Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Best day in a while. :D

So I got through my group session part of the interview to take part in PGCE week alive. I had to do just a two minute lesson, but somehow mine felt really naff. Meh. I taught them to 'sing' (more of a chant, but whatever) the main verse to Alle Meine Entchen.
And then I had a good interview, after waiting an hour and 15 minutes in the bar, in a nice relaxed bubble, watching the world go by with an acquaintance friend person who also had an interview for the same thing. (There are 25 or so places)

And then I met with one of my BFFs whilst I did revision and laundry and her two BFFs from home were visiting and we had fun getting ice cream and then sitting in the bar and then watching Tangled in Kate's room. They were really nice and I felt completely at ease which was a lovely change :D Perhaps cause we had the same sort of quirks.

And then I got back to my flat and found out the results of my coursework. I've got 69 and 71 in my special subject (you get two grades from that, so it's double) which means I have a REAL chance of getting a first in my special subject if I ace my 2 exams, which I was feeling fairly confident about anyway, but now I'm totally putting the revision and work into it. :D
I HOPE that I do well enough this year to boost my overall degree to a first. If I don't make it, it'll still be pretty damn close, I think... so there'll be that crushing possibility.

Then I did three hours revision in the bar. I went through my sources and made notes. I've got important dates down to learn. And then I went through last year's exam 2 paper and answered ALL the questions (I need to answer 3 out of 9) and I'm strong on all but three or four, so I'm going to revise my weak spots, which are mostly to do with certain aspects behind Richard's foreign policy and the 1483 rebellion and the magnate-of-the-north-not-a-king thing. And how important his religious beliefs were politically - I have a fair idea, but maybe not enough for a KILLER essay, you know?

And I finally got my uncle's birthday present - see, he ordered it late, and then he had it sent to his house, so he had to wait for that, and then he checked it, and then I imagine he probably had to get around to sending it again to me. It's a gorgeous fountain pen. Really really nice. Look:

And I had a good chat with my favourite barman in the whole wide world. <3
SO.... Gooooooood day :D I'm all psyched.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Yes means Yes and No means No.

So since around 2009, when  the intense ignorance, bigotry and intolerance of people on the internet seemed to explode onto a forum I had frequented for about 5 years, I have generally avoided such situations. I don't like to be reminded how much I feel the need to dislike a group of people or even just the human race.
I avoid destructive arguments and "debates" (they're not debates, but that's what people call them) and I avoid people who have the habit of "debating" everything, even though I used to be pretty damn good at it, and I'd been party to some fantastic discussions and real debates online for a good 3 or 4 years. Some would maybe call me pathetic and a bit cowardly to fence myself off from the sheer unpleasantness of this planet, but I would like to refute that claim; just because I do not associate myself with it does NOT mean that I ignore it/deny its existence/do nothing about it/do not discuss it if it comes up. I try to put people right where I can or see the potential to. I have simply learned that there is no use in getting too deeply involved with some people.

Lately the huge debate has been about the Slutwalk.
For those of you who have not heard of it, I shall enlighten you. It is a series of demonstrations occurring in America and Europe, sparked by the 'advice' given by a Canadian police officer to some women reporting harassment - "don't dress like a slut if you don't want to be harassed". Common sense, I suppose, but HERE IS THE PROBLEM.
Not only was the police officer way out of line with sexual assault/harassment statistics, but he was also apportioning blame upon the victim. On top of this, he has used a derogatory word which is also subjective - one man's slut is another man's Virgin Mary. Who is to say where the line is drawn between "asking for it slut" and "poor innocent school girl"?

I do think that women should be advised to take precautions - even though this again causes some responsibility and blame to be placed upon them - but this is where I draw the line.
The number of cases of sexual assault or harassment that fall in favour of the offender is astounding - and that is just the number of cases that are reported in the first place. The large majority of rape and assault cases, unreported to the police or not, are perpetrated by relatives, friends or acquaintances of the victim and very very rarely that brassy, exhibitionist drunk girl in the club. It is largely the shy, low-self-esteem girl who is more likely to be traumatised into not reporting the attacker, and is less able to fight back. Even if the case is dropped or the trial is a farce, the offender gets a blemish on his permanent record - to avoid this, it's handy if the girl chosen for such physical atrocity is unlikely to so much as mention it to a police officer.

