LIFE | Help, I’m Turning Into My Cat

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People often say that pets are like their owners. Or that owners are like their pets. They say something like that, at least. But the similarities I share with my cat are starting to unnerve me a little. I don’t know if he just takes after his mumma or if we share some strange psychic bond, but it really feels like we are one. I don’t want to sound like a crazy cat lady or anything; my life plan isn’t to live with thirty cats all called things like Mr Tiddlesbum and Lord Fluffington IV. But I do spend a lot of time with my cat. Watching him, talking to at him, carrying him around like a baby so he can’t escape. It may seem like a pathetic way to spend my days (it absolutely is), but it has given me an insight into the inner workings of his mind. And mine.

I first got Oakley when I was seventeen and he was a tiny kitten. Our days used to begin by me awaking at 7:30 (an hour before I would usually arise) and retrieving Oakley from his bed to cuddle with me before I went to school. Then I would come home from school, and instead of spending all of my time in my room talking to weird Americans on the Internet, I would scrunch up tinfoil and wiggle straws in front of my new cat bff’s face. I am pretty sure the reason my parents bought me Oakley was so that they saw me more than an hour a day. That didn’t last for long though, because soon Oakley got a taste of my way of life. A life of cynicism, pessimism, and introversion. And we have been the same ever since. Like Hermione and Crookshanks, like Sailor Moon and Luna, like Team Rocket and Meowth. We are a team. A team of melancholia. This is how we are one.

5. We Are Scared Of Other People:

My cat is criticised a lot by other people for being scared of absolutely everything. I am also frequently criticised for this too. You may often hear my mum crying ‘for God’s sake, Oakley, it’s only a vacuum hoover’, which is regularly interchanged for ‘it is not hard to make your own appointments at the doctors, Rosanna!’ No one understands our turmoil, our pain. The world is a scary place, and all we would like to do is stay indoors and eat treats.

4. We Prefer To Be Alone:

A simple one, but an important point nonetheless. If either Oakley or myself hear someone knocking at the door, we both immediately find a hiding place. I once hid in my room and pretended to be out of the house for the entire time my extended family came to visit. Oakley was doing the same thing under the bed. Neither of us could relax until we knew for sure that they had left our territory; watching, waiting, listening. And then as soon as we hear the car start we’re both downstairs again, filled with fake confidence and yummy food.

3. No One Else Likes Us:

Throughout my school life, anything I said was often received with cries of ‘why are you so weird?’ Although this dwindled at university, I would occasionally still see the widening of the eyes whenever any of my comments were met with confusion. Oakley is like me, except with other cats. On my street there is a point called Cat Corner, and it is the meeting place for Mogwai, Stanley, Ozzy, and The Bully Cat. They pretty much hate Oakley. I often see my baby run excitedly towards his buddies, only to have them dart off as soon as they see him coming. Interestingly enough, whilst other humans always want to touch Oakley due to his adorableness, other cats are often drawn to me. Maybe we should combine forces and learn from one another.

2. We Sleep For The Majority Of The Day:

I feel this is something I have learnt from Oakley; he is a terrible influence on me. Since my graduation, I have become a lady of leisure. And when I’m not sleeping until the afternoon, I’m usually lying comatose watching The Office on Netflix. When Oakley is not sleeping in his adorable bed that says ‘meow’, he is lounging on the sofa and taking up valuable room in the process. Not caring for anyone. A total Aristocat.

1. We Are Beautiful:

Well, we are.

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TV | On Sherlock and Shortfalls

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(Pssssst, there’s gonna be spoilers).

Growing up, I was always a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes; despite being a kid and never actually having read any of ACD’s work. I once won a brown bear from one of those claw machines and named him Watson, only to win again a few months later and receive a white, but otherwise identical, version of the same bear. I named him Sherlock, obviously, and together they solved crimes and foiled super villains, a role usually played by the PG Tips Monkey. It was like an eight year old version of writing fanfiction. But despite my love of the great Mr Holmes, I’d always just presumed that he was a real person and I guess my parents never thought to tell me differently. So when I found out he was just a fictional character, I felt like I had been lied to. My love never wavered though, and when BBC’s Sherlock started I was hooked from Sherlock and John’s first meeting, even if they weren’t anything like my bears. Through the years Sherlock has remained a glorious reminder of what BBC dramas can be. A glimmer of hope in the Moffat shroud of misery that is post-2011 Doctor Who. So I thought that I’d always love Sherlock, that it would continue to be a great example of British television. But then season three started.

