Ladies I Love: Q is for the Mad Queens of Wonderland

Red Queen - Header

Welcome to another Ladies I Love edition of the A to Z Challenge!  Today’s letter is Q, for QUEEN.  Specifically, I’ll be introducing you to four queens from Lewis Carroll‘s books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass“.  I’m a huge fan of these two books and have several editions of them at home – I even memorized “The Jabberwocky” in seventh grade and can still recite it!  And did you ever notice that Wonderland and Looking-Glass Land are actually Queendoms?  It’s the queens who rule these lands, and even though the kings are there, they’re pretty wimpy and submissive to the queens, who are able to rule with gusto.  If you are interested in Alice’s Wonderland adventures, there’s a great wiki that you should visit – you can find it here.  But let’s get on with the business at hand!

Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts playing croquet

First, there’s only one queen in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and I’ll bet you can guess who that is – that’s right, the Queen of Hearts!  But don’t get confused – she is also sometimes mistakenly referred to as “The Red Queen”, whom I will introduce in a moment.  The Queen of Hearts is actually one of a pack of cards who enjoys playing croquet (using hedgehogs for balls and flamingos for mallets), and of course, handing out death sentences like they are going out of style by yelling “off with her head!” should anyone look crosswise at her.  Fortunately, the king is there to discreetly pardon most of the convicted, but if it’s all the same, I wouldn’t want to get on the Queen of Heart’s bad side!

After Alice leaves Wonderland, she enters Looking-Glass Land and there encounters two more queens of a different sort as they are chess pieces and not anything like the sociopathic Queen of Hearts.  First she meets the White Queen, directly upon entering Looking-Glass Land, but the queen doesn’t really interact with her until further in the game of chess that Alice finds herself playing.  She takes her place in the game as a white pawn and has to get to the 9th square to become a queen herself.  When she gets to the fifth square, she meets the White Queen again, who then gives Alice some great advice:

When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — The White Queen, Through the Looking-Glass

The White Queen is a bit mysterious, and fades in and out of the story, transforming into a knitting sheep and into one of Alice’s white cats.  The Red Queen, on the other hand, is a bit more proactive with Alice in getting her to the 9th square.  The Red Queen is my favorite of the queens we find in Alice’s story.  While bossy, the Red Queen can get things done.  She urges Alice to move quickly and save time where possible.  She states:

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” — The Red Queen, Through the Looking Glass

Red Queen - Running

The Red Queen drags Alice across the chess board (illustration by John Tenniel).

I can so relate to this statement – sometimes life feels like this, right?  In fact, there’s something called The Red Queen Hypothesis in the field of biology that describes how evolution works:  “For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with” — Leigh Van Valen (1973).  This means that evolution is just a big game of “Keeping Up with the Jones'” – if you have a competitor or a predator, as a species, you need to evolve to find ways of surviving the challenges of the competitor or predator.  However, those competitors and predators must also evolve too, to keep up with you!  But I digress…

In the end, Alice does get to the 9th square to become a queen in her own right.  The White Queen meanders off and disappears, but the Red Queen continues to cause trouble for Alice, who decides to shake some sense into the Red Queen.  The Red Queen then transforms into Alice’s black kitten and Alice wakes from her dream…having defeated the Red Queen (and King) and won her game of chess.

Three Queens

The three queens of Looking-Glass Land: the White Queen, Alice, and the Red Queen (Illustration by John Tenniel).

To be honest, the Queens are not my favorite characters in Alice’s adventures – I rather enjoy the Cheshire Cat (no surprise there, right?) and the Mad Hatter.  But they are both male, and well, I needed to write about Ladies for this Challenge.  But the queens are no less fascinating than any of other Lewis Carroll’s inventions!  Who is your favorite character in these stories, or do you have another fairy tale that you connect with?

Ladies I Love: P is for the Power Puff Girls (Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice, plus Whoopass!)