The Slutwalk brings this fact to light, and also challenges the accusation of 'slut' charged at the victims. All of the people marching in the walk are "sluts" - old people, children; no doubt in some twisted head, they asked for it, too. Those participating on the walk can dress like 'traditional sluts' if they like, but you can wear normal clothes. The point is that 'wherever you go, whatever you wear, yes means yes and no means no'.
Anybody who is sexually abused is labelled a 'slut' - even a horrendously large number of misguided women think that it is the victim's fault, somehow. That she lead him on. Perhaps it is a teenager with her first lover, who thought she was ready for sex, but changed her mind - and the boyfriend, instead of being the loving, kind, supportive human being expected by the majority of society, just goes ahead and rapes her anyway. Perhaps it is a pregnant woman in a quiet park at twilight. Perhaps it is an old woman in a home, abused by her carer. Perhaps it is a person who thinks that a catalytically drunk 'mmmmmmurgh' is understood as a 'no', but is too far gone to prevent herself from being understood. (My compliments to Canada for passing the law saying that no matter when you pass out (before, during or after the act), if you've passed out, you were probably raped.)
Girls who have their drinks spiked in a club by a friend or acquaintance - sometimes a stranger, too. They are all asking for it, because of what they wear.

That's the funny thing about society and the media. Girls, from a younger and younger age, are told that to be attractive they must be the following: confident; vivacious; flirtatious; cheeky; able to dance; able to wear high heels; able to dress in a flattering way. In short, they must be sexy.
They are taught how to dress, behave and look by television, models, music videos (ESPECIALLY those by MALE artists and rappers) and their peers.
When a woman reports a sexual assault, no matter what the circumstances, she is assumed to have and is blamed for adopting any or all of the above descriptions and attributes endorsed by our society and media.
Unless you are a religious leader from the extreme Middle East (or I suppose certain parts of East London, these days), and consider anybody who does not wear a burqa to be culpable, it is very likely that you have encouraged or paid money towards or unconsciously supported society's affirmation.

In fact, I have just seen an article written in the Australian version of The Sun, criticising the Slut Walk, and more specifically (and solely) the women in the article picture for dressing like pole-dancers or something along those lines. In short, they weren't wearing a lot, and clearly this is just an excuse to be exhibitionist. What is the Sun famous for, as a tabloid, I wonder... could it be THE PAGE 3 GIRLS? And the underwear models with "opinions" about current topics? What an epitome of hypocrisy.

I've heard stories that ended in sexual assault. A girl walking home with a friend whom she liked, but he took liberties without her consent. A girl walking home from the bus from college groped by a strange man. The former wearing school uniform. The latter wearing a baggy jumper and jeans.
Unfortunately, the former made a complaint and reported it, but because of their differing accounts, the charges were dropped by police, and even her mother said that perhaps she brought it upon herself.
I would not be surprised - incredibly sad and appalled for the person - but not overly surprised, if I had an acquaintance who has in the past been sexually assaulted or raped.
I'm sure, in some perverted way, they were "asking for it". Perhaps their hips swayed just a little too invitingly. Who knows but the perpetrators?

But it doesn't end there. The victims are given no counselling before, during or after trial. They have their private lives and clothing choices paraded in front of a jury. They are put through a second traumatic ordeal when they should be taken care of. And those that don't reach the courts? They are left with the knowledge that their words, complaints and experiences do not have the same or more weight than the ''differing account'' given by the assailant.

