I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a past icicle: layers. lots of layers

In keeping with the theme of the season (the theme? It’s cold. The season? Winter.) here is a little something I wrote whilst living in the wilds of Canada …

As much as I very much wish I was an early bird, I think I’ve come to the hard conclusion that I am not one.

I wake at 5:00 am, four alarms later and I’m stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. Cleaning, teeth brushing, make up applying follow in very. slow. order. (In this, I can safely say that I will never be accused of being too fast) and then I’m dressed and downstairs at 5:35 am for breakfast.

And then I have to apply more layers than rock layers in geology for venturing forth to catch my bus – which leads me to a Very Important Issue that I will a-dress (ba-dump) here:

ON WEARING A JOLLY BIG AMOUNT OF LAYERS

by A BITTER ENGLISHWOMAN

I used to think that I had to cover up (oh! the irony!) the amount of layers I wear. That I should be ashamed of wearing more clothing than a charity shop possesses. That I should tough it out and be a brazen:

‘Is it minus forty? HaHA! Gee! I didn’t notice. This t-shirt and coat is making me feel a bit overheated actually.’

(A breezy laugh ending with an accidental snort accompanies this announcement.)

WELL NO MORE!!!

I am finished with this self-imposed shame. I am no stranger to the damp winter cold of England, but the deep, deep depths of cold here in Montreal? No. I am not used to it. But, I’m adjusting to it. Slowly.

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(And I’m very proud of myself when I don’t have to wear gloves and it’s minus ten and pfft? What is this? A mere chill breeze, mortals!)

(I was wearing a heck of a lot of layers at the time. And the sun was shining.)

(So it probably doesn’t count.)

Things I’m used to:

  • Watching the rain
  • Living with the rain
  • Dodging puddles of rain water
  • Discussing the rain
  • Singing in the rain
  • Scurrying in from the rain

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Things I’m not used to:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Freezing rain
  • VERY VERY COLD COLDNESS

A little part of me wistfully longs to wear a beautiful coat with shape, elegance, and style, but right now? I wear a gazillion amount of clothing when I bus to work. It’s cold. I want to be warm. Being a human icicle is not a life goal.

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I will always be a tiny weeny bit embarrassed. It’s hard not to be. (COME ON, I’m wearing one coat, one hoodie, one fleece, one top and one vest – and that’s just for my top half.) But, I’m not going to apologise.

Nope.

Because yes, I’m wearing snow pants when literally no one else is … but if the wind blows sharply or the heavens sends its sparkling dandruff down … I shall be prepared.

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I think I just rambled, Life

dinosaur thieves playing tag [movies i’ve watched]

So. I’ve been going to the cinema a lot recently. I’ll spare you my rant on the insane cost of popcorn (Seriously. It costs about an arm, a leg, and an ovary AND I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING [much]) and my opinions on how IMAX is amazing and AV-whatever-the-other-letter-is is a WASTE OF SPACE, TIME, AND MONEY, and cut to the chase – I’ve been watching movies, and I’ve decided to write about them.

Just for this post, mind.

oceans8

WAHOO!! FEMALES CAN STEAL TOO!!!

[OCEAN’S 8]

Replace this cast with males and this movie would have been as interesting as waterlogged toast; the plot is a touch too simplistic and needed just a little bit more conflict. But because it had an all-female cast!! it works.

And it looks good doing it. (Them dresses though!)

Now, I’m not going to go into in-detailed rants about Hollywood and female leads and the Bechdel Test etc etc etc because quite frankly, my stomach is pleasantly full of root beer, fries, and a teen burger (and that’s it’s name and it’s not made from the body of a teenager. geez, people) and I’m tired and when I was writing essays for my English exam, my Dad looked at my work and said ‘yes, daughter, I think you’re more suited to writing fiction’ (translated: DON’T TRY TO WRITE LOGICALLY. I THINK THE LOGIC SKIPPED YOU AND WENT TO YOUR BROTHERS) (I’m paraphrasing) and so … I’m not going to do that here.