Within the first five minutes of the first episode of season three, I was angry. ‘This is exactly like I said it happened,’ I exclaimed, ‘Sherlock Holmes can’t be so great if this is the big reveal I’ve waited two years for!’ But obviously my mind was very quickly changed, and I went back to thinking that this really was the show I’ve been waiting so long for. And although the opening episode was unarguably very different from its predecessors, I liked it. As soon as it was over I tweeted my praise and was left eagerly anticipating the next episode. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised I didn’t like. It didn’t give me the big reveal that I’d been waiting for and the episode’s mystery felt rushed, unimportant, and ultimately hugely underwhelming. So I thought about it some more, and came to the conclusion that the episode was bound to be different because it had more important things to do than establish some big mystery for the boys to solve. In 90 minutes they had to show John dealing with Sherlock’s return, introduce Mary in a way that wouldn’t make the viewers hate her (obsessive fourteen year old girls who watch the show for #JohnLock)*, and introduce the season’s “main villain”. And once again I was back to liking the episode, and filled with excitement for the ones to come.

Episode two wasn’t really memorable for me. Once again the big case had to come secondary to character development, in this instance the wedding of Mary and John, and yet again I was more than happy with this. Like the first episode, it had more comedic moments than the previous seasons, but none of them really felt forced so I went along with it. It’s nice to have some laughs to make up for the tears that came with season two’s finale. I really liked the narrative of this episode, with all the cutaways and flashbacks, and I love how integrated it all seemed with John’s blog. Again, it wasn’t like the previous seasons but it was still better than a lot of what I watch on TV nowadays so I was pleased, and I still had one more episode that I was sure was going to tear me apart emotionally. My main disappointment with this episode was that I guessed the murderer before Sherlock did. Usually when I watch crime dramas, I’m racing the protagonist to get to the answer first, but when I watch Sherlock I don’t want to know. I want the big reveal. Sherlock is supposed to be a genius, I’m just someone who watches a lot of television and is really good at Cluedo. I’m also unsure of how you wouldn’t notice you are being stabbed? But I guess that’s just me not understanding their explanation, so I’ll let it slide.

And then came episode three. The one they warned us about. I was absolutely sure that Mary and/or her unborn baby was going to die. I definitely did not see Mary’s storyline going the way it did. I knew there was something off about her because of Sherlock’s deductions when he first met her and how fine she seemed with John running off into dangerous situations all the time. But still, this I did not see coming. This episode definitely felt a lot more like old Sherlock, with less sitcom-esque moments and a genuinely creepy villain. When he licks that woman’s face, I cringed a little. Or a lot. It was definitely more like a lot. Moriarty was great and everything, but he was definitely a bit Man Behind The Curtain-ey for me. He may of been a criminal mastermind and master blackmailer, but he never really seemed to get his hands dirty himself. I bet Moriarty would never lick someone’s face. Speaking of Moriarty, I was definitely a fan of this season’s cliffhanger. At first I thought it was gonna be Sherlock being obnoxious and then I thought it would somehow be Magnussen. I was not expecting Moriarty, but that doesn’t mean I believe he’s coming back. I’m calling it now that it’s gonna be a total red herring. If he can steal the Crown Jewels, I’m sure Moriarty could have set up some TV hack thing before he died that would be triggered if Sherlock didn’t kill himself. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t have been set off as soon as he came back to London, but this is television and then they would have had to think of another cliffhanger to end the season with. Dramatic effect and all that good stuff.