I was actually stalked - yes, I'll use that word - by a man on my street. He was very very briefly employed by my grandfather to help with the gardening. But he was so decrepit and such a heavy smoker to boot, that he didn't work for us long.
I'm a polite soul. I've been brought up to say 'please' and 'thank you' and to smile nicely at people I know, and to say 'how'd you do?' (not literally, but go with it). I am very uncomfortable being rude to my elders, especially. This man would take a daily walk, and we often met when I was walking the half mile home from the bus stop after sixth form. I soon noticed that although I didn't get the same bus every day, because my timetable meant some days I would be home at 3pm and others at 5pm or 4pm, I somehow managed to come across him on his walk every day.
I put it down to strange coincidence. I had to talk to him for 5 or 10 minutes sometimes, unless the weather meant I could make excuses, or if it was late and I had to get home for tea. It was inane prattle and frankly, he was toothless and I couldn't make out everything he said. He inquired as to whether I was the girl ''whose mum is dead'', and did I know that he used to work for my granddad? I would have to respond to comments about the weather, and if I had a good day at school and all the inanities that being polite to even disgusting old men entailed. I would complain about it once I got home, but there wasn't really a lot I felt I could do apart from be so disgustingly rude that he was angry with me or something.

The second year of sixth form, my time table was quite different - and yet he seemed to pick it up quite quickly. One day, it was a fairly warm and still afternoon. I was wearing 60denier (very thick) black tights, my babycham shoes, a knee-length dark denim skirt and a long-sleeved pale blue top, which had a neckline that came to maybe just an inch below my collar bones. That day, I even wore my hair down - must have had a good hair day or something, cause I usually had it tied back in a ponytail. I don't wear a lot of make up. I probably didn't even have mascara on. I was 17 years old.
He commented on the warm weather, and I responded with the usual vague agreement. He then asked how old I was. I told him. He then commented that I had a nice chest on me, nodding to my chest. I can even remember right now the feel of my head jerking back in astonishment, standing near the post box. I said something like, "Sorry?"
He went on to suggest that I wear my hair down more often, cause I had lovely hair or something. By this point I was blankly excusing myself. I got home, going over the words in my head. I looked down at my top, wondering if perhaps it was extra provocative or something. I thought about how at least I could easily knock him down with my heavy school bag, and out run him. He's ancient and not very big. But the words sort of buzzed and I was astonished that I'd heard them. I got in and shouted up the stairs "so apparently I have a nice chest". My grandmother was of course curious at my outburst, and then grew concerned when I told her what happened. My granddad came home and she told him, and he grabbed her into the car and they drove to Mr P's house to tell him to never speak to me again else they'll report him for harassment.

I thought it was a bit over the top, at first, but I was so glad when I could just keep my music on loudly in my ears and walk past without acknowledging him, and to just get home without any hindrance. He tries to talk to me now, when I'm at home on holiday from uni - I just keep walking, though once I replied to his comment of how he never sees me now that I was at university with boys my own age. I felt horrendously rude, but I felt it had to be said.

My story pales significantly in comparison to girls who've experienced a lot more than some dodgy compliments from men that are so old and out of shape that a girl would be charged with bodily harm rather than the other way around. But it brings me back to my point about 'sluts' - what I was wearing was pretty conservatively for a 17 year old in my area. It was flattering, perhaps. The blue brought out my eyes. But it is not something that is normally considered "slutty".

There are still too many what ifs to my story - What if he hadn't the body of a 90 year old when he was only in his early 70s? What if he had had the strength to do something? What if he hadn't left me alone? What if he had been younger and he hadn't stopped me near a house or two? Would I still not be to blame? Would I have definitely been showing an interest, by forcing myself to politely give him five minutes of my time 3 or 4 days a week? Would it be less ok if he was youger, or would it make me more culpable?

Words, just words, somehow in this horrible society we live in, can be the difference between sympathy and blame. The victim, not only having been put through such an ordeal, is then psychologically abused by the press, judgemental bigots and men and even their attacker, with words and labels that, did they have 'man-' prefixed to them, would be compliments.
Whore. Slag. Slut. Cow. The accusation that she was 'gagging for it'. That she was 'flirtatious' (probably just said hello and smiled).
Man-whore is a big compliment among males. It is a horrible insult for a woman. And each of these words carry blame and responsibility not on the rapists, but on the victims.

One of our brilliant MPs tried to pass through parliament a revision of sex education for girls. She wanted women to be taught abstinence. To be taught how to say no. Nothing else.
Where does that leave sexually abused people? How does that, in any way imaginable, help those that get raped? It's madness.
I'm not sure which is worse, this proposal or the fact that a vehemently anti-sexual health advice and anti-abortion group is now working as Health Advisers for the government. It's actually a pretty close call.
Fortunately for women everywhere, the House of Commons does not care about preventing rape or making laws to protect women, so this bill wasn't even passed through parliament.

