One Hundred Nights of Hate


I read this book – The One Hundred Nights of Hero (Early Earth) which has been highly acclaimed and suggested as the perfect gift for daughters for introducing feminism – One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenburg. This has been hailed as one of the best graphic novels in 2016 and has a 4.5 stars rating on Goodreads. To me, this is not feminism. This is more like a book written from the viewpoint of a man-hating lesbian.

The art work was okay. The stories were not that engaging. I was not dying to finish the book but I read them only because of Uncle’s critique of the book and he wanted me to judge for myself. Honestly, the book did not touch me.  The book is more of a reimagination of the creation story and Arabian nights.

My Critique of the Book

  1. The blurb on the back says that this is a book about love but the overall theme in the book was pure hate. I was surprised at the amount of hate emanating from this book.
  2. The entire book was about men vs. women. No cooperation. No kindness. I am not sure how we can spread feminism if we make an entire section of the society unwanted and unwilling to support feminism.
  3. The book perpetuates stereotypes of  women as dumb, naive, petty and mean falling for the first man who is nice to them. How is this even empowering?
  4. The book goes on and on about sisterhood. From my life experience, sisterhood exists but we cannot make an assumption that all women look out for each other. They are equally capable of betrayal and leave you in the lurch as much as any other gender.
  5. Open agenda against one gender.One hundred nights go hero
  6. The author’s attitude. When people critique her book as man hating, she uses it as an example and an extension of the men in her book on how they control women and lock them up and don’t let them read books.Isabel Greenberg Response to critique
  7. According to this book, the only true love is lesbian love.
  8. No healthy heterosexual relationships in this book.
  9. All the men in our lives are vile creatures according to this book

Do I really want my daughter to see the world this way? I will not prevent my kid from reading this book but I will not be gifting it to anyone. Instead I would love to discuss with my kid on how this is not okay. If an entire book were written stereotyping women and showcasing them as an evil gender today, it would not be acceptable (though there are several examples in history). Similarly, a hateful book about any other gender is also not acceptable. This is 2017 not 1373. If an agenda against homosexuals/bisexuals is not okay, then an agenda against heterosexuals is also not okay.

Sadly, books in favour of traditionally oppressed groups putting down and blaming the dominant group have been bestsellers and really popular. The popularity of this book reminded me of Susan Cain’s book – Quiet which blames extroverts for everything from the recession to wars and how superior introverts are. Something like this book.

Feminism does not mean hating other genders or blaming them for all the world’s problems. Instead, I would call this ‘placing women on a pedestal‘ syndrome wherein we start believing that the root of all evil is men and that women are incapable of any wrong. The truth is the world would not necessarily have been a better place had women been in charge because we are all humans and there are good, bad, ugly, mean, selfish, nasty, wicked people irrespective of gender.

What I’m Into – March 2016


I have been wanting to write a summary of what I’am reading, watching or listening to after seeing many other bloggers write about it. I love reading such posts and because I consume so much media, it is a great way to reflect and track for me. I wish to post at the end of every month as a summary but I can’t wait to get the first post out of my head!

Books:

You can follow me on Goodreads here.

Roller Girl: It is technically meant for 8-12 year olds but I liked it. Nice story. I was introduced and learnt a new thing – roller derby!

Roller Girl

Spark Joy: I loved her previous book and I liked this one too. It had sections I wished the first book had- about kitchen and other parts of the house. I did not find it weird because in a way I am exposed to Japanese culture.

Spark Joy

TV Series:

One Punch Man: One punch manI watched this in February and loved it. In general, Japanese anime does not interest me but I found this interesting and funny. It mocks all the superhero genre movies (like the Avengers) and show the superhero doing mundane stuff like grocery shopping. Do note that there are barely any good female characters and if they are there, they are pretty or crazy. No normal ones which again is typical in a way of this genre. I watched it in Japanese with Eng subs.

Walking Dead: Walking DeadAfter watching every single episode from Season 1, I finally decided to stop watching this series. I am tired of the repetition and lack of hope. Every time it is the same story – find a new place to settle > Some crazy guy comes in > They lose the place > Move to a new place.

Agents of SHIELD:

Agents of Shield

Another TV series, I decided to stop watching. It is not great. We initially started watching it because it was mean to be tied to the movie universe but somehow, they have decided to not link them at all. So, out it goes.

