Tropical Illuminati

Centuries ago, pineapples and flamingos decided that they were not getting the recognition they deserved and they banded together to slowly install themselves in modern culture. Alright, I admit, that does sound crazy, but kind of fun to think about.  If Pineapples were sentient and Flamingos actually cared about that kind of thing, their seemingly takeover of modern arts and cultural would make a lot more sense.

Flamingos in Pop Culture can trace their origin to plastics, and the pink lawn flamingo specifically.  Pineapples have an even longer and varied history in pop culture than Flamingos, starting with their "official" discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493.  Reading about the Social History of the Pineapple is actually quiet fascinating.

The hashtag #tropicalIlluminati started out as an inside joke with friends, that I loved so much I painted my newest watercolour with a flamingo and pineapple theme.  For the most part, it's still an inside joke, but I've had many people ask me why I enjoy it so much.

Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Julia from Vancouver Crafty Geeks, decided that she wanted to decorate her deck with flamingos and pineapples and put out a social media call for anyone who had or knew where to get Flamingo Lawn Ornaments.  If memory serves, I believe that this desire stemmed from the previous summer when we saw a bunch of Flamingo floaties during a day-trip to the beach.

I actually had a few flamingo lawn ornaments I got from a yard sale, leftovers as Halloween Costume, "Alice in Zombieland", I only needed one, but I bought three, you never know when you are going to need extra flamingo lawn ornaments.  I was going as a zombie hunter Alice from Wonderland and Michael was going as a zombified Mad Hatter.  If you don't remember the context of the Flamingos in Alice in Wonderland, they were used as croquet mallet by the Queen of Hearts.   

A few weeks after the flamingo lawn ornament call to arms, during a shopping trip to the states, Julia found some flamingo and pineapple string lights that would work great on her deck.  They were pretty awesome, I almost wanted to purchase them for myself.

Following a flurry of picture message exchanges with Julia about all the crazy pineapple and flamingo stuff you can buy for bathrooms I started to see Flamingos and Pineapples EVERYWHERE.  A lot of the times, it would just be a flamingo on a cup or a pineapple on a shirt, but occasionally they would appear together.  I also started to spot it on TV, once Don Cherry was wearing a flamingo suit and on How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby woke up next to a pineapple.

As a joke, I mentioned on Facebook that noticing flamingos and pineapples everywhere was all Julia's fault, sometimes the best random conversations happen because of peoples comments on Facebook statuses.  

During that Facebook convo, two tags emerged from another friend who had noticed the same phenomenon, #FlamingoPineappleConspiracy and #TropicalIlluminati.  Since #tropicallIlluminati just had a better ring to it, I found it hilariously awesome and this is how the #TropicalIlluminati was finally uncovered from centuries of hiding.

The #TropicalIlluminati discovery was a classic case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, alternatively known as the Frequency Illusion or Confirmation Basis.  This is something that everyone has experienced at some point or another.  For example, have you ever purchase a car and then started to notice that same car was everywhere?  Or when reading a book, and you discover a word you never knew before, then that word starts to appear everywhere?

While I am totally away that the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is the reason for the existence of the #TropicalIlluminati, I've still been enjoying the outcome, and it even has a longer history in my life than most of my friends are even aware.


It all started around my birthday.  I can't remember the exact birthday it was, late teens early twenties, but in any case, one year for my birthday, my good friend Katie, gave me what is to this date, the best birthday card ever.  A Pineapple.  I don't mean a card with a picture of a pineapple on it, I mean a physical pineapple, the kind you'd eat.  I don't even like to eat pineapples, and at the time I didn't even like to drink their blood, but this was by far the most memorable birthday card ever.  A fresh pineapple with the words Happy Birthday written on the tag that was attached by a little elastic to the leaves.  How many birthday cards do you remember, I bet not a one.  I have a feeling this card will be one that I remember always.

From this point on, despite my not enjoying the eating of pineapples, I've always held a fondness for them.  So when Katie announced that she was getting married, the crafty person that I am, I decided to make her a shawl as her wedding present.  

I HATED the first shawl I attempted to make.  It was a simple shell stitch, but by the time I was almost finished it, I couldn't stand it.  There was no way I was giving this hated shawl to Katie, and despite the fact the wedding was almost happening, I stopped making it.

Remembering that pineapple "birthday card" Katie gave me many years ago, I wondered if I could make a shawl with some sort of pineapple theme.  To Ravelry I went that there is a ton of pineapple themed crochet stuff and I found an awesome pattern called I Promise You Pineapples .  At this point, the wedding had come and gone and the shawl was very overdue as a wedding present.  I promise you pineapples appeared to be a pretty simple crochet and I decided to attempt it.