Powerpuff Girls Header

Are you ready to meet today’s Ladies I Love in the A to Z Challenge?  If so, P is for the POWERPUFF GIRLS, who consist of Blossom (“the leader”, in pink), Bubbles (“the joy and the laughter”, in blue), and my favorite, Buttercup (“the toughest fighter”, in green).   The girls were created by their scientist “father”, Professor Utonium, who combined sugar, spice and everything nice…plus an accidental little something extra to give them their super powers.  The original cartoon, created by Craig McCracken in 1992, was called “Whoopass Stew!” but was renamed by the time it made its official debut on the Cartoon Network in 1998.  By then, the “little something extra” had been changed from a can of whoopass to “Chemical X”, which gave the Powerpuff Girls superhero powers such as flight, super strength, x-ray and heat vision, and super speed.  But the thing I love about the cartoon is that, even though these girls can do all these incredible things, they still have to face issues that siblings and youngsters go through: rivalries, hygiene issues, the use of security blankets, wetting the bed, and going to school.  Not to mention, fighting all the criminals and villains who want to take over Townsville, where the Powerpuff Girls and Professor Utonium live (and unfortunately, destroying much of Townsville in the process)!

Buttercup-powerpuff-girls-24270377-391-429My favorite character is definitely Buttercup, because she just wants to throw-down and fight the bad guys.  She doesn’t do a whole lot of planning ahead, she’s more of an action type of girl!  She’s strong-willed, adventurous, and isn’t afraid to get dirty and play rough.  She takes no prisoners!  I like her so much that I dressed up for her in a parade that our roller derby league participated in – the theme of the parade was “Super Heroes”, and I chose to be Buttercup.  She’s a superhero, right???  And the villains are kind of THE BEST EVER for an animated series.  Take this quiz to find out which villain you are (I came out as Mojo Jojo)!

Powerpuff Girls 2013The last episode of the Powerpuff Girls aired in 2005, but the Powerpuff Girls also starred in a feature-length animated film, a 10-year anniversary special in 2008, and a 2014 special (made without McCracken’s involvement).  For the 2014 special, the Powerpuff Girls received a CGI makeover (which I personally don’t like nearly as much as the more colorful, rounded version of the girls).  But the Powerpuff Girls had a very successful run, being nominated for and winning several awards in the process.

If you’re not familiar with the Powerpuff Girls, I know you are curious to get a little taste.  Here are two clips for you:  first, the theme that shows at the beginning of each episode:

And second, a clip from one of my favorite episodes, “Take a Bath, Buttercup!” where Buttercup refuses to wash her stinky self!

Who is your favorite Powerpuff Girl or villain?  Or, if you have another favorite cartoon altogether, what is it?  I’d love to know who you cheer for in the fight of good vs. evil (and which side you’re on)!

Ladies I Love: O is for the Entire Freakin’ Cast of Orange is the New Black!

If you are looking for a binge-worthy show to watch, you’ll want to definitely bookmark today’s A to Z Challenge post.  This is because O is for the entire cast of “Orange is the New Black“, who are all Ladies I Love!   If you don’t know anything about this show, it’s produced by Jenji Kohan, the same woman who created the show “Weeds”, and is based on a true story that was detailed in a memoir called “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” by Piper Kerman.  Piper was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison because of a crime she committed ten years prior – transporting a suitcase full of money for her international drug-smuggling girlfriend, Alex.  In the ten years since, she settles down and lives a “normal” life as an upper-middle class white woman with a fiance in New York.  But someone snitches on her and look out – she is convicted and finds herself in prison.

OITNB - Cast photo

While Piper is the main character in the series, each episode tells the story of the inmates that Piper lives with in the prison.  The women are complex, varied and multi-dimensional, and at first, Piper thinks she has nothing in common with them.  AND, surprise surprise, she meets up with an old friend in her cell block: Alex.  The relationships that exist, form and change in the prison are born of necessity and are darkly comedic, like the series.  Yes, it’s a women’s prison show, which means that there are “adult themes” including strong language and nudity.  However, it adds to the realism and the color of the show…orange.  The cast is amazing.  Watch the trailer and you might be hooked…I binge-watched the entire series in one weekend!  Fortunately, Season 2 is coming out this summer, and I can’t wait!

UPDATE!!!  The Season Two trailer was just released TODAY!!!  And here it is, just for you!

