to bring my coffee here. Why would you put it over there?”

He just saw the debacle that happened prior to him ordering. My co-worker backed into me as I was trying to deliver coffee to the customer in front of her. In my attempt to avoid spilling hot coffee on her, I spilled it on myself and on the floor. I put his coffee over on the other counter to avoid the same mistake. It’s not like he saw this entire incident go down or anything.

Oh wait, HE DID.

I bit my lip and just nodded, bringing his coffee over to him.

“Don’t let that happen again,” he says to me just before he leaves.

I turn my back to the customers so I can roll my eyes in peace.

The Second Encounter:

When I see Sigh-Mon next, he’s wearing an oversized cowboy hat and a putrid brown leather jacket with some horrendous fringe.

Though his outfit has changed, he is still ridiculously rude. He slams his money onto the counter and mutters: “Gimme a medium”

Obviously, his mother never told him “Gimme gimme never gets.” If she did, he definitely failed to listen to a rudimentary motto of life.

I restrained myself from rolling my eyes, looked at the amount and knew he was getting a drip coffee. But I did not want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that I knew his drink. Call me petty.

Instead, I looked at him, an expectant expression on my face.

He says it again: “I want a medium.”

I nod and gesture to the coffees. “We have three types sir, which one would you prefer?”

He scoffs at me, and grinds out: “a medium medium.”

There was such derision in his voice, I couldn’t help but laugh about it later.

I retrieved his coffee and watched as he rudely made a mess of the condiment stand. He grabs a handful of sugars, opens some and pours them straight onto the counter. Then opens some more packets and puts them into his own coffee. When he finally leaves, there is a pile of sugar wrappers and a separate pile of granules on the counter – which I have to go clean up.


The Third Encounter:

Sigh-Mon comes in one morning and decides to begrudgingly provide me with his order.

“Medium medium,” he says to me.

I nod, turn around the fetch his coffee, place it on the counter in front of him, and then tell him that it costs $2.55.

He looks at me, furrowed brows and mad frown on his face.

“It’s $2.57. Get it right.”

Guess how much he paid in cash y’all. $2.55.

The Fourth Encounter:

My brilliant co-worker Miranda, who you’ve met in the Kristophur saga, also had to deal with this asshat.

Sigh-Mon does his usual grumpy ordering of coffee, and slams down his money on the counter.

Miranda eyes the money, noting that the nickel has been placed on top, and places the money into the cash register.

Sigh-Mon, suddenly enraged, demands that she give him back his change. He paid exactly $2.55.

He placed the nickel on top. AND he always pays in exact change. Why would he think he paid differently?

Though Miranda informed him that he had not paid $2.75, he refused to listen. Instead, he moves off to the condiment stand and proceeds to make a mess in retaliation.

Great. An asshat child disguised as a cowboy. Wonderful.

man grabs head with two hands - holds temples out of sheer exasperation

The Fifth Encounter:

At this point, Swamp Thing doesn’t have the greatest reputation at our store. He’s just absolutely awful to deal with. But his interaction with my also-phenomenal co-worker Nakia really takes the cake.

Nakia is a stone-cold bad-ass. She handles pressure with so much grace and composure, takes no shit from rude customers, and her eye-rolls give me life. She’s fantastic. Anyway, love-fest aside, Nakia had to recently suffer the indignity of dealing with Sigh-Mon.

After Sigh-Mon receives his coffee, he stomps off to the condiment stand to throw in his daily dose of sugar. Unfortunately for us, he comes back, anger in his eyes, and displeasure written across his face.

“Where’s the white sugar? There’s no white sugar!” he yells at Nakia.

Nakia informs him that we didn’t have any.

“Fine,” he states. “I want a refund. I can’t drink it without sugar – I’m not getting my money’s worth.”

Let’s just stop there for a second. WE’RE A COFFEE SHOP. NOT A SUGAR SHOP.

We also have 4 other types of sugar and honey available for use.

Does anyone go to a restaurant, grab some fries and demand a refund because there isn’t any ketchup? I think not. You might be mildly disappointed, but you make do. Also, if you actually do go and demand a refund, shame on you.

Anyway, my point is, sugar is a privilege, not a right.

After he was through yelling at Nakia, another one of my co-workers luckily found him some packets of sugar hiding away at the bar. He grabbed them and stormed off.

I wish I could say it was the last time he came into the store. It would be nice, to simply say to him that we’re happy to never see him again. It would also be nice if he met the same fate as Gainey’s character in the Con Air movie or stepped on some legos barefoot.

Unfortunately for us, it looks like Swamp Thing is here to stay.