A year after the wedding, I finally presented Katie with a completed Pineapple Shawl. I Promise You Pineapples was a fun pattern to make and crocheted up really quickly.  I might even make another one for myself one day.  

I Promise you Pineapples

I Promise you Pineapples


Flash back forward to 2017 and the discovery of the Tropical Illuminati.  I was in a whee bit of a creative slump, having just finished my latest painting, the Alice in Wonderland Star Wars Mashup (which coincidentally also features a flamingo), and I didn't have any idea what I wanted to create next, my art supplies were sitting there, unused.

Along came the Tropical Illuminati and inspiration struck!  I knew that I had to paint Flamingos and Pineapples and give homage to the #TropicalIlluminati.

#TropicalIlluminait in Watercolour ~ July 2017, painting by Samantha Reeves

#TropicalIlluminait in Watercolour ~ July 2017, painting by Samantha Reeves

I had a lot of fun creating this painting.  This was the second time I've attempted painting water, the first time was in "C" Vancouver.  Every painting is a learning experience, while I don't think I have water "right" yet, I do think that the water in #TropicalIlluminati is a lot better than my last attempt.

If I was to redo this painting, I'd leave off the #tropicalIlluminati part on the painting itself, and add it in later on the computer.  Aside from that, I love this painting and the joy it has brought to me, my friends and hopefully the world, if #tropicalIlluminati goes viral...you never know.

Recent Tropical Illuminati Sightings

 
 

Have you discovered the Tropical Illuminati prior to reading this post?  If you have, I'd love to hear about your sightings.  If you discovered the Tropical Illuminati after reading this post, well, that's the Frequency Illusion at work again, and I love to hear about that too.

One thing I can say about all of this Flamingo and Pineapple fun, I now know how to spell Illuminati without looking it up each time.  

Update July 31, 2017 ~ I submitted Tropical Illuminati to Urban Dictionary and it was ACCEPTED!  That makes me so excited.

Update November 8, 2017 ~ My friend Julia, formerly of Vancouver Crafty Geeks has re-branded and you can now find her at Wayward Pineapple Creations.  Her newest blog post is her about her interactions with the #TropicalIlluminati, check it out!: A Conspiracy of Pineapples

Potato Chips, my own worst enemy

Alice in Wonderland

I love chips, they're my weakness (well them and noodles, but that's a different blog post waiting to be written).  Those salty tangy deep fried deliciousness in every bite potato chips.  Once I start eating them I seems to have zero self control to stop.  Those thin flat circles of potatoey goodness.  One bite and I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland, falling down a hole of potato chip indulgence. One chip is all it seems to take. I will eat them until I am full and then eat them tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.  I have found that the only way to stay out of this downward spiral is to abstain from eating even one. If one chip makes it's way from the bag or bowl and into my hand then into my mouth I will feel just rotten.  I don't mean rotten in the sense that I have no self-control and I'm emotionally wrought over it, I mean rotten because chips make me feel terrible.  My stomach hates them.  I get all bloated and yucky and gross. It takes at least 4 days after the last chip is consumed to feel somewhat normal again, and almost an entire week until I feel totally normal.  If you read my Stomach Problems post, you can imagine waiting an entire week to feel normal is actually quite hard for me cause of all the other foods that make me feel yucky.

The reason that I'm bringing up my total lack of self control when eating chips is because I feel the last few weeks have been like that, little to no self control when it has come to making good food choices. Any thing that looks tasty or smells good or I just plain want it, I've eaten.  In all honesty it really hasn't been that bad, but now that I'm in crunch time to fit into a bridesmaid dress I really shouldn't be overindulging.

I picked up the bridesmaid dress two weeks ago and it fits, sort of.  I need someone else to do up the zipper for me and it's tight, quite tight.  I can wear it as is because at least I don't look like a sausage trying to pop out of it's casing.  The dress is actually quite flattering and looks good on me.  It's just really, really tight (around the upper body area).  I have a fear that wearing this dress all day, at an outdoor wedding that is taking place in a day camp with lots of activities, will not be the most comfortable thing I could do.  Since the dress cost a bit of money I would really like to wear it the entire day and not just for the ceremony and photos.

It's time to take back control over my food choices instead of letting my taste buds make the decisions for me.  Yesterday I managed to resist the chocolate cake that was calling to me from the lunch room at work and in the evening I avoided eating a piece of delicious apple pie that was calling to me and whispering sweet nothings into my ear. I must go "cold turkey".  I do know that denying yourself everything isn't good either, but for some time there I was doing really well with having only one dessert per week (usually saved for Sunday dinner) and I'm going to get back to that.  To help aid in my new-old quest I'm going to keep track of everything I'm eating using the my fitness pal app on my iPhone.  Hopefully this will help me get back on track and re-gain control over those taste buds.