Sunday, 31 January 2010

"It's like Bleeding Gums Murphy has taken over your facebook page. xD"

I am currently in love with this song:
They are the Japanese Bon Jovi / 80s Reggae band (this song not being a Reggae one, of course).
First heard it cause it's been used for the intro theme of a new Anime I'm watching, Durarara!
It's by the same people that did another I really enjoy, so I gave it a go etc. It's ok, so far. Only 4 episodes in, and it's not quite as hooking as Baccano!, but at the same time I know that there's some point to doing each character's back story per episode.

Speaking of the Baccano! theme, I've wanted to play it on my sax for a while, and so I thought I'd see if I can get the sheet music either free or for a reasonable price online. Turns out some douche has transposed if for the violin, of all instruments, so I've spent this afternoon relearning how to transpose stuff. I've written out the entire score (without the bass backing unfortunately) for my saxophone. Fun times. It's been causing me to have flashbacks to GCSE Music and Grade 5 theory.
Having gone over in pen, so it's more legible than my blunt pencil, and making it look shiny, I've just played the intro vid (since the full version of the song differs to the intro sheet music) and it seems to work! \o/ I just hope it sounds ok on the sax, otherwise that's a good...2 hours wasted. =D

So, I've been moaning in my facebook status(es) about my lack of saxophone in the near vicinity - I don't care what time it is, I want to play! Hence the comment I've quoted as my blog title.

I stayed up stupidly late last night, and slept a little longer than I planned, but I can still feel sleep playing at my eyes. Good. I've got to be up at a normal time tomorrow, so that Tuesday isn't too much of a torture at 7.30am. (7.45 actually getting out of bed...) I anticipate freezing water on Tuesday. Again. I've started having breakfast and such first, then rushing a lukewarm shower at about 8.20 in order to be dressed by 8.45 latest to be at my lecture probably more than 5 minutes early. Such is life.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The latest female sanitary product is priced at $499.

Yes, ladies (and gents), Apple has released its latest products, and I am certainly not the first nor last person to snigger and come up with endless jokes about the name they've given it.

Yes, the iPad has taken the internet by storm. I first heard of it on Facebook, after friends were making jokes, and then an article was posted from, which has a wonderful list of great internet jokes about this poorly named app.
It would appear that there are no women on the iPad's creation team, as well. Tut tut Apple.

I have so far been more amused by some (the minority, fortunately) reactions to the jokes made by men and  especially women about the new digital age of experiencing one's period. Apparently it's disgusting to joke about. Per-lease. Grow up.
It's a natural occurrence in about 50% of the world's population. You can't hide from it, you can't not joke about it (since you boys come up with far cruder, disgusting and even worrying jokes on sites such as 4chan and in your macho company) and frankly, if you're scared about periods more than you are about being a father, then good luck finding a woman who'll have a hysterectomy for you.

But seriously. So far I'm unimpressed - it just looks like a clumpy and new version of the iPod touch, to me, but there we go. According to one top guy in an article listing things wrong with it, it's "the size of a small t.v dinner tray". There's also general problems like a garish backlit LCD screen that drains batteries and all that technical nonsense.
Software-wise, it's still lacking flash, and apparently the screen resolution isn't big enough. (though the suggested res is pretty much negligible, apparently)
And it's got no webcam. Boohoo.
And once again Apple is making it and its software exclusive and it'll be impossible to install anything else. But then, I'm not as surprised as The Boyfriend appeared to be at this news.

Ah well. I'm ok. I can get a pack of 10 from Sainsbury's for less than £4.

"Round and round, here we go again; the same old stuff never ends"

It's the end of my third week here at university. I'm over half way through my entire degree. Sh*t.
I'm starting to wonder if I can even hack the third year - I'll have so much more than I have to do now, and if I don't quite keep up now, then how will I manage writing 4 term essays, seminar work and the bloody dissertation at the same time? >.<

Ah well. I shan't worry about that now. I have to think ahead. To next week. Or the next 5 weeks. I suspect Week 5 will be the last fun week I have this term. Not a lot happens around here, and it's even less exciting since few people don't think they'll enjoy *any* social suggestions made, or they can't be bothered to make the effort to get their ass on a bus (with a bus pass, so it's not as though they've got money issues), or suggest you tag along to their whatever. Their loss, I suppose. [/ego]
Fussiness isn't something I have time for - I've decided this year to just grab any social opportunity I can, since I learned last term that it's impossible to wait for them to come along, let alone try to organise something. Laziness is a big factor - for those not coming, largely. I try not to take it personally - I've even stopped being offended by lack of invites except for the weekly quiz, which itself is getting rather boring and repetitive since they don't fancy doing other quizzes other than the bar which also happens to be the most expensive. Unless there's only me going, in which case, yeah, I'm mildly offended that I'm not enough to keep them coming. Especially after the minor fuss created by the one week I was doing something (without them) fun.

But anyway; I'm a little concerned that I've not actually started writing my essays yet. I've chosen some, yes, and I've started finding out about some of the content for one essay which I've half-planned, in my state of ignorance. But this time last term I was already at least 300 words into one, I'm sure, and had planned others. I think this term I'll be doing the Crusade more slowly, since it will be coming up in lectures and seminars to come, and I'll start my Della Porta essay soon since I'm doing seminar work on it this Wednesday/week. I suppose I do have it covered, really.
Maybe I'm just angsty cause I'm spending the weekend at Bournemouth, end of week 4, start of week 5. The journey was planned down to the very last detail around the weekend before Week 1 officially started. I would have gone earlier in the year, but week 5 was better for us psychologically - that way we've broken the time we don't see each other in half. It should be a good 4 days.

Friday 5th: Arrive at 10.15pm by train (Nice...)
Saturday 6th: Accompany him to Poole, where he can do his comic buyage, and then we'll slowly drift through the great shopping centre to see if I can find me some clothes I like (!) Then in the evening, we got a dinner date with the Anime Society there. All-you-can-eat Chinese. Good times.
Sunday 7th: Couple time?
Monday 8th: He goes to work and I'll wander around or do some of my own. Maybe cook him something nice for lunch? Got nothing else to do, and I learn new stuffs as I go looking for a nice recipe.
Tuesday 9th: He goes to work, but gets afternoon off, and we do stuffs.
Wednesday 10th: I get on a train at around 13:45 to get back to Lancaster at around 7 in the evening. And I cry in my room before getting on with the rest of uni work.
And then on Friday 12th, it's the History Society's charity ball. 80s theme. I can't wait - plus you know, I'm hyped cause of my cool as outfit. I've not been in this Revolution yet, since it's so expensive. But we've got an entire half of the room privately booked for free, with only £50 spent on the 80s décor. Cheapest ball. Ever.

See, week 5, I've no seminars to deal with, so I can spend the weekend on my Tuesday seminars for the next week, and then the rest of the week is fine for seminar work, so I'll be working on essays. I bet it's just my luck though that the notes on Tuesday's lectures are exactly what I need for the Crusade essay...Oh well. It's a risk I'll have to take, and extra reading I'll have to do.

