In 2017, Please Be Kind

 

 

On the first of January, 2016, I entered a competition on a writing website called Movellas. It was about writing New Year’s Resolutions, and I eventually won it for the seven that I had listed out. I’d thought about them carefully; thought about myself and who I wanted to be for 2016, for the rest of my life, and I wrote them down.

Here’s how that went, and how I got on.

 

Resolution #1: To be brave

I am not brave, nor have I ever been. I worry over the smallest of matters, and over think everything that comes my way. I’m afraid to tell my parents of a single Christmas gift I receive from a friend because it’s expensive, because they’ll ask why he got it for me, because it’ll lead to questions. I want to be brave in 2016. I don’t want to fear the unknown, and cry over issues that I can’t change. I want to be able to stand before someone, tell them how I feel, I want to be able to rest my head on my friends’ shoulders without worrying what they’ll do. I just want to stand up for something, and mean it, and not be afraid.

I don’t want to fear the world anymore.

How it went:

I haven’t cried much in 2016. I’m not saying that crying means a person is weak, I’m saying that when I’m afraid, I cry. I’m not as brave as I’d like to be, I avoid politics and controversial conversations, as well as walking at night and talking to strangers in bars – but I don’t think I ever meant that I wanted to be brave in that sort of way.

I don’t necessarily fear the world, but I can’t say I’m best friends with it. Even so, I started university, I met new people and I’m beginning to stand up for what I want. That’s as good a start as any.

 

Resolution #2: To be happy

I am a notoriously unhappy person.

Yes, I can plaster a smile on my face, and have fun – but that’s no longer enough for me. I want to feel happiness in my gut; I want to wake up in the morning not dreading the day; I want to look out the window and not be annoyed by the state of my town and my life, but accept it – move to change it.

I really just want to be happy. I want to be okay again. I want to feel like I did when I was a child; blissfully unaware. I want to feel the way I do when I’ve read something beautiful all the time.

How it went:

When out drinking, my friends and I have a saying about going to the toilet – once you’ve done it, you’ve broken the seal. There’s no going back. That’s what this is like – I’m never going to be blissfully unaware, with childlike innocence, being able to ignore what’s happening in the world. I’ve broken the seal on what’s happening out there, and I can’t undo that.

But I can find happiness in other places.

I realise, looking back on where I was in January of 2016, that my unhappiness was due to my hatred of the courses I was taking, the company I kept, and that I hadn’t realised the magic of self-love. Since then, I’ve taken up a new course in a new place, I’ve ditched the person (or people) who made me feel bad, and I’ve found that if you keep telling yourself that you’re cute, you’re smart, you’re fun – eventually, you will be.

 

Resolution #3: To keep my friends

In 2015, I lost and gained my friends. Some just disappeared from my life for extended periods of time, some just went all together. Others, I had to learn to like and then love, and one or two I can’t say I completely get along with. But I want them to stay around, all the same. I want to keep the people I care about, and I don’t want to have to face losing them again.

I entered the new year with Alex, with the girl who used to be my best friend, and now could still be as such – if I weren’t afraid of having them now. I lost her for four months last year. I want her for all twelve this year.

In recent months I made a fantastically amazing new friend named Callum. I don’t really know what I’d do if I lost him. I can’t imagine my life without him, and so, in 2016, I want to put effort into keeping these people in my life. I don’t want to be facing my future without them.

How it went:

I laughed when I saw that this was one of my resolutions, because how it turned out was so unpredictable to me at that time. There’s a truth you have to face when leaving a city and moving to a new one: you’re going to lose contact with people you thought you loved. And here’s another one: sometimes, you’re not going to mind.

I kept Alex, and I still have her, and I think all twelve months with her have been a dysfunctional rollercoaster that could really do with some maintenance – but it’s been good. It’s been fun. It’s been sitting in her garden at two AM in November as she cries, but it’s also been sword fighting with rolls of wrapping paper as we make our way down the road.

And Callum – well, I can see my life perfectly without him, because that’s simply what it is for me now. It’s been this way for longer than I knew him for, and honestly – it relates back to my choice to be happy. Sometimes, there are people you are blinded by; by your love for them, by their love for you, by the way you both try so hard to keep the friendship together – but ultimately, a friendship isn’t real unless you can see them in the dark and still be happy with what you find.

My happiness comes first. Always. And sometimes, that just means facing a future without the people you think you need, and figuring out you’re happier without them.

 

Resolution #4: To commit to one thing every day

I feel like I’m wasting my days away, in bed, in the house, in my pyjamas. I’m sick of it.

Even if that one thing is just remembering to empty the dishwasher or take out the recycling, I want to commit to it. I want to commit to doing my revision and homework every day. I want to just have one thing that I will commit to – a different thing every day; something that just has to be done.

Today, I want to be dressed.

Sometimes it’s just really difficult to face being a functioning person, but I want to try it. I want to be able to get dressed because then I’ll feel like I’m ready for the day. I want to then be able to say, that when I’m dressed, I could go out if I wanted to. I could walk up the road and see my friend, I could go out and buy ice cream, I could sit in the car if my parents elected to go somewhere.

I want to be dressed.

I want to commit to something every day. Even if it’s another person.

How it went:

Honestly, I still have days like this. I still have days where facing the sunlight is too much for me, and I just don’t leave my room until absolutely necessary. These are what I call the ‘bad days’, and the beginning of this year was full of them. As I’ve gotten older, and moved away, I’ve found that the good days tend to outweigh the bad.

I still commit to one thing a day, though. As often as I can. It works, truly it works. Some days, it’s still just getting out of bed, getting dressed, eating a real meal, cleaning my plates, attending a lecture. Other days, it’s going to a body combat class, it’s walking across town, it’s meeting a friend, it’s doing my school work.

I commit to one thing a day, every day – and eventually, I get things done.

 

Resolution #5: To try

I think this resolution speaks for itself, but it’s been so long since I really have tried. It’s been a long time since I’ve put effort into people, into my work, into myself. I know I have it in me.

How it went:

Sometimes, it’s just not worth trying.

Other times, it really is.

Maybe in 2017 I’ll resolve to figure out which is which so I don’t pour my effort into the wrong thing.

Even so: I really did have it in me.