Agent Carter:

Agent Carter

I liked this TV series because it has a strong normal woman as the lead and her chemistry with the butler – Jarvis is awesome. Hope they continue and move ahead in terms of how SHIELD was founded.

Movies:

Lately, I have been into R rated comedies.  Kindly don’t watch if you have a problem with people cussing.

Deadpool: It was funny and different from most Marvel/superhero movies. It made fun of  Marvel Superheroes and of X-Men. Interesting because it broke the 4th wall.

Deadpool movie

Spy: Funny and I loved how it mocked James Bond movies.

Spy  2015

The Heat: Was funny and I liked the female buddy-buddy detective theme.

 

I feel both Spy and The Heat pass the Bedchel test, especially The Heat. You have a not-skinny woman dealing with not-love problems. That is rare.

Review: Bathe to Basics + So True Naturals Soaps


I won 3 soaps in a giveaway by Plume & Preen – 2 Bathe to Basics bar soaps and one So True Naturals bar soap.

1. Bathe To Basics Basic Cream Bar No.1

BASIC CREAM BAR NO.1

 

BASIC CREAM BAR NO.1

Review – This was the nicest of all the 3 soaps. Mild and unscented. Quite gentle, I would say.

2.  Bathe To Basics Olive Bar

Bathe to Basics Olive Bar

Review – It was okay. Not harsh on skin. Nothing memorable.

3. So True Naturals Fresca Castile Soap

So True Naturals Fresca Castile Soap

So True Naturals Fresca Castile Soap

So True Naturals Fresca Castile Soap

Review – I do not recommend this soap at all. I felt it was kinda harsh. When I used it, it took me a long time and  a lot of water to wash it off my hands. I do not know if it was a result of excess humidity (but my other soaps survive here and this soap was made in SE Asia), the soap became slimy dissolved in a less than 3 days! Something is really wrong with their composition.

So True Naturals Fresca Castile Soap

Price – The price for these soaps  is around 16SGD/soap which is pretty expensive in my opinion. Most of the soaps  I buy are 5 USD.

Overall – 2.5/5

On Gone Girl


Last night, I watched the movie “Gone Girl” and it left me deeply disturbed. Maybe, I should stick to movies like Avengers and Cobra.

Edited to add in a section on marriage.

Note – This post has spoilers.

On wanting to read the book:

I had heard that the book was great and originally wanted to read it. The library had a list of reservations running 1 year long which explains why I had not yet read it. After watching the movie, I dropped the idea promptly. Of course, I went online and read the differences between the book and the movie.

On the movie:

The movie was good and disturbing. Many people raved about the twists in the movie though I could guess some of them as  I watched the movie –

  1. She was not dead, she had run away.
  2. She would go to Desi when she was robbed of her money. Who else could  she go to?

It was easy to see this coming.

Dating Advice:

What the hell does dating advice to do with an article about Gone Girl? Well, there is something to be learnt from it which was painfully obvious –

  1. STOP PRETENDING in a relationship.
  2. Communicate.
  3. Perfectionism kills.

The basis of Amy’s and Nick’s relationship was shaky. They both pretended to be who they were not. I do not think it is okay, even in the initial stages of dating. I will concede, I understand that a lot of people who got into relationships pretending to be someone they are not. You can pretend for some time but not all the time! They do not know each other at all!

Another thing was they never talked about stuff that mattered. As you watch the movie and there are scenes from the diary, it is shocking how they started dating in 2005 and only in 2007, Amy talks about Amazing Amy and how it was related to her life. WTH?! They never discuss giving money to Amy’s parents. They never discuss moving back to the town where Nick’s mother is dying.  They jut don’t discuss anything!

Amy is a perfectionist. Perfectionism is tiring because you can never be perfect all the time. Our media may sell us perfect skin to perfect hair to perfect marriages but let us be honest here- Perfect does not exist in real life. Amy tries to maintain a perfect facade but that breaks her down and her marriage. In some ways, her parents are to be blamed for this. Things have to go her way – the perfect way. Neither of them relaxed into the relationship because she wanted her marriage and the guy in to be perfect. Nick was like a project to be worked on.  Nobody likes to feel that they are a project. I am tired just writing about the perfectionism aspect.  Take it from a recovering perfectionist, it is very tiring.

On Amy:

Crazy perfectionist psychopath A-type personality. Who wants to marry someone like that? I can imagine there are plenty of people like this in Hollywood without the psychopath part, of course!