I love going to Bournemouth. It's a shame the history course there is so... well. Yeah. Not great. But the town is really nice, and it's all laid back there. There's night-life worth having, for most music-groups and dress styles, and you can walk EVERYWHERE. I envy him for that. I can understand why he hates coming home to Cambridge over the holidays - we're stuck where transport is concerned. I get frustrated because of the cost and infrequency. He gets frustrated cause he has to use it at all. Sucks. It's a bit expensive to live there, too, though. Housing is a bit pricey. And I suppose I can criticise some of the crazy infrastructure and the crazy drivers of said infrastructure. God, they're almost as bad as A1307 users.
But most of all, it's got my Man-thing there. <3

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Failed almost-feminist Odette.

This has been buzzing around my brain since I watched The Swan Princess all the way through, last. I'm not a "raging" feminist as such, as I've said in a previous blog, but this actually annoyed me, marginally. It's almost as though Richard Rich, the director, wants to create a strong, courageous sort of femme fatale, but remembers, after spending all that time on the scenes prior to kidnap, that according to Swan Lake, upon which this is based, she must love Derek whatever, and take his love for whatever naffness it is, otherwise the entire plot goes belly up.

The modernised version of Tchaikovsky's Odette showed promise in the early part of the film; as a child she was fiesty, showing that she does indeed, 'wrestle, fight or box', rather than some prissy little girl in a pink dress with a matching Alice-band. She comments that Derek is 'conceited', and proceeds to dislike him as mutually as he dislikes her as they grow up, wrecking their 'boys only' treehouse, beating him at cards every game, and at the same time maintaining the stereotypical beauty befitting a princess; tall, slim, curves, thick blonde hair. Nice.
On the ''realisation scene'', where Derek and Odette realise their feelings for each other, the lyrics sung are thus:

"I see his smile and my knees start buckling. I see inside him and my doubts are gone"
"She started out as such an ugly duckling and has suddenly became a swan".

Quite clear which of the two is shallower - which is further emphasised by Derek's (hilarious) stammer "what else is there?" in reply to Odette's short inquisition into whether beauty is all that matters to him. She has ignored her father's urge to not question her would-be fiancé, and even refused to marry him on grounds that she ''need[s] to know that he loves [her] for just being [her]". Sock it to em, girl.

However this all goes down the pan in a short interval: She is a part-time swan for a few months, and suddenly all the shallowness of Derek (which is never clearly resolved) counts for 0, for despite that, she loves him and he's the only male around in the vicinity that knows her non-swan identity.

At least she does take the initiative to find Derek, since he can't find her, and maintains a frosty, rebellious demeanour towards her captor, Rothbart, and even calls him names. She even, yes, she even has a go at manipulating him (but it's a spectacular failure).


For some reason that has annoyed me more than perhaps it would normally. Perhaps it's because on some level I know the only reason they made her so cool as a child was to gain pro-Odette teams from viewers, as well as pro-Derek, and to make her seem more likeable, but then again, it ruins it for me in some ways, because at least with every other cartoonised classic or fairytale, the female protagonist is at least neutral or more obviously pathetic from the start rather than half-way through, without backing down from what should be quite moralistic principles for a children's film.

Maybe this is why it's considered one of those films which you do eventually grow out of, purely because of the inadequate inconsistencies...  (Personally, I'll probably keep singing all the songs. And watch it. I mean, the growing up song is great.)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

My Top Cartoon Villains

This is largely inspired by the Top 100 Disney villains, but I didn't agree with some of the ordering, and I also want to consider non-Disney villains. I'll do the list from Pathetic-> Cool. I would number them as I go, but I can't even be sure how many I'll have in the end. ^_^ Not 100, don't worry.

Dastardly (and Mutley)
Well what can I say about this villainous duo? They're in at least 3 cartoons and never achieve their goal. They always lose in amazing ways, and never ever keep a hold of Penelope Pitstop. His clothes, though made of the regal colours of purple and red, do nothing for him, and the only thing creepy about him is his weirdly thin moustache which really looks more like nose hair! 
Skinner (Ratatouille)
He's short, he's got a MASSIVE chef hat (ho hum) and he has a great disliking to poor, pathetic Languini who might (is) be the illegitemate son of his deceased boss, and therefore the new owner of one of the most famous and popular restaurants in Paris. His entire plan gets foiled. By a rat. Nice.



The Groke (The Moomins)
The source of nightmares for my brother, and no doubt other Moomins fans, this she-monster is really the most misunderstood ''villain'' of Japanese cartoons. Silent apart from one horribly haunting screaming of ''I'll be back'', she really only wanted the affection of Moomin (in the books) and pretty objects stolen by midgety duo Thingumy and Bob.

Magneto (X-men Evolution series)
Really, he's just an old man in a suite with slightly better aging abilities than the average mutant. He can bend steal and make cool "vooooooooom" noises, and sure, he wants to create a mutant-ruled world, wiping out all weakling, degenerate humans, but honestly in the end he has to fight WITH his enemies and even is seen in a prediction of Xavier joining the X-men. He's just a so-called freedom fighter with a brain.

The Witch of the Waste (Howl's Moving Castle)
For some reason she curses a hatshop girl and turns her into an old woman, hinting that perhaps she should seek out Howl, a vane, cowardly wizard that hides from everything. In the book she's far more impressive, but in this film, she's more easily to feel sympathetic to, since Howl had "pursued" her, to ditch her for not being beautiful. She's then got her powers stripped and turns into this kindly if pathetic granny figure.

Tai Lung (Kung Fu Panda)
Ah, here we have a villain that made an admirable attempt. He knew his goal, was a steroid-pumped-looking leopard and his whiskers made a stereotypical Chinese moustache. Not to mention the kick-ass kung fu and weird-ass survival ability. Unfortunately he's defeated by fat panda who understood the world surprisingly better than most people.


Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Actually, he's one of my personal favourite characters. He's vain, he's devious (when he thinks, and that's a dangerous pastime) and there's something delicious about his voice. I don't know what it is. Oh and ''every last inch of (him) is covered with hair". Come on. Who doesn't love that scene? He's the ultimate beast of the film, teaching us that beauty is only skin deep yada yada. Actually, it's one of my favourite fairy tales, but not really cause of the film...


Scar (The Lion King)
He committed fratricide, guilt-tripped his cub-nephew and goaded him into running away before setting 3 (stupid) hyenas on him, took over the throne as King of the Jungle, has a fantastic voice-actor (Jeremy Irons) and meets his end ultimately being betrayed by his equally betrayed Nazi-like army of hyenas. The images and connections made with him to McBeth, Hamlet and historic scenes are endless for students.

Beatrice, the Golden Witch (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)
This is a witch of timelessness. She brutally tortures and kills a family in a ritual to regain her body over and over again for 26 episodes, whilst one member of said family tries in vain to prove that she doesn't exist (I know, right?). She's sometimes a vindictive character, othertimes a tragic one. Which is she really? Nobody really knows - it depends on how the 'game' is played that time around...

Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
She has the bestest fashion sense ever - her make up is so 80s. Not to mention a wonderfully un-American voice, an evil laugh, a raven and weird little gremlin minions. She can turn into a dragon, and from the descriptions of her by the Fairy Godmothers, she is even a psychopath and feels no emotion. Except perhaps sadism, and the indignation at not being invited to the Princess's christening party.

Rail Tracer (Baccano!)
He's a myth. Or so they thought - he kills people on trains, and makes it as though they never existed. He is part of the gory catastrophe upon the transcontinental train The Flying Pussyfoot. He judges humans as he goes, marking those who've ever done something truly bad in their life time before finding some way of ripping the flesh from their skin or beheading them or something bloody.

Rothbart (The Swan Princess)
Here is a character that actually makes me laugh, with his sarcasm and weird potential-domestic-abuser comments. His voice actor must have had great fun doing the voice. His voice is corny whispered, his song is jazzy, and he has turned a princess into a part-time swan, for the sake of forcing her to either marry him and give him her kingdom, or to just give him her kingdom. Either's good. He also plays havoc with poor shallow Prince Derek's vow of everlasting love by making him give it to the (obviously) wrong girl, which is a death sentence for Swan-formed Odette.

Yagami Light, a.ka. Kira (Death Note)
A righteous student gets hold of a Death Note(book) dropped by a mischievous Death God, Ryuk. He decides he can change the world with this, by judging all criminals, killing them off in huge numbers in his bedroom, attracting the attention of police and secret agents everywhere. His idea may seem noble at first, but in the end he gets a sick thrill out of the circles he runs around L, his adversary, and becomes quite obviously psychotic; he thinks of himself as a god, emotionally abuses a misguided girl, drives his unsuspecting father to his death and then eventually is caught after a long 38 episodes. His eyes glow read, too, when he's writing down names. How weird is that?

     Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
The mentioning of Light brings on my (cut down version) comparison of Frollo, the righteous high judge and Light. Both want to rid the world of corruption, and both go crazy. Only difference really is that Frollo gets a real hard on for Esmarelda (he is a real pervert. Just watch his Hellfire song on Youtube), an outspoken Gypsy, (Light doesn't for L, as far as we know) and he's living in the days when even Frollo wouldn't presume to aspire to the level of a deity. No, he follows God's commands instead. He is the embodiment of a religious fanatic that truly believes what he is doing is right, and there is *no* way his soul is going to hell. He also kinda talks like a rapist - "she led me on wearing that outfit", "she put the thoughts in my head. I tried to stop them", "she should choose me or death at the stake".

The First Homunculus (Full-metal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
I'm ignoring the original series version, since I've not actually watched it. But this thing is evil - a weird alchemical experiment that tricks an entire province into creating a human transmutation circle, wiping an entire population in one night, he takes on the form of the poor slave from whose blood he was made. He then goes on to make other homunculi using cities as human sacrifices, causing wars and massive bloodshed. His minions aren't too friendly either - Envy is one weird homunculus when he's not in his prettier more human form. He has a great disdain for humans, but all his underling homunculi are human emotions (the deadly sins). Currently, he's planning an entire country massacre, using the wiped out provinces to create an even bigger transmutation circle. What for? No idea. For the hell of it. Which is perhaps why he has come top so far, at the top of my head.

Next will be ''Most pathetic heroes -> least pathetic".

*Special Mention* Since talking to my brother about this blog piece (and his own consequent creation of a top 10 list), it's come to my attention that I missed out Feathers McGraw. But then he's not quite cartoon... he's plasticine (in a way Ratatouille isn't), so I guess that's why it didn't occur to me.
But that is ONE evil penguin. Seriously. He's a mastermind diamond thief! Shame he got caught and put in a zoo. And I couldn't have put it better about Mrs Tweedy myself than my brother did.

I'd also like to say I wanted to put Spirited Away's Yubaba in the list somewhere, but felt I had too many half-assed villains there.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Past writings

I found a Word document of poems I'd written over time either for school (well, one for school) or just in moments of annoyance or inspiration after a book or thinking about history.

Sometimes I can't believe I wrote some of these, other times, I think ''yeah, that was crap''. But I keep them anyway - why not? They still stir in me some emotion, so they must be at least a little good, right?

I was thinking of starting a sister blog - just for my writings, occasional creative passages or pieces, and I think I might do that. I can update it whenever I get going for example. Create categories so that if I end up writing an on-going drama/story, I can put all the chapters within that category, poems in another etc.

I think I will do that. Sounds almost like fun. 

 I'll update them at least once a day, until I run out of poems I can think of or remember. Then I'll start with random extracts of writings, or publishing an unfinished story I'd written once... Possibly.


I always feel like one small sardine in a huge school of sardines when walking up the narrow path from my lecture theatre towards my college area; the 10minute gap at ten-to-the hour is one which is the most deadly of passages of time as hundreds of students stream either (if you're lucky) in the same direction as you are to the nearest cafe or next lecture/seminar, or, if you're returning to your flat, you're probably that one poor fish, lost, as the powerful gulf stream current attempts to buff you in the direction that it is going.

Although I've been going to bed a good 9 hours before I'm supposed to awake, I've not really been getting the rest needed from my nights. It kinda sucks knowing you've woken up quite a few times in the night - not quite fully consciously - and then finding your pillows uncomfortable and your bed too warm. But of course, it's far too cold to remove the duvet, so you curl up tighter in the hope that you'll drift off again.

This morning was particularly agonising, as once again the hot water had not started to come through the system yet, by 8am. Normally it's just about bearable to wash your hair in quickly, but this morning, until about 8.20, it might as well have been a bucket of ice cubes. Fortunately, it's just once a week that I am up before 8am, but really, the heating and hot water should be on by 7.30, since that is when the majority of students attending 9am lectures will need to be up by. Days where I have a 10am lecture, I'm usually in the shower by 8.30, and the hot water is fine.
I'm sure there's a passage somewhere in the Human Rights Act that says something about it counting as torture to force someone to shower with cold water. Not to mention the long-term damage it can do to your skin and hair. (Depending on the health "expert" you listen to.)

So now, after 2 hours of sitting in the same seat, I'm back in my room, planning lunch (chicken in white wine sauce and rice? Or maybe boiled eggs and beans and toast?) and warming up a little with last night's episode of House. Fortunately, I don't have to wait until America decides that it's been an unfair amount of time before airing the newest season in every other country. Muhahaha.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

And the worst film. Possibly.

I have just watched Four Weddings and a Funeral all the way through for the first time, with my flatmates. I thought I'd watch it for the company, but also cause I've seen most, but not all, and I felt I should watch all to see if I've just missed the supposed magic that everybody talks about when referring to this "classic".