Overall, I enjoyed this season of Sherlock and I think it was worth the two year wait. Maybe if I didn’t like The Hobbit so much I’d have different feelings on the matter, but I am appeased by what has been given to me, even if I still feel cheated about Sherlock staging his own death. It’s not a patch on the previous seasons, but compared to the other trash I watch on TV (Pretty Little Liars, I’m looking at you), it still shines far above the rest. Hopefully we’ve now had enough character development for the time being, and we can just get on with the crimes and murders. Which is something I never thought I would say about a TV show.

(TL;DR: This season of Sherlock wasn’t as good as the previous two, but it’s still better than most things I watch on TV)

*On a side note, JohnLock? John Locke? DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO!

LIFE | What Being An Unemployed Graduate Has Taught Me

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Despite no one actually wanting to hire me, I learnt a lot whilst I was at university. But I’ve been unemployed for a few months now, and have spent my time learning from The University of Liiiiiiiiiife. And I have acquired some pretty useful knowledge.

15. I’ve Upped My Eye Makeup Game: When you don’t really tend to leave the house a lot, you’ll try and fill your days with anything. Anything. For me that turned into spending an extortionate amount of time doing my eye makeup, ’cause you’ve got to look good for all those job rejection emails you’re gonna read! Playing with different palette combinations, using different brushes, changing the shape and length of your eyeliner; you can make this process last a long time.

14. How To Make The Perfect Cheese Toastie: Much like the above, I’ve had a lot of time to master this art. You can pick the type of cheese, the type of bread, what topping you want– it’s limitless. You can waste a good five minutes of your endless days making lunch. So far I’ve settled on white toastie bread, Wensleydale cheese, and onion chutney. You’re welcome.

13. That Reading Can Actually Be Enjoyable: It feels so great reading a book and knowing you’re not going to have to write an essay on it. So great. And because of my Nook, I now don’t even have to leave the house to buy a book. Magic!

12. All The German I Forgot Since GCSE: After graduation in a state of mania, I announced I was going to move to Berlin and write the next great German Expressionist novel. This obviously did not end up happening, but I did stick with the app I downloaded where you feed a giant frog different German phrases. It makes a nice change from Fruit Ninja.

11. The Joys Of The Bubble Bath: Although I had a bath in my student house, I didn’t like to use it because the bathroom door didn’t lock. I only remember using it a few times; once was when I was watching the episode of Lost where Charlie drowns. It was weird because I was also submerged in water and I felt like I was one with Charlie (#NotPennysBoat). I don’t recommend it. But now I have a locking door and can live freely in the bath. I can use colourful bath bombs and watch my favourite fictional characters die to my heart’s content.

10. That I Do Not Need To Treat Coca-Cola Like It Is My Life Support: I like to think I’m a pretty healthy person. I’m a vegetarian, I eat a lot of fruit, I like to drink water. But I really, really, really like Coke. All throughout uni I felt it was the only thing that could get me through the day. Two hour 9AM lecture? Get a Coke. Writing an essay? More Coke. Working through my reading list? Coke. Maybe it’s just because I’m not really doing a lot with my days now, but I am finding it easier to resist. I am strong. I am powerful. And I am not tired (*screams and charges into battle*).

9. When You Own A House You Have To Clean The Doors: In my boredom, I’ve taken to doing a variety of chores that sixteen year old me would have cried over. Recently, when I asked my mother if there was anything that needed cleaning, she said the doors. I had never thought that people cleaned doors before. I knew that real live grownups had mortgages and paid council tax and other boring stuff. But cleaning doors? It’s like witchcraft. I still cleaned them though. All. Eleven. Of. Them. When I do a job, it gets done.

8. How To Crack An Egg Without Getting Shell In the Yolk: This one seems pretty simple but it’s something I never managed before. I have wasted a lot of eggs in my time. I am in a whole new world of omelettes and it is wonderful.

7. How To Not Leave The House For Over A Week: When I was at uni I actually had to go outside to learn things and to buy food. It was a hard life. But now there’s always food in the fridge and the extent of my learning is reading Wikipedia for hours on end. I am free to stay inside for as long as I want. Spending my days rewatching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Netflix and wearing a Hello Kitty onesie. I’d try to sell it as a perk of unemployment, but I’m so ready to leave the house and be productive again. Just not to have to battle Sainsbury’s at 6PM on a Friday.