But this movie did pass the Bechdel Test. It was enjoyable, and it made me think: wow, is this what it’s like to be a boy and see Ocean’s 11 and have ROLE MODEL THIEVES OF THE SAME GENDER AS YOU?!!!

It’s a nice feeling. But don’t worry, I’m not going to become a thief. I tried to do an escape room bank robbery once and it did not go well; they actually radioed in and asked if I needed a hint.

three and a half stars. out of five. not ten. the plot isn’t that simplistic.

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WHAAAATTT DINOSAURS ARE ENDANGERED? AGAIN?!!

[Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom]

‘The movie was good,’ I told my friend. ‘But it needed more carnage.’ (I told her this four times. She’s a patient friend.)

(Actually, it was more like six.)

I liked Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; it has an interesting concept and looks really good. There’s some oh no! the dinosaur is going to kill us fo sure better run OH MY GOSH WE’REGONNADIE moments, your run-of-the-mill villain, a moral question that is solved in an interesting way (you’ll know the moment and REALLY. THINK OF THE DEATH TOLL HUH?!! WHY DON’T YOU!!!! ugh) and some fun humour amusement moments. (What, I totally didn’t consult my favourite dinosaur THE THESAURUS.)

But … there were moments in which I just wished the movie would hurry up. Maybe I’m getting old, or am used to skimming tedious parts when reading, but sometimes movies just need to get a move on already.

So, I liked the movie because: Chris Pratt, dinosaurs, and umm dinosaurs. BUT IT NEEDED MORE CARNAGE.

probably three and three-quarter stars out of maybe five because it needed more carnage (did i mention that?) or maybe it needs more stars. i don’t know how i feel. i am having a crisis right now.

Tag_(2018_film)

PETER PAN: THE SEQUEL. WITH SWEARING

[TAG]

Remember when I said that sometimes movies need to get a move on already? This movie snatches your attention, taunts you with it, and then legs it. It doesn’t give it back until the credits finish.

I kid you not.

This movie is fun. There’s not a dull moment and the cast are having a blast, and so therefore do we.

I laughed a heck of a lot, and not once – not ONCE – did I think: how much longer is there?!

It’s refreshing – there’s so many movies where EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE AND THE ONE I LOVE IS IN DANGER or just thinks I’m the worst AND DEATH IS HURLING DOWN LIKE HAIL STONES IF HAIL STONES WERE MADE OF CGI AND FAKE BLOOD! But this? It’s literally about a group of friends playing tag.

The world isn’t threatened, there aren’t dead bodies here, there, and everywhere, no CGI monsters … it’s not perfect, but it’s like a nice glass of cool root beer. Refreshing.

Or whatever your beverage of choice is, it’s that. (Unless your beverage of choice is green tea. And then, I’m sorry – but no. Just no.)

(but bear in mind, this movie is rated ‘R’ and there are definitely reasons for that rating.)

three point eight six three out of five

(Also, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a good movie, butitneededmorecarnage.)

… no one is going to hire me to write film reviews, are they?

Life

resolutions that i didn’t keep in 2017

Look, I think I’m allergic to resolutions. Terribly, awfully allergic to them. I had resolutions made last year – heck, I wrote an entire blog post on how “I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve.”

Oh. Ha. Ha ha ha HA!

In my defence … I was working very hard in order to come to Canada. Please picture someone slaving day after day, taking up every single shift possible, coming home in the wee hours exhausted and drained … and then going back to do it all over again the next morning. Seven days a week. Four weeks a month. Twelve months a year. Ten years a decade …

(That’s not how it went, but it’s how I’d like you to imagine it went. Thank you.)

This is how I did …

1 // READ A DICKENS. JUST ONE. SURVIVE IT.

I didn’t read just one. Oh no. I outdid myself: I didn’t read any.

