Update Week 4+5

Even when I’m setting my own rules I’m not very good at following them. One post a week, I said. That’s not hard, you can manage. The one issue with trying to write a media-based update is those days when you haven’t consumed anything worth talking about. I came up a complete blank last week. I hadn’t finished any new books, or watched any movies, or played anything new. I went to work every (sometimes twice a day), I came home every night and consumed only comfort media.
I found myself watching only The West Wing, Death in Paradise and Castle. All fairly predictable, all things I’ve watched before, and none particularly worth reviewing. It was a busy week, with evening shifts and 7:30am starts, so I might just put a line under this paragraph and a half and call that the end of Week 4. The plus side of writing only for oneself is that I’m not going to get any hate over disappearing for a week. Two, if you count Saturday to Saturday. Week 4, consider yourself recapped.
Week 5 doesn’t have much media to cover either, to be quite honest, so I’m going to break from my formula and do some life-based updates and some concepts rather than media types.

Adventures in Hair Styling

I had a haircut this week. I’m still riding the fresh lovely hair high from it, but there was one thing that stood out. I am terrible at styling my hair, I can’t do anything beyond a ponytail without messing it up and my hair is just thick and heavy enough that nothing stays in it anyway. This hairdresser had another plan of attack. To give my hair some ‘movement’, he decided to curl it a bit. However he didn’t use a curling iron or hot rollers, he used hair brushes. Full sized, giant barrelled round brushes were twisted into my hair like a roller, blasted with a hairdryer and left to hang from my head. I had three dangling from my scalp at one time and looked like I’d decided to style my hair in a tornado. It hurt like hell, but the result was glamorous as all get out.
For about an hour and a half. Thick hair, don’t care. My hair was dead straight again by the end of my shift, but it still felt bouncy!

Black Friday

We don’t do Thanksgiving here, and yet we do Black Friday with vigour. By Thursday night I had already made two orders of Christmas presents, and I spent a ton of money before I got out of bed Friday morning. Oh dear. It’s both unsurprising and amazing how much this has caught on in recent years. Local stores are boasting big sales, online stores are having blow outs and crashing, and everyone is going crazy on their Christmas shopping. I had an anxiety attack Thursday morning because I felt so unprepared for Christmas with my family that I was going to fail and ruin the holiday. By Thursday night I had bought two little things and felt a lot better. It’s the real danger of having sales at the end of the year, and precisely why they’re so effective. People with no preparation buy anything that looks vaguely good, people who are organised blow their budget. It’s dangerous and so addictive.
This isn’t a segment where I outwardly attack capitalism. I actually just want to talk about the best deal I got. The Disney Infinity Starter Pack was $1 new at EB Games. One. Dollar. This does come with some catches though. For starters, it’s an old game. This is version 1, whereas the current iteration is 3.0. The starter pack is designed specifically so you will then buy MORE and spend hundreds on the figures and game packs and all that mallarkey. I recognise this. I also, however, recognise it as the PERFECT gift for a family you like but want to antagonise. For example, if there’s a really great kid you know who has parents who you love to annoy. You’re the hero aunt who gave them an awesome game with figures that get involved in the gameplay, but also the evil sister who just got the kid started on a very expensive enterprise. It’s like getting someone addicted to a free-to-play game. The joy is doled out in small, $5 increments. I do love a gift that is equal parts wonder and disaster.

Books

I did take a stab at reading Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism this week, but if there was any hope to be found in it, I missed it. I found it so depressing that I put it right down again. I had read her latest book Girl Up in one sitting a few months ago, and I found that uplifting enough. This however just managed to point out to me anew that things are bad and not getting better fast enough. I’ll take a pass on this book.
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Crosspost: Update Week 3

Well here we are. A day later and another deadline. I know I could have easily just waited and done this next week, but I don’t want to give myself that much wiggle room, or I’d quit. Welcome back to my little weekend updates. If anyone was wondering what the point of these are, I am greatly inspired by Door’s newsletter and its little thoughts and pictures. I wanted to share, and I wanted to make myself write regularly. Yesterday when I was editing ‘Week 2’ I lost my entry about games, so I shall include it now that it has surfaced.