Miraculous Ladybug — What Season 2 is Doing Right

Miraculous Ladybug is one of the most popular Americanized cartoon series that is presently being broadcasted on an international scale. It features the kindhearted and clumsy Marinette Dupain-Cheng as she transforms into her crime-fighting superhero alter ego, Ladybug. She works alongside her partner Cat Noir—who, unbeknownst to her, is also her classmate and crush Adrien Agreste—to track down and defeat the dark magic that is plaguing Paris.


A/N: The use of the term “Americanized” refers to how the series targets and complies with U.S. styles of storytelling and marketing, not a description of where the series originated, as Miraculous Ladybug was created via a collaboration between French and Korean production companies. 


The premise of Miraculous Ladybug follows the format of a typical Japanese “magical girl” anime, being a known genre to anyone even remotely familiar with series along the same spectrum as Sailor Moon. However, it’s fairly common synopsis is not a feature that has initially attracted viewers to the series; rather, its stunning high-quality computer-generated animation is what has captivated the majority of current fans which, until the point of the series’ premier, had been lackluster at best within the context of television animation.


Viewers may have grown intrigued by Miraculous Ladybug‘s fluid and cinematic animation along with its well-thought-out character designs, but an educated guess behind why viewers of Miraculous Ladybug chose to stick around for its 26-episode ride, is more likely than not a result of the “love-square” presented from its very first episode onward. While Marinette is in love with her classmate in civilian form, Cat Noir holds romantic feelings towards Ladybug while immersed in his superhero persona. The catch is, they have no clue of each other’s real identities, contradicting the whole idea of a love square because they are actually in love with each other.

The first season played with this love-square dynamic, teasing its audience that a budding romance would soon break the formation; but despite hinting at breaking the status quo, our beloved duo didn’t get far at all.


This signifies the core difference between the first and second season; not the fact that season 2 more boldly plays with the romance configuration between Marinette/Ladybug and Adrien/Cat Noir, but rather the fact that the creative team behind Miraculous Ladybug is so willing to break this pattern that has been integral to season one’s 26 episodes (24 excluding the origin episodes that show how our protagonists initially receive their miraculouses). The series’ writers and storyboard artists have clearly worked tirelessly to create something intriguing, and this seemingly newfound passion has greatly influenced the quality of the second season for the better.



While season one of Miraculous Ladybug tends to take itself seriously, its second season isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. Season 2 has a layer of self-awareness that admits to its audience that the premise of the series has some narrative gaps, rather than thinly extending viewers’ suspension of belief. Ironically, the addition of self-aware comments in Miraculous Ladybug‘s second season is used as a tool to strengthen its questionable plot points by revealing that even some of the characters are unsure of what is happening. It also paints the series as more playful, making it clear that the writing staff enjoys what they are doing. It is clear that more time was taken to write and translate the characters’ dialogue, which is most likely the reason behind the creative staff exuding charm and enjoyment into the batch of episodes.

In a more recent episode of Miraculous Ladybug‘s second season, Gigantitan, the series tackles how ridiculous Marinette’s stalker-like crush is on Adrien. It makes fun of itself though Marinette and Alya coercing their friends into helping Marinette live out one of her Adrien-involved fantasies. This is a great diversion from her season one portrayal, as rather than presenting her boy-obsessed tendencies as sweet and romantic, the creators are adding a bit of self-aware charm in emphasizing how absolutely ridiculous and unrealistic her attitude towards him can be at times.


Image result for miraculous ladybug gigantitanSpeaking of self awareness, season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug makes a larger effort to target slightly older demographics. Rather than aiming solely at children, the executives behind the series have seemingly come to realize that Miraculous Ladybug attracts many teenagers and young adults, alongside children; thus, the creative team has diverted from creating simple episodic plots and instead moved into relatively complex (yet still episodic) narratives. Plot points, including how our heroes will defeat the villain of the week have become much less predictable compared to season one. Additionally, stakes including threat levels of villains, near identity reveals, and those causing alterations to the standard formula of the series, have become much more intense.

Right from the start of season 2, the huge, game-changing, shocking secret (sense my sarcasm) of Gabriel Agreste being one in the same as Hawkmoth is revealed. This is a big deal as it sets the tone for he remainder of the season—Miraculous Ladybug is no longer planning to beat around the bush and is ready to hit the ground running. Keeping Hawk Moth’s painfully-obvious identity a secret was a shaky move from the start, but his identity revelation shows that it has grown passed treating its audience as oblivious. This is the series’ way of inexplicitly informing its audience that it is planning to take the series in a different, more thought provoking, direction.