6. That Sick Days Aren’t Nearly As Enjoyable When You’re Not Missing School: Even when I was at university and knew that I was paying for my education, I still loved having sick days. So I might be missing something important, big deal. I had a box of tissues and a never ending supply of green tea, I was a pretty happy without all the Elizabethan literature. But I’m also sick right now, and I keep coughing and then choking on my coughs and it’s pretty much just awful. The one golden light of being sick is that you can stay in bed and watch movies, which is pretty much what unemployment has looked like for me anyway– and that doesn’t include all the nose blowing.

5. The Perfect Pesto To Pasta Ratio: Pesto pasta is my favourite meal ever and I love it so much. You can put like any vegetable combination in it and it still tastes amazing. Everyone should love pesto pasta. Seeing as I’m a real life grownup now, I make my own food. But because I still feel like a child when faced with the task of cooking, I like to stick to what I know. Some may call it boring, but I am now the expert in pesto pasta making. I’d tell you my secret, but I’d have to kill you.

4. Going To Bed Before 3AM Is Manageable And Actually Kind of Enjoyable: I was definitely one of those nocturnal students who did their best work in the dead of night. And if I wasn’t working, I was probably sucked into some ‘just one more episode’ TV marathon on Netflix. Maybe it’s just because I’m super old now, but I like to sleep. I’m not like a 10PM bedtime person yet or anything, but as soon as it hits midnight I feel it is time. And that is really early for someone who has been on an EST sleeping pattern since she was fifteen.

3. How To Watch A Film Without Mentally Planning An Essay About It: Similar to the book problem, but much more intrusive as Netflix is my one true love. For a while after my degree I found myself making mental notes on the scene transitions and cinematography of whatever I watched, and I had to keep stopping myself from pausing them to transcribe certain quotations. It just seemed second nature to me to apply film theory to everything I was viewing. But I’ve seemed to cull this habit recently, which is good because I’ve watched a lot of cheesey romcoms over Christmas which don’t exactly scream ‘APPLY RICHARD DYER TO ME’.

2. All Of The Countries In The World: In a desperate attempt to make it seem like my unemployment is productive, I have spent a lot of time playing Sporcle quizzes. My favourite is definitely the countries of the world quiz, and the day I got all 197 of them was possibly a prouder moment than swooping across the stage of City Hall in my giant black cape to receive my degree. Oceania was definitely a tough category to master, even more so than classes on 17th century Britain.

1. Day Time Television Is So Terrible It Actually Inspires You To Get A Job: Some people may complain about their work, but those people haven’t spent their days watching only Catfish and I Used To Be Fat. If I didn’t already spend enough of my days trawling through every job site known to man and trying to perfect the art of the cover letter, I’d certainly want to after spending four hours watching My Cat From Hell.

If my academic achievements apparently mean nothing to prospective employers, maybe some of this knowledge will. Because my door-cleaning prowess is definitely worth more than a first in Disney Studies (nothing should be worth more than a first in Disney Studies).

FILM | Sports For Perpetually Lazy People

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I think it is fair to say that if you know me, or the (significantly cooler) version of myself that I put on the Internet, you’ll be able to tell that I’m not exactly the sporty type. I get a cold if I so much as look at a window, my spirit animal is most definitely a sloth, and the only marathon I’ll ever win is one that involves Netflix. So it comes as a surprise to me more than anyone that recently I have developed a strange love of sports films. The idea of watching football makes me want to rip my own skin off, but I’m sure if it was wrapped up in a predictable plot, with quirky one liners, and a loveable protagonist– I’d be all over it.

