Monday, 20 June 2011

Can You Tell me How to Get - How to Get Out of Sesame Street?

Everyone knows “Sesame Street”, right? I mean most people either grew up with it (like me) or were aware of it due to their offspring going “I WANNA WATCH “SESAME STREET”! NOOOOOWWWW!”. And doing some slight googling I discovered it actually premiered in 1969 – I mean, wow.

Recently, I was having a discussion about which characters I preferred and which characters I thought were lame. And before you say anything I wasn’t having this discussion by myself. For a children’s programme that features a mix of monsters, imaginary friends, numbers, letters, people and big birds it has done exceedingly well. I guess children have no problem suspending reality for the sake of an hour – I envy them.
Let’s review.

Elmo


He’s everyone’s favourite red, furry monster. He is three and a half years old and has a wide range of followers and merchandise. I myself had a tickle-me-Elmo once upon a time which just vibrated whenever you squeezed it which, on reflection, is disturbingly suspect but what I am trying to convey is that I am aboard the Elmo fan wagon.

Here’s the problem. Whilst Elmo is cute and cuddly looking he is eternally burdened with a child’s mind. He is the puppet version of Peter Pan but less in an adventures-in-Neverland and more in a short-bus-riding kind of way. This is a creature that constantly refers to itself in the third person and the only other monster I know that does that is Gollum and there’s no way I’d tickle him.
Grover

This monster is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when compared with Elmo. Grover is a senile fool that is allowed to run around and stick his enormous pink nose in the business of the other characters. Not only is he bald and toothless but he has delusions of being able to fly and an alter ego known as “Super Grover”. He needs to be locked away in a padded cell or stuffed into an already-full elderly care home where he is force fed custard and made to play bingo until he snuffs it.
Snuffleupagus

This is a mammoth thing that somehow managed to battle and succeed against the ice age and all the other natural disasters that plagued the earth from then until now (including Cher). Not only this but he managed to overcome the problem of being imaginary. That’s right when he was first created he was a figment of Big Bird’s imagination and eventually everyone else could see him too. Poor Snuffleupagus can no longer spy on women undressing or the nocturnal activities of Bert of Ernie which we will get to shortly.
Big Bird

Well the name is pretty straight forward. This is an oversized canary that we can understand – without the assistance of heavy narcotics. Apparently he is the protagonist of this little programme but I always felt he was a bit of a wet blanket. Every time he is on screen I feel the only letters he needs to sing to me are “K, F, C”.
Oscar

This is the grouch. Who lives in a rubbish bin. According to Wikipedia (the most reliable source of them all) Oscar admitted to originating from Canada. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Oscar endured a hasty birth where he was promptly dumped in a trash can at his mother’s prom and smuggled over the border becoming unable to leave his can due to agoraphobia.
Bert and Ernie

What is there to say about these two? I mean, really. We know what’s really going on between these two “roommates”.
That’s right. They share the same striped wardrobe.  

Count von Count

This is the puppet version of Edward Cullen and I don’t see any teenage girls with the count pouting at them from the sixty-five posters they have glued to their walls. I mostly just feel sorry for the Count... I mean he never gets to count to any decent number... how satisfied could an individual be with only fifteen or so numbers? His next sketch will go like this “One, two, three, four.  I have four! Four anti-depressants! AH AH AH”.

Friday, 17 June 2011

DVD Dilemma

I’m pretty sure most people have had the occasion where they’ve watched a trailer for a funny film, seen it and then remarked “they showed all the good bits in the ad”.

It sucks. Basically the film industry just snuck up behind you and pinched money from your wallet whilst one of their minions did an amusing dance to keep you from noticing.
I no longer go to the cinema. Not just because of the ad thing but because it is getting ridiculously expensive. I mean they are no longer just taking the cash from your wallet but your entire wallet including the photo of the Jonas Brothers hidden behind your licence (I know it’s there).

A movie watching platform I haven’t yet given up on is the renting process. I go to my local DVD shop, choose a film and go home to watch it – nothing new or observant about that. The problem is once you put the DVD in and desperately attempt to skip the other ads and scare tactics against film piracy you reach the DVD menu. The DVD menu use to be a boring screen to merely alert you to the functions of the disc – play, extra features, set up and so on. DVD menus are now fully interactive with stuff happening all over so you get taken in and forget this is just another form of trailer ruining your viewing experience. If I haven’t seen a film before and the DVD menu comes on it does the exact same thing as a trailer would in that it shows all the decent bits and not even in a well edited version as the trailer would be but rather just the funny moments with no context and no narrating voice stating the obvious.
Why are they doing this? I get that they want the menu to represent the film but COME ON don’t ruin it for me! Someone that has seen the film over a dozen times can’t complain about the menus but if this is the premiere screening for that person then... GRRRRR! There are no words to describe.

