Adidas CrazyTrain Boost Elite Shoe Review

Adidas hit the training market in a big way earlier this year with the CrazyPower TR. In all honesty, they didnt have to do too much to attract all the sneakerheads already riding the Adidas train. Even though I thought the CrazyPowers were good shoes, they were a bit boring for my liking and didnt do enough to pull me away from my current favorite training shoes. Once again out of the blue, the Adidas CrazyTrain Elite popped up on Roadrunnersports.com, much like the CrazyPowers did. Pretty vague in description once again, but this time around there was a distinguishing feature that set the CrazyTrains apart from any training shoe before Boost.

Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the inclusion of a full length Boost midsole on a training shoe. After all, Boost by nature is designed to be soft and comfortable the antithesis of an effective training shoe. Either way, I knew I had to give it a shot, on one hand because Boost, and on the other because I had a feeling Adidas wouldnt release their flagship training shoe, subpar. Keep in mind, Im by no means an Adidas Boost mega-fan; I do own Ultraboosts, Pureboosts, and NMDs, but I dont think theyre the end all be all shoe.

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Looks/Construction:

These quite possibly might be the best looking training shoe of all time.(In my humble opinion of course.)

The CrazyTrains have a distinctly Adidas look about them, similar to Ultraboosts, but its like they took the silhouette and pumped them up with PEDs. Though its no Primeknit, the one piece Close-knit woven upper is comfortable, looks clean and is very flexible. The package feels beefy and rugged for training, but still remains sleek enough looking to wear on the streets. There are bits and pieces of TPU that cover higher wear areas like the toe or places where you need more support, but overall the upper is primarily Close-knit. I think my favorite part of the upper is the rear pull-tab, thats very much like the one on Ultraboosts. Its simple, effective, and gives the shoe a more finished and modern look. Construction is on point, my pair had no signs of loose glue or stitching anywhere to be found.

​On the bottom, youll find an outsole almost identical to the on the womens CrazyPower trainer, which strikes me as odd because I thought the mens outsole of that shoe was a little more versatile. The main difference was that the mens had areas where the tread protruded versus the just flat surface of the womens (and CrazyTrain). Either way, the outsole does a great job in holding whatever surface youre training on and I never felt like I was at a loss of footing. Another thing that carried over from the womens outsole is the lip that extends out on the lateral sides of the shoes, giving you a little bit more of a platform without adding bulk. Theres no sign of Adidas Traxion anywhere, but the rubber feels the same for what its worth.

Fit:

Adidas sizing is typically all over the place, which I think is generally an issue with all the different types of uppers that they use for their shoes. Materials like Primeknit make sizing a little bit more forgiving, whereas the normal NMD upper isnt quite as. The Close-knit woven upper on the CrazyTrains arent like either and feels more like a normal shoe upper. Sizing on the CrazyTrains run a little bit on the large side, but depending on your foot, it might not warrant a size down. I got these shoes in a 9.5 and I have a little bit of room in the toe area, but with my Mortons toe, its comfortable. If you do not have Mortons toe, where your second toe is longer than your big toe, size them down a half.

The shape of the shoe most closely resembles the Nike Metcon 2 so overall, I would just say size them exactly the same as that shoe. These are not narrow shoes by any means and they dont have much in the way of arch support.

My sizing for reference:

Ultraboost 9.5 or 10PureBoost 9.5NMD 10CrazyPower 9.5Metcon 3 10 (I started sizing this shoe up)Metcon 2 9.5Nano 10

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Performance:

The burning question in everyones minds:

Can Adidas make an effective training shoe, with Boost?

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about this myself, but at the end of the day, Boost is just another midsole material that can be made into pretty much any density. Its made to be responsive and its Boost pellets are supposed to deform more naturally to fit your feet. The degree in which the Boost cushions in the CrazyTrains is the real question, and how they could stiffen up the rest of the chassis.  Upon first putting your foot into the shoe, youre going to notice that the insole compresses, but when you start moving around, youll find that the midsole doesnt compress, almost at all. You can compress the Boost on the outer rim of the shoe, but if you try to push down on the inside of the shoe, it doesnt go anywhere. In no way, can you even compare the stiff Boost in these shoes to the comfortable midsole of the Ultraboost.