On Nick:

He is a douche bag. And a coward. Just get a divorce instead of sleeping around with students. And just run away instead of remaining married to a psychopathic murderer even if it means that the world hates you. There will always be another news.

Maybe, he really was a misogynist and selfish lazy guy but that does not negate the fact that Amy was a psychopath.

I could not understand why the hell, he would choose to stay alone with a crazy person. She could do anything next. He was in alone in the house with her for god’s sake. What if she killed him? It made no sense. And how could she impregnate herself with his frozen sperm without going to a clinic? There must have been some proof, right? She knew how to manipulate him at every step and knew he would not leave. He should have just left somewhere with his sister, instead of staying with Amy, in my opinion.

  1. Amy is back to pretending to be perfect and last time that happened, she broke down. What makes him think she will not break down after becoming a mother at some point in the future?.
  2. Why the hell would you want to bring a child in such a family even if Nick stays around to protect the child?

As I have not read the book, maybe the movie missed out on Nick’s character sketches seen in the book. If he is a psycho as well, well he should also be in a mental institution. 

On media:

It made me realize how often we fully believe the image and perceptions that the media gives us. How we judge people in public cases without knowing the entire truth and assassinate people’s characters while many powerful people are never spoken about like that. I always knew and understood, that movie stars / singers / politicians are a result of a careful PR campaign but it never hurts to be reminded of that.

On Gone Girls being misogynistic:

When I was looking up for more articles of Gone Girl, I was surprised that this movie/books was accused of being misogynistic.

The misogynistic argument I found over the internet are in short:

  1. She falsely accuses men of raping her and is met with sympathy. This gives a perception that lot of women do it while in reality the % of women doing it is very little.
  2. Women are not met with support and sympathy like in Gone Girl.
  3. Women are portrayed negatively as crazy bitches.
  4. After seeing crazy Amy’s behaviour, misogynists have more ammunition to label women as crazy bitches who deserve to be ill treated.

My point is why can’t we just take characters for what they are and not based on their gender. Yes, she is a crazy psychopath and she should be in a mental institution AND she happens to be a woman. Just because, you read about nut case dictators, do you go about generalizing ALL men? No, right? Then, how in the world does it make sense that people will go about generalizing ALL women based on one fictional character?  Whoever does that is a jerk, anyway. Men can be villains but we have a problem with female villains! People of any gender can be psychopaths. My assessment remains the same irrespective of gender.

On the false allegations of rape, she was listened to because she was a rich privileged, fairly famous personality. How many times do we react with outrage to the atrocities happening to poor tribals? Compare that with when something happens to be middle or upper middle class? Yes, that is why her complaints were taken more seriously.

On cool girl:

This is the excerpt from the book that has been getting a lot of publicity and everybody (for example – link) seems to be sharing or quoting  (it applies to a more western dating scene) –

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”

“Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, co-workers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.”

Again, stop pretending to be anything you are not just to snag a guy. Yes, society puts pressure on us to behave a certain way but you do have a choice.

Cool girl is often misinterpreted by women.  If a guy treats you poorly – does not commit, is abusive, harassed you etc. – DUMP him. Stop being the cool girl and putting up with it and being resentful of how society forces you to fit in. Being cool means, you do not have to do everything together 100% of the time and there is no need to be nervous about it. Have your own life. Nobody is perfect and you will have to compromise on some things and that should be mutual. Some people want to control the other person in a relationship to an irrational extent and that is NOT cool, no matter the gender. At the end of the day, the person in the relationship is an individual. Be cool and let the other person have their life. Does not mean, you have to be doormat. Being cool when you are not happy, does not change things. It only increases resentment.

My experience says that doormats and “cool girls” (like described above) end up with controlling jerks because they are “cool” with being walked over and controlling guys are quick to catch on that.

On who Amy reminded me of:

As I watched the movie, I was reminded of someone who put on the same perfect facade as Amy. Always stoic. Always with perfect hair and make up. No emotions. Straight A’s. I never really liked her and the feeling was mutual. I heard she dated some guy for a short while before getting married and that d she completely changed for him. A path to disaster. 

Note – I am referring only to the perfectionist aspect of Amy and no other mental disorder aspect.

Also, this reminded me of many women who will never allow the man to see them without make up. Many Korean women apparently wake up earlier than the guy just to put the make up on. This is often the pressure people put on themselves than other people at that moment in their lives.  Maybe, someone said something to them years ago and they are still carrying it.