By teaching women only how to protect themselves or to prevent themselves from becoming a victim, we are casually undermining the help we give them pre-rape by applying responsibility to them. And them alone.
Rape is not like consensual sex - where both parties are responsible for any STIs or pregnancies they encourage. It is violent. Unpredictable. And entirely the fault of the one who did it.
To quote a speaker on the slutwalks:
The urge for women to ‘not dress like sluts’. Can someone explain how covering up has been sold as some guarantee of rape proofing a woman? It’s not. There is no less sexual abuse in societies where women are forced to cover up. It’s not like sunscreen.
 - Catherine Devney

Any man that can not follow these sorts of rules (in the picture) is entirely to blame for his actions.
Any man who feels some strange uncontrollable sadistic urge is not, I'm afraid, a real man. Nor is he right in the head, but that does not mean that he should be let off, either.

What needs to be taught very early in people's lives, through school and through their parents and their peers and the media, is that women are not in anyway sexual objects. Nor are they pornographic items that should be covered up to prevent the stirrings of men. They should be allowed confident expression, as much as a man's body is. They are complex evolutions, with feelings, emotions and thoughts of their own. They have agency. They are not to be categorised in patriarchal ways. They require the same respect and personal boundaries that men seem to inherently be given.

When a woman says no, she means no, and she will respect those that respect her.

A somewhat unstructured and long post, but it's been sitting in my head for a while, now.

I thought I'd put a little disclaimer here: I understand that men too can be raped. I understand that rapists can, therefore be male or female. And I understand that there are the very occasional cases where a woman/girl has made up a rape story and is found guilty of ruining a man's life with a trial that has no basis but revenge. I also am ashamed to have to acknowledge that many many many women have been and are collaborators in their own degradation. But that does not go against what my overall message is: Everyone is a 'slut', whether they have been victimised or not. Being a 'slut' should never ever be used as a moral justification for rape or sexual assault. Any body that says it is should be challenged and carefully brought around to progressive thinking.

Go out there and help change the world by persuading potential victims and potential attackers (i.e. everyone) that reporting assault is vital, that the victim is not to blame, that rape is in fact rape.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Stranger Tides

I tried to think of a really pirate-y/nautical title, such as "Voyage into deeper waters?" or something, in reference to the fact that I don't think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is going to "furl its sails", as one puntastic reviewer put it, but there we go.

Plain and simple. That's me.

So yes! I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean "4", better known as Stranger Tides. I enjoyed it. I'll get that out there now.
I am a fan of Johnny Depp - though I think he is reaching the end of his versatility, Jack Sparrow is perhaps his best character this side of 2000. All his energy goes into it, and whilst I like his work with Tim Burton (save Willy Wonka) I think that Jack Sparrow is probably going to be his signature style in his ''later life''.
(Loving his tan. Can't help but notice his gorgeous tan. Really brings out his chocolatey eyes. /fangirl)

The plot is packed full and has potential. And it reached some of its potential - The film opens in Spain, introducing the knowledge of the Fountain of Youth being in the hands of the Spaniards. Then it cuts to London where we witness Jack do a magnificently choreographed and Sparrow-planned escape. We find out that King George also wants to get the Fountain of Youth, and that Barbossa, minus a leg, is now his top privateer.

Jack is rumoured to be looking for a crew, and is rumoured to be doing it in a certain bar. He goes there, having heard the rumours he himself had not started, and is reacquainted with an old flame, Angelica. (Penelope Cruz)
There's a clever bit of mirror-acting as Jack fights himself (a very good impersonator), but ultimately he ends up press-ganged, more or less, on the Queen Anne's Revenge, captained by Blackbeard.