So, whats the point of having Boost in a shoe if its not ultra-plush and comfortable? At the end of the day, Boost is a running shoe technology made for high energy return. Running and jumping movements in the CrazyTrains feel extremely responsive, better than almost every shoe Ive tested so far this year. The feeling inside the shoe is similar to the springy drop-in midsole of the Nike Metcon 3, but is more comfortable since Boost is more flexible. The midsole does a great job attenuating shock from landings better than most shoes without being cushy, your joints will thank you. Unlike Ultraboosts, the CrazyTrains have more structure thats created by the TPU midsole casing on the lateral side and the TPU bar on the medial side. Basically, the stiff Boost midsole also has a shell which adds rigidity necessary for a solid training shoe.

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Lifting in the CrazyTrains feels as solid as it would in minimal shoes, though they are slightly taller than other training shoes. The midsole doesnt compress even under the heaviest weights, giving you an extremely solid platform to lift with. Blindfolded, you wouldnt even know these shoes used Boost. The TPU bar doesnt allow for much flex in the middle area of the shoe and the built in heel counter keeps your foot in place, giving you tons of lateral stability. Im still waiting on word back from Adidas about the drop, but it couldnt be anything more than 3-4mm; the shoes feel flat an neutral. I was able to work up to all of my 90%+ lifts (385BS, 215Sn, 265CJ) with no issues of stability and nothing in the back of my head telling me to change shoes. When I put the CrazyTrains up against some of its top contenders, I found that I liked the way they felt better, almost on par to my favorite training shoes, the Nano 6.0s. These are serious lifting shoes.

​Like all the best lifting shoes out there, where the CrazyTrains start to suffer is in running. The wide shape of the shoe feels clunky, but theyre not awful to run because the flexibility of the forefoot. Unlike the CrazyTrains running counterparts, these shoes do not have a plush ride at all and the only cushioning you get is the amount from the insole. Even though theyre not soft, the CrazyTrains still have a very responsive ride which still works well for sprints, bounding, and the shorter runs found in WODs.

Where the CrazyTrains really suffer, is the weight of the shoes. I weighed them at 13oz per a mens 9.5, which is much heavier than its peers. Truth be told, I didnt really notice the weight since the shoes feel so responsive. Youll definitely notice the weight compared to NoBulls or Inov-8s, but not so much against Nanos or Metcons.

​Value/Conclusion:

At $140, the CrazyTrains retail for a little bit more than most of the top training shoe choices and $20 more than Adidas first true training shoe drop, the CrazyPower. Anything with Boost is considered a premium product, the CrazyTrains shouldnt be any different, so its not surprising to see the hike in price. Honestly, $10 isnt such a huge deal to me but some might be put off by this. If youre an Adidas fan, this isnt going to be a big deal to you either. Even though the CrazyTrains are excellent performing shoes and quite possibly my favorite pick at the moment, theyre not leagues better than their peers. If youre looking for bang for the buck, you could probably look elsewhere because other top training shoe choices usually still cost less.​

​To my utter surprise, the CrazyTrains ended up being my favorite training shoe of the year so far. They look great and performance is top notch for all things CrossFit, especially in the lifting area, but the most important thing is that they just feel good. Including Boost in the shoe seems just like a marketing tool in the case of the CrazyTrains, since it doesnt really work like it does on Adidas other shoes. Hearing that is going to turn Boost-heads off, but will turn serious lifters on to these shoes.  Big ups to Adidas for not making a shoe with Boost that you werent able to train in, just to make sales. This shoe legitimizes Adidas stance in the training shoe game (which might be good for Reebok at the end of the day).

Since Reeboks Nano 6.0s are still out of the picture, I cant really recommend them anymore. Right now, the Adidas CrazyTrains are riding at the top of my favorite training shoe list. If youre still skeptical of a Boosted training shoe, try them out! RoadRunnerSports.com offers a 90-day trial period, but Im sure youll be just as surprised (in a good way) about the performance of the CrazyTrains.

Purchase your Adidas CrazyTrain Boost Elites here!

Filed under: Crossfit, Shoe Reviews Tagged: adidas, best crossfit shoes, best training shoes, boost, crazy power, crazypower, crazytrain, crazytrain boost elite, crazytrain elite, crossfit, crossfit shoes, elite, fitness, metcon 3, nano, nike, nmd, pureboost, reebok, romaleos, training, training shoes, ultraboost img_4913img_4960.trimimg_49421080p-24

Elago TripShell World Travel Adapter Written Review

The TripShell World Travel Adapter by elago is a must have this summer for travellers like me! The TripShell is an extremely useful, yet compact and affordable piece of kit designed by the folks at elago in California. Even better, elago include a free carrying case for the adapter to ensure that it remains safe and also that it does not damage any other things that you may have packed!