On marriage:

There have been several articles, viewing Gone Girl as a critique on marriage and I really thought it over. Honestly,  I did not really view it that way at all. Yes, there was only one point in the movie, when they were married that seemed creepy to me. Many people use Nick and Amy’s marriage of how we can never really know the other person in the marriage or understand what they are really thinking (example – link).  Let us be realistic – 

  1. You can never ever know what someone is thinking or go in to their heads.
  2. Of course, people change over time.
  3.  I always believe people may change a lot but their core essence generally remains consistent over a time period unless something really dramatic life altering event happens.
  4. Nobody can predict how things will pan out in the future but one can make some fairly decent judgement based on the facts in front of them.

I would not use Nick and Amy’s marriage as an extension for marriages because they were both crazy (mental institution crazy) and they both were fake. For heaven’s sake, that person did not show a twinge of remorse for killing someone. What do you expect?

If we start thinking, “what if my marriage ends up like Nick and Amy’s?”, we would all be shit scared to ever date and marry ever again. There are plenty of instances, where would do nothing because we are scared we would end up like shitty guy or that person. We would pick ourselves apart and drive ourselves crazy because we cannot read our spouse’s mind. Instead of getting ourselves in a twist, the best thing would be to focus on what we can control – ourselves. The question to ask is  – “Would you continue staying in the marriage/relationship, if you discover that your spouse is a whacko murderer or leave?”

So readers, have you watched or read “Gone Girl”? Your thoughts?

Review: Chaiholics Singapore


Last weekend when we were walking near Raffles MRT to get to Krispy Kreme, I was delighted to find a chai shop, though closed. It looked to nice on the outside and  went over the moon to see that served only chai and snacks. I am rarely in this locality as it is a office locality and most places are closed on weekends. I vowed to check them out sometime.

Their website looked great but has up to date. That very night, I found a groupon for Chaiholics and bought it immediately – 7.90 for 2 chais.

So, did chaiholics live up to my expectations? I can be a chai snob 🙂

Website – I hate it when websites or Facebook pages do not update their info. Chaiholics, Singapore did not.

Currently, they have only 2 branches but their website lists 4 branches. 2 have closed down. I wanted to go there this Wednesday (22nd Oct) and they did not update their FB on THAT day and it was listed as open. I had my doubts and called them. No one picked up the phone at both the branches. Of course, it is in an office only locality. They would not be open. Why not update that or state Sun and PH = closed.

Also, what kind a chai place does not even bother wishing people a Happy Diwali?!

Price – Too pricey. 7.00 SGD for 1 chai? I might try it once but not regularly. Come on, even Starbucks can work out to be cheaper. I get my chai for 80 cents nears my office. Better yet, I can make it with organic milk at home.

Opening hours – Office hours. Clearly not meant for people who work or live anywhere except the downtown area.

Reviews – I could barely find any blog that reviewed this place, even though this place has been open for over a year. Very strange. Most tripadvisor and facebook reviews were 4 starts and I do not believe them.

Only review I found was – http://timberdesk.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/review-chaiholic-at-change-alley 

Which is why I am bothering to write a long review. My expectations we already low for the place. I rarely set low expectations for chai.

Crowds – We went on 23 Oct, Thursday around 6.20 PM to the Chevron House branch. There was a Costa coffee next to Chaiholics and it was full. There was no one there except us. Later on 1 girl walked in.

Food – They had those wrapped up starbucks kinda snacks and I did not buy anything.

Decor – Looks nice.

The chai –  I ordered Classic masala chai and Indian Railway Chai. The portion was a little less than the smallest cup size at Starbucks for a reference point (my perception).

They did not add sugar. So, I thought I could try both with and without sugar.

The chai was terrible. I could not take more than a sip of each tea. I forced myself to take one more sip for the sake of this review. It was watery, dark, the spices were all on top.  it was not brewed the way we brew chai. It was horri horrible. I think they should do everyone a favour and shut down the remaining 2 branches as well. If a chai place cannot serve proper chai, what is the point?

As U put it: – “If your Indian Mother in law is in town and you do not want her to ever bother you again, take her here. She will never talk to you for the rest of her life.”

Rating: 0.5/5

Cold Pressed Juices


Cold pressed juicing seems to be all the rage now. Clearly the trend started in the USA and now it is the in thing in Singapore as well. Now, even Bangalore has one. 1 year ago, I had not heard of a cold pressed juice shop or juice cleanses and now  they are all over the place. There are at least 15-20 cold pressed juice bars and cleansing programs now in Sg.

