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Gilligan’s Post-Apocalyptic Island

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Travel | 0 comments


You may think the 1960s television show Gilligan’s Island is simply the tale of a 3-hour tour gone terribly awry, indefinitely stranding its passengers on a deserted island where hijinks, visits from goofy guest stars, and thwarted rescue attempts ensue. But it may have actually been a metaphor for restarting after the annihilation of civilization.

I know. Mind. Blown.


The Gilligan Manifesto, a documentary debuting at LA Femme International Film Festival this weekend, takes a fresh look at the slapsticky sitcom that went into production the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was able to preview the film, which places Gilligan’s Island in its Cold War context and aims to reveal the critiques of democracy and capitalism behind its farcical facade.


Originally confined to text in an article in Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, writer and director Cevin Soling translated his ideas to film, taking advantage of the audio-visual medium with groovy novelty songs, original animation, quick cuts of Cold War era footage, and scenes from the show itself. By the time the opening titles appear, you’ve already seen a depressing number of mushroom clouds and atomic infernos exploding in sync with disturbingly upbeat tunes like “Love That Bomb.”

There are also interviews with creator Sherwood Schwartz, cast members Dawn Wells (“Mary Ann”) and Russell Johnson (“The Professor”), and (actual) Harvard professors of history and literature.


After an animation introduces the characters and illustrates the parallel between the island castaways and survivors emerging from a fallout shelter, the film examines the society they create, positing that it more closely resembles a “true” (non-dictatorial) communist system than a democratic/capitalist one.


While a few points are belabored and others left hanging, the film does raise some interesting questions.

Do societal structures, such as class divides, persist when society itself is gone? What about titles such as “professor,” “millionaire,” or “movie star”? Can a person lead without being corrupted by power? What’s the best way to distribute resources? Is Gilligan the ultimate proletariat-hero? Do the castaways even want to be rescued?

The Gilligan Manifesto gave me a lot to mull over. And it’s definitely changed the way I look at the show and its character archetypes.


– Film Info –

The Gilligan Manifesto is a feature documentary by Spectacle Films, Inc.

Debut: LA Femme International Film Festival

Information on additional screenings/viewing options was not available.

Photos via The Gilligan Manifesto.

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Playing Card Mini Journal (WIP) and Las Vegas Trip

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 6 comments

Vegas has never seemed like my scene, but Phillip and I are planning to be there in a couple weeks. His longtime friend Michael, who now calls the area home, is getting married, so we’re taking a road trip! image It’ll be my first time in Las Vegas (outside of a brief layover en route from Indiana, which doesn’t really count). So I’ve been researching things we might want to see – both on The Strip and beyond it.

I also started making a mini scrapbook with playing card pages.



Even if the glitz and excess I associate with Vegas isn’t so appealing to me, there’s more to every place than meets the eye. I’m looking forward to searching out spots that tell different stories.


PS In case you can’t see them, the Instagram shots are a photo of Mr. Cheeseface on a slot machine and a video of take-off over the lights of The Vegas Strip.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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The Next Phoenix Fan Fest

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments


Whether it’s your favorite lunch spot or a local festival, when something you enjoy goes from niche to well-known, you may feel you miss the “good old days” before the crowds. Of course, those crowds help keep corner cafes in business and sustain community events.


It’s true of Phoenix Comicon. I’ve heard plenty of long-time attendees wax nostalgic about the earlier events with their shorter lines and sense of community, while, of course, enjoying the bigger name guests and programming made possible by the larger numbers.

Enter Phoenix Fan Fest.


Why Fan Fest?

Meant to evoke the feel of the early days of Phoenix Comicon, Fan Fest is a smaller, more intimate show by design. There are fewer tracks with the focus on artists/comics, costumes, and kid-friendly events.


It’s also more interactive. As one organizer put it, think of Fan Fest as “come and do things” instead of just “come and see things.” You can learn to play Quidditch (adapted for muggles, of course), compete in MS Paint Pictionary, make something with Lego, and even compete in a build-off!


At the first Fan Fest, artists, attendees, and the community collaborated to create a crowdsourced comic character, Blaze. Last year, they invented a nemesis for Blaze. This year, you can be a part of brainstorming action sequences for the two, while artists sketch and bring crowdsourced ideas to life!

Blaze phxff

New Time and Place

While the first two Fan Fests were held in Glendale in December, this year Fan Fest is happening earlier (October 23 and 24) and moving to the Phoenix Convention Center.


According to organizers, the time change is due, in part, to feedback from attendees that it’s difficult to get time off to go to an event in the middle of the holidays. People may also be tight on cash that time of year.


Attendees had complained about the University of Phoenix Stadium’s location in the West Valley. The Phoenix Convention Center is much more centrally located.