The compact design allows the unit to be easily slipped into your hand luggage when travelling, and again the carrying case ensures it does not get damaged during your travel or damage any other items in your bag. However the main feature of this travel adapter is its ability to charge up your electronic devices wherever you are! TripShell supports over 150 countries with US, UK, European, and Australian/New Zealand plugs. The plugs are easily deployed for action using the sliders on the side of the unit, simply slide down your required plug and it will lock into place. To return the adapter to its normal state simply press the release button on the side and slide the slider back down to move the plug back inside the travel adapter, it couldn’t be easier!

On the opposite end of the travel adapter there is a handy dual USB accessory, which can be used to charge two USB devices at once, for example your iPhone and iPad. The LED indicator ring around this USB hub indicates whether the device is function properly or if there is an issue. The accessory can be easily unplugged from the travel adapter, allowing you to use the TripShell as simply a travel adapter with any socket you require. You can even use the USB accessory alone without the need of the travel adapter as it is attached using a US plug, so it can be simply plugged into a US socket, and you can use the travel adapter to power something else! Even better for those who live in the US, you can benefit from this handy little device even when you’re not on holiday!

Elago helpfully include a spare 6.3A fuse, ensuring you will never be left stranded without a working adapter! Simply slide the cover off and it reveals a handy compartment containing the additional fuse. The fuse for the adapter itself is located amongst the plugs and can be easily accessed at all times in case it needs to be swapped. The world travel adapter by elago also comes with a built-in child safety shutter to ensure you children don’t get an electric shock!

I highly recommend this product, alongside all of Elago’s other products of which I have reviewed in the past. They all consist of premium quality, and each inherit additional small features and functions which demonstrate the time and care that goes into designing and manufacturing each of their products! If you would like to check out this product on elago please click here!

book review: succulent sexcraft

SucculentThe book review blitz continues! I’ve got some other stuff in the works, too, including two more book reviews, a couple of film reviews, and a blog format update I hope you’ll like. Stay tuned!

For now, read on to learn more about a book that’s well worth a bit of your time.

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Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-on Guide to Erotic Play Practice for Men and Women, Singles and Partners by Sheri Winston with Carl Frankel

In Succulent SexCraft, Sheri Winston lays out an ambitious program for sexual self-education and exploration for those who want to become sexual virtuosos. It’s quite impressive. Rather than working from within one particular tradition or background, she blends the practical wisdom and knowledge of a nurse and midwife with the more touchy-feely, esoteric approach of a New Age(ish) spiritual type. But none of it’s about medicalizing sex or fetishizing and mimicking Eastern cultures. Rather, she builds a step-by-step approach to better understanding how sexual energy works – and only some of that is about the flesh-and-blood body. In fact, though Winston’s knowledge of the body is more practically-grounded and thorough than that of most sex educators – and for that matter, most doctors! – her real strength lies in putting that knowledge in service to a broader framework, where a person’s spirituality is just as important as their anatomy when it comes to deep sexual fulfillment.

Winston starts out by leading the reader through a tour of their own sexual history, with plenty of exercises and questions designed to help you understand where your own patterns and preferences come from, and where they may fall short. She skewers sex-negative attitudes and belief systems, and then goes on to set out a full-spectrum re-education plan that covers mind, body, heart and spirit. The rest of the book looks at each of these areas in depth, with “homeplay” assignments each step of the way to help the reader put it all into practice. Thankfully, even when she focuses on the woo-woo stuff, she doesn’t impose a rigid spiritual model or belief system, so it’s appropriate even for an atheist/solo-spiritual type like myself.

Her attention to detail is superlative. From breathing exercises to a multi-step staircase diagram of the sexual arousal process – with plenty of suggestions for how to move around on the staircase in 3D! – Winston breaks down every aspect of enjoyable sex into its component parts. The result, perhaps not surprisingly, is a book that focuses 90% of its content on the self, on how to be in sex rather than on detailed techniques for how to do sex to another person. She makes room for her exercises to be done with one or more partners (and yes, she’s very poly-friendly), and of course examines how sex happens with other people in the room, but ultimately her program isn’t a technique-fest so much as an inward-turning, mind-expanding voyage to the deepest reaches of the individual sexual being. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and it took me a long while to get through even though I wasn’t doing all the exercises – it’s simply that her writing goes deep, and it’s intricate enough that you don’t want to breeze through it like an “ultimate guide” type of instructional manual.