In brief:

Four Weddings and a Funeral is *the* most over-rated film known to man. Honestly. It's the film everybody says that you must see, and I *think* it's to cringe at Andie McDowell's rendition of the script, Hugh Grant's début as Himself and to go "oo look that's..." at a massive cast of actors we all recognise and/or love, looking about 17 years younger.

Good grief. I can't believe people prefer it over Notting Hill. At least Julia Roberts can act, dammit.
Nicer plot, too. I mean, yeah, in 4Ws 1F everyone pairs up. That's nice. Apart from the gay couple - one dies, instead. Yer. The best acted scene, actually, the funeral. And the sex, I guess.

But no. He falls in love with a woman. She marries somebody else, just for the sake of it. He decides he might as well marry someone with a nice face so marries a girl that's only just got past the crazy weeping stage of life without him 3 or 4 years down the line, only to jilt her at the altar, cause he found out the girl he loves has had a divorce. What's nice about that? Specially since the last few minutes include the worst delivered lines ever spoken by anybody, to be further ruined by Andie McDowell; "Is it raining? I hadn't noticed" - dull, flat, and utterly forgotten line even by the actress, just that they'd run out of money to do a better take.
Honestly, that film wasn't overly entertaining, apart from the whole fashion thing, and comparing wedding styles - I thought Anna Chancellor and her wedding dress was pretty much identical to my aunt and her wedding dress. And the funniest guy was probably the one that died, actually. Shame.
James Fleet was playing the usual sort of character - rich baffoon.
Hugh Grant was himself, as before mentioned.
Andie McDowell was being scouted for L'Oreal adverts, who ironically sponsered the film. Not kidding.
Kristin Scott-Thomas, of course, was acting, and Anna Chancellor.
But Sophie Thompson and various others were just playing characters we're used to seeing in film and t.v.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The most beautiful film I've ever seen.

From the 5-minute short film before the main feature, to the end credits of the main feature, Disney-Pixar's UP is a real treat. O.k, so there is a lot of incredibly heart-tugging ''adult content'', but that won't detract from it being enjoyable for anybody of any age - it has comedy, sensitivity and an ultimately happy ending. Giant birds, talking dogs, self-isolating old man, a crazed villain created out of a shamed explorer, more talking dogs, an annoying yet endearing fat boy scout and a house suspended by helium balloons.
What more could you possibly want?

Apart from a real life marriage as happy and beautiful as the idyllic union of Carl and Ellie, two adventure-loving wanna-be explorers that meet as children and grow old together, and dream the same dream. Unfortunately, Ellie doesn't get to live the dream, but her spirit is clearly with the old Carl, and their house.

The landscapes are fantastic, the animation amazing (even in 2D it looked pretty 3D a few times anyway) and fantastic voice actors. The soundtrack is touching and atmospheric, and the entire film will have you laughing, holding your breath, or welling up at the non-mushy sentimentality.

I've got it on pre-order already. <3

80s a-go-go

In reference to the previous blog entry: wow. It would seem that if you put your title in < > marks, it doesn't show up at all - the title had been " but apparently that's too html-y. Interesting.

Well I've got back from shopping with Hannah. Twas kinda fun. Though I'm regretting the choc-mint-icing chocolate cupcake from the Yummy Cupcake Company. That was just too... too rich a flavour.
Feel as though I've eaten too much of the left over melted bits of mint-chocolate ice cream from the bottom of a tub you've been eating for two hours.

I actually spent quite a lot in town today. Some of it unfortunately was unnecessary or wasted, but nevermind. I'll find a use for it I'm sure.
Of the list in the previous blog, I got:

Black (sparkly) nail varnish - it was cheap and my god, it looks it. It's watery black and streaks when you put it on. I'll have to practice with that.
Footless tights
Colourful beads - blue and pink. The pink was too much in the end, but I got funky neon star dangly earings which I actually somewhat adore.
Blue eyeshadow which looks *awful* so I'll have to keep playing with that - it was a 3-tone set powder stuff.
Lipgloss that isn't all that colouring after all
A tutu - it's black and purple and we bought it as a risk buy, and unfortunately it didn't pay off - it doesn't work at all. Shirt's too long. I'm just wearing my denim shorts underneath over the footless tights, and the top only shows about a centimeter of the shorts, and it's kinda cool, with the light blue showing under the black and purple.

I failed to get the book, unfortunately. Didn't really cross my mind.

I don't really want to consider how much I ended up spending on all this tat... it'll make me cry. Didn't get the t shirts I wanted from New Look - couldn't really find them. I am tempted to invest in the multi-multi-way bra from Ann Summers - it's so multi-way it has four hooks for the removable straps, which means you can do *anything*. Seriously. I could easily have two straps - one normal shoulder and one cross-shoulder like my shirt, unlike the current multi-ways which just allow you to have one side strap at a time.

Unfortunately, I can't upload a photo of me in my 80s get up, since, well, my camera no longer works with the usb connector. :(

I had briefly, the other day, considered opening another blog page as a dream journal. But then I had a rather... shall we say, nymphomaniac night (sorry, Brother and anybody else related to me), I decided perhaps that that wasn't the way to go. I had another series of weird and even distressing dreams this morning, in my post-alarm pre-waking-up-three-hours-later catch-up sleep which would have been cool to note down, but at the same time, I don't really want to think about them too much.

I'm currently also going through a phase where I really *want* to start creative writing again, but at the same time, if I plan it, that idea gets scrapped, or if I ignore the planning part, I start writing and that gets very scrapped. I guess I'm somewhat out of practice.

I've managed to merge my shopping trip with that of a friend of mine - who is somewhat of a hermit, when she's not meeting someone for a film night, or something - so wahey me. We were meeting up to see UP later at the student cinema anyway, and I don't really feel like being on my own today. Besides, she can help me with my 80s outfit tonnes. I actually really like her, (though at first I found her constant babble and at times slightly loud voice annoying at first) and it'd be cool to hang with her sometimes, when we both have nothing much else on. We have authors and some music in common and a general misfitness that we can both sympathise each other with, hah.

So. Check list for today. I should be getting:
A skirt and/or tutu (one normal, one 80s)
Footless tights
Boots and or Heels
Black nail varnish and or red nail varnish (I've never really worn either, and can find them nice colours, so this should be interesting)
Cheap lipstick/lip-gloss - preferably dark pink/red for ball
purple/blue/black eye-shadow for ball
hair spray
T-shirts I saw in New Look that I rather liked
Dress/going out top/something *nice*
And Are these my bazoomas I see before me?, by Louise Renninson. I've not read her final instalment yet, and it's finally out in paper back.

I bet I come back with at most... two of these items.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Random Ramblings.

Well this week was quite a bit busier than last - I had seminars to go to, and I received back my essays and their marks. Generally fairly pleased, for now, until I get my last one, though I was disappointed with the mark I got for my short essay - though it was fair, and a friend that did the same question got a similar mark. We both focused too much I think in such a thematic and therefore not-indepth essay. Oh well. It's a proper essay this term, so I'll also be putting far more effort in, I should think. So far I'm averaging out at 64%. Which is a bit low considering I've got to bump myself for the crapness that shall be the exams. I'm aiming for a 2:1 in my degree - since a first is impossible for me, if I'm realistic.