 

Resolution #6: To pass my A-levels

My other resolutions are based a lot on me changing as a person; on my development. But this one is still important, it’s something that people want for me, and it’s something I want for myself. Even if I don’t enjoy the courses I’m studying, I want to be able to say that I’ve passed. I want universities to accept me, even if I haven’t received a single response from them yet. I want them to want me to study with them – I want to succeed.

How it went:

I passed. Mostly. Okay – I got a D in one course but I didn’t like that one anyway. I got into my first choice university. I did what I wanted to do.

 

Resolution #7: To be kind

This is a goal of mine every day. It has been for as long as I can remember.

Recently, a friend told me that kindness comes naturally to good people. He said that just because someone has the capacity to be kind if they really, really try, doesn’t make them a good person. Kindness has always come naturally to me, I think. I’ve never wanted to harm others, and I’ve always tried to be empathetic, compassionate, caring.

I am going to continue to try to be, anyway, whether I made it a resolution or not. The only difference about this, is that I want to also be kind to myself.

I want to acknowledge how I look, and not just briefly with a grimace. I want to realise that my eating habits aren’t healthy, and be kind to my body by changing them. I want to care about myself, and be kind to the body I’ve been given as well as the mental facilities I’ve been blessed with. I want to let myself have something I want – I want to hug people and stop distancing myself from others. I want to be able to do what’s best for me, instead of what’s best for others. I know that I have always been the person who will set myself on fire to keep others warm – this year, I want to learn how to make kindling out of firewood instead of my body.

How it went:

In 2017 I plan to be kind.

In 2018, 19, 20, 21 I plan to be kind. Kindness is essential, detrimental, and at the heart of who we are and who we need to be. And sometimes it does involve letting yourself burn for others – sometimes it really does come down to facing the flu and frostbite and sitting bare foot outside in the middle of the night because your friend needs you, sometimes it really is going out of your way to help someone else because they need you.

Sometimes it involves turning off your phone (something I have been doing more and more often recently) and being kind to yourself. Sometimes, it’s marathoning a TV show and eating your favourite food because you’ve had a bad day, and sometimes it’s remembering to moisturise because your skin is drier than the Sahara.

I don’t know whether kind people are good people, or if good people are kind – but I know that we all have the capacity, no matter who we are, to be kind, to reach out, to love other people.

I think I’ve made a good attempt this year, but in 2017 I want to do better.

 

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions:

1: To be brave

2: To be happy

3: To be patient

4: To commit to one thing every day

5: To try

6: To pass my first year of university

7: To be kind

 

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I Don’t Want to Talk About Donald

I don’t want to talk about Donald, because I’ve honestly had enough of the subject. So this is my official statement, this is where I stand (or sit, because my legs are too weak to hold me up after the news of his win) on the subject of Donald Trump.

First, I will refer to him as ‘Donald’. This is something I learnt from Hillary Clinton during her debates, in which she referred to him not as ‘Trump’ – a name that carries meaning and power – but by his first name, Donald – a name with the connotations of a whiney little child, which is actually what I see him as.

Second, I may live in England, be English, and exceptionally protective of my country, but I am allowed to have opinions on foreign politics (contrary to the belief of some of those who have discussed this subject with me). This means I also understand that the Americans who I may address in this essay are very protective of their country, too. When I do so, I am also largely talking to those who voted for Trump, or third party.

So, here we go:

On the eighth of November, 2016, America validated the racists. America validated the sexists and the homophobes – and America gave them power.

Here’s the truth: Many (not all, but many) of the Leave voters for Brexit were voting based on the topic of immigrants. They were voting racially. They were voting to keep people out. Many (not all, but many) of the Leave votes were racist votes. And the racist votes won! Half of the country agreed with the racists who believed in separation over unity, and that validated them. That gave them power. That gave them the confidence to come out of the shadows and act discriminately in the light.

Sure, some Brexit voters were voting due to the fearmongering of the Leave party, and under the impression that the money that was said to be going to the UN would be going to the NHS – but by taking the same stance as the racists, by taking their protest vote, they handed over power to the people who were voting out of hate.

After Brexit, crime went up 60%. It’s been six months and the numbers are yet to fall to the amount we had it at before the vote – because those 60% felt empowered. They felt like they were being told, yes, you were right. Committing discriminatory crimes is okay now.

I would be willing to put money on the crime rate in America rising now that the hateful people have been empowered, and they were empowered because a hateful, misogynistic, disgusting man-child with a ten-year old’s reading level was given the title of President of the United States. That title is supposed to hold respect, it’s supposed to be taken by the person with the best plan for the country, it’s supposed to be a title that we say with reverence, impressed that someone earned a country’s belief.

That title has never been held by someone without political or military experience until now.

America, you’ve handed over your country to a man with no experience. I can’t even get a low level retail job without experience, and yet you’re happy to just shove a title like President into the hands of a corrupt and multiple-times-bankrupted businessman?

It makes me feel sick.

It makes me wonder why we even bother.

There’s a lot of parts to it all, to the election, to the upset and the images that I’ve seen over and over of people crying over the result. There’s a lot that it comes down to; the electoral colleges making up the points, not the exact majority of votes – so a democrat voter in a state like Georgia doesn’t even get their voice heard. There’s the (frankly, idiotic) protest votes of third party candidates who know that they have no chance of winning, but run because they can – because they’re idealistic, and so are their voters.

And then there’s the sexism, which is what I keep coming back to every single time I think about this election and about this result.

Donald is a businessman, a corrupt, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, paedophilic, alleged rapist of a businessman with no experience in the domain that he has entered, nor plans that he has told us of for the future of the country he is now set to lead.

Hillary Clinton is a politician with thirty years of experience, who is over-qualified for the role of President, who is one of the most progressive candidates we’ve ever seen, who is trusted by and supports practically all of the bills and decisions made by current President Barack Obama, and who has changed her stance and learned when it came to becoming a better person, and giving more rights to the people who need it.

If Hillary Clinton lost this job to a man who likened all Mexicans to rapists and criminals, then what chance is there of the rest of us women getting jobs against the straight white men who oppose us?

There isn’t one.

There’s no hope for us.

And that’s just it.

I grew up in a Christian Baptist church, and the religion seems to be run on three principles: Love, Trust and Hope. Love and trust, yes are exceptionally important, when it comes to religion and when it comes to uniting a country, but hope is always needed for the fall out.