Winston does get a bit caught when it comes to gender stuff. She makes room for the difference between biology/anatomy and what she calls “core energy,” which more or less means topping and bottoming (and yes, she is kink-friendly too, though what I mean here isn’t specifically kinky). And she makes room for the existence of trans people, and for people with non-normative bodily configurations, but she stops short of going into any detail about how hormones or surgeries might impact the bodily systems she discusses. Overall she writes about how sexual maturity often involves finding energetic balance and flexibility in ourselves and recognizing it in others. But her model still relies on a pretty binary system, with mostly-toppy cis men presumably having sex mostly with mostly-bottomy cis women, so people who resist binaries in either energy or biology might find it hard to push past the limitations of her framework here. The rest of the content is still valid and applicable, I think, especially since so little of the book is actually about the mechanics of partner sex. But the yin/yang language of the sections in question could alienate before it has a chance to educate.

Still, overall I think Succulent SexCraft is doing valuable work that few other books really approach. Winston’s juicy and fun tone brings a sense of play and fun to what’s some pretty deep and tender work, and her body-positive, age-positive philosophy makes her a welcome voice in a world where sexperts are often young skinny things. Her elegant fusion of knowledge about the concrete and the intangible aspects of sex makes for a really unusual perspective. If you’re looking to expand your erotic horizons and the standard how-to manual fare of “try dress-up fantasy play and erotica reading!” is sounding a bit stale at this point, Winston’s work might give you exactly what you need.

“Waves of Change” – “Everything, Everything” Movie Review

With the vaguest of titles, Everything, Everything doesnt offer a lot of promise by name alone. But is there ever going to be one that can explain the story of a teenager with an immune disorder, falling for the boy next door? Not really, but this very distant Little Prince reference will have to do. And with its mix of basic posters yet heavy load of trailers, this YA adaptation has quite the hill to climb especially since its lead character cant even go outside. But does all of that mean this film is a failure from the start? Well no, the case is quite the most lovely (though flawed) of opposites.

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The first frame introduces us to Maddy, played by Amandla Stenberg of Hunger Games fame. Taking on the more positive Hazel from Fault in Our Stars type role, Maddy is also sick. But instead of cancer, Maddy has SCID (Severe combined immunodeficiency), leaving her stuck inside her white, bacteria-proof home for the rest of her life. But when a handsome boy named Olly (Nick Robinson) moves next door, Maddy is instantly smitten. Their relationship from then on challenges her strict lifestyle, and makes her question just about everything which you can guess results in some typical drama as the story unfolds.

But theres an element that is not too typical for Hollywood in this case, and that has to do the cast. Not only are the majority of the actors diverse, they are mostly women of color all of whom are (aside from Maddys illness) happy, successful, and have none of the unfortunate stereotypes of Hollywoods troubled past. Even in the case of the films romance, Maddy and Ollys struggles are never having to do with their interracial relationship, but more of the medical and family issues that come from Maddys circumstances.

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All of these simple steps forward should be enough to push this film even more into the mainstream radar of movie-goers. But with blockbuster competition at the box office, and the controversy over the depiction of the lead characters illness, there has to be something even more enticing to get viewers in those seats.  Thankfully Everything has quite a few, outside of its Behind The Scenes aspects.

The most important thing to mention is Amandla Stenberg. If you thought  a star is born situation in the first Hunger Games, her turn as Maddy continues to prove that this young actress has more up her sleeve than we ever could realize. The camera loves her in every frame, which cinematographer Igor Jadue-Lillo captures beautifully, and she makes even the most simple of lines come across as, dare I say, poetic at times. Granted, it is important to remember this is a YA movie, and you shouldnt expect anything Oscar worthy here. But if anything positive is going to come out of Everything, let it be Amandla Stenbergs career continuing to rise.

Supporting players Nick Robinson and Ana de la Reguera also do fine performances here, that definitely elevate the material up from the Lifetime levels it could have gone to. Nick plays the heartthrob role much in line with the 90s era hotties Hollywood wants him to become (so many shades of DiCaprio charm here), and though Regueras screen time is short, she leaves a lovable impression.

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Yet if there was one role that is slightly unbalanced, and that would be Anika Noni Roses Pauline, Maddys mother. If youve read Everything, Everything, then you probably know the big twist involving this character. Unfortunately, though Rose does a very serviceable job throughout the films well-paced running time, theres something about the end results of her performance that dont particularly click. This role demands something a bit more intense in the flares of drama than what I saw on screen, which either could be Roses or director Stella Meghies fault in not getting that across.