The Convention Center is also built to allow for bigger guest panels, more programming content, and more variety. The stadium only had three rooms for panels (and they were down this weird, dark hallway).


One downside is that there won’t be any more free parking. However, there are more transit options, including light rail stops right at the Covention Center, so you won’t necessarily have to drive. Phxcc

Organizers said exhibitors were fans of the changes, and they’re hoping you will be too!

– Fan Fest info –

We’ve received media passes to past events from Phoenix Comicon.

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San Diego Souvenir Mug

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Travel | 14 comments

Phillip has been on this much-appreciated fixing-things-with-superglue kick.

He’s currently putting back together the mug my grandma got me as a souvenir of our 2003 trip to San Diego.

San Diego mug

She had vacation time, wanted to go to San Diego, but didn’t feel she could make the drive alone, so I got to go along.

I drove and we worked as a team to figure out how to navigate San Diego – exploring the Gaslamp Quarter, peeking in at the inner workings of the Balboa Park pipe organ, accidentally visiting the zoo on (super crowded!) free day, shopping in Seaport Village, spontaneously deciding to take a Duck tour (laughing as the amphibious vehicle splashed into the bay), and wandering through the colorful Old Town Market that’s commemorated on my mug. We would walk from our hotel to the beach or to this Italian restaurant that had a second story with a view of the ocean.

San Diego mug

She would actually be turning 86 today if it hadn’t been for pancreatic cancer in 2007.

I wish there was a word for the opposite of regret, to describe things that, even in hindsight, you are 100% glad you did.

I’m so grateful for that trip to San Diego with Grandma.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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NoRayz Sunglasses Review

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in Travel | 4 comments


Driving towards California with the late afternoon sun dipping just below the car’s visor, I found myself reaching up to my face to make sure my sunglasses were on. More than once.

They were. It just didn’t seem like it.

Sunset in Indio

I was wearing inexpensive (but cute!) Target sunglasses, and the glare seemed to cut right through the lenses.

I thought about the NoRayz sunglasses that were en route to my mailbox and wished I could’ve brought them. NoRayz is a new eyewear company that makes performance sunglasses, and I had a hunch they’d be better at blocking the sun than what I was wearing.

They were.


Once I got back and tried them out, I realized just how much they would’ve helped. They fit comfortably snug on your face and block the sun without obscuring your vision.


They’re effective and sturdy enough to wear during hiking, running, skiing, or driving directly into the sunset. The top portion is shaded to further reduce glare.


Phillip tried both pairs, as well. He expected to prefer the smaller frames (“Sedona”), but once he tried them on, he liked the fuller coverage of the “Yuma” pair much better.


While I thought they looked great on Phillip, they’re not a style I’d just wear around. However, the next time I’m going on a long drive (or a hike), they’re definitely coming with me.


I asked the technically-minded Marty to check them out, as well. So I’ll wrap up with his analysis.


Marty’s take:

NoRayz sunglasses come in two sizes. Since I have kind of a large head and I like a lot of coverage from the sun, the larger pair were my first choice.

They are robust looking with a 1 3/8″ hinge arm area tapering down to just under 1/2″ at the ear pad.

The other feature that is very noticeable is the top quarter of the lens area is blacked out, like a built-in visor. I tested this feature while driving west about sundown and found that it worked pretty well.

The glasses came with a soft cloth bag that doubled as a lens cleaner. Nice, but other brands in this class typically also include a hard case with a clip or MOLLE gear attachment point.

The optics were good as was the overall workmanship. They were very comfortable for the 3-hour drive. I like that they are handcrafted in the USA.

Nice sunglasses for outdoor sports, biking, or riding a quad. They reminded me of the mountaineer-style glasses equipped with side shields.


  • Protection: Lenses are polarized to block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, including glare from reflections.
  • Rating: ANSI rated at z80.3-2015
  • Material: Lenses are polycarbonate and frames are polycarbonate resin.
  • Price: $150.

We received 2 pair of NoRayz sunglasses to review. 

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Jungle Garden

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Travel | 8 comments

Huntington Library , Pasadena - jungle garden

Since we knew there’d be way more to see at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens than we’d have time to explore while we were in the Pasadena area, we skipped the desert and cactus gardens (they’re supposed to be very good – we just have lots of desert gardens here in Arizona) and headed straight for something different: the jungle garden.

Jungle Garden at the Huntington

Jungle Garden Pasadena

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena

I really being enveloped in lush the rainforest-like landscape.

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena - tropical flowers

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena - roots

Thick trees were like an entire ecosystem of their own with vines climbing their trunks and air plants nestled in their branches.

Huntington Library , Pasadena - jungle garden

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena

We spotted ferns and flowers and plants with leaves the size of umbrellas.

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena

My favorite spot was right next to the waterfall.

Jungle Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena - waterfall

We received complimentary press passes to Huntington Library via Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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