Today was odd, simply cause I've never had a full day such as this. If I had had a seminar for my Islam course, it would have been quite exhausting. After getting up at 8, I managed to keep myself awake and bonny-looking for my 10am, then I chilled for an hour at my college diner with a couple of friends, then I had another lecture back in the same room, after which I had lunch at said diner, then a seminar for the previous lecture topic, then I read my book (great book - Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley, her second adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast") and then had my 4pm lecture, which I admit I did start to find it hard to keep my eyes open in the last 15 minutes or so. And my handwriting suffered.

I did learn something fairly interesting though. The lecture in which I got my 'dud' essay back, he went through various things in general people got wrong - grammar, format etc. And he told us why and how to quote book titles in essays. If anybody has been reading my blog, or if one were to scroll through previous blogs, you'd see I've been putting film titles and book titles in italics - out of habit, partly, but also cause I just prefer to do so. I never realised there was an actual academic difference between using quotation marks (" ") and italic font. You should never use both, but that's just obvious.
Apparently, the reason one italics the title of a book is to show it has been published. It is a published work. If I were to put it in a normal font, in quotation marks, such as I did with ""Beauty and the Beast"", it would indicate that this was an unpublished manuscript that I was quoting from - indeed, I decided to put 'Beauty and the Beast' in quotation marks simply because it is such an old folk tale that I don't see how it can really count as being published - obviously there are many versions. I guess I *should* italicise it, but it's a bit more tricky with old fairy tales of unknown origin.

I also considered why the door exiting the corridor in the style of a french window was labelled as ''out of order", when it occured to me, quite suddenly upon reading the sign, that ''out of order'' probably comes from ''out of sorts'' or ''out of the ordinary'' - in that it's not functioning ordinarily.
Probably obvious, but then those sorts of realisations of obvious meanings are generally because they're so obvious you don't even think about it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Story of the Grocery Shopping that wasn't a chore.

You roll over, two hours later than you intended and groan. You blink bleary-eyed at your clock, which glows bright green: "11.36"

You put one foot on the floor, lean forwards and put on your computer with your opposite arm, before swinging left towards your ensuite shower room, where you begin your ablutions. Maybe 30 minutes later, after checking facebook, telling your boyfriend that staying up to talk to him last night was a bad idea, and then remembering your hair is wet from your shower, you'll actually get dressed, and even think about what to do on your day off.

By 13.34, it's far too late to go to town to do that shopping you probably should get around doing, but you know you should do some washing, get money for said washing (specific coins only), visit the porter's lodge where you have packages waiting for you, and pop to the on-campus local store to grab the necessary items that will keep the trek to Sainsbury's at bay for at least a week and a half.
You do the necessary walks about campus - open your packages back at your room, repack one of them and begin the returns procedure, then make sure you have your purse, keys and phone before heading out again to carry the parcel to the post office.

The postmistress is friendly, and you empathise with each other over the difficulty of buying nice shoes, or the price of posting. You then go to the bank, where you withdraw £5 in 20p coins, and moan with the now graduated bank clerk, who promises life gets better when you own the washing machine and tumbler drier.
Next you sigh, and try to form a shopping list, and walk around the corner to the mini supermarket. It's bright, and busy, and there are still trolleys out with fresh produce waiting to be shelved. You grab a basket, not making the same mistake as last time, when you queued for the till with your arms laden to just above your nose with heavy and even frozen goods.

As you browse about, you ponder what to purchase; some yoghurt perhaps - ooh this is on clearance offer - maybe two readymeals for upcoming outings - ooo some proper juice would be nice - ah yes, sweetcorn, I've needed this for a while... Eggs! Perfect. Mustn't forget the bread. Ooo kiwis at 10p each - I'll get a week's worth for 70p.
Your basket is a little heavy, but satisfyingly so, as you await a till to be free.

The till-operator is a fellow student - perhaps a post-graduate now. You know his face from previous trips, and you're almost sure he knows yours, but you can't help but grin at the jokes and attention he gives you. He takes the basket off you before you get a chance to lift it to the packing station. You know he's not flirting, he's just being friendly, and because of him the entire stereotype of a grumpy cashier is turned on its head.
He promises to pack your plastic bags equally, so that ''your arms will be the same length when you get home" - you grin and tell him that your arms are lopsided from years of saxophone carrying anyway, and he expresses interest as he continues. He scans each item with care, and then makes sure that there is one juice carton in each bag, one ready meal in each bag, the kiwis in one, the bread in the other, and finally you must pay for what you're buying.
This guy is always trying to make pin-codes more exciting - normally sci-fi related - but today he fell flat with a ''pop in your secret code please" and you tell him so. He laughs, and gives you the handles of the bags, which do indeed weigh more or less the exact same, balanced out so perfectly. I thank him with what I hope was a radiant smile, and he wishes you a good day.

 As you walk back with your perfectly balanced bags of shopping, you know people will probably wonder why you're grinning ear-to-ear. But you return to your flat and unpack and even try the on-offer yoghurt, which makes you decide to go back to buy more, it's that good, and realise that overall, your entire grocery shopping experience was utterly delightful.

Perhaps, just perhaps, even fun.

Monday, 18 January 2010


I am currently sinking in the knowledge that it's very likely I shall not get a 2:1 (upper 2nd) in my course on Britain in the 14th and 15th centuries. The course leader, who is also my lecturer and seminar tutor is an utterly... well he isn't uninspiring. Oh no. He inspires cynicism, depression, anger and mild fear. He is harsh on his students, he doesn't like working to departmental deadlines or rules and is constantly in breach of contract. He is big-headed, he dislike students asking questions, and generally refuses to help past saying "A good student gets good marks, a bad student gets bad marks" - Santa Claus he bloody well isn't.

Every two weeks, about 11 of us have to sit in his office, awaiting for a golf ball to allow us to speak (they're numbered, and drawn randomly. I am always last) about the topic of the week, what we have read, our opinions, and generally show off our limited knowledge on the subject. Fortunately, Grant has a rant for about 5-8 minutes at the start, does the register, banters with the retired Judge that is doing this course recreationally, and does end up doing most of the talking, but goodness. The course is so boring. If it weren't for the knowledge he'd probably fail me for handing in the essay late, even if I had an extension, rather than knock of 10 marks (actually, that probably would fail me, anyway, by his marking) I wouldn't bother at all.

I am paying about £1500 a year to sit in a stuffy, dimly lit lecture theatre 2 hours a week, listening to him read the lecture which he has lovingly typed up and photocopied and handed out to us anyway. However to get the sheet you have to turn up. I'm missing about... 5? I don't know. I might ask him for the last two or so, tell him I was looking through my stuff and found them missing.
He'd probably tell me how if I were doing a course in the days that he did, I wouldn't just have an essay a week, I'd not get given these notes - well thank god, cause I do a lot better writing out things in lectures than I do trying desperately not to nod off in the front row, reading the sheet along with him. I need to buy a new notepad specially for his course, just to write out all the sheets for revision later, and to make sure it's all ordered and organised.