All I can say is that I’m not surprised people download movies... at least then you don’t have to endure the film being tarnished before it has even begun.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Ubiquitous "Good"

“Hi, how are you?”

“Good. How are you?”
“Good.”

Does this sound familiar to you? Is this something you hear almost every day with slight variation? Whether you have a job that forces you to ask the question or you go into a shop and are asked this question – even online - either way you hear this little exchange A LOT.

How many people are actually “good” when they respond this way? I know I’m usually not but if I spent the time explaining the different components of my emotional and physical state in that moment I would probably get stared at – pity stared.
When I was studying in England I had to get use to the shopkeepers asking “you alright?” when you entered a store. At the beginning I would simply reply “yes” or “yes, I’m fine” and then on came the stares. Apparently, in Britain, you don’t need to reply to that. It isn’t so much a question but rather a statement acknowledging your presence. It worked wonders when I realised a slight smile or nod would satisfy them and I tried to bring this knowledge back to my home land.

It didn’t work.
Most of the time people thought I was either mute, incapable of speaking English or just a total non-communicative cow.

It is more than likely this response is just a failsafe question and answer so we can continue with what actually needs to get done. I mean I’m sure that neither one us really cares how the other is feeling. We just need a short, polite yet pointless opener to appropriately get what we want from one another without arousing suspicion of others – albeit our bosses or other judgemental onlookers.
As a kid I would always get asked “how was school?” and I would, without fail, respond with “good”. Not that I didn’t have a good day – I’m sure if it was lousy and filled with hate due to some other kid laughing at my kneecaps then I would want to share but if it had been an average day where not much happened I would just say the word that frees us from further explanation and boring small talk.  

Actually this word is kind of freeing. I don’t have to reveal myself to strangers on a regular basis. They might take the hint if I say I’m good and have big puffy, red eyes from crying or blood shooting from my temple and not ask any more questions. In fact, I feel positive about the mundane and mediocre nature of the word “good”. And right now, after typing this blog, I feel good.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

"Twilight": Bringing Hell to a Screen Near You

This blog has been a long time coming. Since it came out I have mocked, parodied, criticised and laughed heartily at this piece of garbage also known as “Twilight”. I know there are many, many fans out there who love this story – which is fine (I type begrudgingly) but the film is rubbish on so many levels. I watched it again recently out of absolute sheer boredom and took a tally of how many awkward moments there were. In the 120 minute running time I calculated 177 moments of shudder inducing episodes. Given the number I was shuddering the whole way through – it was quite an exercise and luckily no one saw me as I probably looked as though I was having a fit.
I don’t really know where to begin. Chronologically, I suppose – but knowing the stupidness of this film I’ll probably go off on to extended rants.
The film begins with the most convincing actor in this whole tripe fest and that is the deer. Throughout the screening I wondered if the deer had also been hired as the scriptwriter. Surely only an animal with hooves bashing away at a keyboard is the only possible culprit for this dreadful feature. Seriously people, the dialogue is AWFUL. And I don’t mean awful as in “awe inspiring” I mean it as crap. Crappity crap. The crappiest crap that ever did crap.

Moving on. I can’t help but feel that Bella Swan belongs on the short bus. She can barely construct a coherent sentence let alone speak without avoiding eye contact, blinking rapidly, twitching or speaking in a complete monotone. Then we move on to her attire. Baggy shirts, hoodies and jeans as well as that random bowling shirt she wears in one scene do not look hot. If American high school in the popular media is anything to go by then no pubescent adolescent boy would want the socially retarded frump. Let’s be realistic here. The fact that she has like five guys slobbering all over her within minutes of entering the school is laughable and just plain unbelievable. Stephanie Meyer is just trying to trick the unpopular girls of high schools everywhere that secretly boys are in love with them and she’ll sell more books cashing in on this. Sorry, girls, and I say this as an unusual and unloved high school girl myself, teenage boys want the girls with exposed flesh and perky, ignorant attitudes. Boys will notice your awesome personalities AFTER high school. Bella Swan is the exception to this rule as she has no personality. Being clumsy is not a personality. Which leads to my next point. Who would want to be friends with her? Again she just arrives at a new school and is automatically amalgamated into a posse. She has nothing to offer these people. She takes no interest in anything they do and is a total numpty.
Despite this, Bella is the talk of the crappy town known as Forks. Somehow the woman who works in the local tavern has had nothing else happen to her in her life that she remembers Bella’s favourite dessert. And that other guy’s high point in life was playing Santa to Bella over a decade ago. Wow that is one sad ass place if the talking point is Bella, who I have pointed out is nothing special. Well... she’s special in an inverted commas kind of way.