Hope is so important, so significant and necessary – especially now, especially to those whose lives are going to be put in danger when it comes to deportation and conversion therapy. I really want you guys to have hope. I really do.

Because I don’t.

I don’t have hope anymore.

And I lost mine when I turned on my phone this morning and saw what America had decided, and that they had chosen hate. A country that hates each other isn’t an acceptable super power of a place; it isn’t somewhere I can trust to go to and live in, it isn’t a place where I could feel safe.

Only one man actively allowed and encouraged this side of country to come out and make neighbours and members of their community feel as if they don’t belong there anymore.

So, no, I don’t want to talk about Donald anymore.

 

 

 


 

You can find out more about Bethany on her author page.

Inktober Spotlight: NWarrior

Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. And this October, Loud and Alive brings you their stories.

 

There is a lot of talk about how art isn’t just art – it’s not just pretty words and pretty paintings created to keep the consumer’s attention for a second or two. Art, first and foremost, should be more than that – it should make us feel.

And yes, we talk quite a lot about that, but no one has ever put it into words as uniquely as NWarrior has. Interviewing them, an incredibly talented artist for Inktober Spotlight was an experience of its own, and one we tackled with great pleasure.

We talked with NWarrior about a lot of important things, namely bravery in putting our pencils to the paper, inspiration and how rules can sometimes nip the talent in the bud.  

 

Bethany: Tell us a little about yourself, NWarrior.

NWarrior: Throughout my life I had many names, but you can call me NWarrior.

I am an artist and this is the biggest thing in me and my life – I love art, making art and being in art. Illustrations, comics about irony food, animation with my favorite characters from tv shows who play with flowers, and plans about original serious projects – I live by this and it is so important for me.

At the moment, I am teaching myself animation. Also, I am learning how to live and how to talk with cats.

 

Bethany: How do you feel your personal life impacted your art?

NWarrior: Oh, my art and my life are literally one thing. Everything I do in life is connected with my art: Go for a walk – oh, I need to draw this beautiful sky! Some events happen – oh, I need to draw my emotions to better remember it! Total revision of values in life – well, time to think about an art project about this.

It works in the opposite direction, too: I get new friends because of art, I learned a new language because of art and I am looking for information about my new favorite singer from the past century.. because I want to make some art about it, of course!

And about really personal things – I have a very difficult relationships with myself and my thoughts, and my art always helps me figure it all out.

 

NWarrior created this beautiful piece exclusively for L+A. Thank you! ❤

 

Bethany: How did you start drawing?

NWarrior: I think that, like a lot of people, I started drawing as a kid and then when I got acomputer I was so excited about drawing programs! I was making first animations with basic computer software, like Paint, you know. The interesting thing is that I lived in a place where there weren’t any good artists’ materials, like cool brushes or something, so I started with things which I could get, like Paint on computers. And this is a nice thing about learning things – if you start with basic materials, you learn how to make basic things, and then you can understand more clearly that you need more – if you have a cool software or materials at start it’s more hard to realise what you really want.

So I started drawing and trying to make films. My first film is a very dramatic thriller, by the way – there are 6 frames of animation in there – fish go to the camera, punch it and swim away. And I had a film with about a dude who went to space by using a seesaw. Oh what times!

And then I started seeing others’ art on the internet (like many people I didn’t even realise that someone actually drew all these things at first), I found artists, communities, and it’s been like that for like 5 years, I guess, and here I am.

 

Lana: Yes, I think that not having a lot of options really creates a sense of focus. You know that you really want to make art, it’s not just a side project to you, right? And do you think that it has made you be more inventive?

NWarrior: Oh yes, inventing is the thing!

Besides not having a lot of choice in materials I had a lot of experiences in my life, which influenced my way of thinking and gave me inspiration to be inventive – I went to one club (you know, like drawing club or knitting club thing), and we organized events with project plans there (some kind of local festivals; one project we made was about teaching other people how to make projects), I had it in school as a subject. When I studied in university I found my way of optimization balance because I needed to make a big thing in a very short time without a lot of materials, and…. I learned about some inspiring concept in modern art, which gave me a lot of thought about planning and optimization!

So I have some methods which help me be inventive – “project mind”, “optimization balance” and inspiration from modern art! I wanted to talk about them in tutorials or videos, but I think this article is a great chance to start to share my methods with people! So, here is a quick review of my secret (now not) methods which help me in being inventive:

First: “Project mind”. This is about that everything I do is a project to me – from making omelette to planing of my own comic series. In customary things like making breakfast I don’t really think about this – because I have a trained algorithm, I usually eat every day! – but when I need to do something more difficult, like going shopping with limited money or making an animation with a deadline – I write a plan with goals of my actions, list of actions which I need to do and sometimes I add additional conditions (time, budget, etc). If I have troubles with something (can’t make it to the deadline or don’t have enough resources),  it’s time for the second now-not-actually-so-secret method!

Second: “Optimization balance”. This is about that there are three factors  – “budget, time, quality”

and the thing is that I make a project while paying attention to all three – I need to do a thing before the deadline, with resources which I have and this thing should have quality.

“But how can I make a lobster with spinach for breakfast if I only have milk and eggs in the fridge, don’t have money and I have to go to my job at 9:00, but I haven’t eaten yet and it’s already 8:50?” may be your question, and here is my answer to this – sometimes you realise that your project is not about lobster, and about nutritious breakfast, so you can use eggs and milk for making an omelette – it will not be lobster, but the actual goal is reached, just in another form.

And the most interesting – getting inspired by modern art! Besides realism there are a lot of other concepts in art, with their own goals and principles – the goal of one of these, for example, is about making colour the main thing in a picture and not just an instrument for visualisation of another thing. Other concepts have a goal of showing emotions from an event, which is painting, and I love all of these, but here is one cool concept which I really want to learn how to do and I am so in love with this:

this is a concept about using as little materials and forms as you can to show as deep and as big idea as you can. And this is so inspiring for me, I love the contrast of this concept, you get so much feelings when you see something very deep in something very simple.

So this thing at this moment is mostly motivating me in art – i don’t have a lot of time and resources, but I want to say so many things to this world!