My other lecturers are enthusiastic, engaging and those that use powerpoints often have a lot more to say than is written on the powerpoint, and the one that doesn't use a powerpoint gives us a lecture plan, which we can annotate as we go, giving our notes structure, if we like. Sometimes we get special handouts for extended reading.

This man, though, is the biggest waste of my time and money. I stressed over HIS essay, only. Purely because of the rules he'd laid down for essay format and content. I was scared about plagiarism. But other lecturers in the department reassured me - yes, I had to talk to another lecturer about it, purely cause he was bloody scary. You should have seen the email Grant had sent out to us towards the end of term, bitching to us about  how he has every right to make these rules blah blah. Git.
We all put blood and sweat and tears (mostly tears) into the essays, handed them in on time, and what? He hasn't read them. He doesn't see why he should stick to the deadline for marking - he's got far better things to do. Well. I'd LOVE to use that excuse, but I imagine he'd devour me in a similar way ''man-eating tigers'' would.

I don't think he has any friends on the department. He keeps telling them all to "piss off" (his words) whenever they tell him to do something, or remind him about his contract.
Whatever he does for the department had better be AMAZING, cause anybody else would have been utterly sacked by now.

I wanted to do my special subject on The Princes In The Tower, next year, but it turns out Grant is the specialist. Fine. I love that subject, at least, so maybe it won't be boring, and perhaps he'll like me just cause I chose *his* subject (yes, he's a big Scottish ego). I'll see how my essay's marked, before I make a final decision to look into the other special subject courses. :(

Sunday, 17 January 2010

"In a gadda da vida, honey / Don't you know that I'm lovin' you?"

Viva la 60s Rock'n'Roll, and the rock'n'roll that followed for a good 40 years afterwards.

Just spent about 3 and a half hours with two of my flatmates watching The Boat That Rocked (had heard good things, but not watched it. It was good) and then just talking in general about random things. It was very nice. Unfortunately, Becky's room is so beautifully tidy and empty and yet decorated, I want to cry at the state of my own cluttered and unfortunately full room. I actually want to spend tonight just. Reorganising everything - I've seen how economically the wardrobe and such can be used for clothes - she has waaaaaay more clothes than me. My bookshelves can be better spaced out, and well, I want to do that. So I will be tonight. I can wash clothes/read books tomorrow.

It's amazing how seeing how one person has made space can spur another person that fails to use space as economically on to change her ways.

Then again, I'll probably look back on this in about... 3 months time and wonder why it's still a tip in here.

So that is my blog: a statement. That I shall, by the end of Wednesday or so, have cleaned my room properly.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

"It's Complicated"

Well, no, it isn't. It's a wonderfully simple plot, but it worked. Quite well, actually.
I actually want my uncle and his ex-wife to watch this. Sort of. Except, of course, without screwing up their children in the process. Ok. Maybe they shouldn't get ideas.

But as much as I dislike Alec Baldwin, Nancy Meyers has again written a wonderful script which is a light, honestly funny piece of screenplay I've watched in a while. I'm not saying it's the best film ever, of course not, but I honestly did enjoy it. At just over 2 hours, it was just right, and the ending was sobering but without depressing the audience after the funny turmoil of a sexual relationship of madness between a divorced couple.

Meet Jane, (Meryl Streep) the ex-wife who has not really had a relationship in 10 years, save one 8-month thing with a man now married elsewhere. Her children are the only reason she sees her ex-husband, apart from some mutual friends, and they do get on. Sort of. They've learned to.
Jake (Alec Baldwin) is the adulterous husband that married a much younger, skinny thing, and took on her illegitimate child, and is clearly very unhappy in the marriage - especially now that she's getting him to have fertility treatment cause she wants another baby before "their" 5-year old is too old. Of course Jake feels somewhat reluctant, since they're arguing, he's out of love, and he's already got 3 graduated children - that baby would mean his next graduation attendance would be at 79.

Jane and Jake meet in the bar of the hotel they're both staying (for their son's graduation), they get incredibly drunk and have sex. Fortunately, we don't see it, we just hear Jake make "omigod-please-stop-talking-style" comments about the *amazing* time they'd just had - crass and praising - and then goes on to suggest they keep doing it.
Meanwhile, as is typical in a plot like this, Jane had been growing quite close with a newly (in comparison - 2 years to her 10) divorced architect Adam (Steve Martin).
It all spirals, and her children *sort* of get caught in the middle, and it all comes out, and I won't tell you how it ends.

It's grown up, it's thoughtfully done, but it's also incredibly fun to watch with the girls.
I'd actually consider this on d.v.d for those rare girly nights with a bottle of wine or two just for a laugh.

And my god. Alec Baldwin is brave - we see... a LOT of him. Perhaps more than we'd wish to. But being a 15-rated film, we don't see *everything*, fortunately.

"When I get a house, I'll get a wok. Maybe even an expensive one."

One of the few things I've planned about my future home; a wok. A proper one. For stir-frying and generally cooking larger portion meals without making a mess. Don't know where I'll live, how long, or with whom, but I do know a few things: I shall avoid the sort of drive my house is on at the moment, I shall have an induction hob, and an oven like my neighbour's which cleans itself (almost literally - you heat it up to a certain setting, then sweep out the debris later).

Yep. It's not as fussy as if I'd said ''I want a 16th century thatched cottage with double glazing, a full open fire, an acre garden" and with that sort of detail. Those small things I have planned are pretty much stuff that doesn't affect which house I buy. Wahey.

Saw Holmes the other day. It's an enjoyable watch, but I can entirely see why it was a bit of a flop with the critics that weren't hired by The Sun. There are some lines which my friends and I found hilarious - can't remember what they were, but they were funny at the time. It's Sherlock Holmes in that you don't fully understand the entire film until the end when he explains it, but my god. After a while, I did think ''actually, this plot makes all the original plots by Conan Doyle more plausible"!
It was only at the end of the film, when the credits began to role, that I realised why I'd got (though I couldn't name it at the time) a ''Rock'n'Rolla in the 1800s" feeling: Guy Ritchie was the director. Somehow, when we knew that, the entire film made a lot more sense.

It was Guy Ritchie in every respect: London, dark, grimey, main characters aren't exactly... perfect gentlemen, though poor Watson does try, with his fiancee. There's the American temptress, the big bad guy (Mark Strong again), dodgy pagan rituals (cause that's what happened in 19th Century London...) and fist fights with over-the-top sound effects that are akin to every other fist fight in every other film he's directed.

One reviewer had commented that some of Robert Downey Jr's lines had suffered from his over-concentration on his accent, and I had to say I could see what that reviewer at meant: some of his lines at the start were a little *too* deliberate, *too* slowly given and for some reason, it sounded as though he was trying to be Patrick Stewart.