Games

I haven’t played any games much in the last couple of weeks, but this week I’ll touch on one I’ve had to stop playing, at least for now. Marvel’s Avengers Academy on Android and iOS is one of those over-popular ‘wait for tasks to complete’ styles of games that I have played before (Simpsons) and stopped playing when I realised how pointless the whole endeavour is (Simpsons). I’ve stuck with the Marvel one thus far because it’s a franchise I love, but this might be the end of it. I stuck it out through the Halloween event. I wanted the costumes for my characters and I tried so hard to get Werewolf!Cap. I couldn’t see a reason for it, but I wanted that costume. Instead all I wound up with were Pirate!Wasp, Witch!greenlady and Penguin!Falcon. I had to look her up there, her name is Enchantress. So… Witch!Witch. I was not impressed. I didn’t pay money, which was the downfall, but I should be able to do better than that in a free to play, but really it’s only free to fail. That’s not why I stopped playing though. The creators have forced my hand into taking a month off from the game, thanks to the month-long Doctor Strange event. Why does he get a whole month? It’s just one character with different costumes as far as I could see, and I don’t care for it. I don’t know many who do. This whole thing enforced for me once more than honestly, what does it matter?

Television

I don’t generally intend to include this section, but in light of what’s happening around us, I’ve decided to touch on some of my new comfort shows. These are not mushy happy shows, or even comedies for the most part, but they are easy to put on of an evening or after a hard day and not be pushed to any emotional extremes.

Currently, my key choices on Netflix Australia are:

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Even though it often annoys me, the inclusive casting, stories and messages are always worth a watch
  • Mythbusters
    They are fun, vaguely scientific and never stressful
  • Planet Earth
    This one sometimes gets me tense and I hate it when the predator wins, but generally they have a soothing vibe, as does any David Attenborough picture
  • Cosmos
    I’m trying really hard to like this one. I WANT to like this one, but I often get bored. My TV also doesn’t like it and tries to put the whole thing through the subwoofer, which is awkward.

Away from Netflix Aus I’ve been binging The West Wing, if only for the fact that Bartlett isn’t really the brains of the operation and there’s due process and his team holding him up when he goes too far.

Books

I put television in specifically so I didn’t put two negatives together. I attempted to read Carrie Hope Fletcher’s On The Other Side this week. I feel bad that it was only an attempt. I love Carrie’s kind personality, her careers on youtube and in musical theatre, her wonderful songs and her previous book All I Know Now. It makes me sad that I couldn’t get into her novel. It has a lovely out of the box premise, with main character Evie Snow having lived a full life, before needing to go back and share her secrets with the ones she loves so her soul is light enough to move into the next world. I was into it. I just felt that this book required more shaping than it was given. My understanding is that it had a very quick turn around, but I was often left confused reading a chapter entirely from Evie’s perspective that would then have a sentence to share what another character, most often Vincent, was feeling. Evie would be unable to figure this person out, as we all struggle to do if we are not mind readers, and then suddenly Vincent would pop into the narrative to admire in his mind the way Evie smiled, or to worry that he was being too forward. These weren’t necessary, and they dragged me out of the story repeatedly. In the end I had to return it to the library, and I sincerely hope others enjoy it, so I won’t be tagging it. I think the issue I had with it is one of those things that if you don’t notice it at first, you might not, and once it’s been pointed out you cannot unsee it.

Thanks to my cop out, this is another short post, but I’m patting myself on the back anyway because at least I’m writing. I’ve never been able to keep a diary, and this I think is a very good start. I hope anyone who reads this is doing well, and I thank you.

Crosspost: Update Week 2

Off to a rocky start I suppose, in that it’s six days after I intended to post my second attempt at this project, but you know what? Things happen. Without touching on wider issues, the point is rather to keep going even when they do. On with the show.