And here are a few of my favorite characters (played by an incredible collection of actors):

OITNB - Season 2

Ladies I Love: N is for the Nymphs, Naiads, and Nixies

Water Spirit Sketches by Ewa LudwiczakToday’s A to Z Challenge post is brought to you by the letter N, but these Ladies I Love may not actually exist (although some might argue with you).  I’ve had a number of items in my adult life that all needed to be named.  Not CL208F2, or Freddy or “Green Notebook” but something far more creative and descriptive.  For example, I always wanted someone to be able to look at our department’s network of computers and go “oh – there’s the aquatic ecology lab computer” and not have to shuffle around a bunch of papers looking for the right identification code.  Well, ok, that only partly relates to today’s ladies I love post – the other part is that I grew up loving fairy tales (you know, the kind with fairies).  The artwork of Brian Froud used to mesmerize and terrify me all at once (I’m looking at you, Jenny Greenteeth!).  Hence, being an aquatic ecologist and fish biologist and fairy “aFISHionado”, I’ve tended to assign names based on aquatic folklore.  In fact, part of my email address is “limnixie”, a word I made up that loosely translates to female lake fairy.

Here are a few short definitions for you about some of my favorite aquatic fairies:

  • Nymph:  Generally, female water spirits who animate nature.  Often depicted as young and beautiful maidens who love to sing and dance; they can be immortal, but can also die under some circumstances.
  • Naiad:  A type of water nymph that presides over fresh water of any kind (e.g., fountains, wells, springs, streams and brooks).
  • Nixie (or Neck):  German or Nordic, a water spirit, typically a river mermaid; they can be malicious but also kind or benevolent as well.  They are shape-shifters, and are said to lure men to their watery doom in some cases.  You can recognize them in their human form by noting that their skirt hems are always wet.

Do you have a favorite type of fairy?  Do you resonate with any kind of natural habitat, type of plant, or landscape feature?  If so, there might be a fairy just for you!  Look it up and tell me what you find!

Ladies I Love: M is for Marjane Satrapi, Graphic Novelist and Film Producer from Iran

I can’t believe I’m already writing my “M” post for the A to Z Challenge!  I’ve got another cartoonist (I think this is the last one) for today’s Lady I Love: Marjane Satrapi.  I chose Marjane Satrapi for today for two very interesting reasons:  first, she grew up in Iran under the Muslim fundamentalists who took power after the Iranian Revolution; and second, she’s an outspoken woman who lived to tell about it.

Marjane Satrapi header

Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran in 1969 and lived in a middle-class family with highly educated parents in Tehran until 1983.  During her childhood, she was rambunctious, strong-willed and outspoken, and her family feared that her behavior (and mouth) would get her into serious trouble with the authorities, who had strict behavioral codes for women.  So, her family arranged to have her study in Vienna for high school.  She returned to Tehran after a near-deadly bout of pneumonia and stayed there for several years, but now lives in Paris with her husband.

Satrapi’s childhood and teenage years are detailed in her autobiographical graphic novels, Persepolis 1 and 2.  I loved them because she grew up in an entirely different world than I did (geographically, at least, which was fascinating in and of itself), but for all those differences, I could see ways in which she was no different from many of us growing up: questions, conceptions of right and wrong, repression (in her case the government, in my case, parents), and general teenage angst.  Half a world away, and it was like I knew her!

Marjane Satrapi - Michael Jackson

In 2007, Persepolis was made into a feature film and debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.  In 2008, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, making Marjane Satrapi the first woman nominated for the category.  In 2011, her graphic novel “Chicken with Plums” was made into a live action movie as well.  There are several interviews with Marjane Satrapi about her work, but I found this one and this one to be very interesting – if you have the time, check them out.  And, below I’ve included the trailers for both Persepolis and Chicken with Plums.  Perhaps you will put them on your “to watch” list!

Ladies I Love: L is for Lioness, badass hunter and watchful guardian!

http://avaxhome.ws/blogs/igor_lvIt may come to you as no surprise that I am a cat person.  I LOVE cats, big and small.  So today, for this installment of the A to Z Challenge, the Ladies I Love are Lionesses.  Lions as a species (Panthera leo) are incredibly majestic creatures and they are interesting in a number of ways.  Aside from Sumatran tigers, lions are the largest cats on Earth, with males weighing up to 500 pounds, and females weighing up to 300 pounds.  One of the most interesting things about lions is that they live in groups of 3-40 individuals called “prides”, whereas almost all other cats live solitary lives.  While the male lions’ primary role is to defend the pride’s territory and father cubs (and sleeping, ahem, up to 20 hours per day…lazy bums…), the female lion plays a much different role.  Here are a few reasons why I think female lions are such admirable and fascinating creatures:

Hunting.  Female lions do the majority of the hunting for the pride.  However, because they are so muscular and large, they are not well suited for long sprints (like cheetahs, for example).  Lions live in environments that are fairly open, and it is thought that one of the reasons they evolved to live in groups was so that they could hunt prey that would otherwise see them coming and outrun their would-be predators.  However, lionesses are skilled in trickery and found ways of outsmarting their prey by hunting in groups!  While lions hunting by themselves capture prey only about 17% of the time, hunting cooperatively nearly doubles the chances of successfully capturing prey.  Using a cooperative strategy, a few lionesses will sneak behind the targeted prey (whether its an individual or herd), crouching in the grass so as not to be seen.  Then, a couple of other lionesses will run at the prey, chasing them towards the ladies in hiding…but it’s a trap!  And even though lions may not be the swiftest predators, they can jump up to 35 feet in one leap, so look out!  It’s no surprise that lions working together using this scheme are more successful in their hunts than lions working by themselves.

Lioness 2But after the ladies have managed to capture and kill a prey animal, who do you think gets to eat first?  You guessed it – the male lions.  They’ll move in on the downed meal, chasing the females away from the kill.  Only after the male lions have fed do the females and cubs get to eat, and sometimes there’s not much left.  But with a good kill, large lions can eat up to 40 pounds of meat in a single sitting.

Raising Cubs.  Besides hunting, another important job of the females is to raise the pride’s cubs.  Females will often stay behind from hunting to watch over young cubs, making sure they are safe from potential predators.  In fact, lionesses will help raise each others’ cubs, ensuring higher rates of survival among youngsters.  Since cooperative hunting results in more frequent and bigger meals, having many mothers to watch over the cubs increases health and growth rates.

Lions are amazing creatures.  Unfortunately, habitat loss and an increasing human population is putting them at risk.  Lions were once found over most of Africa, southern Europe, and into Asia.  Today, however, they are limited to some areas in Africa and a very small game preserve in India’s Gir Forest, which contains only about 250 lions.  Lions need a large enough territory to support ample prey to eat, and protection from humans.  As human populations encroach on land closer to lion territory, prey populations decrease and lions find themselves having to hunt domesticated animals, which often results in humans killing “problem” lions to protect their livestock.  One of the best ways we can protect lions is to preserve and maintain national parks and other refuges that give lions what they need to survive; otherwise, these magnificent animals may continue to decline until they are simply pictures in books that our children read.

Ladies I Love: K is for Killers (and they say we’re the gentler sex…)

Killers - Keep CalmJust a heads-up: this post does contain some violence.  It’s fictional, but could be disturbing to some of you softies.

For today’s Ladies I Love post in the A to Z Challenge, we’ll be talking about killers.  Just to set the record straight, I’m not a huge fan of violence, and I don’t believe there’s a place for murder in society (heck, I’m even opposed to the death penalty).  But do you ever watch movies and wonder why so many primary action heroes (whether they are good or bad) are played by men?  And when you do see badass females in an action role, do you notice how they really stand out, and they stand out even MORE when they have at least a touch of villainous attitude about them?  If you’re like me, sometimes you just can’t help but say WOW and admire the artistry of their fighting, trickery or determination to survive by whatever means necessary.

So today I thought I’d write a little about those (fictional) women who yes, are killers, but who (in some cases) have complex backgrounds and reasons for acting the way that they do.  Others are just badasses.  Here are my top 10 favorite lady killers – how do they match up with yours?

10.  Tank Girl.  Tank Girl, played by Lori Petty in the 1995 movie of the same name, pretty much sucked.  However, I first started admiring Tank Girl (a.k.a. Rebecca Buck) as a comic character drawn by the British team of Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin several years prior to the movie.  I loved the artwork in the comics, and Tank Girl’s take-no-prisoners attitude.

9.  Aeon Flux.  This is also another movie character, played by Charlize Theron in 2005, based on a cartoon that aired on MTV’s Liquid Television during the early 1990’s.  Aeon was an acrobatic assassin in a futuristic dystopian society, fueled by imaginative science fiction story lines.