Still a good film to watch with friends - it'll probably be a 2 or 3 star film, depending on the person rating the film for the television guide or video store.

Going to see It's Complicated with some other friends, tonight. I'm not actually a huge fan of Alec Baldwin - he annoys me. His one line in Notting Hill even annoys me. However Meryl Streep should, along with the stupid plotline (Divorce couple reaping the benefits of sex with no real ties) should outweigh the 'ick factor' that he exudes.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Misogynist Writings and Religious Devotion

Today, during a discussion on feminist interpretations of Twilight as a disappointingly misogynist written piece of crap (Meyer is Bram Stoker with breasts) the discussion then turned onto the 'point in feminism'. Unfortunately, it was a girl who didn't see the point in feminism, and it makes me weep inside. 
As I said to the girl in question, I am *not* a ''burn your bra for the sake of liberty" sort of person - I rather like my bras, they're comfortable, and I'm grateful to the man that thought them up - but my god. Equality amongst human beings is something very much worth striving for. Women are entirely equal to men, and feminism (though perhaps to a less degree? it's debatable, as with anything) is still relevant in today's Western Society. (I choose to ignore the Eastern society in this discussion.)

Whilst I defined what feminism was to this girl, and then went on to suggest that it's entirely her right to live a Cinderella-style life, it actually struck me the enormous similarities between religious worship, and the messages sent out by (at least the Disney version) of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Goose Girl, and all the other ''scullery maid marries Prince Charming'' stories.

Let us look at Cinderella: She is a girl fallen from privilege, at the hands of her serpentine step-mother.
She lives a servile life, in her good, sweet, unquestioning way. She's not happy, but at the back of her mind, she dreamed (or prayed) that somehow her works and uncomplaining suffering would be noticed, and her just reward would come.
And so she goes on, going through her set life without changing a thing or questioning her unjustified treatment until she is noticed by a fairy godmother, and then subsequently, Prince Charming, who takes her to married bliss there ever after.

Yes, girls, all you have to do is keep pretty, nice, and do as your told, and eventually somebody will think you're ready to be introduced to a man as equally pathetic as you are.

Anyway. As I wrote the general gist of Cinderella, it struck me how like a devout religious belief it was.
Her dreams were prayers. Her life in servitude was a 'trial', after 'falling' from privilege (Adam and Eve) - The serpentine (used that word for a reason - think of Paradise Lost) Step-mother, was perhaps the devil. The fairy godmother was perhaps one of God's messenger angels, and the married bliss was the promise of eternal light and love in God's Kingdom.

It is the basic three-tier doctrine of the main religions of the world: We (man) fell, we live in trial, we get salvation.
Some religious orders in the world - whatever the religion - have been known to either lash themselves in penance, or to live a life of plain suffering, or do various unpleasant tasks (granted, often optionally, especially if they're men) in order to not only justify, but to secure their seat somewhere near God in Heaven.
It was almost, to me, as though these stories, along with many religious fanatics I've spoken to, were trying to justify living a determined life "just in case". There was no point in trying to make things happen or to question existence, even if you believe them absolutely to be right, since there was a small chance it could scupper any chances that might or might not be available later - such as had Cinderella have more gumption, she could have totally turned the Prince off, and ended up married to some sub-paid man in a small city house with too many children, still having to work. (Never mind whether she's actually happier that way or not.)

Now for the feminist bit. I don't believe this of all literature, but generally, I think that the people that we come across in lessons of English Literature have a point:

Since the dawn of time, it is quite clear that literature has been dominated by men. In the 'Canon' of Literature, there are 2.5 women - Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen and George Elliot (she took on a male pseudonym and so cuts her status as a woman by half).
The bible, and other such key texts, have determined the world view of how society, and people within it, should be: Mary, the virginal mother, to whom all women should aspire to be like, and Joseph, the morally upstanding male father figure, second only to God in the grand scheme of fatherhood.

In literature of old, women have always been marginalised - 'Eve' is the main focus of women in general, until innovative writers thought of other kinds of women, who are cleverer or shrewder, but still unable to do things, or weak but still sweet and even tempered.
The biblical world has set upon literature an enormous grounding for how women in literature and poetry and even in real society should behave.
They must do as their husbands or fathers tell them; they must not do this and this and this, and it is upon their behaviour that an entire family's honour depends. (Mary's ill-timed conception is a one-off, people.)
Women, as per the Bible, and other monumental religious texts, particularly that of mass-misogynist John Milton, Paradise Lost, are the weaker, stupider and more troublesome sex. Even before the bible, when women had a few more rights than they did post, they were considered by Aristotle and various others as somewhat confusing, alien and just plain suspicious. Hell, they bleed every 28 days, for crying out loud. From a supposedly important orifice. How is that normal!?!

It is up to the stronger - apparently mentally as well as physically - sex, the man, to keep them in check and out of trouble; something which Gabriel reprimands Adam for not doing after they have both eaten the apple (as well as loving her above God). [Paradise Lost, Book X]
Men are invariably, in folk tales, fairy tales and even modern literature (why kill a decent tradition? Feminists that enjoy a bit of old-fashioned romances don't mind it that much, really) the ones that women rely on to rescue them, to wake them up, or to pull them out of a spiral of poverty and ill-treatment:
Snow White [rescued by dwarves AND woken by a Prince], Sleeping Beauty [needs a Prince to break the spell, though she has the excuse of being asleep at least, so it's not her fault], The Goose Girl [She lets her ambitious servant blackmail her into switching places and bides her time till eventually through no grand scheme of her own, she is revealed as the true princess], Rumpelstiltskin [girl can't control her father's boasting and gets into trouble for it, and makes a deal which she then breaks (can't be trusted, like Eve) with a weird little goblin thing] all provide the base for a ''girl meets boy, boy saves her, boy and girl marry" storyline which has dominated plotlines for centuries.

It is also women that have their reputation as a metaphor for the fragility of their own personal virtue, and subsequently their lives. In Much Ado About Nothing, Hero's reputation is scarred by Don Juan, the villain of the piece, and it (supposedly) costs her her life. Fortunately, Shakespeare has a lovely habit of creating equally pathetic men for his pathetic women, so at least it's Claudio that is marrying her, not Benedick. But what is striking is the massive deal made out of the fact that Hero had had sex, and the utter deafness to the idea that the man she was with was also being sexually promiscuous.
It's always the same: A woman has a one night stand, and is labelled a slag, whilst men that do it repeatedly and even brag about such things get applauded (though there are those that consider them "man-whores") by their fellows.

Romeo and Juliet, are other examples - they allow things to happen to them, and I personally take the whole fluffing up of the otherwise brilliant plan to run away together as a message from Mr Shakespeare to lovers everywhere: Love is not important in the face of family honour and their subsequent feuds.
Whilst there were women in these plays, they were, of course, played by boys, or castrated men, so in society and in the larger canvas of the period, they were still more marginalised than women like Scarlett O'Hara, or Grace Treverton, or, even, Elizabeth Bennet and Fanny Price, who were created either in the last 80 years, or at the start of a new world of women-authored 'chick flick novels'.