Audiobooks

I don’t imagine I’ll get to include this section in my next post (-cough-tomorrow), because you know what I’ve noticed? Audiobooks take a LONG time to listen to, especially when only using them as a commuter tool. However, I did mention one in my last post that I wanted to cover more thoroughly. In my lead on from Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be a Woman”, I followed with another fantastic grown-ass woman talking about being a boss. Tina Fey’s Bossypants was way more my scene that Moran’s blunt style. I admired her, but Tina’s words come from a place from quiet anxiety and ‘doing the shit anyway’ which I can truly admire.

To compare, while Moran would go out for a drink or five to her interesting bars and clubs in order to smoke outside them, Fey and I would both be home, watching shows about those things and pretending we don’t care.
Bossypants deals almost wholly with being a woman in comedy, sprinkled with more personal stories that she uses her wit in which to involve her audience, and while I had no desire to go out and follow in her footsteps, I did find her stories compelling me to take more charge in future careers that I do not currently possess. I work crappy jobs, and she worked crappy jobs, but she doesn’t anymore. That was the key point I took away from it all, and what better message is there for any feminist prose that knowing what is now is not forever?

Films

I don’t watch movies a lot, which is part of one of those weird things people tend to do, which is NOT do the things they like best. I love movies, I love the movie industry, I’ve even briefly worked in it on its lowest tier. I read Empire magazine every month and yet I simply don’t watch films that often, unless made to. There’s often even films I’m certain I’ll like that I never get around to, like the new Ghostbusters, and I don’t know why that is.

However, this week I watched Trumbo. Trumbo, if it slipped by you like it did me, is a movie starring Bryan Cranston as the screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who winds up on Hollywood’s Blacklist for his support of Communism. This story surprised me in several ways, the most jarring being that I hadn’t realised that the blacklist itself lasted so. damn. long. Though Trumbo kept writing brilliant films under assumed names (and won Oscars for them while ostracised from the creative community), he didn’t get true recognition for them until well after the 1970s, and didn’t get his name attached to Academy Award for writing Roman Holiday until 1993. That’s FORTY YEARS after Roman Holiday hit screens. I loved this movie, and the casting on all points was fabulous. We should have Louis CK in more dramatic roles, and who knew Dean O’Gorman is such a ringer for Kirk Douglas? Fascinating.

Books

This one is not so much about actual books, but rather the resource that is Goodreads. I’ve seen in my library books people who fill out the little grid pattern in the back of every. single. book. they borrow in order to know if they’ve had it before or not, but I also know for fact that once the page is full, most libraries rip that sucker out and put in a new one. So then the process starts again and people are left wondering why a story is so familiar. I know everyone their cat uses goodreads, and it’s just the old folk in country towns who seem to rely on this grid system, bt it’s still worth singing its praises once in a while. I like the new update, which makes it all a lot nicer to look at. I love that I can follow not only what books I’ve read and want to read, but can update the progress I’m making in them. My favourite feature by far is the yearly reading challenge. I’ve been using it for four years and through it I’ve managed to make reading more the only new year’s resolution I ever keep. I didn’t make it to my goal last year, so I significantly reduced it for 2016, and it’s been easy. The one thing I don’t particularly like about goodreads, is that if you write a scathing review about a book, the author sometimes reads it. I have discovered this first hand and the shame followed me for days. In a direct lead on for this, tomorrow’s blog will feature a book review that while matter-of-fact, I was too chicken to share it on the book’s page directly.

That about wraps it up for today’s ramble, though it will be interesting to see if I put up the two posts on the days I actually specified, or if these will be startlingly anachronistic. Goodnight!

Crosspost: Update Week 1

I’ve wanted for some time to start doing a mini-blog, in which I post a digest of my media intake and real life experiences (such as going outside), for the week past or the past in general. I am largely inspired by door and their excellent Feminist Mind Virus. I recommend signing up for that.

However, you’re looking at this one right now, so let us begin in no particular order.