Several terrible and out of place guitar riffs later Edward enters the scene giving the same expression I would give if I were to ever meet Bella – wanting to puke and murder her at the same time. It weirds me out that people all over the world are lusting after this elderly blood sucker. I mean if Edward looked like Dracula, the traditional vampire, would people still want him? If you had this looming over you and watching you sleep?

I don’t think so.
Why would an almost hundred year old person want to hang around with a teenager? Does a mature individual really want to listen to “Oh my god, Mindy at work was being such a cow today. She was all like ‘you can’t do that’ and I was like ‘why not?’ God! Why is my life so hard?” Given that they aren’t getting it on I don’t see the attraction. Plus this whole relationship is so illegal and paedophile-y.

Then there’s a scene at the beach where it’s mandatory for everyone to wear an ugly hat followed by some point where Bella’s dad gives her some pepper spray. Seriously, pepper spray? Aren’t there so many guns available in America they practically come free in cereal boxes?
Bella gets her narcissism on when Edward explains that he can read minds – but not hers. He doesn’t seem to realise it’s because she doesn’t have any thoughts. I guess that’s love for you – or at least some sick Daddy complex thing.

A lot of other clich├ęd and contrived stuff happens but the “best” part is where Bella blurts out to Edward “you’re beautiful!” and “it’s like diamonds”. Honestly – can she keep a single thought in her head? It would be wack being around her. Once minute you’re discussing... I don’t know... her beat up truck and the next minute she suddenly says “I like carrots” or “my name starts with ‘B’” or “it’s my time of the month” – KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, FOOL!
Last but definitely not least is her hospital performance.

Wow. All her short bus acting lessons really paid off. I really thought her eyelids would fly off given the work out they were given. And the stuttering and incapability to make any sense? Brilliant. If you want to sound like the neediest person in the world then memorise this speech. Who would put up with that? They’ve been dating for a few months and the thought of breaking up sends her into crazy overdrive. She’s fictional and yet I just want to dump her.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re still with me, there you have it. A breakdown of not everything that is wrong with this film as that would take a life time but a look at this crud-bucket we know as “Twilight”. You may ask if I have anything positive to say about this movie and I actually do – the soundtrack is quite good. Other than that it deserves negative eight out of ten.

Happy watching!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

F-F-F-Fashion

You know when you watch a film from another time period and you begin to think how cool it would have been to live in that time solely to wear the get-up that they do? I get that a lot.

It’s great to think how babein’ you will look in these outfits but then I tend to forget that life in those times would actually have been a bit grim. So I’ve decided to come up with a list of pros and cons for the different historical periods and their respective fashions.
Starting from the beginning... Well – the earliest recorded depiction of attire that we have...

Ancient Egyptian

Pros

·         Talk about bling. Well head bling at least. And I’m not just talking crowns and tiaras and so on. I’m talking wigs. No need to worry if your hair is greasy or getting those pesky knots out – hair on and you’re out the door in seconds! Genius!

·         Everything about Egypt is cool. Pyramids are cool. Cats are cool. The colour gold is cool. Plus EVERYONE wears eyeliner! It would be like living in pirate/rock star land! And you get to “Walk like an Egyptian”! Ha! Ha! Ha! ...            ... Anyone?
Cons

·         Living in a culture that appears to be obsessed with death – little bit creepy.

·         If you weren’t a part of the rich minority you would be stuck hauling rocks day in and day out with very little time off– much like any other job I suppose...
Ancient Greece

Pros

·         Togas ROCK. If you live in a particularly heated climate, as I do, you will understand the awesomeness of a cool breeze – in all areas.

·         It would be like going to toga party EVERY DAY. That would make boring daily activities like going to work and brushing your teeth (assuming they did that) so much more cool because you would be wearing a robe!
Cons

·         Wearing sandals all the time would be a pain. As cute as they are there will be times when a real shoe is required like when walking through puddles. Plus sandals hurt my feet for the most part and the latest craze of gladiator sandals was old even for them.

·         Lots of dudes scamming on little boys. Not okay.

·         Constantly seeing that look of bliss on every man’s face when there is a cool breeze downstairs.
The Middle Ages

Pros

·         The Middle Ages was all about the headgear. Every day you could choose a different type of head accessory and not be laughed at.