Angelica and Blackbeard - two potentially brilliant characters, perhaps dropped in quality either by the acting or the lack of development. Penelope Cruz is a fantastic actress in her Spanish films. But she was too much the fiesty Latina (albeit ex-nun) woman, whilst Ian McShane, great actor though he is, was not quite as scary and menacing as his character should have been.
The relationship between Blackbeard and his ship however was interesting, and they added zombification of crew and ship-collecting to his long list of posthumous stories.
There were scenes were we glimpsed his ferocity, which was largely based on what the crew told Jack, but it was not enough. His relationship with Angelica could also have been more interesting, but as it happened, it was fairly straight forward.

The mermaids. Now, they were very interesting, and left something of a black hole in a side story - the catholic preacher, captive on the Revenge who falls in love with a mermaid captured for the Fountain of Youth ceremony, was open-ended - at least according to my friend. I think she's trying to see too much into it, but then I can't help but also feel wistful about what might have happened to them. After all, their storyline warranted an entire poster.
The mermaids, beautiful but deadly, reminisced vampire-like creatures, sirens and the normal mermaid. That they need air to breath as well as water to live was interesting, for me, anyway.

Barbossa is aging, and had one goal: to avenge his leg by killing Blackbeard. His relationship with Jack is as... frought as usual. They make such a wonderful partnership, though, and he does get some of the good lines and great reaction shots.
I somewhat missed his crew, though, but perhaps they're on the Pearl, which Jack might come back to save in another film.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hercules mixed with Sword in the Stone mixed with sort of Lion King but more like whatever film it is with rivalling siblings starring a guy who's channelling Heath Ledger's voice. Thor was pretty.

Ok, long title, but I had to work in my initial reaction somewhere.

Yes, Thor was bloody gorgeous. And I don't mean Chris Hemsworth, though you do get to see that his body is as sculpted as Michaelangelo's David. My goodness. And he's so tall too; I know Natalie Portman is a diddy thing and Stellen Skarsgard isn't exactly the Hulk, but he was pretty tall as well as beefy. Oh my. Beautiful Australian. And also from Melbourne, so perhaps that explains why he sounded as though he was channelling Heath Ledger's faux British Accent from A Knight's Tale (not complaining, I found it oddly soothing and it was pleasantly at odds with his massive crockery-smashing being).

Aaaanyhoo. Yes, the world of Asgard, the realm of what we know as Norse Gods is pure art. It's how the big city in the NeverEnding Story should have looked. It's how I wish Oblivion and the Shivering Isle EP had looked on my computer, had my graphics card had pathetic support. [Slight cause of annoyance for me]

The realm of the Ice Giants, Jotenheim was just as interesting, with the complete reversal in luxury and decadence. The Ice Giants were... interesting, to look at, maybe. Their king, Laufey, had reminiscences of some of the Big Bads in various series of Buffy, however. Somehow he reminded me of The Master (the teeth and pointy chin?), the song and dance demon, Sweet, The Judge and I dunno. There was something else about him but I couldn't place it.  I'd put pictures, but if you've not watched them animated, you probably wouldn't see what I meant, so...

I had been sceptical about the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall. I don't buy into this "it's racist to not have a black god" - Norse Gods, traditionally, aren't black. They hadn't encountered any. It was historical and mythological truth. But, frankly, he was pretty damn cool. I liked him. Though I expected him to come out with a line from Shivering Isles... His outfit made me think of this:
Ok, yeah, this is a white woman, but it's the gold helmet and the sword and stuff.

The plot was... well. It was perhaps a little fast-paced. And the romance theme was totally shoe-horned in. I'm reluctant to blame Kenneth Branagh for it though. 
Natalie Portman is a plot accessory. She knocks him down, brings him to New Mexico, helps him try to get his hammer back in exchange for learning about where he came from. In two days there is NO room for a bit of a romance and star-struckedness. But they have to do it, cause apparently the majority of the audience is into that icky stuff. I do like that she totally acted like a slut with the kiss. He was willing to go with out but she chucked herself on him and sucked face like no tomorrow. 
(I just wish somebody would reshape her eyebrows or draw on a little bit on the ends, so that they're less of a random straight line across her face. /bitchy moment)

There wasn't perhaps enough of an obvious incentive for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to be the trouble child. I mean, he didn't know his real incentive until AFTER he's messed up Thor's life. But there could be room for development in The Avengers. I won't hold it against him though - he felt he didn't belong and stuff. He was realising himself and his capabilities after freeing himself of Thor's shadow. But there wasn't enough background for Loki, at least, to explain his double (possibly triple) bluffing.