So yeah, everybody is inventive in their own way – someone invents new styles, someone invents a way to draw in extreme and toxic atmosphere, someone learns how to invent, someone is having a life experience phase and doesn’t know how to bring it to art yet – every way of drawing, art and invention is as great, valid and important as is every human!

 

 

Bethany: Who are your influences, when it comes to art?

NWarrior: I am getting influenced and inspired by everything that I see and do in my life, but if we talk specially about art things, then – modern art and modern artists!

After some lectures about modern sculptures, I was so inspired and it definitely gave me a lot of energy and ideas. I started making something like expressionistic sketches – drawings which show my thoughts and emotions from experiences – and I love to do this so much, mainly because I have memory troubles and this helps me remember important events. Sometimes it gives me more memories than photos!

Usually in art I am  looking for something unusual and surprising, so firstly i love art of beginners – those drawings are so cool! They are something special, like, I love seeing emotions on beginners’ drawings – they are so natural and honest, right from artists’ minds, because they don’t use standard rules.

So this is my favorite thing! And it gives me inspiration and motivation to be more free in the drawing process.

But if we talk super concretely, Malevich with his “Black square” influenced me the most ( i want a t-shirt with that print, actually!). And also there is one special artist whose art I especially love – Hon. I think I can say that they do (and did) modern art about which i talked earlier, but they are super-special for me.

 

Lana: What are the differences you see between your drawings when you first started out and now? Is that passion you say you can see in beginners’ drawings still there, when it comes to your drawings now?

NWarrior: I love all my art, but the thing is – I hate my past and i have very bad memories – the only great thing about my past is art, but when I see my old drawings of course I start remembering those times, which is sad and sometimes creepy. I love all my art with all my soul, but i don’t usually look at it – I just keep them in boxes, i know that they are there and i love them but I just don’t want to remember the times when I made them, you know? I have some important and inspirational old art which I remember and think about still, but you know, I have a very strange relationship with my past, so.

I don’t think I draw “better” or “worse” now – I think that my art is cool just the way it is, in its time and form. I think that “skill” and aesthetic aren’t something that I can do better now – I just do it in a different way with new methods. So my new art is not better, and old art isn’t worse –  my new art is just different. I think that if I didn’t know about the existence of bounced light, I would draw things without doing light with bounced light – I think I would break something in the universe’s system if I could draw things about which I’ve never heard!

I have things which changed in my art – ideology moments, because I’ve been drawing all my life and I had a lot of world view changes so some ideas in my old works seem wrong to me (like some ideas from my 10-page comics), but this is more about plot and script.

About passion in art – I feel very sad about all those rules of drawing which make people be afraid of being themselves in art and trying something new, individual and innovative. So I am very proud of everybody who wants to be artist, and someone who makes even little steps in this – this is so great and cool! In every sketch of a beginner, I see so much individual potential which everyone has – that’s why I get so angry about making rules with the “this is the rule, you need do it like this because this is right” explanation – a lot of people give up because of this pressure or they are afraid to even start! Imagine how much great art we will never see because of all these rules about the only right way of spreading paint on paper, so people are so scared that they are even afraid to draw the line!

So yes, beginners have their unique passion, and I am so proud of them! When everybody around you says that you can draw the line on a paper only in one way, and others ways are bad, just because this is a rule and there is no explanation besides it and also at your first process of holding the line you are supposed to draw a cool realistic portrait with bounced light even if you don’t even know what bounced light is – those are very difficult conditions for drawing the line on paper process, so I think that beginners are very cool and great! And they are heroes to me!

And by the way, drawing the line on paper isn’t even an allegory for full colored illustrations – did you know that rules about drawing strokes exist???

 

 

Bethany: We saw that you created your own animations – what is the process for this like, and what inspires you to do so?

NWarrior: I love to make different things, but animation is something special and magical for me. You see your character slowly becoming alive – this is such a great feeling. I see everything that I do as a project, and even animation isn’t an exception. I always have a plan, maybe not so concretely, but I keep main steps in mind, and animation with art even has a little bit of math – but this feels totally different from school or something like that; calculation here is for helping and making process more obvious, so you will not ask yourself “why do I even need to know the sinus of this triangle” in animation.

In animation I usually have different phases, every single one has a different range of emotions, so making an animation feels like a roller coaster with pillows and candies: everything starts with inspiration and you are so excited and you literally scream something like LET’S DO IT YEAH, then you are a little bit angry because you can’t figure out how to make that character’s hand movement and the worst of it is that you know that this is something basic and simple, but then, after some tutorials on the internet, you are screaming

from happiness again because a character is waving their hand and winking and they are going to dance now and this is yours and you are happy and I love this so much.

Talking about inspiration – process by itself brings so much happiness, but a very important thing is other people’s reactions. Friends, people who see my things – after their commentaries with warm words, I become very inspired and motivated. I remember, I cried from happiness while reading comments under one of my animations – people told me that this thing made their day better and other things like that.

I saw a comment about someone showing my animation to children as an example of sharing concept – I still remember this and it still makes me so happy. After these things, I think like “I need to make more, let’s work!”

Thinking about bringing positive emotions with art to people gives me a lot of inspiration.

My biggest fear is to bring someone negative emotions, so I am working on myself and trying to make more happy, positive and helpful things.

 

Lana: As a writer, I try to do the same – I try to help people with my works. But sometimes I feel like there is so much negativity in art, where there should be positivity. Do you ever get the impulse to create dark art and then think – hmm, no, let’s do something that’s going to make people smile? Is that a conflict within you?

NWarrior: I’ve actually been thinking about this lately – I have a dramatic story with a lot of dark things. There are some thoughts and ideas which I want to tell with that story, and main characters feel better at the end, but just about same time as I thought about this story I finished my cute animation, and after getting so many warm words about people feeling happy after watching this, I started to think: do I really need to make dramatic and dark things?

Theme of art is a very individual thing. Someone brings their suffering to their art so this is their way to feel better and let their emotions out, someone tells about creepy dark things in their art, like war, and shows how these creepy things are really horrifying, and someone loves cute things and loves to draw so they draw cute things – every artist has their own goals (or principles) and art goals, that’s why art is so different.

My goal in life now is to become a good human, so I love to bring people some happy things and things which they want to see, and I think a lot of people (even me) need something warm and cute now. I still feel bad sometimes and I draw things about this, sometimes I draw something sad – it depends on my mood and events in my life. But my main art goal is connected to my main life goal (principle) so biggest projects and most parts of art are about the main goal.