I was initially drawn to them when I saw that a lot of these juices were organic. I did not really analyse the cold pressed part. These 3/5 day cleanses can be quite expensive – 330 SGD for a 3 day cleanse which includes 18 bottles of 500ml cold pressed organic/non organic juice. That works out to roughly 18 SGD/juice which is really expensive. I can get a non organic fresh juice in the food court for 4 SGD tops.

Why are they so expensive? 

What they say [people who sell these juices]

  • Cold pressed juice extracts the maximum nutrients, live enzymes and every drop possible compared to centrifugal juices which heat up and destroy the live enzymes.
  • Cold pressed juices are not oxidized which means they can last longer (aka 3 days) without preservatives. Many of these juice bars or cleanses supply you juices that are not freshly squeezed as a result of this oxidation theory. 
  • Cold pressed juice tastes better.
  • A lot more produce goes into it compared to other juicers.

What I say 

  • They are expensive because the cold press juicing machines are bloody expensive
  • It is in fashion. Charge for the trend and because it is fashionable
  • Okay, I am willing to pay more for organic vegetables or fruits but many of these companies do not sell organic juice or they conveniently claim they use organic as much as possible. 

These juices are so expensive but there is no substantial data on why cold pressed juices are better. Even the machine manufacturers do not provide data. I mean, how difficult is it to do a side by side comparison when you claim your juicers are so very better than other centrifugal juicers.

Experimental design

  1. Take equal number of vegetables/fruits.
  2. Juice them side by side.
  3. Measure certain parameters – quantity of produce used, amount of juice produced, stability of components, maybe major vitamins and minerals, oxidation of the juice.
  4. Get the data and make it into nice graphs.

My opinion on the entire cold pressed juices

– Cold pressed juicers are not a novel concept. Norwalk has been around for a long time and lysis or extraction via pressure is not a novel concept either. I have lysed bacterial culture using the same principle – French press which does the same. Not heating protects your proteins and enzymes for further purification. Stop talking like it is the newest kid in town.

– Will I pay more for organic? Hell yes. Cold pressed? Nah, I am not convinced remotely. Every one of these cold pressed juice people has the same hokey explanation. Using 3 science words does not make you more correct.

Absolute lack of data and unwillingness of juice machine makers to provide data and juice sellers tells a lot.

 – I am not sold on the live enzymes theory as well. Even if the enzymes are live, would they not be broken down in the stomach acid? How many enzymes can survive stomach pH? It is hardly likely that enzymes or other proteins will be absorbed without being broken down. 

– Oxidation is a moot point for me. I drink my juices when they are freshly squeezed in 5 minutes. Why should I pay more for 3 day old juice? People are not cold pressing fresh juice every time you order. They usually take it from the fridge and they probably do it once in 3-4 days. Technically, we can never know if a cold pressed juice store sold you a 4 day old juice because they did not sell them all out.

– Also, almost all the juice cleanse programs give you 5 juices + 1 nut milk for 1 day though they say it is 6 juices/day. I have made nut milk at home and I can tell you it cannot cost you that much. How much does it cost to grind a handful of nut, organic or not, in water? 

I believe fresh juices are healthy when consumed in moderation. I do like organic and prefer holistic health. However, cold pressed juice sounds more like a fad and more on the mumbo jumbo side. Yes, healthy people have their fads and they can go extreme too, often with no logic whatsoever. One day agave is in and one day it is pure EVIL.One day fat is bad, another day sugar is bad and the root cause of every single disease on earth.

Have you tried cold pressed juices before? What are your opinions?

Review: All Things Lavender – Lavender Chamomile Soap


I have been using this Lavender Chamomile soap I picked up from a stall at Pike Market Place, Seattle.

Pike Market Seattle

Website: http://www.allthingslavenderseattle.com/ 

All Things Lavender - Lavender Chamomile Soap

Ingredients: Clean which is why I picked it.

All Things Lavender - Lavender Chamomile Soap IngredientsThe soap is quite a good size.

All Things Lavender - Lavender Chamomile Soap

Quite a good size for my hand.

All Things Lavender - Lavender Chamomile Soap

This soap does not dry your skin much. Foams well. What I loved the most was the scent – it is so soothing and nice. It reminds me of a sleeping baby  (in a nice way). A very gentle smell but really nice.

Overall: 4.5/5