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2 // READ LORNA DOONE

I tried, but the book I had was a) very thick (I’m not kidding – you could clobber an intruder with it. It might not be completely effective but … you could), and b) the text was  too small and uncomfortable to read. If I remember correctly, I had it out on my desk for a few months, in painful hope. I managed to read a few pages … or paragraphs. So I suppose, in a way, I did read Lorna Doone.

Just, you know, not all of it.book-2572013_1920.jpg

3 // FINISH THE LIBRARY LASS

This didn’t quite work out very well. Why? I wrote too much and then there was nothing and then stage fright sprouted and “this is the way the project ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

“Marriage is a give and take situation – the husband gives the money, the wife takes it.
– by Authors Numerous, CYNICS THROUGH THE YEARS

(I liked to pepper The Library Lass with quotes by fictional people. It was enormous fun.)

Maybe I will return to it, maybe I will not. Maybe I have commitment issues with my projects. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’m indecisive. Maybe I’m not.

4 // PUBLISH SANDWICHESbooks-2596809_1920

Oh. I think that this was a dream too lofty. Though this story has a special place in my heart, it needed plenty of work and I did not have the time or the urge to complete it. I did not have the ‘umph’ as we say in my family.

5 // WORK ON THE SALT PUN

I worked on it – I did. I swear I did. I had a wonderful name for it, I had character pictures and background information and went through the ENTIRE manuscript with highlighter pens for every story arc. (I know. It was like, the ultimate level of commitment!) But then, in September, it suffered a major blow – I moved continents and left my hard-copy-scrawled-with-irreplaceable-notes manuscript behind.

Put a bit of a spanner in the works, to say the least.

It is now waiting for me to return to it, this September. (I miss you too, my love!!!)

Join me, later on in the week, when I draw up a list of goals for this year. Oh yes, my friends. You know what they say – once bitten, twice DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN FOREVER AND EVER AND LEARN NOTHING!!!!

I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a future icicle: boots, buses and THE PHANTOM!!!

Well, it’s been over a month now. I’m still here. I’m still alive.

WINTER PREPERATIONS

In my head I’ve been keeping a ‘clothesometer’; if it’s ten degrees outside, I wear this. If it’s zero degrees with a wind chill factor, I wear that. I think I’m going to write a book containing my Vast and Very Wise Knowledge.

So far I’ve acquired:

  • Winter boots – expensive but oh so comfy
  • One of those sleeveless jacket down things (I excel at technical terms. Clearly)
  • A hoodie
  • An under jacket thing.
  • Two winter coats

I bought some winter wear with me, so I think – with a few more additions – I just might survive. Ha. Probably.

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Future me. But without the beard.

BUSES

There is nothing quite like the feeling of watching your bus disappear into the distance. Or arriving at the bus stop to have someone tell you that your bus has been and come and gone.

I’ve run after buses, I’ve waited for buses, I’ve missed a bus because I was reading, looked up and ‘oh that’s my bus, whizzing past like a sprinting ostrich.’

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All in all, buses and I have a complex and codependent relationship. On my part. They don’t care whether I come or go. It’s a harsh and cruel, cold (heh) truth.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Dun. Dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnn … I can cross ‘Watching the Phantom of The Opera’ off my to-do list. I SAW IT FOLKS!! I saw it. That moment when the music thunders and the lights flash and the chandelier bursts into life? Shivers. Genuine shivers.

I grew slightly irritated with the younglings who were chatter-whispering behind me for did they not know how important and incredible this show was!!

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Like, for real. I’m glad you are here and seeing this wondrous thing but honestly. Shush.

My tears wanted to roll at the Phantom’s last sung words; all that longing, and all that heartache. Even though I was seated in the second from last seats (32Z, instead of 32ZZ. There’s a difference) it was wondrous.

They did some sound wizardry at one point AND THE PHANTOM’S VOICE CAME FROM BEHIND MY HEAD. (Please add squealing and a multitude of exclamation marks after that.)

