this has always bothered me about beauty and the beast

These following are snippets of a conversation yesterday with Dr. Roommate, regarding the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast:

Me: I’d be like, “Yay, I don’t have to serve you anymore! You know why? Because I’m a f*****g candlestick because of you, you stupid d*****bag!” Then I’d waddle into town and haunt people.

Dr. Roommate: We all know that all Lumiere cares about is sex anyway.

Me: God, that must be frustrating for him!

Dr. Roommate: Yeah, with no penis. But who knows what goes on under that candlestick holder.

"Sure, I might win over the feather duster, but then what will I do with her?"

It all began as Dr. Roommate mentioned how weird she suddenly realized it was that Mrs. Potts actually boils tea inside herself then serves it to Belle. ‘It’s sick when you think about it,’ she said, ‘It’s like Mrs. Potts excreting bodily fluid.’

I’ll neglect to elaborate on how Chip, the tea cup/young child, is tickled by an old man’s moustache.

Just think about it.

Quite wrong, eh?

This brings me to a far more serious problem, a problem that plagued me even in my youth. Among other things, I was deeply troubled by this line in “Be Our Guest”:

Life is so unnerving / for a servant who’s not serving / He’s not whole without a soul to wait upon!

The entire song is an ode to the fact that they do not feel complete without someone to serve. Belle and her apparent need to be waited on hand and foot (despite the fact that she’s clearly been quite self-sufficient her entire life) are what gives them a reason to live.

Wow.

Is Chip's father a coffee maker? Is that what we're supposed to get from this?

Not that Disney has ever really been accused of being progressive, but talk about propagating the Myth of the Happy Slave. Beauty and the Beast from the servants’ POV is a pretty bleak tale. We accept it because they seem happy, but really we’re just Ron Weasley trying to justify the enslavement of house elves.

See, imagine you are a servant, living your life, toiling away for this arrogant, selfish nobleman in this big dark castle.  I’ll even give the benefit of the doubt and pretend that their days are extremely happy. Sure, they’re servants working 24/7, but you know, they drink a lot or something so life ain’t that bad.

But then, your d*****bag of a boss goes and pisses off a witch. Not only does he get turned into an allegedly-hideous-but-still-kinda-attractive beast, but you and all your colleagues are reduced to a synecdoche in lieu of a person. (I get it. The maid is turned into a duster, as if this is all that defines her as a person. What if she harboured secret ambitions to be a writer? Would she have been turned into a quill? No, because she is a servant and that is all she is.)

If I was them, I’d be pretty pissed. Especially in light of the fact that they might get stuck that way forever unless the d****e gets his s**t together and actually tries to hit on the hot new talent in the castle.

WHY ARE THEY STILL SERVING HIM?

That’s all I want to know.

So maybe they are physically bound to the castle or something, but seriously, guys, have some self-respect.

the board: day three

Some progress. Very little of this is noted on The Board. My first act is kicking ass and taking names. (It is also taking numbers, so when it has sorted out its interpersonal issues, it will be making a round of apologetic phone calls.)

UPDATE (MAR 31, 2011): It might seem remarkably apparent that this is a wee little board. The truth is… I can rarely dedicate myself to one project at a time, so I have about 7 boards on the go right now (at last count). They are stacked against the wall like some would-be artist’s canvases. I can’t afford the money/time/space to purchase a large board each time I have a new idea strike me down. I usually get a small board for keeping all the preliminary work on like this; that’s my laptop underneath it, if you need scale. Once the project is in full-go, as in, once it is taking up the majority of my writing time (which won’t happen until pirates in space is done), then it can graduate onto a bigger board.

Just thought I’d clear that up.

the board: day two

Further progress results in colour-coding and work on “structure.” All this hard effort will surely fall by the wayside once the actual writing commences.

the board: day one

In a well-intentioned effort to continue work on pirates in space today, I was mulling over the ideas in the back of my mind of a road movie / buddy comedy. I was able to push it to the back of my mind at first, but during a quick jaunt to the store, my brain took over.

CUT TO: Later this afternoon.

I have the spine of the story already mapped out on a board.

Future Roommate* said that I should take a photo of the board each time I work on it and track my progress over the construction of a feature-length screenplay.

Here we go. Day One:

Please don't ask my what the story is about yet.... Please.

*As of May 1st, we will be taking over the entire house and are having more roommates move in. Claire is one such Future Roommate.

the five-pound chocolate bar, or, why I can’t save chocolate

Is it just me or are they stuffing fewer and fewer chocolate-covered almonds into those door-to-door peddled boxes these days? Perhaps I am just siphoning nostalgia back from the days when we sold actual chocolate bars.

I was at my parents’ house the other day when I heard a rapping, rapping at the chamber door. It was an eight-year-old boy who reminded me of Gil, the hopeless salesman from The Simpsons.

If that kid was this inept a salesman, I'd still have my five bucks.

Only this kid had his shit down. He immediately launched into his sales speech, waxing rhetoric about how not only was this money going to charity (which charity, I’m still not sure), but it was also teaching children such as himself the value of hard work and entrepreneurship. I was too shocked to counter-argue.

The experience simply washed over me and all I could do was feebly hand over my purse like an old lady being swindled into buying a thousand dollar vacuum cleaner.