Thor had to do a bit of soul-searching, too. With the help of Loki. By blaming himself for everything and thinking he'd messed up more than he had was the perfect kick up the arse towards humility and forethought - I refuse to believe that his love interest was the reason he went so ''soft'', as Loki put it.

As a result of the fast-paced story - he's only on earth for 3 days tops - the fight scenes are also very fast and perhaps over the top. I don't know. I'm not a great connoisseur or admirer of fight scenes. I can recognise when they don't have any plot significance though.

There were a lot of recognisable themes:

  • Journey of self discovery.
  • Monarchal and Sibling Rivalry.
  • Patricide.
  • Arrogance vs Humility and patience.
  • [Love at first sight]
  • Comradeship.

Check out his muscles! Sword in the Stone, unworthiness.
And you can sort of recognise a lot of mythology and popular fiction... As I said in the title, there is a sort of element of Hercules - banished son walks as a mortal, falls in love, sacrifices himself, gets his god-powers back, kicks ass, and promises to return. (Though with Hercules and Meg, it's a lot less open-ended, since he'd lived on earth for much longer)
There's the Sword in the Stone - only one who is worthy of the sword/hammer will be able to call it and to claim the power of Thor. Clever Odin (Anthony Hopkins) knew that Thor was capable of learning his lessons in humility just in time.
And there's the normal sibling rivalry for one crown. As the parents make an effort to not exert favouritism whilst rearing their children, one is obviously overshadowed and nurtures a sinister jealousy and where he lacks in physical strength and bulk, he makes up for it in diplomacy, charisma and mischief making. To quote Scar, from The Lion King, Loki has the "lion's share" of brain, but "when it comes to brute strength [he] is at the shallow end of the gene pool". 

And even Odin, played by the fluffy-bearded Anthony Hopkins (<3) had a bit of discovery going on. He began to see what he should have seen in his children a long time ago. But then, hind sight is a gloriously (useless) thing.

Sif and the Warriors Three were pretty cool. I felt as though perhaps they were channelling D'Artagnan or another French swordsman through Fandral, which is kinda ironic cause the dude that played Volstagg was in a version of the Three Muskateers. I hope that Sif isn't pining a bit after Thor - there might have been a slight moment at the end, but it's hard to tell. I hope not. It'd be nice if she was just cool, or they were friends and you know, it'd be a companionship type marriage for the good of the line of heirs for Asgard or something. But they added a nice bit of comic relief when they just turn up in New Mexico looking for Thor.

I very much liked the continuity of Thor with the end clip of Iron Man 2. For a split second I feared they'd failed, but they didn't. It was all there. All 2 seconds of it or whatever it was.
Overall, the film is stunning, and the acting is actually quite good. The writing is pretty Marvel-film standard. There's not a huge amount of kick-ass-ery though, in the speech, but they threw in references to the Iron Man films beautifully - one man asking if the guardian of Asgard's weaponry (The Destroyer) was "one of Stark's" inventions, and of course S.H.I.E.L.D had a pretty central role, surrounding the hammer.
I think Kenneth Branagh did a pretty damn good job.

7 or 8 out of 10 from me. I dock marks for the stupid tickbox romance.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


So this year Alex Flinn's modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was turned into a film starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgeons.

It's... average. I mean, the book isn't pure genius, but the way they've done the film, the book is a lot better.

Genetically beautiful but a total bastard, Kyle manages to get on the wrong side of a "funkistein" looking witch. She tells him that she has a year to find someone to love him for who he is, or he'll ''stay like this forever'' - turns out that he's been stripped of all bodily hair and given deformed skin (of sorts) and weird tattoo-like veins and stuff. He's not exactly good looking, but you know, if you were into that sort of thing it'd be ok.
After being abandoned in his own apartment by his equally - if not more - shallow father, Kyle spends about 5 months moping, with the company of only his blind tutor and the family house keeper. When by chance he saves a girl from his school and her father, she has to come and live with him indefinitely in return.