So sometimes I can draw something dark, if I feel that I need to, but now I mostly want to draw characters with flowers and blankets.

 

Bethany: What are some challenges you face when creating art?

NWarrior: For me challenges are usual parts of my work, and I started to love them!

When I have clear and memorized algorithm of work, it becomes boring to me, so i am creating challenges for myself, like “what if I draw hugs but they must look like silhouette of the Earth” or “what if I try to make animated video in a new style of animation which I’ve only started learning a week ago?”

I always want something new and I love experiments because they’re more fun and bring more emotions!

Going through challenges and learning to draw isn’t the main goal for me. My main goal in the art process is creating my projects, they vary in forms – from illustrations to animation series, so challenges and learning things are just one of the steps to achieving my goal.

 

 

Bethany: Some of your art seems to be about televisions shows – as fan art. Do you prefer to create fan art, or produce your own original pieces, and why?

NWarrior: I love every way of art so sometimes I make more fanart, sometimes I make more original things. I make things when I have thoughts – if I watched some show and got inspired by it, I make fanart, and if I have something to say or new ideas for my stories came to me – I make original things.  So I love doing both!

Bethany: What are some other things you enjoy doing? Do you ever feel them seeping into your art?

NWarrior: I love making everything connected to art, but some things I love for other reasons;

I enjoy communicating with people in a friendly atmosphere, so I like to go to festivals and spend time with friends. New cool places with new cool people are a great thing! It gives me comfort and power, and also I learn new things from people.

I wish I could knit toys and clothes, but I don’t have materials for this, and also I love playing piano, but I don’t have it, either. And I love making “walls of cool things” – places in apartment where I put things with important memories, making colour balance in my clothes and being hugged.

 

 

Bethany: Seeing as we are a feminist site, what are some challenges you think are present in today’s feminism?

NWarrior: Feminism helps me handle with my own challenge of becoming a good human someday. Feminism gave me a lot of information about this world and I can understand a lot of things clearly now, I found balance with myself and I learned a lot of very important life lessons.

Feminism is very important to me, but if you need someone to tell you about feminism – you can find a better person, because I am still learning.

 

Bethany: And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

NWarrior: My main advice is – don’t be afraid to be free.

Art is magic and you can do whatever you want here – concept art, drawing squad cats, or maybe you want to draw pictures with your body in paint – it’s only your choice!

Even in art people try to make rules with no explanation why this rule exist or how it helps you with YOUR art and I don’t like it.

Your art is only yours, so it is your deal how to reach your art goals and which steps you need for this. For example, I didn’t learn academic anatomy rules – because I don’t use them in my projects!

Don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment!

A lot of things I learned I found by saying: “hm, what if I try this thing”. And also, it’s very helpful to try new functions of programs and materials, then you can find out more cool things!

Playing with settings and materials sometimes gives really cool and unexpected results! And I think trying something new is the main thing about learning, so I don’t use “just draw draw draw” way for going to new steps of my art, my way here is more like “draw draw and what if I make all of this blue and press this button OH WOW now I can do a new thing draw draw”

So, don’t be afraid of your feelings and wishes, plan your own way of drawing and remember that you are cool and your art is beautiful!

 


You can find NWarrior on Tumblr.

Inktober Spotlight: Jams

Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. And this October, Loud and Alive brings you their stories.

 

When it came to finding artists for our Inktober Spotlight, it was a given for me to turn to this particular artist, who I’ve been following online for quite some time. For me, it started with a mutual love of dinosaurs – but I found fairly quickly that I truly adored Jams’ art, not just their blog.

Not only is Jams a talented artist (I may or may not have bought four images from their Velociraptor Girl Gang collection), but they’re also responsible for our logo – which was a really important part of creating our brand.

Thankfully, we’ve managed to pull them in for an interview where they answered some of our questions, all in the honour of Inktober.

Take a look!

 

 

Bethany: Tell us a little about yourself, Jams.

Jams: I’m Jams, I’m 22 years old and I’m a Chemistry student at Bristol University. I’m currently in my final year doing a Masters project on biogeochemistry but in my spare time I’m a freelance illustrator and self-published comic book writer/artist, and an all-round pop culture nerd.

Bethany: How do you feel your personal life impacted your art?

Jams: I’ve never been any good at sports or music or performing arts like a lot of my friends were at school, and I’m a rather introverted person, so instead of hanging out with friends at weekends or attending after-school clubs I’d stay at home and draw. It was a low-commitment hobby that suited my needs and all that spare time spent practicing really made a difference in terms of skill. Art has always been my ‘happy place’ whenever I’m stressed out.

My daily life as a scientist, full of logic and order and precision very rarely makes its way into my art. This was a conscious decision – art is my hobby and I wanted to keep it completely separate from my studies. My art is often lively, whimsical and expressive in a way that my scientific work just isn’t allowed to be, and it’s nice to have a change from sifting through pages of monotonous data or impeccably neat diagrams.

 

 

Bethany: How did you start drawing?

Jams: I’ve been a creative person for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is painting cardboard spiders with my dad at nursery school, and I’m pretty sure one of them still sits on top of the fridge. I always liked drawing but didn’t become obsessed until I was given one of those garish ‘How to Draw Manga’ books at the age of 12, when I suddenly decided I wanted to learn how to do it properly. I’m entirely self-taught; the only qualification I have is a GCSE in Art which put me off ever studying it further because in two years I learned absolutely nothing new and our teacher was awful. (I remember her telling me that comics weren’t ‘real art’ and I’d never get anywhere drawing in that style. Suck it, Helen.)

 

Bethany: Who are your influences, when it comes to art?

Jams: I get influenced by others all the time – my style is so fluid and is never the same twice so it’s hard to pinpoint specific people, but I’d have to say Ben Krefta (author of the aforementioned tutorial book) definitely deserves a mention for inspiring me in the first place. Cartoons and anime I watched as a teenager often leach into my character designs. I’m also hugely inspired by my fellow artist friends – I’m a huge advocate of supporting small-time artists and it’s so great to be part of a circle where we can all share ideas and encouragement.

 

 

Bethany: We saw that you created your own graphic novel – what inspired you to do so, what is it about, and what was the creation process like for you?