I could probably ramble on and on about my theories regarding Erik and how he was never taught regular human behaviours and how Christine isn’t right for him (well, as she is in the book and play) and how he needs some real help and professional therapy etc etc etc. But that’s for another time and another day.

phantom cry

For years, I have been a Phan. (Aw gee, that sounds cheesy. But I stand by it. So. Pfft.) And now I’ve revisited the story, the movie, the music, the play, and the phanfiction (seriously! there is some great phanfiction out there.). The only things lacking are:

  • a reread of Gaston Leroux’s book
  • watching some of the older movies

And now I’ve seen the play. Live. As in right there. In front of me. 

… and now I need to go back and watch it again. But a) the play has left Montreal and b) I have a budget to stick to (HAHAHA. I mean. Yes. Yes, I do) and so I will make do with a movie.

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Preferably the anniversary edition

Books, Life

why i like one star reviews

DISCLAIMER BEFORE THE PITCHFORKS ARE FORKED, OR ER, PITCHED (?) IN MY DIRECTION: By ‘reviewer’ I do not mean ‘a malicious troll’. I mean a reviewer who is stating their opinion on the book in a fair, truthful, and often amusing way.

I am not a villain, cackling away behind the anonymity of a computer screen. However, I must admit that I like to read sparsely starred reviews. Yes, those ones. The ones that can often state – in clear, precise words – why the reviewer views the book as a tragic waste of tree, space, time, money, and so forth.

I drink that stuff down like a toddler who’s just discovered Coca-Cola.

Why? How could I? I write, I’ve self-published some novellas, surely I’d want EVERYBODY to have glorious and glowing reviews *throws confetti*

But … I have my reasons. Let me share them with you …

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come with me

i have an inherent distrust of good news

If the book is a fantasy and the reviews are mostly positive – I’ll listen. But if the book is a romance …. then I am wary and proceed with caution. If all the reviews are full to the brim of gushing words about the swooning romance, dreamy heroes, wonderful adventure, fantastic writing etc etc etc … I won’t take it at face value.

I’ve been burned and so I am painfully shy; I read the bad reviews. Because:

a) I am a practical optimistic pessimist (a state of being which I’ve just invented. join me) – if I know the worst, I can decide if it’s worth badgering my bank account for it

b) some folks’ idea of romance isn’t mine

and

b) … the reviews can be extremely entertaining.

eloquence, m’dear. it’s the eloquence

Sometimes, a reviewer can find a book – any book – to which they suffer an allergic reaction. This can provoke a beautiful response – full of sweeping prose, breathtaking analogies, and excellent use of gifs.

In short, it’s terribly interesting to observe this kind of reaction; reviewers are often very eloquent when they decide that this book is not for them and here is why etc.

I grab my popcorn and settle down to read, mesmerized.

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it can lead to beautiful things

I don’t always trust people who love every. little. thing that they read. Because I am a little cynical; how can I believe that this is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!! if you’ve said that every other book you’ve read is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!!?

(Maybe you do find every book you read to be wonderful. That’s fine. But again, my cynicism strikes like a pimple before a wedding. I can’t help it.)

If you are honest in your reviews, I can measure the bad against the good. You hated this book? You’ve stated the reasons why? Well maybe I agree with you – maybe I’ll search for your other reviews; for the books you really liked.

Maybe I’ll like them too.

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It’s a roundabout way to get a good book recommendation. It also works in the opposite way; if you hated this book, and I loved it … then maybe I won’t like the books you love, maybe I’ll like the books you hate – another way to a book recommendation. (Or if you loved this book and I loved it … we will both congratulate each other on our exceptional taste and stalk each other. Politely. In a friendly fashion.)

in summary, bad reviews can …

  • give a more rounded perspective of a book
  • save money
  • cost money
  • be entertaining

All right. You can … you can bring out your pitchforks now.Image result for galavant gif