But this tiny speck doesnt ultimately deter from the final product. Sure, Everything, Everything might be full of the typical mushiness and fantastical unbelievability that plagues the YA adaptation genre, but those are the things you come to expect at this point (much like you would a unicorn while venturing through a fairy tale.) Some of the things Maddy gets away with are not at all plausible, nor is the perfection of Ollys boy band long locks. But when you have a simple fluffy filled story that tugs at the right heartstrings like this one, those things can be pushed to the side.

Ultimately, Everything, Everything might have its flaws in its more realistic angles that dont make it to the screen. But if youve been looking for a Young Adult movie that doesnt reach too high for the emotional stars and is also making some honest progress, then this might be the one for you. And in a world where we have too many cynical tales of woe being thrown at us, its nice to see a film that doesnt take itself too seriously, and even allows itself to think outside its glass walls, much like its heroine does.

EverythingGrade

My latest short story, published in The Antigonish Review! @antigonishrevie

antigonishexcerpt

Head to the magazine section of your local book store and grab the new issue of literary magazine The Antigonish Review (issue 185). Turn to page 67 to read my new short story, The Meat Disappears from the Bones. Im super excited about this because Ive been trying to crack into TAR for a decade. Theyre a super prestigious literary magazine from St. Francis Xavier University, and theyve published the likes of Carol Shields, Rohinton Mistry, and Marshall McLuhan!

See. The medium IS the message.

Or in my case, the tedium is the message.

#SadTrombone

Anyway, normally I would post a scan of the first page of my story to pique your interest, but this time I thought Id post the last page.  See above! Hope you enjoy! Fanks for the support, munchkins!

And as always, visit the official Christine Estima dot com for all of my published works, performances, and press!

NewWEbSite!Filed under: Christine Estima, creative writing, portfolio, writing

Tidebuy Review To Know About The Splendid Collections Of Women’s Clothing

The clothing for women changes according to the season or according to the style of the celebrities. A woman either a teenager or an elderly lady always wishes to look at their best by wearing the latest and newest trend clothing. Tidebuy review is available in the website to know about the womens clothing. It is always available with the latest and modern styles and fashion. If a famous celebrity wears a specific kind of dress then the women tends to become passionate to wear the specific  womens clothing to imitate the celebrities.

cheap women clothingThe unique womens clothing

The Classy Round Neckline Long Sleeve T-Shirt is a cheap women clothing which gives a classic and elegant look to the women when she wears it. It can be worn for any pant or miniskirts as it highly suits all dresses. This gives a fashionable and modern look to the women when they wear it. With a fashionable accessory like the chain and the bangles the women look highly trendy and lovely in this fashionable clothing. The long sleeve t-shirt is a kind of womens clothing in black color. The black color is highly fascinating which attracts the boys and is best suited for casual wear. It gives a glamorous look to the women and can be worn for any skirt, jean or mini-skirt. It goes well with any kind and color of the pant

womens clothingThe pretty junior clothing

The Korean Polished Cotton Simple Debonair Summer Kids Suit makes you say “wow” when anyone looks at your kid wearing this clothing. The black and white stripes give a classic and very stylish and fashionable look to your kid. It is a suitable summer wear for the kids and you can buy them the summer coolers along with the sandals and make them look lovely and feel free and comfortable during summer

junior clothingThe Fall Girl Jeans Dress for girls

This is a kind of kids dress in jeans fabric. There is the bow design present in the hemline with golden color buttons in front. The dress is wonderful and gives a fascinating look to the girls to look lovely and magnificent in this lovely dress. It is a full sleeve dress with side pockets and is a mini dress which gives a lovely look to the kids. The Summer Yarn Girl Princess Dress with Belt is yet another stylish dress for the girl babies to look lovely and unique.  It has a ruffle design with a transparent lacing pattern in attractive colors. It make the kids look like princess on any special occasion and is best suited for the summer season.

Het systeem met zoetstof, review van Captain Fantastic

***SPOILER ALERT*** Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016) gaat over Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) die zijn roedel kinderen op licht militaristische wijze tot über-hippie-menschen opvoedt. Ze wonen teruggetrokken in de bossen, tot Bens vrouw zelfmoord pleegt. Haar vader geeft Ben de schuld, en geeft hem te kennen dat hij en de kinderen niet welkom zijn op de begrafenis. Vanzelfsprekend gaan ze toch – met hun hippie bus, Steve genaamd. Captain fantastic is een ‘interessante’ – een woord dat Bens kinderen niet mogen gebruiken, omdat het nietszeggend is – film over helden, wereldverbeteraars en een beetje dialectiek. En over The Man. Met een sausje zoetstof.