I’m pretty sure the first film that lead me down this dark and dangerous path of clichéd film plots was Disney’s Ice Princess. I am definitely one of those people who will wiki the entire filmography of an actor I like and make it my mission to watch everything they have ever been in. In this case it was Michelle Trachtenberg. But she was Georgina Sparks! She was Dawn Summers! It was a Disney film! I thought I had it pretty much justified. It was ridiculously predictable, but I grew attached to the character. I wanted her to prove her mother wrong, I wanted her to discover who she truly was, and when that mean lady tries to sabotage her performance– it was personal. But mainly I just wanted to watch her do pretty spins and wear glittery dresses.

Once I realised what it was that I liked: watching the underdog achieve their dream, whilst being able to vegetate for a few minutes when the training montages started, I was sold. And thus began the movement. The movement of living my life vicariously through sporting movies, exclaiming ‘I wish I could do that’, whilst lying in my bed and eating a whole packet of Oreos. By now I’d like to think I’m a bit of a sports film connoisseur, and that if there was an Olympics for watching this genre, I’d take home the gold medals. So this is my list of enjoyable sports themed movies by a person who still flails whenever a ball is thrown anywhere near her.

(Consider Ice Princess the number five slot).

4. Bring It On: In It To Win It: 3/5

Before you begin obsessively clicking backspace for my apparent terrible taste in movies, let me justify myself. Bring It On is a great movie! And I do not watch sports films to add them to my list of highly esteemed movies– they are supposed to be terrible. This isn’t even the worst of the Bring It On sequels (that title easily goes to Bring It On: Fight To The Finish). Again, I might have only originally watched this movie because it stars Ashley Benson and I have some strange obsession with Pretty Little Liars. But I’m glad I did, it includes everything I want in a trashy sports movie! An over-exaggerated plot, really ridiculous and kind of offensive character stereotypes, and people getting tossed in the air and doing amazing flips and loops and other things I couldn’t even dream of doing.

3. Stick It: 4/5

Since I already knew that I liked watching people contort their body à la Regan from The Exorcist, gymnastics seemed like the obvious next step for me. It’s got all the makings of a terrible movie, angst-filled teenage protagonist, witty and wise old man mentor, and an edgy double entendre for a title. It also has Jeff Bridges, who I loved in True Grit. It’s not really a stand out film in terms of plot, but it has some endearing moments and some great character development, and it’s less perfect-looking than the Bring It On films, which makes a welcomed change in the genre.

2. Bring It On: All or Nothing: 4/5

My controversial opinion of this film is that it is better than the original. It’s the third in the series and it stars the Cheerleader from Heroes (Hayden Panettiere) and Beyonce’s little sister (Solange Knowles). In true Bring It On fashion, it has some pretty questionable stereotypes, including everybody’s favourite head cheerleader and star quarterback romance. But it also has forbidden love, and girl power, and Rihanna! It’s a major cheese-fest and I love it. It’s definitely one of my go-to feeling bleeeeh movies. Even if it doesn’t have as memorable an opening cheer as the first movie does, it’ll forever be the winner in my heart.

1. Whip It: 5/5

Whip It isn’t related to Stick It in any way, the names and their places on this list are just coincidences. But even if they were related, the latter could never compare to Whip It. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m definitely really invested into the casting of these movies, and like to imagine that they are still the same characters that I know and love. So if Whip It wasn’t amazing enough already, it’s made even better when I imagine that it stars the pedophile-stopping heroine from Hard Candy and Arrested Development‘s Maeby ‘Across From Where?’ Fünke (Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat). All of these other films that I’ve mentioned are great and everything, but they’ve never made me wanna actually go out and be a cheerleader or a gymnast… but Whip It seriously made me consider joining a roller derby team. And if you’ve ever looked at me before you’d know how hilarious that is and what a terrible idea it would be. My nine year old cousin can beat me up. The script is great, the protagonist is likeable, and unlike the other films on this list it sheds the lame/cheesey/predictable stuff within the first ten minutes. It’s the only one of these movies that I’d say is not just a good sports film, but a great film over all. FIVE STARS WOO.

A post on my blog about sport. Heh. Who would have thought it? Maybe we’ve had it all wrong and 2014 is the true apocalypse. It’s starting. They’re heeeeere.