Audiobooks

Over the last few months, I’ve decided to make the most of my time spent driving to too much work. On average, I live twenty minutes away from my jobs, and when just listening to music I feel like I’m not getting much out of the time. I’ve always hated listening to audiobooks on family drives, but I decided to test this out to see whether CHOOSING the book made a difference. Spoiler – it does.

At one previous point in time I decided to have an audible subscription and I’m now finally getting through them. My first commute choice was Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman. Got the suggestion off a Carrie Hope Fletcher youtube video and decided to give it a try. Considering the family-friendly source of the recommendation, the crassness of the writing gave me a shock. Moran’s work and her delivery of her story were fun, if at times overwhelmingly colourful. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t say I feel any better prepared for the day to day struggle of womanhood.

Films

An attempt was made. I did my best to watch San Andreas this week. I really liked Poseidon when I was younger, so I thought a disaster movie would be fun enough for an evening. I was wrong. I had an anxiety attack in the first thirty minutes and had to turn it off. You’d think growing older would make a person more aware of the fiction/reality divide, but with a rise in empathy, and anxiety, it was too much to bear. I was later told that it was a bad movie anyway, with clunky editing and cutting out the story for more death and destruction, but I feel bad for being unable to see it through.

As I write this, I have taken a different route, and am watching The Lake House. It’s Kate and Leopold meets You’ve Got Mail. Which means, of course, that Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves were making a true effort to be Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Or Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman. It’s an incomplete metaphor.

Books

I just finished Six of Crows, and it was so brilliant I’ll need to dedicate more time to reviewing it, but for this week I’m instead going to talk about a book I didn’t finish.

Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. I’m not an Amy Schumer fan, but I’m also not not an Amy Schumer fan. I’ve never seen anything she’s in. I’ve got an equal number of friends who like her, and friends who don’t (one of each). I came into this ready to make my decision based on her own words.

My reaction is less that I don’t like her, and more that I feel we couldn’t be friends. While other writers might have devoted their chapter about their father to talk about his flawed parenting, or about how wonderful he is (Tina Fey’s chapter about Don Fey was an excellent pro-parent portrayal), she filled her time talking about him with his bowel failures. It was more detail than I’d ever needed, and while some might feel this was a fresh take on the realities of illness, I did not need this. I also didn’t need the similar story in the next chapter. My reaction to The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is quite simply that. I don’t need this.

Video Games

I don’t imagine this will be a weekly section, as I tend to play games hard and then not at all for quite some time. At the moment I’m working on three games across platforms. I’ve got Stardew Valley on Mac. It is my favourite game of all time and it deserves far more attention in a segment that I’m prepared to give right now. I have been playing Marvel’s Avengers Academy on my phone for weeks and I am working HARD to get werewolf Cap before the Halloween event ends. The last game I’ve been playing recently is the Pokemon Sun and Moon demo on 3DS.

I’ve had to play through this twice thanks to a glitch stopping time from moving on in order to get items for the full game. I have pre-ordered the collector’s edition of Pokemon Moon if anyone was wondering. If anyone needs to fix that glitch, it does require deleting the demo and starting again. It now appears to be working for me and I’m getting really excited for the game.

Wrap Up

I’ve run out of ideas for this pilot article, and have yet to come up with any kind of gimmick or cutesy idea to follow up with. Some people post awesome pajamas from stores. Others have landscapes or favourite foods. I’ve been playing with the idea of a wishlist item or favourite view from my window. I will have to give it some thought. For now though, I will leave this long little post be, and say goodbye.

Concept Proposal

I have previously attempted on several platforms to start my own blog. There was imzy, which I just haven’t been able to get myself into, and there was tumblr, which looked beautiful with my custom theme but felt out of place jammed in between my reblogs of Steve Rogers and Yuri on Ice.

I posted a few weeks of a weekly update of media I’d consumed in that time, so I will be cross posting them here, and then attempting something different to keep it going. I like the idea of tracking media, but it is finite when one has a busy schedule. I need to retool things and I’m excited to get started.