8.  Annie Wilkes.  Oooooh – this is one of my favorite roles of Kathy Bates!  Annie Wilkes was the crazy “number one fan” of Paul Sheldon, a writer who was taken in by Annie to rehabilitate after his car wrecked in the snowy mountains.  The 1990 film was adapted from Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery and earned Bates the Academy Award for Best Actress.

7.  Haley Clark.  Ever see the movie “Hard Candy”?  Ellen Page plays a young girl in this 2005 thriller that will completely creep you out.  She basically hunts a man she suspects is a pedophile and tortures him…a truly horrific story, but a brilliant performance from Ellen Page.

6.  Hit-Girl.  Starring as a sidekick in all the “Kick Ass” movies, Hit-Girl is an 11 year old girl who is “truly dangerous and genuinely mad”.  She was raised in an environment where she wasn’t taught anything else but violent crime-fighting, and isn’t treated “like a girl” in any respect other than she wears a skirt and likes purple.

5.  Trinity.  With a starring role in the Matrix, Carrie-Anne Moss plays a computer programmer / hacker who is also skilled in martial arts.  She works with a group of like-minded rebels to crack the Matrix’s coding and free the human race.

4.  Ellen Ripley.  Is there a bigger badass in the universe than Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in the Alien movies?  Yes, there are three of them (see 1-3 on this list).  However, Ellen Ripley is my number 4 because she is a pro at killing aliens, and anyone who wants to keep them alive.

3.  Jen.  In “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“, Zhang Ziyi plays Jen, the pupil of Jade Fox who killed Li Mu Bai’s master.  The film is about revenge, loyalty and honor, and features amazing fighting scenes filmed in traditional martial arts style – lots of acrobatics using ropes and an abundance of skill.  Beautiful story, amazing acting.

2.  Arya Stark.  The tomboyish daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark, Arya transforms throughout A Song of Ice and Fire from a girl chasing cats through castle halls to a murderous assassin on an unknowing journey towards the Iron Throne.  Arya is skillfully played by Maisie Williams in the TV adaptation of the novels, Game of Thrones.

And my number one favorite female killer is:

1.  Beatrix Kiddo.  In a role that seems to be crafted just for her, Uma Thurman played Beatrix Kiddo (codename Black Mamba) in both Kill Bill movies, directed by Quentin Tarantino.  A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Kiddo is attacked by her former team members and left comatose in a hospital.  But after waking and finding she has had a child, she proceeds to seek revenge and retribution from those who sought to kill her and harm her child.  Uma Thurman does an AMAZING job in her role as a huntress, survivor and martial arts superstar.

This is one of my favorite scenes from the Kill Bill movies.  It occurs when Kiddo goes to Japan to kill O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu).  However, first she has to get past Gogo and the Crazy 88!  This clip shows the battle between Kiddo, Gogo and the Crazy 88, stopping short of her fight with O-Ren Ishii.  Enjoy!

Ladies I Love: J is for Julie Doucet, Artiste Fantastique

Dirty Plotte No. 1Ready for another A to Z Challenge post?  I have another Lady I Love artist for you!  I first became acquainted with Canadian artist Julie Doucet when I was doing a lot of cartooning in the early 1990’s.  I had immersed myself in underground comics, and was particularly interested in those drawn by women about non-traditional topics, and Doucet certainly fell into that category, writing and drawing about topics such as sex, violence, menstruation and male/female issues.  The first work I read by Julie Doucet was called “Dirty Plotte”, a series that started publication through Drawn & Quarterly in 1991 (although before that it had existed as a photocopied zine as a record of her daily life, thoughts and fantasies).   Similar to her subsequent book, “My Year in New York“, her comics were gritty, loud, messy, honest and just about the exact opposite of “Cathy” (drawn by Cathy Guisewite, remember?).  I loved them because the style was so incredibly new to me, and Julie didn’t seem to shy away from topics that had otherwise been taboo, embarrassing, or atypical of the feminine “ideal”.