So you see how it is Beauty and the Beast. Just, you know, it's set in New  York and they went to a rich-person's high school where popularity and looks are everything.
As the casting stands, Alex Pettyfer is certainly good looking enough to be Kyle. But there's not really enough character development for it to be Pettyfer's role specifically - it could be anyone with a pretty face and an adonis body, frankly. And Vanessa Hudgeons is cute, I guess, but again, we don't see anything of the book's character in the film, so she's once again a generic character. Mary-Kate Olsen is the only character that looks-wise was at least interesting.

Here's where it falls down as a film:

  • He has just one year - in the book, he has 3. There is far more character development that way, and with the film only being 1 and a half hours, they could have stood to add more to the plot line.
  • Vanessa Hudgeons's on screen father does not beg Kyle to let him go and that he'd do anything, give him anything including his daughter - Kyle makes the suggestion, which somehow didn't feel right. Especially since he goes on about protecting her: she can look after herself, dammit. It's a lousy excuse. If it's because her father's a total douche bag, it lets Kyle (and the film) off the hook with the misogyny.
  • The way that he looks, the film would be just as happy an ending had she failed to make the deadline of falling in love with him and he really DID stay that way forever. In the book, he is an actual human-beast. He's hairy, has claws and a snout. Bestiality isn't good. But loving a dude with weirdass tattoos and mild deformities is a positive message, and needn't require the spell to be undone. The least they could have done was perhaps phase out some of the tats so that he's left with more of a reminder - it'd probably be the way she saw him anyway.
  • The role of the witch is vastly downplayed. In the book, she talks to Kyle using the magic mirror. In the film, they've dispensed with the mirror and included the previously excluded flower timer - though I have to say, I liked what they did with the changing tattoo, counting down the year. The only way they make up for her relatively helpfulness as a character is by showing that she is going to work her magic on Kyle's grotesque father.
For teens and children, I guess the film is ok. I don't envisage it ever getting more than a 3 star rating though. In fact, just googling for a picture, Rotten Tomatoes has given it an average rating of 1 star.

Considering the book is good enough to be converted to a screenplay, this film is really quite a drop in quality.

Exams, Television and Good Literature

So, I've had my first exam: ''Sex and Violence in Imperial India 1856 - 1919"
Two questions in two hours.
Frankly, this was the easiest or hardest exam to revise for - easiest in that all I had to do was reread the key articles that I should have (and largely had) read for my seminars in the first term. Hardest because that's all I really had to do. I didn't feel I could make notes, and essay plans weren't all that helpful because there were only 15 questions I could go on from past papers or coursework topics.
So I answered the questions I felt I knew the most about. As intangible as that felt.
Something about how the regulation of prostitution was indicative of Imperial anxieties and racism, and the other on why the Ilbert Bill (1833) was so 'vociferously opposed'.

Think I did *ok*. My tutor doesn't appear to like the whole exam process and seems eager to give us points for whatever we say that she can read and give credit too.
But we'll see how that goes. Coursework-wise she's given me 69 and 66, and generally seems to like my writing style which tends to be to the point. I don't know whether I made enough points in the exam, and I certainly didn't feel my punchy self. But we'll see. I've not written it off yet.


T.V wise I've been pretty limited. See, I *was* on my way through marathoning House (but with revision breaks, obviously) when my external hard drive sort of... died. So that means everything I watch has to either be downloaded or streamed. I tend to try streaming, since that's less of a drain on my monthly download quota and my laptop's hard drive space.
I've started to give Durarara! a second chance - it had potential, and some of the story lines are going to be interesting, so we'll see how that goes again.
I'm also trying out Angel. I didn't like Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I was never interested in the spin off. Oddly, David Boreanaz is a bit more bearable in L.A. But I still wish he'd lose that stupid giant coat.
Cordelia is getting a little sharper, I guess. She's just identified a vampire by the fact there are no mirrors and a lot of curtains in his ''fortress-like home", so good for her!