Held en wereldverbeteraar

De titel, Captain Fantastic, roept onvermijdelijk het beeld op van een superheldenfilm. Maar, zoals Viggo Mortensen zelf zei in een interview:

There really isn’t a hero. As you go along, you sort of cringe and see some of the things in this character you dislike most — rigidity, authoritarianism.

Mij deed het denken aan een onderscheid dat Larissa MacFarquhar in haar net vertaalde boek Wereldverbeteraars maakt tussen helden en wereldverbeteraars. Helden zijn volgens haar mensen die inspringen op een crisis in hun directe omgeving. In zekere zin slaat dat op Ben Cash. Het idee om in het bos te gaan wonen kwam voort uit een poging zijn vrouw te helpen omgaan met haar bipolaire stoornis.

Een wereldverbeteraar is heel anders dan een held. Volgens MacFarquhar zijn dat mensen die proberen een ethisch zo voortreffelijk mogelijk leven te leiden. Het zijn vaak bemoeials, die anderen lastig vallen vanaf hun moral high ground. Ethisch voortreffelijk zijn overschaduwt de aandacht voor de directe omgeving. Enerzijds lijkt dat beslist niet van toepassing op Ben. Hij geeft immers meer om zijn gezin dan om wat dan ook. Goed doen is voor hem niet iets abstracts. Anderzijds bekent hij aan het einde van de film dat hij ergens wel wist dat hij zijn vrouw niet op zijn manier kon redden. En toch zette hij door.

Een synthese met zoetstof

Die spanning maakt Ben een interessant karakter. Net zoals hij misschien tegelijk held en wereldverbeteraar is, zo is hij ook tegelijk zachtaardig en totalitair. Is hij nu een soort superdad, of kunnen we hem even goed zien als een geestverwant van de vader in de fantastische documentaire The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, 2015), die eerder een soort sekteleider was? Als Bens dochter op een gegeven moment een analyse moet geven van de hoofdpersoon van Nabokovs Lolita, dan realiseer je je dat zij het even goed over Ben zelf had kunnen hebben. Een karakter dat zowel haat als medelijden opwekt.

Die spanning in Bens karakter nodigt uit tot een klein stukje dialectiek. In de meest basale uitleg slaat dat op een spanning tussen twee polen (these en antithese), die door de tijd heen wordt opgelost (synthese). Die twee polen zijn verenigd in het karakter van Ben. Ze zijn immanent aan zijn persoon, ze behoren hem allebei toe. Het is niet zo dat hij de ene pool (these) is, en dat er per se een ander karakter als tegenpool (antithese) nodig is om spanning op te wekken. Natuurlijk maakt een externe tegenpool het allemaal wel wat makkelijk. Daarom is Bens schoonvader er, Jack (Frank Langella). Hij lijkt alles te zijn wat Ben niet is: vertegenwoordiger van het grootkapitaal en van de maatschappelijke orde. Gaandeweg vraag je je af of ze wel zo verschillend zijn.

Als er een dialectisch proces plaatsvindt tussen these en antithese, wat is dan de synthese waarop de film uiteindelijk landt? Aan het eind van de film realiseert Ben dat hij zijn kinderen vreselijk benadeelt met zijn levenswijze. Even lijkt hij ze te verlaten. Jack, daarentegen, ontpopt zich als een amicale Godfather, die de zorg voor de kinderen wel op zich wil nemen. Uiteindelijk komt het niet zo ver. Ben komt tot inkeer. Samen met zijn hele roedel betrekt hij een charmant houten huisje. Ze passen zich aan aan de maatschappelijke orde van Jacks wereld. De kinderen gaan voor het eerst naar een normale school. Braaf doen ze hun huiswerk. Zoals de vriendin met wie ik de film zag scherp opmerkte: ze leren ineens over wilde dieren uit een boekje, en niet meer in het bos. Er is een zachte ochtendzon. Er is warme koffie. Er is zoetstof.

Glue it to the Man

Er zit een fikse dosis jaren ’60 tegencultuur in Bens anarchistische wereldbeeld. Daar zitten twee kanten aan. Enerzijds is er het verzet. Het systeem moet omver. Als Jack de wens van zijn dochter om gecremeerd te worden niet respecteert, komen Ben en de kinderen in opstand. Ze gaan op de missie save mom’. Koste wat kost moet ze niet begraven worden. Power to the People! Stick it to Man!, zoals het jongste dochtertje herhaaldelijk roept.