I paid five dollars for a three dollar box of almonds. No idea how that happened.

But it got me thinking.

I reached into the dark recesses of my childhood and pulled out one of the happiest moments–nay, THE happiest moment–of my young life.

You see, I was once a young, naive chocolate-peddler myself.

We were coerced by the promise that at the end of what can only be described as a Fundraiser / crash-course in Wall Street Economics,  there was a yet-to-be-announced prize for the kid who sold the most chocolate bars in that fiscal quarter.*

Since my mom took my box of treatsies to work and pawned them off to dentists and their ilk, I was in the running.

"Don't forget to brush and floss... and eat this giant dose of diabetes."

Then came the day to announce the winner.

The principal came into our classroom…

My eight-year-old heart was all aflutter.

He said that the winner was… a GIRL…

Heart beating a little faster.

He said that the winner’s name started with an “A”…

My heart was visible beneath my skin.

THE WINNER WAS ME.

MY HEART RIPPED ITSELF FROM MY CHEST LIKE THAT DUDE IN INDIANA JONES AND SMOTHERED THE PRINCIPAL WITH KISSES.**

And my prize…?

If you are astute enough to guess from the title, it was a five-pound chocolate bar.

I feel like a penny should be thrown down for scale or something.

I was only a wee thing back then, but I remember the thing being the size of my small body. It seemed like something tourists would stop and take photographs of.

It barely fit in our fridge.

My parents were wise enough to try to enforce rations: “Only one segment a day.”

It was a nightmare. It was the torture device that is Christmas advent calendars, but far, far worse.

In my pre-adolescent mind, I equated the five-pound chocolate bar with a heaven where I sailed a chocolate boat on a river of Cadbury’s Creme Egg filling. And the only thing keeping me from attaining heaven here on Earth were these damned rations. The rations were nothing; they were peering through a window, foggy with my own naive breath, onto a heaven out of reach; they were gazing with unquenchable desire upon pure, unfettered joy.

Now, I know what you are expecting. That my parents came in one day to find me hovering under the dining room table, belly engorged, face covered in melted milk chocolate, wrappers and foil in shreds around me, moaning and remorseful.

But no.

I was well-behaved. I accepted my lot, wandering each morning to my mother with pitiful doe-eyes, begging in vain like Oliver Twist.

More chocolate... please...? PLEEEEEEEEEEASE?!

But I was not stupid.

One morning after the chocolate win, I gleefully ran to the fridge, ready to partake of my candy-coated ration as soon as possible. I knew that from this moment onwards, the rest of the day was all downhill, but I just could not restrain myself. I had my ration and I burned for it!

I threw open the door, giddy and sick with the morning’s anticipation.

Each morning was like Christmas, but better. I earned this.

But then I noticed something was amiss.

For how long these shenanigans had been going on, I was not sure.

But I was angry.

The paper had been carefully trimmed back and the foil neatly folded back into place. It was as if my parents assumed my eight-year-old brain would be too dazzled by the prospect of the chocolate, to hungry and sick for my fix, that I would not notice they had been skimming off their cut of the prize.***

This was tatamount to cold-hearted betrayal. A knife not only stuck in the back, but twisted cruelly. This was treason.

Mom: 2 Ashleigh: 0

My prize! Pillaged!

It took this exercise in the aforemention Wall Street Economics to the logical conclusion. The banks just went under. To my eight-year-old self, my parents were the greedy corporate swine, the Gordon Gekkos of my innocence. It was injustice at its most pure.

I sobbed.

To this day, I can’t save chocolate.

*The “fiscal quarter” qualifier was not official, though I’m sure, for tax reasons, incredibly valid.

**Not actually true.

***Granted, they were the ones who did the majority of the prize-winning chocolate sales, but, seriously… I was eight.

texts that may indicate an increasing level of douchebaggery

Sometimes I think that I am a douchebag but completely unaware of it… and now I am slowly realizing that I am a douche. Or perhaps I am just becoming more of a douche as I age.

Either way, it’s disconcerting.

These are texts that I’ve sent this week that I think indicate my increasing levels of douchebaggery:

“I also got an armband cellphone / iPod case”

“Ballpark me: how good are Argentinian syrahs?”

“she’s now one of those people who calls Vancouver ‘vancity’. ugh.”

“actually, it’s spelt ‘kiitos'”

Yup. I’m a douche.

the little paris of the prairies

File under: “Overheard this week at City Hall.”

Someone mentioned Saskatoon. Not really sure why, or how it was relevant to the daily adventures of the Planning & Development Department of the City of Surrey, but alas Saskatoon was mentioned.

It provoked this reply: “I’ve heard that Saskatoon is the Little Paris of the Prairies!”

Cue silence.

Oh how we laughed.

Then, later in the day, whilst still laughing, we googled it.

The one with the Eiffel Tower is Saskatoon. Wait… I may have that wrong.

Touche, Saskatoon, touche. We stand corrected.

all the things are clean

In my endless quest to be a grown-up, I took a page from Hyperbole and a Half, and cleaned all the things.

I needed to prove my sanitary adeptness with a well-posed photograph:

 

It took longer to pose this photo, find the app to write the caption and upload it to facebook than it did to clean the house.