Even though Julie Doucet achieved some success with comics (for instance, winning the esteemed Harvey award for “Best New Talent” in 1991), she ultimately tired of that medium and quit drawing comics altogether:

I quit comics because I got completely sick of it. I was drawing comics all the time and didn’t have the time or energy to do anything else. That got to me in the end. I never made enough money from comics to be able to take a break and do something else. Now I just can’t stand comics. — Julie Doucet in “A Good Life: The Julie Doucet Interview” by Dan Nadel

Currently, Doucet writes and makes collage in Montreal; you can see some of her more recent works on her tumblr.  If you’re interested in seeing more of her comics, you can find several of her dream-related comics at the World Dream Bank (search by author – she has several comics on the site).  Additionally, here is a recent interview with Julie Doucet about what she’s been up to in the past few years.  Even though she has abandoned drawing comics, I will always love her drawing style and ability to tell a cringe-worthy story.

Cat Baby

An excerpt from The Recurring Dream (Cat Baby) by Julie Doucet 1994-1995

Ladies I Love: I is for Introverts (Celebrity Females Edition)

introvert_partyToday’s A to Z Challenge post is for the letter “I”, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about a specific group of people – introverts.  I’ll relate this back to my theme, Ladies I Love, in a moment; but first, a lot of people have the wrong idea about introverts.  They think we are shy and withdrawn, or maybe grumpy and stuck-up.  However, being an introvert is not about those type of personality traits at all!  Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, when it comes down to it, it’s mostly about how you gain and lose energy.  Extroverts get recharged by being around people, talking and interacting with groups.  Introverts, on the other hand, usually are drained by these kinds of interactions, and recharge their energy by spending time alone, often in quiet settings, with their thoughts to keep them company.  There are shy extroverts, and there are outgoing introverts.  Apparently, 1/3 to 1/2 of us are introverts, and I’m guessing that there is a high probability that YOU are an introvert because reading and blogging is generally a solitary activity (at least in the physical sense), the results of thought and contemplation.

Even though we might be in the minority, the world needs our creativity.  Because extroverts tend to be more vocal, our cultural norms favor the way extroverts develop, share and use information.  Kind of like the squeaky wheel getting the grease, right?  Well, even though the introvert wheel isn’t so squeaky, the cart still needs to maintain it to get where it’s going.  Here are several famous introverts, ladies who have contributed much to our society through the arts, politics, science, and other fields (although this list is heavy on actresses):  Audrey Hepburn, J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Grace Kelly, Julie Roberts, Barbara Walters, Susan B. Anthony and Virginia Woolf.  There are, of course, many many more than just these women – just google the Interwebs to find out more!

Susan Cain wrote a wonderful book called Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  Below is a manifesto for introverts, created by Susan Cain, and below that is a TED Talk that she gave a while back; if you have some time, come back to this page and watch it (it’s about 20 minutes, but it’s really engaging and fun).  She talks about how introverts fit into today’s society, what we have to contribute, and the best way to tap that resource.  What about you?  Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Take this short quiz and see what side you fall on.  And leave me a comment letting me know how it turned out!

Introvert-Quiet-Manifesto-Susan-Cain-Facebook

Ladies I Love: H is for Hanna Hart of “My Drunk Kitchen” (Uurrp!)

Hanna HartDo you like eating?  Do you like drinking?  And most importantly, do you like puns?  If you like all of these things, you’ll definitely want to get to know today’s H-related A to Z Challenge Lady I Love, Hanna Hart.  I discovered Hanna’s YouTube channel through an article in BUST magazine, right when her “My Drunk Kitchen” sketches hit the scene.  She’s done a TON of episodes at this point, but I contend that some of her best work is featured in her earlier pieces.  She’s got quite a collection of recipes recorded by now, so if you’re interested in learning how to cook mac’n cheese or tacos or toad in a hole or smores while drunk, be sure to invest a few moments to get some pro-tips from Hanna.

Actually, Hanna Hart (nicknamed Harto) is quite an accomplished comedian, and is very smart (she graduated from Berkeley with two degrees – English literature and Japanese).  Her short films are peppered with puns and quick word association jokes, and she’s an amazing comedic writer.  Take a look at this wiki page to learn more about her life, travels and other projects!

And after all that, I know you’re all hungry for a little taste of Harto, so here’s one of my favorite episodes (“Not Easy, Bake Oven”) where Hanna attempts to bake cookies.  A word of warning – the language she uses is quite salty, so if you’re not a fan of expletives (yay, swear words!  All the cussing!), you might want to watch this on mute.  But that probably wouldn’t be quite as funny.  Just saying.  Enjoy anyway!