·         You’re more than welcome to have a medieval themed wedding – after all it would be legitimate and not... weird.

Cons

·         If you lived in the Middle Ages, chances are you wouldn’t even be able to afford a hat. Let alone a new one every day.

·         Chances are the fabrics used were itchy and scratchy and hell. Sure you’d look all royal and fancy as long as you weren’t furiously scratching yourself in all places at all times.
Tudor England

Pros

·         Hello, velvet! You are able to wear enormous dresses made entirely out of this deluxe material and not be categorised as a Goth.

·         Square neck lines. Just because they aren’t used enough in this day and age.

Cons

·         They probably made square neck lines so when you got your head chopped off it didn’t spatter blood on the gown. That’s not cool.

·         Whilst there are many pros... the fact is probably everything and everyone smelt like poo. And had urinary tract infections.
Elizabethan Era

Pros

·         Bustles and hoop skirts. Why bother dieting? With all this fabric and undergarment paraphernalia who’s to know you do actually look fat in that outfit? Plus those big sleeves would hide any bingo wings/tuckshop arms/fatty forearms. Brilliant!

·         With all those large neck frills it would be easy to hide yourself from unwanted persons. Just think – your ex walks by you in the marketplace with his latest strumpet and you don’t want to be seen. Simply angle your neck ruffles and you could be anyone! Genius!

Cons

·         Although there was any array of cool gowns to gad about it in and you were noble enough to wear them – you still didn’t even get to mix it up! The type of clothes you wore were governed by law and if you wanted to play dress-ups for a party you could lose your head.

·         Pretty sure for a lot of these dresses the women were sewed into them which meant wearing the same dress for over a week. Ew.
Restoration

Pros

·         At least they look clean. Which is a lot to say considering the previous time periods we’ve looked at.

·         Now men can understand how darn annoying stockings are to wear!

Cons

·         How could you consider any man hot? I mean seriously, they would all look like total fools. You can’t call a man hot/fit or handsome when they are wearing a long haired curly wig, stockings and resemble Captain Hook.

·         Pretty sure this was the time when everyone was sleeping with everyone else (ha – what time period doesn’t have that going on?) the only problem was this meant everyone was desperately trying to mask their syphilis scars with little facial tattoos. It would be a lot like living in a gang, I imagine.
1800s – Regency Era

Pros

·         You get to look just like Elizabeth Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice”

·         You can totally blow peoples’ minds. The fact that you can wear a bonnet and have your lady lumps propped up and out for the world at the same time is hilarious. In essence you get around looking like some sort of lady child. Also – you could make a man faint by just showing off your ankles!

Cons

·         You get to look just like Elizabeth Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice”

·         They seem to wear a lot of white and pastel colours. That seems like unnecessary work for everyone involved in this outfit. If you eat messily you can pretty much guarantee looking like a pauper in under twenty minutes.
American Civil War/Gone with the Wind

Pros

·         No one could invade your personal space – even if they wanted to.

·         No man would expect you to wear uncomfortable undergarments as they do now. No more pain-in-the-ass (literally!) tiny underpants – hello enormous bloomers!

Cons

·         Corsets. Okay they look awesome on but crushing all my gizzards for no real reason seems kind of sucky. I mean I struggle to wear a high waisted belt and eat a big meal without bursting.

·         Something I probably should have mentioned earlier – and is applicable in most of the aforementioned categories – the fact that there is no birth control and you either lived the life of a sad spinster or had litters of children and the ran the constant risk of carking it in child birth.
1920s

Pros

·         These have to be the cutest hair styles in the world.

·         There was a sense of propriety. Yes this would get old in certain areas of life (like not being able to look at a man without everyone assuming you’re an item) but for the most part it would be car doors being opened and them always standing when you decide to leave the room – an aspect of this time that I would definitely abuse by running in and out.

Cons

·         Every person in this time seems to be a total idiot as seen in “The Great Gatsby”.

·         If you wanted to wear anything that would show off your hourglass figure you were out of luck.
1980s

Pros

·         Seriously – are there any?

Cons

·         1980s fashion is foul. I don’t care what anyone says – designer or otherwise – this stuff should have died here and now. Florescent, shoulder padded, bad haired, power suited and David Hasselhoff’d – it all should have been left here to die.

So there you have it. In this day and age I get around the house in tracksuit pants and a sloppy tee-shirt and no one chides me – which is awesome. The bonus of today is also that I can wear all of the above outfits any time I want – as long as it’s Halloween and there is a skanky version of each.