Jams: My graphic novel (still ongoing) is called I.Wish and was originally created as an 8-page story for a comics competition when I was 16. When I won first place I was inspired to expand the story, and five years and over a hundred pages later I’m still working on it. If it weren’t for exams I’d have finished it a long time ago but my goal is to get it finished in the next two years!

The story revolves around a group of kids who can do magic and are sent to the human world to grant wishes; they have to prove that humans still believe in magic or they’ll lose their jobs and their home. It was originally based on my naïve ideas that people do genuinely still believe in these things but since then has evolved into something a little more complex that questions whether we even need magic at all in the 21st Century.

At the start of each chapter I make bullet points of all the important events that happen, re-write it in script format, then draw thumbnails digitally to sort out the page layouts, and draw straight on top with the actual artwork. Doing everything in chunks rather than planning everything before starting is not the most efficient method, but when I start my next comic (already in the pipeline) I plan to be much more organised!

 

Bethany: What are some challenges you face when creating art?

Jams: Other than technical issues like struggling with anatomy and colour theory, I’m a huge perfectionist – sometimes I’ll draw nothing in two hours because everything I try gets rubbed out after five minutes. It’s very frustrating because I’m sure there’s so many great ideas that never survived because I couldn’t articulate them properly on the first attempt. I’m currently working on embracing the mantra of ‘finished, not perfect’ – once you start making something you have to complete it, no matter how bad you think it’s going to look. The results are often surprising and rarely look as awful as you predict, and it’s far more satisfying to see you’ve actually produced something.

Finding time to draw is also really difficult, especially while I’m at university. Even when I come home after a full day of lectures or lab work I still have to write up notes, read papers and prepare for the next set of experiments, so there’s very little time at all to spend how I wish, and very little of that ends up being use for drawing. It’s a shame that I’m only ever really productive in between semesters but I know that my degree has to come before my hobbies, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

 

 

Bethany: Some of your art seems to be about empowerment, and sexuality. Do you feel as if it helps, both you personally and the society?

 Jams: Over the past year or so a lot of my work has been related to gender identity – or more specifically, my gender identity. For a long time I had struggled to find out who I was and had gone through a lot of pain – and still do – and drawing helped me articulate my feelings in a way that words couldn’t. I never expected other people to identify with it so strongly but after receiving a number of heartfelt responses to my work I felt compelled to make more. It certainly helps me express complicated emotions in a universal language, and it lets people like me know they’re not alone. Trans representation in media is almost non-existent (and non-binary is even rarer) so if the big names aren’t going to provide it, then I’ll do it for them.

I also enjoy doing pieces based on a ‘girl power’ theme – I’m constantly surrounded by lovely ladies that I adore and I love making things that make them feel awesome. Self-confidence is one of the most powerful weapons a girl can have and if me drawing angry dinosaurs with flower crowns helps them in some way then I call that a job well done.

 

Bethany: What are some other things you enjoy doing? Do you ever feel them seeping into your art?

Jams: I’m a huge fan of sci-fi and animated films, and it’s very clear to see them reflected in my artwork, whether it’s blatant fanart of whatever I’ve watched recently or design elements I’ve borrowed and adapted to fit my own characters. Styles I’ve absorbed from my favourite cartoons often make an appearance too. I’m also a huge dinosaur nerd and while I could never be hired to illustrate a textbook they feature in a lot of my work too.

 

 

 

Bethany: Seeing as we are a feminist site, what are some challenges you think are present in today’s feminism?

Jams: I think there’s still this huge stigma around the word ‘feminism’ itself – it’s treated almost like a swear word and I’ve genuinely had people roll their eyes at me when I bring it up in conversation. When you actually explain some of the issues that feminism deals with people say ‘oh, but that’s just common sense, of course I support that’ but they’re so reluctant to associate themselves with that word, and that really needs to change.

Something close to my heart is misogyny/sexism within the LGBT community, especially against trans women. Feminism is only good feminism if it’s entirely inclusive and there are still a lot of second-wave feminists out there who haven’t quite got that message yet.

 

 

Bethany: And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Jams: There’s no such thing as bad art. Sure, there are technical things like anatomy and perspective that can be done ‘wrong’ but that doesn’t make your art bad. Did you learn something new during the creative process? Did you try a new technique you’ve never used before? Did you get any form of enjoyment out of it? Then it’s good art. Don’t put so much pressure on the finished product looking super polished and perfect, just enjoy making stuff and the technical skills will improve with practice, just like anything else.

Having fun is the most important part!

 


You can see more of Jams’ work at their tumblr and instagram! You can also buy their work on Etsy.

Monday Good News: Menstrupedia and Girls

 

Recently, I listened to a Ted Talk as I went for my weekly shopping trip. As I wandered around, trying to find biscuits and chocolate on sale, a woman talked about the taboos of menstruation in her home country of India. She talked about how she had to use a rag instead of pads or tampons, and the limitations that were placed on her when she was on her period.

Ted Talks are amazing resources, if you didn’t already know. We may all joke about them, but they’re informative in a way I previously didn’t realise they could be.

For example, in that talk, I learned about Menstrupedia.

Menstrupedia is an online website which doubles as a “friendly guide to periods” for “girls and women to stay healthy and active during their periods”. The woman who led the talk, Aditi Gupta, is also the founder alongside her partner Tuhin Paul, who drew and created the comic.

What they created wasn’t just an online website – they created a learning resource for young girls to become interested and aware about menstruation and the changes within their body. Together, they created a comic book, in their words: “One book every girl must read before she turns 9”.

This comic book outlines and details the lives of three young girls, one who has not yet had a period, one who begins to have them during the narrative of the comic, and one who has already started. The comic is based off of the experiences of other girls and women that Aditi Gupta spoke with and learnt from, to give young girls a better understanding of what was to come, and how others have had to cope.

period1

 

I’ll be honest, I’m reading through the comic as I write this, and I actually knew so little of this information. And if I, in modern day Britain, who has been learning sex education since I was ten years old, didn’t know this – what hope do the young girls in rural India have?

This comic is used by more than 60 schools, 15 NGOs, and 30,000 girls across India.

That is astounding.

You can even read the first chapter online for free, as well as donate money towards their project for £12 ($10) – which buys 3 books for the girls to learn about menstruation from.