The main focus for feminists at the moment is of course the genre that has been forced into the limelight by a Stephanie Meyers, the Twilight saga. Apart from my immense dislike for what she has done to the vampire world (they apparently glitter during the day, and eat garlic as though it weren't harmful), she has been described, as I said, but in not so few words, as 'Bram Stoker with breasts'. Yes, she has once again created a girl who does not really have the power to maintain her own identity without an alpha male (preferably a vampire) asserting one for her. She is the modern day, teen version of Mia and Lucy, from Bram Stoker's important novel, Dracula. Now, I say it is an important novel, because it was the start of a brand new fiction (aparently) and was the basis of most vampire romance/horror/fan fiction stories today, as well as an embodiment of long-held mythological folktales of vampiric beings in Eastern Europe. There are other themes to Dracula, of course; Xenophobia/Fear of the Other, Religion and the Supernatural, the development of Gothic literature etc.

However Dracula, apart from (according to my A-level teacher) being a massive metaphor of illicit sex [neck is the vagina, teeth are the penis blah blah blah], is a novel that encompasses the view of the world by the society of Bram Stoker at that time. Personally, I think that the male protagonists in the book couldn't have done a LOT without Mia, but then she counteracts my admiration by willingly subjecting herself to the life of a wife-secretary.

A friend of mine linked me this today, which I think is a very interesting piece of writing, that would have been quite useful (if Twilight had been written then) for my AS English Literature essay, but never mind. It is written by a graduate that apparently can't stop her love for analysis (good on her) and has written a review of Twilight in relation to Dracula, which, even if you don't wholly agree, you should agree has an interesting take, which I confess I have ended up paraphrasing a little bit two paragraphs up: Feminism and the Vampire Novel

So really, the question at the start, "What is the point in feminism" shouldn't be related only to the feminist essays written on literary texts or films, but also the wider idea: Equality. The equality denied to human beings since before Jesus apparently came along and saved us (making living certain lives "just in case" a bit invalid, to a point).
White men have always been put above every other organism on the planet. They weren't closely followed by white women, and very much beneath them came the separate gender black counterparts.

What disturbed me most about the conversation with the ''what's the point'' girl was her denial of feminism as anything other than a literary theory, and saying that feminism hasn't done anything good to society. (Apparently she's not heard of the Suffragists and Suffragettes, and the general movement to provide her with the rights she's living with today.)
Feminism isn't about tearing apart a book [fun though it can be - doesn't have to b e serious, you know!], it's about correcting the state of society; to allow women the right to do with their bodies as they choose, to live un-possessed by somebody else, to be able to stand up and speak out against atrocities committed on their bodies by "men" that can't control their tempers, desires or drink (sometimes all three).  Women were jailed, because they saw that the long tradition of male authority over things that they had no right to, and fought for the very much taken for granted privileges that girls live with today; the right to education, to a job, a job AND a family, the right to legal protection, inheritance and most of all: Independence. An identity formed by themselves: a choice in what they wear, what they do, what they think.
Women should choose to be a housewife (an honourable profession, still, in my opinion - and you can still expand your mind doing so with an open university degree or hobbies etc), not be one just because no other options have been allowed to them.

I apologise for this entry being a long, and more serious than is normal for a blog, but I had a sudden burst of ideas and had to write it down for I would not have the opportunity in an essay, since I no longer take English Literature. (Too much reading on top of History.)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

"Children's Films"

I'm currently watching The Swan Princess, and I've just reached that major head-slam-into-desk/nearest hard object moment, when Odette and Derek have finally realised they love each other:

Derek: Arrange for the marriage
Odette: Wait.
Derek: But why? You're everything I've ever wanted - you're beautiful.
Odette: Thank you. ...But what else?
Derek: What else? o.O
Odette: Is beauty all that matters to you? *ignores father shaking head emphatically*
Queen Uberta: Derek? What else...? *clearly hoping her son has a brain*
Derek: I er- er... What else is there.

...Failure button noise by Rogers in the background and we know it's all over.
He managed to offend her in less than 5 syllables. Nice.

Other small lines are things that Rothbart says, normally. When he's playing along to Odette's acceptance of his offer of marriage, he goes on about how he'll be such a 'good king; I'll wear good clothes.. get my beard trimmed' and such. He behaves much the way a domestic abuser would, saying that he 'can't do nothing right, head full of puddin'', one minute speaking as one in the wrong, the next as the wronged. He also comments that if he '[doesn't] leave now, [he'll] be late. And that's tacky'.

This is what I love about cartoon films - Disney, Don Bluth, Warner Bros. They're literally "universal" - I wouldn't have seen the painful hilarity of that situation, or the lyrics of some of the songs had I stopped watching at 8 or 10 or whenever people 'grow out of them'.

There was an article in the student newspaper, about the 'adult content' seen in most children's films now a days; Coraline, UP and various others were mentioned as some complained about by over-sensitive parents. Apparently they're too scary, or too emotional for light children's entertainment. As pointed out by the writer of the article, they seem to willingly forget Bambi, The Lion King and various other 'classics' that are actually fairly scary, or 'adult' in content. I personally found the scene where the Evil Queen in Snow White turns into the old witch somewhat scary. She just stares at you as the screen fades out into black! With a horrible toothy grin and deep-set eyes and massively evil eyebrows!

Even in the Lady and the Tramp, you have allusions to being killed at the Pound and you see a vicious, drooling, possibly rabid trio of dogs about to set upon her before Tramp turns up just in time to have a dog-version of a fist fight in a 15-rated film.

Coraline, I can see what is meant - Tim Burton chose a dark book, and has a dark style. However children don't really think about the more adult-noticed themes of the film - they might find the whole idea of having buttons as eyes and being forced into it a little creepy, perhaps, but for goodness's sake. I doubt children are going to wet the bed thinking that they've woken up and their parents aren't their real parents.

The idea of cartoons is that they stimulate children's imaginations, with surreal settings, magic, monsters and other things. Death isn't particularly pleasant for children, but they probably don't fully understand it anyway - my brother didn't when my mother died, and that was real life. The most that these films do is illustrate morals or just tell well-known fairy tales in a more colourful way than having Daddy read it to you from an old book, and if some children get scared a little by some scene or other, they won't watch it again, and won't be affected *too* long.

Sex jokes, innuendos and in-between age jokes are part of what makes these films timeless and without a real age limit. Children laugh at the stupid frog speaking fake French, almost getting eaten by alligators as he tries to get flowers, the parents laugh at the sarcasm of Rogers, the ludicrous 'creepy' voice that Rothbart has, the utterly fake Irish accent of the puffin, silly puns, and are grateful that their parents(-in-law) aren't like Uberta.

Later on in life, you might not have the time to play to your inner child's love for pretty pictures, and can only watch the odd film with 'proper' acting in it, so enjoy these cartoons whilst you have the time.