Anderzijds proberen ze helemaal niet ‘het systeem’ omver te werpen. Ze trekken zich er juist uit terug. Ze gaan off the grid. Ze bedrijven ‘prefiguratieve’ politiek, een onderwerp waar mijn broer zich in zijn onderzoek mee bezig houdt.  Ze zijn de verandering die ze willen zien. Het is een manier om je tot ‘het systeem te verhouden’, zonder het actief omver te werpen.

Na de jaren ’60 verloren systeemcritici terrein aan mensen die benadrukten dat je maar beter kon bedenken hoe je je tot dat systeem moest verhouden. Zoiets zou je bijvoorbeeld ook kunnen zeggen over de verandering die de Franse filosoof Michel Foucault aan het eind van zijn leven doormaakte. In het midden van de jaren ’70 beschreef hij nog op cynische wijze hoe systemen ons achter onze ruggen om probeerden te disciplineren. In de vroege jaren ’80 wende hij zich van de systemen af. Hij legde zich toe op manieren waarop we voor onszelf en anderen kunnen zorgen. Systemen zijn er toch wel, we kunnen maar beter zorgen dat we er niet aan ten onder gaan. Mogelijk spreekt daar dan nog de hoop uit dat het systeem ooit eens zal veranderen, als we allemaal wat beter voor onszelf en anderen zorgen. Maar dat is toch iets anders dan Stick it to the Man!

Tot slot terug naar de synthese. De oplossing die Ben en zijn kinderen lijken te hebben omarmd is om het systeem maar gewoon te accepteren. He used to be a man with a stick in his hand, om met Queen te spreken. Of met Kurt Vile: Well I think by now you probably think I am a puppet to the Man / Well, Ill tell you right now you best believe that I am / Sometimes Im stuck in and I think I can unglue it. Zo lang je huis er nog maar een beetje hippie-achtig uitziet, is er niets aan de hand. Het klinkt naar wat wat Herbert Marcuse in 1964 de ‘eendimensionalisering’ van kritiek noemde. Kritiek die gewoon een plaatsje krijgt in het systeem. Dat einde is onbevredigend. Had dat niet anders gekund? Had de regisseur niet een manier kunnen verzinnen waarop ze in het systeem konden leven, zonder het over te nemen? Door op zijn minst hard te lachen om die malle plaatjes van die tijgers in de schoolboeken?

A Pretty Pattern Review

img_20170108_104912Happy New Year lovely readers!

Here we are in January already, how did that happen?! Time has this nasty habit of racing away with me,but recently I have found my sewing mojo again and I’ve been busy making some new garments. However, this blog post is about something a little different…

A little while ago I was asked to sew and review a cosmetic bag sewing kit by the lovely ladies at The Stitchery, Lewes. This haberdashery is my local sewing shop and it’s filled to the rafters with sewing treasures. If you ever need the perfect buttons or trim The Stitchery is the place to go looking, but be warned, you will never leave without something else catching your eye and crying out “buy me!

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This beginner’s sewing kit comes in a compact clear container so that you can see all the lovliness inside without opening the box this makes choosing the right kit for you so much easier!

Inside are the instructions, the pattern pieces and also added instructions on how to line the cosmetic bag if you wish to do so. The instructions are clearly written with all ages in mind and I really like the fact that The Stitchery have thought about their audience in this way. There are also some pictures to help the reader understand what to do next.

Now onto the exciting bit just look at all the goodies inside -it’s like Christmas all over again! There are fabrics, ribbons, trims and a glorious chunky zip and all of beautiful quality. What I like about this kit is that it gives you the basic instructions and then encourages you to get creative with the trims.

img_20170108_122131You can either hand sew this project or use a sewing machine. I whipped this little beauty up on my machine in about an hour including the lining fabric and embellishments.

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I’m really happy with this kit. The packaging is great, the fabrics and trims are of excellent quality and the instructions are clear and straightforward. I even had a few trims left over which will go in my stash for a future project yay!

The kit costs £9.99 and is great value for money, so why not treat yourself or buy one as a gift? These would be the perfect present for someone who is new to sewing or as something a little different for the more experienced dressmaker. They say a change is as good as a rest

You can contact The Stitchery on 01273 473577, email info@the-stitchery.co.ukor visit their online store here.