Not only that, but it’s relevant to people in first world countries, too. It’s relevant to us, who have internet connections and aisles for feminine hygiene products in supermarkets and the ability to buy them without being shunned for it.

Menstrupedia’s online website is broken down into sections, where you can learn about different things relating to the female body and its developments – this includes puberty (information for male puberty, too), menstruation (and an introduction to the female reproductive system), hygiene (such as disposal and menstrual cup use), and myths about it all (such as it is possible to get pregnant whilst menstruating – which is something even I, with my modern British education, didn’t actually know).

period2

And this website isn’t just for girls. There are comments sections and places where you can ask questions, many of which are filled with discussions of the safety and stigma of masturbation, as well as help for men who are having issues with puberty, also. There is content out there, and it’s so necessary to be educated on different sexes and their bodies, in this day and age.

I know that Monday Good News should have news that is inherently good. I know that from old pieces, such as Bolivia eradicating illiteracy, and teenage scientific excellence. So, whilst this article is also telling you about the fact that so many people don’t know about menstrual health, I’m also trying to tell you that there is help for that – even if, right now, it’s not global. We can all be a part of teaching young girls about their health, and we can all give help where it’s needed.

These people are trying to bring the knowledge and the help to girls across India and other, less privileged countries, and they’re doing some amazing work, so I believe we should all consider supporting.

Even if you can’t give, letting people know about this is as easy as clicking the “share” button.

Be safe, be educated, and don’t let myths about menstruation make you feel inadequate for experiencing it.

 

You can watch the Ted Talk here.

 


You can find out more about Bethany on her author page.

And you can follow Loud and Alive on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, too!

Suffragettes and Hollywood

There is only a single place in the world where women do not have the right to vote.

That place is Vatican City, and women will never be equal there until they can become cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, and thus be able to vote in elections.

However, I am not writing to discuss Vatican City and their outdated traditions – I want to talk about the British Suffragette movement, arguably the most famous of the women’s rights movements in history.

I’m not saying at all that the other movements weren’t important, weren’t public, weren’t big and paid attention to – I’m saying that this is the movement I know about, this is the movement that affects me, and that this is the movement Hollywood enjoys making films about; and there’s a reason for that, which is due to the term “suffragette”.

A Suffragette was a member of a women’s organisation in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, advocating the right for women to vote in public elections. It particularly refers to the militants in the United Kingdom, such as members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) – which I will talk about often in this article.

Hollywood enjoys the British Suffragette, because the British Suffragette was aggressive.

The WSPU was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903, aged forty-five. In 1999, she was named by Time as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. She was widely criticised for her militant tactics, including arson, riots where women threw stones at windows, and going on hunger strikes (as influenced by Russian protests) during her time being incarcerated, until she was force-fed. Pankhurst was imprisoned thirteen times between 1908 and 1914, and declared in 1913, regarding her militant action, “Militancy has brought woman suffrage where we want it, that is, to the forefront of practical politics. That’s the justification for it.”

The WSPU was then at the centre of the suffrage movement, with its motto “deeds, not words”.

However, I don’t want this to be a history lesson. I don’t want to just relay the facts to you, about women’s suffrage, about the force-feeding by police, about the strikes and the names of every woman that was ever arrested in Britain (which was around one-thousand of them, anyway).

I want you to understand.

I want you to feel for these women.

I want you to be excited – because these women created a revolution. These women took on the system and it may have taken over fifty years, but they got there. They got their rights, they took them and they cherished them, because for some inane reason, they’d never been handed them before.

There’s a woman that we know about due to this movement; a name that we all must have heard at one time or another. Emmeline Pankhurst may have founded the WSPU – but she isn’t the one that received the worldwide public attention in the end.

No, that was earned by Emily Wilding Davidson.

This woman is one of my heroes, and whilst there’s a lot I could talk about when it comes to her, I don’t want to cover her life from beginning to end. I want to talk about her activism, about her faith and determination when it came to her getting what she deserved – even if she didn’t live to see it.

Emily Wilding Davidson was known for her extreme tactics whilst being involved with women’s activism. During her nine times of being incarcerated, she protested with hunger strikes, and was force-fed forty-nine times by British penal authorities. She gained a reputation fairly quickly as a militant and violent campaigner, and without the approval of the WSPU, created a myriad of protests that involved disrupting meetings, stone throwing and arson.

On the 2nd of April, 1911, there was a census being taken. Davidson hid in a cupboard in the chapel of the Palace of Westminster, and stayed there throughout the census being taken, so she could legitimately list her place of residence as the “House of Commons” on the form. Census documents from that year state that she was found “hiding in the crypt” in the Houses of Parliament. (In 1999, a plaque was placed in the very same cupboard she hid in to commemorate the event.)

In June of 1912, near the end of a six-month prison sentence for arson, Davidson and dozens of other Suffragettes were being subjected to force-feeding, as they were all on a hunger strike. Emily Wilding Davidson – and I want you to remember this, so you can prove anyone wrong who says the phrase “Emily Wilding Davidson wasn’t hardcore” – threw herself down a ten-metre iron staircase.

She did that.

She literally did that.

Whilst this was a possibly indication of suicidal tendencies, Davidson described the event in a written account as an attempt to divert harm from her fellow Suffragettes. As a result of the act, she received severe head and spinal damage, which caused her discomfort for the remaining twelve months of her life.

Because, then she died.

Everyone dies eventually, I know – but this woman lived as if she would never; she fought like nothing could hurt her, and she protested because she was alive, and she deserved the rights of every other person who was breathing with her.

Emily Wilding Davidson died whilst protesting – and it’s her most famous moment of protest at that.

On the 4th of June, 1913, Davidson attended the Epsom Derby, where King George V was attending the horse race. Her supposed plan was to step out where the King would see, pin a “Votes for Women” sash to the bridle of the King’s horse, Anmer, and it would then be seen on the King’s horse as it crossed the finish line. This image would be cemented in the mind of the public and almost force the hand of the government to bring in women’s voting rights.

However, as she stepped in front of the horse, she and Anmer collided and the injuries Davidson suffered proved fatal, as she died four days later. (The jockey, Herbert Jones, was fine and racing again no less than two weeks later.) The sash that was allegedly found at the scene immediately after the collision was purchased by author Barbara Gorna and now hangs in the Houses of Parliament.

