Thursday, 13 May 2010

Growing up.

Right, not so long ago, I made a promise to blog at least once a week. Do you remember that promise? Yes, that's right. It's the one that I broke. I do apologize to all of my blogger fans (ha!) for not sticking to my word. But of course, as soon as I took a breather from the first round of assignments, the next load came hurtling towards me. However, things have now changed.


I've actually finished university for the summer. I can hear you all screaming 'slacker' at me ... but I don't care! I've worked bloody hard this year and I'm hoping that will pay off when I get back my results in June. Even though I've prepared myself to fail this one essay. It was for a feminism class. Need I say more? Anyway, fingers crossed, I am now free until the end of September. I know that 5 months is a long time to have off, but I intend to have a pretty busy summer. I'll be spending a lot of time with friends and family and I'm going to Latitude Festival again. And most importantly, it's my birthday and I'll finally be one of the last of my group of friends to wave goodbye to my teenage years. Hence the point of this blog - I'm finally growing up. It's so weird to think that I have only one more year left of my degree left to do. It's honestly been probably the best time of my life and I'll miss it. Even the work. EVEN the feminism essays. Well, no; that's a lie. Anyway, it's really strange how quickly these two years have gone. And I'm petrified that I have to actually go into the big, bad world soon. I have to get a real job, for one, which is scary enough in itself. Well, after I've done my teaching qualification, which is what I want to do when my degree's over. I think. What scares me the most is that, in theory, next year I have to choose what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. Which is a bloody long time. Well, hopefully. Providing that my aches and pains don't get to me first. Or that I don't sleep myself into a coma, which is highly probably. Oh dear, my digressions are becoming a little too pessimistic for my liking.

However, although it's a scary thought that I'm 'all grown up', there are perks to it. I'm moving out for starters! My lovely uni bunch and I are getting a house for our last year of uni. And it's going to be bloody amazing. I'm so excited. Scared too, of course, but I still can't wait. In fact, I've got another house viewing in the morning, and instead of getting my needed 12-or-so hours of sleep, I'm here yapping your ears off. Well, your eyes actually - but if I say eyes, it doesn't really work. Hm.

I'll love you and leave you all for now. But I actually will try to write every week, now that I have no real excuse not to. We'll see how long that one lasts, eh? Until next time!

Have a good one kids.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

'Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it.'

Today I went to see 'Remember Me' with my best friends. I've been looking forward to seeing it for a while, because the trailers looked really good and because I will openly admit that I'm a little bit too in love with Robert Pattinson. Not just because he's Edward Cullen (yes, I'm a Twilight nerd and PROUD) but because I think he's talented. And him being very beautiful doesn't hurt either. So, I woke up this morning and the sun was blaring through my windows, putting me in a glorious mood even before I had chance to think about the events of the day ahead. The next part of this blog will involve some major spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film and want to then you should probably stop reading here. But feel free to come back once you have seen the film. And you may take this opportunity to go and read my other blogs, if you already haven't. Y'know, if you fancy it that is. Sorry, I'm digressing again.

What a film! I thought at first it might just be a run of the mill rom-com, but it was more than that. Although it was pretty funny in some parts and the relationships explored were very sweet. But like I say, there was much more to it, including a real shocker of an ending! Tyler is the protagonist and is played by the lovely Rob. Yes, we're on shortened first name terms ... it's okay to be jealous. Anyway, Tyler gets himself arrested at the start of the film and then gets involved with the police officer's daughter Ally, with the intent of using her to get revenge against her father. But they fall in love and after a turbulent time for both of them (as they both have pretty big family problems that are addressed both sensitively and realistically) they live happily ever after. The ending scenes show how all of the characters' stories have been wrapped up nicely and I was preparing to leave the cinema with a warm glow. Or so I thought. Cut to Tyler's little sister being at school and the teacher writing the date on the chalkboard. September 11th 2001. Cut then to Tyler looking out of the window of his Dad's office, waiting for him to arrive. The camera pans out, slowly revealing the location of the office. One of the highest floors of the one of the Twin Towers in New York.

My little heart sank. I knew what was coming then, but I was no less sad when it did. The film skipped to the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings without presenting the actual event - which was a good move in my opinion as it prevented it from becoming simply another disaster movie - and just showed the devastation of all the characters when they realised what had happened and that Tyler was gone. The final scene showed Ally on a train with a slight smile on her face and I got the feeling that we were being shown that there was hope for her still. That even after all of the shit she'd encountered in her life, and after losing Tyler, she still had a future and a life to live. So even though the film had a shockingly sad twist, the ending gave the audience a positive message to take away. One of the quotes also left quite the imprint on my friends and myself; "Our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch" ... Food for thought there, kids.