Lastly, I would like to say a huge thank you to The Stitchery for asking me to review this kit I really enjoyed it and Ill be popping in again soon!

Until next time…

Marlondo Leather Duffel Bag Review-$340

The Marlondo Leather Duffel Bag is a great addition to any traveler’s baggage. It is sturdy and takes the abuse of handlers in stride. I used my bag as my main luggage for a six week trip throughout Europe and found it to be the best luggage bag for the journey. Not only was it compact enough to easily fit into plane and train storage bins, but the size allowed me to comfortably haul everything I needed when walking to my hotel and it does it all without breaking the bank.

Build Quality

This duffel bag is incredibly durable. I have dropped it on gravel, dragged it on concrete and it has been beaten around more than I would like to admit but it still looks like new. Actually, it looks better than when I got it because the full-grain leather seems to get more attractive with each mark. It really is the best looking duffel bag I have seen in person. Marlondo’s duffel is constructed of four pieces of full-grain boot leather. The interior is fully lined with pigskin leather which gives the duffel a great finish and added durability. The straps on the main compartment are double-layered, full-grain leather that are stitched and riveted so you know that they won’t be coming loose. All of the stress points are riveted as well.

Function

When I first got the duffel I was skeptical that it wouldn’t be big enough for my needs but I was pleasantly surprised once I packed it. The bag measures a mere 17.5 inches in length by 9 inches in height and depth which is just big enough for two stacks of clothes to be neatly set side-by-side. For me, I was able to fit two and a half weeks’ worth of fresh summer outfits into the seemingly tiny bag. I did have to squeeze some socks and underwear in to get that, but everything fit once closed thanks to the generous overlap.

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One thing that disappointed me was the exterior pouches. The bag has four exterior pockets, two on the front and one on each side. These make it very attractive but are not very useful for most extras a traveler would bring. I used two of them to carry the charges for my electronics, but wished I was able to store my toiletries and razor in them as well. Although this was a constant issue on my six week trip, I wouldn’t say they are too big of a flaw since I see this bag being used more for weekend trips and carrying things to the gym where the side pockets would not be used. I think having the front two pouches switched to a single large one would be much more useful.

Conclusion

Overall this duffel bag is amazingly over engineered to last a lifetime and will continually get better looking as it gets used with the proper care. What’s even better is that this kind of quality and longevity doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to have! If you are looking for a great, beautifully rugged bag to accompany you on a life of journeys, you can stop looking now.

Check it out here at marlondoleather.com

5E Adventure Review: Banquet of the Damned

The town of Womford was made (somewhat) famous to my players by its tales of the Womford Bat in Princes of the Apocalypse. The bat, unfortunately, does not make an appearance in Banquet of the Damned, a new adventure by Benoit de Bernady, save in an appendix, but you do get two feuding bakers, a mysterious fire, and a demonic corruptor.

The early stages of this adventure are an investigation; the adventurers are hired by the local baron to find out who set the fire. The way this is handled is interesting: the actual perpetrator isnt the villain of the piece (or one of their agents), but the heroes investigations lead to the perpetrator being uncovered! Its an unusual technique that pays off. If the players fail to find the clues, theres a rather nasty consequence for Womford, which then propels the heroes back onto the main storyline. Again, this is good design.

The adventure ends with potentially a pair of combats (and possibly an exorcism). In all, it should likely take one or two sessions to play through. Theres a good selection of encounters, and some excellent ideas within.

That said, its not all smooth sailing. The writing, while mostly good, has a few clumsy constructions or repetitions of phrases. One of the main characters, Mortimer Wormstooth, gets a set of contradictory motivations. (Hes bitter, a well-respected philanthropist, and a good man who let a bully define him).

My main problem with the adventure, which I recognise as primarily a stylistic one, is that that its a bit too easy to discover exactly what the adventurers are up against. These days, I prefer, when possible, to not tell the players the exact name of what theyre fighting, instead letting it define itself through its appearance and actions. The demonic antagonist is not one Im familiar with. Its a really spectacular design and the effects of its plots are really creepy. Id rather the players reached the final encounter thinking they were up against a witch, and then discover the true nature of the threat. However, as I said, this is a stylistic preference; the adventure works as written.

Overall, Banquet of the Damned is a strong adventure, well worth investigating. I do suggest you ignore the advice about when to play the adventure. You can play the adventure any time the PCs travel through the village of Womford during the autumn. Place it anywhere you like; theres nothing really stopping you. Waiting for the characters to visit Womford during the autumn? You may have to wait a while!