However, whilst some may argue that Davidson was actually attempting to commit suicide, or there was some other plan in action that day, her death was a climactic moment for the Suffragettes. The movement was then receiving worldwide attention and approximately six thousand women turned out for her funeral, which was filmed and broadcasted across the globe.

As I said earlier, Hollywood takes an interest in the British Suffragette movement. As we progress into a slowly more intersectional society, where people are beginning to care about women and their rights, let alone other races and genders, Hollywood is profiting off of this.

It’s capitalism 101: demand controls the supply.

And we, as a society, are beginning to demand a larger supply of female-centred media. We see it in the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters, we see it in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, where the lead women are no longer focusing on finding a husband, but instead being kickass, and we see it in Suffragette.

The latter of these titles is the 2015 film that inspired me to write this article.

Starring Carey Mulligan, Suffragette details only a few years of the events of the movement, from 1912 – 1913, all from the eyes of a working-class woman who’s pulled into the WSPU almost by accident. Maud Watts, the main character, was never a real woman, unlike some of the other characters featured heavily in the film (such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davidson) – but she was based off a woman named Hannah Mitchell, who was quoted in her book The Hard Way Up saying, “Most of us who were married found that “Votes for Women” were of less interest to our husbands than their own dinners. They simply could not understand why we made such a fuss about it.”

I could talk a lot about this film. I genuinely could. The acting, the writing, the story – it’s beautifully done. (I would, however, complain about the fact that I saw not a single person who wasn’t white in the entirety of the movie, as if other races weren’t invented until long after World War One.) Suffragette made me cry, and it taught me a lot about the movement; about the passion that these women had – unflinching in their violent actions because as long as they were being heard, they had justification.

I’m not saying we should do that. I’m not at all saying that if we want to be heard in this day and age, we should be committing arson. I’m just saying that what they did was inspiring – it showed a whole other level of dedication to the rights of women, to showing that we’re worth exactly the same as men – whether they’re CEOs, law enforcement or delivery boys.

This is the content that we’re getting to see now, and I love it. This is the content that teaches us of our own movements; of the past that we weren’t around for, but affected how we live today.

Another film that was inspiring for me was called Made in Dagenham – which is a dramatisation of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant in England, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination. If you want to see our feminist history, that is absolutely another place to look.

You know where else? How about the upcoming Pitch television series, based around the true story of Ginny Baker, the young pitcher who became the first woman to play in Major League Baseball.

And where else? The movie Hidden Figures, about the black female scientists working at NASA during the time of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement.

Demand controls supply, and we are demanding our supply of intersectional feminist media.

British women over thirty were given the right to vote in 1918. In 1925, British mothers were given rights over their children. Finally, in 1928, women and men were granted equal voting rights in the United Kingdom.

1893: New Zealand

1902: Australia

1913: Norway

1917: Russia

1918: Austria, Germany, Poland

1920: all of the USA

1932: Brazil

1934: Turkey

1944: France

1945: Italy

1949: China, India

1953: Mexico

1971: Switzerland

1974: Jordan

1976: Nigeria

2003: Qatar

2015: Saudi Arabia


 

You can find out more about Bethany on her author page.

And you can follow Loud and Alive on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook!

Monday Good News: Life Saving in The Syrian War

In the Monday Good News segment, we as the editors of Loud and Alive try to find something good that’s been happening in the world, and we write about it. There’s something very important about finding the good in the bad; about accepting the wins before continuing to fight against the losses, and that’s what I’ve decided to cover here.

This week, I’m going to talk about a neutral group within the Syria conflict, that saves people no matter which side they’re on.

There is a lot to say about the White Helmets of Aleppo, and over the time that I’ve been researching them, I’ve only found more and more reasons to admire and want to write about them.

Continue reading

Monday Good News: Animal Adventures

I don’t know about you guys, but I really love hearing great things about animals. Animals can be the most innocent life forms on the planet; just enjoying life and looking cute doing it. So, here’s ten stories from the past week to fulfil your need of good news about animals – I’d say at least half of them are about dogs, but dogs have just done some great things recently. 

 

  1. Dog survives Italian Earthquake.

dog

Romeo, the golden retriever, wasn’t looking good, but was ultimately unharmed when he was pulled out from the rubble by Italian firefighters nine days after the initial earthquake. His owners believed he’d died in the central Italy quake, but heard muffled barking when returning to their flattened home to pick up their remaining belongings. After being saved, Romeo was running around, wagging his tail, and given many strokes and pats.

Continue reading

Monday Good News: Bolivia Has Eradicated Illiteracy

By Bethany

 

According to Unesco’s standards, Bolivia is among the countries that have managed to eradicate illiteracy – lowering the rate of it to below 4% of the population. This outstanding feat has happened over thirteen years – from 13.28% in 2001 to 3.8% in 2014, when the most recent census was conducted. Officials claim that this is all thanks to the “Yes, I can” programme, which is an adult literacy campaign, launched in Bolivia 10 years ago.

Teaching adults these basic skills is so important to do, especially when they live in poor, rural areas like these students – where they don’t have easy access to schools for their children and so these adults are the primary teachers for their kids. Making sure parents and grandparents are educated has shown itself to be significant; an educated generation gives way for the next to be even brighter.

Read the rest on our new site!

 

Nicola Adams and Why I Love Her

By Bethany Climpson

 

I think we just need to take a moment to talk about Nicola Adams.

If you don’t already know (and I will be astounded if you don’t), Nicola Adams is the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title– which she earned in 2012 in London. Adams is part of Team GB, and will also be competing this year in Rio.

(If you’re trying to keep up to date, Adams was given a bye for the first round, meaning that because there was an odd amount of fighters, she was randomly selected not to fight, and to automatically be entered in round two. She will be competing on the 16th of August at 3 pm GMT, so make sure to watch!)

Not only is she the world’s first female boxing champion, but she is also the first ever English female to earn a medal at a major tournament. This was the European Championships in 2007, where she won silver – and then, in 2011, she won Great Britain’s first ever gold, too. Not only that (because, oh yes, there is more), Nicola Adams is the first English woman to receive a medal in the 2008 AIBA Women’s World Championships.

She is literally Great Britain’s most decorated female boxer, and she owns my ass.

Read the rest on our new site!