Good Literature

I'm currently reading Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. See, we were looking for a video of my mother's, and naturally dug up a couple of extras, including CCF. I wanted to see it before I came to uni, but didn't have time. So I watched it on youtube. It's funny. I got the book, and that's funnier. I think it's going to become a solid favourite. <3
Apparently my mother loved it, so that's also nice.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Stupid thoughts that I get around 7 year olds.

  • Whenever a teacher says we're going to do a maths session: "Shit. What if I don't get it!?!"
  • When a teacher asks me to help with a demonstration and it's stupidly simple: "I MUST be doing this wrong... no? Oh thank god I don't look stupid in front of the children."
  • When a child asks me what fractions are: "I've not done them since GCSE... oh, halves? I can do that :3"
  • When I am asked to cut up pieces of string in random lengths: "erm.. ok."
  • Whenever a child asks me how to spell something: "...does that look right? It doesn't look right. Bugger."
  • Whenever a teacher asks me to sort out the cupboards: "Damn, she can see I'm good at tidying but not in the way where I'd be offended if they got untidy again really quickly."
  • When I had to write out 4 four-letter words in practice handwriting books: "I am certain that 'what' is not spelled this way. Oh christ, 'when' doesn't look right in this handwriting either. Arrrgh! *constant checking against spelling sheet*"
  • Whenever a teacher asks me to print something off: "I really hope someone else is printing something so I can ask them how to work that scary machine." (It really is scary.)
  • Whenever a teacher asks me to sharpen pencils: "I hope the children don't stab themselves with these."
  • When a teacher asks me to do some sticking/cutting/hole punching/sorting: "oh god, am I doing this wrong somehow?"
  • Whenever a child asks me if he can go to the toilet: "I don't have toilet power! :("
  • Whenever a child asks me if he can go outside when he's been told to line up for breaktime: "*high pitched* I don't know!"
  • Whenever a child is telling me about what their naughty brother did to them at home: "I hope you told your parents cause there's nothing I can do about it."
  • Whenever a child that wears glasses isn't wearing glasses and says she's left them at home: "urgh, how can you possibly ''forget'' to put glasses on when you're half blind?"
  • Whenever a child asks me what their WALT (task title thing) is today: "erm erm erm...? *frantic searching for the white board*"
  • When I have to weave my way through loads of tiny lumps (bodies) on the floor: "Shit, why do my feet have to be so big? (they're a size 4.5)"
  • When a boy is smirking at me because his friend told him a joke: "oh god, do I have pen on my face? Is my shirt coming unbuttoned? Do I have something on my bottom?"
  • When a child asks me how to spell a long word, such as 'convenient': "Oh yeah... I can spell that <3"

Skydiving....sort of.

So for some reason I - and my brother in law and my sister (I don't have one, but go with it) were stow-aways or something on this big flying machine. We were caught and forced to put on really lame-looking form of parachute and to jump. No illegal stow-aways on THIS flight. Now, we were *really* high. Up in the clouds, perhaps even above, really. Brother in law jumped first, and I jumped with my sister, but our chutes were a bit tangled. Eventually I got hers fixed and then let mine off which naturally jerked me back up into the clouds a bit - it was made of some sort of white black-out material and there were a couple of balloons. Even in my dream I was a bit unsure about this form of safety, but never mind. I fell through the clouds, squinting hard for signs of the fields coming through. I landed, with a lot of rolling and freed myself. Seeing I was in open ground in strange lands, I ran towards some trees, where I met my brother in law. I told him about my and my sister's ordeal and he went to look for her whilst I went to look for shelter and/or help.

I ran across the fields and saw my house (house in real life that is) and went towards it, nervously. Turned out it was a sort of lodging place, and they said we could stay there, so long as I filled out these forms. I went to my room and went through the forms on my bed. Jesus they were stupid. I had to tell them every bank account I had ever opened and the tax returns and income I made from them (it was a cross between my tax return form and my CRB check form, which involves filling in every home you've had in the last 3 years, including uni and home lodging over the holidays).

My brother in law came in with my sister just as I realised I'd filled in the wrong section - one of my online-only accounts in the section where if I'd had a credit card, I'd fill it in.

I woke up just as I was getting frustrated and trying to erase the ink, but making it worse and smudging it and stuff.