Season two of Miraculous Ladybug also gives our characters more time to shine. Marinette, Adrien, and other background characters are treated as three-dimensional and are increasingly showcased in settings outside of their school, sharing different facets of their lives with the audience. Additionally, characters are given more dynamic personalities; for example, season one’s Cat Noir is presented as mildly problematic through ignoring Ladybug’s annoyance and seemingly forcing his romantic flirtation onto her. Despite Adrien’s whole-hearted intentions, this can make him appear somewhat insensitive. However, less than halfway into season 2 showcases Cat Noir being much more receptive to Ladybug’s outwardly platonic view of him. Although it definitely should not have taken this long to get to this result, season two has been showcasing much more empathetic and relatable characters, while giving the audience more time to follow their personal lives in each episode.

Chloe’s character has slowly been improving. In the first season, she had caused almost half of the akumitizations that have occured, a process that turns everyday people into evil villains through harnessing their negative emotions. After agreeing to try to become a better person in the episode Despair Bear, she has not caused anymore deep negative emotions enough to attract one of Hawkmoth’s akumas. This shows he audience that Chloe is not all talk and is genuinely trying to be kinder; however, it’s difficult to tell for certain given her relative lack of screen time.

Marinette is also shown to explore her feelings towards Cat Noir and we as the audience are slowly beginning to see how her emotions can be quite complicated; rather than being blindly in love with one version of Adrien and not the other, she is now beginning to develop feelings for his Cat Noir alter ego (Glaciator). This reveals that Marinette is not as one-note as she may have been presented in the first season. She is able to see that Cat Noir has some of the same qualities she loves about Adrien, rather than blindly crushing on one over the other. This presents her romantic feelings as much more genuine, rather than being just a typical school-girl crush.



Finally, season two presents the promise of an expanding scope. Within the first few season 2 episodes, antagonist Hawkmoth akumatizes both a robot (Robustus) and a baby (Gigantitan), actions that were unheard of in season 1. This alone implies that the process of akumatization is directly linked to controlling emotions, without being limited to age or even humans for that matter. This may seem like a small revelation, given that negative emotions have always been the catalyst for akumatization, but it gives the audience something concrete within the context of the series’ lore, helping to ground the setting in some form of pseudoscience, which is plenty more than Miraculous Ladybug has done previously. By reintroducing the Great Guardian at the start of season 2 and increasing his screen time, the series is given an outlet to explain more of the series’ mythology.


Image result for alya volpinaA near reveal in the season 2 episode The Dark Owl carries some lasting stakes as well, in that Tikki is now aware of Adrien’s identity. In season 1, the only significant occurrence that is carried over to more than one episode is the fact that Adrien had taken a book of miraculous holders from his father’s office. Season two has much more plot lines that can be carried over. Alya temporarily given the fox miraculous to fight alongside Ladybug and Cat Noir being another one. Although she is sworn to secrecy and will likely not bring the experience up to Marinette, I highly doubt that it won’t be referred to in an upcoming episode. Although her superheroine experience was only temporary, the implications are long-lasting, and it will most likely come to play in the near future.


All in all, the second season of Miraculous Ladybug has proved itself to be much more ambitious than its predecessor, keeping audiences more engaged in its narrative and invested in the growth of the series’ characters. Additionally, although we haven’t been given a linear plot yet, the series has been strongly hinting at further progression and character development—two features that are barely graced in season one. Not only is this a much more appealing route to take, but it also shows that the series writers genuinely care for the direction of the show, rather than taking only three months to write 26 episodes with the mentality of quantity over quality—an approach taken during the conception and production of the first season.









Season 2 has been a huge step up from season one, and I can guarantee that by the end of the second season, its main selling points will dive a lot deeper than love square and pretty animation. Rather, it will be highly praised for its amazing characters, settings, and narrative as a whole—alongside its former points of interest.




     “Let Lose And Live A Little”  

This weeks playlist will take you through a groovy vibe. I want my people to feel the vibe and to do things they love this week. This could be anything from, going on an adventure, going to the gym or even doing something that makes you genuinely happy. Along with doing things that make you happy, be sure to find your rhythm and just keep going and  enjoy it !

I, myself started this week with a good Vibe! I finally feel like I got my rhythm back and now i’m just jamming through it. Sometimes you just gotta do what makes you happy and things will just start to fall together, its amazing  🙂 But overall I had a good week and even hit the gym everyday after a really long time. I WAS DEAD ASS FUCKING TIRED LOOL, but it was worth it. I feel so much more alive then before. I also filmed a self tape this week for an upcoming feature film, which was very exciting. I auditioned for the lead role and I feel really good about. I do not know what it is about feeling happy, but for me it just makes wanna keep hustling after my dreams. A positive mindset can really take you through extravagant paths in life people; take my word for it :))