If you chose to read this having not watched the film and are thinking that the story doesn't seem for you, fair enough. But I will make the point that even if you don't like the plot, it was such a well done film. The twist literally came from nowhere and I can't stress that enough. So because of that, it made so much more of an impact. Even in the cinema I heard gasps and the heartbroken sniffles of teary-eyed teenage girls (although I will add that I was not one of these girls. I don't cry y'see. Like ever. But this is another issue for another blog). Anyway, it was a genuinely good watch and really got my friends and I talking afterwards about the much bigger issues at hand. Chloe, one of the previously mentioned best friends, made a heartbreaking point from the film. She said that that must have been exactly how it was for the real victims of the 9/11 bombings; it was an incomprehensible shock and created such devastation for so many people. And, of course, she's right. I remember exactly where I was when I heard about 9/11. I was in my first year of secondary school, chilling with friends in our lunch hour. It meant nothing to us really, as kids from across the world. We didn't understand the full extent of the situation. Although I do recall rushing home that night to phone my now-estranged Dad, who lives in America, to check that he was okay. My 11 year old mind couldn't distinguish that Ohio, where he lives, is actually about 500 miles away from New York - but I felt better for it anyway. As I've grown up though, I've realised the devastation it caused and I don't think I can really put into words how it makes me feel. Terrorism is one of the lowest acts of the human race and anyone capable of even considering it doesn't deserve a life. I know that sounds harsh, but if someone is prepared to take the lives of thousands of good, innocent people and ruin even more lives because of these losses then why do they deserve to have the thing they have denied of these people? They don't, in my opinion. Even now it all makes me so angry. Too angry. Angry enough that I can't actually write much more about it here, at the moment. Maybe I'll come back to it in another blog.

Anyway, I am off my soap box and ready to wrap things up for now. I fully urge anyone to go and see 'Remember Me'. For a good laugh, for a good cry or even for a good Rob-fest. After you've watched it, spare a thought or two for all the people who's lives were altered by the events of 9/11 ... or any other global disaster for that matter. It'll make you appreciate life, if only for the length of time you spare those thoughts. And even for that short amount of time, it's worth it.

Have a good one kids.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

My new addiction.

It's official. I have a new addiction. It has descended upon me in the form of a game. A quiz machine game. And it goes by the name ... ELIMINATOR! It's not just any game though. It is the most compulsively obsessive thing I have ever seen in my entire life and the discovery of it was a happy accident. My lovely friends and I were at our usual haunt of The Hare of the Dog, our uni pub, and we decided to have a quick play on the quiz machine. Nothing new there, as we quite often do this. Cold pint in hand, friendly banter and harmless competitiveness. Bliss. So, having played a couple of the usual games, we decided to take a risk on a new game. This was the birth of the addiction.

'I don't believe that any stupid pub game can be that amazing', I hear you all say. I would have agreed, until Eliminator made itself known. But now I know this statement is incorrect. It managed to keep us in the pub for almost ten long hours. We drank ourselves into a stupor, used up endless pound coins ... and won three back in return. I am aware that I have just potentially admitted to both a gambling and drinking problem, but I'm prepared to let that slide for now. In the name of Eliminator.

'Okay', I hear you say once more, 'what exactly is the purpose of this so-called amazing game?' Well, I'm not going to explain Eliminator to you. I think that it deserves to explain itself. So, I urge you all to go to your local pub and find the quiz machine there. If it is an adequate machine, Eliminator will be on it. And if you're lucky enough to have The Hare of the Dog as your local, there's a good chance you will win big, judging by the previously mentioned stupid amounts of money we wasted.

I am aware that this is possibly one the saddest and most pointless blogs I will probably ever write. And you know something? I don't care. I'm pleased to think that this wondrous discovery and day got the recognition it deserved. And I hope it gave anyone reading a few minutes of light relief from their busy days. Good old Eliminator! Um yes, in theory, I did just thank the game. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear ...

Have a good one kids.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Wanderer Returns.

Oh my, it's been a looooong time since I last blogged. What with uni work, job work, friend time and family time I've hardly had time to sleep, let alone blog. Okay, that's a lie. I always make time for sleep. Anyone who knows me knows that no sleep equals a very unhappy Tina. Hell, I'm usually still exhausted even after a full night of sleep, so I don't think my body would physically allow me to not have time for it. I digress. Anyway, I am back! I'm going to try to blog at least once a week from now on, and hope that people still bother to read my rambles. If they ever did in the first place.

I thought I'd ease myself back into the world of blogging with a fun-filled one. A good friend of mine recently created a post about the things that make him happy. I decided to shamelessly steal his idea and do one of my own. So, here are some of the things that make me happy in life ...

My best friends.
My Mom.
My cat, Rex.
Britney Spears.
Freddie Mercury.
Songs that can affect my mood.
Music in general.
Lyrics and poetry.
Books that can alter me as a person.
Films that make me laugh.
Films that make me cry.
Writing for no reason about nothing in particular.
Road trips.
Long train journeys.
Any other form of sleep.
The stuffed bear I've had since I was born.
'Seeing' someone - the perks of a relationship without the hassle.
Being there for people when they need me.
My birthday.
Other people's birthdays.
University and my degree.
Lying in bed thinking my deepest thoughts as I drift off.
Long talks with those closest to me.
Catch ups with people I don't talk to that often.
Watching films all night and catching up on sleep all the next day.
Chilling in my joggers with those who don't care what I look like.
Playing games on my Wii.
Going on nights out or even just to the pub for a couple.
Hall parties.
Meeting new people.
Doing the kids' birthday parties at work.
Having the smell of someone I care about linger after they've gone.
Waking up to unread text messages.
Texts telling me that someone is thinking about me.
Inside jokes.
Quoting stupid film or TV lines with my friends.
Having a good old sing song.
Latitude festival.
Compliments - but only genuine ones.
Cuddles and kisses.
Good grammar and big words (sad, I know).
People having nicknames for me.
Social networking.
Uncontrollable and contagious laughter.
Love - both of the platonic and romantic types.

So, there we go. A big list of things that make me happy. You may learn things about me from reading it; you also may have got bored and skipped to here. Fair play. Either way, I enjoyed writing this blog, and I feel cheerier after doing so. Have a go - think about the things that make you smile. It may just brighten your day.

Have a good one kids.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The (not - so?) Lovely Bones and a slight rant.

Today I went with my best friend to go and see The Lovely Bones. Now, we've both been excited to see the film for a long time as we're both huge fans of the book. It tells the story of Susie Salmon, a fourteen year old girl who is murdered by one of the men in her neighbourhood. Don't worry, I've not given away any of the plot as this is revealed in both the trailer and in the blurb of the book, if you're interested in either. The book is simply brilliant. It's gripping. It's original. It's creative. It's clever. It's also upsetting, yes, but strangely life affirming. It makes you think about what you've got and that you should live every day as if it's your last. It also makes you question life after death, and what this term could actually mean. Plus, I seem to have an unconscious love for depressing novels and movies, so it was automatically a winner for me.

So, today I wake with a smile (and not just because I've had a lovely, long sleep as per usual) and walk with an extra spring in my step, knowing I'm finally going to watch The Lovely Bones after all this time. I meet Amy, the bestie, from uni and off we trot to the cinema in Birmingham. We take our seats just as the adverts are beginning, and see trailers for other films we want to see, one of which I'll come back to later. The adverts finish. The final lights in the cinema dim. The opening credits begin. We settle down to have our minds filled with visual loveliness for the next couple of hours.

And after all that? The film was a let down. I mean a complete let down. It was good, there's no denying that. I know 'good' is a poor term for someone doing an English degree, but I can't really describe it any other way. It wasn't bad but it wasn't amazing, as it quite easily could have been. The material was all there, in the form of 300 - or - so glorious pages of fiction, but the director could have done so much more with it. This surprised me, as Peter Jackson's films usually have people raving. I can't see that happening with The Lovely Bones, sorry Pete. I think that perhaps if I hadn't read the book first, I may have loved it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I did like it. The acting was top notch. Saoirse Ronan (I don't have a clue how to pronounce her first name, but it looks pretty) was brilliant as Susie. She portrayed a broken child immaculately, from beginning to end. Stanley Tucci was even better as her murderer. Every time he came on screen, I could feel the hairs on my arms stand on end. He was so unnerving and believeable it was frightening. Finally, Mark Wahlberg played Susie's dad and captured the unimaginable heartbreak of the father of a dead child impeccably. Yeah, I can't pick faults with the actors. It was just everything else that made Amy and I grumble on the train home. Firstly, there was a lot missed out. I knew this was unavoidable, but I felt there were important aspects of the novel that were completely overlooked. A couple of these were probably a bit gruesome for the 12A rating, but at the end of the day surely a story with adult themes should have a more adult rating? I don't know, maybe I'm just a bit horrible for wanting the grim parts included, aha. I also thought that some of the parts included were a bit pointless and that certain scenes seemed to have been dragged out. The visuals of Susie's heaven were beautiful, but I do think that Peter Jackon went a bit CGI crazy, and that these were probably the scenes that could have been shortened or cut.

For all of these reasons, although The Lovely Bones was enjoyably watchable, I was gravely let down by it. And because of this I now have a topic to rant about. I would love to know why, if the showbiz folk insist on doing so, when movie adaptations are made of novels the stories aren't stuck to more closely. Don't get me wrong, I get genuinely excited when I know a book I love is being made into a film, and on some occasions films have made me go and read their novel predecessor. However, if you're going to do it then do it bloody right! Granted, sometimes they are done to a tee (for example, Closer is a perfect, almost word for word adaptation of the play it is based on), but more often than not, in my personal experience, one is always left disappointed. The Time Traveler's Wife is a perfect example. The novel is beautiful, as is the film, but again I couldn't help but feel let down by all of the deviations made from the original story. Confessions of a Shopaholic is based on two of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic novels (some of my not-so-guilty pleasures when it comes to reading) and that was so different from the books that I pretty much watched it as a seperate entity from them. I just don't get how it is that film makers can make their work pretty much as long as they like now, and have almost infinite sources to make them as close to perfection as is humanly possible, yet people who are bookworms more often than not leave disappointed at these film adaptations. I return now to one of the trailers I mentioned earlier. Nicholas Sparks' Dear John is one of my favourite books. I think it has wonderful characters, a gripping story and is written beautifully. In a couple of months time it will be hitting cinemas. And, as brilliant as the trailer looks, I'm currently shitting it. I adore the book and naturally will watch the film, but I have a sinking feeling that this recurring disappointment will visit once more when I see it. I'm crossing my fingers and toes, but who knows. Ooh, that rhymed. I'm a poet and I didn't know it, ha. Oh my, I think this is a sign that I need to stop writing now, go and get me some juice and then continue my Life Writing work.

If you've read this far, well done and big kudos to you. If you've skipped to here ... I don't blame you, you get small kudos for being so sneaky. Anyway kids, lessons learnt today are that film adaptations are more often than not a let down, and that perhaps the movie makers should think twice and not make them at all if they're just going to do them badly. Oh, and also that it's a bit creepy when middle aged men go to see films on their own and only laugh at the parts that involve the murderer ... but that's another story for another blog.

Have a good one kids.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A good way to spend a dreary afternoon ...

Okay, so, one of my friends recently introduced me to a website and it's a brilliant place to waste a few minutes or, quite easily, a few hours. It's perfect if you're having one of those days where everything's going tits up and you're just thinking "oh FML!" Ha, see what I did there? How witty. Well, not so witty now that I pointed it out and mentally patted myself on the back for doing so. Boo. Anyway, FML is classic. Basically, people go on there and post unfortunate incidents and moments in their lives, followed by the ever effective exclamation 'fuck my life'. I am aware that this may sound rather depressing, and me raving about it may seem rather cruel; but it's hilarious! The things that happen to these people! Some make me crease, some make me cringe and some even make me want to cry. It's mint though because as you sit reading these quirky little anecdotes, you can imagine people all over the world doing the same thing and shaking their head for these unfortunate souls. For a moment, you get an insight into someone else's life and you almost feel connected to these strangers for that moment.

And of the best part of FML? You end up thinking that perhaps your day wasn't all that bad after all. Who'd have thought a website could do that, eh?

Have a good one kids.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Pure comedy gold!

Okay, so on Wednesday I was on the train and I overheard probably the best conversation I have ever encountered in my life. Now, bear in mind whilst reading, that the two men in question were both Brummies. Why, I hear you ask, is this important? You'll see ...

Man on Phone: *Chattering away about boring, trivial things*
'Second Man' enters carriage. He spots 'Man on Phone'.
Second Man: (Excitedly to 'Man on Phone') Excuse me. Excuuuse me.
'Man on Phone' stares at 'Second Man', pointing to his phone impatiently. 'Second Man' stands calmly waiting for his attention.
Man on Phone: (Into phone, sighing) Can I ring you back in a minute?
'Man on Phone' hangs up, and puts his phone away in his pocket.
Man on Phone: Yes mate, can I help you?
Second Man: Well I just needed to ask you something.
Long pause.
Second Man: Are you Welsh!?
Even longer pause.
Man on Phone: (Incredulously) Do I bloody well sound Welsh!?
Second Man: (Grumpily) Well I don't know do I? I've never met anyone from Wales before!
'Second man' exits carriage. 'Man on Phone' looks around dazedly.
Man on Phone: What a nutter.
'Man on Phone' pulls out his phone again, and resumes his earlier conversation. This time he keeps looking over his shoulder.